Squash hides out in tangy fruit bars

Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Yellow squash is not an ingredient I think of when it comes to dessert, but my friend and longtime Alley Kat, Joe Riddle, enjoyed these bars so much he asked for the recipe.

It is from Katie Hill. She says she added a crust "because it needed one" and reduced the sugar as "it was sweet enough."

Summer Squash Bars

3 1/4 cups yellow squash, peeled, seeded and diced

2 cups vanilla wafers, finely crushed

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 teaspoons lemon extract (see note)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 cup self-rising flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place a steamer in a large saucepan and fill with water to just below the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add squash, cover and steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer squash to a bowl and mash with a potato masher or place in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Place crushed vanilla wafers in the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

Combine sugar, milk, egg, butter, lemon extract and zest in a large bowl. Gradually sift flour into mixture. Fold in mashed squash and mix until smooth. Spoon batter over crushed vanilla wafers on bottom of baking dish.

Bake until air bubbles form on surface and pudding is golden brown, about 1 hour.

Remove from oven and chill in refrigerator until firm; cut into bars. The bars freeze well.

Note: Hill writes that she replaced the lemon extract and zest with orange extract and some orange zest. She also made a version with almond extract.

"This recipe appeared somewhere in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette years ago, but I'm not sure if it was in the Idea Alley column. But with college kids heading back to school, it seems appropriate to mention it again. It's simple enough to make in a dorm, but flavorful enough to fill you up on a busy day," Darby Beranek writes.

Quick Corn and Bean Soup

1 can yellow corn

1 can black beans

1 can tomatoes with green chiles (like Ro-Tel)

Shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese

Combine contents of all three cans and their liquid in a pot or microwave-safe bowl. Heat until hot. Divide into bowls and top each serving with cheese as desired.

"Here's a great pot roast recipe I have made for years. The meat comes out incredibly tender. Add some mashed potatoes and a veggie for a complete dinner," Joyce Williams writes.

Sweet and Sour Baked Pot Roast

1 (4- to 5-pound) beef pot roast or any cut of roast

2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup water

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

3 medium onions, sliced

Garlic salt to taste

1/4 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Season meat with salt and pepper and brown in butter in a heavy pan on top of stove. Place browned roast in a baking pan and top with water, tomato sauce, onions and garlic salt. Cover pan tightly with foil or a lid and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over meat. Cover and bake for 2 more hours.

Alternately, Williams says she has browned roast, then put all these ingredients into a slow cooker at once and let it simmer all day.

Send recipe contributions, requests and culinary questions to Kelly Brant, Idea Alley, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203; email:


Food on 09/13/2017

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