Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Return of the Squash

Hello, everyone!

After temporarily abandoning my blog, I'm back with an almost-too-easy post, to ease myself back into the swing of things. I have been uploading 3-camera-cards-worth of pictures onto my computer in the past couple of days, and the desire to share some of those with you has overcome my reluctance to blog. :)

This post shall simply be a recipe; an Amber recipe - and you know I only share recipes I'm proud of! (Well.... ones that I'm proud of, or ones that have stories behind them, or ones that involve a funny flop...you know. :)

I really can't take full credit for this recipe, because my sister Heather gave me the idea. She, like many people I know, has yellow summer squash and zucchini overflowing in her kitchen, and was looking for new and yummy ways to fix it.

Now, normally, our family has two options for squash: boil it, or fry it - but Heather said her new in-laws bake it, with some butter and garlic powder on top. She added mozzarella cheese.

Those are all the details she gave me; really! From that bit of a yummy idea, I went home and came up with the following zucchini bake:

Amber's (with some help) Zucchini Bake


~ Enough Zucchini to fill a food processor like the one below: (I think I used 3 zucchini the size of the one on the cutting board....or was it only 2? And yes, I KNOW you're not supposed to let the stuff get that big before you pick it, but it was hiding from us! You'd think it didn't want to be eaten! But that's the nice thing about this recipe - you can use the big zucchini that you forgot to pick in time, and it still tastes pretty good.)
The other ingredients are all pictured above as well:
~ 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
~ Garlic Powder
~ Italian Dressing
~ Grated Parmesan Cheese

What? Oh - why there are no measurements for the last 3 ingredients?

...Come on. This is an Amber Recipe! :) :)


Slice the zucchini finely in the food processor, or chop thinly by hand. Unwrap the butter stick and use the butter paper to lightly grease a 9"x13" pan - it doesn't need to be heavily greased. Divide the zucchini into thirds, and spread one third in a layer on the bottom of the 9"x13" pan. Slice the butter stick as thinly as you can, and divide the slices into three piles as well. Sprinkle 1/3 of the butter slices over the zucchini in the pan. Sprinkle to taste (I like it generous!) with garlic powder (NOT garlic salt, by the way!). Take the lid off your Italian dressing, and "gloop" it on - again, to taste. I've found that a little goes a long way. Just 4 or 5 "gloops" per layer seems to do the trick.

Now sprinkle Parmesan on generously. Did you hear me? Generously. This is what makes this dish kick!

Repeat these layers, starting with the zucchini again, then butter, garlic powder, dressing, and cheese. Repeat once more, if desired, and according to the amount of zucchini you have. The last time I did this recipe, I used three layers - as I've directed in this recipe - and it filled the 9"x13" pan to overflowing, but the first time I made this we only had enough zucchini to do one layer on a cookie sheet. You be the judge. You should finish with cheese on top - again, a nice thick layer.

Bake for 20 minutes - or until the cheese is nicely brown and smells heavenly - at 350 degrees.

Oh yes - one more squash idea, for those of you who prefer yellow squash over zucchini. Mom came up with this, and I LOVE it:

Squash spaghetti.


You just shred your yellow squash, add lots of meat and spaghetti sauce, bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top. (Yes, we like our cheese!)

That's all I have for right now. Maybe there will be more pictures coming soon, on other topics.

Thanks for being so understanding about my blogging break; I needed it. I needed to confirm in my own mind that I blog because I like it and feel that it's good, not because I feel pressured to perform, or because I'm tied to this little grey keyboard and screen.

I hope y'all are having a blessed week.

P.S. I just realize I didn't rave about that zucchini recipe enough. You need to try it. There is no way to describe how good it smells as it bakes, and how tempting it is to just keep sneaking helping after helping of the cheesy, spicy goodness....


Alethea Jordan said...

I don't think you NEED to rave about those recipes...they look delicious!

Jenny P. said...

Mmmm... my squash is just getting past the itty-bitty stage and into the super-yummy stage, so I'm excited to have new ways to cook it! Thanks for sharing! And yes, parmesan cheese makes everything yummy.

PS: If you like squash spaghetti, have you ever tried spaghetti squash? It's a hard (winter) squash that when you bake it, it separates into strands just like the pasta we all know and love. It's wonderful.

Jessi said...

Hey Amber Sue,
This sounds absolutely great! We too have quite a bit of zucchini and yellow squash coming from our garden. Kathryn made some zucchini bread and a zucchini cake -- yum! We froze the rest of it for use later in the year when it isn't so plentiful. We'll have to try these recipes -- cheese is always a big hit at our house, too! :):)

Amber said...

They ARE good, Alethea! :)

Jenny, we have tried spaghetti squash once, and it didn't seperate very well when we tried to take it apart, into strands. ...Maybe we cooked it wrong, or too long, or something. It was more just like mushy regular squash. It tasted good, though! Maybe I should try again sometime. For now, though, yellow squash makes a good substitute! :)

Jessi, have fun with your garden! And I LOVE zucchini bread and cakes! 'SPECIALLY with rasins in it, and cream cheese on top. Do y'all like it that way?

Amanda said...

Sounds DELICIOUS!! We'll have to try it with some of the abundance that's coming in! (I think I'll be sauteing some squash with garlic & herb seasoning for lunch!:))I wonder if you could use frozen squash/zucchini in that bake or if it would break down too much and be watery... I'd like to try putting some fresh garlic in it, too, just for some added "kick". And maybe onions would be a nice addition... (hmmm, I think I'm starting to sound like you! :P) but we should probably try it the "right" way first. LOL :)

Jenny P. said...

Definately try baking the spaghetti squash less. I cut it in half, pull out all the seeds and yuckies, the lay it cut side down on a cookie sheet, baked at 375ish for 45min to an hour... ish. It's supposed to be al dente just like good pasta. Hope that helps!