Garlic Parmesan Chicken with Roast Zucchini


Hello all–  This supper is brought to you by Mr. Wicks.  He’s our next door neighbor with the virtual “farm” in his small back yard. It’s mid June and his tomato plants are 6 feet tall!   And we are the lucky recipients of his bounty.  This week it’s zucchini!  (thank you Mr.s Wicks!)

Add some super savory chicken– parmesan AND garlic– so much flavor!  Add some small ravioli and a bright salad, it makes a fine summer supper.

ROAST ZUCCHINI
3 medium zucchini, chopped to bite sized bits
4 tab. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil

Toss the chopped zucchini, oil, garlic, salt and dried basil into a mixing bowl and stir it up until the zucchini is thoroughly coated.  Spread the zucchini on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil.

Cook it up at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until it’s tender and just slightly browned around the edges.

While that’s cooking, make the chicken…

GARLIC PARMESAN CHICKEN
4 tab. butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup parmesan
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried basil

Filet the chicken breasts, cutting them horizontally to make 4 thinner flat pieces of chicken.  In a shallow bowl mix together the parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and basil.

Melt 3 tab. of butter in a large nonstick skillet (do not let it brown).  Then coat the chicken filets with the parmesan mixture and then lay it into the hot skillet.

Cook the chicken about 3 minutes on each side until it’s nicely browned and the chicken is cooked through.  Add the 4th tablespoon of butter when you turn the chicken over.   Platter it up with the zucchini and serve it while it’s hot.  Enjoy!

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Zucchini Corn Chowder


Hey there– OK, I’m ready– to have a new start after Christmas.  Tree down- check!  Decorations boxed up- check check!  Fudge all eaten– double check!  House in order again- mostly checkity check (close enough)!

Here’s a flavorful bowl of soup– warm and filling.  If you want to be a bit more healthy, change out the bacon for olive oil (we just had a bit of bacon leftover in the freezer, calling to be used!).  With a big chunk of study bread, just right for a winter’s evening.

ZUCCHINI  CORN CHOWDER
1 tab. butter
4 strips of bacon, cut to small bits (or substitute 3 tab. olive oil)
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, but to small bits
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 cups corn (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 smallish zucchini, cut to small pieces
1 cup half & half or whole milk
salt & freshly ground pepper
garnish: chopped parsley or grated cheddar

In a soup pot, cook the butter and bacon until the bacon starts to crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pot and set aside, leaving the fat/butter in the pot.

Add in the cut onion and carrots and cook until they are tender (about 5 minutes), stirring now & then.  Add in the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Pour in the water along with the bay leaf and dried basil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the corn and zucchini and simmer 5 minutes more until the zucchini is tender.

Take 2 cups of the mixture out of the pot to a blender (or with a stick blender) and puree it to thicken the soup.  Add the puree and half & half to the pot.  Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add the bacon back into the pot.

Bring it back to a simmer jut to heat it all through and serve with a sprinkle of grated cheddar or chopped parsley (or both!).

 

Zucchini Gratin

Hi friends– We have a smallish Farmers Market in the next town over– every Thursday.  Not like the lavish markets I hear some you refer too (I mean you Brooklyn & Madison), but OK.  So last week Larry stopped in and brought home a bagful, including the cutest little assortment of squash.

It sort of inspired me to make this zucchini dish I’d been eyeing– although I didn’t really use his squash (ran to the store for actual zucchini!).  It’s a luscious beautiful way to “eat your vegetables!”

ZUCCHINI GRATIN
1  1/2 pounds zucchini (8 or 9)
garlic salt
1  1/2 cups cheddar, grated*
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp.salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

With a sharp knife thinly slice the zucchini.  Toss the slices in a bowl with a few shakes of garlic salt.  Let it sit for 20 minutes.  Then wrap the zucchini in paper towels and give them a squeeze to take out extra moisture.

In a mixing bowl beat together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  Stir in just 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Arrange 1/2 of the zucchini in a tart pan (or 9″ square deep baking dish) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese over the stop.

