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SUMMER SQUASH!

What a burst of sunshine and goodness in our CSA box this morning! It looks like we’re going to be very busy with eating this summer.

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Summer CSA is here!

I mulled over what to cook first and decided to go with that yellow crook-neck squash.  I needed something colorful to go on our dinner plate; I also wanted something quick, so I heated up the George Foreman and got to slicing!

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Quick and cool way to cook in summer!

Slice the squash length-ways in fairly thick slices. I got 3 slices per squash.

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Keep slices fairly thick.

Spray the slices with a non-stick cooking spray (I used an olive oil one) or coat lightly with olive or vegetable oil. This helps the seasoning to stick.

Season as desired. I have several seasoning blends in my pantry. I chose to go with herbes de Provence.

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Choose your spices!

Arrange the slices on the hot George Foreman and close the lid.

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Sprayed and seasoned!

Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes and then flip. There should be nice grill marks on the squash slices.

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Grilled!

Cook another 2-3 minutes or until desired tenderness.

This is such an easy way to prepare any type of summer squash and works well when you only have one or two – not really enough to make a full casserole or to mess with breading and frying. If you don’t have an electric grill pan, just throw them on a hot skillet on the stove-top.

You could add some goat cheese to the hot slices and, leaving the lid open to prevent a mess, allow the cheese to melt. This works well with zuchinni as explained in this post.

Last summer we enjoyed squash in multiple delicious ways!

Remember those Surprising Squash muffins for breakfast?

You might want to start a jar of marinated squash for lunch-time munching.

And these Squash Squares make a delightful summer lunch.

I’m looking forward to this year’s summer bounty! Come back for more recipes and tips!

 

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I am always on the lookout for new ways to cook up our CSA veggies, so when I saw this recipe in the newest Penzeys catalog, I ripped it right out. Our grandchildren (ages 5 and 3) were with us the next day, so I whipped up a pan for lunch. They gobbled them right up and declared the recipe to be a keeper!

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Summer Squash Squares: cheesy goodness!

WHAT YOU NEED:

1/4 Cup oil

1 small onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

4 small shredded squash (about 4 Cups)

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 Cup fine bread crumbs

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. black pepper

3 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 Cup sesame seeds

1/2 tsp. sweet paprika, optional

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

Shred the squash. I used zucchini since that is what I had on hand.

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Quick tool, but a hand-held grater works as well.

Heat the oil (I used grapeseed) in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring often, (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and squash and cook until tender, 5-7 minutes.

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Grated squash is sautéed with onion and garlic.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, bread crumbs, salt, basil, oregano, pepper, and cheddar cheese. Mix well. Add to the squash mixture and stir.

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Combine cheese and squash mixtures.

Spread in the pan and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and sesame seeds. If desired, sprinkle with paprika. I wasn’t sure the little ones would like sesame seeds and paprika, so I added them to one half of the pan. After tasting both sides, we all agreed that the side WITH the sesame seeds and paprika looked and tasted better!

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Half with paprika/sesame seeds and half without.

Bake at 325° until set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes and then slice into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Golden, cheesy goodness!

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I am always looking for new ways to cook my favorite veggies. These fritters are such a great change! I have a veggie spiral cutter that I have not used in awhile, and I was so excited to pull this fun appliance back out. The spiral cutter is an awesome kitchen tool that I use for making veggie pasta noodles, homemade curly fries, veggie slaws, and much more. It is so fun and easy to use. If you don’t own some type of spiral cutter, you can use a julienne cutter or a grater.

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Ingredients:

1 yellow squash

2 zucchinis

1 egg

2 T finely chopped onion

3 T almond flour (optional)

salt and pepper

Sauce:

3 T tamari or soy sauce

1 T rice vinegar

1 T agave nectar

1/2 tsp ginger

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Grate or spiral cut your zucchini and squash. Use whatever zucchini and squash you have on hand; it doesn’t have to be 2 zucchinis and 1 squash. I have made them with all zucchini and also with all squash and both are delicious.

Put the grated veggies into a strainer and place the strainer in a large bowl. Salt the veggies generously and mix to thoroughly coat. Let sit for about 20 minutes. This allows moisture to drip out from the veggies into the bowl, so that your fritters are not soggy. After the 20 minutes, take a towel and squeeze out all the remaining liquid from the veggies.

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Now, beat the egg in a separate bowl and mix in the finely chopped onion and pepper.

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Combine everything in a mixing bowl and sprinkle in the almond flour.

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Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. When the skillet is nice and hot, form the veggies into balls (they will be runny) and drop onto skillet. Cook for about 3-5 mins on each side. Make sure they are nice and crispy and not falling before when you remove them from the skillet.

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To make the sauce, simply whisk all the ingredients together.

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These are amazing with or without the sauce….enjoy!

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I am having the best time with a new cookbook given to me by a friend. I have marked several recipes and have already tried quite a few.

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Lots of great recipes in this cookbook!

I was very happy to see this recipe for Summer Vegetable Casserole as it uses every vegetable I am currently getting in the CSA box!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Squash

Onions

Bell pepper

Tomatoes

uncooked rice

Slices of butter

Salt and pepper or seasoning blend of choice

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Fresh ingredients are plentiful in our CSA boxes!

WHAT YOU DO:

Wash and slice veggies; the tomatoes should be sliced fairly thickly.

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Thinly slice veggies, but slice tomatoes thicker.

In a greased casserole dish (or crock pot), layer vegetables with a layer of raw rice between each layer. The moisture in the veggies will cook the rice.

Season the veggie layers as you go. The recipe calls for just salt and pepper. I used an Italian spice blend. Start with squash, then 1/4 cup of raw rice, onion, 1/4 cup raw rice, bell pepper, 1/4 cup raw rice, and then tomatoes. Pats of butter go on top of the tomatoes.

