Tomato Zucchini Flatbread

Have you taken a good look at the frozen vegetables at your grocery store lately?  Of course, there is nothing like fresh, preferably local, produce.  But frozen is just as nutritious, and sometimes a lot more convenient.

My latest find is frozen grilled zucchini from Price Chopper.  The zucchini is sliced, with grill marks and all, but there are no other ingredients listed on the label.  How do they do that?  I have no idea (but I am working to find out!)

I used the zucchini and tomatoes to make this simple flatbread.  I added hardboiled eggs for just a bit more protein, and enough cheese to add flavor without overwhelming the vegetables.  It was just about perfect!

Moral of the story?  Next time there’s a hot day and the farmer’s market is closed, spend a little time in the freezer aisle.

 

tomatozucchiniflatbread

 

 

Tomato Zucchini Flatbread

1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 c. frozen grilled zucchini
1 T olive oil
1 lb. whole wheat dough, such as from Trader Joe’s
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
4 oz. Cabot 50% reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Place tomatoes and zucchini in a glass dish, and drizzle olive oil.  Roast at 375F for 30-40 minutes, until tomato skins are cracked.

Spread dough into a rectangle on a cookie sheet, extending as far to the edges as possible.  Spoon vegetable mixture onto dough.  Top with chopped eggs, and sprinkle cheeses.  Bake at 375F for 15-18 minutes.

 

Chicken Pasta Casserole

Eating well is all about being prepared, which usually means making meals in advance.  In order to cook more efficiently, you also need to be prepared.  When chicken breasts were on sale at my Price Chopper for $1.99/lb., I bought a large package.  Then, I boiled the chicken and shredded it, and put it in the freezer in 2 c. portions.  I used one container for the Chicken Enchiladas I made a couple of weeks ago, and another for today’s casserole.  It saved me a lot of time.

I know that summer doesn’t generally equal ‘casserole’, but those of us who work in climate controlled environments often still like a hot lunch.  I was inspired by Recipe Girls’s Chicken Spaghetti Casserole, which she had lightened up considerably.  I lightened things just a little further, and this still turned out to be a rich, cheesy casserole.  There is also a lot of it, which means I have no excuse for not bringing lunch this week.

 

chickenpastacasserole

 

Chicken Pasta Casserole

6 oz. whole wheat penne
1 T canola oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 (10 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
2 c. chopped broccoli
2 cans 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 c. skim milk
2 c. cooked, shredded chicken breast
8 oz. 2% Colby Jack shredded cheese

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta al dente.  Set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat oil, and add onion.  Cook for 15 minutes, until onion begins to get soft and browned.  Add mushrooms and broccoli, and cook for 15-20 minutes more.  Add soup and milk and stir until blended.  Add chicken and stir.  Add cheese and stir until melted in.  Cook on Low for 5-10 minutes until heated through.

Coat a 13″x9″ dish with cooking spray.  Place pasta on bottom of dish, and then top with chicken/vegetables mixture.  Stir to coat.  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling.

Wegman’s BBQ Ranch Chopped Salad Kit

I was at Wegman’s the other day and decided to pick up this BBQ Ranch Chopped Salad Kit.  I love a good salad bar, but I am so lazy when it comes to making salads myself at home.  I thought this kit would help bridge the gap.  🙂

The kit comes with Romaine lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, green onion, and carrots; it also includes a package of tortilla chips, a package of bacon bits, a packet of BBQ sauce, and a packet of ranch dressing.

 

wegmanssalad

 

Pros:

  • The vegetables were all cut up in tiny pieces, which made it easy to mix with the dressing.
  • The salad has a lot of textures with the crisp vegetables, crunchy tortilla chips, and creamy dressing.
  • It comes with bacon bits!
  • At $2.99, I felt like this was a good value.  The kit made 2 entree sized salads once I added protein (see Con) and a slice of bread.

Cons:

  • The kit does not contain any significant source of protein.  I added a few slices of turkey to make this an entree.
  • The toppings were wrapped in packages that were mixed in with the vegetables, so I had to use my hand to fish them out.
  • The salads are fresh which is great, but that also means the “Use By” date was just 2 days after purchase.