Repeat with the rest of the zucchini and the pour the milk & egg mixture over it all.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Pop the whole thing into a 375 degree over for 40 to 45 minutes until the zucchini is tender when stuck with a fork.  (Watch it in the oven, if it starts to get too brown on top, cover the top with a piece of foil.)  Serve hot from the oven– Delish!!

*I like Colby jack for the color and the way it melts…

And these are the tiny squash Larry brought home from the Farmer’s market– really unrelated, but so cute!

Zucchini & Tomato Pasta

 

Hi all– Still “tomato time” around here.  So many tomatoes!  We are eating them twice a day–lunch and dinner (so far no tomatoes have slipped into our breakfast cereal!)  And this is my favorite use of our “crop” so far.

The little cherry tomatoes burst and shed their juices.  And this mixed with parmesan and garlic makes a lovely rich sauce.  Throw in some pasta and its a pretty perfect summer supper.  I was excited that we had leftovers to enjoy it all over again!

ZUCCHINI & TOMATO PASTA
8 oz. of your favorite pasta
6 oz. pancetta (or 6 slices of bacon), chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped to bits
garlic salt & freshly ground pepper
4 cups cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parmesan romano
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut to shreds

While you are making the tomato topping, put the pasta on to cook.

Cut the pancetta to small bits and cook it in a large nonstick skillet.  When it’s cooked crispy, remove the bacon from the skillet, leaving the fat in the pan.

Put the chopped zucchini in the skillet.  Sprinkle with garlic salt & freshly ground pepper.  Cook 4 or 5 minutes until the zucchini starts to brown, but is still crispy (not soggy!).  Take out the zucchini and set aside.

Then add the tomatoes to the skillet.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper and cook on high heat, 7 or 8 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and release their juices.  Add the minced garlic to the skillet the last couple minutes the tomatoes are cooking.  Stir in the parmesan romano, stirring to melt it a bit.

Finally add the zucchini & bacon back to the skillet. Stir in the shredded basil.   Spread the drained pasta on a platter and then top it with the tomato mixture.  Enjoy!

Chicken & Summer Veggie Tostadas

Hello all– If you go into our back yard and peek through the fence, you can see our neighbor, Mr. Wicks’ garden!  Really more of a mini-farm.  Fruit trees and all kinds of squash,  green beans and loaded tomato bushes eight feet tall!  And he’s generous.  Giving out fruit and his famous roses to neighbors who pass by.  And we are the often happy beneficiaries of his bounty– this week zucchini and yellow squash!

And of course, the best way to use any lovely food is to roll it into a taco, in this case a tostada.  Thanks Mr. Wicks.  They were delicious!

 

CHICKEN & SUMMER VEGGIE TOSTADAS
1 tab. olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
1 medium zucchini, chopped to small bits
1 cup fresh (or frozen, defrosted) corn kernels
1/2 cup sales verde
3 tab. chopped cilantro
6 standard corn tortillas
1 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup colby jack, grated
garnish: cilantro, avocado slices

 

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet.  Mix the cumin, salt & pepper in a bowl.  Cut the chicken into flat filets and dredge it in the cumin mixture.  Set it in the hot pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Take the chicken out of the pan to a cutting board and cut it into small bite size pieces.

In the same skillet, add the chopped red onion, zucchini and corn.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the salsa verde and cilantro.  Mix. Take it off the heat.

Set the tortillas onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Brush the tablespoon of olive oil onto the tortillas.  Set them under the broiler on a medium heat setting for 1 or 2 minutes until they are crispy and lightly browned.

Then stir the chicken into the zucchini mixture and heap it onto the tortillas.  Sprinkle the cheese over the tops and set them back under the broiler for just a minute until the cheese melts.  Garnish with cilantro & avocado.  Add a crispy salad and dinner is ready!!

Lemon Zucchini Bread

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Hello cooking buddies–  It’s been a quiet week for me here.  Staying with my dear Mom as she recovers from a couple hospital stays last week.  Mostly I’ve been sitting and working on some unnamed Christmas gifts (just in case any of the recipients are reading… I mean you Laurel!)  We watch old movies and eat soup.  A unique and actually sweet time with Mom.