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Layers of sliced vegetables and rice are topped with butter.

Repeat the layers if you have room. I was surprised at how much mine cooked down. I could have definitely put in more layers. Next time…..

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Veggies really cooked down, so pack ’em in there!

The recipe states to cook at 325 degrees for 1 ½ hours. I wanted to use a crock pot, so I could put it on Sunday morning and serve it for lunch after church. My research suggested 4-6 hours on HIGH. I put it on about 7 a.m. and we ate about 11:30. It was tender and yummy!

I will definitely be making this again!

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My daughter has been making “Zucchini Boats” for several years now; they are a perfect “pick up” food for little fingers. When I saw all the squash in my CSA box, I knew just what to do with them!

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Just the right size for stuffing!

I had her recipe as a foundation, and after an online search, I settled on this recipe, although I ended up tweaking it just a bit. I liked the parmesan/bread crumb topping, and since I also had gorgeous fresh tomatoes, I was eager to try the fresh tomato sauce to spoon over the top.

Once you understand the method, you can change the recipe easily: different spices, different cheeses, omit beef and add mushrooms and ricotta for a vegetarian version.

WHAT YOU NEED:

About 3 lbs. of squash (I used zucchini and patty pan)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (used the red onion in our box)
3 cloves garlic
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. plus 4 tbsp. bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp. chopped parsley

2 tbsp. fresh thyme
6 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

WHAT YOU DO:

Trim stem from zucchinis, split in half lengthwise, and scoop out center portions, leaving casing to be stuffed.

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Use a spoon to scoop out center flesh.

You should end up with about 2 cups pulp, more or less. I had much more than 2 cups, so I set aside the extra with plans to sauté it down with onion and garlic to use as filler in meatloaf or meatballs for spaghetti.

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Cut off stem so squash sits flat and remove center flesh. Patty pan squash makes a perfect “bowl.”

In large skillet, sauté onion in olive oil. When tender, add garlic and chopped squash pulp. Cook on low heat until all is tender and excess moisture has evaporated.

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Seasoned squash pulp adds flavor and vitamins!

Original recipe calls for raw beef to be added to this onion/squash mixture. I wanted that yummy caramelization on the beef, so I browned it in a separate skillet with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and then folded it into the mixture.

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Caramelization adds great flavor to beef!

Turn off heat and drain off all fat from beef before adding  1/2 cup bread crumbs, chopped parsley and thyme (or spices of choice).

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Elevating skillet on spoon rest allows fat to drain.

Add egg yolk, stirring until slightly thickened. The egg yolk acts as a binder. Since I had 2 egg yolks in the refrigerator from another recipe, I used them; I believe they could be omitted with no problem.

Sprinkle inside squash casings with salt and pepper and stuff with meat filling.

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Seasoned and ready to fill!

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Bread crumbs and parmesan add crunch and flavor!

Blend bread crumbs with cheese and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until squash are tender. After 30 minutes, the topping was getting very brown, but the squash still seemed rather firm, so I covered with foil and cooked 15 more minutes.

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Hot from the oven!

Spoon fresh tomato sauce over each squash and serve.

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Fresh tomato sauce ingredients

TOMATO SAUCE:

1 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
2 c. chopped fresh tomatoes (2 of the pictured tomatoes yielded 2 cups)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (used fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in saucepan and cook onion until translucent; add garlic and stir, then add remaining ingredients. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Makes about 2 cups. Serve over Stuffed Squash.

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Fresh tomato sauce brightens up this meal!

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I love throwing summer veggies on the grill. It brings out great flavor! Also, it makes for a quick and easy veggie addition to your cook out. I used all the squash varieties in our CSA box and added that amazing basil we received as well.

Ingredients:

All squash varieties sliced

Grape seed oil

Salt and pepper

fresh basil, ribboned

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Cover your sliced veggies in oil, salt, and pepper.  Fire up your grill and lay your veggies slices down. Make sure your slices aren’t too thin, so they are easy to grab with tongs and flip without falling apart.  Keep an eye on them and flip periodically. Cooking times will vary. It’s best to just keep checking them and grill them to your liking.

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I put them on the top rack at first, but ended up transferring some of the larger slices to the bottom so they would cook more quickly.

After they are cooked, I remove them from the grill and immediately toss them with the basil while they are still hot.

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Enjoy the freshness!

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My family loves fried potatoes. We could eat them everyday…at least Ray could :). I also like to try to get vegetables in our breakfasts, which can sometimes be a challenge unless your making omelets. Over the years, somehow I managed this breakfast, and every one loves it.

serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 small Squash
  • 1 small Zucchini
  • 1 small Onion
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 4 med Potatoes
  • 8 Eggs
  • Salt and Pepper

Chop potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes and put into a hot oiled skillet and cook over med/high heat. Season with some salt and pepper. Add crushed garlic and dice onions after about 5 min and cook along with potatoes. Stirring enough to keep from sticking but still getting a good crisp on potatoes. Watch your oil, you may need to add some to keep it moist enough to keep from sticking. Dice your squash and zucchini real small especially if you want to hide from little ones. Once potatoes are cooked, but not mushy, add in the squash and zucchini.

In a bowl, crack and scramble all the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Once the squash and zucchini are tender, but not mushy, push everything to the side of the pan, add just a little more oil for your eggs, then pour your eggs in and scramble, bringing in the potatoes mixture. When eggs are still pretty wet, but almost cooked, throw in the diced bell pepper. Finish cooking eggs, and serve.

If you want, you can always add bacon or sausage or even cheese on top, which definitely makes it even more yummy! 🙂 You could even throw in diced tomatoes. Hope you enjoy!

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