Summer Squash Casserole

IMG_0575Summer squashes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors -round balls or long, shiny zucchini, glossy yellow globes of  crookneck yellow squash, scalloped patty pans, and dozens of others. But growing up in East Texas, when gardeners talked about squash in summertime, it was always the crooknecks.  By the time they appeared on the dinner table, they were sliced, dipped in cornmeal, and fried along with chopped onions in bacon grease.  Once in awhile, a squash casserole showed up at a church potluck.  Just about every church cookbook, and all cookbooks featuring Southern Food will have some variation of this recipe. In our own church cookbook, it is billed as “pastor’s favorite.” This particular recipe is my adaptation of one found in Jan Karon’s MItford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader under the title Puny’s Squash Casserole.  Truth be told, you could use any thin skinned summer squash, but yellow ones make a lovely dish.

Yellow Squash Casserole.

2 Tablespoons butter plus enough to butter the baking dish

6-8 medium yellow squash, sliced into rounds

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped

2 large eggs

1 cup grated sharp cheddar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup crushed Ritz crackers or potato chips

Sprig of fresh rosemary or parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Butter a 9 X 13 baking dish.  Steam squash and onions until tender, place in bowl and mash slightly with potato masher,  add butter and stir to melt butter. In a small bowl,  whisk eggs, cheese, salt and pepper, then add this mixture to squash before pouring into baking dish.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, remove from oven, and add topping.  Return to oven for 10-15 minutes to brown..Add garnish.

 

 

Peanut Butter Pie

IMG_0596July 15 is our youngest son’s birthday, and when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he requested Peanut Butter Pie.  He developed a fondness for this cool, creamy dessert 30 years ago when he went with his best friend’s family to visit grandparents in Pennsylvania and Grandma Eshbaugh made it.  When he got back home, he asked me to make a Peanut Butter pie and through the years I have tried several versions.  This one seems to most like the Pennsylvania Grandmother’s recipe.  There are dozens of variations to be found in cookbooks and online, but this one is found in an old church cookbook given to us by friends in 1981.  It has very simple ingredients, is quick to put together, and if you like peanut butter you are going to love this pie.

Peanut Butter Pie

2 chocolate cookie crumb crusts ( make your own from chocolate wafers if you prefer, but I purchased Keebler crusts at HEB)

1 cup creamy peanut butter

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 can Eagle Brand milk

2 cups Cool Whip (I used the extra creamy style)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla

With electric mixer, cream peanut butter and cream cheese.  Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix, then fold in Cool Whip.  Pour into prepared chocolate cookie crumb pie shells, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  Serve with a spoonful of Cool Whip.  Add grated chocolate on top if you like.0

 

Melon, Mango, and Mint Smoothie

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Summer means cold watermelon slices in Texas – just one of the ways we try to beat the heat. Holiday get- togethers ,family gatherings, or simple suppers often include cantaloupe or watermelon as a side.  Cool, sweet, and juicy, there is no better way to eat melons than sliced and eaten fresh.  Some like to add a dash of salt.  We love a squeeze of lime juice.

Often, there are a few slices of melon leftover which are fine stored in the refrigerator for a quick, cool snack.  We also like to use melon in smoothies, so I thought I would post a simple recipe for a wonderful summertime breakfast smoothie.

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Melon, Mango, and Mint Smoothie

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 mango, seeded and scooped out

1 cup (or more) seeded watermelon pieces, or substitute any melon

1 sprig of mint, leaves stripped

1 Tablespoon honey

juice of 1/2 lime

Place all ingredients in blender jar and pulse until smooth.  Pour into a pretty glass and garnish with a thin slice of melon.

 

 

 

Root Beer Pulled Pork, Slow Cooked

IMG_0466If you haven’t discovered using your slow cooker for pulled pork, you will be surprised how easy it is to produce this tasty barbecue.  A list of simple ingredients  a crock pot left simmering on the counter, and voila! you have enough tasty barbecue for at least 12 hearty sandwiches. We like to pass a tangy cole slaw to heap on the bun along with the tender shredded pork. ,  https://kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/tangy-cole-slaw/

Root Beer Pulled Pork

2 pounds pork tenderloin

1  12 oz. bottle root beer

1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce

Spray bottom of slow cooker with cooking spray, place tenderloins inside, pour barbecue sauce and root beer over the top.  Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.  When ready to serve, lift pork out and place on platter.  Pull, or shred, with a meat fork. Serve on toasted buns with a spoonful of sauce and top with cole slaw.  Serves 12

This is great to reheat for later.