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Entries in Zucchini (7)


Meal Planning #3

I am doing weekly meal plans in our house and am serving up a lot of tasty dishes each night, however I can't seem to get my act together to do a downloadable grocery list and recipe sheet each week for you guys. In an effort to still share the recipes I'm making, I am just going to do a modified version - complete with (at minimum) a link to the recipes I use to base the meals off, and if it's a good week, you'll get the modified version typed out on here.

On another note - while planning meals may take a bit of extra time up front - it without a doubt makes the week easier and greatly reduces the cost of our grocery bill. I mix and match recipes that require a lot of new ingredients with those that require minimal, cheap ingredients or only require things I have stockpiled in the house. I try and do 1 fish dish, 2 meat, 2 vegetarian, and 1 salad or pasta. As I've said before, the 7th night is reserved for leftovers or eating out. This system seems to work well and provides us with a wide range of meals. I find if I spend 30-45 minutes selecting recipes and putting together a grocery list, I can do my shopping in 45 minutes too - which, as I have quickly learned, is crucial when toting around a 2.5 month old.

Without further ado, Meal Planning #3:

1. Mayoless Pasta Salad from Skinnytaste.com

2. Zucchini Lasagna from Skinntyaste.com

(Make sure you let the zucchini sit with salt on it for at least 30 minutes to remove the moisture. Otherwise your lasagna comes out very watery!)

3. Orzo with Feta, Basil & Shrimp from William Sonoma

4. Herb Grilled Chicken from Fine Cooking & baked sweet potato on the side

(Using a fork, puncture sweet potato with holes. Place sweet potato in microwave in 2 minute intervals, rotating at each point. It should take 4-6 minutes for a single sweet potato to cook.)

5. Simple salad with Creamy Hummus Dressing from Simple Food Healthy Life

(My very basic salad consists of red leaf lettuce, diced tomatos, onions, and peppers, and a bit of cheese.)


Green Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Want a great way to trick people into eating vegetables? Kids, husbands, "I only eat meat" folks. Well this sauce may just be the perfect solution. In case you haven't been following, we purchased a Vitamix about a month ago. Vitamix was having a special for a refurbished model and we took the plunge (you still get the 5 year warranty even with the refurbished deal). Let me digress from the recipe for 2 seconds to explain to you why a Vitamix rocked my world: It is basically a blender on steroids. It has a 2 horsepower motor, which according to my husband could power a small boat, and a container that can hold 8-cups of liquid. I was skeptical at first. Why would anyone want to spend so much money when you can buy a cheap blender and a cheap food processor and be set. Oh boy was I wrong. We have used it every single day since purchasing it. You can literally put whole vegetables and fruits into it and it will pulverize them within minutes. This means that smoothies in the morning can consist of an entire apple (skin and all), banana, kiwi, pineapple, etc. and you end up with a liquid smoothie. You can put kale into it and it comes out so finely chopped you don't have to think about the fact that you are drinking kale. You can put entire tomatoes in for salsa or marinara sauce. Oh and don't let me forget that we made our own peanut butter in it - just put roasted peanuts in and no more than a minute or two later you have freshly made peanut butter in whatever consistency you prefer. So now that you know there is no shortage of reasons why this thing rocks, how about that recipe.

I through in kale, mushrooms, zucchini, sauteed onions and garlic, a bit of olive oil and water, some salt and pepper and again, within minutes had an entirely fresh and healthy pasta sauce. I added the sauce to some hot linguini and tossed it together. I added fresh cherry tomatoes (though had I roasted them, that would have been delicious too) and grated parmesan cheese to the mix and quickly had a dinner that could have had the brightest of them saying, "veggies? what?"

Green Vegetable Pasta Sauce

  • 2 cups kale, rinsed and dried

  • 1/2 yellow onion

  • 4 oz baby bella mushrooms, rinsed and stems removed

  • 1 cup zucchini, fresh or frozen

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • water

  1. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and sautee for 5 minutes.

  2. Place sauteed onions, garlic, vegetables, salt, pepper, and the remaining olive oil in your Vitamix.

  3. Set speed to Variable, #3 and turn on. Increase speed to #10 and using the tamper, push all of the vegetables down into the blade. Do so until the vegetables are thoroughly blended, roughly 30 seconds.

  4. Turn the machine off. If sauce is not at your desired consistency, add water, 1 tbsp at a time, and blend on the lowest setting to incorporate water. Remember, when you add the sauce to the pasta, it will thin out a bit too so don't add more than 4-5 tbsp of water.

  5. Toss sauce with pasta over low heat. Let cook for 5 minutes, warming the sauce. Add fresh tomatoes and grated cheese and serve hot.


Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I made this as an alternative to my Eggplant Boat o' Veggies, a go-to dinner in our house. The zucchinis resulted in a tasty, light meal. If you don't want to serve this as a main course, it would work perfectly as an appetizer or side dish to a main course of meat. The honey contrasted perfectly with the vinegar and the vegetables soaked up the marinade nicely. I used freshly shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese to top the zucchini boats. Delish!

