End-of-summer squash is bountiful and budget friendly

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Summer-Squash-FBBy Portia Little

It’s sometimes called the “other” squash. Shaped like a zucchini, but yellow instead of the familiar green color, straightneck squash is well-known in American cooking. With thin, edible skin, soft seeds, and mild tender flesh, this squash may be used interchangeably with zucchini in recipes. It’s low in calories, as well as high in fiber and vitamins A and C.

Select good yellow summer squash that’s small and firm, with tender skin free of blemishes and bruises. To saute the squash, cook in butter over medium-high heat until barely tender. Season with herbs of your choice, salt, and pepper. To steam yellow squash, arrange the slices of squash in a strainer or rack over one-half inch of boiling water. Steam until barely tender. Remove from heat and drain. Toss with melted butter or your favorite sauce.

If you overdid it at the farmers’ market, or have an abundance in your home garden, you can freeze yellow squash to use later. Simply wash and cut them into one-half-inch slices. Water blanch for three minutes, then cool promptly. Drain and package, leaving one-half-inch headspace, then seal and freeze.

Now’s the time, however, to enjoy these yellow wonders in a lovely soup, or a baked or sautéed dish. Ideal for a light supper, this easy sausage and summer squash main dish can be prepared in less than 30 minutes.

 

SLOW COOKER SUMMER SQUASH SOUP

 

1 cup cubed zucchini

1 cup cubed yellow squash

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 small onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dill weed

4 ounces sour cream added at end of cooking time

 

Place all ingredients into 4-quart slow cooker and cook 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Right before serving, mix sour cream into hot soup. Place a dollop of sour cream on each serving and sprinkle with dill weed.

Makes 2-4 servings. Can be doubled easily.

 

SUMMER SQUASH AND CORN CHOWDER

2 slices applewood-smoked bacon

¾ cup sliced green onions, divided

¼ cup chopped celery

1 pound yellow summer squash, chopped

1 pound frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed and divided

2 ¼ cups 1 percent low-fat milk, divided

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

 

Cook bacon in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Add ½ cup onions, celery, and squash to drippings in pan; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside. Place remaining corn and 1 cup milk in blender; process until smooth. Add remaining 1 ¼  cups milk, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to blender; process just until combined. Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Ladle soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with bacon, onions, and cheese.

(Recipe from Cooking Light, August 2010)

 

BAKED SUMMER SQUASH

 

3 pounds yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

½ cup dry bread crumbs

½ cup chopped onion

2 eggs

¼ cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup butter, melted

¼ cup dry bread crumbs

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or cooking-spray a 2-quart baking dish. Place squash in large saucepan, cover with water, and simmer about 15 minutes. Drain squash well, place in large mixing bowl, and mash until slightly chunky. Stir in ½ cup bread crumbs, onion, eggs, ¼ cup butter, sugar, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined, and spread mixture into prepared baking dish. Drizzle top with ¼ cup melted butter, and sprinkle ¼ cup bread crumbs over butter.

Bake until casserole is cooked through and the top is golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Makes 8 servings.

 

SAUTEED SQUASH, ONIONS & BROWN SUGAR

 

2 medium yellow squash
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar

 

Slice squash into 1/2-inch rounds, cutting larger rounds in half. (This should yield about 2 cups cut squash.) Add butter to a wide saucepan that has a lid; heat over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onions and cook until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add squash, and season with salt and pepper. Mix in brown sugar until vegetables are coated. Cover and cook about 20 minutes, until squash is very soft.

Remove cover and continue to cook about 8 minutes, to let juices evaporate slightly. There will be some liquid in pan, but it will be thicker than water, almost like a glaze. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

 

SUMMER SQUASH AND SAUSAGE

 

1/3 cup bottled Italian salad dressing

cloves garlic, minced

12 ounces cooked Polish sausage links, halved lengthwise and sliced diagonally

3 small yellow summer squash and/or zucchini, quartered lengthwise

¼ cup sliced green onions

Fresh oregano leaves

¼ cup coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

 

In small bowl combine salad dressing and garlic. In an extra-large skillet cook sausage and squash in 2 tablespoons of dressing mixture for 8 to 10 minutes or until sausage is heated through and squash is almost tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve sausage and squash drizzled with remaining dressing; sprinkle with green onions and oregano. If desired, pass Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.

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