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Baked Tomato Zucchini Casserole

September 26, 2014 Appetizer, Entrees, Menu No Comments

Here’s an easy, quick and healthy recipe that you can serve as either a side dish or a main course. With just a handful of fresh ingredients, you’ll have this meal assembled and cooked in less than an hour. My original plan for this dish was to bread the individual slices of zucchini and tomatoes, and then stack the slices in a baking dish. To save time and ingredients (and to make it a bit more interesting), I instead decided to make a basic breadcrumb topping (breadcrumbs sautéed in melted butter and mixed with parmesan cheese), and use the topping as a layer within the casserole. I also used a 50/50 mixture of regular breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs for an extra crunchy texture. Regular breadcrumbs will of course work fine on their own.

Ingredients:
3 green zucchini, sliced thin length-wise
8 plum tomatoes, sliced thin
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced thin, separated into individual rings
1/3 cup basil, finely chopped
garlic powder
salt and pepper
olive oil
2 tbspn butter
1 cup breadcrumbs (I used 1/2 regular and 1/2 panko breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Step 1: Making the breadcrumb topping
Melt butter in a small skillet; add breadcrumbs and sauté until lightly browned. Remove from heat, and stir in parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Step 2: Assembling the casserole
Preheat oven to 375˚. Lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with a single layer of zucchini. Next place a single layer of onion rings (you can spread out the individual rings so that the onions do not  over-power the dish), then add a single layer of tomatoes. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper (to your liking). Sprinkle some of the basil on top. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with a light coating of breadcrumbs. Repeat the layered steps (zucchini, onion, tomatoes, seasoning, basil, breadcrumbs) until all ingredients are used up. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly. Slice, serve and enjoy!

The assembled casserole.

The assembled casserole.

Sliced and ready to enjoy!

Sliced and ready to enjoy!

 

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Summer Seafood Giambotta

May 24, 2013 Entrees, Menu, Soup No Comments

When I started planning to make this dish earlier this week, my original intentions were to simply sauté some vegetables and serve them over sliced polenta. Apparently my creative juices were in high gear that day. I found myself inspired and started reaching for additional complimentary ingredients. Before I knew it, I had a beautiful pan of giambotta (the classic stewed vegetable dish) simmering away on our new stovetop.Within a half an hour, my wife and I were enjoying a fresh, hearty and flavorful meal!

A traditional giambotta would normally include ingredients such as potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini. For this version, I used zucchini, yellow squash, garlic, onion, diced tomatoes and spinach. These are all quick-cooking ingredients, which made for the ideal weekday meal. I like to keep a bag of frozen raw shrimp and frozen scallops on hand for impromptu dishes, and this was the perfect opportunity to put them to use. Letting the shrimp and scallops simmer in the sauce during the last few minutes of cooking guaranteed the perfect, tender texture and taste. We did serve this over sliced polenta, which worked perfectly. But next time I make this, I’m going all out and will be serving it up with a nice crusty loaf of Italian bread to scoop up every last drop of sauce!

SUMMER SEAFOOD GIAMBOTTA

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tbspn olive oil
1 medium zucchini, sliced into circles, then circles sliced in half
1 medium yellow squash, sliced into circles, then circles sliced in half
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 bag baby spinach
1 dozen raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup raw small sea scallops

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add chopped onions, stir, sauté for 30-45 seconds or until translucent.

Add diced zucchini and squash, stir and sauté until zucchini and squash start to soften up. Add diced tomatoes and their juices, lower heat to simmer. Add spinach, stir. Add shrimp and scallops. Stir together, cover with lid and let simmer until shrimp and scallops are done, about 5-7 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper (you can add some crushed red pepper for additional heat). Serve it over sliced polenta or along with crusty Italian bread.

Makes approximately 2-4 servings

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Lemon Mint Risotto with Zucchini

August 6, 2012 Entrees, Menu 2 Comments

Now’s the time to put that fresh harvest of vegetables and herbs to good use! One of the new herbs that I planted this year was mint. If I had known how abundant this herb was, I would have started planning recipes to use it with months ago! After putting together multiple batches of mint pesto, mint iced tea, and mint seasoned chicken to name just a few, I searched out  a delicious combination that would put not only my mint to use, but fresh zucchini and lemon as well. This dish adds lemon zing, mint accent and fresh zucchini to classic risotto. What I found most interesting about this dish was how the zucchini was sliced and added. By simply using a vegetable peeler to make long, thin slices, the zucchini takes on a beautiful ribbon shape and texture that holds up well in the warm risotto. The ribbons gently wrap around the creamy rice, yet melts in your mouth with every bite. The mint gives the perfect refreshing accent without overpowering. If you are a fan of risotto, I suggest you give this recipe a try.

LEMON MINT RISOTTO WITH ZUCCHINI

6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
1/2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, plus extra for garnish

Bring stock to a simmer. Reduce heat to lowest setting and keep warm.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and oil in a deep skillet or pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, 2 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Add wine. Cook, stirring, until the wine evaporates. Add stock 1 cup at a time, stirring until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup. Continue until the rice is tender but not mushy. When almost finished, stir in the zucchini, adding stock as needed and stirring continuously.Remove pan from the heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add mint leaves and serve immediately in bowls garnished with extra cheese, extra lemon zest and mint.

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Zucchini Carpaccio

This week, health and wellness expert Joe Sammartino shares with us an incredibly simple recipe for zucchini squash. By using just a handful of everyday ingredients, the end result is a delicious and fresh-tasting zucchini salad that is packed with lots of healthy benefits. I have tried this dish and have to agree with Joe…it is unbelievably tasty! You can take it a few steps further than the recipe below by adding crushed red pepper for spice, or fresh shaved parmesan for a beautiful accent. You can also substitute lemon or lime juice for the red wine vinegar if you wish. Try it first as is, then adjust to your liking. If you like zucchini, you’ll love this dish!

ZUCCHINI CARPACCIO
Submitted by Joe Sammartino

Here is something you can do to spice up some summer squash First off it is high in vitamins and minerals. It’s high in vitamin A (for eye site), vitamin C (for tissue growth and repair), Riboflavin (for red blood cell production), and Manganese (for immune system). Just some nutrition info!!

Ingredients:
3 zucchini squash
2 tbspn olive oil
1 tbson red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbspn chopped fresh mint

Directions:
Take a serrated knife to thinly slice 3 zucchini lengthwise. Arrange slices on a salad plate; drizzle on 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, and add salt and pepper to your taste. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint. Let the slices marinate about 20 min at room temp before serving.

This will make 4 servings.

I have had Zucchini so many ways but, this was tasty.

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