Okay. I totally misread (I think) Laura’s request for a squash recipe, as the only thing I think of when I hear or see the word “squash” is my mother-in-law’s sinful squash casserole. Now, I know we’re all here because we’re working toward goals and none of those (as far as I know) includes gaining weight. But ya gotta live a little too and therefore I’ve decided to share the recipe. This is also a Southern food staple, and actually counts as a “vegetable” in restaurants around here. This helps explain why I gained a lot of weight since moving here.
Please keep in mind that I’ve always believed my MIL purposely left out a few ingredients and/or steps in order to keep her prize dish a secret, but I was stealthy and determined and just kept observing her make it over and over so that I’ve finally reached the expert level. I’ll try to make this as much like a normal recipe as I can, but keep in mind this is mostly improvisation.
One last thing: I’ve had people who claim to “hate” squash take one bite of this, fall to the ground and kiss my ring, Pope style because of how I just showed them the way and the light.
MIL’s Not-So-Secret-Anymore Squash Casserole
4 – 5 medium yellow squash
1 small onion
2 cups sharp cheddar (I now believe the MIL that shredding it yourself makes a difference in the taste, but sometimes I’m still lazy and use the pre-shredded stuff as long as it’s Kraft)
1 egg (Optional, but I like using it because it glues the casserole together in a very pleasing way)
1 stick of butter, divided in half (If you’re going to be bad you might as well go all the way, right?)
1 sleeve of Saltine crackers (You can go store brand, just make sure not to buy the LOW or UN-salted ones by mistake like I did once.) (Isn’t that an oxymoron – UNsalted SALTines?)
Salt & Pepper to taste (but I go light on the salt because of the previous ingredient)
Cut squash into small chunks (disks are good for frying, not for this). Then cut the onion however you prefer, but if you’re like me, put it into a mini food chopper and practically liquify it. Onions aren’t my favorite but they’re a necessary evil sometimes and this is one of those times. Throw some butter in a frying pan and saute the squash and onions together, almost until they’re practically steamed. This will give you time to grate up that cheese (hey, some exercise!). Throw all the stuff together in a large mixing bowl, including the egg at this time if you so choose to go that route (again, highly recommended even though Laura got grossed out when she found out an egg was used in homemade mac & cheese – come to the dark side, Laura). Stir, stir, stir, add salt & pepper and if you’re making this for my husband, keep adding the pepper until it becomes obnoxious. Set aside for a minute so you can crush up the salty Saltines. Melt the remaining butter and stir in with crushed crackers. This makes for one lovely crust. Put everything into a semi-shallow casserole dish and cover with the lovely crust. It depends on your oven, but I bake it at 325 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes, or until firm.
Serves about 8 people with normal appetites, or 6 with Brian’s. I have no idea what the calorie or fat count is for this, nor do I ever want to know.