Monday, November 18, 2013

Improving on an Alton Brown Recipe.

Now I enjoy watching Alton Brown's show, "Good Eats", on Food Network, and, most recently, the Cooking Channel during its free preview on Dish Network. Seriously, I enjoy the Cooking Channel, but have no intention of paying more for an increased package deal when I don't want the other channels offered. Anyway, Alton did an episode on casseroles and pot pies, basically improving on the current versions that use many processed foods. I liked his newer take on the Broccoli and Cheese casserole, but not having broccoli in the vegetable bin was a deterrent. Instead, I did have a number of firm green zucchini and yellow squash and thought, "What the heck, lets try something different!".  Not only did I change the vegetable assortment, but several other ingredients like Greek yogurt instead of regular, ranch dressing instead of bleu cheese and French fried onion strips instead of Ramen noodles.  No need to use a seasoning packet from the Ramen noodles which is loaded with salt, when it's already in the French fried onion strips.

Now I'm not a big veggie eater myself, but I have to admit that this recipe came out pretty darned well.  I gave half to my mother-on-law and she loved it too, as well as my hubby.  It was not your typical broccoli and cheese casserole; the zucchini and squash picked up the flavorings from the sauce mixture and onion strips.  It is akin to a luxurious comfort food; the sauce coated the tongue and you simply wanted more.   Alton Brown was correct when he proved that using a popular processed product, Cream of Mushroom Soup, is obsolete; creating your own sauce is so much better!

Vegetable Casserole


16 oz. chopped mushrooms
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp saltless seasoning mixture
3 medium sized zucchini, chopped
3 medium sized yellow squash, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup ranch dressing
2 eggs, beaten
12 oz. package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided in half
1 tsp ground black pepper
6 oz. package French fried onion strips


Preheat oven to 350F; spray a 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large skillet, medium heat, sauté' mushrooms in butter for five minutes. Add seasoning mixture, zucchini, yellow squash; mix together, sauté' for additional minute and remove from heat. While mushrooms are cooking, mix together in a medium bowl the mayonnaise, yogurt, ranch dressing, eggs, half the shredded cheese, black pepper and onion strips.

Into a large bowl, put in the vegetable mixture; add the wet mixture from the medium bowl and mix to coat the vegetables evenly. Spoon all into the casserole dish; cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove foil, sprinkle remaining half of cheese evenly over top and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour

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