My sister went to the Farmer’s Market, picked up a few delicata squash, and gave one to me. She had no idea what would happen next….
It all began with this recipe from Eating Well, one of my favorite sites. I started by pouring balsamic vinegar in a saucepan, to make the balsamic reduction for a garnish. Meanwhile, my Mom had leftover mashed potatoes in the freezer, so we decided to make our own gnocchi. It’s pretty simple with just potato, egg, and flour, except the dough required about twice as much flour as usual. With flour just about everywhere and dough on our hands, we smelled something burning, and realized the balsamic was in fact reduced to a smoking mess on bottom of the saucepan.
Things got a little easier from there. I took out a big frying pan, and sauteed the sliced delicata squash with onion and garlic. Then I added vegetable broth and covered the pan until the squash was softened. I added the gnocchi, spinach, chickpeas, and some sliced tomato, and cooked it until everything was done. We had a little balsamic left for drizzling, and some Parmesan cheese for the top. Finally, dinner was served.
Putting all the mess aside, this actually turned out really well! Things were so hectic that I didn’t do a lot of measuring and timing, but I would still suggest the recipe. But maybe you should just buy the gnocchi….
The pop tarts were fun to make and eat, but my favorite recipe from last weekend was this Summer Vegetable Tian from Budget Bytes. It has all the best ingredients like zucchini, tomatoes, and cheese. It also has a pretty presentation, worthy of an elegant summer dinner party.
You start with a mixture of sauteed onions and garlic in the bottom of the dish. Then you slice all the vegetables thinly, and layer them in the dish standing up. We used fresh basil instead of thyme, which gave this dish a bit of Italian flair.
The dish is covered tightly with foil, which steams the vegetables in the oven. Then you add the cheese (we used a blend of mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan), and bake the dish for a while longer. When it’s finally done, you have this beautiful tian. Everyone loved it, and it will be on the table again very soon!
Today’s recipe is brought to you by the letter “P”. We have pork chops, peaches, and sugar snap peas. And it was all inspired by this recipe from Cooking Light.
It’s fun to use fruit in an otherwise savory dish, especially seasonal summer fruit. The peaches did get quite soft in this recipe, so I adjusted the cooking times below to keep them a bit firmer. Pork chops can be a bit boring, but the peaches, onion, and wine come together to create a flavorful sauce.
I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July! I’ll be back next week with some new recipes from the long weekend.
Pork Chops and Peaches
3-4 boneless pork chops
2 t canola oil
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thinly
1/2 t dried thyme
2 peaches, sliced thinly
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 t Penzey’s Mural of Flavor
Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan coated with cooking spray, cook pork chops for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove, and set aside.
Add oil to pan. Add onion and thyme, and saute for 10 minutes. Add peaches, wine, water, and seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes, scraping bottom of pan to remove any browned bits. Add pork chops back to pan, cover, and simmer until pork is cooked through.
-Adapted from Cooking Light
Strawberry season is in full swing, and I was excited to try this Roasted Strawberry Banana Bread from Skinnytaste. So excited that I think I ate half a container of strawberries while my Mom was cutting them up. But that’s OK, there were still plenty to roast.
To make the recipe egg-free, we used Ener-G Egg Replacer. As you can see, the bread didn’t rise very well, but I am not sure if this was due to the egg replacer or another factor. Despite being a bit dense, the bread was still delicious. If I can keep a carton of strawberries around long enough, I might give it another try.
It was a fabulous weekend at the beach, with plenty of fun in the sun. Everyone in my family loves Caprese salad with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and home-grown basil. With a little inspiration, we turned the salad into delicious grilled sandwiches.
I didn’t include amounts in the recipe below, but use your intuition and you won’t go wrong. You do want to be sure to keep the grill on fairly low heat; the bottom of the bread burned in a few places which made for some crispy sandwiches. Just enjoy them on the deck, and no one will have to clean up the crumbs!
These fancy grilled cheese sandwiches are perfect for either lunch or happy hour. They were a great way to celebrate the true arrival of summer.
Caprese Sandwiches on the Grill
Italian bread, sliced
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Mix olive oil and minced garlic. Brush one side of bread slices, and place facedown on grill. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until just lightly browned. Turn bread over, and place tomatoes and mozzarella on bread. Close grill cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Place basil leaves on mozzarella. Remove sandwiches from grill, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
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
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”
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!
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.
Finally, a recipe that seems fitting for a summer holiday weekend. I made these Pasta Salad Skewers for my cooking club, inspired by a pin that I saw from Babble. They are meant to inspire kids to eat vegetables, but I think they’re fun for adults too!
I used cheese tortellini, grape tomatoes, peppers, cucumber slices, artichoke hearts, and olives. The original recipe included fresh basil leaves, which would have been a nice touch. You could even include grilled vegetables like onions, zucchini, and mushrooms.
The skewers are a clever way to serve pasta salad, and would complement any BBQ. I offered a salad dressing for “dipping” that’s not pictured. Whether you make these skewers or not, have a great Memorial Day!
Can you believe that even after making this large batch of Corn and Zucchini Chowder, there was still a ton of corn left? My Dad roasted a batch in the oven, and I took some of that home with me, along with a tomato from their garden. I’ve been pretty busy lately, but I am so happy I took the time the other day to prepare myself this beautiful lunch.
I was inspired by this recipe for Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Corn, Goat Cheese, and Tomatoes. Really, you should take a look at the link, the picture is gorgeous. There’s no real recipe here, but I made a 2-egg omelet using about 1/4 c. of roasted corn, and a large tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan. At the same time, I sliced the fresh tomato onto a baking sheet and drizzled the slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I baked them at 400F for 10-12 minutes.
In less than 20 minutes, lunch was served. This was so much better than my other option, yet another peanut butter and banana sandwich. 🙂
Now this is the perfect recipe for August, and it happened all by accident. My sister had a ton of corn on the cob left over from my nephew’s party. My parents had purchased zucchini from the Farmer’s Market the day before, and had thyme and tomatoes in their garden. We put this all together with some household staples to create a delicious soup. After a busy few days of parties and birthday cake, we all welcomed a fresh and healthy meal.
I was inspired by this recipe, which uses pureed corn and milk to create a creamy base without using cream. I know that corn chowder typically includes potatoes, but we didn’t have any on hand and I don’t think you’ll miss them. This soup is colorful and delicious just the way it is.
Corn and Zucchini Chowder
1 T olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
2 large zucchini, chopped
7 c. corn kernels, divided
2 c. milk
4 c. vegetable broth, divided
1 T fresh thyme
1/2 t black pepper
Fresh tomatoes, chopped
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large pot. Add onion and zucchini, and saute for 10 minutes until softened and lightly brown. In the meantime, add 4 cups of corn, milk, 2 cups broth, thyme, and black pepper to food processor and blend until smooth. Add pureed mixture to pot, along with remaining 3 cups corn and 2 cups broth. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until heated through. Serve garnished with shredded cheddar and chopped tomatoes.