Squash The Dishes

IMG_3494.JPG

Less dishes and more yumminess! Where do I sign up? I hate washing dishes. I would rather scrub a toilet or scoop animal poo than do dishes. I think cookbooks should come with a warning label: Cooking causes dirty dishes and most likely dishpan hands.

So when I discovered the abundance of summer squash and it’s multiple uses during my time volunteering at Crabtree Farms, I was hooked on this gluten free food bowl recipe. The process is so simple that any novice cook can concoct a masterpiece with ease and this recipe is even great for the not so desirable, past prime product which increases it shelflife. 

More familiar with zucchini and straightneck yellow squash, I was intrigued with the less popular Sunburst squash aka Pattypan. This recipe can be used with any squash, including winter varieties, and what you stuff it with is limitless--veggies, cheese, meats, you name it!

Simply wash, carve the vegetable and scoop out it’s innards removing all the seeds. You can get a bit creative too with the carving like having a zig zag design at the rim or even going as far as a jack-o-lantern-esque facade on the side depending on the size of squash and the occasion. 

This time I chose two vegetarian recipes as I have done stuffed peppers with ground turkey and zucchini boats using smoked chicken. Also, trying to stay focused on lighter eating during higher temperatures, the spinach stuffing and salsa provide a satisfying and low calorie meal.

You have the option to bake it all (the squash filled with deliciousness) but I prefer to bake the squash to get it nice and soft while I prepare the fixings. Bake the squash at 350 for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender. 

Pico De Gallo filling:

  • Diced tomatoes and diced green peppers (I like using Valencia tomatoes or yellow peppers for an even more colorful dish)

  • One diced white onion

  • Cilantro to taste

  • One lime

  • Crushed red pepper

  • Chili powder

  • Cumin

I love making Pico De Gallo for several reasons--It’s healthy, versatile, easy to make and there is no measuring as you may use as little or much of any the ingredients as you like. I am not a fan of heat so I don’t use a lot of crushed red pepper or chili powder. I also like less onion and more green pepper but to each his own so experiment. There are also two types of people in this world-those who love Cilantro and those who don’t. I love it and use a heaping bundle. Dice all the vegetables and season to taste. Squeeze juice from one lime and mix thoroughly. Fill the pattypan, top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese and place back in oven for 15-20 minutes. 

Spinach Stuffing:

  • Box (or bag) of Stuffing mix

  • Large bag of spinach

  • Bag of shredded mozzarella

Sautee spinach until juicy then do not drain! Use the water generated by the spinach to soften the stuffing. Add the stuffing to the spinach and add more water (and butter) if need be. Add the cheese gradually while stirring allowing all the ingredients to mesh together. Fill the pattypan and place back in the oven for 15-20 minutes.