October 20, 2011

Week 51 Notes

My post before this recent one was about how I'm on "maternity leave" from blogging. I'm still cooking but didn't want to worry about getting the recipes typed up and posted. Well...the baby's due date has come and (almost) gone, so I found time to type up another week. Then I'm on maternity leave. :) Enjoy!

Week 51, Recipe 1: Baked Pasta with Veggies

Not a great pic but this was yummy!

  • Modified from Cooking Light
  • I doubled the recipe below to make a large 13x9 inch pan.
  • Make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze. I took mine out of the fridge and cooked it covered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and then uncovered for about 5 minutes. If freezing, thaw in fridge overnight or put in your oven frozen in the morning and set the oven timer.
  • 4 ounces uncooked ziti or penne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 c. chopped zucchini and/or yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped tomato (used diced canned tomatoes if you don't have fresh)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. Preheat oven to 400°.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil to pan. Satue squash and onion for 5 minutes then add tomato and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
4. Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Week 51, Recipe 2: Slow-cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Photo by National Pork Board

  • Recipe modfified from Taste of Home, original recipe from National Pork Board 2011
  • Yum! This pork is good plain as well as mixed with your favorite BBQ sauce.
  • Original recipe did not call for step 1 but I think browning the meat before putting in the slow-cooker brings out the flavor much more.

  • 1 5-pound boneless pork butt (shoulder)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Soft sandwich buns or rolls
  • Favorite BBQ sauce
  • Red onion and dill pickle slices, to serve
1. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper and brown on all sides over medium high heat in a large pot. Let cool slightly on a cutting board.

2. Combine all the seasonings in a small bowl and rub evenly over roast. Place meat in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add water. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours or until pork is very tender.
3. Remove pork to a large cutting board or platter and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Pull, slice or chop to serve. Either return to slow cooker and mix with BBQ sauce or serve plain with BBQ sauce.
4. Top buns/rolls with pork, sliced onion and pickles.

Week 51, Recipe 3: Stuffed Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheddar

  • These were easy to make and very filling. They also freeze well - assemble as directed (through step 4, cook completely then wrap in plastic wrap before freezing). Thaw in fridge and then bake as directed below or until hot.
  • Recipe modified from The Best Freezer Cookbook
  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 3 c. chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/2 c. sour cream or buttermilk
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/3 c. shredded Cheddar or Colby-Jack cheese
  • Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
1. Bake potatoes in microwave 6 minutes, turning over halfway through. Bake in oven at 425 for about 15 minutes or until a skewer slides easily through them. Remove and let cool slightly.
2. While potatoes cook, cook or steam broccoli in a saucepan until just crisp tender (about 1-2 minutes). Drain well.
3. Cut a thin slice from the tops of warm potatoes. Scoop out potato leaving a 1/4-inch shell, being careful not to tear the skins.
4. In a large bowl, mash potato with a potato masher or fork. Beat in enough sour cream or butter milk until smooth. Add broccoli, onions and 1 c. cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne to taste.
5. Spoon filling into potato shells, pressing filling into shell and mounding the tops, Arrange in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Week 51, Recipe 4: Slow-Cooker Mexican Chicken & Veggie Soup

  • Recipe modified from All You.
  • This was really good. I added quite a bit more spices than the original recipes and some chopped tomatoes with green chilies instead of so much salsa.
  • Double the recipe - you'll want leftovers!
  • Use thighs and a breast as called for. I think the thighs are so much more flavorful!
  • 2 baking potatoes (about 1 1/2 lb.), peeled and cut into chunks (3 1/3 cups)
  • 1 (10 oz.) package frozen sweet corn
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks (1 cup)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • About 6-8 oz of your favorite salsa
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, halved (about 1 lb.)
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 10.5 oz.)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 (6 inch) fresh corn tortillas, cut into strips, placed on a greased baking tray and broiled for 3 minutes, turning after 2 (or do what I did and just use store-bought tortilla chips)
  • Shredded cheese for topping
1. Place potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion and garlic in slow cooker. Stir in salsa, tomatoes, salt, cumin, chile powder and pepper.
2. Distribute chicken evenly on top of vegetables and pour chicken broth over chicken. Cover slow cooker and cook stew on high for 4 hours.
3. Transfer chicken to a plate and shred with two forks into bite-size chunks; return to slow cooker.
4. Top each bowl with tortilla strips or chips and shredded cheese.