So all I have to share with you is a luscious lemony loaf of bread I made a few weeks ago for friends.  It’s tender and tart and looks a little bit like sunshine on the plate.  If you’re looking for something sweet to give away this Christmas, you might just like this pretty bread.

LEMON ZUCCHINI BREAD

Bread:
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
2 tab. lemon juice*
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tab. lemon zest (peel)*
2 cups grated zucchini (2 smallish zucchini)
1 tsp. vanilla

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tab. lemon juice*
2 tab.grated lemon peel*

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To start out, grate 2 smallish zucchini with a box grater (largest holes) to produce 2 cups of grated zucchini.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the canola oil, yogurt, lemon juice, eggs and sugar until blended and smooth.  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.  And finally fold in the zucchini and vanilla.

Spoon the batter into a standard loaf pan (9″x 5″) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the bread rest a few minutes while you stir up the glaze.  Whisk together the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  If you like it thinner, stir in the 2nd tablespoon of lemon juice.  Drizzle over the cake.  And sprinkle the lemon peel on top.  Enjoy!

*One large lemon or two smaller lemons should be enough.

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Cheddar Zucchini Rice

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Hey there– here’s a new favorite side dish, easy, fast, fresh and creamy delicious.  It is a good match for a whole list of main dishes.  I made it a couple weeks ago when my dear friend Jenon came for dinner– lime salmon, asparagus, sturdy bread, a bright salad and this yummy rice.  Add in easy conversation with an old friend and it makes a fine dinner…

CHEDDAR ZUCCHINI RICE
2 tab. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 zucchini, grated to shreds
1 cup grated cheddar cheese*
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds over low heat.  Then stir in the rice, water and salt.  Bring up to a low simmer and cook 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Stir the uncooked, grated zucchini and the cheddar into the hot rice. Taste and add salt and/or pepper if you want to season it a bit more.  Easy, beautiful and delish!

*I used Colby-jack cheese, any easy melting cheese will do.

Tomato Zucchini Ricotta Pizza

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Hi there–Went over the Jac & Jackie’s for dinner with a table of friends this week.  There were huge fragrant sales of lasagne and a bright summer salad for dinner.  And to start us off with a little glass of celebratory bubbly wine (one more retirement toast!!), I brought along this “pizza.”  It’s more of an appetizer than a full meal, cut into small slices, but could be a lovely summer lunch or supper as well.

TOMATO ZUCCHINI RICOTTA PIZZA

Crust (makes enough for 2 12″ pizza crusts):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Cheese Topping:
3/4 cup ricotta
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (about 2 oz.)
3 tab. chopped basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tab. milk

Tomatoes & Zucchini:
1 pint small tomatoes (varied colors are nice)
1 small zucchini
3 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
a little more chopped basil for garnish

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch half the dough onto a 12″ pizza pans that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Wrap the other half of the dough in saran and save for another pizza soon.  Cook the dough for 7 minutes at 350 degrees without toppings.

While it’s cooking, mix the ricotta, feta, 3 tab. chopped basil, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt and milk in a bowl.  Set it aside.

Slice the Tomatoes and lay the slices onto a paper towel to drain off extra moisture.  Then with a peeler, shave the zucchini not thin slices.  Mix the zucchini and with 1 1/2 tab. olive oil.

Spread the ricotta mixture over the partially cooked crust.  Layer the zucchini over the top.

Then in a bowl, coat the tomatoes with the other 1 1/2 tab. of olive oil and layer them over the zucchini.  Season with salt & freshly ground pepper.

Pop the pizza into the 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is browned and the ricotta is bubbly.
Sprinkle on a little more chopped basil when you pull it from the oven.  Cut in slices and serve hot.

Zucchini Walnut Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_2717Hello there– This tidy little cake stood in for the birthday cake for Larry’s birthday– He doesn’t like too much sweetness (unlike his wife!) and I thought this would be just about what he would like in the way of cake.

I wish I had taken a picture with the tall red candles burning away on top!  But you’ll just have to imagine.  Happy Birthday dear Larry!

