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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Good Friends and Bountiful Gardens Spell Summer Success

By Sherrie Norris

By all accounts, this has been — and continues to be — a good season for growing gardens. My husband, Van, and I were distracted in the early spring with medical concerns and decided not to plant a garden this year, rather preferring a few plants in a small flower garden bed. Turns out, the wildlife have loved our decision and have devoured most of everything that sprouted from the ground.

Our son has had good luck with his first attempts at gardening in our old plot, and thankfully good friends are enjoying bountiful harvests. That also means that we are not going hungry and are being blessed with the overflow. It’s truly a blessing to have a neighbor drop by with his delicious tomatoes and others willing to share from their labors.

I believe that a gardener’s success (in life) can be measured by all that he gives away. Think about that.

 And hopefully, this hodgepodge of recipes will help you take care of some of those goodies that you’ve raised or otherwise received.

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 Quick Squash Casserole

2 lb. yellow squash, cooked and mashed

1 onion, cooked in squash

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1 can cream of chicken soup

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16 oz. sour cream

1 lg. pkg. cornbread stuffing mix

1 stick butter

Mix first five ingredients together.

Mix corn bread stuffing with 1 stick melted butter. Add ¾ to squash mixture, combine well and pour into casserole dish; sprinkle remaining stuffing mix on top. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes. 

Easy Dill Pickles

1 cup sugar

1 cup canning salt

2 qt. water

1 qt. vinegar

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Cucumbers

Dill weed

Garlic

Sliced onion

Bring first four ingredients to a boil; remove from heat. Pack clean whole 2-4-inch cucumbers into quart jars with 1 garlic bud, 1 slice of onion and lots of homegrown dill (2-3 heads). Pour liquid mixture over vegetables. Place lids on jars and place in hot water bath for about 20 minutes. Make about five quarts. 

Zucchini Beef Casserole

2 zucchini (sliced in ¼-inch slices)

1 lb. ground beef

¼ cup chopped onion

8 oz. can tomato sauce

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. basil or oregano

¼ tsp. pepper

½ lb. Mozzarella cheese

Layer a 9 x 13-inch pan (greased) with zucchini. Brown ground beef with onion. Pour off grease. Stir in tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and basil or oregano. Pour over zucchini. Spread grated Mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Dilly Beans

2 cups vinegar

2 cups water

¼ cup salt

1 clove garlic (per jar)

1 head dill (per jar)

Freshly picked green beans

Cut ends off beans. Boil for about 10 minutes. Place dill and garlic in hot, sterilized jars and then pack beans in the jars. Boil vinegar, water and salt. Pour over beans. Place in hot water bath for about 10-15 minutes.

Zucchini Pie

4 cups sliced zucchini

¼  cup butter

½  tsp. salt

¼ tsp. oregano

¼ tsp. garlic powder

1½  cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

1 cup diced onions

2 Tbs. parsley flakes

½  tsp. pepper

¼  tsp. basil

2 eggs, beaten

1 (8 oz.) can dinner rolls

In saucepan, combine zucchini, onions, butter, and spices. Cook until tender. Add eggs and cheese. Press dinner rolls into a 9×9 pan to form crust. Pour in zucchini mixture. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. remove from oven. Let stand for a few minutes before slicing.