Week 51, Recipe 5: Mexican Lasagna

Photo by Taste of Home 

  • A recipe that comes together quick and would freeze well too. I made ours the night before and left in fridge until ready to cook. It's a great lasagna recipe because you can use regular lasagna noodles without cooking them first.
  • Recipe modified from Taste of Home
  •  1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans (I like the spicy jalapeno kind because it adds flavor but isn't too spicy)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies or 2 fresh Anaheim chilies, chopped
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning (or make your own)
  • About 1 jar (16 oz) salsa + 2 tablespoons
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 12 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained (optional, my fam is not a fan so we did without)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped (optional)
1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat (add fresh peppers if using once beef is starting to brown) until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, chilies, taco seasoning and 2 tbsp salsa.
2. In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, layer a third of the noodles and meat mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers twice (ending with cheese).
3. Combine mild salsa and water; pour over top. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour or until heated through.
4. Top with sour cream, olives (if desired), onions, tomatoes and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes longer. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting. Serve with chopped lettuce on the side and guacamole or chopped avocado.

September 15, 2011

My maternity leaves begins now...

With only 5 weeks until the expected arrival of my second child (a boy), I'm going to taking some time off from posting recipes. I may post one here or there but won't be doing any weekly postings for awhile. That is, at least until I get bored of eating the frozen meals I'm going to try and make over the next few weeks for after the baby comes.

Thanks, as always, for checking my blog!

September 8, 2011

Week 50, Recipe 1: Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup

  • I made this the night before. It's so easy! Roast the tomatoes while you're cleaning up the kitchen then get everything simmering while you enjoy the rest of your evening. Let the soup cool a bit before pureeing then store in fridge until ready to reheat.
  • Recipe from Annie's Eats
  • 3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, halved with seeds scooped out (use a spoon or your fingers to scoop out pulp)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½-1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Combine the tomato halves, ¼ cup of olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss well to combine. Spread the tomato halves out on a large baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes for 35 minutes.

2. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 7-10 minutes.
3. Add in the canned tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, 40 minutes.
4. Once slightly cool, use an immersion blender, blender or food processor to puree the soup until completely smooth.

Week 50 Notes

  • Summer is winding down so I'm roasting fresh veggies left and right to take advantage while I can!

Week 50, Recipe 2: Jalapeno Burgers

  • A tasty twist to a regular burger.
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 dashes hot sauce (if your jalapenos didn't pack enough punch)
  • Toppings: lettuce, sliced cheese, avocado, tomato, red onion, etc.
  • Buns
1. Mix all ingredients except last two in a large bowl. Shape into oval patties, about 3/4-inch thick.
2. Brush both sides with canola or vegetable oil and grill, covered, over medium heat about 5-7 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
3. Serve on toasted buns with desired toppings.

Week 50, Recipe 3: Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pizza

  • Recipe from a relative's website. Thanks Sarah!
  • This recipe comes together quick. Especially if you've remembered to put your frozen pizza dough in the fridge to thaw the night before!
  • Two medium eggplants (I didn't have enough so I used zucchini as well but next time I'll just use eggplant), sliced 1/4-inch thick and cut in half or into fourths (depending on how large your eggplant is)
  • 2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella (or use thin slices of fresh mozzarella)
  • 1/2 freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
1. Preheat your oven broiler and set pizza stone on bottom rack to preheat (if using). Toss halved tomatoes with salt and minced garlic. Set aside.
2. Toss eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Arrange on a greased baking sheet 8 inches under broiler. Broil for 3 minutes then toss and broil another 3-5 minutes.
3. Remove eggplant to a bowl and then broil tomatoes with garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add to eggplant and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and place on a greased baking sheet. Top crust with mozzarella then eggplant and tomatoes and Parmesan. Bake for 10-15 minutes, sliding onto the pizza stone after the first 5-6 minutes if using.

