Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cheesy Yellow Squash Casserole

With the harvest in full swing in much of the USA, yellow squash is abundant.  The problem with all of the highly productive members of the squash family (think zucchini) is that you get quite a lot of food that many people don't really enjoy.  In fact, some will turn their nose up totally when you mention these vegetables.

Yellow squash is not only low in calories in it's natural state, it's also a great source of vitamins C and A, as well as magnesium.  Full of fiber, it's also abundant in potassium.  Additionally, it is high in manganese, a mineral which helps the body process fats, carbohydrates, and glucose.  But if you can't get your family to eat it, how will all of these good things get into their bodies.  The answer my friends; cheese!

Now the addition of the ingredients in the recipe will increase the calorie count considerably, but it will certainly taste quite good and provide them with the above mentioned nutrients at the same time.

The recipe makes a full 9" x 12" pan, so it's great for a group and travels well to take to a covered dish dinner.  A vegetarian could make a meal alone on this single item.

The original recipe came from Southern Living magazine and over the years I've likely been modified it a bit to fit my own tastes.  I rarely make a meal repeatedly unless it's from memory, so sometimes the ingredients and process changes a bit over time. Here is how I make it now.

4 pounds yellow squash, sliced
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (through in another if you're Italian!)
2 cups breadcrumbs, seasoned and divided
1 cup (4 ounces)shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

Place the sliced squash in a large deep skillet.  Heat a pot of water to boiling, enough to cover the squash.  Pour the boiling water over the squash and turn the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes or until just barely tender. Drain well and remove squash from skillet.  Place the squash on three layers of paper towels, and using another double layer of paper towel on top, gently press squash to remove excess moisture.  Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In same large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic, and saute 5 minutes or until tender. Remove skillet from heat and gently fold in the cooked squash.  Add 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and the other remaining ingredients, except for the granulated garlic. Spoon into a lightly greased 9" x 12 " baking dish.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and stir with remaining 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and granulated garlic. Sprinkle mixture over the top of the casserole.

Bake uncovered at 350F degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until lightly browned and heated through.

Note in the photo that the casserole seems to cut very cleanly.  This is the case if you let it sit for a while, as you might if you were taking it to a covered dish dinner.  Straight from the oven it will not be this firm, but it will be equally delicious.

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