ZUCCHINI WALNUT CAKE WITH HONEY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Cake:
1 1/2 cups zucchini, grated (about 1 medium zucchini)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped*

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese
4 tab. butter (1/2 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. honey

Candied Walnuts:
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sugar

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Grate that zucchini and set it aside.

Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl– the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then stir in the vanilla, oil and eggs.  Finally fold in the zucchini and walnuts.

Scoop the thick batter into a 9″ square or round cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and bake it at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.  Poke it with a thin knife to be sure it’s cooked through (it takes longer than you think it should).

Let the cake cool before you frost it.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer.  Then beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla and honey.  Spread it on the cooled cake.

To make the candied walnuts,  drop the 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/4 cup sugar into a small skillet and stir continuously over medium heat until the sugar completely melts and turns a beautiful golden color.  (Be careful.  This is so hot!)

When the nuts are all coated, turn them out onto a piece of foil and let them cool (it just takes a couple minutes) before you arrange them on top of the frosted cake.

*1 cup is a whole lot of walnuts for this small size of cake.  Maybe you’d want less (like 1/2 a cup).  I just love nuts so I overdo them, I afraid.

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P.S. I’m loving my new/old white plate sitting under the cake.  I picked it up in a thrift store settled into a little white clapboard church building along the way on our drive through rural New York this summer.  A $1 bargain plate–just my kind of shopping!

Fresh Corn & Zucchini Pie

IMG_1346Hello there– It’s that zucchini time of year.  I wish I could say we have a bountiful, beautiful zucchini patch in our side yard.  But not this year.  So I’m depending on the market for m supply. But zucchini –and that fresh corn just taste like summer. So here it is…

FRESH CORN & ZUCCHINI PIE
2 smallish zucchini, cut into slices
2 yellow crooked neck squash, cut into slices
1 small yellow onion, chopped
splash of olive oil
2 ears fresh sweet corn
1/2 tsp salt*
1 tsp. dried basil
2 cups shredded cheese
(I used half colby jack & half mozzarella)
3 eggs

IMG_1351Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Then add the sliced zucchini, squash and onion.  Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring now and then.

While that’s cooking, slice the corn kernels off the cob.  After the first 5 minutes, throw the corn into the pan and cook 5 minutes more.  Season with the salt and basil.

In a large heat proof mixing bowl, beat the eggs til frothy with a whisk.  Stir in the cheese (but save a little handful aside to sprinkle on top)  and then scoop in the zucchini, squash and corn from the skillet into the bowl.  Mix it up and pour it into a 9 or 10″ baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

Cover the dish loosely with foil (try to keep it from touching the zucchini etc.) and pop it into a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake 10-12 minutes longer to brown up the top.

Let it sit about 10 minutes to firm up and then cut into warm, delicious slices.

*I used garlic salt instead of plain salt, just because I love that stuff.

P.S.  This makes great leftovers to tote to work for lunch.  Eggs suffer the microwave well, and I like a nice warm dish for lunch,  tastier than the routine sandwich.

Easy Zucchini Lasagna

IMG_1133Hi there you all– I’m loving this zucchini lasagna because it’s a little lighter than my heavy duty standard, filled with sausage and all that spicy tomato.  I think this must be the summer version of lasagna– just in time for when all those zucchini start ripening in your side yard.

And it’s easy with no bake noodles, a sauce you just whiz up in the blender and grated zucchini that you don’t have to cook ahead.  You pretty much just throw it together– and make a salad while it’s in the oven– summer dinner!

P.S.  I know it’s not summer yet.  But all the teachers at school (that’s me) are anticipating summer break around the corner (and the kids are too!).  I guess it’s just on my mind!

EASY ZUCCHINI LASAGNA

Topping:
1/4 cup parmesan romano, grated
2 tab. bread crumbs
1/4 pine nuts

Sauce:
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Other ingredients:
16 oz. fresh mozarella, broken into small bit with you fingers
2 cups zucchini, grated (2 small)
2 cups yellow crooked neck squash, grated (2 medium)
9 non-cook lasagna noodles (I use Barilla)

Mix the 1/4 cup parmesan and 2 tab. breadcrumbs and set aside.  Hold on to the pine nuts til later.

