Squash sliders add veggies to school lunchboxes

Squeezing in as much summer fun as possible is the goal of many families this week.

But with back-to-school looming, I wanted this week’s food section to furnish a few ideas for making the transition a little easier and healthy. That’s also the aim of Oregon Health Management Services in Grants Pass, with its free, kid-friendly classes focused on wholesome cooking and eating.

Just in time for our story, McClatchy News Service released a round of lunch recipes inspired by restaurant food but simplified for busy parents and young palates. Here’s my favorite among them, also timely for anyone with a bounty of zucchini or other summer squash.

Mark Hitri, executive chef, of Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, Texas, devised these bunless sliders in part because his 11-year-old son is sensitive to gluten, an issue acknowledged in the recipe accompanying this week’s article. Inspired by the restaurant’s signature chicken soup with yellow squash and green chilies, these sandwiches make a convenient lunch even without bread. They also add a serving of vegetables in a form that picky eaters are less likely to disdain.

I may just pack this one for my lunch, possibly adapted as an Italian dish with olive-oil poached tuna, as well as sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers instead of celery and chilies.

MCT photo

Green Chili-Chicken Squash ‘Sliders’

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or pulled (Hitri prefers chicken thighs, but use whatever is on hand.)

1⁄4 cup finely diced onion

1⁄4 cup finely diced celery

1⁄2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1⁄4 cup diced green chilies

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 yellow summer squash, raw and unpeeled

Combine all the ingredients, except the squash, and keep chilled.

Slice squash lengthwise into 4 strips, remove any seeds and cut each strip into approximately 3 pieces to create slider “buns.”

Assemble each slider using a scoop of green chili-chicken mixture and 2 squash pieces.

Makes about 6 sliders.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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