Another item I began making when I took over Thanksgiving duty is butternut squash soup. It is seasonal, delicious, and really pretty easy to make. The particular recipe I use calls for roasting the squash first, which concentrates and sweetens the flavors of nearly any fruit or vegetable in my experience.
I use this recipe, but double it:
Roasted butternut squash soup from Chowhound
While I didn't prepare the soup at home, I did take care of one of the more time consuming aspects of it. Roasting the squash in my own kitchen saved me time later on. It also saved me packing space, as I was able to put it into one compact container.
First I halved the squash and cleaned them out with a spoon. That left me with these rather rude looking pieces.
I slathered them with soft butter, salt and pepper and threw them into a hot oven.
The recipe says 50 minutes to an hour, but perhaps that's for smaller fruits, because these suckers took more like 1:20 to be tender enough to come out.
Once it was cool enough, I just scooped the stuff into a container for transport. Done.
This is easy stuff. Go ahead, give it a try. You'll be glad you did. This stuff is good already, just as you see it here. You could use it in a pie (perhaps with less seasoning) or as a side dish of its own, maybe mashed with a bit of cream and butter. Oooh, I need to try that soon.