With a blender (or stick blender or food processor), mix together the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, milk, garlic, basil, salt and pepper– into a creamy sauce.

Then in a 8″x10″ baking dish layer the ingredients:

First, a thin layer of sauce, then 3 noodles-side by side, the zucchini & squash, mozarella and then 1/3 of the remaining sauce.

Do a second layer and then a third.  To them all off with the parmesan mixed with the bread crumbs.  Cover it closely with foil (try not to touch the top of the lasagna with the foil– it will stick).  And pop it into a 375 degree over for 45 minutes.

Pull out the lasagna.  Take off the foil.  Sprinkle on the pine nuts and cook 10 minutes more to brown the top a bit.

When you take it out of the oven, let it sit about 15 minutes before you dig into it so it will firm up a bit.  Oh yumm.

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi

IMG_2501Hi all–  I’ve had this recipe on the back of my mind for a while now.  But I wasn’t quite brave enough to try it.  It seemed a whole lot more complicated than dropping a package of pasta into a pot of boiling water.  But it turned out to be happily easier than I anticipated (like a lot of things I put off and put off!) and the gnocchi turned to be pillowy tender nibs of ricotta and zucchini– topped with my old favorite weekday spaghetti sauce.  Hope you give it a try too!

ZUCCHINI RICOTTA GNOCCHI

2 cups zucchini grated (with skins on)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup ricotta
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup parmesan
1 cup flour, divided

IMG_2491Grate the zucchini and combine it in a bowl with the salt.  Then spoon it into a colander and let in sit and drain for 20-30 minutes.  Press the zucchini to squeeze out the excess moisture.

Then stir together the zucchini, ricotta, egg yolk and parmesan.  Blend in 3/4 of the cup of flour, adding a bit at a time until you have a soft tender dough.

Sprinkle the other 1/4 cup of flour on a flat surface and form the dough into a ball on the flour.  Then divide the dough into 3 sections and roll them into long ropes 1″ in diameter.  If the dough feels too sticky, sprinkle on a bit more four.

Then cut the ropes into little sections and shape into ovals.  If you want, you can score the tops with a fork to make little grooves.

Drop the gnocchi about 10 at a time into a large pot of boiling water.  Leave them in the water until they rise to the surface (just 4 or 5 minutes) and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon to a waiting plate.

A big bowl of gnocchi with some bright pasta sauce, a crispy salad, a glass of wine– just about perfect…

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Zucchini Yogurt Muffins

IMG_9807Hello Morning Muffin Eaters–  It’s summer and I still have that baking itch– So let’s crank up the stove early, before it gets hotter around here.  Morning muffins.  That should do it.  These friendly little muffins are a good start to a summer morning.  Enjoy!

ZUCCHINI YOGURT MUFFINS
2 small zucchini
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup unflavored yogurt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped*

Grate the zucchini with the large holes of a box grater– should make about 2 cups.

Stir together the flour sugar,baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the eggs, oil, yogurt and milk.  Finally fold in the zucchini and nuts.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with paper liners** and pop them into the oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until they are golden and firm to the touch.

Lovely warm with butter and honey– or leftovers toasted crisp in the toaster the next day.

*1/2 cup nuts is fine– I like more.  It just depends on how “nutty” you are.
** If you live in socal, Sprouts sells the best muffin paper liners.  They are a nice neutral brown and like waxed paper, so they never stick to your baked goods.

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Zucchini Bran Muffins

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Hi there– Made these muffins a couple weeks ago when  group of friends were off to hike on a Saturday morning.  We met up for coffee and a nibble (that would be the muffins) and we set off up the freeway to Hollywood, where we parked the car in the prettiest old neighborhood and trekked up to  the Hollywood sign on the hill, with several stops to admire the views across Los Angeles along the way.

