Layered Zucchini Bake

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By Corinne

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that I only eat in the summer when it’s in season. It’s called summer squash for a reason!

I like to use yellow and green zucchini for this as I just think it looks prettier 🙂 You can of course use whatever colour you happen to have on hand, it makes little difference in taste.

I usually do this in the amount listed below, however, in the photos I had halved the recipe since I only had 2 zucchini.

Serves: 4-6 as a side

Time: 15 min prep, about 35-45 minutes cook

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 10 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary minced
  • 3/4 cup chardonay
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parmesan or asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until softened- about 5 minutes. Add the chardonnay and reduce by half. Add the minced garlic and rosemary.  Add half of this to a 9 inch baking dish.

Cut the ends off of the zucchini and slice lengthwise about 1/4 inch thick.

If using both green and yellow zucchini, place a slice of each, and then half a slice of prosciutto. Continue in this manner until all zucchini and prosciutto are used and your pan is full. Put the rest of the onion/wine/herb mixture on top.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes, remove from oven, testing doneness with a fork. I like my zucchini to stay fairly firm, but you may wish to bake for an additional 10 minutes before adding the cheese. Add the cheese for the last 10 minutes of cooking, if needed you can put the oven on broil for the last minute or two to brown them up.

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Summer Garden Pesto Stirfry

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By Corinne

This is a bit of a garden miscellany recipe that will work with whatever fresh veggies you have, in basically any amounts that you have them! Don’t have snow peas? Use snap peas instead. No chard? Try kale or spinach. No garlic scapes? Use some fresh garlic at the end- or if your pesto is quite garlicky, pass on the garlic altogether! You can serve it on it’s own finished with a drizzle of balsamic as a side dish, served on top of rice, or mixed into pasta.

 

Time: about 15 minutes

You will need: some mix of the following, though substitute according to availability!

  • about 10 oz, 300g cherry tomatoes *
  • 3-5 leaves of chard
  • small/medium zucchini
  • 1 cup of snow peas
  • a few garlic scapes if you have them!
  • 2-4 tbsp of your favourite jarred pesto
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated asiago or parm
  • drizzle of good quality balsamic to finish
  • 1 tbsp of canola, olive oil or butter
  • rice or pasta for serving if desired

If making rice- prepare first.

Add oil to large pan on medium/high heat. Chop zucchini into thin rounds or half moons. If the peas you are using are large, you can halve them, otherwise leave them whole. Trim flower end from garlic scapes if it seems tough or dry, then give a quick chop into small pieces. Thinly slice chard. Add vegetables to pan in the following approximate order, giving them a minute or two in the hot pan before adding the next ingredient. First tomatoes, then peas, followed by zucchini. When these veg are getting hot and a bit softened and maybe browned, add the scapes. When veggies are done to your taste- I like things more crisp, but to each his own so cook accordingly, add a few tbsp of your favourite pesto and stir until all veg are covered. Add the chard and cook 1-2 more minutes until still bright but softened.

Finish by adding the fresh grated cheese and a drizzle of balsamic.

*note- if your cherry tomatoes haven’t ‘burst’ while cooking (which is fine) be careful when you eat them as they will be hot juicy tomato bombs if you pop them into your mouth whole!

Lemony Oregano Chicken and ‘Zoodles’

By Corinne

We’ve had a pretty warm summer here and in a house with no AC, I try not to make it any hotter inside than necessary, which means we do a lot of cooking on the BBQ.  As much as I enjoy a burger or a smokey, it’s easy to let things get monotonous when defaulting to the BBQ due to heat!

While this serves 2, it is easy to scale up. While I usually want leftovers for lunches, we were going out of town and I wanted to clear out the fridge. To be honest, I usually don’t blog things that I don’t absolutely love, and this probably wasn’t my favourite.  I found the dressing a smidge sweet for my taste(felt like I should have used regular red wine vinegar), and I prefer my zoodles hot. But my husband absolutely loved it, and fellow foodie TL insisted I blog it after she tried the leftovers the next day. This would also work with a generous helping of romaine lettuce to make it more a salad rather than the zoodles if you prefer.

You will need:

For the marinade and chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 shallot minced- or about 1 tbsp minced red onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Dressing

  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp mint
  • few grinds of pepper
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar – I used lambrusco red wine vinegar, which is quite a bit sweeter than regular red wine vinegar

Salad and add ins

  • 1 roasted red pepper cut into strips
  • 6 pepperoncini peppers
  • 1 cup mini pearl bocconcini
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 smallish zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 tsp salt
  • other add ins that would have been welcome – feta instead of bocconcini, cucumber, red onion, olives.

Whisk together all ingredients for marinade. Add chicken breasts and allow to marinate in fridge for at least two hours, or up to over night.

Whisk together all dressing ingredients and set aside – avoid adding salt the the dressing as the zucchini will be a bit salty.

Spiralize zucchini. Place in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with 1-2 tsp of salt. Give it a good stir around and allow to drain over colander. Allow zucchini to sit and drain for around 30 min. In this time it will release quite a bit of moisture, and end up with a still crisp but almost cooked texture.

