Out of ALL the TaylorMade Market Daily Special dishes we made in the cafe, Baked Cheesy Squash Casserole was always the first to go. I had customers that would call just to see if it was available and ask to hold a side for them. I know I will probably receive some hate mail after some of you read the ingredients in this recipe. Butter, Cheese, Half & Half. MOST of the dishes I created at TaylorMade Market were healthy.. But Not all!! I mean, how can you make Vanilla Croissant Bread Pudding healthy??? I did however give you 2 variations for this dish. One is MUCH healthier and almost guilt free, the other…not so much.
You will have to choose between The TaylorMade Comfort Food recipe or the healthier version.
Let me give you a little background on my personal experience with squash. I was 13yrs old, my mother made squash for dinner, I refused to eat it. The texture was mush, the smell literally made me want to vomit and I was a hard headed teenager that didn’t want to eat it. My father was tired of my attitude and served me up a nice portion and said “Do NOT get up from this table until you have eaten this.” I sat there for 4 hours. I tried everything, holding my nose, making it into to some sort of sandwich. Any mouthful I managed to swallow came right back up. Long story short, I got a spanking and didn’t eat squash for 15 YEARS after that. That is correct, – 15yrs!!! . Until one summer day I was at the farmers market and saw these gorgeous squash & zucchini a farmer had just picked that morning, they were so beautiful. I wanted to buy this bright yellow gorgeous vegetable, but I hated squash. Yet I couldn’t resist. I brought it home and added it to my other fresh vegetables on the counter. Everytime I walked past that squash I thought “What the heck am I going to do with you?” I was determined to make something edible with this dreaded vegetable. The one thing I hated about my moms squash was the texture. It was cooked to mush – like baby food with squash seeds.. YUCK! (sorrry mom)
I sauteed the squash JUST until it starts to become tender added cheddar cheese and some other ingredients and Viola! Cheesy Squash Casserole. YUM! DELICIOUS! I can’t believe I LOVE squash.. I called my mother immediately and told her what I was eating and said “Mom, If only you had made it taste this good I wouldn’t have boycotted it for 15 years.” Now she only uses my recipe.
I loved it sooo much I wanted my kids to love it and As long as I make it this way – they do! My nephew who is an anti-vegetarian food detective will make sure you didn’t sneak any vegetables into his meal. This kid will dissect any bake, casserole, lasagna, sandwich, etc. He loves this dish but ONLY because he doesn’t think there are any veggies in it – I made a slight variation to make the veggies virtually undetectable and renamed it “baked cheesy casserole”. If your children are this way, I recommend the following method. Shred the squash & the onion. (with a box grater or with a food processor) Instead of diced squash as the recipe states below. Then Sauté and strain (you will end up with excess water doing it this way) and prepare the TaylorMade Market version below.
Whenever I have an abundance of squash, I always make a double batch of the recipe. I bake one casserole and freeze the other for a lazy day.
Things I learned from this experience:
Always try things, even if you didn’t like it before, you may like it later on in life.
Don’t make your children eat something they don’t like – I NEVER force my kids to eat – “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it. But you must try it. “We call it a “no-thank you” bite