Butternut Squash Gratin

Butternut Squash Gratin

Butternut Squash Gratin

Butternut squash has got to be just about my favorite winter vegetable.  For the longest time the only way I ever had it was when it had been boiled till tender, then mashed with butter, and served as a puree.   WOW! I didn’t realize how many different and interesting ways there are to prepare it…..and they’re all so good!

We’ve grown to like it best when it’s left in chunks and there is some “chew” left to it.

This recipe is very easy to make.  Don’t let the name of the dish make it seem like a big deal.  All “gratin” means is a baked dish that has a  crumb topping.    So with that in mind let’s get started making this side dish that goes with so many entrees.  We particularly like it with roast chicken or turkey, but it’s also a great accompaniment to baked ham, or meatloaf.

All that’s required for this dish in addition to the squash, is some melted butter, a little garlic, and crumbs made from Panko and Parmesan cheese.  If you prefer to use a different winter squash in place of the butternut, I’m sure it would work out as well, since many of them are interchangeable.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH GRATIN

Yield:   Makes  4 servingsIMG_8608

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch rounds, or crescents
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.   Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Baking dish size needs to be about 8 x 11, or 9 x 13-inches.

2.  Arrange the squash rounds or crescents in rows in the baking dish.

3.  Melt the 4 Tbsp. butter with the minced garlic, in the microwave.

Melt butter with garlic;  mix Panko with cheese for crumbs.

Melt butter with garlic; mix Panko with cheese for crumbs.

4.  Combine the Panko crumbs and the grated Parmesan cheese in a small bowl.  Add 1 Tbsp. melted butter and toss to blend into crumbs.

5.  Brush the remaining butter and garlic mixture on the squash slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6.  Sprinkle the crumbs all over the top of the squash.

Top with the crumb mixture.

Top with the crumb mixture.

7.  Bake at 375*F.  uncovered, for 30 – 40 minutes till tender.  Crumbs should be nice and brown.  If not, run under the broiler for about 5 minutes to brown them up, being careful not to burn them.

Toasty, fragrant crumbs, jazz up this winter squash dish.

Toasty, fragrant crumbs, jazz up this winter squash dish.

 

SOURCE:   Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

Zucchini and Onion Gratin

Zucchini and Onion Gratin

Zucchini and Onion Gratin

I know that later in the summer we will be so overwhelmed by the amount of zucchini that is available, we won’t know what to do with it all, but right now the thought of making a zucchini baked dish with some tender young zucchini, seemed like a good idea to go with my grilled chicken menu.  And later on when all those zucchini show up on my doorstep, I’ll be returning to this recipe again, and again.

IMG_7579

The use of the term gratin in food preparation means that an ingredient is topped with a browned crust that can be made from breadcrumbs, grated cheese, eggs or butter.  A gratin is usually prepared in a shallow dish, then baked or cooked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish, a gratin dish.

This recipe pretty much meets that description.  Using just a few key additives to enhance the rather bland flavor of zucchini, it turns out to be wonderfully flavorful.  Pre-broiling the zucchini helps to get them browned, and sprinkling a small amount of Parmesan cheese on top further forms a browned crisp crust.  You can serve this dish hot, but it’s also great at room temperature.

ZUCCHINI AND ONION GRATIN

Yield:  serves 6    ( Note:  1 serving is about 1 cup and equals 92 calories and 7 gm carbs.)

Ingredients:IMG_7565

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1  1/2 pounds zucchini, diagonally sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

Directions:

1.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add onion; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in tomato paste, cook 2 minutes.   Stir in lemon rind, thyme, 1/8 teaspoon salt and  pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sauté onions and thyme, then add tomato paste and lemon rind.

Sauté onions, then add tomato paste, thyme and lemon rind.

2.  Preheat broiler to high.

3.  Arrange zucchini on a jelly-roll pan.  Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; toss.  Broil 7 minutes or until lightly charred.  Sprinkle with remaining salt.

Lay zucchini slices out on a baking sheet for broiling.

Lay zucchini slices out on a baking sheet for broiling.

4.  Preheat oven to 375*F.

5.  Spread onion mixture in a 2-quart gratin dish.  Arrange zucchini mixture over onion mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover and bake at 375*F. for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Arrange in a baking dish and top with grated cheese.

Arrange in a baking dish and top with grated cheese.

6.  Uncover zucchini mixture; broil 1  1/2 minutes to lightly brown the top if needed.   Note:  I thought mine was adequately browned after baking, so I omitted this step–use your judgement if it’s needed.

IMG_7578

 

SOURCE:   Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

Where’s the Beef—-steak?

Tomato, Squash, and Red Pepper Gratin

In this case the beefsteaks come in the form of juicy ripe tomatoes.  Combined with other fresh garden vegetables, quinoa, and eggs this casserole is a meal in itself.  We are making an effort to go meatless at least one day a week, so when I found  this recipe I decided to try it out.  It turned out to be  so hearty and satisfying all you need add is a green salad.

Quinoa is the new darling of the grain world and if you have not tried it yet this dish “hides” it so well you will not know it’s there.  Quinoa has double the protein and fiber of rice so I felt that I owed it to myself to give it a try.  I must admit I was not overly taken with it when served plain, but when combined with other ingredients it is enjoyable with its nutty flavor.   If you know someone who is a little hesitant to try something new,  this recipe will be a good way to introduce them to quinoa.

TOMATO, SQUASH, AND RED PEPPER GRATIN

SERVES    6

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pound yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil, divided**
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme**
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk ( 2%)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese; Gruyere, Swiss or other good melting cheese.
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into 8 slices

** If fresh basil and thyme are not available you may use the following dried herbs:  1 teaspoon basil and 1/2 teaspoon thyme.

DIRECTIONS

1.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare an 11 x 7 inch glass or ceramic baking dish by coating with cooking spray.

2.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add 4  teaspoons oil; swirl to coat.  Add onion; cook for 3 minutes.  Add bell pepper; cook 2 minutes.

3.  Add squash and garlic; cook 4 minutes.  Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl.

Stir in quinoa, 1/4 cup basil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.

Egg mixture with dried herbs, added.

4.  Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, milk, eggs, and cheese in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add milk mixture to vegetable mixture, stirring until just combined.  Spoon into prepared baking dish.

5.  Place seasoned croutons in a food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form.  Instead of that, I like to put them in a zip-lock bag and pound lightly with a meat mallet to form coarse crumbs.     (no extra dishes to wash!)

Ready for the oven.

6.  Arrange tomatoes evenly over vegetable mixture.  Top evenly with crumbs.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until topping is browned.  Sprinkle with remaining basil before serving.

  

SOURCE:   Cooking Light,  August, 2012