Tag Archives: squash

Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwiches

This summer – this year – is flying by and I can’t believe it’s August already.  August is usually when the humidity gets as angry as ever and I begin my death-to-summer bitchfest.  I pray for the day temperatures drop a bit and when I see the forecast get anywhere lower than 85º, I deliriously wonder if it’s cold enough for a lightweight cardigan.  I mean seriously, the heat and humidity make me crazy.  However, one summer perk I’m forever in love with is the colorful and vibrant produce.  Even though I can get zucchini and tomatoes any time of year, they just don’t taste as good as they do in the dead of summer.  So, in appreciation, I make a deal with our beloved summer and tell her that I’ll endure her for as long as I have to as long as she keeps giving us such lovely food.  Since I’m a caprese freak, these Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwiches are a perfect marriage between veggies and mozzarella and one of the best summer combinations I can ask for.

Grilled zucchini, juicy tomato slices, fresh mozzarella and basil are sandwiched between two pieces of bread and grilled lightly, until gooey and warm.  Tangy balsamic vinegar and aromatic minced garlic add punches of flavor which leaves this sandwich tasty as-is with no need for any other condiments.  The recipe calls for ciabatta bread but I used bagel thins because I had them on hand so use any bread you like.  I think I barely breathed as I devoured this sandwich and it took every ounce of restraint to not eat another one.  As much as I tire of the heat and humidity, I love nothing better than summer’s flavors dripping down my chin.

The ingredients:

Toss zucchini in a shallow dish with olive oil and garlic.  Arrange zucchini on a grill or grill pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.

Cut each zucchini piece in half crosswise and return to shallow dish.  Drizzle zucchini with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Brush bottom halves of bread with the remaining olive oil.  Top evenly with zucchini, basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella.  Place sandwiches on a grill or grill pan and heat until warmed through.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substititutions:

  • Whole-wheat bagel thin

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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Summer Grilled Vegetable Pizza

I was hungry for pizza the other night but I’m not a big take-out pizza person.  I love take-out pizza, but I never order it unless I have someone else to eat it with me.  Otherwise, I’ll end up eating the whole greasy, cheesy, decadent pie and I don’t have enough willpower to not do that.  So, since I’m on a bit of a veggie kick this week, I decided to make one of the many pizza recipes that I’ve collected.  This Summer Grilled Vegetable Pizza is a perfectly light pizza that uses up the last of the zucchini and squash in my fridge.

Zucchini, summer squash and red pepper are grilled until soft and browned and placed over a store-bought pizza crust layered with marinara sauce.  Fresh mozzarella cheese and red pepper flake are a dotted over the veggies before the whole pie is baked on a pizza stone until golden brown (or slightly darker brown, in my case).  Don’t have a pizza stone?  Just use a pizza pan or cookie sheet.  The veggies are crisp-tender while the mozzarella cheese is salty and creamy and the red pepper flake adds a punch of heat here and there.  Use your favorite marinara, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or fresh tomatoes as your base here.  Play with any veggies you like to get a lesser-fat pizza that won’t leave you feeling too guilty.  You won’t even miss the fact that it’s not take-out pizza.

The ingredients:

Arrange all the vegetables in a single layer on a large cutting board or baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil.  Arrange vegetables on a grill rack preheated to medium-high heat and coated with cooking spray.  Grill for 3 minutes on each side or until crisp-tender and grill marks appear.  Remove from grill.  Coarsely chop bell pepper.

Sprinkle cornmeal over a pizza stone which has been preheated in a  500°F oven.  Carefully place dough on pizza stone and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the partially baked crust from oven.

Spread sauce over crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.  Arrange the vegetables over dough, and sprinkle evenly with salt and crushed red pepper.

Top evenly with cheese.  Bake at 500°F for an additional 12 minutes or until the crust and cheese are browned.

Cut into 6 slices and top with fresh basil (if desired).

Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Red onion

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Summer Squash and Ricotta Galette

Seriously, someone take my television away from me.  I can’t stop watching the Olympics.  Or checking scores online.  Or looking on my iPhone for Ryan Lochte’s latest tweets.  I woke up early on Sunday after staying up until midnight (watching the Olympics, of course) and turned on my television which was showing the Women’s Cycling Road Race.  I’ve never watched a bicycle race in my life because I never cared to, but there I was, sucked right in.  Seriously.  Someone stop me.  After ignoring my growling stomach and caffeine addiction, I finally decided to take a break during volleyball to make Summer Squash and Ricotta Galette, one of the best dishes I’ve ever made, hands down.

