Summer Squash: A versatile veggie

-- By Alabama Living Magazine

Styling / Photos by Brooke Echols

If you’ve ever grown squash, you probably know that it’s one vegetable that can be quite prolific, and you might end up with plenty of extra to go around. The upside is that summer squash can be cooked in many different ways, from pan-fried, sautéed and grilled to boiled and layered along with onion and butter in a casserole, or cooked, mixed with breadcrumbs, eggs and flour and shaped into croquettes. Or you can enjoy it raw, washed, sliced and munched along with your favorite dip.

While most of our readers sent in recipes calling for the yellow, crookneck squash so plentiful in the summer, some also included recipes using zucchini, another type of summer squash that can often be substituted or combined with its yellow variety. Our cook of the month, Betty Sparks, loves to cook spaghetti squash, known for its long strands that resemble pasta noodles. Technically classified as a winter squash, spaghetti squash is usually available year-round. Other varieties of squash include pattypan or scallop, acorn, butternut, Hubbard and pumpkin.

There aren’t too many things better than taking a fresh vegetable and turning it into a wonderful, comforting casserole. Yellow squash can be found all year round. Now, don’t get me wrong. Fresh, homegrown summer yellow squash is the best, but if you don’t have it, this casserole won’t tell on you! For more great recipes like this, head on over to thebutteredhome.com.

Southern Squash Casserole

Southern Squash Casserole. Photo by The Buttered Home.

4 cups yellow squash, peeled, cooked and mashed

3 eggs, beaten

1⁄2 cup chopped yellow onion 1/4 cup buttermilk

Salt and pepper to taste

Dried parsley

1⁄2 cup to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided 1/4 cup melted butter

1 sleeve of butter crackers, crushed and divided

Peel, slice and boil the squash with a little salt. I boiled mine in the Instant Pot at four minutes and it was perfect! Mash and drain all the water out.

After thoroughly removing excess water and mashing, add eggs, onions, buttermilk, salt, pepper, parsley, half the shredded cheddar cheese and half the crushed butter crackers. Spread in a lightly greased casserole pan.

Mix butter with other half of crackers and cheese and spoon over the top. Bake at 375 degrees F for one hour or until top is browned and bubbly.


Cook of the Month: Betty Sparks, Franklin EC

Cook of the Month, Betty Sparks

If you’ve never cooked spaghetti squash before, don’t be afraid to try it. That’s the advice from our July Cook of the Month, Betty Sparks of Russellville. “Being country, we eat all kinds of squash,” she says, but most folks may be familiar with only the yellow summer squash so plentiful this time of year. But several years ago she perfected an old recipe for “Spaghetti Squash and Bacon Fritters” that opened up her kitchen to a whole new variety of the popular vegetable. Spaghetti squash is so named because of the long pasta-shaped strands that can be scraped out once the squash has been cooked in the oven. “It’s unreal how easy it comes out,” she says. “You just take a fork and rake it out.” Betty is especially fond of this recipe, as are her two daughters, because she’s recently been eating a plant-based diet due to some health concerns. The small bit of bacon the recipe contains isn’t enough to make much difference, she says, as it’s mostly for flavor. “The girls and I love it,” she says.

Lenore Vickrey

Spaghetti Squash and Bacon Fritters

1 medium or large spaghetti squash

2 eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Spaghetti Squash and Bacon Fritters

5 green onions, chopped and divided

1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

5 strips bacon, cooked and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut squash into halves, scoop out seeds and fiber. Spray the cut side of each half and a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the squash on the baking sheet, cut-side down. Bake until cooked through and soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool cut-side up. Scrape squash with a fork to remove the flesh in long strands. You will need 3 cups of the cooked squash; reserve the rest for another use. Place strands in several layers of paper towels and wring out as much liquid as you can. It will be easier to do this in several batches. At this point, the squash may be refrigerated for up to 5 days. In medium to large bowl, beat eggs, add flour and beat until blended. Add squash, Parmesan cheese, 3 of the chopped green onions and salt. Beat very well until the mixture has a uniform consistency. Add chopped bacon and mix to combine. Heat large skillet on medium-high until very hot, almost smoking. Add oil. Drop about 3 tablespoons of the batter into the oil for each fritter, flattening with a spatula; make 4 fritters at a time. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook until bottom is golden brown, another 1-2 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain. If desired, mix sour cream with remaining 2 chopped green onions and serve on the side.

Superfluous Squash Casserole

2 pounds summer squash, chopped into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cube vegetable bouillon

3⁄4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2-3 pieces whole grain bread. Sage, to taste. Dill, to taste

1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped

Heat 1 tablespoon oil and a hearty dash of sage in a large saucepan. Mix bouillon with 2 tablespoons water and add to pan. Add chopped squash, more sage, dill, and mushrooms. Cook, covered or uncovered, until the squash is soft. There should still be some liquid, but it shouldn’t be too watery. Rip bread slices into 2-inch pieces. Mix bread in a bowl with shredded cheese and the other tablespoon of olive oil. Put the squash mixture into an 8×8-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle the bread mixture on top. Bake for 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven, until the bread starts to brown a bit.

