Squash is so good in so many ways

June 13, 2012 

Farmers' markets and supermarkets have a plentiful supply now. Home gardeners even have so much that they are giving the vegetable to friends and family.

Yellow squash and zucchini are easy to prepare. I never peel either variety. They can be cooked by steaming, sauteing, boiling or baking. Remember, squash contains a good bit of water, so before adding to any casserole, let the cooked squash drain in to a towel-lined colander and press out any excess moisture.

I also like to serve zucchini and yellow squash raw on relish trays. They make good dippers. Both also are high in antioxidants. Squash also makes for at great cold soup, which is quite comforting on a hot, summer day.

For mothers of infants at least 6 months of age, zucchini makes a good homemade baby food puree. It contains beta-carotene, potassium, folate and vitamin C and is not a known allergen. Simply wash the zucchini, cut into pieces and cook until tender. Place into a blender to puree. A good partner for the zucchini is pureed sweet potato.

Evidently, readers have an abundance of squash, too, because one readers' request for fresh vegetable recipes brought several squash/zucchini and tomato recipes. Nothing beats a home-grown tomato.

Zucchini or squash can simply be prepared by cutting into bite-size pieces, sauteing in a bit of olive oil, sprinkling with oregano or basil and stirring in Parmesan cheese. How easy is that? That same sauté can be used mixed with a favorite cooked pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes added for extra flavor and color.

Since Father's Day is Sunday, why not make use of that squash or

zucchini into a pound cake or chocolate cupcakes for dear old Dad. I know the dad in our house always prefers sweets.

Sonja Sheffield, Regina Riser and Mary Ann Parker share some of their favorite vegetable recipes today. I also toss in a couple of my own. Parker recently discovered her recipe and made it for her co-workers, who all asked for copies of the recipe.

SQUASH CASSEROLE

2 cups cooked yellow squash

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated

1/2 stick margarine

1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Cut squash into pieces and boil in water until tender. Drain and blend with sugar and mayonnaise. Spread squash mixture into a buttered 9-by-9-inch casserole dish. Sauté onions and green peppers in butter until tender. Stir egg and cheese into onions and peppers. Spread mixture over squash. Melt margarine and add cracker crumbs. Spread evenly over top of casserole. Bake 30 minutes. Yield 6-8 servings.

-- Submitted by Sonja Sheffield

"I got the following recipe from my sister-in-law in Colorado," said Sheffield. "It is very good and simple to make."

MISSISSIPPI VEGETABLE DINNER

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thick, round slices

2 pounds zucchini squash, sliced in thick slices (about 1 inch)

3 or 4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and halved crosswise

1 clove garlic, chopped fine

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup seasoned (Italian) bread crumbs

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to season between layers

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease 3-inch deep baking dish. Arrange potato slices on the bottom of the dish. Season with salt and pepper. Add zucchini and season again. Gently squeeze tomato juices over vegetables. Arrange tomato halves cut side up on top of vegetables.

Combine breadcrumbs, garlic, cheese and olive oil. Spread over top. Bake 1- 1/2 hours. Remove cover during the last 30 minutes to crisp the top. Optional: I also have sprinkled sliced almonds on the top.

-- Submitted by Mary Ann Parker

My husband loves this casserole. I borrowed from several recipes to come up with this one.

ZUCCHINI AND YELLOW SQUASH CASSEROLE

6 cups large diced yellow squash and zucchini

Vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped ( I used the sweet Vidalia onion)

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup sour cream (can use light sour cream)

Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup bread crumbs or crackers (I used a combination of Triscuits and bread crumbs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the squash in a little vegetable or olive oil over medium-low heat until it has completely broken down, about 15 to 20 minutes. Line a colander with a clean tea towel. Place the cooked squash in the lined colander. Squeeze excess moisture from the squash. Set aside.

In a medium size skillet, sauté the onion in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and mix all ingredients together except Parmesan cheese and cracker crumbs. Pour mixture into a butter casserole dish and top with bread crumbs or Triscuits or your favorite type of cracker and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Now for a sweet treat for Dad.

LEMON-ZUCCHINI POUND CAKE

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

4 eggs

2/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium), squeezed to drain

LEMON GLAZE:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

1 teaspoon half-and-half

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Instructions follow below.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup fluted tube cake pan with shortening, lightly flour.

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt with spoon; set aside.

In large bowl, beat 1 cup butter with electric mixer on medium speed about 2 minutes or until creamy. Beat in 2 cups powdered sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating well on low speed after each addition. Beat on low speed 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice, lemon peel and zucchini. Spoon into pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in pan. Remove from pan onto serving plate. Cool completely, about 1- 1/2 hours.

Lemon Glaze: In 1-quart saucepan, heat all glaze ingredients just to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly, remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes until slightly thickened. Drizzle over cake.

From Better Homes and Gardens comes this Choco-Zucchini Cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. What guy could resist these?

Happy Father's Day!

Please send, contributions or requests for this column to Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, please include the name or briefly describe it and the ingredients. If you are submitting a recipe, please include the date requested. You can reach Andrea Yeager at 832-8568 or to ayeager51@cableone.net.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service