Good things come to those who wait. That old adage may fit Frances Saucier perfectly.
In September, she asked for a squash au gratin recipe, and for three weeks her request was published. Last week, she said that she didn't want to take up space in this column with her request but appreciated me trying.
Saucier, like other readers, had lost a favorite recipe and was asking for readers' help in finding it. When she was about to give up, two readers came through: Verna J. Storm of Ellenton, and a reader who asked "no name, please."
Saucier, these recipes are for you.
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"For the person who has been requesting a recipe for summer squash au gratin, I hope this is similar," Storm said.
YELLOW SQUASH CASSEROLE
6 cups sliced yellow squash
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Paula Dean's House Seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder)
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed butter crackers (such as Ritz)
Saute squash in vegetable oil until broken down (about 15-20 minutes). Drain. Saute onions in butter 5 minutes. Mix squash and onions together and add remaining ingredients, except cracker crumbs. Pour into casserole dish. Top with cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
-- Submitted by Verna J. Storm and taken from a Paula Dean recipe
The anonymous reader shared two recipes, one found at about.com and the other from "Famous Recipes from Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House in Historic Sa
vannah." The Savannah recipe is done on top of the stove. How easy is that?
SUMMER SQUASH AU GRATIN
2 pounds sliced yellow summer squash
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces butter
1- 1/2 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack
1 cup buttery crackers, crumbled
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
Black pepper to taste
Boil sliced squash in water with salt and sugar until just tender. Drain well and add butter, 1 cup of the cheese, 3/4 cup cracker crumbs, milk, eggs, and pepper. Mix well and pour into a buttered 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle reserved cheese and cracker crumbs over the top. Bake this summer squash casserole for 30 to 45 minutes at 325 degrees. Serves 4 to 6.
SKILLET SQUASH AU GRATIN
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cups thinly sliced summer squash
1 sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup grated cheese
Melt butter in saucepan. Add squash, onion, salt, pepper, water. Cook, covered 10 to 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Sprinkle with cheese.
-- Recipe from "Famous Recipes from Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House in Historic Savannah"
Cooking the easy way
Some of you readers know that I love to experiment with recipes. I came across two recipes this week that I just had to try.
Something different for my grandbaby's breakfast made me try this Mr. Food recipe. She likes French toast, but I wanted a quick fix. This French toast is done in a coffee mug and works well. She ate half and I ate the other half. I think this recipe like some other mug recipes are too much for one person.
Mug French toast is done in the microwave and contains no butter or oil.
FRENCH TOAST IN A MUG
2 slices bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Coat a 12-ounce microwavable coffee mug with cooking spray. Place bread cubes in mug and press down lightly.
In a small bowl, whisk milk, egg, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes and let soak in for 1 minute.
Microwave on high 1 minute, then add 10 seconds at a time till it's set.
Note: I used some 2-day-old challah bread that I had made for the bread, but any kind of white or wheat bread would work. Syrup or powdered sugar may be sprinkled on top. I used honey.
-- Recipe from "Mr. Food"
The other easy-does-it recipe was a slow-cooker pumpkin dump cake. I have never tried dessert in the slow cooker, but I certainly will do it again. My husband thinks this is better than pumpkin pie. It certainly is a time saver and beats making pie crust.
MUST-HAVE PUMPKIN PIE DUMP CAKE
1 cup white sugar
2 (15-ounce) cans pumpkin puree (I used one 29-ounce can)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (I didn't have pumpkin pie spice, so I used 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon allspice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (18.25-ounce) white or yellow cake mix (The cake mix I used was 15.25 ounces, and it still worked)
1/2 cup butter
In the bottom of a slow cooker (I used a 6-quart slow cooker) combine the sugar, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir.
In a separate bowl, combine the cake mix and the butter. Use a fork or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the cake mix until butter is pea sized and cake mix is crumbly. Sprinkle the cake mix on top of the pumpkin puree.
Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the cake mix.
Place a double layer of paper towels on top of your slow cooker. Place the lid over the paper towel and make sure it is secure. (The paper towels will prevent condensation from dripping onto the cake.) Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or on high for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Remove the lid and turn to warm. Let sit on warm for 20-30 minutes and then serve with vanilla ice cream.
(Note: I cooked mine on high for 2 hours, and it was perfect. I served the dump cake without ice cream or whipped cream, just by itself. We loved it.)
-- Recipe from "Slow Cooker Chronicle" newsletter
Last-minute Halloween treats
Halloween is Friday. Where has this year gone? Thanksgiving isn't far behind.
Popcorn is a favorite at my house any time of year and for any reason. We often have it for Sunday night supper instead of a meal, but at Halloween popcorn balls were the norm.
My great-grandmother made the best ones. She would have trays of popcorn balls for trick or treaters. I know we can't do that anymore, but we can make the treats for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. I make the old-fashioned ones with corn syrup. The recipe used to be on bottles of the syrup in the fall.
Today, I offer a couple of last-minute treats, oven-baked caramel corn and popcorn balls. The caramel corn recipe can be used to make popcorn balls, too. Simply omit the baking soda in the recipe.
15 cups popped corn ( 1/2 cup kernels, unpopped)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup salted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet (18-by-13-inch) with parchment paper. Pour the popped corn into a large bowl (at least 6 quarts); remove any unpopped kernels. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat cook the molasses, brown sugar, butter and corn syrup, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Stirring occasionally, boil the syrup for 5 minutes. The syrup will darken slightly.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda. Stir well as the mixture turns foamy. Immediately (and carefully) pour the hot syrup over the popped corn and stir until the corn is well coated. Spread the hot caramel corn into the parchment-lined pan. Bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour. Stir the corn every 15 minutes during this time.
Remove from the oven. This caramel corn is a warm, sticky, sweet and crunchy treat straight from the oven. It can also be cooled and stored airtight for several days. This recipe doubles and triples very well.
OLD-FASHIONED POPCORN BALLS
3 quarts (12 cups) popped popcorn
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Spray large roasting pan with cooking spray; add popcorn and place in 300-degree oven until warm. (Popcorn can also be warmed in a large microwave safe bowl for 1 to 2 minutes on high, or 100 percent, power.)
Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to boil over medium heat. Continue stirring and boil 2 minutes.
Remove syrup mixture from heat; stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour syrup mixture over warm popcorn stirring to coat well. Cover hands with two plastic bags, spray bags lightly with cooking spray. Working quickly, shape 12 (3-inch) popcorn balls.
Cool completely. Wrap individually in plastic wrap.
-- Recipe from Karo® Syrup
Send in holiday requests
Yes, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas are on the way. If you have lost a favorite recipe or need a particular recipe, let me know. Readers and I will do our best to find them for you in time for the holidays.
Andrea Yeager, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.