This recipe is dedicated to the music teachers of my life. Bill Brady (drums at MacArthur High), Cliff Robertson (piano), and Miss Nance (beginning band, drums, at Garner Middle School).
Thank you for the talent and confidence you gifted me; I lean on both every day!
~ ❤ ~
The Magnificent Seven
This dish comes to Mom’s cookbook courtesy of our 1970s next door neighbor Mary Stephenson.
Mary and my Mom were the best of foodie friends; when I was a younger Patrick trading marbles they were trading recipes and sharing stories about the greatest of foods for family and friends. You can find more of Mary’s recipes here at Betty’s Cook Nook by searching for “Stephenson” in the search bar at right. I probably have more of Mary’s recipes than any other of Mom’s friends. And I’m all the better for it!
This recipe combines 7 key ingredients in 7 simple steps to make one savory, buttery casserole that makes me want to yodel from the hilltops. ← Click this link if you think I’m kidding. I’m highly confident that this dish would have made an appearance at the best-dressed Thanksgiving table. Give it a taste and you’ll see!
foodie tip ~
❤ Cooking terms decoded: Per below, “squash” had to be yellow squash, “onion” would be a white onion, “sharp cheese” would be sharp cheddar cheese, and oleo is margarine (I had to look that one up!) … but in this family we only stick with butter. Falfurrias brand butter, to be precise. Betty’s Mom (my grandmother), “Nanny” insisted on it and that is a tradition that has stuck with me through the years.
Being fooled by the term olio has me remembering a battle between the butters, so to speak. If you are too young to remember the war between butter and margarine you’ve gotta enjoy this vintage TV commercial from the 1970s where we see what happens when you fool with Mother Nature.
I’m not sure if Mother Nature needs to see the doctor or what but she seems to have “ChiffonWare” bowls of margarine confused with daisies confused with butter. Just sayin’.
2 pounds | squash, chopped
1 | medium onion, chopped
¼ stick | oleo (unsalted butter)
to season | a little salt and pepper
1 cup | crackers, crumbled
2 | cage free eggs, well beaten
1 cup | sharp cheese, grated
¼ cup | mayonnaise
for the delightful topping:
3 tablespoons | oleo (3 tablespoons? now we’re talking!)
¼ cup | crackers, crumbled
ii. what to do
1. Boil the onion and squash until tender. Drain the water then mash ’em both together.
2. Season with the butter, some salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and of course the mayo. My lips have been waiting for the mayo.
3. Add the eggs, crackers crumbs and cheese. My hips have been waiting for the cheese.
4. About now I’d rev-up the oven to 350°F.
5. To make your casserole topping, melt the additional 3 tablespoons of oleo in a skillet. Add ¼ cup of more cracker crumbs and coat them well in the butter.
6. Transfer the squash mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle with your buttery, crumbly topping.
7. Bake for 30 minutes. Let rest but best served warm.
Yields 8 servings
Still Hungry For More Senseless Lore?
You’ve stumbled into the right cyber-place!
While “The Magnificent Seven” is a phrase I’ve heard of pretty much my entire life. I realized today I really didn’t know where it truly originated.
A couple of clicks later and I learned “The Magnificent Seven” was actually a film from 1960.
Picture 7 gunslingers comprised of a star-studded cast including Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and James Coburn.
A few seconds into the trailer and I instantly recognized an all-too familiar tune I played over and over in band at Garner Middle School. Even more interesting is that I read that in 2013 the movie was inducted into the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, making this a must watch movie.
How ironic all this is. And how “sweeter” this dish is to my heart!
Cheers to 7!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Just in case you missed it above…
This special recipe is dedicated to our dear family friend Bristol ~
thanks to her, mom’s recipes live on; the greatest treat I’ve ever received.
~ ♥ ~
My mom’s great friend “Bristol” said “calabacita” was one of mom’s absolute favorite recipes because she loved its spicy taste. Now I know where I get my love of spicy food!
I didn’t even know how to spell calaba-HUH?, but thanks to Google, I do now. Calabacita means “little squash” in Spanish and is often made of a variety of summer squashes with thin, edible skins, including zucchini, yellow crookneck, Mexican straight-neck and sunburst squashes (per the research I did online). We’ll see what mom used!
I remember something squashy as a kid, but not sure of the name. I think mom “dumbed” the name calabacita down to “squash” for me since my tiny tongue was too young to pronounce “ca-la-ba-ci-ta.” Although I do remember the young ability to say “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!”
5/14/11 UPDATE ~ I received mom’s cookbook this very week and scoured both the cookbook and the little recipe card file… and no calabacita recipe! All I can figure is that mom probably had the recipe in her head and didn’t need to write it down. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t share it with her friends! I’m on the hunt for the recipe, so in the meantime, enjoy the recipe below from the other Betty (Crocker)… the ingredients look similar to what I remember eating… except I don’t remember mom using chicken… but she did use both yellow crookneck squash and green zucchini.
1 tablespoon | extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 lb | uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded)
8 to 10 small to medium | zucchini (2 1/2 lb), peeled, thinly sliced (8 cups)
1 medium | white onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 can (15.25 oz) | Green Giant® whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) | diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion, undrained
1 can (4.5 oz) | Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, undrained
1-1/2 teaspoons | garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon | ground cumin
to taste | salt and pepper, if desired
1/2 cup | chopped fresh cilantro
ii. what to do
1. In 5- to 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cover and cook 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink in the center.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients except cilantro. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender.
♥ While I don’t remember mom serving calabacita over white rice, consider it (from me to you).
♥ Making instant rice? Why not substitute water with chicken or beef broth?