Ratatouille is a vegetable side dish filled with wonderful flavors. Every time I say the word ‘Ratatouille’ I have to smile and think of the Disney animated film Ratatouille. The young rat, Remy, dreams of becoming a famous French chef. Such a funny film, great to watch with children, grandchildren or in the privacy of your own adult home…no one needs to know you’re watching a cartoon!
Celebrate after watching the film by enjoying the real deal!
LAYERED BAKED RATATOUILLE
2 cups (16 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dry) (plus more for sprinkling)
½ tsp. salt (plus more for sprinkling)
¼ tsp. pepper (plus more for sprinkling)
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced*
2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced*
2 small eggplant, thinly sliced*
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1” squares
Parmesan cheese, to top (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Spread 1 tbsp. olive oil in the bottom of a 9 inch cast iron skillet. In a small bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the base of your skillet.
Layer the sliced vegetables vertically around the skillet, packing them as tight as you can. (We find that it is easier to layer the zucchini, squash, and eggplant in the skillet and then go back in and tuck the red peppers within the layers after the other vegetables have been filled in.)
Season the top of the vegetables with additional salt, pepper, and thyme. Drizzle with more olive oil.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and the vegetables are softened and starting to brown slightly.
Unique Zucchini recipes are always of interest to me and this Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Zucchini Break did not disappoint. Breads, cakes and cookies with rolled oats are a favorite, now adding coconut and chocolate…what’s not to like!
OATMEAL COCONUT CHOCOLATE CHIP ZUCCHINI BREAD
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat white flour (may be substituted with all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 3/4 cup coconut sugar (may be substituted with granulated or brown sugar) 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (may be substituted with canola oil)
2 large eggs
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard size loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Whisk together the oats, flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and coconut oil vigorously, until foamy, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini, coconut, and chocolate chips and stir until combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I used 1/8 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup Raisins (I skipped the raisins since the family doesn’t like)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a Bundt or 9 inch loaf pan.
In a bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla until
light and fluffy. Stir in the shredded zucchini. Then transfer this batter to the flour mixture and stir until everything is combined. Fold in the raisins.
Pour into the baking pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in
the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to completely cool.
** Please note, cook time for Bundt pan will be around 60 minutes and for the 9 inch loaf pan, around 1 hr 10 minutes. Always check after 1 hr for doneness as all ovens are different.
Zucchini and rabbits have a lot in common. They multiply…and multiply…and multiply. My zucchini plant has done well this year, keeping my daughters and I supplied in plenty of zucchini for salads, pastas, breads and, one of my favorites, Zucchini Fritters.
I’ve made these for years but with the remodel, the recipe disappeared. I found this recipe online which sounded almost exactly like my tried and true recipe. It’s easy and delicious, a bit like latkes.
4 cups shredded zucchini
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sliced scallions (green and white parts)
Sour cream, for serving (optional)
Place the shredded zucchini in a colander set over a bowl and sprinkle the zucchini lightly with salt. Allow the zucchini to stand for 10 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as possible. Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl.
Add the flour, eggs, sliced scallions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to the bowl, stirring until the mixture is combined. Line a plate with paper towels.
Liberally coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with vegetable oil and place it over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, scoop 3-tablespoon mounds of the zucchini mixture into the pan, pressing them lightly into rounds and spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Cook the zucchini fritters for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip them once and cook an additional 2 minutes until golden brown and cooked throughout.
Transfer the zucchini fritters to the paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle them with salt. Repeat the scooping and cooking process with the remaining zucchini mixture.
Serve the zucchini fritters topped with sour cream (optional) and sliced scallions.
Zucchini has been plentiful this year and I was craving a chocolate fix. I found this recipe and LOVED the cake. The glaze turned into chocolate globs which I did try to spread on top of the cake. Next time I’d either just skip the glaze, or make my own.
The cake is moist and delicious…a keeper!
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE
Unsalted butter, for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-square cake pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
Toss 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Whisk the remaining flour, the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat the sugar, 1/2 cup olive oil, the eggs and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the flour-cocoa mixture; beat on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes (the batter will be thick). Add the zucchini and beat until combined, about 2 more minutes. Fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
Make the glaze: Combine the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the honey in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Spread over the cake, then cut into pieces.
Almond Flour is a new experience for me and I love it. I am truly a ‘nut’ job, loving nuts and often acting like one. Using Almond Flour in place of wheat flour was right up my alley. Oldest daughter, Megan, shared this recipe with me since she is also trying to be gluten-free.
I can’t wait to experiment using almond flour in other recipes!
ALMOND FLOUR ZUCCHINI BREAD
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup honey
1 ripe banana
1 cup shredded, unpeeled zucchini (squeeze some of the moisture out)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
Place the wet ingredients in the bowl and beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until frothy and fully combined. Add the zucchini and beat again just enough to incorporate.
Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer running, until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated.
Spoon the batter into 2 mini loaf pans (or use to make muffins).
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean.
Zucchini is the vegetable that keeps on giving, except in my garden. Daughter Megan has several plants and shares the wealth with family and friends.
Zucchini can be a blessing or a curse. I’ve read a quote online that supposedly came from Garrison Keillor that made me laugh. ‘July is the only time of year when country people lock our cars in the church parking lot, so people don’t put squash on the front seat.’
We’ll be wishing for garden fresh zucchini this winter so we’ll, again, get creative with the zucchini recipes.
3 small (or 2 medium) zucchini
Cherry or Sun Gold tomatoes (sliced in half)
salt and pepper
Bread crumbs (plain or seasoned)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and slice a bit off the back side so the zucchini will lie flat on the baking pan. Scoop out the centers of the zucchini halves with a spoon.
Brush the surface of each zucchini half with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice tomatoes in half, and arrange them into the grooves.
Lightly sprinkle with bread crumbs. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese (or both) and bake for about 30-40 minutes until tender.
Optional: Set your oven to broil, and continue to cook another minute or two until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Squash season is here! While my garden has yet to produce zucchini or yellow squash, my friend Jan has been kind enough to share. Summer squash baked with onion, peppers drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with herbs and topped with melted Mozzarella is a summer staple.
SUMMER SQUASH BAKE
1-2 small to medium sized zucchini, sliced
2 small to medium sized yellow squash, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 Anaheim or green sweet peppers, chopped
drizzle of olive oil
optional: diced Japanese eggplant
sprinkle of herbs of choice (I have used thyme, summer savory or this time I used Cantanzo Herbs)
Salt and pepper
Shredded Parmesan Cheese or cheese or choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss all ingredients, except cheese, and place in greased casserole dish.
Top with shredded cheese.
Bake 45 minutes or until all ingredients are cooked through.
Summer vegetables and Quinoa is the perfect combination. This recipe is from Iowa Girl Eats. I follow her blog and love her recipes! Her blog name, alone, was enough to bring me to her blog…Iowa girls stick together!
I loved this dish and the wonderful summer vegetables. I substituted roast red peppers for the sundried tomatoes with great results. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!
EASY SUMMER QUINOA
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup quinoa
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups chopped kale
1 small zucchini, chopped
salt & pepper
2 ears sweet corn kernels (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, cut into strips (or roasted red peppers or both!)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
shaved or fresh grated parmesan cheese, for topping
Bring scant cup chicken (or vegetable) broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Rinse quinoa very well in a fine mesh sieve under running water (quinoa is coated in a natural, bitter coating that needs to be rinsed off) then add to saucepan, place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, then cook until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots then sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and red chili pepper flakes then sauté for 30 more seconds, stirring constantly.
Turn heat up to medium-high then add kale and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper then sauté for 2 minutes.
Add corn and sun-dried tomatoes then sauté for 2 more minutes.
Add white wine then scrape up brown bits from bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. When wine is nearly gone, add peas then stir to combine. Add chicken broth and cooked quinoa then cook until broth is absorbed. Remove skillet from heat then add basil and stir to combine. Taste then add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve topped with freshly shaved or grated parmesan cheese.
With the frigid cold this past weekend, it was the perfect time to make Hearty Minestrone. My good friend, Maribeth, introduced this recipe to me several years ago and it is a winter delight! Pair it with a crusty, hearty bread, a nice glass of red wine and you can please family and friends alike.
This soup freezes beautifully! With our busy schedules, what a treat to be able to have this soup on hand for those crazy, busy days we all have. If you are gluten-free, eliminate the noodles.
Mmmm…making me hungry for another bowl of leftovers!
2 pounds chuck roast
1 teaspoon salt
4 quarts water
1 cup sliced celery
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
6 ounces tomato paste
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
16 ounce can dark red kidney beans
15 ounce can garbanzo beans
16 ounce can pinto beans
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 small zucchini
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, sliced
8 ounce package kluski (homemade style) noodles
In a large kettle, combine chuck roast, 1 teaspoon salt and water. Cover and simmer for 3 hours or until beef is tender.
Remove meat from kettle and set aside. Remove fat from broth by letting kettle cool in refrigerator and then lifting hardened fat off top and discarding. Break meat into 1-inch pieces and combine with broth in a very large stock pot.
Stir in celery, onion, carrot, tomatoes, parsley, tomato paste, salt, oregano, basil, kidney beans with liquid, garbanzo beans with liquid, pinto beans, spinach, zucchini and sliced sausage.
Simmer, covered, until vegetables and sausage are tender, about 1 hour. Soup may be frozen at this point.
To serve, cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse, drain and add to hot soup. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese and crusty Italian Bread.