Squash Casserole

Happy Halloween!! My husband and I usually have a party around this time every year, but we took the year off this year. That means a little downtime (yay!), and regular menu. We’re both on diets, which is fantastic going into the holidays, so no treats tonight. It’s fall-ish (I have the air conditioner running and I’m wearing shorts today), and I’m angling for gluten free, low carb, fall food. So I’ve settled on squash.

I’ve talked about my husband in prior posts. As a refresher, he’s awesome. I’ve told him more than once that our marriage was a better deal for me than it was for him. He always disagrees. That’s one of the things that makes him awesome. When it comes to cooking, like pretty much everything else about our marriage, he’s almost painfully easy to please. He’ll eat almost anything. In fact, when we got married, he told me the only things on the “no” list were tofu and squash. One of his step-daughters liked tofu. He said his step-daughter found some tofu in the refrigerator once that was missing a single bite, and she became irate. “Who would take a one bite out of my tofu and put it back?” My husband’s response: “Someone who didn’t have enough sense to not eat it in the first place.”

Knowing that about him, I’ve never tried to make anything with tofu. I’ve never eaten it myself, but I figure if my husband won’t eat it, it must be pretty awful. This is the man who considers unusual food to be a challenge. We saw avocado popsicles at Steel City Pops in Birmingham, and he just had to try them (they were actually really good). The beer milkshake? Must have it. Donut hamburger? Bring it on. But he draws the line at tofu. Therefore, so do I.

Squash, though…

I love fruit, but I’ve never been much of a vegetable person. I’ll eat them, but other than onions, I have to work at it to enjoy them. Still, my sister-in-law made some squash one time that smelled so heavenly that I had to try it. It tasted every bit as good as it smelled.  That was many years ago, before my husband came back into my life. And now that he’s eating low carb, that means meat and non-starchy vegetables. The list of non-starchy vegetables I really like is short--brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and maybe a salad here and there (my favorite involves spinach, feta cheese, strawberries and infused balsamic vinegar). That puts everything in short rotation, and we get tired of it pretty fast.

I remembered my sister-in-law’s squash and decided to give it a go. She’s not much of a cook, so I figured if she could make it taste good, I could probably make something my husband would eat. A smarter, more patient woman than me would simply text her sister-in-law. My sister-in-law is like a real sister to me, so we chat fairly often. However, she’s a terribly busy woman who designs websites in the seven-figure range. And she has a small child. Yeah, sometimes my texts go unanswered for a few days.

Instead, I tried to remember something about her dish and then typed those search terms into my search engine. This is what it spit out. I knew by looking at it this was going to be a hit. My husband loved it (ta-da!!!) and so did my step-son. So did I. My step-daughter is a picky eater, so I didn’t expect much there. Three out of four ain’t bad, right?

Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole

6 cups sliced squash

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

Salt, to taste

1 cup chicken broth

1 garlic clove, minced

3/4 cup shredded cheddar

 

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash and saute until lightly browned. Place squash in casserole dish. Add diced onion and butter to skillet and cook till onion is clear. Add garlic and cook another minute, then add contents of skillet to casserole dish. Add chicken broth to casserole dish and top with shredded cheddar. Cook in oven on 350 until hot and cheese is melted.

Greek Meatballs

The family just got back from a vacation to Cozumel. Woohoo! Ten of us hopped on a cruise ship and set sail for territory that's hotter than it is here. The water's a lot prettier, though. A lot.

My family is pretty close, and we have a lot of fun together. I mentioned in a post last June that I took a cross-country trip with my youngest brother and his family. I usually spend at least two weeks a year with them.

My husband doesn't get away much (he works too hard!), but I can usually talk him into a getaway at least once a year. I take my two daughters to Disney once or twice a year. And my mom has tagged along with me on most of my European trips. But everyone in one place? That doesn't happen but once every four or five years.

So anyway, the worst part about a vacation is readjusting to life back home. You're tired. You have (substantially) less money than when you left. The work has piled up while you were gone.

Yeah, I know. Boo hoo, right? I get it.

On the bright side, I don't know of two dogs who have ever been happier to see a person than my dogs were when I got back. I actually spent half of my vacation feeling guilty for leaving the pups at home. Bear got to stay with my husband's stepdaughter, which meant kids to play with and car rides. Milo, on the other hand, spent the week alone in the kennel getting neutered.

Ouch.

Still, when I walked through the door, they were equally happy to see me. Milo got so excited he pelted me under the chin with his head. I was delighted to be home.

It's doesn't get any better than that.

Of course, we got home at noon, and routine took over quickly. So I owed the family a dinner, and we'd been eating out for a week. I texted my daughter and got her favorite meatball recipe, then matched it with some homemade dill sauce.

Greek Meatballs

Greek Meatballs

1.3 lbs. of ground beef

1 egg

1 lemon, zest only

1/4 c. fresh parsley, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. allspice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend well. Divide into equally sized balls (about 1.5 inches in diameter). Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until done.