Caution: Unattended Vehicles May Be Filled With Produce

Squash season has begun. MomRed left her windows rolled down and walked briefly out of sight of her vehicle, in order to talk to a neighbor about a different neighbor’s health situation. Three pounds of onions and squash later . . .

Guess who got to make squash-n-onions? It’s an easy way to use summer squash. It’s also very much a “make to taste” recipe, because once you get past the squash, oil, and onion, everything else depends on the cook. You want garlic? Toss it in. Bacon crumbles? Fresh herbs? Sausage? Leftover pork loin? Miniature tomatoes or regular tomatoes? Go for it!

You need a large frying pan or shallow pot, large enough so that all the veggies can form a single layer on the bottom.

One onion, sliced thin or chopped (yellow or white are both fine)

summer squash (any thin-skinned variety), sliced thin

oil for sauteing (flavored olive or plain olive or whatever you prefer)

protein source*


Pour a few tablespoons or so of oil into the pan. Heat over medium-high until it shimmers. Add onion and stir, cooking until the onion starts to become transparent. Add the squash. Stir. Add additional things if desired. Turn heat down to medium and cook until the squash is tender, 10 minutes or so depending on elevation, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.

That’s the theme. Variations include:

slicing sausage, sauteing it first, then adding the onion and squash.

add halved miniature (cherry or grape) tomatoes five minutes before serving. You want them hot.

add garlic, basil, thyme, oregano for a more Italianate flavor.

add your favorite curry spice blend.

add bacon crumbles just after you add the squash. Yes, you could use bacon fat and add freshly hard-cooked bacon, but DadRed buys bacon crumbles so that’s what I had on hand.

add left-over pork loin or other meat, sliced thin and chopped fine. I add this after the squash is hot, then let the mix cook a little longer.

soy-protein in some form. I have not tried this yet, but I’d probably add it toward the end of cooking.

The options are as many and varied as what you have in your garden or pantry. It’s fast, quick, one-pan, and almost cook-proof.


21 thoughts on “Caution: Unattended Vehicles May Be Filled With Produce

  1. Our CSA share went up to three summer squash/cucumbers, on the table with large bins and more bins behind it. I asked the young lady assisting me when the next bin, labeled “free kittens”, was going up. She blinked, and then laughed; made her day.

    Sounds like a good recipe, and there are some sausage crumbles to add. I prefer it a little tender, but crisp up a bit. I dislike thick, watery, limp pieces.

  2. One dish we really like is to make zoodles out of zuccini and yellow squash and cook them up in a dish in the oven with onions, garlic, sweet AND jalapeno peppers, mushrooms, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella and a low carb marinara sauce. Very tasty and it is even better as leftovers after sitting in the fridge overnight then reheated in the oven.

  3. “Caution: Unattended Vehicles May Be Filled With Produce”

    Wait a minute. I thought you made this up for Horribly Familiar. It really happens?

    • It hasn’t happened to me but I keep my car locked. 😀

      On the other hand, I’d heard of such things happening long before I “discovered” Alma. 😉

    • It really happens. You also may open your front door one morning and find a sack or sacks full of produce on the doorstep. It depends on how good the crop year has been, and who planted too much of what.

    • Once upon a time, as I faced down over 70 subordinates for the morning briefing, I added to the Official Announcements, “And, as some of y’all may remember, I sprained my wrist this spring. Don’t do that. Let me be the bad example. This also means I didn’t get a garden in, so I am reduced to buying my zuchinni at the grocery store. I’m pathetic. And oblivious. My car doors are unlocked; don’t make me leave my windows down.”

      The city kids looked confused as the country kids busted out laughing. As they split to their assignments, one kid was looking up at a large man, rather rough around the edges, who had his arm wrapped, friendly-like, across the other’s shoulders. “Son, let me ‘splain plantin’ maters, taters, an’ squash to ya…”

      And the next day, three of my subordinates told me “There’s some grocery sacks in the break room with your name on ’em! Cause we don’t know which car is yours!”

      None of them were talking about the same grocery sacks.

    • I’ve not experienced it, but it does happen. Pre oil-boom the joke was that the ONLY reason anyone locked car doors in North Dakota was to thwart the Zucchini fairies.

    • *nodnodnod*

      They tend to not pull it on folks they’re not sure of, and it’s less common in military-heavy areas, but yes, they really do that.

      All of the little Helper Boxes (think like a cross between the tiny library movement and a food pantry) around here have an extra-large bin on one of the bottom sides that usually has a lot of produce in it.

      (Unrelated bragging about how clever some folks have been in their charity– these are frequently in park-and-ride lots, even in the middle of nowhere, but they’re also where you drive past on the way back from the store. So if you got a great deal on the 10-for-$10 thing it’s really, really easy to just stop and leave a can or two.)

  4. Donated vegetables are handy at the shooting range (provided it’s an outdoor one – indoor ranges tend to object strenuously!). ‘Splody reacting targets, fun for all, and you feed the critters too. What’s not to like?

    (Oh – and if you miss too often, you’re melon-choly!)


  5. Ah yes… THAT time of year… I forgot to lock the car one Sunday morning at church after I had ‘distributed’ the extra tomatoes, bell peppers, and squash. After church I had bags of onions, zucchinis, and corn. Mother was less than happy, since we had ‘extras’ of those already. I like to do that recipe with smoked sausage grilled and the mixture served over them.

  6. Have to give that a try. We’re doing a few varieties this year, with the dark green zucchini being the underperformer. We’ve been grilling it:

    Peel or no, if the skin looks good, don’t bother. Slice in quarters or sixths unless you get a Godzilla squash. Place skin down and spritz with cooking spray. Dust steak & chop rub on the squash.

    Heat gas grill to medium high. Put pieces on grill (I usually don’t do skin down unless it’s a crookneck) and grill for 3 minutes. Flip to the other inside and grill for another three. Serve ASAP.

    Our neighbors did dark green only and had the same poor results, so they’re getting excess. When I go into town, we’ll do a bag of squash for the Gospel Mission; yesterday’s donation was going to a salad, sayeth the sous-chef.

  7. Huh. Lived in Bismarck, ND, for about a year. Never had that happen. Didn’t realize that it actually was a thing. Sorta funny giving away a bunch and getting a bunch of different back. Make for a great snippet for Lelia and Andre – specially if Lemur got into the tomatoes while they were in the brown paper grocery bag.

  8. Most pan recipes like this you can convert to a one-pan-bake, too– although it can take some wiggling to figure out how firm you like your squash, vs the onion. I like pretty soft on both, so onion about half the size of the squash chunks works. If you have fresh brussel sprouts, quarter them and make sure the onion is about twice the size. Potatoes, treat like onion.

    Coat in oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and lemon pepper, or italian seasonings, or a cup of oil with about a tablespoon of grey poupon and a tablespoon of non-dehydrated garlic adjust to taste.

    Bake at 400 until soft, I usually check at 10-15 minutes, depending on how twitchy I feel. (or 425 and make sure the sprouts are resting on their outside if you like a bit of crunch– much better for potatoes.)

    The oil-wine mustard-garlic mixture is GREAT on baked red potato wedges, too, 425 for 10-15 minutes depending on size and how crunchy you want, I LOVE crunchy.

  9. The zucchini that magically appear in cars and on doorsteps result from the Law of Zucchini, a little-known law of the Universe. If you plant three zucchini plants (the number you actually need), they will all die. If you defiantly plant a dozen zucchini plants, they will all live and inundate you and the neighborhood with zucchini.

    • MomRed was given four tomato plants. One died, one is looking a bit peaked, and two are about to inundate us with tomatoes for the next month.

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