Thursday, September 29, 2011

Butternut Squash Wontons with Cheese Sauce

Today, I'm trying something completely new: play-by-play cooking! This could be awesome, or it could be a complete disaster. If I were a betting type, I'd definitely put my money on the latter.

So what's on the menu today? As it turns out, the boy found some roasted butternut squash at the grocery store and thought I'd love to play with it -- how right he was! While I sat staring at my delicious, pre-roasted squash, I noticed some left-over wonton skins sitting sadly on the bottom of the fridge and inspiration struck. So, I've cobbled together a franken-recipe from bits of the recently-featured pumpkin ravioli, parts of a butternut squash wonton recipe, courtesy of our good friends at cooking light, and the squash-loving madness that lies within my brain. Let's see how this goes.

Butternut Squash Wontons with Cheese Sauce
Butternut Squash Wontons

21 (or however many you have left over) square wonton wrappers
1 cup of roasted butternut squash (mine was pre-roasted, and not soft enough for this recipe)
1 tsp of jarred garlic
1 tbps minced fresh sage
2 tbps Parmesan
2 tbps breadcrumbs
Ground ginger, cloves, and cinnamon to taste

Dipping Sauce:
3/4 cup milk
1 tbps flour
2 tbps 1/3 less fat cream cheese
2 laughing cow light cheese wedges (whatever your flavor preference is)

Play-by-play how-to

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

5:20: Mash up the butternut squash, round 1.
Finished taking pictures of the butternut squash in its wrapper and finally opened it. Definitely not squishy enough to be made into filling -- yet! Into the microwave it goes, starting with just half of the package.

5:25: Mash up the butternut squash, for real this time, and make the filling.
One and a half minutes total of microwaving and the squash is ready to go! Now to add the rest of the filling and hope I didn't underestimate how many skins I have.

5:30: Sigh. Chop up the sage and mix in the rest of the filling (garlic through seasonings from the list above).
Just kidding. Spent the last several minutes chopping sage into tiny bits. Last time I used it (recipe coming soon!), the boy said the sage flavor was too strong and concentrated, so I'm trying to spread it out more. Finishing chopping sage, then finalizing the filling for real this time.

5:40: Fill the wonton wrappers -- evenly distribute filling amongst them (about 1.5 tsp each). Then seal the wrappers with water. I recommend having a small bowl of water, then using your finger (dipped in water) to outline two of the four edges. Then fold over the dry edges onto the wet ones and press down to seal into a delicious little triangle. Put on baking sheet coated with cooking spray, then put cooking spray across the tops of them.
All of the raviolis/wontons having filling in them -- now it's time to seal them up, then put them on the baking sheet covered with cooking spray.

Butternut Squash Wontons with Cheese Sauce
5:45: Bake the wontons for 17 minutes or until brown and crispy (Note: mine took 16). Begin making cheese dip by putting milk into small saucepan and turning stove to medium-low heat.
Wontons are now in the oven, where they will remain for 17 minutes. Now, on to attempting an "easy" dipping sauce . . . start with a tiny saucepan and throw in that milk! Heat up the milk on medium-low heat (don't boil it, just get it warm)

5:50: When milk warms up, whisk in flour.
Waiting for the milk to heat up. Once it's somewhat warm, I'm going to whisk in the flour to help it thicken. Eventually I will add chopped up laughing cow light cheese wedges (I used blue cheese and queso fresco & chipolte flavors) and 1/3 less fat cheese cheese to give the dip a creamy, cheesy, yumminess.

Flour whisked in! Dropped the heat to low to slowly thicken the mixture. Chopping up the laughing cow light now.

5:55: Continue whisking at low to medium-low until appropriate thickness. Try not to let boil.
Added in some more cinnamon, ginger, and cloves to the milk for fun . . . but it's thickening too slowly! Raising the heat a little and putting my stir on to help it get to a nice consistency.

6:05: Once thickening admirably, slowly incorporate cheese, allowing time for each portion of cheese to melt.
Wontons are out and looking great!

Butternut Squash Wontons with Cheese Sauce
Sauce is thickening up nicely, and the cheeses are all incorporated. Ladies and gentlemen, we are almost there!

Pro-tip on cheese: Both of the cheeses used in this recipe are low-fat, meaning they don't melt the same way full-fat cheeses do. As such, you want to cut them into tiny pieces and slowly incorporate, or you could end up with lumpy sauce!

6:10: Dig in!
And dinner -- or in our case, a post-dinner snack -- is served!

Butternut Squash Wontons with Cheese Sauce
Final verdict:
What. This is ridiculously delicious -- as the boy says "sweet and yet savory". Huge fan of this recipe, and I'll probably do it again, eventually. The baked wontons are SUPER crisp, so it's kind of like eating chips with a yummy surprise inside -- complete with cheese dip!

Taste: 9
Ease of making: 8
Comfort: 9 (can't argue with cheese sauce, I always say)

For those of you counting your calories, 1/7th of this recipe (3 wontons + dip) clocks in at only 125 calories.

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