Category Archives: Vegetables

Swiss Vegetable Medley

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While considering various vegetable side dishes for our Thanksgiving pot luck, I pulled out the recipe for this dish – Swiss Vegetable Medley. It is an interesting recipe in that it is simple, but very tasty. It reminds me very much of the “Semi Home Made” style recipe in that all the work seems to be measuring, and there is no processing other than cooking.

I have updated the recipe slightly since inflation has again changed the packaging sizes of some of the ingredients. But it is still the same good side dish. And if you have problems serving broccoli or cauliflower to your troops, those are almost completely hidden in this dish.

Swiss Vegetable Medley

Ingredients

  • 14 oz package frozen broccoli-carrot-cauliflower combo
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) grated swiss cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 oz French fried onions, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Thaw and drain the frozen vegetable combo.
  2. Mix together the soup, 1/2 cup (2 ox.) swiss cheese, sour cream, pepper and 1/2 (1.5 oz.) of the French fried onions. Ad the thawed and drained vegetables.
  3. Put into a 1.5 quart sprayed casserole and bake, covered for 30 minutes.
  4. Top with the leftover onions and cheese and return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes, uncovered.


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I was pleasantly surprised to find the frozen vegetable combo still available at my store; so many of the old combos have disappeared from the market. I even found the swiss cheese already grated, and the French’s onion rings are now in a 6 oz package. Everything came together when I shopped.

I tried making the casserole in a 1 quart dish, but it was just too full; thus I am suggesting a larger casserole dish.

Zucchini Oven-Baked Crisps

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Normally when we think of crisps, we are dreading having to heat the oil and deep fry the food. These are baked in the oven and come out just the way I like them- tasty and crisp.

I tried a couple ideas when it came to preparing the baking pan that I mention here so you can see the possible choices. I used an 11 x 15 pan. First, I used a small amount of olive oil; it burns easily at these temperatures and left me with a bad cleanup job. Then I tried to line the pan with parchment paper; I was surprised that while the pan seemed protected, there was still burn on the edges of the pan- I don’t know how that burn got there. And the parchment paper was really done for; it crumbled in my hand as I took it out. I think the answer is probable back to a fat with a higher burn point; I believe peanut oil and safflower oil are considered best for being stable in high heat. And remember that the oven temperature actually rises and falls to give an average temperature at which you set the knob- I watched mine one day and it seemed like the excursion of temperature was almost 100 degrees in each way. Perhaps, with that in mind, the answer is to reduce the temperature setting and cook the crisps longer. For now, you will either need to accept where I am in my experimenting, or try changing the parameters yourself.

Zucchini Oven-Baked Crisps

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini (yellow, green, or both)
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet. (See the August 17th update at the bottom of the page; lower heat and higher smoking-temperature grease).
  • Slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch rounds; this can be done on a mandolin slicer, a meat slicer, or with a handheld knife.
  • Prepare three dishes for dredging the rounds and coating them. In the first dish, place the AP flour. In the second dish, break the two eggs and whip them. Finally, in the third dish, mix the Panko, cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder to form the coating.
  • For each zucchini round, dredge it in the flour and shake off any excess, then wash it thoroughly with the egg, and finally dredge it in the coating mix. Lay the coated round on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 25 minutes (See the August 17th update below;- increased cooking time to go with lower cooking temperature). or until the rounds are golden brouwn and crispy. Allow them to cool about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer them to a serving try with a spatula.

August 17, 2015: Made another batch today, and used shortening as the pan grease; it worked well without a lot of splatter like I had with Olive Oil. I also turned the oven down to 400 degrees F., and cooked for 30 minutes– lower heat but longer cook time. I think everything worked like I wanted it to work!

Summer Squash Pasta

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This recipe is based on one by Eddie Jackson who was a contestant for “the Next Food Network Star”. I saw him make it and it looked good, and got good comments from the judges. And it is another interesting way to cook the summer squash with flavor.

I think you should look at the recipe as a guide to making summer squash pasta in your own way. For example, I did not use the mushrooms, and I probably added more red pepper flakes that suggested in the recipe. I also was making it for myself solo, so I only used the two zucchini squash; there was plenty of sauce for all the suggested squash.

