This year I planted my first vegetable garden in many years. My motivations were to save money on food and be able to eat nutritious organic vegetables within minutes of harvesting. One of my choices was yellow squash because it’s low carb, easy to grow and has lots of vitamins.
I was so excited watching the little sprouts rise out of the ground and couldn’t wait for my babies to start bearing fruit. I resolved to keep on top of the situation by picking the squash while they were still quite small.
Every day I got such satisfaction watering the plants and charting their progress: the first leaf, the first blossom, the first tiny squash developing. I longed for the day when I could start harvesting.
Well that day finally came and nearly every day afterward I’d pick four or five little squash and sauté them up for my dinner. Things were under control. I got this, I thought.
Then the inevitable happened. Not content to stay neatly in their little plot, virtually overnight my babies had grown into monsters, seemingly bent on world domination. They began choking out my other vegetables, spilling out of the garden and marauding across the sidewalk.
And with it came squash. Lots and lots of squash. I gave away as much as I could but was still left with a small mountain. By this time I was ready to find some new recipes for all that squash, and here are my favorites—roasted yellow squash and jalapeño soup, tamale squash pie casserole, and pepperoni pizza squash.
Roasted yellow squash jalapeño soup
1½ lb yellow squash, cut into ½” slices
1 chopped onion
4 or 5 cloves of garlic
1T ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1½ cans of chicken broth
4 to 6 oz half and half
salt and pepper
sour cream and chives to garnish
Place the squash, jalapeños, onion and garlic and in roasting pan. Drizzle with olive and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 425° for 30 to 45 minutes, until they look like this.
Peel the skin off the jalapeños. You can also scrape out the seeds if desired. Put all the vegetables in a saucepan with cumin, oregano and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Purée the vegetables with an immersion blender. Add the half and half. Turn the heat back on until soup starts to bubble.
Serve with a little sour cream on top and a sprinkling of chives.
Tamale squash pie casserole
For this recipe I used squash instead of corn and it came out great! This tamale pie is a little bit spicy and very cheesy.
1 lb hamburger
1 chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 to 2T chili powder
1 lb yellow squash, sliced
1 7-oz can green chilis
1 lg can olives, sliced
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp cayenne pepper
For the corn meal topping:
¾ cup corn meal
2 cups water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp chili powder
Cook the onions in a large skillet with olive oil. When they start to brown add the hamburger, garlic, salt and pepper. I also threw in a few jalapeños for good measure.
When the hamburger is cooked, add the chili powder and cook for about a minute. Then add the squash, green chilis, olives, tomato sauce, sugar and cayenne pepper.
Simmer for 25 minutes then stir in a generous amount of grated cheese.
Ten or 15 minutes before the meat mixture is done, start cooking the corn meal in a pot with water, salt and chili powder. Stir constantly until it starts to thicken up. At that point add butter.
(I actually used organic polenta because I couldn’t find organic corn meal. The polenta is a coarser grind than corn meal and has more texture. Why organic? Because it’s non GMO.)
Add even more cheese.
Spread the corn meal over the meat.
Note: If you’re not using an oven-proof skillet, you’ll need to transfer the meat into a buttered casserole dish.
Top with—yes—more cheese. I probably use about 8 oz of cheese altogether.
Pop the casserole in the oven at 375° for 40 minutes. This is what it looks like when it’s done. Saucy with a thin crunchy shell on top from the melted cheese.
Let it cool for a little bit before serving.
Pepperoni pizza squash
This is by far my favorite recipe with all the flavor of pizza and none of the carbs. It’s so good I don’t even miss the crust, and the quickest to put together of the three recipes. The amounts are left off because you can make as little or as much as you want.
yellow squash cut into slices
marinara sauce (my favorite one is Bertoli Organic Olive Oil, Basil & Garlic)
quattro formaggio grated cheese
salt and pepper
fresh basil leaves (optional garnish)
Sauté the squash in a frying pan with olive oil, salt and pepper until browned.
Transfer to a baking dish to cover the bottom in one layer.
Put enough marinara sauce on top to cover the squash.
Then sprinkle with cheese.
Top with pepperoni.
Bake in a 350° oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Garnish with basil leaves torn into pieces if desired.
I’m eating this whole thing!