Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Use It Up Day One: Squash Casserole

Don't adjust your monitor, I really did just blog two days in a row.  I know, right?  I'm proud of me, too.

Day one of Use it Up wasn't terribly creative, but it was tasty!  I call it "A Meal of Two Souths."  We had pan-fried pork chops that I rubbed with a whole bunch of spices (onion powder, garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, cilantro).  I've never liked pork chops much (partially because they aren't kind to me), but I have finally learned how to cook them in a way that tastes good and stays juicy.  It's fairly simple but worth knowing.  Steps 1-6 here give you the basic idea.

seasoned and seared
I had a ton of chopped cilantro left over from a taco salad party, so I decided to make chimichurri sauce for the first time ever.  Chimichurri is a cilantro-based sauce popular in Argentina to serve on steak.  Here's the recipe I used.  It was pretty good!

pulsed and served
And to round out our Argentinian meal I made squash casserole, which any true Argentinian will tell you they've probably never heard of.  Oh well.  It's southern (think: ya'll-land) just not as southern (read: Cazuela de calabaza es tan norteamericano.)  Southern food is GOOD, people, but it's not known for being good for you.  In the south, you can go out to eat and order a "Vegetable Plate" (choose any three!) that contains macaroni and cheese, french fries, and fried apples.  Go to a good-ol' Southern Baptist Church potluck supper and you'll be luck to find any vegetable that hasn't been breaded, fried, creamed, or candied, which is why I usually bring a salad.  But, I do love some southern food, and any vegetable is better than no vegetable, right?  So, tonight, I present to you a vegetable that has been creamed, cheesed, breaded, and baked.  You're welcome.

Squash Casserole

  • 6 cups diced zucchini and yellow squash (or other squash)
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers - In the spirit of using it up, I did not have Ritz so I substituted regular bread crumbs.  It was fine, but you really want that buttery taste Ritz crackers provide
sauteed and mixed
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter bottom and sides of a glass casserole dish (I've used an 8 by 8 square, a 7 by 11 rectangle, and a medium Pyrex circle.  All turned out fine.)  Saute the squash in hot oil over medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Line a colandar with a cotton dishtowel (not terry!) and dump squash in to drain.  While squash is cooling, saute the onion for about 5 minutes or until it becomes translucent and slightly browned.  Squeeze excess moisture from the squash, then mix together squash, onion, sour cream, spices, and cheese in a large bowl.  Spread into casserole dish, then top with crackers.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crackers are browned and mixture is slightly bubbly.

Not the most flattering picture, I realize.  Don't let that deter you.

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