Week 50, Recipe 4: Roasted Vegetable & Beef Lasagna

Photo by Jennifer Gavic (my picture was blurry)

  • This was a good lasagna and a great way to use extra zucchini. Makes great leftovers too!
  • Freezes well.
  • The original recipe, from Southern Living, is vegetarian but I added 1/2 lb ground beef. Either way is good!
  • You can roast the veggies ahead of time and refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the lasagna.
  • 4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 lb.)
  • 1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium-size yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 jar marinara sauce + 1 small can crushed tomoates in Italian seasoning (or with basil and garlic)
  • Lasagna noodles (about 8-10 oz) or enough for 3 layers (approximately 12 noodles)
1. Preheat oven to 450°. Bake zucchini, mushrooms, and garlic in pan coated with cooking spray 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring halfway through. Repeat procedure with bell peppers and onion. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Toss together vegetables and salt in a bowl.
2. In another bowl, stir together ricotta, egg, 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Mix marinara and crushed tomatoes together in another bowl.
3. Spread about 1 1/2 cups sauce in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with 3-4 noodles, about 1 1/2 cups sauce, one-half of ricotta mixture, and one-half of vegetable mixture. Repeat layer again (noodles - sauce - ricotta - veggies) then top with remaining noodles and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan.
4. Bake, covered, at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. Let stand 10 minutes

Week 50, Recipe 5: Ravioli (or pasta) with Roasted Zucchini & Tomatoes

  • This was packed with flavor! I used cheese ravioli but it would be just as good with a pasta of your choice - penne, linguine, etc.
  • I love figuring out ways to use zucchini while it's in season and this recipe did the trick. I used two medium zucchini but could have used 4 medium.
  • 1 package frozen cheese ravioli or 16 oz pasta of your choice
  • 3-4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • About 1 1/2 lbs cherry tomatoes, halved (or left whole if small)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 c. chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh shredded Parmesan, about 1/2 c.
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Toss sliced zucchini and tomatoes with garlic and about 5 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place on a greased baking sheet. Roast 20-25 minutes or until zucchini is lightly browned, stirring once halfway through.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions and reserve 1/2 c. cooking liquid. Drain pasta and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil in a large bowl.
4. Remove zucchini and tomatoes from oven and poor reserved 1/2 c. cooking liquid over veggies. Scrape veggies off pan to loosen brown bits. Add veggies, basil and Parmesan to pasta and toss to mix. 

September 1, 2011

New posts next week!

I've been lazy at trying new recipes this week. We did have a Roasted Veggie Lasagna and Super Stuffed Burritos with zucchini, fresh corn, and black beans but other than that we did BLTs and had a pancake and egg night (with the first five eggs from our 2 chickens!).

Next week I'll post the lasagna and burrito recipe along with Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Pizza, Jalapeno Burgers, and Garden Vegetable Crustless Quiche (assuming those recipes turn out good!).

Have a great weekend!

August 28, 2011

Week 49

  • This week was all about how to use fresh garden veggies! Before we know it, fall will be here so I'm taking advantage of all the produce while I can.

Week 49, Recipe 1: Roasted Veggie Pizza

  • Roasting the veggies adds so much flavor!
  • Modified from Cooking Light
  • See my notes in Recipe 5 about freezing pizza dough and thawing in the fridge for an easy weeknight meal.
  • 1 pizza dough
  • 2 cups sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 small to medium size zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, sliced and 1/2 medium red or orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into thick slices
  • Olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 - 1 1/2  cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons small fresh basil leaves
1. Position an oven rack in the lowest setting; place a pizza stone on rack if you have one. Preheat oven to 500°.