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The trick to making the pasta is the vegetable peeler and going around the summer squash until you start to uncover the seeds. The outside peels might seem stiff at this point, but they soften nicely as they are sauted in the olive oil.

Summer Squash Pasta

courtesy Eddie Jackson

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces white wine
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 yellow summer squash
  • 2 green zucchini
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions

  • Melt the butter in a large saute pan and add the mushrooms, garlic and shallots. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the wine, the lemon zest and juice. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low to keep the sauce warm until ready to use.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel the squash until you reach the center, creating pasta-like vegetable noodles
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan set over medium heat. Saute the vegetable noodles for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the warm sauce, then add the pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
  • Plate, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and parsley.
  • I suggest cooking the tomatoes long enough to see their skins split; I found them easier to eat when the fork didn’t bounce off the skin.

Grey Griller Summer Squash

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This is a new type of summer squash for me, and I had to experiment with it to find out its good and not-so-good characteristics. It is about the same length as a nice zucchini- 9 inches, but is quite a bit larger around, maybe as much as 4 inches in diameter. Jenn and James are growing them this year and brought me one.

Most summer squash can be easily substituted for one another; the basics seem to be zucchini, and crook-neck squash which gives you the green and yellow for your many dishes. Now, they even have yellow zucchini squash which have the nice characteristic of being fairly even from top to bottom while the yellow crook-neck thin out at the stem end.

What the Grey Griller offers for which the other summer squash are too small around is the ability to make a “burger” and grill it. I have done that a couple times. Because summer squash absorb the flavor of that with which they are cooked, you want to make certain that you are not just grilling the burger, but are adding flavor. I have tried different flavors; one time it was jalapenos and cheese and another time I cooked a few onion rings on the burger. And definitely use the condiments on the cooked burger- catsup, BBQ sauce, whatever your favorite is.

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I would suggest slicing the Griller about 1/2 inch thick, and cooking it for about 3 minutes on a side. I noticed that mine started smoking at about that point, and had nice grill marks.

Not so good- trying to make crisps; the griller seems to hold more water than the squash that are smaller around, and never did crisp up like I wanted.

For me, I will stick with the regular zucchini for my cooking. There are so many recipes that add flavor to them from making them into bread to making them into pasta, or crisps, broiling them, and stuffing them.

Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows

For our Thanksgiving potluck, I made this dish, and it is good. However, keep reading since I have a couple areas in which it needs to be enhanced. My first attempt at making it was not as successful as later implementations.

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Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 2 1/2 lbs Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pecans
  • 3 cups Marshmallows

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a large pot. Stir in the brown sugar and water. Bring to a hard boil and then simmer hard while stirring until it is reduced and thickened. At least half the water needs to be evaporated to make this syrup.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 inch pieces. Place the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water and cook for about 6 minutes, until the potatoes give slightly when poked with a fork.

Spray with cooking spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Drain the potatoes and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the syrup over the potatoes. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the potatoes. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the potatoes are tender to a fork.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir in the chopped pecans. Arrange the marshmallows on top of the baking dish. Return the baking dish to the oven for about 10 minutes, until the marshmallows puff up and turn brown.

I made two mistakes with the recipe. First, I didn’t reduce the syrup enough and it was runny. And second, I had to transport the dish a half hour to our potluck.

To transport the dish, I finished baking it just in time to wrap it up and leave for our potluck. I wrapped it so that it could maintain its heat as I didn’t want to attempt to use the oven at the potluck- I was certain the oven would be in use. The extra time in transporting the hot dish continued to cook the marshmallows, and they had totally disappeared by the time I unpacked the dish at our potluck. So I ended up with yams in runny syrup without evidence of any marshmallows.

So, what to do differently. First is to make certain the syrup is properly reduced. and second, if the dish needs to be transported and kept hot, don’t put the marshmallows on until you arrive at the potluck. Then, put the marshmallows on the unpacked dish and use a butane chef’s torch to brown the marshmallows much like the chef torches the top of the creme brulee.

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As you can see in the pictures, it is difficult at best to brown the marshmallows in the oven.

