Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Zucchini Alfredo with (or without) Chicken

We were skeptical but this was reallllly good!  Adapted from allrecipes.com.

The recipe as provided was vegetarian and can easily be kept that way, but I had leftover chicken from the rotisserie earlier in the week that I added in.  My adaptations to the original added below-

Half of a 12 ounce package uncooked egg noodles
Vegetable oil for sauteeing
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, sliced w/mandolin to matchsticks
1 summer squash, sliced w/mandolin to matchsticks
8-10 oz chopped chicken breast (optional)
1/2 cup milk
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook egg noodles according to package instructions.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic, and cook 2 minutes. Mix in zucchini/squash, and cook 8-10 minutes, until some of the moisture has evaporated.
Pour the milk into the skillet, and stir in cream cheese until melted. 

Make sure hungry dog does not steal skillet

Mix in basil. Season with salt and pepper, serve over the cooked pasta.

More harvesting!

This garden is going nuts - it's awesome!  We are both bringing in lots of zucch/squash/cucumbers to share w/our coworkers tomorrow.  Some pics from tonight:

Chris is checking the cucumbers; melons are closer in the foreground, squash/zucch's to the left and beyond the picture.  Tomatoes (small and green still) are right beyond the cukes.  Way too packed but all seem to be producing just fine so far.

YAY first little watermelon!!

Tuesday night harvest;  4 zucchini, 3 summer squash, 2 spaghetti squash, lots of dragons tongue beans, lettuce, basil, 3 slicing cukes and 4 pickling cukes!

Crab, Squash & Tomato Quiche

I rarely make quiches but thought it would be a good way to mix up our zucchini usage and use up some crabmeat we had.  This was a pretty made up recipe just using numerous quiche recipes as guides.

1- 9" pie crust
1 large zucchini/summer squash, cut into ~1" pieces, drained as much as possible
1 tomato, cut into ~1" pieces, juice removed
1 medium onion, sliced
8 oz. crabmeat
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
salt & pepper to taste

Saute squash and onion until tender/lightly browned.  Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.  Add crabmeat and stir.  Whisk eggs and milk in small bowl.  Pour veggie and crab mixture into pie shell, top with egg/milk mixture - your crust should be filled to the top!  I added some extra crab on top too :)

Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 - 65 minutes.  It took mine about an hour - I think I didn't drain the crab enough.  So make sure to do that-

Grilled Chili Chicken

For whatever reason, I rarely make recipes from the many magazines I get.  However, the "Piri-Piri Chicken" in the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit looked right up our alley :)  I mostly stuck with the recipe except I used a combination of Sriracha chili sauce and sweet red chili sauce in lieu of Piri-Piri; and we rotisserie'ed instead of halving and grilling.  It was delicious - we will definitely make this again.

  • Glaze
    3 tablespoons butter
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons total of Sriracha & sweet chili sauce - depending on your heat preference.
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    2 tsp ginger (I keep a jar of minced ginger in the fridge)
    1 large shallot, peeled, quartered
    3 garlic cloves, peeled
    1/2 cup of chili sauce - again; sweet to hot according to your preference.  The Sriracha is hot!!
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken

    Chicken Marinade
    Finely chop cilantro, ginger, shallot, and garlic in processor. Add piri-piri sauce, 1/4 cup oil, lemon juice, coarse salt, and pepper; process marinade to blend.
    Rub marinade into chicken and cover; chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

    Remove chicken from marinade and set it up on the rotisserie at around 350-400 deg F. Cover barbecue; grill for one hour wrapped in aluminum foil.  

    While the chicken is grilling; prepare the glaze.  Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cilantro and garlic; cook until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add chili sauce and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 2 minutes. (Glaze can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before using.)

    Remove foil and cook for another 45 minutes until skin is browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F-

    I served this with an asian coleslaw and sauteed zucchini and onions with fresh thai basil - yum!!

Zucchini Brownies!

Another allrecipes winner.  They are so delicious and moist.  The recipe includes a frosting which I skipped because the goal for me was to make a sweet dessert more healthy.  They are really SO.GOOD.  Original recipe here.  My version below.

1/2 cup organic canola oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini (gently drained)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. 
Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture.
Fold in the zucchini. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife comes out clean when inserted.

Zucchini Bread

Made a double batch to bring some into work - it was a big hit!  I went the safe route since I was doing a double batch and used the highest rated zucchini bread recipe from allrecipes :) - except I eliminated the walnuts.  I used summer squash as well.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (drained)

Grease two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Mix flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a separate large bowl. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. *It took mine a good hour.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Finally been harvesting a lot from the garden.  We have also come to realize that we need to double its size next year - the squash, melons, and cukes are all intertwined and too close (that is the jungle to the right/ rear).  They seem to be doing fine though.  Notice the dead eggplants in the bottom left - there were slug/bugs on them and I used Dr.Bronner's and water but at a much stronger dilution than was recommended online.  Oops.  Follow recommended dilutions!

I made the mistake of not realizing how FAST zucchini and squash can grow in just a few days and ended up w/some huge ones; not the best for eating grilled/sautéed due to the seeds, but perfect for baking.

