Saturday, July 26, 2008

You know its summer when...

Tonight we had corn on the cob, sauteed zucchini, squash and eggplant, bratwurst and home made cole slaw. My Mom taught me her cole slaw dressing recipe and I couldn't believe how easy and good it was. Better than the bottled and a whole lot cheaper too!

1/4 cup Miracle Whip, cannot substitute mayonnaise
1 T milk

Blend until desired consistency reached. I like mine kind of thick so you may need to add more or less milk.

1 T sugar
pepper, to taste
couple dashes celery seed (this was my addition)

Whisk everything together and voila! Just toss it with some shredded cabbage.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Roast Chicken with Summer Pasta

Last year for our wedding anniversary my husband decided that he wanted to buy me something really nice, either diamond earrings or new appliances. Baby did right and chose the appliances. I'm that kind of girl. I chose a convection/microwave oven. I love this and would recommend one to anyone who cooks on a regular basis. I've done everything from grill pork chops, bake bread and cookies, nuke leftovers and popcorn, to well, roast a chicken! Mine has a little touchscreen where you just tell it what your want to make and it will take over from there. Very Jetson's. Plus, since it goes over my range, I have a double oven. This really comes in handy around the holidays.

Today was my first attempt at roasting a chicken in it. I had a 4 lb bird, summer squash, zucchini, green peppers, onion, tomatoes and fresh pasta from our local farmer's co-op. Along with a little olive oil and some spices, this made for dinner fixings. And plenty of leftovers!
Summer Pasta
1 yellow squash, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 zucchini, chopped into bite size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup favorite tomato sauce
1 lb pasta
In a large, deep skillet heat olive oil and garlic. Add the zucchini and squash. When they start to soften, add the onion and green pepper. Finally after a few minutes, add the tomatoes and sauce along with salt & pepper to taste. Mix in the cooked pasta of your choice.
If you are to freeze this make sure to under cook the pasta! Place in a zip-top bag with name & date. To reheat defrost overnight in the fridge and microwave until hot. You may need to add a little water since the pasta will absorb any sauce.
Oh and yes, I know my plating skills suck.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Roast chicken
More bread
Zucchini oatmeal cookies

Too busy to do much cooking now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Major Tom To Ground Control

I'm kind of curious as to who my readers are. Are there even any of you out there?
If you read me, leave a comment! Let me know who you are, if you have tried any of my recipes or have any suggested recipes of your own.
Are there anythings that you would like me to write about? Anything you want me to stop writing about? That is a rhetorical question by the way.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Stuffed Zucchini that stuffed me

My husband has deemed this one "Company Worthy". That is high success, right there. I must say it was pretty tasty and easy.
1 lb ground lamb
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 T olive oil
2 small eggplant, diced
2 eggs
1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce, I used a roasted red pepper one
1 large yellow squash
1 large zucchini
Parmesan cheese
bread crumbs
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350.
Brown the lamb and saute the onion and garlic along with.
Remove from pan and add to a large bowl.
Slice the zucchini and squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle. Be sure to leave flesh at the ends to hold in the goodies! Chop the flesh and add to pan with olive oil and eggplant.
Saute this until slightly softened.
Add this to the bowl along with salt and pepper to taste. Dump in the spaghetti sauce and the two eggs. Mix until well combined.
Put the zucchini and squash halves into a deep casserole dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Load the lamb mixture into the zucchini & squash. Really fill them to almost overflowing. Sprinkle on a nice layer of Parmesan followed by a layer of bread crumbs.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are browned and fork tender.
I served them up along side of some rice and it was a fine meal.
The next time I make this I will most likely use ground pork just because I usually have that in the freezer.
Note: if you are going to freeze this, do not freeze the zucchini and squash boats. Just freeze the filling before baking. Thaw overnight in fridge and them fill the zucchini and squash. Or even use this as a filling for peppers or a sauce to go over pasta.

There's what in it?

While reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I came across a recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies. My first thought was, EEeeewwwww. Then I thought I about it, zucchini bread is good and doesn't taste like zucchini at all.
Since I just so happen to have a spare zucchini sitting around and a house of men who love chocolate chip cookies, I made them.
Actually, Gryffin and I made them. He helped measure, peel, shred, mix, scoop, lick and taste test. They turned out really delicious. They are soft and chocolaty and the zucchini adds a bit of sweet and chewy texture.
I will refrain from reprinting the recipe. You can check it out at:
I highly recommend it.

In a pickle pickle

I am forced to relent to the over abundance of zucchini this time of year. My vegetable bins runneth over with zucchini, cucumber and yellow squash. I've pickled to the point where neighbors see me with a jar and shut the blinds and lock the doors. The latter of which NEVER happens in this neighborhood. Apparently they feel as I do, if I eat any more I'm going to be pissing vinegar and pooping vines. Therefore; this week I'm making zucchini chocolate chip cookies and canned zucchini bread. The first to be eaten, the latter to be stored until gift giving season arrives. The eggplant is being roasted with a stuffing of lamb tonight. .Oh, did I mention the three dozen free range eggs that take up prime real estate in my overcrowded fridge? I need to make a HUGE batch of freezer quiche.
I will post recipes as I make them over the next couple days.
What are your favorite uses for zucchini, cukes and squash?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Market Madness

Thank goodness for my corner market. I'm not really up for cooking dinner tonight and have enough left over veggies that all I really needed was meat. Every thing I had required thawing and at 4:30 in the evening, its not really an option. I wandered the whopping block to the market, strolled right back to the deli counter. We are lucky enough to have a hot deli as well. For about $6 you can get a meat and two sides. They also set out the heat and eat stuff like their own recipe ribs, wings, lasagna, brisket and what we are having tonight- meatloaf.
$5.50 bought us just under a pound meatloaf.
I also picked up some, as I found out, locally grown bacon. This stuff is thick sliced and actually has more meat than fat. Did you know bacon still grew like that?
Anyway, the meatloaf is in the oven and the peas and carrots just need a nuke.
I feel guilty about this 'store bought' dinner. I was planning on making zucchini and eggplant stuffed with ground lamb. Time got away from me, so did desire to be honest. Tomorrow night for sure though.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Parmesean zucchini

Today on Healthy Appetite with Elle Kreiger I witnessed her baking up some Parmesan dredged zucchini slices. Mike turned to me and said, "Take notes". I did.
Tonight for dinner we had them and even our three year old ate a couple. Mike had seconds! That's big because I think we are all sick of zucchini.

Parmesan Zucchini

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 large zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1-2 T olive oil

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Slice the zucchini and coat with olive oil. Combine the cheese and breadcrumbs. Dredge the zucchini slices in the bread crumb mixture and place on the baking sheet in a single layer. Put under the broiler until they are GBD (golden, brown, delicious). It only takes a few minutes so keep an eye on them.

Sweet Beet Down

I took a sweet potato and two bunches of beets, one yellow, one red and fried them within an inch of their nutritious lives. Damn if they weren't yummy. Unfortunately, the other members of my family had to take my word for it because they don't keep. They lost their crispy within a couple hours. I think I will reserve this recipe for party tricks and late night chip cravings. Here is what I did:

Sweet Potato & Beet Chips

1 large sweet potato
2 bunches of beets
vegetable oil, enough to fill an electric fryer about half full or enough to fill a deep fryer
spicy steak seasoning, I'd name the specific brand if they paid me to

Slice the veggies and 1/8th inch thick, I used a mandolin slicer. Heat the oil to 350 and lay out a wire rack with a paper bag underneath for draining. When the oil is up to temp, add the sliced veggies in small batches, stirring and turning frequently. The sweet potatoes turn a little brown when done, the beets you kind of have to use the curl method. When the sides curl up, they are usually done. Remove from oil to rack with a slotted spoon or spider and sprinkle with salt and steak seasoning. Serve immediately. And I do mean immediately.

