Stuff and Nonsense: summer squash

Showing posts with label summer squash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer squash. Show all posts


Easy Salmon & Summer Vegetable Bake

I love my farm share, but there comes a point every week where I become overwhelmed by the contents of my kitchen and feel ALL.THE.VEGETABLES.MUST.GO. This salmon dish is one of my favorite easy ways to use those vegetables up as it makes for both a filling and colorful supper. Prepping and assembling the dish only takes a few minutes and then I can just ignore it as it bakes.

I like to serve this over rice, drizzled with the delicious pan juices, but sometimes the tomatoes aren't so juicy and then I serve it with mashed potatoes. Basically, we like carbs.

Easy Salmon & Summer Vegetable Bake

Yield: 3


  • 1 lb boned salmon fillet
  • 8 oz small zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch thick coins
  • 2 oz coarsely chopped shallot
  • 6 oz small grape tomatoes
  • 3 oz red, yellow, and orange bell pepper strips
  • Olive oil
  • Penzeys "Florida" salt free seasoned pepper (or what have you)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Lightly oil a 13x9-inch baking dish.
  3. Place salmon in dish and surround with zucchini, shallots, tomatoes, and peppers.
  4. Drizzle salmon and vegetables with olive oil. Season as needed.
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until salmon reaches 145°F and flakes easily with a fork.


Roasted Vegetables With Pasta

I've become less and less of a follower of recipes. I used to browse cookbooks all the time, looking for new recipes to try. I would visit multiple shops to track down just one weird ingredient. Now I look in my fridge and make whatever comes to mind. Tossing in a bit of this and a bit of that until I'm happy. Which is great for easy time-saving meals, but terrible for food blogging.

Anyway, this is one of those meals that I toss together quite often but never talk about because it's not "interesting" or "pretty" enough. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand -- although you'll need to be adjust cooking times if you use "firmer" vegetables like winter squash -- and whatever seasoning blend pleases you most.

Roasted Summer Vegetables With Pasta

Yield: 4 servings


  • 14 oz zucchini, cut into ¼ coins (3 small)
  • 8 oz yellow onion, halved and cut into wedges (1 large)
  • 15 oz plum tomatoes, chopped (3 large)
  • 3 oz bell pepper strips (4 mini)
  • 3 oz small grape tomatoes (a generous handful)
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Penzeys Tuscan Sunset salt-free seasoning blend
  • Onion powder
  • Roasted garlic powder
  • 8 oz cooked pasta
  • Crumbled feta


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Brush baking sheet with olive oil.
  3. Place vegetables on baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle with oil and season as desired.
  5. Roast for 30 or until desired tenderness, stirring everything half way through.
  6. Toss with cooked pasta and sprinkle with crumbled feta. Eat.


Pasta With Roasted Leeks & Zucchini

I threw together this simple summer pasta dish one evening after gym when I happened to have a lot of CSA leeks and zucchini on hand and was too darn hungry to do anything fancy. The combination of pasta with sautéed pancetta, leeks, and zucchini is satisfyingly filling, but light, and serves well as either supper or lunch when paired with a peppery arugula salad dressed with balsamic.

Pasta With Roasted Leeks & Zucchini


  • 6 oz mini farfalle pasta
  • 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 2 large leeks, white & light green parts only, chopped
  • 8 oz zucchini, diced small
  • ¾ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & freshly ground pepper, as needed


  1. Cook pasta as directed.
  2. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until golden.
  3. Add leeks, zucchini, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until softened.
  4. Toss vegetables with pasta, season to taste, and serve.

Yield: 4

Sweet onion and any variety of summer squash can be used instead of the leeks and zucchini. You could also try bacon instead of pancetta for a smokier flavor.


Zucchini Season: Cheesy Zucchini & Ham Bake

A glut of farmer's market and CSA summer squash has had me looking for new easy ways to use it up. I've noodled around with zoodles, but casseroles have really been my go-to. The original version of this particular casserole, "Ham and Zucchini Italiano," can be found in Taste of Home's Simple, Easy, Fast Kitchen which I received in the spring Taste the Seasons subscription box. While I've bookmarked a fair dozen recipes, this is the only one I've managed to make so far and I didn't even follow the recipe very well, so I doubt it counts!