Zucchini, summer squash, a head of romaine, 2 cucumbers (for pickling), and a teeny carrot!

I wanted to see how the carrots were doing/ how big they are, and I discovered they are still tiny :)  This is a heritage breed "Dragon Carrot".  Purple  on the outside and orange when sliced.  It has a slightly spicy flavor!

Broccoli - so good.  Will plant more towards the fall.

Broccoli, sugar snap peas, basil, slicing cucumber

And more lettuce!

Mixed Berry - Pretzel Icebox Dessert

I made this recipe from Noble Pig for the 4th of July and it was SO good.  I didn't change a thing, except used all fresh berries instead of some frozen.  Amazing!

2 cups finely crushed pretzels
3 Tablespoons sugar
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
6 oz. plain Greek yogurt (do not substitute regular yogurt, it will be too thin)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 (3 oz) packages strawberry gelatin
16 oz fresh strawberries
2 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh blackberries
Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400 deg F; mist a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray. 
Process pretzels in food processor until finely crushed. 
Add sugar and melted butter and pulse to combine. 
Press pretzel mixture into baking dish and bake for 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.

Make filling using an electric mixer on medium speed, beating cream cheese with sugar until well blended. Fold in yogurt and vanilla. Spread over cooled pretzel crust, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2-3 hours.

In a large bowl, dissolve both packages of gelatin in 2 cups boiling water. Let cool in the refrigerator until mixture begins to get more jello-like; about 1 hour. Stir in strawberries and blueberries and pour over cream cheese layer. Chill until firm, at least three hours or overnight.

Cut tart into squares and serve with whipped cream.

As you can see, there was not much left by the time I remembered to take a picture!

Thai Basil Chicken

One of my favorites when we go out for Thai.  Came out pretty close to our favorite restaurant!
I made my own recipe based off of this one from TempleofThai and this one from Thaitable.

~1 lb chicken breast, cut into thin strips
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, sliced
peanut oil for sautéeing
4-6 tbsp soy sauce
1-3 thai chili peppers
1 cup fresh thai basil (not cut up) - be generous!

Saute garlic, shallots, and peppers in peanut oil until lightly browned.

Add chicken and cook through.  Add soy sauce and thai basil, stir until basil is wilted.  Serve over white rice.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

We finally tried this out tonight - my roommate from college provided me this recipe in the recipe book the girls made for me for my wedding shower.  So delicious and easy!

1 lb large shrimp (avoid farmed, imported shrimp)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried crushed red pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1-2 medium diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
3 cloves chopped garlic
Handful of fresh basil and parsley

Toss shrimp with salt and red pepper.
Heat olive oil in skillet and add shrimp; cook for about 2 minutes, remove from pan.

Add onions to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes until browned.  Add tomatoes w/juices, wine, garlic and herbs (I put the garlic and herbs in the food processor and then added them).  Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the shrimp back in and serve with your favorite pasta - we used whole wheat spaghetti.

Grilled Ribs with Dry Rub

Another allrecipes.com find - I followed this one exactly and it was really good, despite the meat being slightly charred!  Oops.

3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Rub on ribs

Wrap the ribs up securely in foil -

Grill at medium/low heat for approximately an hour and a half.  We had our heat too high, hence the charring...but will definitely make this rub again and keep the heat lower :)

Jerk Chicken Dry Rub

We loved this!  I was doubtful with the Cinnamon in it but it came out so delicious.  Adapted from this allrecipes.com recipe.

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Chicken (whole or breasts)

Rub on chicken

Grill and enjoy!

House History!

The man who grew up in our home stopped by 2 weeks ago, told us some interesting history, enjoyed checking out all the work we have done, and told us that he had a few pictures from his mother of the house.  In the mail a few days later, we received them!

The house in 1938:

Another from 1938 - with 3 front doors:

1938:  The well that she is pumping from is still out there and still works!

The family in 1954.  The man who came to our house is the baby!  The longer chicken coop in the background is still out there (the other buildings have been removed) and the 2 apple trees in the picture are now HUGE.

1954:  There was a screened-in porch on the front, and a storm took down the tree that took down the porch.  The ladder in the background is still in the barn, and the front door pictured is the same one we still have!

1954 family photo.  The fenceline location is now home to huge evergreens.

We were so appreciative of the former owner for sharing these with us - I'm still working on thinking of a nice way to display these in our house!

Garden Update

The garden is doing well - still only herbs harvested so far.  Soon!

So for now we are still relying on the farmer's market -

This week we got:  redleaf and buttercrunch lettuces, pickling cukes and an asian cucumber, dill for pickling, red scallions, sweet onions, sugar snap peas and snow peas, zucchini & squash, buffalo burgers, a buffalo flank steak, and lamb chops!

Lots of Chicken!

We found a great local farm last week in perfect timing - they were processing their chickens on Tuesday.  So Chris headed to Tomenchock Farms after work and picked up 10!  The Tomenchocks pasture raise heritage breed birds with no hormones or antibiotics and only feed non-GMO corn!  We bought 4 wholes and the rest as halves for easier cutting.

So now we are happy to be very stocked up on great local natural chicken! 

We grilled one of the halves - with just some salt and pepper and garlic and it was delicious!!