Squashing Weight Watchers!

Truly, repentence has its reward. Our vacation sins resulted in a total weight loss–LOSS, I tell you!–of .2 pounds. Even better, it was all mine. Fred stayed the same. O shrimp and grits, and wine, and beer, and porterhouse steak, and tiramisu cheesecake, where are thy stings?

It’s possible that our return to virtue over the weekend, like sailors back from shore leave, saved us in the end. At Rosemont Farms just outside Kiawah on John’s Island–home of the beautiful chickens and tomatoes pictured in Saturday’s post–we picked up some yellow/summer/crookneck squash in anticipation of renewed discipline upon our return. Of course, it’s a little disingenuous of me to say that, since squash is hardly what I’d call a sacrifice. It’s not up there with tomatoes or peaches in terms of favorite summer produce, but I like it so much that I have to resist the temptation not to serve it several times a week while it’s in season.

The beauty of yellow squash is that it goes well with so many other things and is easy to fix. You can steam it for a few minutes and serve with a little salt and butter, or saute with onions and garlic in olive oil, or instantly increase your vegetable consumption by adding it to zillions of pasta dishes or your favorite burrito.

On Sunday, though, I decided to get out of my squashy comfort zone by cooking it with some of the jalapeno peppers we also picked up at Rosemont’s. Typically when I include jalapenos in a dish, I feel the urge to Mexicanize it by adding cumin, cilantro, and lime. But it seemed terribly wrong to overwhelm the fresh squash with all those spices. So I kept the ingredients to a minimum, served over orzo pasta, and even went so far as to add fresh mozzarella at the end.

The result was a cheesy and flavorful combination, which nicely balanced the hot spike of the jalapenos, the delicacy of the squash and the cool creaminess of the mozzarella.

[Lovely picture of squash dish to follow when Blogger fixes its uploading problem.]

(And the two servings Fred and I had for supper were only 5 points each.)

Orzo with Squash and Jalapenos

4 medium-sized servings (~5 points each), or 2 large meal-sized servings (~10 points each)

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 c. chicken stock (or low-salt broth)
1 large onion, quartered then thinly sliced
6 small yellow (summer) squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 medium jalapeno peppers (more or less to taste), diced
Salt to taste
2 oz. (roughly 1/2 cup) fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/8″ pieces
1/2 lb. orzo (or other small pasta)

In large skillet, saute onions in olive oil over medium high heat until translucent. Add squash, jalapenos, salt, and 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Cook over medium high heat until squash is tender, 10 – 20 minutes. Add more chicken stock, if needed, to keep vegetables from sticking. (For very soft squash, cover vegetables for part of the cooking time, then remove lid for the last few minutes to boil off some of the liquid.) While vegetables are sauteeing, put water for pasta on to boil and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta. Remove skillet from heat. Add cooked pasta and stir, then add cheese and stir until melted. Serve and enjoy.

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