Cooking: Squash Fest

One of my favorite things about fall is fall produce and the return of one of my favorite CSA programs (they shut down for the summer here in AZ)- we got a TON of squash varieties last weekend so we’ve been brainstorming how to use all of this zucchini, grey squash, and yellow squash. Here’s a small sampling of the recipes we’ve been trying:
img_40261. Ratatouille: OK, this is by no means a new recipe for us. In fact, it is one of our favorite standby recipes and what our crockpot is used for the most in our house. I will admit that we by no means make traditional ratatouille. We use a large variety of bell pepper colors and we omit the eggplant (I have a texture thing with it, same as with mushrooms which is unfortunate because eggplant and mushrooms are big in the world of vegetarian recipe substitutes…) Still, it remains one of my favorite comfort foods. The way all the flavors meld together into a warm perfect harmony… and the bed of hot buttery rice we serve it over is just a wonderful bonus. We have a recipe we use as a jumping off point, but over the years my husband and I have really made this recipe our own and mix it up based on which veggies we have around the house (such as the yellow squash this week). As long as you have a good tomato base to help it all mix together and a good dose of basil it tends to turn out just fine.

img_40402. ZOODLES! OK, I’ve had zuchinni noodles before but didn’t actually own a spiralizer until recently. It’s a great addition to our kitchen and instead of just doing the typical noodles with tomato sauce that I’ve had before, we wanted to try a recipe our song could have too. We tried out this recipe for stir fry zoodles. It was a good start, but it was a bit one note and we definitely craved some improvements. We ended up adding some peanut butter to our son’s bowl after the sauce was a bit too salty for him. While I didn’t prefer the peanut butter addition, my husband and I agreed that next time we’ll be adding carrots and red and orange bell pepper to the mix.

3. Stuffed Grey Squash: This was by far my favorite recipe of the week. It was new, it was a strange but wonderful combo of tastes, and it is definitely going in our recipes to repeat. The only downside is it is pretty time intensive so it would definitely not become a weeknight dinner. I don’t think the ingredients img_4042would freeze well either so not super convenient to make ahead of time. It was, however, worth it for us to make a double batch and eat extras for leftovers. The quinoa adds some great protein to the dish and while I usually am not a fan of cottage cheese (again, texture issues…), the mix of all the ingredients together plus melting it a bit in the oven made it palatable and a great flavor addition for me! I’m interested to see how the leftovers reheat, but my husband liked the recipe so much he’s forgoing his free lunch provided by his work just to have leftovers instead!

All of these would be pretty easy to convert to vegan recipes instead of vegetarian. Although I’m wondering what the best side dishes are to go with these meals when the main course is already so veggie heavy?

We’re now in the process of shredding and freezing most of our leftovers to make even more squash centered recipes in the weeks to come so odds are good there will eventually be a Squash Fest II post- but until then I’d just like to give a shout of thankfulness for our food processor, without which we would have a lot of produce on our hands going bad.

img_4045

YUM! Who’d have thought Italian and Mexican flavors could come together so well?!

Do you have any favorite zucchini or yellow squash recipes? Any other squash varieties that hold a place of honor in your kitchen? I’m hoping in the next month we’ll get some butternut squash in our CSA and can make some yummy roasted squash dishes to mix with risotto, or else make a nice soup as the days get colder!

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