Last week, another of my dear friends gifted me with wonderful bags of fresh picked squash and zucchini from her garden. She threw in a few tomatoes for good measure. Let me tell you for certain that it is a humbling experience to have friends present you with the products of the hard labor required in growing a vegetable garden. I’ve told you before that we always had a huge vegetable garden when I was growing up. But, because of certain health restrictions, I can no longer tend a garden. I am blessed that I have generous friends who share of their bounty.

Now one of my favorite foods in the world is fresh, skillet-fried squash that you drain well on white paper towels and then eat it while it is still warm. It is totally scrumptious, but not particularly a healthy choice. In years past, I’ve run a recipe for stewed (low fried) squash a time or two. But, because it’s such a delicious way to cook squash, I’m reprinting it again. And, while everyone is trying to watch their cholesterol and fat intake, it is okay to splurge every once-in-a-while -- especially during fresh vegetable season. So, I am reminding you of my yummy Squash Fritters recipe and of two squash dessert recipes that are yummy and packed with homegrown goodness. They are simple country cooking ideas, but I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Stewed squash

4 strips bacon

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

4 cups boiled squash, well drained (Remember, it takes about six cups raw squash to make 4 cups boiled, drained squash.) Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet (cast iron is best), fry the four strips of bacon. Remove the bacon from the pan and put it on a plate lined with white paper towels to drain. In the bacon drippings, sauté the onion pieces on medium heat until they are transparent. Add the well-drained squash to the sautéed onions and continue cooking on medium-low heat, uncovered for about 5 minutes. Crumble the bacon and add it to the squash and onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 20 minutes on low heat. Then, enjoy! (If you’re watching cholesterol, omit the bacon and sauté the onions in four tablespoons of your favorite “heart smart” butter substitute. Simply add squash, salt and pepper and cook according to the heat levels and times described above.) This recipe makes six servings.

Squash fritters

2 pounds yellow squash, sliced

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper to taste

Flour

Vegetable oil

Boil the squash until it is tender. Drain it well and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Add the chopped onion and eggs, salt, pepper and just enough flour to make a medium-firm mixture. Drop by tablespoonfuls into a skillet of hot oil. Brown each fritter on both sides. (Fritters are more fattening, but very tasty, when browned in bacon drippings.)

Squash custard pie

1/2 stick butter

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

1-1/2 cup grated squash

2 tablespoons self-rising flour

3 teaspoons lemon extract

1 lightly baked piecrust

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, then the flour, squash and lemon extract. Stir the ingredients until well combined. Pour this mixture into the pie shell. Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Let it stand until it is cool before slicing or serving.

Squash pie

3 cups cooked squash

4 tablespoons margarine

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup self-rising flour

4 teaspoons lemon extract

2 lightly baked piecrusts

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the cooked squash with margarine, sugar, eggs and flour. Add the lemon extract last and stir the ingredients until well combined. Divide this mixture evenly among the two pie crusts. Bake the pies at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Let them stand until they cool before slicing or serving.

Contact writer at tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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