Bottom Line:  I would buy it again to use as a meal on a busy weeknight.  And it kind of inspired me to try to make my own version.

Tropical Cole Slaw

My cooking club theme this month was “Tropical Foods”.  It would have been fun to skip off to Hawaii for a day, but we settled for a great meal of tropical foods in Boston.  At least the weather was almost tropical!

I made this Tropical Cole Slaw, inspired by a recipe which I found on a raw food vegan site.  Since I have a habit of making things a little too spicy lately, I left out the jalapeno.  This turned out to be a good move, and the red onion provided a sharp flavor.

We all enjoyed this slaw, and it was fun to use mangoes in a recipe.  If you’re groaning that they are hard to cut, I agree.  I recommend this video from Green Lite Bites which shows a decent method for cutting them.  There was still mango juice all over my kitchen counter, but it was worth it!

tropical cole slaw

 

 

Tropical Cole Slaw

4-5 c. shredded cabbage
1/2 c. shredded carrot
1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped
3 mangoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lime
2T chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

-Adapted from “The Raw Difference”

Two Beans and a Beet Salad

How would you like to throw a bag of vegetables in the microwave, open up two cans and drain, and have a fabulous salad ready in less than 10 minutes?  This salad is colorful, delicious, and has a balanced mix of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.  So if you don’t end up cooking anything else for dinner, you don’t have to lose any sleep over it.

The salad tastes even better the next day, although the beets stain the white beans so that they’re pink.  Besides the stain factor, this salad would make a great dish for any picnic.  And I do believe it’s finally time for those fun summer picnics!

 

bean beet salad

Two Beans and a Beet Salad

1 (12 oz.) package frozen green beans, cooked and rinsed in cool water
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can sliced beets, drained
1 T canola oil
2 T lime juice

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

One of my favorite summer recipes is Zucchini and Black Bean Enchiladas.  But zucchini isn’t quite in season yet, so I decided to try a different version.  No matter what you stuff in the tortilla, I think the key to great enchiladas is homemade sauce.

This time I used Penzey’s Chili 9000 seasoning to make the enchilada sauce.  It is not too spicy, but does have a lot of flavor, with Ancho Chili Pepper, Cumin, Garlic, Cilantro, Onion, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Lemon Peel, Mexican Oregano, Black Pepper, Cocoa Powder, Citric Acid, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Coriander, Ginger, Natural Smoke Flavoring, Fenugreek, Cloves, Fennel, Nutmeg, White Pepper, Anise Seed, Jalapeño Pepper, Star Anise, and Cardamom.  Don’t stress if you don’t have access to Penzey’s, just substitute a mix of chili powder and cumin and you’ll be all set.

The enchiladas themselves were also delicious, and will make great packed lunches for the week.  I still can’t wait to have the zucchini and black bean version again later this summer!

 

chicken spinach enchiladas

 

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

1 t minced garlic
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 T Penzey’s Chili 9000
1 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1 T canola oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 c. cooked shredded chicken
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
6 tortilla, such as La Tortilla Factory
1 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar

To make the enchilada sauce, coat the bottom of a small saucepan with cooking spray.  Add minced garlic.  Cook just until beginning to brown, and then add tomato sauce, spice, and broth.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat canola oil.  Add onions and cook for 15-20 minutes on medium-low heat.  Add chicken, spinach, and 1 c. of the prepared enchilada sauce.  Simmer for 5 minutes, until heated through.

Coat the bottom of a 13×9″ dish with cooking spray.  Fill each tortilla with a heaping 1/2 c. of chicken mixture, and place seam side down in the dish.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce over filled tortillas.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

Gomen Wat (Ethiopian Collard Greens)

These collard greens were the perfect complement to the very spicy Crockpot Doro Wat.  I used this recipe from Solidarity Eats (the recipe for collards is towards the bottom of the page) which was pretty simple.  The collards are cooked with chopped onion, and seasoned with garlic, turmeric, paprika, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

The recipe was even easier because I used Wegman’s Clean and Cut Collard Greens.  Sometimes it’s worth every penny to have someone else do the work!  I liked these collard greens so much that I am sure I’ll be making them before the next Ethiopian night.  🙂

 

ethiopian collards