Tag Archives: zucchini

Greek-Inspired Zucchini Pancakes

5 Aug

Keep those zucchini & summer squash coming! Here’s another great way to use them.

Time: 20 minutes           Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 1 large zucchini or summer squash (or half of each – which is what I used)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup (whole grain) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dill weed (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano (or more to taste)
  • splash of fresh lemon juice
  • olive oil for pan frying
  • sour cream (plain Greek yogurt or Crème fraiche work too)
  • micro-greens or fresh herbs of choice for garnish

How to make it


  • Grate zucchini/squash with a box grater or in food processor fitted with grater blade. Place in a colander and squeeze to drain off some excess liquid.
  • Place drained zucchini, minced garlic, bread crumbs, cheese, egg, lemon juice and seasonings into a large mixing bowl. Mix to incorporate.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop large spoonfuls into skillet and pat down a bit. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes, until browned. Drain on paper towel.
  • Serve with sour cream and garnish with micro-greens of fresh herbs.

Zucchini Risotto

1 Aug

Another great use for those fresh, abundant summer zucchini.

Time: 30 minutes                 Serves: 2-3

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 small shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped basil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

How to make it


  • Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan, then reduce heat to low & keep warm.
  • Squeeze excess moisture out of shredded zucchini using a clean dish towel or paper towels.
  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan/skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and saute 2-3 minutes – until softened – stirring occasionally.
  • Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute for another minute.
  • Add rice. Stir to coat & toast for 1-3 minutes.
  • Carefully add vermouth/wine and cook, stirring, until no liquid remains, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Begin adding stock 1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more.*
  • Fold in zucchini with last 1/4 cup of stock.
  • Stir in basil and Parmesan, mix well and remove from heat.
  • *This process takes about 20 minutes in total. Rice should be creamy (not mushy) and slightly firm in the center. If your rice hasn’t become tender enough by this point, add more liquid by 1/4 cup measures using same technique – may use more stock or water.

Zucchini Bread Granola

28 Jul

With zucchinis in abundance this time of year, a recipe I found on Tasty Kitchen for granola that incorporated them appealed to me. I tweaked it to suit my tastes and dietary needs. It smells just like zucchini bread while baking in the oven. Perfect to sprinkle on top of yogurt for a healthy, satisfying breakfast or snack.

Time: 40 minutes                Serves: about 8

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husk (optional)
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • (or use 2 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning in place of cinnamon & nutmeg)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans (may use untoasted, but add in with dry mix in first step)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 325F. Line on large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, rice cereal, psyllium husk, and fla seeds.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine zucchini, oil, honey, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and slat. Mix well to incorporate.
  • Add zucchini mixture to dry ingredients. Mix around and try to break up any clumps if any are present.
  • Put mixture onto prepared baking sheets, breaking up any clumps as needed. Spread evenly in a thin layer.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, remove and stir around.
  • Bake for 10 more minutes, remove and stir around. Add nuts, bake additional 5 minutes, remove and stir around.
  • Add chocolate chips and stir around. Place in oven for about 2 minutes or until just starting to melt. Remove from oven and give a good shake by lifting sides of parchment paper.
  • Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Tiella Calabrese

25 Jun

This dish was inspired by a recipe I found on the Food Network’s website by Chef Michael Chiarello. I’ve never seen or heard of Tiella before so I did some research and while there wasn’t much usable info out there on the web I did find some interesting tidbits on about.com, which is how I figured out how to name this recipe. (The comment by Member ThomasLucente was most interesting.) A beautiful, simple preparation that incorporates some of summer’s greatest offerings: zucchinis, tomatoes, basil.

Time: 15 min prep, 1 hour cook                  Serves: 4-6

Ingredients


  • 6-8 small redskin potatoes, sliced in 1/4 inch disks
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/4 inch disks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (feel free to sub for fresh garden tomatoes!)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend of Asiago, Provolone, Romano, and Parmesan)
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs (I used panko)
  • salt & pepper to taste (I used sea salt & freshly ground black pepper)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare an 8×8 casserole with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place potatoes in a medium glass mixing bowl and the zucchini in a separate medium glass mixing bowl. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to each. Divide garlic and put half in each bowl. Season each with salt & pepper. Toss each one well to coat with oil & evenly distribute seasonings.
  • Spoon 1/3 of the can of tomatoes into bottom of casserole dish. Make a layer potatoes and zucchini, alternating between the two. (Try to put the ends of the potatoes on the bottom layer for a more attractive looking end product.)
  • Spread another 1/3 of the tomatoes over top. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese, half of breadcrumbs and basil. Make another layer of potatoes and zucchini. Top with remaining tomatoes, cheese, bread crumbs and basil. If you’d like, make a small pattern on top of this layer but be sure to sprinkle this part with some cheese & crumbs as well!
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Cover (with foil) and bake for another 30 minutes. Uncover again and bake for 10-15 minutes until top browned. Remove from oven allow to cool to room temperature (to allow flavors to deepen). Tiella may be served room temp, warm or hot. Cut into squares and serve at desired temperature.