Zucchini, summer squash, garlic and olive oil are tossed together and placed over a mixture of ricotta, parmesan cheese, egg, fresh thyme and lemon inside a buttery pie crust.  After baking and slightly cooled, fresh basil leaves tops the dish to add yet another fresh element.  I used a store-bought pie crust as opposed to making my own dough as shown in the recipe, simply because my food processor is broken and I’ll take a short-cut when I can anyway.  Not to mention that I would probably eat dirt and dandelions if it was served inside a pie crust.  Don’t judge.  The pie crust is flaky, the ricotta perfectly lemony, and the vegetables tender and sweet.  Using this ricotta mixture, I plan on making this again and again, using whatever veggies and herbs I have on hand.  Broccoli, spinach, red pepper, asparagus and/or tomato would also make an excellent galette.  The problem with this dish is that it’s hard to just eat one wedge because it really is so good.  It deserves a gold medal.  Sorry, I had to, you know I’m cheesy.  And yes, Ryan Lochte, I now consider myself a Lochtenator.

If you like this, also check out Rustic Summer Squash Tart.

The ingredients:

Combine olive oil, zucchini, squash, and garlic in a large bowl.

Stir together ricotta, parmesan cheese, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, black pepper and egg in a medium bowl.

Place pie crust dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spread ricotta mixture over dough, leaving a 2-inch border.

Arrange zucchini and squash slices alternately, slightly overlapping, in a circular pattern over ricotta mixture. Sprinkle zucchini and squash with salt.

Fold edges of dough toward center, pressing gently to seal.  In a small bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon water and egg white and brush mixture over dough edges.  Bake in a 400°F oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle with basil.  Cool an additional 15 minutes.  Cut into 6 wedges.

Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Flour
  • Baking Powder

Substitutions:

  • Refrigerated pie crust dough
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Chicken-and-Veggie Stir-fry

I had a nice long three-day weekend this past weekend and got to spend all of Friday with a bunch of my friends eating a lot of soft pretzels and pasta and drinking a lot of beer.  And wine.  And bloody marys.  So, feeling a little heavy on the carbs, I decided I wanted to finish the weekend with something a little lighter, preferably with lots of veggies.  Chicken-and-Veggie Stir-fry turned out to be just what I wanted.

Thinly sliced chicken is cooked and stir-fried with yellow squash, broccoli, green onions and red pepper.  Small additions of lime juice, soy sauce, and chili-garlic sauce adds punches of flavor.  This is a very versatile recipe that could be made with any of your favorite vegetables or even tofu.  The recipe calls for broccolini but I used regular broccoli here and I also reduced the cornstarch on the chicken by less than half when I prepared this.  If you like a slightly crispier coating to your chicken, keep the cornstarch at the full amount.  I also used thinly sliced chicken breasts from my grocery store which cook quickly in stir-fries and are also cheaper than regular chicken breasts.  I really love a brightly colored and visually appealing dish like this, especially when it can be made in one pot.  Serve this over rice, quinoa, or simply eat it plain like I did.

 

The ingredients:

Sprinkle chicken with salt and toss with cornstarch.

Stir-fry the chicken in oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat until golden brown and done, about 5 or 6 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm.

Add broccoli and 1/4 cup broth to the pan and cover,  cooking 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Transfer to plate with chicken.

Add remaining oil to the skillet and sauté bell pepper, squash and green onions for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Whisk together 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and remaining 3/4 cup broth until cornstarch dissolves.  Add broth mixture, chicken, and broccoli to bell pepper mixture in skillet.  Cook, stirring often, 1 minute or until liquid thickens.

Stir in lime juice, soy sauce, and chili-garlic sauce.  

Serve over hot cooked rice, quinoa or enjoy as-is.

Additions:  None

Omissions: 

  • 1/2 of the cornstarch

Substitutions:

  • Broccoli

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Southern Living Magazine

Rustic Summer Squash Tart

This rustic tart from Woman’s Day gets its summery name from fresh squash and tomatoes but could easily be replaced with other seasonal veggies throughout the year for an equally good dinner.  Although cranking up the oven to 400 degrees on a 90+ degree day doesn’t seem very summery to me, it was well worth it.  This little tart is…well…simply yummy.  My friend Jodi came over tonight and we ended up eating the whole thing between the two of us!  How good is it?  As Jodi put it, “I want to rub my face in it.”

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions: 

  • Reduced-fat feta cheese for the blue cheese
  • Vine-ripened tomato for plum tomato (but I suggest sticking with plum tomatoes)

Overall Rating:  Love It!

Source:  Woman’s Day Magazine

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