To most people, me included, “Summer Squash” usually refers to two vegetables: yellow (summer) squash and zucchini. I’ve always wondered why zucchini got awarded a sexy name, while yellow squash just got…well, yellow squash. Which leads to my next question “What exactly IS summer squash?” According to Google, “Summer squash is a squash that is eaten before the seeds and rind have hardened. Unlike winter squash, summer squash does not keep well.”
Ok, so it’s maybe not the most scientific explanation, but it not only answers my question, it also makes summer squash the perfect centerpiece for my Recipe Redux challenge this month, which is:
Fantastic Freezer Meals: Share your tips and tricks for making one – or more freezer meals. It’s the end of the gardening season for some of us; let’s store away that produce in heat-and-eat-from-the-freezer-meals. Show how convenient healthy freezer breakfast, lunches or dinners can be!
It is definitely the end of the gardening season for my parents whose summer squash bounty is pictured above. Contemplating how to enjoy all that squash (since we know that it doesn’t keep well) my mom and I embarked upon a “Summer Squash Boat” voyage of sorts. The main difference in our preparations is that my mom made a meatloaf type mixture (consisting of lean ground beef, onions and spices), then stuffed the raw mixture in the hollowed out squash and froze them. I first sauteed the onions, garlic and turkey sausage, then stuffed the cooked mixture into the squash and froze them. Either way, when you pull the boats out of the freezer a few weeks or even a few months from now, you’re less than an hour away from a delicious, nutritious (dare I say effortless?) meal full of what you thought you were going to have to throw away when it “went bad.”
Trim the ends of the squash and scoop out seeds and flesh with a spoon.
Be sure that you freeze the boats in an airtight container to avoid freezer burn. Lay the squash halves flat in plastic wrap or wax paper, cover the top and seal. Slide the package into a Ziplock bag, squeeze out the excess air before sealing, then freeze.
You may have seen squash boat recipes that call for cooking or steaming the squash prior to filling them. You can omit this step when freezing them first because during the post-freezing and thawing process, everything is being reheated which gives the squash ample time to cook and soften.
Throw these in the oven, whip up a green salad and dinner is done. Unfortunately, you can’t bottle summer, but you can freeze some of its greatness to enjoy later!
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium yellow squash
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 pound spicy (or sweet) turkey sausage
- 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan or Romano cheese (plus additional for serving)
- 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Trim ends of yellow squash and cut each length wise.
- Scoop seeds and flesh out with spoon, leaving a shell approximately 1/4 inch thick.
- Finely chop scooped out flesh and seeds to measure approximately 1/3 cup. Discard remaining flesh and seeds.
- Heat Olive oil in a sautee pan on medium heat.
- Add onion and cook until softened, 1 - 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more.
- Add turkey sausage, stirring and breaking apart, cooking until crumbly and well combined 5 - 7 minutes.
- Add reserved squash flesh, stir until well-combined and warmed.
- Add tomato halves, stirring until combined and warmed, but before tomatoes begin to lose their shape.
- Add salt and pepper to mixture to taste.
- Place squash halves on a cutting board or baking sheet. Fill each half with turkey sausage mixture.
- Gently place each half in a gallon size Ziplock bag removing as much air as possible, seal and freeze.
- To Reheat: Remove bag from freezer and thaw 8 hours or overnight in refrigerator.
- Remove each squash half and place on baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake 45-55 minutes or until heated through and squash has softened.
- Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese and garnish with chopped parsley.
- (Suggestion: Serve with a green salad)