Friday, August 20, 2010

Squash and Onions Southern Style

Those who are regular readers here know that I recently made the BIG move to Georgia. Prior to the move I had  been living with my sis for 10 years and she had made the decision to stay in Florida. What does all this mean? Well, we had to undertake the task of dividing up our belongings. Most things were easy, but when it came to the kitchen things got messy. Most everything in the kitchen belonged to me since I'm the one who LOVES to cook, but she had gotten rid of her things to make room for mine. This meant that I had to play fair and give up some of my stuff and believe me when I tell you — I have a LOT of stuff. I won't bore you with all the details, it actually went pretty smoothly and we each walked away happy. One thing she ended up with was the pasta pot. This was my idea and I had no qualms about the matter, BUT once I got settled in I discovered that the HUGE pasta pot I had was far to BIG  and I LOVE pasta! I mean my pot was the size you use when you're cookin' for a crowd. Like when ten of your family members show up for Sunday supper.

I've been on the hunt for one since I moved here, but nothing caught my eye, so when CSN Stores ask me if I would like to do a product review, I knew exactly what I would search for. I choose the Circulon Contempo 5.5 Quart Covered Straining Casserole.

I love CSN Stores, as I know many of you do. They've sponsored two giveaways here at The Hut and many others around our blogging community. I was also the lucky recipient of a set of Pfaltzgraff dishes from Cindy's CSN giveaway at Applestone Cottage. All three packages I've received from this company have come as scheduled and packaged perfectly. I can understand why they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, they've got this whole online buying thing down!

Anyway, I've had my pot for about two weeks now and it has become the favorite pot in my kitchen. Of course, it is perfect for boiling pasta or potatoes and the straining lid makes this task so easy. Each side of the lid has holes for draining, one side for larger foods and the other for smaller foods. Now, I've always used a colander for this task, but I can honestly tell you that is a thing of the past here at The Hut! What I really love about being able to drain right from this pot is that the lid locks on securely. This means I can shake the dickens out of it and get out more water than I ever could with my colander. The boiling water can no longer stay hidden in my penne or in my ziti. I can turn it this pot every which way to make sure my shells (the pasta kind, not the ones I pick up on the beach) are dry as can be. This improves the overall quality of my finished dish, no more water-downed sauce or soggy potato salad!

Now you'd think that would be all I could say about this pot, but because I have limited space in my new kitchen, I like things to be versatile, so I further tested this pot with a few of my favorite recipes. I used it to make ribs and rice; a dish where the rice normally sticks to the bottom. Not so with this pot! Not only did the rice not stick, it took far less watching and stirring. This tells me that the pot cooks nice and evenly with no hot spots to scorch my dinner. Oh yeah, I'm loving this pot!

I also used it to make squash and onions, a dish I've made in a cast-iron skillet all my life and a dish that takes constant watching. I was afraid the vents in the lid would let all the juices evaporate and I would have to add more, but it didn't. The result was moist, delicious and the clean-up a breeze. While I'm on the subject of cast-iron I want to share something with you. I love my cast iron pots and skillets, but when I moved to Florida there was no natural gas in my area and the same thing holds true here. I don't know about you, but I don't love cooking with cast iron on electric stoves, it just doesn't yield the same results. I have a glass-top stove and my oven is convection, which I love, but I stopped making my cornbread in a cast-iron skillet because the crust never turned out crusty. I starting making my squash and onions in a regular skillet and while it was good, it was never as good as when I used cast-iron. Well, I don't know what it is about this pot, but I love, love, LOVE how my recipe turned out!

Since it is oven-proof to 400 degrees, I also wanted to try baking in it, so I made a casserole complete with lots of cheese. I hate washing glass casserole dishes, something always sticks and there is lots of soaking and scrubbing involved, ugh! Again, this pot cleaned up in a flash. I highly recommend this product for yourself and as a perfect wedding gift.

Now you didn't think I'd let Friday go by without sharing a recipe did you? This one is easy and falls under the comfort food category. I grew up eating this as made by my Southern mother. She cooked it in bacon grease, as did any self-respecting Southern cook did in those days and it was soooo good, but I don't eat bacon any more, so there is no grease can sittin' around. This dish does call for fat though, I've tried making it with spray oil, but honey, it is no where near the same. I use butter, yep I do, I admit it, sometimes a gal just needs fat and this is one of the few dishes I cook with lots of fat.

Squash and Onions

6 yella (crookneck) squash, sliced medium
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced into rings
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

    Melt butter in a large skillet or pot. Add squash and onion in layers, sprinkling with salt and pepper as you go. I use Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Salt. I love all of his seasonings and this one is a great blend for everyday use.
    Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. The squash will start to become tender, so stir gently, but if it starts to break up a bit that's just fine. You want the squash to be nice and tender. This takes about 20 minutes. Serve it up with baked chicken, grilled fish or a nice pork loin. Honey, your taste buds will do the happy dance and any stress you're feeling will just melt away.

      Tip: Now if you like things a bit on the spicy side you can add in a small can of diced chiles.

      How's this for a little down-home cookin'?

      Baked chicken and sweet potato, sliced 'maters with 1000 Island
      and today's recipe — Squash and Onions. Enjoy!