You say zucchini, I say zucchinis. Zucchini. Zucchinis. Courgette!

I threw this dish together at 10 o'clock one night this week when I realized that, while I had nothing left to take for work meals, the pile of zucchinis on the kitchen side clearly meant I had no excuse to live off bagel sandwiches, either. Because it was late and I was tired, I altered the recipe to avoid sautéing the zucchini and dirtying an extra pot. The texture of the ribboned zucchinis, when combined and baked with the rest of the ingredients, was quite pleasant and the whole thing reminded me of a strata ... although, lacking egg and bread, it clearly wasn't a strata.

Whatever it is, I ate it all and am now eyeballing the remaining of the zucchinis.

Cheesy Zucchini & Ham Bake

Yield: 4


  • 3 6-inch zucchini
  • 1 tsp salt-free Italian seasoning blend
  • 8 oz ultra-thin sliced smoked deli ham
  • 14 oz jar pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Using the wide ribbon blade on your spiralizer, spiralize the zucchini into broad ribbons. Place in a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt, and let sit for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°.
  3. Wrap zucchini ribbons in a clean tea towel and mercilessly squeeze until you've gotten out all the liquid or your hands are tired.
  4. Place half of the zucchini ribbons in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with salt-free Italian seasoning blend. Layer with half of the ham, pizza sauce, and cheese. Repeat layers.
  5. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes or cheese is all melty and golden.


Roast All The Things: Chicken Thighs & Summer Vegetables

End of the week, no idea what the weekend may bring, and the crisper drawers still hold far too much highly perishable produce. What to do? Roast them. With some chicken. Because not everyone wants a big plate of roasted vegetables for supper. Weirdos.

The package of boneless skinless thighs I used contained five thighs -- we had two apiece for supper and I enjoyed the remaining one with a bunch of the leftover vegetables for lunch the next day. Obviously, serving sizes are arbitrary so ymmv.

Roasted Chicken Thighs & Summer Vegetables

Yield: 3 servings


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small yellow (crookneck) squash, sliced into thick coins
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced into thick coins
  • 4 oz quartered small red potatoes
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and thyme
  • Olive oil


  1. Brush baking pan(s) with olive oil. Arrange chicken and vegetables on pan(s), trying not to crowd. Season generously.
  2. Roast, uncovered, in 425°F oven for 25-30 minutes or until chicken has reached 165°F and potatoes are tender.


Easy Turkey Cutlet Parmesan

Another easy Pantry Challenge supper! Turkey Parmesan(ish) -- using turkey cutlets from the freezer, leftover tomato sauce, and a bunch of veggies that were starting to look the worse for wear. Delicious and easy, it would definitely be worth making again.

Turkey Cutlet Parmesan

Yield: 2


  • 1 oz liquid egg whites
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 oz shredded Parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp salt-free Italian seasoning blend
  • 4 turkey cutlets
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce


  • To a shallow bowl or pie plate, add the egg whites. To another shallow bowl or pie plate, add the panko, Parmesan, and seasoning blend.
  • Dip cutlets into the egg whites, allow to drip off a bit, then dip into the panko mix.
  • Bake cutlets at 450F° for about 15 minutes.
  • While the cutlets bake, sautéed diced zucchini and onions in a little olive oil until the onion is golden, then add tomato sauce, and leave to simmer until the cutlets are done.
  • Serve sauce over cutlets.


Creamy Lemon Cheesy Zucchini

Philadelphia Cooking Crème was on sale so I picked up a tub of the Savory Garlic flavor because we like cream cheese and we like garlic ... so why not give it a try? I decided to add the crème to the Lemon Cheesy Zucchini I'd made for December's Eating the Alphabet Challenge and turn the dish into a gratiné de courgettes (zucchini gratin).

Creamy Zucchini Gratin

Also, you know, The Husband isn't keen on zucchini (or most vegetables that aren't carrots, corn, peas, green beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, white potatoes, onions) so I thought adding a creamy sauce and more cheese couldn't go amiss. As he said it was "okay" and ate his entire serving, I consider this dish a success.

