We’re definitely in the midst of squash season, and I, like anyone who has a garden, a CSA, or frequents the farmers market, am on a search for creative ways to prepare summer squash without making my family stand up in protest.
Lucky for me, and you, the possibilities are endless. A quick search around the interwebs will confirm. Here are a couple of links:
- 15 summer squash recipes from The Kitchn: http://www.thekitchn.com/summer-squash-15-recipes-for-z-120015
- Healthy summer squash and zucchini recipes from Eating Well: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_zucchini_recipes
- And, from From Scratch Club, zucchini four ways: http://fromscratchclub.com/2012/07/19/recipes-zucchini-four-ways/
The recipe below is what I did with squash this week. You can change it to fit what you have in your kitchen. For example, if I made this again, I might leave out the pasta and add more squash or chicken.
Cheesy Squash and Chicken Bake (Serves 4)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 to 4 small to medium summer squash, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- the leaves from a couple of springs fresh thyme
- 2 cups chicken, roasted and shredded
- 2 cups pasta, cooked (I used penne, but I could see shells or orzo also working well)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup cheese of your choice, shredded (I used a mixture of what was in my fridge, but cheddar is probably best)
- salt and pepper to taste
- bread crumbs
Start with a large cast iron skillet, or other heavy skillet that can be transferred from the stove top to the oven. Or, if you don’t have one, you can transfer your ingredients to a casserole dish after you’re done on the stove top.
Heat oil in your skillet and then add onions. Cook the onions until they start to soften. Add garlic, saute for about 30 seconds, then add squash, thyme, and salt and pepper. Saute until the squash is tender. Add pasta and chicken, and cook until warm.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter, then stir in the flour. Slowly add the milk, whisking to blend. Heat the milk until it is simmering, but not quite boiling, then add the cheese. Stir until the cheese melts.
Pour the cheese sauce over the squash and chicken mixture. (If you’re skillet won’t transfer to the oven, this is the time to put everything in a casserole dish). Top with enough bread crumbs to lightly cover the top. Cook under the broiler for about 10 minutes.
Serve immediately. Also tastes great reheated.