03 Sep Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 large zucchinis
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 6 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 4 cups of basic marinara sauce
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.  Prep zucchini by cutting them in half lengthwise and scooping out some of the flesh from the center of each half leaving about a 1/4 inch thick shell. Season the flesh side with a little salt and pepper. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

2.  Coat a large pan with olive oil (about 3-4 tablespoons) and sauté the onion until soft (10 minutes or so). Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes. Add the ground chicken to the pan, season with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is completely cooked. Turn off the heat, add a cup of the tomato sauce to the chicken and mix well. Let the mixture cool, (you don’t want to scramble your eggs) then add the beaten eggs, the basil, the parsley and cubed mozzarella and mix well.

3.  Spray 2 large baking dishes with non-stick spray and add 1 1/2 cup of tomato sauce to each baking dish. Spoon some of the chicken mixture into each zucchini shell filling them nice and full so that the filling is rounded on top and place them on top of the sauce in a single layer. In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese with some salt and pepper. Sprinkle the mix onto the top of the zucchini’s and then drizzle them with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons or so). Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until zucchinis are tender and the tops are golden. You may need a minute or two under the broiler to get the tops nice and golden. Serve garnished with fresh basil.

** May substitute ground beef or ground turkey for ground chicken. Makes 6 servings in 2 baking dishes

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15 Aug Cajun Fried Okra

Ingredients

  • 6 cups oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds fresh okra, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cajun spice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions

1.  Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven to 350 degrees F. (You may not need to use this much oil; do not fill the pan more than halfway up the sides with oil.)

2.  In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, House Seasoning (see below), and Cajun spice.

3.  Dip okra in buttermilk and then dredge in cornmeal-flour mixture to coat well.

4.  Carefully add okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown. (It may be necessary to fry the okra in batches.) Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and then serve immediately. 6-10 servings

 

House Seasoning:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

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15 Aug Okra and Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh okra, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 slices bacon, diced into small pieces
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped, 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, fresh ground black pepper

Directions

1.  Cook bacon slightly. Saute onion and garlic with bacon until tender.

2.  Add tomatoes, chicken base, sugar and pepper. Stir well and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed.

3.  Meanwhile wash okra and remove fuzz and cut into pieces. Add the okra and simmer until okra is done, about 20 more minutes. 4 servings

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03 Aug Marinated Vegetable Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbp Dijon mustard, 1 tbp minced garlic
  • 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup bottled cherry peppers, halved
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

Directions

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, sugar, and pepper. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, cherry pepper halves, zucchini, carrots, and onion.

2. Pour the dressing mixture over the vegetables, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally- 8 servings

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06 Jul Roasted Cherry Tomato Chutney on Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 2-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 pints cherry and/or grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 8 -ounce container bite-size fresh mozzarella balls, cut up
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chicken broth

Directions

1.  Brush cut sides of squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash halves, cut sides down, in a large baking dish. Prick the skin all over with a fork. Bake, uncovered, in a 375 degrees oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.

2.  Place cherry tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic and salt to taste; stir well to coat. Place tomato mixture in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake in oven with the squash for the last 20 minutes.

3.  In a large skillet, bring the chicken broth to boiling; add onion. Cook about 3 minutes or just until tender. Remove skillet from heat. Add roasted tomatoes to the skillet with the onion. Using a fork gently press down on tomatoes to pop their skin and release their juice. Add mozzarella, basil and mint to the tomato mixture; toss well.

4.  Using a fork, remove the squash pulp from shell. Top squash with tomato mixture and Parmesan cheese.

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08 Jun Tips for Buying Fresh Squash (Summer)

Summer squash includes those varieties which are harvested while still immature and when the entire squash is tender and edible. They include the yellow Crookneck, the large Straight neck, the greenish-white Patty Pan, and the slender green Zucchini. Some of these squash are available at all times of the year.

Look for squash that are tender and well developed, firm, and fresh-appearing. You can identify a tender squash, because the skin is glossy instead of dull, and it is neither hard nor tough. Avoid stale or over mature squash, which will have a dull appearance and a hard, tough surface. Such squash usually have enlarged seeds and dry, stringy flesh. Also avoid squash with discolored or pitted areas.

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08 Jun Tips for Buying Fresh Peas

Garden peas are generally available from spring through the beginning of winter. When purchasing garden peas, look for ones whose pods are firm, velvety, and smooth. Their color should be a medium green. Those whose green color is especially light or dark, or those that are yellow, whitish or are speckled with gray, should be avoided. Additionally, do not choose pods that are puffy, water soaked or have mildew residue. The pods should contain peas of sufficient number and size that there is not much empty room in the pod. You can tell this by gently shaking the pod and noticing whether there is a slight rattling sound.

Peas taste best when cooked as soon as possible after picking or purchasing.

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08 Jun Tips for Buying Fresh Onions

When buying onions, choose those that are heavy for their size with dry, papery skins, and that show no signs of spotting or moistness. Avoid onions that are soft or sprouting. Young onions are sweeter than old ones. They should have absolutely NO SMELL whatever. If they do, they are probably bruised somewhere under the skin and are on their way out.

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01 Jun Tips for Buying Fresh Green or String Beans

Green beans are available year round, with a peak season of May to October. Green beans are also called string beans and snap beans. Green beans were once called string beans. Today they are string less; just break off the end as you wash them. Leave whole or cut into desired lengths. Choose slender beans that are crisp, bright-colored, and free of blemishes.

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01 Jun Tips for Buying Fresh Carrots

When purchasing carrots, look for firm, plump carrots without rootlets. They should be small, bright orange and smooth, without cracks. Buy carrots in bunches, with their leafy green tops still attached. Carrots lose moisture through their leafy green tops, so if you purchase them this way, remove the tops before wrapping carrots in plastic and storing. Instead of throwing away the tops, which are full of nutrition, try adding them to soups or chopping them and adding to your salads.

Storing fresh carrots: Carrots keep will for weeks in the refrigerator, although you will sacrifice sweetness and flavor if stored too long.

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