I thought it was pretty good -- maybe a touch salty from the cheese and cooking sauce, but the lemon helps balance that somewhat and the zucchini was still nicely firm despite being sautéed and then broiled.
Creamy Lemon Cheesy Zucchini
Serves 2 generously as a side dish

1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz baby zucchini, halved lengthwise
6 Tbsp grated Parmesan
[4C Homestyle Parmesan Romano]
4 sprigs thyme, chopped
zest 1 lemon
Freshly cracked pepper, as desired
4 Tbsp Philadelphia Savory Garlic Cooking Crème

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the zucchini, cut side down, and sauté for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and toss with the 4 tablespoons Parmesan, Cooking Crème, zest, thyme, and lots of black pepper.

Pour into a greased small baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Broil until bubbly and browned.

Creamy Zucchini Gratin
I served this with sautéed lemon pepper chicken breasts that I drizzled with 2 tablespoons Cooking Crème, sprinkled with grated Parmesan, and broiled until golden.

The Cooking Crème reminded me of garlicky Alfredo sauce and, while perfectly okay, was not something I feel I need to purchase again. Unlike the adorably twee baby zucchini, which I will buy again and again and again ...


Eating the Alphabet: Z is for Zucchini

So we've come to the end of another Eating the Alphabet challenge. December's ingredients were X, Y, and/or Z. I went with zucchini, because I kept seeing these little packs of adorable baby zucchini in the produce section and I was dying for an excuse to buy them. (I know, I did zucchini last year ... there's just not a lot of XYZ ingredients and I like zucchini a lot).

You can make this dish with regular-sized zucchini, of course. You'll just need to cut them into strips about the same length and thickness of your ring finger.

I did not remove the stems from the baby zucchini as they are perfectly edible. Also, very cute cooked with the stems intact and, sometimes, I just crave cute.

Baby Zucchini
Ahhh! So cute! I must eat you all!
Lemon-Cheesy Zucchini
Serves 2 generously as a side dish

1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz baby zucchini, halved lengthwise
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan
[4C Homestyle Parmesan Romano]
4 sprigs thyme, chopped
zest 1 lemon
Freshly cracked pepper, as desired

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the zucchini, cut side down, and sauté for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and toss with the Parmesan, zest, thyme, and lots of black pepper. Serve.
Lemon-Cheesy Zucchini

While the dish served two as a side with grilled chicken, it would also make a fine lunch for one zucchini lover if paired with a little crusty bread spread with soft goat cheese and maybe some thyme honey ... drools.

The still-firm zucchini is marvelously nutty and the tart lemon zest helps balance out the salty cheese. If you prefer softer zucchini, just flip the zucchini after three minute cooking time and cook the other side for an additional three minutes.

And that's it! We're done with the 2013 Eating the Alphabet Challenge. Wrap-up post coming in January and then we begin again in February! A is amaranth? B is for bok choy? It's anyone's guess!


Five Ingredient Tilapia

The Husband is very fussy about fish. He says he doesn't like "strong tasting" fish, but he loves salmon and tuna. Tilapia is okay, but flounder is not. Catfish is sometimes okay and sometimes totally repellant. Haddock was a disaster. As was mahi-mahi and swordfish -- I guessed those two wouldn't go over well, but felt I should demo them just in case.

So we're a salmon/tuna household with a bit of tilapia thrown in, every now and again, for variation. Problem is, I don't really know what to do with tilapia and tend to make it pretty much the same way every time -- baked tilapia smeared with a little mayonnaise mixed with stuff and sprinkled with bread crumbs/panko.

Tilapia & Summer Squash

Five Ingredient Tilapia

2 tablespoons light Italian dressing
1½ Tbsp light mayonnaise
½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
8 oz tilapia fillets
2 Tbsp seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 450F°. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (I reused a bit of foil).

Whisk together dressing, mustard, and mayonnaise. Light brush over both sides of fillets. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top of fillets. Bake 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
If you like a "spicier" tilapia, feel free to omit the mayonnaise and use two tablespoons of Dijon. The Husband had a traumatic experience with what had to have been a mislabeled jar of Dijon -- looked like "normal" Dijon but tasted like wasabi -- and is now a bit skittish of the stuff.

I served the tilapia with my "Parmesan Roasted Summer Squash," substituting one-inch lengths of scallion instead of the red onion, because I wanted a meal I could stick in the oven and walk away from and the squash happens to cook at the same time and temperature as the tilapia. The scheduled sautéed chard and carrots, while undeniably delicious, require a bit more attention.