2. Combine mushrooms and next 4 ingredients (through onion) in a large bowl; drizzle with approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Toss. Arrange vegetables on baking or cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 500° for 15 minutes, stirring once.
3. Roll out pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface and place on an oiled pizza pan. Spread sauce over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella over sauce; top with vegetables. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella and red pepper over zucchini mixture. Dollop with ricotta.
4. Cook (you can place your pizza pan right on the stone if using) for about 5 minutes or until dry then slide pizza off pan onto pizza stone (or continue baking on pizza pan if not using stone). Bake at 500° for about 11 minutes or until crust is golden. Sprinkle with basil.

Week 49, Recipe 2: Grilled Sausage, Pasta & Ratatouille

  • Recipe modified from Sunset.
  • Super easy way to use up veggies that you have on hand. Feel free to very the amounts below to suit what you have.
  • Make ahead! I made the sauce the night before so all we had to do for dinner was grill the sausage and cook the pasta. Easy!
  • I puree the sauce for my 2-year-old so do the same for any young kids or for anyone who prefers smooth to chunky sauce.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh tomatoes, chopped (about 2 lbs) OR 2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces eggplant, rinsed and diced (about 1 medium eggplant)
  •  About 1 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound red, yellow, and/or orange bell peppers, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and diced
  •  8 ounces zucchini, rinsed, ends trimmed, and diced (about 1 large)
  • 8 ounces yellow summer squash, rinsed, ends trimmed, and diced (about 1 large)
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (add oregano and thyme too if you want)
  • 16 oz pasta of choice
  • 1/2 lb Italian (spicy or regular) sausage links (pork or turkey)
1. In a 12-inch frying pan with sides at least 2 inches tall, or a 5- to 6-quart pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and stir frequently until onion is limp, about 5 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes (with juice), eggplant, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is soft when pierced, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in bell peppers, zucchini, and yellow squash. Return to a simmer, cover, and cook until squash is tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes longer.
4. Stir in basil and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
5. Grill sausage links and cook pasta according to directions. Let sausages cool slightly then cut into diagonal chunks and serve sauce over pasta with sausage. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Week 49, Recipe 3: Greek Grilled Chicken Pitas

Forgot to take a picture. This one is by Taste of Home.

  • Really tasty. Make your own pita bread (see below this recipe) or buy it.
  • Makes great lunch leftovers (serve cold).
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette or vinegar (I used vinegar because that's what I had on hand)
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • 8 pita pocket halves
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Pour vinaigrette (or vinegar) into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
2. In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients; chill until serving.
3. Drain and discard marinade. Preheat grill and moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat 6-8 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°.
4. Cut chicken into strips. Fill each pita half with chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and cheese; drizzle with sauce.


  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/4 c. warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 c. flour (use 1 c. whole wheat if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
1. Put yeast in 1/4 c. warm water and add sugar. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Mix 2 1/2 c. flour and salt in a warm bowl (that works with your standing mixer if you have one). Form a well in the center of the bowl and pour yeast mixture in well. Gradually add the other 1 c. warm water.
3. If using your standing mixer, attach the dough hook and begin to knead dough (or by hand), add more flour as necessary. Knead for 5 minutes.
4. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm spot until doubled.
5. Preheat oven to 425. Knead a few minutes then divide into balls about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll into thin circles and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover with a towel and let rest 10 minutes.
6. Bake on bottom rack of oven about 5-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack then cut into halves and pull out to make a pocket (or use a bread knife to slice them open).

Week 49, Recipe 4: Grilled Chicken and Pesto Cheese Tortellini

  • Modified from Southern Living
  • Frozen cheese tortellini makes this a quick prep recipe.
  • 1 large or 2 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise (about 1 1/4 lb.)
  • boneless chicken breasts (if breasts are thick or thick on one end and thin on the other, place on a cutting board and top with plastic wrap. Use a kitchen mallet to lightly pound out to an even thickness).
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning or use a combination of herbs from your garden - oregano, basil, thyme, and garlic (either dried or minced)
  • 1 (19-oz.) package frozen cheese-filled tortellini
  • 1/4 - 1/3 c. pesto
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
1. Preheat grill to 300° to 350° (medium) heat. Sprinkle zucchini and chicken with seasoning.
2. Grill zucchini 4-6 minutes on each side or until tender. I prefer to grill my veggies on a grill pan made to sit on the grill so they don't burn but you can grill them directly on your grates, just watch so they don't overcook.
3. Grill chicken 6-8 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from grill; let stand 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare tortellini according to package directions.
4. Chop chicken and zucchini in large bite-size. Toss tortellini with pesto, tomatoes, chicken, and zucchini. Sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.

