Last week I was invited to my son’s preschool pot luck party. I have never been to a school pot luck before and I was pretty excited. I couldn’t wait to mix and mingle with the other parents and get to know some of his classmates but, to be honest, I think I was more psyched about the food portion of the event than anything else. Pot luck parties are right up my alley. This is me, after all and I live for this stuff. Seriously.
Surprisingly I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out what I’d bring because it seemed pretty obvious to me. Anything one brings to a pot luck should meet these three requirements: 1. Must be able to feed a crowd easily. 2. Must taste good at room temperature. 3. Must be able to be kept that way for a while without getting weird. Oh yeah, and it better taste good or else people will tawk. LOL.
I knew instantly that my Vegetarian Rice Salad was the way to go. But of course, I couldn’t stop there. I wanted to bring a little something sweet as well. Something seasonal that both adults and kids would like but not nothing too sweet or cloying since I knew that the dessert table would be overflowing (they always are at these sort of events). I thought about making pumpkin muffins because who doesn’t love a good fall muffin? But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try a little something different. Muffins seemed like a good idea because they are easy to eat and if I made them mini sized, there would be perfect for tiny hands and yield me plenty to go around. So, I decided to make my tried and true pumpkin muffin recipe and swap in butternut squash puree instead and throw in some mini chocolate chips for good measure.
Even though I wasn’t sure how these would turn out, I was willing to take the risk since I had the Rice Salad as my back-up. I used less sugar in this version to take into account the natural sweetness of the butternut squash, but other than that, my original recipe remained untouched. And you know what? These were incredibly moist and delicious. Dare I even say better than the pumpkin version? And they were a big hit with my family. My 3 year old was not happy when he asked for a muffin the next day and I informed him that we left them at the pot luck. So, I made them again that same week for the little guy only this time using a mixture of half pumpkin and half butternut squash. Equally delicious!
These babies are definitely our new favorite muffin. Make a big batch on a Sunday night (minus the chips) and serve them as a quick breakfast or snack all week long. Their small size makes them perfect for snack week at school or as a healthier dessert inside your kiddos lunch box. How delicious would these be on Thanksgiving morning with a steaming cup of Joe, or as a tasty fall treat for your next weekend brunch? Add in chopped walnuts for some crunch and a protein boost.
Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
Makes 72 mini muffins
4 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups roasted butternut squash puree (or pumpkin puree or a 50/50 combo)
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a mini muffin pan with paper liners.
2. Add eggs and sugar in a standing mixer and beat until combined. Stir in oil and butternut squash
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and ginger. Toss in chocolate chips. Add wet ingredient to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fill each muffin cup with 1 heaping teaspoon of batter and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a oothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Enjoy.
Note: Muffins will keep for up to five days in an airtight container or up to a month inside a freezer storage bag. Thaw on the countertop or in the microwave for 10 seconds before eating.