Prepare add ins. I made my own roasted red pepper on the bbq because I didn’t happen to have any in the fridge – jarred ones will work just fine 🙂 To roast a pepper on the bbq, halve, remove seeds and brush with canola oil. BBQ over direct heat on high for a few minutes on each side until skin is bubbled and blackened. Remove from heat, and when cool, remove skin. Slice up pepperoncinis, cherry tomatoes and any other add ins you are using.

Remove chicken from marinade, and BBQ over medium direct heat for about 7 minutes on each side, keeping the lid closed as much as possible. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken breast.

When chicken is finished set aside to cool for a minute while you assemble plates. Put zoodles on the bottom, then arrange all other add ins on top. Slice chicken breasts and place on top. Give dressing a whisk and divide between plates. Yum! A healthy supper that didn’t require the oven 🙂

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Bocconcini Stuffed Meatballs with “Zoodles”

By Corinne

I feel somehow like cheesy stuffed meatballs get a pass here, since you’re not using “real” noodles, I mean really, it’s at least a serving of vegetables, right?

This is a wonderful summer meal. I love making a double batch of the meatballs and freezing them before they are cooked for a quick meal on another night.

You can of course use regular noodles rather than the zucchini ones, but I do really like them in this.

Serves: 4

Time: 30 min-1 hour -> depending on if you make your own sauce or not 🙂

Oven: 400F

You will need:

For meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 medium italian sausages (bump it up to hot if you like the heat!)
  • 20 bocconcini cheese balls 🙂

For the sauce – I always use my favourite drunken red sauce, but feel free to use your favourite marinara.

For the sauce:

  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 thai chili pepper – or other small hot pepper, finely minced
  • 1/2 a bottle of red wine – I like to use a cabernet sauvignon
  • 1 can of diced or whole tomatoes *you will be blending them up, so it doesn’t really matter
  • 2-3 tbsp of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pat of butter for sautéing the vegetables

For the noodles:

  • 4 medium/largish  zucchini- spiralized
  • 1tsp salt
  • or your favourite pasta noodles 🙂

Make your favourite red sauce or follow these instructions for mine 🙂

Sauce

Add onion, celery and pat of butter to a thick bottomed pan you are making your sauce in. Cook onion and celery on medium low for at least 10-15 min. If you have the time to let your onion caramelize rather than just soften, it will only make your sauce better.

Add garlic and chili pepper to the onion and celery just before you add the wine. Give them a good stir around, but don’t let the garlic brown. Add a little bit less than half a bottle of the delicious wine you are using for this recipe. If you really feel like the need to measure here, that should be about 1 1/4 cup of wine, but I’ve never actually measured. You end up using half a 750mL bottle of wine. If you add all the wine here and then reduce, that totally works.  I usually reserve about 1/4 cup to add to the sauce later.  Let this bubble away for a while until it is reduced by a bit more than half. Add the can of tomatoes. Let this simmer away for 20 minutes, or as long as you like if you’ve got all day (in which case you will need to add some extra liquid to replace that lost in a long simmer).

Use an immersion blender to smooth out your sauce. Add remaining 1/4 cup of red wine (if you managed to reserve it) and 2-3 tbsp of tomato paste.

Meatballs

For meatballs, mix together ground beef and sausage. If you are using a good flavourful sausage, no other seasoning will be needed. Roll a smallish golf ball sized ball, then push an indent into it with the bocconcini, pull the meat around the cheese, give it a good roll and move on to the next one.

When you are finished rolling your meatballs, pop them in the 400F oven for about 25 minutes. Depending on the colour/seasoning of the sausage used, they may still look ‘pink’ but remember there’s really not that much meat wrapped around the ball of cheese!

Noodles

Spiralize your noodles (or prepare your favourite pasta). It will look like far more than you can possibly need, but they will shrink! Put zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, mixing noodles around to distribute salt. Let them sit for 10-15 min. They will let out quite a lot of moisture in this time.

Just before your meatballs are finished, pop the zucchini in a bowl and then into the microwave. This time will depend on your microwave a bit- in mine (the smallest, cheapest microwave I could buy!) it takes about 5-6 minutes, but in my friend’s super power microwave it only takes about 2.5 min. You really just need them hot, don’t overcook them or they will lose their noodle like texture and turn to mush.

Plate noodles and top with sauce and a few meatballs.

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Magic Muffins – Double Chocolate Zucchini

By Julie

Serves:  Makes 12 extra large muffins

Time:  35 min

I thought I posted these on Monday.  Did you know it’s Wednesday?  I didn’t.

So these are healthy… mostly.  A tiny bit of refined sugar here, a little chocolate chip there… there IS whole wheat flour.  And some of the sugar is subbed out for maple syrup.  Oh, and there’s lots of zucchini!

 

 

You Will Need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 cups of zucchini
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Prep

Preheat oven to 350F and grease your muffin pans.  You can use paper liners if you wish, but I prefer the slight crisp on the outside of the muffin when they are baked naked.  This recipe removes easily from the baking pan with just a slight coating of cooking spray.

Mix The Wet Ingredients

Whisk the sugar, eggs, honey, vanilla, and applesauce together in a large bowl until smooth.

Mix The Dry Ingredients

Stir flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

Combine and Bake

Mix the dry into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Fold in the zucchini, and chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 min for extra large muffins (full muffin cups, see picture).  Mine baked for exactly 23 minutes and they were perfect.