JUST PLAIN ROSANNA
By Rosanna Bauman
In our rural part of Kansas , no one locks their cars in town, and few bother to lock their doors at night. I once left my car parked in an empty parking lot in town over the weekend and didn’t lock the car, nor pull the keys from the ignition. Being the ditzy blonde that I am, I also neglected to remove my purse from the passenger seat. Thankfully, nothing was harmed or missing but I haven’t repeated the experiment! Around here the joke is that the only time folks will lock their car doors at church is when they already have enough zucchini. Those squash are still bearing well in our area and by this time of year everyone is growing wearing of the classic ways of serving them. Sauteed or steamed, we often eat the fresh zucchini and squash cover with grated cheese. Even though we eat a giant pan full of squash we still can’t serve it every meal. And when those zucchini are coming on strong, you just about need to serve it once a day. Those tender little zucchini are great for frying or steaming, but what do you do with those monsters that have hid under the leaves until they reach two pounds? Our answer for giant, seedy, or tough zucchini is to shred them. This shredded zucchini is very versatile. It freezes nicely and you sneak that shredded stuff into just about any dessert: meatloaf, eggs, and even dessert!
For some reason green zucchini is more disliked by youngsters than the yellow squash. Perhaps it is because green is so representative of the”healthy” foods (spinach, broccoli) and yellow is reminiscent of sweeter fruits (banana, pear). My Grandpa Nead never overcame his childhood dislike for zucchini, so my Grandma delighted in finding ways to sneak zucchini into dishes. She got a lot of amusement out of watching him go for second helpings of a dish with zucchini hidden in it. This was usually accomplished by peeling the tell-tale green skin before incorporating the squash into a recipe.
Our family’s absolute favorite way to enjoy zucchini is in a zucchini casserole. We make it in a 9 X 13 dish and there is rarely anything leftover. We serve it with ground beef as our main dish, but if one omits the meat, it becomes a nice side dish. We all like it so well that Mom leaves the skin on when she shreds the zucchini because it adds attractive green flakes to the casserole color. However when my Grandma Nead served it to my grandpa she had to peel the zucchini and rename the dish using a non-descript and harmless moniker: hamburger casserole.
To his dying day he enjoyed the casserole heartily and no one ever had the courage to tell him he was eating zucchini.
- 3 cups shredded zucchini (peeling is optional)
- 1 pound ground beef, fried
- 1 1 /2 cups cracker crumbs
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 /2 teaspoon salt
- 1 /2 cup butter, melted
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Combine ingredients thoroughly and then pour into a greased two quart casserole.
- Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes.
- If desired, additional cheese can be sprinkled on top after it is finished baking.
- Test for doneness just like custard,there should be no wiggle in the middle.
I will share the recipe. We usually double it and there are still not any leftovers!