Butternut Squash Au Gratin 9

Mealfit Founder and Chef Thomas Cox Shares a Favorite Recipe

What started in 2013 as a meal planning service, Mealfit has grown into a full catering service and kitchen here in the 280 area. To challenge the notion that healthy food is tasteless, founder and chef Thomas Cox created an unexpected Southern twist on health-conscious cuisine. Cox first began cooking in college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, using his meal plan stipend to buy groceries and experiment with different foods. His personal favorites are seared and baked chicken thighs and butternut squash au gratin, top choices among his clientele as well. The trick for the chicken thighs are simple: sear first, then bake. The squash, however, requires more precise measurements.

“I still love fried chicken; I still love fried okra—those Southern things. But we started doing a little bit more healthy spin on cooking.”

Butternut Squash Au Gratin

  • 2 butternut squas
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons Mealfit seasoning

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream and milk.

3. Using a mandolin, slice the squash very thinly. As you finish slicing each squash, place it into the cream milk mixture, so the slices don’t brown.

4. When the squash is sliced, add the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses to the bowl, along with the garlic, the leaves from the thyme sprigs, and Mealfit seasoning. Toss well.

5. Pour the squash and cream into an 8-by-11-inch baking dish, then cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.

6. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 45 min.

7. Remove the foil and bake for 30 more minutes, until the squash is tender, bubbling and golden brown on top.

8. Serve and enjoy!