Stuffed Zucchini

Servings: 3 people

Serving size: 1.5 zucchini per person

  • 6 zucchini
  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • 1 small-medium sweet yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut zucchini in half, length-wise.
  3. Scoop contents of zucchini out using a small spoon.
  4. Dice scooped out zucchini, tomatoes and onions into a similar size.
  5. Place vegetables and garlic into a bowl. Mix with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and salt.
  6. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray (9x13 or multiple 9x9 dishes) and fill with empty zucchini boats.
  7. Scoop vegetable mixture into the zucchinis, filling them to the top.
  8. Sprinkle zucchini boats lightly with shredded cheese of choice.
  9. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is golden brown and mixture is slightly bubbling.

Panko Baked Zucchini Fries

Baba's Mediterranean Kitchen, a small restaurant in Baltimore, quickly became one of my favorite joints to dine at. Baba's sits on Fort Ave, a street mixed with business and residential spaces, almost indistinguishable from the homes that are to either side of it. Inside, the restaurant holds no more than 20 people with small tables and a counter bar. The menu is extensive for such a small place and absolutely fabulous. While I could continue to review this restaurant, I'll save that for another post. One of the featured items at Baba's are their zucchini fries. Priced at only $4, popping in for a plateful of these fries was far too easy to do. Unfortunately, we moved away and I have yet to find a restaurant in Connecticut that makes zucchini fries which make my mouth water like Baba's do. The other night, I decided to take things into my own hands and whip up a healthier version of this mediterranean snack. A slight zest, some cumin and cayenne pepper, these zucchini fries are the perfect snack for adults and kids alike. Served with my 5-minute hummus on the side, you'll be reaching for zucchini every time you walk through the grocery.

Panko Baked Zucchini Fries

Servings: 20 "fries," enough for 2-3 people

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease with non-stick spray.
  3. Cut zucchini into "fries." Here is a GREAT step-by-step tutorial on cutting a zucchini (and another recipe for zucchini fries if you don't like mine!)
  4. Mix flour, panko, cayenne and cumin into a small bowl.
  5. Whisk egg and lime juice in a separate bowl.
  6. Dp each zucchini fry into the egg/lime juice mixture, roll it in the panko mixtures and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with all fries.
  7. Bake for 6-8 minutes and then flip the fries. Bake for another 6-8 minutes. Serve hot with my 5-minute hummus on the side.

Lemon Caper Baked Salmon & Roasted Vegetables

Ah. Fresh fish. There isn't quite anything like it. I'm talking, real, fresh, straight off the boat. The type my family gets on the beaches of Alabama or, even better, the types I had while in Mexico or Ghana. While it is hard to get anything that fresh up here in Connecticut, some grocery stores have reasonable alternatives. We don't do fish enearly enough, so when we do eat it, it is such a treat. This recipe uses dry white wine, freshly squeezed lemon juice and salty capers to transform an average piece of salmon into something delicious.

Going along with the theme of this week's challenge - to cook at home more often - it is quick and easy, ready to serve in under 30 minutes. I served it with fresh dill orzo salad (recipe to come) and roasted zuchinni and onions.

Lemon Caper Baked Salmon 

Servings: Marinade for up to 2 lbs of salmon

  • Salmon, roughly 6-8oz per person
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 lemons, juiced (roughly 1/4-1/3 cup lemon juice)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3/4 tbsp dried dill or 3 tbsp fresh dill
  • 3/4 tbsp of capers per fillet
  • 2-3 thin slices of lemon per fillet of salmon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Whisk together wine, lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh dill.
  3. Prepare salmon: If you have one piece of salmon for multiple people, cut the salmon down to the portions desired. Place salmon fillets onto individual pieces of foil.
  4. Brush the marinade onto each salmon fillet, carefully coating the entire portion.
  5. Thinly slice lemons, setting aside 2-3 slices per piece of salmon.
  6. Place lemon slices on top of each fillet.
  7. Pour capers evenly over each fillet.
  8. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  9. Tightly wrap each fillet in foil and place in oven.
  10. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Remove the largest piece of salmon and slice into the thickest part, ensuring that it is cooked to desired temperature. If complete, remove and serve. If not, cook for another 5 minutes at a time. 

Roasted Zucchini & Onions

Servings: 2-3 people

  • 1 zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (approximately 1-2 lemons)
  1. Cover baking sheet with foil and coat with non-stick spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Place chopped vegetables on baking sheet, spreading evenly across pan.
  4. Whisk together olive oil and lemon juice.
  5. Pour mixture across vegetables, tossing to thoroughly coat.
  6. Sprinkle vegetables with salt and pepper.
  7. Roast for approximatley 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.