Zucchini Boats Stuffed with Shrimp

12 Jun

Do you have zucchini come out of your ears yet? I love the stuff and am always looking for different ways to prepare it. This was an experiment that went very well (if I do say so myself). It takes some time and care to prepare but it’s not complicated and the results are well worth it. This would go very well with some pasta tossed with garlic and butter/olive oil and some crusty bread. A great, creative way to use up some of that abundant summer zucchini!

Time: 1 hour+            Serves: 2-4

Ingredients


  • 2 medium/large zucchinis (about 1lb)
  • 1 lb shrimp, shelled & deveined
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs, divided into 1/2 & 1/4 (I used panko)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped (I used mini heirloom)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp dried oregano, divided
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated romano cheese
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (to your taste)
  • 1/4 tsp butter

How to make it


  • Soak zucchini in cold water for 20 minutes. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drain & rinse zucchini well, then drop in boiling water. Allow to return to a boil. Remove zucchini gently from pot after about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions & cook for about 5 minutes (until soft). Then, add garlic and cook for about a minute. Finally add tomatoes, a bit of salt & pepper. Give a good stir & cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat.
  • Preheat oven to 450F. Grease the bottom of a shallow baking pan with butter/olive oil/cooking spray.
  • Rinse shrimp in cold water. Cut into pea-sized pieces. Put shrimp in a mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup bread crumbs, vegetable mixture, parsley, basil, 1 tsp oregano, lemon juice, the egg yolk, and salt & pepper (to your taste). Mix well.
  • Trim ends of zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out inside (meaty, seedy) part, leaving walls 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Take care not to puncture the walls. Pat insides with paper towel if very moist. Brush insides with egg whites, sprinkle with salt, then add a layer of mozzarella cheese. Pack with filling, heaping to form slight mounds.
  • In a small bowl, mix remaining bread crumbs, oregano, and Romano cheese. Top each zucchini boat with this mixture & finally very small pieces of butter (dime size or smaller), about three to each. Place zucchini carefully in pan. Place on uppermost level of oven for about 7 minutes, until it begins to form a light brown crust. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve lukewarm or room temperature.

Italian Food

10 May

Italian Food, by Shel Silverstein, Every Thing On It

Oh, how I love Italian food.
I eat it all the time,
Not just ’cause how good it tastes
But ’cause how good it rhymes.
Minestrone, cannelloni,
Macaroni, rigatoni,
Spaghettini, scallopini,
Escarole, braciole,
Insalata, cremolata, manicotti,
Marinara, carbonara,
Shrimp francese, Bolognese,
Ravioli, mostaccioli,
Mozzarella, tagliatelle,
Fried zucchini, rollatini,
Fettuccine, green linguine,
Tortellini, Tetrazzini,
Oops—I think I split my jeani.

Me too! And if that wasn’t enough to choose from, check out some of my other Italian-inspired recipes: Spinach Ricotta Gnudi, Italian Wedding Soup, Pesto Chicken & Vegetable Pasta and stay tuned for my next post.

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Soup

7 Mar

This recipe is based on one from delish.com with slight variations. This was my first successful soup attempt, almost two years ago, and it’s so delicious!

Time: 30 minutes             Serves: 6-8

Ingredients


  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken (original recipe called for thighs but I was only able to buy breasts)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (fresh ground)
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 1/2 pound)
  • 2 zucchinis (medium), quartered lengthwise & cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup tomato puree
  • 4 cups chicken stock (canned or homemade)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans a.k.a chickpeas, drained

How to make it


  • In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Increase heat to moderately high. Add the chicken, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the sweet potato, zucchini, tomato puree, water and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the couscous to the soup. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garbanzo beans, stir and cook for another minute. Remove pot from heat and let soup stand, covered for 2 minutes. Add parsley & serve.

