Friday, August 13, 2010

Dusted off the crock pot - squash casserole

Friday morning I awoke bleary-eyed and late. I had neglected to set my alarm the night before. I also had a 9am meeting. Not a good day to get up late.

Furthermore, I had slow cooking aspirations for that day (well the day before I did not so much at 7:30). I had been browsing around the archives of A Year of Slow Cooking to see what gem I could pluck from Stephanie's blog. Since any recipe I've tried from somewhere else have all failed, ok there were only a few attempts but still.

I dusted off my crock pot - literally, it sits out on my counter and it's been so long since I used it, I had to wash it off first. And I began chopping squash to make a kind of crock pot casserole. Did I have time for this? No. I looked at the clock when almost done and had to toss in the rest of the ingredients and run out the door, puffy eyed and makeup-less for work (this was after I got bits of frozen spinach all over my kitchen). So beware, if you're doing this in the morning, it will take 20 minutes of prep-time!

Cheesy Squash Casserole (inspired by no-noodle lasagna)
2-3 yellow squash
15 oz (small container) of ricotta cheese
??? oz jar of pasta sauce
1.5 cups Shredded Italian blend cheese
4 slices provolone cheese
2 cups froze spinach, thawed
Italian seasoning

I had intended to mix an egg and the seasoning in with the ricotta, which I do when I make lasagna but when I took the eggs, I've been meaning to use (for a while...) out of the fridge the sell by date was July 31st (and I did not have time).

Layer the ingredients in your crock pot (mine is 5 quarts), starting with sauce on the bottom, squash, ricotta (I smeared this on the squash before I put it in), sprinkle of spinach, seasoning, cheese slice and shredded cheese, until you reach the top or run out of ingredients. Rinse the pasta sauce jar with a small amount of water and pour it in before the final topping of shredded cheese.

See why this took 20 minutes? Well, really I should have thawed my spinach and chopped the squash the night before.

So was my mad dash out of the apartment worth it when dinner time rolled around? It's lovely to walk into the house to dinner. However, do NOT make this if you will not be home in eight hours. By the time my commute time was factored in it was cooking for close to ten hours...not good. I ate it for dinner and it was ok, I think it would be better if it hadn't cooked so long. Also, next time I need to check my eggs. Mixing it with the ricotta help it to have a less chunky texture, it just cooks much nicer. I ended up eating it for dinner that night but when I went to reheat some of it, it was not good and I threw the rest away. The added cooking from reheating was just too much. Finally, I think fresh spinach would be the way to go, might have been worth a trip to the store.

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