Friday, March 23, 2012

I Want To Be A Vegetarian When I Grow Up Cuz I Love Working With Animals So Much!

Vegetarian Yellow Squash Tomato Bake - an efficient use
of leftover Grilled Veggies
Quick Meatless Yellow Squash and Tomato Bake Hits The Spot

Calling all Southern vegetarians! Heck, you don’t even have to be vegetarian. Or Southern. I won’t tell. And I won’t even ask if you’re Catholic and eating Fluffy Chix’s Yellow Squash and Tomato Bake on a day other than Friday. It’s just that good!

Hey but who knows where the title came from? Write in the comments if you remember that line! (Hint: It was said by a blonde bombshell on tv...)

Remember the 60s and 70s when we still thought parmesan cheese only came in a green can and was pronounced par-meee-seee-an cheese? (Déjà vu, yes, I’ve said that before…more than once – see? You WERE listening!) I was part of the group

Ahhh "the good old days"on Reed Road - during the 60s &70s.
who grew up with mom’s who made
lasagna with cottage cheese. They’d never heard of ricotta. And they sure as shootin’ used the parmesan cheese outta the green can! I think the only wedge they were familiar with was the wedge you found in a shoe from the 40s.

Yellow Squash and Tomato Bake is a throwback to that bygone era when housewives were still wearin’ pearls and dressing up before “Daddy” came home from work. Ahhh those were the days! These days, Denny’s pretty proud of me when I make it out of my pjs before bedtime…um, it’s the cancer and fatigue. Yeah. The post-cancer fatigue…that’s it.

I used some of the squash leftover from grilling. I also used it to make a more complicated veggie lasagna. But that’s another post. Yellow Squash and Tomato Bake is so simple and uses part of the cottage cheese concoction I used in the veggie lasagna. It reminded me so much of the days when Mama or WaWa was doin’ the cookin’ instead of little ol’ me! And I have to confess, I still love cottage cheese in lasagna over ricotta. It’s a texture thang!

Yellow Squash Tomato Bake - baked comfort in a casserole.
 Yellow Squash and Tomato Bake

Yield – 4-6 Servings
Prep Time – 15 Minutes
Cooking Time – 45 Minutes
Difficulty – Easy Peasy

1-1/2c Cottage Cheese (I use 4%)
1/2c Parmesan Cheese
1/3c Pork Rinds, measure after processed to crumbs (about 6-9 pieces)
1 Lemon, zested
¼ Lemon, juiced
1 Clove Garlic, pressed
1/3c Basil, fresh or 1Tbsp dried
1 tsp Oregano, dried
1 tsp Cracked Red Pepper Flakes
½ tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 Eggs, whole
1/2c White Wine, dry (I use Dry Vermouth)
6 med Tomatoes (I use Campari Tomatoes in the off-season)
1-1/2 servings Grilled Yellow Squash Leftovers (about 3 med. Squash, sliced)
2 oz Mozzarella Cheese, grated
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Ground pork rinds, parmesan, and basil hangin' out
in the food processor.
Process pork rinds in bowl of food processor to an even crumb. This is about 6 large or 9 small pork rinds equal to 1 serving on the pork rind bag nutrition panel.

Add the garlic, basil and 1/2c parmesan and pulse to chop basil and combine.

Cottage cheese mixture with eggs fixin' to get
some annointing with the spirits - Dry Vermouth, that is!
Pour mixture into large mixing bowl and add cottage cheese, lemon zest, lemon, spices, eggs and white wine and stir to mix well.

Don’t do this in the food processor because you want to keep the texture of the cottage cheese, cottagey and well, cheesy. You do NOT want smooth,  like ricotta!

Slice tomatoes and grate 2 oz mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese (Or hell, this isn’t high brow – make your life easy and grab a bit o’ the green. Can That is. Par-meeeeee-seeee-an style!)

Assembled Yellow Squash and Tomato Bake waiting
for the oven.
 Assemble in casserole dish – about an 8x8 or an 8 inch oval casserole. Lightly oil bottom and sides of casserole with olive oil. By now you better have gotten rid of every nasty veggie oil in your kitchen or I will call the kitchen kops on you.

Place the cottage cheese mixture in the bottom of the casserole. Arrange tomatoes and squash over the top of the cottage cheese in an alternating pattern that slightly overlaps. I like to lightly salt and pepper the veggies.

Top with mozzarella cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered in a 350° oven for 30-45 minutes or until tomatoes and squash are browned and cheese is melted and golden. Cottage Cheese mixture beneath should be molten hot and bubbly. If it ain’t molten hot baybee, it ain’t happenin’!

Nutritional Information

Nutrition Label – Full Recipe

Nutrition Label – Single Serving

SusieT’s Notes –Dang and double dang! You can guild the lily on this and add a bit of Roasted Marinara Tomato Sauce if ya want, and if you have carbs to spare, but the recipe is perfect as is.

You may be tempted to skip the wine and that’s your prerogative, of course. But why? I mean, Dry Vermouth is available from Martini & Rossi or Noilly & Pratt for cheap – under $10 for a big ol’ bottle. It has a screw cap. Stores for months in your pantry (if it lasts that long) and is a great standby for any recipe that calls for dry white wine. Just be sure you get DRY vermouth. And it’s very low carb too.

Now quickly. While it’s cooking go make a green salad with some blue cheese and walnuts, fix your make-up and hair and for gawd’s sake, change out of your blasted pjs for a change why doncha?

Then call and thank me for this dish. You will. I’ll be waiting. Holding my breath.

You’ll be back. And when you return, don’t forget to +1 me and to leave a comment!


It’s THAT good!


  1. Haha - your reminiscing brings back some memories. This dish looks so tasty! Have a nice day.

  2. Haha! You know, the older I get, the more sentimental I become. Now that so many of our families are gone home, those memories become precious treasures of the good times we shared! Hugs hon!

  3. Many take seriously on how to become a vegetarian because of their love for animals. :)

    1. Anne, I can certainly appreciate that! It's why I do want the animals we consume to have had a healthy and happy life free of stress and confinement. Pasture raising seems a good compromise! Cheers hon! :)

  4. I finally checked out your blog and this looks really good and I look forward to going through old posts. I also posted on my facebook page since I have quite a few friends who are great cooks and might be interested. Not sure how I find friends who are so into cooking when I am pretty lazy about it all:)lauren


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