All that to say, these are fine muffins.  Just sweet enough and hearty from all that bran and zucchini.  A good way to start off a morning of hiking…

ZUCCHINI BRAN MUFFINS:
1 medium zucchini, grated to shreds
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
1 cup1 flour
1 cup bran
1 1/2  tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup walnuts (or pecans), chopped (optional)

In a mixing bowl, stir together the grated zucchini, sugar, eggs, oil and yogurt.  Then thoroughly mix in the flour, bran, baking powder and salt.  Finally fold in the nuts.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with paper wrappers (makes 12 muffins) and pop them into a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until they are lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Butter and marmalade along with a mug of tea make them just about perfect.

Eggplant & Zucchini Pizza (with bacon)

IMG_6686EGGPLANT & ZUCCHINI PIZZA (WITH BACON)

Crust (makes 2 crusts):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

IMG_6695Toppings:
4 slices bacon
1 Chinese eggplant, cut in small chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 zucchini, grated

Cut the bacon to tiny bits and cook it up in a nonstick pan.  When it’s done remove it from the pan to a paper towel to drain.  Toss the chunks of eggplant into the pan and brown it in the bacon drippings .

Mix together the olive oil and minced garlic, Then on the pizza crusts, that have been rising for 10 or 15 minutes, spread the garlicky olive oil with the back of a spoon clear to the edges.  Sprinkle on the cheese.  Then top with red onion, eggplant, cilantro, zucchini and then bacon.

Pop it all into a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is golden.  Eat it piping hot and I promise it will be delicious.

 

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

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Hi friends–  I don’t know if you’re like me, but the second fall peeks around the corner, you get the baking bug.  I’m just looking for excuses to pop something sweet into the oven.  And this is my favorite style of cake to bake up– simple, sweet and easy.  I’d like to say that it’s “oh so healthy” with all that grated zucchini– but we know it’s CAKE.  So, in any case, if you are looking for something yummy to put in your oven (seeing as it’s almost fall) you might like this chocolaty cake as much as I did!

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium)
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk**

1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped to bits
powered sugar for dusting

Grate the zucchini and set it aside.  then Stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Then mix in the oil, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk.  Finally fold in the zucchini, chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into a 9″ x 13″ cake pan*** sprayed with cooking spray.  Then set it into a 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes until it comes out firm to the touch.  When it’s cooled, dust the top with powdered sugar through a sieve.  This cake tastes even better with a big spoonful of ice cream nestled up next to it.

IMG_3821*I love the Hershy’s extra dark cocoa
**You can substitute 1/2 cup regular milk with a splash of cider vinegar for the buttermilk.
*** I made just half a recipe for the cake in the photo– so I could used a smaller springform pan.

Shrimp & Dill Pasta Salad

IMG_2323

Hi there-  A while back we had a salad potluck here in the backyard under the maple trees.  You name it– green salads, potato salads, fruit salads, chicken salads…  But the one that struck my fancy was this super delicious shrimp pasta salad.  I promptly emailed to my buddy Kathy begging for the recipe.  And she was forthcoming (thanks Kathy!) with just how it was made.  I whipped up a large batch and lunched on it all week!  So I’d like to pass on the recipe for this delicious stuff to you…

SHRIMP & DILL PASTA SALAD
8 oz. tiny tube macaroni
2 tab. olive oil
a couple shakes of salt
1 smallish zucchini, cut to small thin bits
4 oz. small size shrimp
1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped fine
1/3 cup green onion,  chopped
1 cup mayonaise
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. fresh dill, chopped
(or 1/2 tsp dried dill*)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Bring a pot of water, with the 2 tab. of olive oil and the shakes of salt, to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the package directions.  Drain it thoroughly and let it cool to room temperature.   Stir in the cut zucchini, shrimp, red pepper, and green onion.  Then mix in the mayonnaise, 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, basil, dill, salt and pepper.  Put it in the fridge for at least an hour to chill and to let the flavors meld.

*I bought fresh dill to make my salad, but when I talked to Kathy who made it originally, she told me she used dried dill– and I thought hers tasted better.  But this salad is just delicious either way…

Zucchini Pesto and Pasta


Hi friends– If you have a friend with a vegetable garden, chances are they’ve brought you a bag of zucchini by now.  So here’s a new way to cook it up for dinner in a garlicky pesto for a tasty veggie dinner.