Tilapia & Summer Squash

Yes, that is my manky-looking pizza stone at the bottom of the oven. It lives in the oven full-time and, supposedly, helps regulate the oven's temperature.

I buy recycled aluminum foil, mostly because single-use things like cling wrap and plastic storage bags irk me, but it still seems silly to toss aluminum foil in the recycling bin after one use. For the past year or so, we've been reusing our aluminum foil. If it's a bit dirty after use, we just wipe it down with a damp sponge and put it aside for its next culinary adventure. Since we usually use foil for thing like frozen burritos, a square of foil can last quite a long time. Is this weird?


Parmesan Roasted Summer Squash

Pork chops were buy one, get one at Price Chopper last week and my cunning plan was to grill one package and freeze the other ... but I forgot to put a package in the freezer when I came home from the shop and, whoops, it was at its sell-by date by the time I did remember. So we had grilled pork chops twice in one week after going months without eating any pork. (It's not that I've been avoiding pork so much as I just don't think about it).

Friday Supper

Rather than marinate the pork chops overnight, I rubbed the chops with a mixture of McCormick Grill Mates Southwest Marinade and brown sugar. I'd stocked up on Grill Mates a few weeks ago when they were on sale for 80¢ a piece. Yes, I could make my own marinades and rubs from scratch, but I can't be arsed. Anyway, the marinade-cum-rub was easy and gave the chops a nice smoky sweet 'n spicy flavor.

I served the chops with roasted summer squash and pilaf. The pilaf was a boxed mix prepared following the low fat directions where three tablespoons of water replaced the one tablespoon of fat normally used. The pilaf cooked up fine without the oil and it certainly didn't taste like anything was missing. I'm not sure why I was surprised the rice turned out fine as, when I make rice from scratch, I don't use any added fat and that rice always comes out fine.

The roasted summer squash turned out fantastic and I'll definitely make squash this way again. If you don't have access to Boxed Goodes' Allium Salt, something like Penzeys Fox Point Seasoning would also work well.
Parmesan Roasted Summer Squash
Serves 2 generously

2 6-inch yellow squash, slicked thickly
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 small red onion, quartered and pull into pieces
Cooking spray
Boxed Goodes Allium Salt (coarse sea salt, chives, onion, shallots), as needed
Black pepper, as needed
Grated Parmesan cheese, as needed

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment. Lay vegetables flat on pan. Lightly spritz vegetables with cooking spray. Sprinkle them with allium salt, pepper, and Parmesan.

Roasted Summer Squash & Friends

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until they are tender. Turn on broiler and broil until cheese browns and peppers begin to char.


Cheesy Pasta with Summer Vegetables

This started out as a Betty Crocker recipe ("Cheesy Rigatoni with Eggplant Sauce"), but I didn't have all the right ingredients and there were other ingredients I wanted to use, because it was the weekend and time to clean out the fridge.

Pasta & Summer Vegetable Bake

My pasta dish came out much less saucy than Betty Crocker's -- probably because I used fresh tomatoes and a slightly pureed can of diced tomatoes instead of the actual tomato sauce called for in the original recipe.

Chopped Vegetables

I also peeled the eggplant, because I don't have a lot of experience cooking eggplant and most of the recipes I've seen say to peel the eggplant so I just went with majority rules. (This is my first year growing eggplant and, since my plants seem prolific, I hope/expect to be a dab hand at eggplant cuisine by the time autumn comes).

While I thought this dish was pretty delicious -- cheesy and well-seasoned with lots of yummy vegetables -- The Husband declared it merely okay (for something full of aubergines and courgettes and completely lacking in meat). So, as always, ymmv.
Cheesy Pasta with Summer Vegetables
Serves 4 generously

7 oz uncooked whole grain rotini
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup diced red onion
3 small eggplants (Fairy Tale Hybrid), peeled and cut into chunks
1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
½ large red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp salt-free Italian seasoning blend
14½ oz can diced tomatoes, lightly pureed
[ my immersion blender]
8 oz shredded mozzarella
1 oz grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper, as desired

Heat oven to 350°F.

Cook and drain pasta as directed on package, using minimum cook time.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large deep skillet (I used my chicken fryer). Cook onion, eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini in oil, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes). Stir in tomato sauce and pasta (this is why you want a big skillet).