      That's if for today, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and remember to tell those close to you that you love 'em.

      Be sure to stop by Michael's over at Designs By Gollum for more Foodie Friday recipes.

      21 Thoughtful Comments:

      The Florida Blogger said...

      Are you sure you weren't just reading my mind. I was think about planting squash this fall and partaking in some squash and onion goodness. Can't wait!

      The Fajdich Times said...

      I like your pick. The covered straining casserole looks great! Your squash and onions dish looks very yummy?)

      Anonymous said...

      Hi hut! How are you all today!? I knew before even reading your post, this was going to make me hungry... and I was right! Looks like a great dish!

      Happy weekend friend!

      The Decorative Dreamer said...

      Now that looks delicious! So glad to hear you are enjoying your new pot. Those CSN folks are wonderful aren't they. I would be devastated without a pasta pot. haha! Thanks for your sweet comments today I so appreciate it. I also really appreciate the info on the dishes. That's excellent to know and really helps alot. Thanks! Have a great weekend!

      Loui♥ said...

      are you SURE we aren't sisters?
      I've made this very same dish since I first started cooking at age 12..
      this is the ONLY way I eat squash!!
      (always cooked in the cast iron pan)
      occasionally tho, I sprinkle tarragon into the mix!
      happy weekend!!
      warm sandy hugs..

      Blondie's Journal said...

      This looks delicious, Rhonda!!


      Linda @ A La Carte said...

      The food looks awesome and I do love some squash and onions! I live in Georgia now so I know what you mean about the grease! Love this pot and I'm checking it out now!!

      Kristen said...

      I do love CSN stores!! Amazing, aren't they??

      This is one recipe I could not eat-I can't eat onions. Which totally sucks. But I was diagnosed a few years ago with a weird intestinal disease and one of my "trigger foods" that makes it flare up is onions. BOO... because I actually love them.

      Happy weekend to you my friend!

      Drawn to The Sea said...

      Very close to the way I make mine, Rhonda. No bacon here now either, so I use a tiny bit of EVOO to fry my squash & onions, sprinkling sea salt, pepper & sugar. I don't cover, just keep flipping a little water into it with my fingers. When it's lightly browned, & the sugar's just starting seem a little sticky... ready! Always make extra for breakfast :-))

      Kaybe said...

      I love squash with onions too. If you keep up the down-home cooking you're gonna have to change the name of your blog to Bubba's Tiki Hut. (LOL) Remember Lulu Belle's Restaurant & Chainsaw Repair!! hahahaha

      Magdalena said...

      Hi Miss Shellbelle
      Love your blog
      Te he he
      I don't have a google accunt so i'm gonna use my mom's

      CHERI said...

      Now, Honey, that's some good southern cookin'! I may have to get me one of those pots! Maybe I'll win a CSN giveaway soon.

      Terri Smith said...

      Aaah..For sure I won't be able to sleep tonight thinking about this delicious meal. I adore fresh squash and onions! First thing in the morning I'll be heading to the grocery to select a few to prepare with Sunday Dinner. cornbread..maybe some snap peas cooked slow all day with bacon drippings. Girlllll...

      Hugs Of Georgia Sunshine,

      Fifi Flowers said...

      oooooh yummmmmmy!

      Sahildeki Ev said...

      Yummy and healty..and a very nice pasta pot

      Sue said...

      I almost missed this one! This is one nice pasta pot. I have a cheap one, it works but it isn't pretty like this one is. It can't do all those tricks like go into the oven. This was a great review. I love CSN stuff...I've done a couple giveaways and they have been really great to work with.

      Giveaway at my place!

      ~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

      Yummy, this must have been a very delicious meal!!
      Have a happy week. xx

      Magdalena said...

      Hi Shellbelle, I saw my profile picture up above in the comments and I see my sweet Oliver stopped by the hut to say hi to you LOL, he is 5 going on 45!!

      Well now I know what to make with all the squash I have in my garden. Sounds and looks healthy and delicious. I also love that pot, you do fantastic reviews and you chose great things to review which is helpful to all of us. I know my oldest son Sam is also visiting your hut these days and loving all your camera posts etc. , now I need to get my 13 year old son Teddy to come over and visit you. He is at the age where is just too cool for everything these days. He just got braces on today, I can't believe how fast my boys are growing up.

      Wishing you days filled with laughter and lots of sunshine my sweet friend.

      jmac said...

      I WANT THAT POT!!! oh, wait..that sounds kinda wrong! Heheh. Seriously, I love that pot. As soon as things calm down around here, I'm goin' shopping for that pot! Are you just loving having those vidalia onions so close at hand??!!!

      Julie@beingRUBY said...

      How fabulous!!! I really want to start making more casseroles.. and this looks perfect for it... Unfortunately I can't have the pasta for the moment.. but I do love my pasta too!!!

      Sorry i nearly missed this post!! I've been meaning to email you. and hopefully will do that this weekend.. Have a great one Rhonda... been thinking about you!!! xxx Julie

      Jenny said...

      What a clever pot!

      This recipes looks delicious. I just planted squash plants and onion seeds in my garden today.

      Next time I win a CSN giveaway, I think I'm going to go for this. It looks like it would make life really simple.

      I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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