I had them for lunch the day I made them. Can I just say that all the cravings of sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy and soft were met. When it comes to the sweet potatoes the middles will still be slightly soft when done but I found this to be a nice little surprise.

For dinner that night, I took the beet greens and sauteed them up in a little olive oil and garlic. They turned out really bitter so the next time I do this I will probably add a little sugar. Otherwise, they were good.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Money CAN buy you happiness!

Fair Shares for this week:
1 dozen free range eggs
1 head of broccoli
1 bunch of fresh tarragon
2 eggplants
1lb green beans
5 large red potatoes
1 bunch yellow beets
1 English cucumber
2 regular cucumbers
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 large package of tortillas
6 bagels
1 package fresh chevre
1 bag of tortilla chips
a little over a pound of ground lamb
All of this is either locally grown or produced. Now, could you have bought all this from your big box grocery store for $50?
What do I plan to do with all this local loveliness?
The zucchini, squash and eggplants will be used in a vegetable lasagna.
The eggs will be used to make freezer quiche.
The lamb will be curried in a hurry.
The tortillas will be slapped in a crock pot for a Mexican lasagna.
The green beans and red potatoes will made into my Sausage Bean Pot, scroll through previous posts for recipe.
The chevre and tarragon will be added to a grilled chicken pizza.
The chips and bagels will be devoured all on their own.
Oh and the beets will be added to last weeks purple beets and fried up into chips.
How's that for a menu for a week?!
I will post recipes as I make them so check back.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fast Break Breakfast

So you think you don't have time to make a hot, home cooked breakfast? Think again. Baked bacon and pancakes are the answer. My husband loves pancakes. Me, never been a big fan. They always seemed too heavy, until I came up with these. I believe the recipe originally came from the Food Network but I revised it several times to get them the way I wanted them. This meant cutting out the fat and salt and making them come out light and fluffy.
First off, the baked bacon. Thank you Alton Brown for this one! There's really no recipe to it. All you do is lay the bacon flat on a cooling rack inserted into a baking sheet. Now, take this opportunity to put as much bacon as you can squeeze onto the rack. I try to do a pound at a time, this way I have bacon for sandwiches, salad and casseroles for the whole week. Place in a cold oven, set temperature to 400. Depending on how you like your bacon this could take anywhere from 20-30 minutes. We like ours crispy, so it's about 30-35. Just think how yummy this would be if sprinkled with either brown sugar or freshly cracked black pepper? While the bacon is cooking the pancakes can be made.
1 c flour
1 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 egg
1 1/2 T melted butter
1 c buttermilk
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk together all remaining and add to the dry. Whisk all ingredients until just combined. There will be lumps! These will dissapate during cooking. If you mix the batter too much the pancakes will be more dense. Let the batter rest for a few minutes until you see little bubbles start to appear.
On a preheated griddle, ladle a 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. When bubbles appear and no longer burst, flip. Remove when they are golden brown.
This recipe makes 12 pancakes. It can be doubled, tripled, whatever because they freeze wonderfully. Just separate each pancake with a piece of wax paper, wrap the whole thing in foil and put into a zip-top bag. Don't forget to mark it with the content and date! These keep in the freezer (if well wrapped) for about 3 months. To reheat, grab as many as you want and pop into the microwave until hot. There's no need to defrost them.
Another great thing about this recipe is that you can add fresh blueberries or chocolate chips, mashed banana and walnuts or just about anything! Keep them plain for freezing because the fruit gets mushy and other things like chocolate and nuts could turn bitter though.
If you try this recipe, be sure to let me know what you think!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sausage Bean Pot