ZUCCHINI PESTO AND PASTA
3 medium zucchini, chopped into chunks
1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
olive oil
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
8 oz. of your favorite pasta (we used small shells)
1/4 cup cream of half & half
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Start the water for the pasta (with a splash of olive oil and a shake of salt).  Then sauté the chunks of zucchini in a large pan with a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  Just cook a few minutes until they are tender, but firm.  Remove them from the pan and cook the onion until it’s soft and remove from the pan too.  Wipe out the cooked oil from the pan and return the zucchini, onion and the red pepper to the pan without heat for now. Start the pasta cooking.

To make the pesto, take 1/4 cup of the zucchini, basil leaves, garlic, parmesan and pine nuts–plus 1/2 cup water from the pasts pot. Grind this all up with a stick blender or food processor.  Scrape the pesto over the zucchini, onion and pepper to warm it.  Stir in the cream and pepper.   Then layer the drained pasta on a platter and spoon over the zucchini and sauce.  Garnish with shreds of parmesan and a sprig of basil.

Chicken, Eggplant and Zucchini Stirfry

Hi all–  Here’s a weeknight dinner, simple, homey and filling.  Ready 30 minutes and it make a platter full, so we had some little boxes of leftovers to tuck in the fridge for work all week.  You know, one of those practical, make it often kind of recipes.

CHICKEN, EGGPLANT AND ZUCCHINI STIRFRY
1 boneless chicken breast, but in small chunks
2 tab. olive oil
1 chinese eggplant, cut in chunks
2 smallish zucchini, cut in chunks
1/2 red bell pepper, cut in strips
garlic salt
1/2 cup water
2 tab. soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup white or brown rice.

Put the rice on to cook while you’re making the stir fry.

In a heavy skillet, or your wok, if you are so lucky to have one, cook the chicken thoroughly in the hot olive oil.  Remove it from the pan.  Then throw in the eggplant and zucchini and cook on high heat til browned around the edges.  You may have to add a bit more olive oil.  Right at the end toss in the red peppers so they cook just for a minute of two–but keep their bright color.  Give the whole pan  few shakes of garlic salt to season. Take the veggies out of the pan.  Meanwhile shake up the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger and garlic in a sealed container until thoroughly blended.  Stir this mixture into the drippings left in the pan and keep stirring until it thickens into a beautiful brown sauce.  Add the chicken, eggplant, zucchini and peppers back into the sauce and stir gently to rewarm it all.  Spoon it out onto a platter of hot rice and grab your chopsticks.  Enjoy!

Paprika Orange Salmon

Hi there.  You know I only want to put up recipes here that I’ve recently tried and think are truly worthwhile and delicious.  But I have to say that this citrusy, spicy salmon is a favorite, even a bit more than your normal delicious.  Served it up on a bed of zucchini rice.  It’s an easy “pop in the oven” recipe.  I think you’ll love it…

PAPRIKA ORANGE SALMON
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tab. olive oil
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or other herb you like)
1 pound salmon filets
2 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tab. grated orange peel
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Mix together the orange juice, 2 tab. olive oil and 1 tsp. thyme leaves in a shallow baking dish.  Marinate the salmon in this mixture, turning it to coat it completely.  Leave in the fridge one hour or more.  When your ready to cook, combine the brown sugar, paprika, orange peel, 1 tsp. thyme and sea salt.  Remove the salmon from the marinade and set it on a baking pan lined with foil. (Discard the marinade)  Pat on the paprika mixture to cover the top and pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the salmon).

ZUCCHINI RICE
1 cup brown or white rice
2 small zucchini
1/2 tsp. salt
water

Simmer the rice with the salt and water for 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed.   Meanwhile coarsely grate the zucchini.  When the rice is done, mix in the zucchini and put the lid back on the pot.  Let it sit for 5 minutes until the zucchini is warmed through.

You can add other ingredients to the rice– finely diced red pepper, almonds, currants, herbs, pine nuts, mushrooms…  whatever you have on hand.  For this dish, since the salmon is so flavorful, I wanted the rice to have a simple, clean taste.  Enjoy!!