Sunday, July 10, 2011

Squash: How Many Ways Can I Prepare Thee? Let Me Count the Ways...

Squash, it sounds like something really horrible.  Like a "squashed" bug or something.  No wonder my children don't want to eat it.  What is it? According to Wikipedia,  "In North America, squash is loosely grouped into summer squash or winter squash, depending on whether they are harvested as immature fruit (summer squash) or mature fruit (autumn squash or winter squash)."  Around here when we say squash we are usually referring to Yellow Summer Squash, but it can also loosely include Zucchini.  In other countries it is often referred to as "Courgettes", which specifically refers to Zucchini in Italy and my favorite, France.  So, I have taken to calling them, "Courgettes."  Around here in the Summer time, if you have a garden you have a plethora of courgettes!  So, it becomes a challenge to see how many ways they can be prepared....

1.  Fried, traditional method of preparation, dipped in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper and fried in a skillet until browned and crisp.

2. A couple of variations on fried, batter dipped, and fried like fried potatoes with no flour.

3. Grilled, this is one of our favorites... cut them up chunky style, like 3-4 inch chunks sliced in half lengthwise, toss them on the grill, cook until tender.  Or you can marinate them before hand in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Or for another variation add lemon juice and Oregano to the above marinade.  Place it in a ziploc baggie with the Courgettes and let marinate until ready to grill, turning the baggie occasionally.

4. Slice them very thin (I use a mandolin).  On a griddle drizzle a little Olive Oil and add a couple of cloves of minced garlic.  Let heat until the garlic "speaks".  Coat the courgettes with Chile Lime Rub from Williams-Sonoma.  Place in hot oil, cook until browned, turning once.  This is another favorite way to cook them.

5.  Stuffed, mix the stuffing using dried bread crumbs, basil, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and of course, garlic, you can also add a little onion if you like.  Slice a courgette in half lengthwise.  Scoop out a little of the center, the part with the seeds.  Fill with stuffing, top with more Parmesan, place in oven at 350 degrees.  Bake until tender.

6.  Slice courgettes in half lengthwise, slash the top of each piece of courgette.  Spread some butter on each piece.  Salt and Pepper.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  Broil until cheese is browned and courgette is tender.

7. Shred.  Shred peeled courgettes.  Freeze for later use.  I use it to make Zucchini Bread, put in soups.

8. Our latest favorite way is to cut it up in about 1 inch chunks.  In a skillet drizzle some olive oil, place 4-5 or more cloves of minced garlic.  Heat until garlic "speaks."  Add courgettes.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  I use Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Saute until tender.

9.  Tried Zucchini Strings...think Onion Strings... those were pretty good.

How many ways do you prepare courgettes?  Add your own methods below in the comments.  I am sure I will need some more ways to prepare them.  ; )

So what's for dinner?  Courgettes, of course!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dr. Pepper Pork Roast and Rosemary Garlic Fries

While this menu does not really fall in the guidelines for this blog (Dinner in a hour)... it is really easy and yummy.  If you are going to be home anyway it doesn't require more than an hour of attention from you, so I thought I would share.
The Dr. Pepper Pork Roast recipe can be found here:!%29 
I added about 4 cloves of garlic, smashed with the onions.  It takes 6 hours to cook.  Don't rush it, but don't stand by the oven for six hours either.  It could easily be done with beef or with steaks instead of roast.  Actually, I added 4 pork chops to the roast because the roast was small and I was afraid it wouldn't be enough.

For my birthday a friend took me to lunch to SmashBurgers.  It was delicious.  Loved the fries.
So, I came home and made Rosemary Garlic Fries

Rosemary Garlic Fries
4-5 Potatoes, sliced thin, fry like (I used my mandoline and the thin blade)
4-5 Cloves of Garlic minced
3 Stems of Rosemary, leaves removed and chopped (chop the leaves throw out the stems)
Olive Oil
Oil for frying, I use crisco and a cast iron skillet
After slicing fries, toss them with the Rosemary, Garlic, and a drizzle of Olive Oil.  Coat the fries well.  Add more olive oil if needed.
Fry in small batches until crisp.  After removing from skillet, drain on paper towels and salt well.  Salt immediately after removing from skillet, don't wait!  Don't skimp on the salt, Rosemary seems to sap the salt of its saltiness. 
The rest of the menu could include:
Guacamole (find the recipe on this blog)
Black Beans
Homemade Tortillas  (to put the Pork on)  or Buns
Corn on the cob
Your family will thank you, they can't wait to eat it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Surine a la Florentine

Sometimes I fix this when I make Stack Ups, as an "adult" meal when we have guests.  It is really yummy.  Serve with sides of homemade Guacamole and Salsa.

Surine a al Florentine
4 flour tortillas
Chicken, cooked and shredded, about one chicken breast
10 oz. or less of frozen Spinach
1 jar of Artichoke Hearts
Green Sauce
Cheddar Cheese, grated
Sliced Tomatoes
Parmesan Cheese, grated

First prepare the Spinach.  Cook in the microwave for 6 minutes in a bowl.  Turn bowl over onto paper towels.  Add to Spinach a handful of grated Parmesan Cheese, stir.  Set aside.  Spray a griddle with Pam or spray oil.  Place one tortilla at a time on the griddle, set a empty pan on top of the tortilla.  Cook until browned and crisp, turn.  Replace pan on top of tortilla.  Cook until both sides are brown and crisp.  Be careful, watchful or they will burn really fast.  Repeat with the other 3 tortillas.
Take a cake pan, spray with Pam.  Place one crisp tortilla in the bottom.  Spread Green Sauce on the tortilla, not too much but cover the tortilla well.  Spread some Spinach over the Green Sauce, completely covering the tortilla.  Spread half of the chicken on the Spinach.  Add a layer of sliced Artichoke Hearts and a layer of sliced Tomatoes.  Top with a generous sprinkling of grated Cheddar Cheese.  On top of the cheese place another crisp tortilla. Press down gently.  Repeat to make a second pan.  Place in the oven at 400 degrees.  Bake until hot and cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove from oven, run a knife around the edge and turn pan over on a cutting board.  Cut into four pieces.  Feeds 4, unless you are really hungry.  This is a wonderful Summertime meal.  Serve with Tortilla chips, guacamole, and salsa.