Week 49, Recipe 5: Grilled Pepper & Sausage Calzones

  • We do a lot of pizza/calzones in the summer. Mainly because you can use it to fill/top with whatever veggies you've got from the garden or were on sale/in season at the farmer's market or grocery store.
  • For weeknight meals, make your pizza dough ahead of time (see link to my recipe below) and freeze extras. I pull out a dough and place in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap the night before we want to eat so the dough has about 24 hours to thaw in the fridge. Let set at room temp about 30 minutes before rolling out. It works great!
  • This recipe is modified from Cooking Light Magazine, July 2009.
  • 1 pizza dough
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick round slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage links (turkey or pork)
  • Pizza sauce
  • 1-2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat grill to medium high and oven to 500.
2. Coat veggies with oil and place them, along with sausage links, on a grill rack or grill pan coated with cooking spray. Grill veggies about 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Grill sausages until cooked through, turning occasionally.
3. Remove veggies and sausages and cool slightly. Cut onion slices in half and peppers into 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut sausages diagonally into thin slices.
4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface; divide dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into an approximate 9x5-inch rectangle. Spread one half (leaving a 1/4-inch border) with pizza suace and top with peppers, sausage and cheese. Fold other half of dough over filling. Press edges together with a fork to seal.
5. Place calzones on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat calzones with cooking spray and bake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before cutting in half. Serve with remaining pizza sauce for dipping.

August 18, 2011

Week 48, Recipe 1: Grilled Zucchini, Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwiches

  • Yum! We've had this twice already. Great way to use up garden zucchini, tomatoes & basil.
  • Modified from Cooking Light
  • 1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices
  • About 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (2-ounce) ciabatta rolls, split and toasted OR a loaf of ciabatta bread, cut in half lengthwise then into 4 sections 
  • Several large fresh basil leave per sandwich
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat on the stove or heat your grill to medium. Place sliced zucchini in a shallow dish, add 2 teaspoons oil and garlic and toss to coat.
2. Cook zucchini 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Cut each zucchini piece in half crosswise and return to shallow dish. Drizzle with vinegar and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
3. Brush cut side of rolls with olive oil and the vinegar/garlic left in the shallow bowl with the zucchini. Toast on the grill until golden brown.
4. Top bread evenly with zucchini, basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella.

Week 48, Recipe 2: Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta

  • This is fresh and easy! Great for a weekend lunch or dinner or if you are home in time on a weeknight to assemble sauce (it has to stand at room temp for at least 1 hour).
  • From Simply in Season
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 lbs chopped tomatoes (chop, sprinkle with salt and drain for 30 minutes if you have time in a colander)
  • 1/2 c. fresh basil, snipped with a scissors into thin strips or chopped
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lb pasta shells, ziti, penne, etc.
  • Parmesan or Feta cheese
1. Combine the first 5 ingredients and let stand at room temp for 1-2 hours.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Combine hot pasta with sauce. Top with Parmesan or feta cheese.

