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Carola Lillie Hartley

I love to cook, always have. My experiences in the kitchen started when my grandmother taught me how to prepare food.  I was nine years old at that time, and I have been cooking ever since. Grandma was a fabulous cook. She wasn’t a trained chef, but what she prepared was better than anything I’ve eaten anywhere. So, in honor of grandma, today I share one of my favorite casserole recipes.

I think it is safe to say that our place of birth, our culture, our heritage and our experiences all have an influence on the food we eat and the way we prepare that food. What I want to highlight in this column is the way we combine heritage with food. I call that heritage cooking. I am inviting all of you to share your heritage recipes, or just some other favorite one with us at St. Landry Then and Now.

Today I share this recipe for YELLOW SQUASH CASSEROLE that I received many years ago from a good friend. It’s not a hard dish to make, and it is so delicious. Once you make this casserole you will want to serve it again, and again. It will be a family favorite and a recipe to keep and share.

But before we begin, lets discuss the origins of squash. The vegetable is a native of the Americas and has been around for centuries, long before the first Europeans arrived. Remains of the plant have been found in Central America and Mexico dating back as far as 7000 BC.  The name squash is apparently derived from one of the Native languages. From its southern origin, squash spread throughout North America, and even found its way to Europe when the early explorers returned home.

For this recipe, I used yellow squash. But there are other varieties that you could use as well. Here is how it is done.

1.  Slice or cut into chunks about one and one-half (1½) lbs. of yellow squash. Cover squash with water and boil until tender with one (1) chicken bouillon cube (do not overcook). Drain well.

2.  In a separate bowl mix the following together: three-fourth (¾) to one-cup (1) of sour cream and one (1) can cream of mushroom soup.

3.  Add one (1) medium carrot, or about three to four (3-4) small carrots, grated; one (1) small onion, chopped fine; one (1) clove garlic, minced; about one-half (½) bell pepper, chopped fine; and about one-half (½) jalapeño pepper, chopped fine.

4. Mix and add drained squash, a little at a time. Season as desired (I use Cajun or Creole seasoning, off course.) Mix well and put into casserole dish. Top with one and one-half (1½) cups seasoned Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix. Pour three-forth (¾) stick melted butter over entire top.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour. In some ovens it may take a little longer. Just make sure squash is completely cooked, and top is browned.  Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Although squash is considered a summer vegetable, you can find it most any time of the year. This dish is especially great during the holiday season, and goes well with almost any meal. I guarantee your family will love this casserole. Enjoy!

If you have an original heritage recipe or one of your other favorite recipes, please share it with us at Carola@StLandryThenAndNow.com  And, keep on cooking!