Crispy-Top SUMMER SQUASH CASSEROLE

2 ½ lbs. small to medium yellow, summer squash (reserve 1 whole squash for garnish)
Water
2 large onions, chopped coarsely
1 T. salt
1 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 T. granulated sugar
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, well beaten
40 Ritz or Flipsides crackers, crushed and divided
Paprika

Cut squash into quarters and place in a Dutch oven along with the onions, salt, and 1 tsp. of the pepper.  Add enough water to the Dutch oven to boil.  Cover, bring to a full boil; then reduce heat to medium and cook until squash and onions are very tender and can be mashed easily with a fork.When squash mixture has finished cooking; pour into a colander to drain.  After the initial draining; use a fork to press the mixture in the colander to press out more water.  Return the squash mixture to the Dutch oven and mash the ingredients.  Add the remaining ½ tsp. pepper, the sugar, and grated cheese.  Mix to blend ingredients; then taste for salt and add more, if needed.  Pour in the beaten eggs and continue to mix until well blended.  Stir in ½ of the cracker crumbs.  Prepare a 3-quart casserole with spray-oil; then pour the squash mixture into the casserole.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining cracker crumbs; then sprinkle the cracker crumb tops liberally with paprika.  Use the reserved squash, cut lengthwise, to garnish the top of the casserole.  Place in oven at 350 degrees and cook, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes or until cracker crumbs are browned.  Serves 10.
Georgia taught me how to cook.  Now this was in ancient times and there was very little to do in our rural setting.  After my “special sister”, Scotty, was born, Georgia came to work for my mother and father.  My brother, Tommy, was 10 years old and I was 11 years old.  Since Georgia was only a few years older than we were, she became our friend, confidante, playmate, ironing and cooking instructor, and all-round everyday companion.  Well, the ironing didn’t exactly excite me, but I loved the cooking.  I would pester her endless hours with “Georgia, teach me how to cook!”  She never seemed to mind my pestering or my brother’s for his projects.  Now, guess who comes to cook and visit every couple of weeks  –Georgia!    She and I can kill a whole day in the kitchen, talking non-stop about cooking and our families.  We have years of history together to cover.  She is still the same sweet Georgia to me, my brother, my family, and to her “special” Scotty, who now lives with Joe and me since my mother and father are no longer with us.  Please enjoy the fruits of her many hours of patient instruction.  Georgia, thanks and love, “Sis”   (She uses my nickname.)

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