Friday, January 28, 2011



1 can of refried beans, or make your own about 2 cups
4 Flour tortillas
1 can of green chiles, chopped or one bunch of green onions, chopped (both are optional, for my kids I leave it out)
1-2 cups of grated cheddar
Spray a 9" cake pan with Pam.  Spread refried beans on one tortilla.  Top with at least a 1/3 cup of cheese, 1/3 of the green onions or chiles if using.  Repeat two more times.  Top with plain tortilla.
Bake in oven at 400 degrees, until golden brown on top, tortilla should be crisp.  Turn upside down on a cutting board, cut in six pieces like pie.  Serve with Salsa, Guacomole, and Tortilla Chips.
This is a really quick meal.  Make as many as you need to feed your family.  One pan feeds  two people around here, usually.  You can also leave the beans out and just do cheese if you like.  Jerry and I like fresh tomatoes from the garden sliced and on them.  Make them your own.

How to make your own refried beans... Take about 2 cups of cooked and seasoned pintos.  Heat, mashing with a potato masher occasionally.  Add a sprinkle of garlic salt and chili powder.  Stir.  Cook until hot and semi-smashed.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's for Breakfast?

Sausage Cheese Muffins

2 cups flour, 1/2 of it whole wheat
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp Baking Powder
6 Tbsp Butter
1/2 lb. sausage, crumbled, browned, and drained
1 cup grated cheese, (we use cheddar)
1 3/4 -2 cups milk
Spray muffin tins with Pam or grease lightly.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together the dry ingredients.  With a pastry blender or fork add butter.  Chop butter in small slices before adding to make it easier to mix.  Butter should be chilled.  When it is crumbly, add the sausage and cheese.  Mix well.  Add the milk.  Mix only until combined.  The mixture should be gloppy, but not runny.  Fill muffin tins half full.  Any empty tins (unfilled in the tray, because you ran out of dough)  fill halfway with water.  This makes them bake evenly.  Don't over mix after adding the milk.  Over mixing makes the muffins tough.  Bake until golden brown on top.  Delicious!  Makes approximately 18 muffins.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ranch Style Chicken, Rosemary Oven roasted Potatoes, Vermont Cheddar Bread and Broccoli

Yum!  Although I will make a few changes to the recipes in this menu the next time I fix them.  They were all good.  They require a little planning ahead, which is not my normal way of fixing everyday meals.  As we go along I will tell you what I would do different.  I encourage you to make changes to suit your families tastes.
Ranch Style Chicken:  To fix this in an hour or so you need to do part of it the night before.
The recipe is from Pioneer Woman Cooks (find it here: )  Thaw your chicken and fix the marinade, pound the chicken to the thinness described in the recipe, place in the marinade, refrigerate, overnight.  (Now, what I did was follow the recipe, plus added a clove of minced garlic.  I would marinate it longer, overnight and add more garlic when fixing it again.  Also I think a little more crushed red pepper)  The next day when ready to cook, follow the directions given.  Cook your bacon in the oven.  (Next time I will crumble the bacon and add a little more cheese.  Be sure to use Sharp or Super Sharp Cheese.  Why?  The presentation is nice if you follow the instructions, but it is hard to eat.  If the bacon were crumbled on top of the chicken then you could easily spread the cheese on without it falling off and it would be easier to cut.  The cheese, it really needs the Super sharpness of the cheese.)
Rosemary Oven Roasted Potatoes:  This is my recipe, however it needs some work.  Let's get started with what I did.  Peel and cut up several potatoes in approximately one inch cubes.  Toss in olive oil, chopped fresh Rosemary, one clove of minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Place baking sheet in oven at 400 degrees and let it get hot.  Place potatoes on the baking sheet after it is good and hot and return to oven, stirring once or twice.   (Next time I will use melted butter instead of olive oil, a lot more Rosemary and garlic and more salt.  The butter will make them brown nicely.  Rosemary seems to sap the saltiness, so don't skimp on the salt.  I just flat didn't use enough garlic.)
3-4 peeled and chopped potatoes
3 Tbsps chopped Fresh Rosemary
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4-6 tbsp of melted butter
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper.
Roast in oven at 400 degrees, turning once or twice until tender and nicely browned.
The Vermont Cheddar Bread is from "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" on page 106-107
Just follow the directions, mix it up the night before (it serious takes 5 minutes to mix)
Refrigerate.  Next day finish shaping the bread.  Let rise, bake as directed.
(I would add more cheese.)  To make this meal in about an hour, do the overnight things the night before (obviously, I know)
Ranch Style Chicken
Vermont Cheddar Bread
Then start the bread first.  It takes 5 minutes from you but needs time to rise, then bake.  Then do the potatoes and put in the oven.  Get the broccoli ready to put on but don't start yet.  Then start the chicken.  Don't forget to turn the Broccoli on about 10 minutes before the chicken is done.