Robin O’Sullivan, Wiregrass EC


Mexican Squash

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

11⁄2 pounds yellow squash, cut into 1⁄2-inch slices

11⁄2 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1⁄2  teaspoon cumin seeds

1⁄2  teaspoon each salt and black pepper

2 jalapenos, seeded and minced

Sauté the onion and garlic in hot oil until tender; add the squash and next 4 ingredients. Cook on low for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add jalapenos and cook an additional 15 minutes until the squash is tender.

Sarah R. Terry, Joe Wheeler EMC


Vegetarian Squash Dressing

1 1⁄2-2 pounds mixed yellow squash and zucchini squash, sliced

1/4 Vidalia onion, finely chopped 1 stick butter

4-5 green onions, chopped

1 can cream celery soup

2 packages Martha White Mexican Style Cornbread and Muffin Mix

2 1/3 cup milk, divided

2 eggs, beaten

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Prepare Martha White Mexican Style Cornbread according to package directions by combining both mixes, 1 1/3 cup milk and 2 eggs, beaten. Bake in a heated and greased cast iron skillet at 425 degrees for 16-18 minutes. Set aside. On the stove top, stew in water the sliced yellow squash, zucchini, and 1/4 chopped Vidalia onion until very soft. Drain water. Mash squash and onion mixture and set aside. Simmer butter and chopped green onions until onions are soft and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, break and mash cornbread and add squash mixture, butter and green onion mixture, cream of celery soup, 1 cup of milk and pepper. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Add additional milk if needed. Pour batter into lightly greased baking pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. This dish is perfect for a summer side dish with squash right out of the garden or for the holidays.

Ginger Scarbrough, Wiregrass EC


Mexican LaSQUASHIA (Vegetable Lasagna)

6 medium squash or zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick lengthwise

1 large onion, sliced thinly into rings 1⁄2 cup sliced jalapenos, optional

1 pound smoked sausage, out of casing, browned and drained

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

1 jar salsa, any heat level

1 15-ounce jar queso sauce, any heat level

1⁄2 cup Monterey jack or cheddar cheese, shredded

In an 8×10-inch or larger casserole dish, layer squash, meats, onion, peppers, queso. Pour salsa over this. Repeat and top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and brown cheese on top. This can be made as hot or mild, to taste. Salsa and queso temperature can also be modified to taste.

Becky Chappelle, Cullman EC


Deb’s Squash Casserole

5 yellow medium-sized squash

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1 pound ground chuck 4 slices bacon, fried

1 egg, beaten

1⁄2 stick butter

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

2 cups breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

Wash and chop squash, boil until tender in a large pot. Drain well and mash in the pot they were cooked in. Brown the ground chuck and drain off grease. Add ground chuck, onion and bell pepper to the squash. Add butter, egg, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to the mix. Stir well and put in a prepared 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese and bacon on top. Return to oven for 5 more minutes or until melted.

Debby Boyd, Cullman EC


Zucchini-Pinia Casserole

6 whole zucchinis, round sliced

2 cups fresh pineapple, coarsely chopped

1 13-ounce can cream of chicken soup

1 8-ounce package sour cream, room temperature

1 stick margarine, melted

1 8-ouce box Pepperidge Farm Seasoned Stuffing Mix

Boil zucchini rounds 5 minutes. Drain and cool 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix pineapple, cream of chicken soup and sour cream in a large bowl. Melt butter, add all of stuffing mix and combine well. Line the bottom of a 9×12-inch baking dish with half of stuffing mixture. Mix zucchini and pineapple mixture. Spread in baking dish. Top with remainder of crumb mix. Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly brown.

Barbara Frasier, Marshall-DeKalb EC

Spicy Squash Soup

3 medium yellow squash, sliced

1 pound ground turkey, 85% lean

1 cup onion, chopped

1.2 ounce package fajita seasoning mix

1 quart chicken broth

1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

Cook squash in boiling water for 10 minutes, drain. In a large dutch oven, brown turkey and onions together, drain if necessary. Add fajita seasoning, stir well. Add broth, stir, add tomatoes and mushroom soup and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 12 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, serve.

Teresa Hubbard, Franklin EC

Themes and Deadlines:

October: Traditional Southern Recipes | July 3

November: Pies | August 7

December: Cinnamon | September 4

3 ways to submit:

Online: alabamaliving.coop

Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop

Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124

Please send us your original recipes (developed or adapted by you or family members.) Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.

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