Cover your skillet (foil or a lid) and bake for about 15 minutes. Uncover, top with cheese, and broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Pasta & Summer Vegetable Bake


One Pan Chicken & Summer Squash

Came home from work, covered in poison ivy (not nearly as awesome as bees, thank you), with no real desire to put supper on the table but still unwilling to let the produce drawer compost itself ... so I threw this together out of odds-and-ends and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

Summer Squash Salsa Chicken

If you had a lot of fresh tomatoes on hand, you might want to chop up a few and use them to sub out the salsa. You'd need to add seasonings, of course, but a bit of rub would probably do.

This is also a great way to use up not-very-good grocery store corn as all the other flavors help smooth over its failings.
One Pan Chicken & Summer Squash
Serves 3 (or 2 plus tomorrow's lunch)

3 4-oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Southwestern-style chicken rub, as desired [Just Cook's Ancho Chicken Rub]
1 6" zucchini, chopped
½ small onion, chopped
Kernels from 2 ears of corn
1 cup salsa [Green Mountain Gringo's roasted garlic salsa]
Coconut oil or whatever cooking oil you prefer

Preheat oven to lowest setting (mine has a "warm" setting).

Rub chicken generously. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, cook chicken in oil about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown on outside and no longer pink in center. Remove chicken to oven.

Cook zucchini, onions, and corn in skillet for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salsa. Reduce heat to medium; cook 2 minutes longer or until thoroughly heated.

Serve chicken and vegetables over cilantro rice.


Zucchini, Pasta, & Stuff

I'd planned on stuffed zucchini for Sunday dinner, but one of my zucchini developed a horrible squishy spot and could no longer fulfill its duties as a boat for holding delicious sausage, cheese, and mushrooms. So, instead, I made pasta sauce from all the stuffed zucchini ingredients and served them over whole grain penne!

Sunday Night Pasta

Maybe not as awesome as stuffed zucchini, but still quite tasty and filling.
Very Vegetable Tomato Sauce

9.6 oz pkg Jimmy Dean pre-cooked turkey sausage crumbles
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced small
2 small zucchini, diced small
1 cup sliced mushrooms, chopped
8 oz can low-sodium spaghetti sauce
14 oz can Muir Glen fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp salt-free Italian seasoning blend
2 cups whole grain elbow macaroni, cooked as you like
½ cup grated Parmesan

Saute shallot, garlic, mushrooms, and carrot in a little olive oil until fragrant and shallot is translucent. Add zucchini, sausage crumbles, seasoning blend, fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Stir in pasta and a quarter cup of Parmesan. Serve sprinkled with remaining Parmesan.

Serves 4.


Too Much Produce: Summer Squash Enchiladas

I bought too much produce this week -- everything looked really good, so I picked up more than I needed and ended up with a fridge packed top to bottom with vegetables. (I know, it's a terrible problem. Right up there will cancer and poverty).

The thing is, I hate waste and I was very much afraid that some of it would go to waste before we got around to eating it. My mother taught me nothing goes in the bin if it can be helped and I still live by that.

Summer Squash Enchiladas

So, behold! The Enchiladas of Squash-y Goodness which used up two squash, a shallot, and an ear of corn ... thereby freeing up enough crisper space that I can kinda-sort see the bottom now. If I squint and angle my head just right.

Summer Squash Enchiladas

1 small zucchini, diced
1 small summer squash, diced [save cob for chowder]
1 ear of corn, shucked and kernels shaved off cob
1 shallot, minced
2 cups enchilada sauce
4 small flour tortillas
2 oz Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Sharp Light cheddar, shredded

Preheat oven to 400°F. Swirl ½ cup enchilada sauce around bottom of square baker to coat.

Heat a nonstick skillet. Add vegetables and ½ cup enchilada sauce and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.

Spoon ½ half cup squash mixture down the middle of each tortilla. Top with 1 Tbsp shredded cheese. Roll up and place, seam down, in the baker.

Summer Squash Enchiladas

Top with remaining cup of enchilada sauce and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. If you like your enchiladas brown and bubbly, as I do, then broil for about 3 minutes. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving (I didn't wait and mine broke when I scooped them out).

Serves 2.

These were really good and I wish I'd made more! Even The Husband liked these and I was sure he'd complain about the lack of meat.