Makes about 30.
Make two batches; these cheese straws disappear quickly. From "The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook."
11/2c. (about 6 oz.) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tbsp. (1/2stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4c. flour, plus more for dusting
1/2tsp. kosher salt
1/2tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. half-and-half
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.
On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that's1/8inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips,1/4to1/3inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving at least1/4inch between them. The dough will sag and may break occasionally in the transfer, but don't be concerned -- just do your best. The straws can be any length, from 2 to 10 inches.
Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.
Serve at room temperature. Cheese straws will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for 2 days.
WINTER SQUASH CASSEROLE
Serves 8 to 10.
From "The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook."
31/2lb. winter squash, such as butternut, kabocha or acorn, peeled and cut in1/4-inch-thick slices (about 6 c.)
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, trimmed, peeled and chopped (about 3 c.)
1 c. whole or low-fat buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
21/2tsp. minced fresh thyme
1/2c. bread crumbs, preferably homemade, toasted
3/4tsp. kosher salt
1/2tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4c. pumpkin seeds or pecans, toasted, divided
2 c. coarsely grated Cheddar cheese (about 8 oz.), divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish or a 4-quart casserole.
Place 3 quarts water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the squash to the water, return to a boil, and cook for 6 minutes. The squash will turn a deeper orange. Drain it and set it aside.
Melt the butter in the stockpot and add the oil. Add the onions and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent and limp, about 8 minutes, stirring to prevent browning. Add the warm squash and the buttermilk, eggs, thyme, bread crumbs, salt, pepper,1/8cup pumpkin seeds and 11/3 cups cheese. Blend with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients are well combined.
Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining1/8cup pumpkin seeds and2/3cups cheese over the casserole. Bake for 15 minutes more, or until the pumpkin seeds have turned chestnut brown and the cheese is bubbling and gently browning.
Nutrition information per serving of 10:
Calories 295 Fat 19 g Sodium 341 mg
Carbohydrates 21 g Saturated fat 10 g Calcium 220 mg
Protein 12 g Trans fat 0 g Dietary fiber 3 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 bread/starch, 1 high-fat meat, 2 fat.