Week 48, Recipe 3: Potato & Zucchini Frittata

  • Modified from www.thekitchn.com, original recipe from Serving Up the Harvest
  • Great way to use garden zucchini and potatoes. The frittata is very filling.
  • Add cooked ham or bacon for a non-vegetarian option.
  • 1 large zucchini or yellow summer squash, sliced
  • Salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons oil, or more as needed
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 8-10 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar
1. Combine the zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt in a colander and toss well. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the sliced potatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, flipping and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes, turning the burner to medium high for the last 5 minutes (the other, quicker option is to boil sliced potatoes for 5 minutes, drain and pat dry, then fry until golden, about 10 minutes). Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl but keep the skillet on the burner.
3. Transfer the zucchini to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Add the zucchini and onion to the skillet and saute over medium-high heat, about 4 minutes. Remove the zucchini and onion with a slotted spoon and add to potatoes and onion. Keep the skillet over the heat.
4. Beat the eggs and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until well blended. Fold in the potatoes, zucchini and cheese.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil to the skillet as needed to lightly coat the bottom. Pour in the egg mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook without stirring until the bottom is set, about 5 minutes. Lift the sides of the frittata and tilt the pan so that the uncooked egg in the middle runs underneath. Do this several times on all sides and cook for another 5 minutes.
6. Transfer the skillet to the oven (cover any plastic parts like the handle with foil) and bake until the top is set about 10 minutes.
7. Turn on your broiler and cook under broiler 2-4 minutes, just until golden brown and middle is completely set. If you do not have a broiler, continue to bake at 350 degrees until completely set.
8. Remove from oven and slide frittata out onto a serving platter or cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve. A little hot sauce is yummy with the frittata and you can also serve it with warmed flour tortillas.

Week 48, Recipe 4: Perfect Hamburger and Zucchini Fritters

  • Recipe (for hamburger) modified from from Annie's Eats, originally from Williams Sonoma
  • The Zucchini Fritters (recipe below the hamburgers) are SOOO delicious and perfect for the too-large zucchini that was hiding under the leaves. We serve them with warmed marinara dipping sauce or ranch but they're good as is too!
  • 1 lb. ground hamburger
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 or 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • Sliced tomato, sliced onion, avocado, lettuce, pickle cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc. for serving
1. Heat grill to medium.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, yellow onion, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each 3⁄4 inch thick. Press a circular indention into the middle of each burger so the edges are thicker than the middle - the patty with plump in the middle during cooking.
3. Grill the hamburgers directly over medium-high heat, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes per side. If making cheeseburgers, place a slice of cheese on top of each hamburger during the last 3 minutes of cooking.
4. During the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking, toast the hamburger buns, cut side down, on the grill. Serve the hamburgers on the buns with desired toppings.

INGREDIENTS - Zucchini Fritters
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2-3/4 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp of fresh herbs of choice (basil, oregano, thyme) or 1-2 tsp dried Italian seasoning or just salt and pepper, 1 tsp each
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
1. Find 3 shallow bowls.
2. In one bowl, beat the 2 eggs with 1 tbsp water.
3. In another bowl, add the flour.
4. In the 3rd bowl, add the breadcrumbs, fresh herbs or dried Italian seasoning and 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.
5. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add a thin layer of oil over bottom of pan.
6. Dip zucchini sliced in flour, shaking off excess, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Fry until golden brown on one side then flip and fry on opposite side. Remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle (while hot) with extra salt if desired. Serve with warmed marinara sauce, Ranch, or just eat plain!

Week 48, Recipe 5: Grilled Chicken Fajitas

  • Recipe modified from Annie's Eats, adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, original recipe from Cooks Illustrated
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 6 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, ribbed and diced
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. pepper
  • About 1 - 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into ½-inch thick slices, rings not separated
  • 2 large bell peppers, yellow, red or orange, stemmed, quartered and seeded
  • Flour tortillas
  • Other desired toppings - avocado, sour cream, salsa, etc.
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and pepper. Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade; set aside. Place the chicken breast halves in the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
2. Brush both sides of the onion rounds and peppers with the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, heat one side of grill to medium-high heat and the other side to medium-low.
4. Remove the chicken breast halves from the marinade and grill until well browned on both sides over the medium-high side. Grill the onion rounds and peppers on a grill rack on the medium-low if you have one until spottily charred and crisp-tender, about 8-12 minutes, turning once or twice as needed. When the chicken and vegetables are done, transfer them to a large plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
5. Warm tortillas on the grill or wrapped in a moist clean kitchen towel in the microwave.
6. Separate the onions into rings and place them in a medium bowl. Slice the bell peppers lengthwise into ¼-inch strips and add them to the bowl with the onions. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved unused marinade and toss well to combine. Slice the chicken into ¼-inch strips and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade in another bowl. Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a large platter with the warmed tortillas and serve.