The Inspired Cook

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Column 22 of The Inspired Cook for the Van Zandt News

Squashing our garden’s bounty

Most gardens produce an overabundance of vegetables each year, leaving gardeners wondering what to do with it all. Many people freeze or can their harvests while others eat what they can and give away the rest. In addition, some sell their bounties at roadside stands or farmer’s markets. 

                Last year, Charles, my better half, created a garden that exploded with squash, yellow crookneck and zucchini, forcing me to delve deeper into my cookbook collection for new recipes.

                Today I’m sharing two newly formulated recipes inspired by my need to reduce our squash supply. I discovered the original recipes in an old church-compilation cookbook but have tweaked them to fit our particular tastes. Maybe they will suit yours, too.

Doubly Cheesy Squash Casserole


                2-2 ½ lbs. (5-6 medium) Yellow squash, thinly sliced

                3 T. Dehydrated onion flakes

                1 c. Panko bread crumbs, divided

                2 T. Butter, cubed

                ¼ c. Butter, melted

                ¼ c. Grated Parmesan cheese

                3 oz. Cream cheese

                ½ t. Sea salt, finely ground

                ¼ t. Black pepper


                Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Into a large pot, place the squash and cover it with water. Bring it to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook until tender.

When done, drain it thoroughly and mash with a potato masher. Stir in cream and Parmesan cheeses, half of a cup of bread crumbs, onion, melted butter, salt, and pepper. Pour into a greased casserole dish.

Place cubed butter and remaining half of a cup of bread crumbs into a sandwich baggie, squeezing to mix. Sprinkle buttered crumbs onto top of casserole. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Italian-Seasoned Zucchini and Onions


4 Zucchini squash, medium-sized

                1 Yellow onion, medium-sized

                3 T. Extra-virgin olive oil

                1/2 t. Dried basil

                1/4 t. Black pepper

                1/2 t. Sea salt, finely-ground


                Peel the onion and cut it in half through the stem end. With the flat side down, cut each half into 1/4-inch slices, and separate each layer; set aside.

Into a large nonstick skillet, place the oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté, stirring occasionally.

While the onions are cooking, slice the ends off the zucchini; discard. Halve the squash lengthwise. With the flat side down, cut each half crosswise into 1/4-inch wide pieces.

Add the sliced zucchini to the onion mixture. Continue to sauté about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the seasonings. Reduce the temperature to low and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.

Note: We like the squash and onions to be soft, but you may prefer some crispness to yours. If so, reduce the simmering time.

Yield: 4-6 servings