Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

Learn to make the squash casserole from Doug’s Place

From the menu … Doug’s Place Restaurant, 696 Highway 293, Emerson. 770-382-9063. 

I’d like the recipe for the squash casserole served at Doug’s Place in Emerson. Emerson is south of Cartersville and north of Acworth. — Sandra M. Green, Roswell

Doug’s Place is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Owner Melissa Ferguson was happy to share the recipe for their squash casserole, in fact she recited it to me over the telephone when I called to make the request. She told me they make huge batches, “Our mixer is the size of a cement mixer!” So she scaled back to make this work for home cooks.

“We opened in July 1994. My husband Doug passed away 11 years ago but my sons Aaron and Zander and I keep the place going. We make this squash casserole from a recipe that was Doug’s mother’s. He and his mother were good old-fashioned cooks. We started out using her recipe and using sharp cheddar cheese. But a lot of people didn’t like that. I think macaroni and cheese in a box has spoiled people’s tastes,” she said with a laugh.

So now the squash casserole is made with cream of mushroom soup, shredded American cheese, canned nacho cheese sauce and powdered cheese. We’ve adapted it at Ferguson’s suggestion with ingredients that will be easier to find.

She also suggests our readers do as they do at the restaurant, and cook the squash in well-salted water and do it a day ahead, then let the squash sit in a colander overnight to drain out all the water that could make the casserole runny. We found we needed 3 pounds of crookneck squash to yield the 7 cups of cooked squash for the recipe. And 1 1/2 sleeves of saltines gave us the 3 cups of cracker crumbs we needed.

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