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Recipe: If you haven’t had the South’s most comforting casserole, now is the time | Food

Recipe: If you haven't had the South's most comforting casserole, now is the time |  Food

This is part of The Post and Courier’s Monday Meal Prep series, a monthly column about accessible weeknight recipes.

Techniques for saving time in the kitchen are crucial to successful, enjoyable weeknight cooking, and if you’ve been through a lot of cooking practice, you probably have an apron pocket full of them. Rest assured, however, that talented culinary experts like Rebecca Lang will learn even more from the busy cook.

From her book “Everyone come by”, you will learn how to cook green beans without boiling a large pot of water first — a very handy technique to have in the kitchen during the sultry summers of the South.

Her squash casserole saves time and temperature by using the simple sheet pan cooking method we featured last month: roasting food on a griddle instead of standing over a hot stove. As you learn more about its capabilities, you will use it more and more. New potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and okra are good candidates for this easy oven roast, as are, unsurprisingly, drupes like peaches and plums.

Lemon shallot green beans

Green beans are often featured on Southern menus in the form of heavy stews. This easier preparation brightens up the flavors on the table and is a lot faster to make. Using a small amount of water to steam the beans saves cooking and draining. To make ahead, cook the beans the day before and toss them in the pan a few minutes ahead of time. If using lemon zest as a garnish, remove it from the lemon before squeezing it.

Serves 8

2 pounds fresh haricots verts (small green beans), trimmed or regular green beans, halved lengthwise

⅔ cup water

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 shallots, chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon table salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Garnish: strips of lemon zest, fresh basil leaves.

Recipe: 2 accessible weekday recipes that use pantry pillars

Combine the beans and water in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover. Boil for 6 minutes. Uncover and cook until all the water has evaporated, about 3 more minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic and shallots in the hot oil for 2 minutes or until just golden brown; take off the fire. Stir in basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the green beans and toss. Garnish if desired.

squash casserole

If you haven’t had the South’s most comforting stews, now’s your time. Squash stews can be dressed up with everything from pretzels to fried onions to homemade breadcrumbs. My go-to recipe is my childhood version: a cheesy Southern classic topped with Ritz crackers. It would be a shame to skip the crackers and butter on top. You can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 12 hours, then let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. Add the crackers just before going into the oven.

Serves 8

3 pounds yellow squash, sliced ​​inch-thick

1 sweet onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ teaspoon table salt, divided

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (one cup)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup mayonnaise

20 round buttery crackers, such as Ritz, crushed (about ¾ cup)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Arrange the squash and onion on a rimmed baking sheet. The vegetables will not lie in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook for 35 minutes, or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork. The pumpkin will not brown. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Mix the cheese, egg, mayonnaise and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the squash and onions from the baking sheet to the mixing bowl, discarding any liquid that remains on the baking sheet. Stir gently to combine. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11-by-7-inch baking dish.

Stir together the crushed crackers and the melted butter; sprinkle them evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

©Y’all Come Over: Charm Your Guests with New Recipes, Heritage Treasures, and True Southern Hospitality by Rebecca Lang, Rizzoli New York, 2021. $45.00. www.rizzoliusa.com

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