This recipe started out as a 'throw together'. That means that I had no idea what I was going to make and threw what I had together. Now it has become a regular on the menu. It's awesome for when you just don't feel like cooking but will want a hot, comforting dinner.
What you will need:
1 lb red potatoes, I prefer ones no larger than an egg
1 medium onion, sliced thick
1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 lb polska kiel basa sausage, cut into 2" chunks
1 T dried sage
1/2 T garlic powder
1 T dried rosemary
Prick the potatoes with a fork and lay in the bottom of the crock pot in a single layer. Add the green beans, then the sausage and onion. Sprinkle with the seasonings and add just enough water to come about half way up the potatoes. Cover and set the crock pot on low. The cooking time will depend on the size of the potatoes, the smaller they are the faster they will cook. Its done when the potatoes are fork tender. Usually if I want dinner at five I will start the crock pot around noon.
Along with a batch of cornbread this will feed my family of three and give my husband enough leftovers for his lunch the next day.
Price breakdown:
Sausage- $2.50 a lb (when I catch them on sale)
Potatoes- $0.99 a lb
Green beans- $0.99 a lb
Onion- 5 lbs for a $1, so I say about $0.25
Seasonings- about $0.25
So for a family of four, its $1.25 per person!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another experiment in leftovers

Grilled zucchini and squash + chives + tomato + chevre + a frozen quiche and pie crust = DINNER! I had a myriad of food that had to be used soon. The one thing that I love about quiche is that its a garbage pie. You can put anything into it and it will come out amazing. It was so good Mike didn't even complain there wasn't any meat in it.
Frozen Quiche
4 eggs
3 c milk
1/2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 c shredded cheese
Whisk all of it together and pour into 4 quart sized freezer bags. At this point you could also add any meat or veggies you like such as: ham, broccoli, bacon, chicken, peas, etc.
I usually make at least a couple plain to allow for leftovers when I make it and the rest with whatever accouterments I have on hand.
Double bag and freeze flat.
To cook, thaw overnight in the fridge. You can either make your pie crust or use a store bought one. Shake the bag to combine the ingredients and pour into pie shell until 1/2 full. It will rise during baking so don't overfill! Bake until the crust is GBD and the center is still a little giggly. Let stand at least 5 minutes to firm up.
Tonight I served this with a salad and some toasted multi-grain bread with chevre and fresh basil that I tucked under the broiler for a few minutes.

10 Grain Honey Bread

Mmmm, fresh bread. Upon the discover of a loaf of bread costing almost as much as a gallon of milk, I have rededicated myself to making (at least) a loaf a week. This is the one I made last week and is a variation of my normal recipe. Through our co-op we scored some 10 grain flour and I just can't let that kind of goodness just sit.

10 Grain Honey Bread
1 cup hot water
3 T vegetable oil
2 T honey
2 cups bread flour
1 cup 10 grain flour (or wheat)
4 t vital wheat gluten
3 T sugar
3 T nonfat dry milk
1 t salt
2 1/4 t bread machine yeast
Add ingredients in the above listed order to your handy-dandy bread machine. Set for a 1 lb loaf with medium crust color. Let it slave away while you sit back with a cuppa and enjoy the smell of fresh baking bread waft through your house.
I found this to be especially tasty as a BLTA. That's a BLT with avocado. My son also loves this with PB & J and spread with some cream cheese mixed with basil & garlic its awesome!

And you thought I had given up!

Sorry for the lack of postage. These past couple of weeks have been as messy as pitting cherries. Speaking of: I made a pie. No big deal, right? Ah, but this pie is different than any other pie I've made. When I make cherry pies I use the cherries in a jar from Trader Joe's to make the filling. This time thanks to our awesome farmer's co-op I got to try my hand at making my own filling from fresh cherries- and raspberries too!
I learned that pitting cherries by hand requires goggles, a firing chamber and a red t-shirt because if its not already that color it will be soon.
I put about 2 cups cherries and 1/2 cup raspberries in a pot with equal parts of sugar and water. Brought it up to a simmer and let it reduce until thick. I poured the whole syrupy, sticky, delicious mess into a pie crust, covered with another, made pretty little cut outs because I like Martha Stewart better now that she's a fellon and stuck that baby in the oven. Then I churned up some vanilla ice cream to accompany.
This is the result. It tasted so good that when I read our list of foods we are getting today from the co-op, I was really disappointed to not get any more cherries. Hey, but I do have some blueberries in the fridge! Hhmmmm, wheels a turning.