A couple of weeks ago, Sis Blogging Partner mentioned that she was making a squash casserole for her dinner, which infused me with an immediate longing for one of our mom’s best dishes when we were growing up. Ahhh, mom’s squash casserole. She tells us that it was a Weight Watchers recipe, but in making it over the years I’m pretty sure I’ve taken anything remotely resembling weight watching out of it.
What can I say, I have a talent!
The thing I like best about it, though, is there’s no hint of Cream of Something Soup in it. I can’t help it, the thought of Cream of Something Soup in squash casserole gives me the hibbs. That’s short for hibby jibbies, in case you were wondering. I’ve seen the results of such an unholy union and have never been tempted by it, but, rather mysteriously, find myself at least ten feet away every time without knowing how I got there. I should be clear, I eat Cream of Something Soup in recipes often enough, I just don’t want it in a squash casserole. Now that this is crystal, we can move on to all the yummy-ness.
You start off with a lot of squash. I realized just now that I’ve never measured this hefty bunch up once cut, but then remembered that that’s a 4 quart Pyrex bowl. And I was like keeeep going, Brain! That means you want to have about 16 cups of chopped squash!
Holy crap, that’s a lot of squash. OK, confession time – Sis Blogging Partner and I never measure stuff out for this recipe anymore because we know it by heart. We’re like those TV cooks when making it. A dash here, a pinch there, a truckload or two later. You know. But I personally do use a lot of squash, and it’s usually about 4 friggin’ quarts each time because we’re going to cook it, cook it some more, mash it and then cook it some more.
Poor, poor squash.
After the first two initial cooking times, the squash has begun to look a tad wilted. It’s as it should be.
BUT, while the squash is cooking those first two times, mash ya some Ritz crackers. Now there’s the sign of a true casserole – good ‘ole Ritz crackers. Some similar recipes call for reserving some to put on top. You can certainly do so, but we’ve always just chucked them all into the casserole itself.
Similar recipes for this kind of casserole also usually call for one cup of shredded cheese. You can use cheddar, white cheddar, fancy schmancy cheeses or a combo of two or three different ones. I happen to put in TWO cups of cheese, though. I blame hubby. He really likes cheese, so I started upping it when we got married. So yeah, totally his fault.
The last step to complete while the squash cooks in the microwave a couple of times is to gather the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. You’ll need a quarter cup of soft butter spread such as Country Crock (not melted – and don’t gasp or snicker, it works), a quarter cup of mayo (I use a light mayo…Ok you can snicker at that), dried minced onion (totally optional, which we forgot to put in the ingredients shot, darn it I knew I forgot something), a dash of Worcestershire sauce (we swear on our sacred cooking cauldron it will not taste the same or as good without it), the crushed crackers, two eggs and a little salt and pepper. You’ll also toss in the cheese at this point, but we didn’t want it to cover everything else for this snazzy picture.
After the squash has cooked, you’ll take a few big spoonfuls and dump them in a sturdy colander, which should probably sit in your clean kitchen sink for best results. Using a potato masher, mash the squash until most of the water has been purged from it. A little left is OK. While the squash is still warm, add it to the other ingredients and immediately stir it in to temper the eggs a little.
When you’ve mashed the rest of the squash and added it to the rest of the ingredients, and it looks like this massive, wet gloppy mess, congratulations! You’ve just made casserole magic. Poor it into your greased casserole dish.
Before sending it to its Final Destination Cooking, smooth the top out a little. So it can be all Picture Day perfect.
When it’s all done….it almost looks like you didn’t cook it! We like it cooked, though, until it’s just beginning to pull away from the sides of the dish. You might see some browned spots, too, but it’s not necessary that it be browned all over the top.
OK, so it kind of looks like scrambled eggs in this final shot, but I swear it’s so much more divine! The squash itself takes on a slightly sweet flavor that’s decidedly pleasing with the savoriness of everything else in it. It all infuses together into this almost creamy consistency that is dotted here and there with almost crunchy parts where the casserole met the side of the dish – which happens to be my favorite part of it all. I will purposefully scoop up those extra good parts. This makes a perfect warm weather side because, if you haven’t guessed by now, it’s all done in the microwave. Hope you give it a try and enjoy!
Mom’s Squash Casserole
Lovingly adapted over the years by the Full Fork Ahead Ladies
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: about 40 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 4
- 4 quarts (16 cups) rough-chopped yellow squash
- 2 eggs
- 18-20 Ritz crackers, crushed
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup soft butter spread (we used Country Crock, unmelted)
- 2 cups shredded cheese (we used extra sharp cheddar)
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup dried minced onion (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Spray a microwave-safe casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. (I believe the one I use is 2-3 quarts. It’s not marked.)
After chopping your squash, place in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with wax paper or other such covering and place in microwave. Cook for ten minutes at regular power. Stir well. Cook again at regular power for ten minutes.
While the squash is cooking, place the rest of the ingredients in a separate large bowl. Once the squash has cooked for the second ten minutes, using a colander and a potato masher in your sink or over another bowl, mash about one cup of the hot squash until most of the water is purged from it. Mix this right away and well while still warm into the casserole ingredients in the other bowl. Continue to mash the rest of the hot squash in batches, adding each as you go and mixing well.
Place the casserole in the microwave and cook at 80 percent power for eight minutes. Stir the casserole well after. Put it back in the microwave and cook it again at 80 percent power for another eight minutes. You may need an additional 1-3 minutes of microwaving depending on how powerful your microwave is. The casserole is done when it’s begun to pull away from the side of the dish and has a few browned spots around the edges.
I did cook this a couple of times in the oven, but it’s been years since I did and I can’t accurately recall what the temperature was or for how long it baked. It would probably be a safe bet, though, and going on how other similar items tend to bake, to set your oven for 350 degrees and start checking it after 30 to 40 minutes. You’ll want a nice golden to golden-browned top and it should feel set and firm but also still slightly giving to the touch in the middle. Don’t burn those fingers testing it! A spoon would do.
You can use a combo of yellow and zucchini squash if you prefer. It’s equally as good!
Dried breadcrumbs can be used in place of the crushed crackers, about half a cup.