I get nostalgic in the summertime. My grandparents always had a summer vegetable garden. There was never really a discussion about the vegetable garden. It was a way of life for them. My grandmother made pickles, canned tomatoes, and “put up” beans in the freezer. That’s what they did. No question. No discussion.
I remember that food seemed to taste better in the summertime. My grandparents knew what they were doing. It was no secret to them. Food does taste better and more vibrant straight from the garden, no matter the season.
Summer suppers have been a favorite meal of mine for a long time. I learned that in the summertime you don’t really need meat on the table, although you might add a bit of pork to your beans for flavor. The straight-from-the-garden veggies are the stars of the meal.
One of my favorite summer dishes is squash casserole. I grew up eating squash one of two ways – either fried in an iron skillet with onions or in a casserole. I loved them both and still do. Yellow crookneck squash has a delicate flavor. Adding some other ingredients to a dish really brings the squash flavor to the forefront.
I did a profile on summer squash in my previous post, if you want to find out about the nutritional benefits and other ways squash can be prepared. I added a bit of history for the fun of it!
When thinking of which squash recipe to share with you, I had to turn to my good friend, Fran Moore, for her excellent squash casserole recipe. It is her family’s recipe. Fran is more exuberant about squash than anyone I have ever met. She gave me permission to share the Moore Family Squash Casserole recipe with you. Like many old family recipes, it was never written down – I appreciate Fran putting her interpretation in writing!
The Moore Family Squash Casserole, as told by Fran Moore
I usually get 6-8 yellow squash. I prefer crook-nosed as opposed to straight neck. Smaller ones are more tender; if you have only small ones to choose from, then get about 8-10.
I usually use one whole onion for that size of a batch. If you double the recipe, use two onions.
Dice onion (I prefer mine small, but you could do a large dice as well)
Slice squash (about 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick)
Boil onion and squash until soft. Strain and put into large mixing bowl.
Add about 1 cup PROGRESSO® Italian style bread crumbs
Add 1-2 eggs (beaten)
Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese – depending on how much cheese you like
Add several dashes of TABASCO® sauce
Stir all with wooden spoon or spatula.
Spray glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Spread entire filling into dish and bake approximately 30 minutes in 375 degree oven.
Top casserole with grated cheddar cheese, sprinkle with paprika, and bake until melted to your desired doneness of cheese (I like mine almost dark and bubbling, not merely melted)
PS: Fran tells me that her aunt uses RITZ crackers instead of bread crumbs; you could add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or some paprika if you wanted to for color.
Lesson: Good friends are as important in my life as good food. Fran and I have been friends for many years, in this life and beyond. Like the summer vegetable garden, friendships call for care and nurturing. I am very appreciative that we have nurtured our relationship for so many years. What is a relationship that you have cared for like a summer garden? What have been the benefits for you?