Pasta in Lemon Cream Sauce with Salmon

17 Feb

Several weeks ago we went to a local restaurant that we’ve been to many times. They had a dish on special that sounded quite delicious but I was disappointed to find after ordering that it was bland and not very good at all. I was determined to take the ingredients and turn them into what I thought they should be. The results were delicious! This would also be great tossed with crab meat/tuna fish/shrimp.

Time: 25 minutes         Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 8 oz. short cut pasta (I used rotini)
  • Lemon Cream Sauce


  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (depending on how tart your lemon is and your personal tastes)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or additional stock)
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cornstarch if needed for thickening (I used about 2 tsp)
  • Salmon


  • 4 salmon fillets, 4-6 oz. each
  • sea salt and pepper to taste (freshly ground if possible)
  • olive oil spray
  • Vegetables


  • 1 leek, well cleaned & trimmed – white and light green parts only – cut in half & sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium zucchini. diced (about 3 cups)
  • 4 cups packed baby arugula
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Salt 2-3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta al dente.
  • Lemon Cream Sauce


  • Heat butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add shallot and saute, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to let garlic brown too much, turn heat down if needed. Add lemon juice, zest, chicken stock and wine and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until reduced by half, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in cream and cream cheese and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add cornstarch if needed, whisking well to incorporate.
  • Salmon


  • Place salmon fillets on lined baking sheet. Spray generously with olive oil (or brush on if you don’t have spray). Season to taste with salt & pepper. Place in oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.
  • Vegetables


  • Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and leeks and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add arugula, salt and pepper and toss just until wilted. Remove from heat.
  • To serve, toss pasta and vegetables with sauce. Divide into portions. Serve each with salmon on top or along side. Enjoy!

Chicken Veggie Casserole

7 Feb

A rich, comforting dish chock full of vegetables.

Time: 30 minutes               Serves: 6

Ingredients


  • 8 oz pasta (I used Rotini)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 6 oz spinach, steamed lightly (about 3 minutes)
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in quarters and sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 4 oz. tomato puree, divided
  • 1 cup chicken stock, divided
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 6 oz)**
  • 1/4 tsp pepper + more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp salt + more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Emeril’s Essence
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

How to make it


  • I cooked my chicken in advance in the Crock Pot so I could shred it up. You could use store-bought rotisserie chicken or cut the breast in cubes and cook it in the pan with the vegetables, following the onions. In this case, you’ll only need half the amount of tomato puree & chicken stock. If you want to cook chicken in the Crock Pot, rinse chicken & pat dry. Spray inside of crock with non-stick cooking spray. Cut in half and place at bottom of crock. Pour 1/2 chicken stock over it and top with 2 oz. tomato puree, distributing evenly across the two pieces. Cook on high for 4 hours. Transfer from pot to another dish and shred using two forks. It should come apart easily. Season with salt & pepper to taste & set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 8x8inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Cook pasta for about 4 minutes. Drain & set aside.
  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until they begin to brown slightly, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to medium-low, add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add mushrooms & cook for another 2 minutes. Finally add the spinach, season with salt & pepper, stir well and remove from heat.
  • Heat butter in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Once melted, add chicken stock, milk, and remaining tomato puree. Season with pepper & Essence.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine water & corn starch and whisk until smooth. Add to stock pot. Turn heat to medium-low and add 1 1/4 cup cheese. Mix well then remove from heat. Add vegetables, chicken, and pasta. Stir well. Spoon mixture into casserole dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs & remaining Essence. Top casserole with remaining cheese & bread crumb mixture. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes & serve.

Pesto Chicken & Vegetable Pasta

2 Jan

A simple, fresh & beautiful dish that goes together quickly – especially if you prepare ahead of time. I got the basic concept for this from a Kraft cheese bag but took the idea and ran with it – adding veggies & fresh herbs for starters – and we were quite pleased with the results. I hope you are too!

Time: 10 minutes          Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb cooked boneless skinless breasts, cubed
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • juice from one lemon, divided
  • 1 cup Italian cheeses, shredded (I used Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggi)
  • 1 bunch asparagus (thin), trimmed & cut into about 2″ pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini peeled into ribbons with a veggie peeler (just until middle where seeds start to show – so you’ll end up using more like half the zucchini)
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs like basil, parsley, &
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste, freshly ground
  • 1/2 lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta, cooked al dente

How to make it


  • Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add asparagus and saute, stirring, for one minute. Add zucchini ribbons, stir, and add garlic. Season with salt & pepper. Saute for another 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken, pesto, half of lemon juice and stir well. Add cheese and remove from heat, stir well to incorporate as it melts. Stir in remaining lemon juice and fresh herbs. Toss with pasta or spoon over.