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My great friend Rosie and I were having lunch the other day when the topic of "squash" popped up. You see each of us was savoring a nice helping of grilled squash, zucchini, tomatoes and onions -- like succotash but better as it was lightly tossed on a flat grill with a little butter and some seasoned salt and pepper. Rosie said that a customer had stopped in the office that morning and shared a nice bag of squash with her and others. 

Now one of my favorite foods in the world is squash, which can lend nutrition and great taste to your meal as an ingredient in your salad, entree, side dish, and/or dessert. Please peruse the recipes below and challenge yourself to create a meal in which multiple courses contain squash. These recipes are simple country cooking ideas, but I hope you’ll enjoy them. Please let me know if you have an unusual squash recipe that you think readers of this great T&D will enjoy.

Rotini 'N Squash

Pasta Salad

12-ounce box rotini noodles

3 medium yellow squash, cleaned and cut in chunks

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 medium eggs, hard-boiled, shelled and chopped

3 tablespoons real bacon bits or pieces

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Lawry's Seasoning salt (to taste)

Black pepper (to taste)

In a large saucepan, bring six cups of water to a rapid boil. Stir in the noodles, squash and onions. Reduce the heat and low boil for about eight minutes. Drain the cooked mixture well. Put the mixture into a nice serving dish and add the chopped eggs, real bacon bits/pieces, mayonnaise, seasoning salt and pepper. Toss this mixture well until it is evenly combined. 

Sausage-Squash

Savory Skillet

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 pound link smoked sausage, sliced into bite-size pieces

2 pounds fresh yellow squash, sliced in circles (yellow squash, zucchini, or both)

1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onion in the olive oil until the sausage is lightly browned and the onions are transparent. Add the squash and cook until they are crisp-tender. Season the dish with light brown sugar, salt, pepper if desired. Simmer another five minutes, then serve.

Note: You may use this same recipe and replace the squash with coarsely shredded cabbage, or you may add some cabbage to the original recipe.

Steak ‘n summer veggies

with Tasty Sauce

1 large yellow or sweet onions, cut into 8 wedges

2 large baking potatoes, cut into 8 lengthwise wedges

4 zucchini or yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick

Tasty Sauce (recipe below)

Place the vegetables, cut side up, on waxed paper and drizzle them with olive oil. Place the beef steak on one side of the rack in a broiler pan so the surface of the meat is three to four inches from the heat. Arrange the onion and potato wedges on the other side. Broil for 16 to 21 minutes until the steak is rare (140 degrees F) to medium (160 degrees F) and potatoes and onions are tender. Halfway through the cooking time, turn the steak and vegetables over and place the squash, cut side up, on the pan. While it is broiling, prepare the Tasty Sauce below.

Tasty Sauce

1 cup A.1. Thick and Hearty Sauce

2 tablespoons ready to serve beef broth

4 tablespoons grape jelly or red currant jelly

Combine the steak sauce, broth and jelly in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on High for two to three minutes (until the jelly is melted and the sauce is hot). Stir gently to combine these ingredients well before serving the sauce. This recipe will yield about one and a half cup of sauce.

Garden Fresh

Veggie Casserole

6 medium yellow squash

4 medium cucumbers

2 large onions, any variety

3 large tomatoes

4 cups fresh corn off-the-cob

2 teaspoons light brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (enough to cover top)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease a large, deep, oblong casserole dish (remember raw vegetables take up a lot of room, but "cook down"). Wash and cut the squash, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes into slices. Drain of any water. In the casserole dish, alternate layers of squash, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes sparsely sprinkling 1/2- teaspoon light brown sugar after each of these first four layers. Evenly spread the fresh corn as the top layer. Lightly the salt and pepper over each individual layer.

Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle fresh grated Parmesan cheese over the top and bake, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. You may omit any vegetable you don’t like and/or add layers of your favorite vegetables, and if you prefer, you may substitute finely grated mild Cheddar cheese for Parmesan cheese.

Scalloped Squash

8 medium summer yellow squash

1 large Vidalia (or yellow) onion, sliced

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs

3 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 3-quart casserole dish. Wash the squash and cut it into 2-inch cubes. Combine with the onions in a saucepan and cook in a little salted water, boiling for about 10 minutes or just until tender. Drain vegetables well, and arrange in the prepared casserole dish. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, pepper, milk, butter, salt, crumbs and half of the cheese. Stir thoroughly, and pour this mixture over the squash and onions. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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. 

Delicious Dessert

Squash Bread

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1-1/2 cup coarsely shredded, tightly packed squash (summer or zucchini)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients, except the sugar, thoroughly. In a large bowl, beat the eggs well. Add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Beat these ingredients until they are well combined (about three minutes). Stir in the squash. Add the dry ingredients. Mix them just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Pour this mixture into a loaf pan. Bake this batter in the prepared pan at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool bread on a rack. Remove bread from pan after 10 minutes. Wrap the bread with Saran Wrap to cool.

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.

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Contact the writer at tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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