NOTE: November 26, 2015- I made the recipe again this year, trying to correct what I thought were the problems- too thin syrup and melted marshmallows. For the marshmallows, I waited until I got to the pot luck site until I put them on the casserole; they didn’t get enough heat to puff up or brown. I couldn’t use the host’s oven since he was making rolls. For the syrup, I simmered it longer- about 20 minutes total. Actually, the first attempt I went 25 minutes and the sugar burned and became charcoal. I made a second recipe and as it cooled after 20 minutes of simmer, it was just about the right thickness. Be careful! When the sugar started to burn I couldn’t stop it; the kitchen filled with smoke and a strong acidic smell, and I had to really work to clean up the pan. (Vinegar, Elbow Grease, Bar Keepers Friend and plastic scouring sponge).

Green Beans with Tomatoes and Olive Oil

This recipe didn’t turn out quite the way I had wished it would, but it is a good vegetable recipe to go with your meat. By the time the green beans have become tender, the tomatoes have cooked to a pulp; I had hoped that the tomatoes would have kept their shape, and been fresher. My next step will be to try the combination again, but to try to create more like a salad.

However, this is still a valid recipe as a vegetable to accompany the meal. It probably is more oriented to cooler weather where we want warm dishes, than to the summer when a salad would be desired.

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Green Beans with Tomatoes and Olive Oil

  • 3 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • * salt and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic or sherry vinegar

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onion and garlic cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the onions begin to turn golden brown.Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until the tomatoes have collapsed and given up some of their juices. Add the green beans and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove cover and continue to cook until the juices have thickened slightly, 3 or 4 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Stir in the vinegar. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Stuffed Zucchini

Normally, when I think of Stuffed Zucchini, I expect a stuffing that includes meat, such as hamburger. But this recipe is meatless, and I think it is good tasting, too.
The stuffing contains almonds and cheese. While it might seem complex, you should not have any trouble making it if you take it slow the first time to get use to blanching. I include separate instructions on how to blanch both the nuts, and the zucchini.
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Stuffed Zucchini

  • 3 blanched zucchini of about the same size (about 8 x 2 inches){see below about blanching}
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cooking oil (e.g. olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup ground blanched almonds {see below about blanching}
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dry, fine bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces grated swiss-type cheese (save 3 Tablespoons for topping)
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pinches ground clove
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter

Slice the blanched zucchini long-wise, and scoop out (and save) the center of each half to form a boat, with sides about 3/8 inch thick. Salt lightly and turn cut side down on paper towels to reduce the moisture in the boat.

Chop the removed zucchini flesh and squeeze out any water with paper towels.

In a small fry pan, cook the onion in the oil, covered, over low heat until it is tender and translucent, stirring occasionally.

Uncover, raise the heat, and let the onion begin to brown. Then stir in the chopped zucchini flesh and saute until the zucchini is tender.

Empty the fry pan into a large (2 quart) mixing bowl; stir in the blanched ground almonds and cream. Stir in about 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs, then the cheese. Finally stir in the egg.

Test that the mixture is firm enough to hold its shape by lifting a spoon full; if not, add a very small amount more of bread crumbs.

Blend in the salt and pepper and ground clove.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking dish large enough to hold the zucchini boats

Arrange the zucchini boats, skin side down, in the baking dish. Fill each with enough stuffing to be heaping full. Sprinkle each stuffed boat with the reserved 3 Tablespoons of cheese, 3 Tablespoons of bread crumbs and the melted butter.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbling hot and browned on top. Do not overcook or the shells will become too soft and difficult to serve.

Blanching Almonds

The object of blanching the nuts is to remove the skin that is around the meat; if the almonds you have are white- not brown- then they are already blanched.

Pour boiling water over the shelled almonds and let stand for a few minutes, or until the skins are wrinkled. Drain, rub with your fingers to remove the skins, and dry thoroughly on paper towels. I found that removing the skin was much like slipping the skin of tomatoes that had been scalded.

Blanching Zucchini

Trim and lightly scrub the zucchini; place in boiling, salted water, uncovered, until the flesh just starts to yield to pressure, usually about 10 minutes after the water comes back to a boil. As they finish blanching, plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking. Once they have cooled, dry them and they are ready to use.


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I ground my blanched almonds in the food processor. I think they would grind a bit better if they had dried more after the blanching. The ground almonds were slightly clumpy. They worked okay in the recipe, but next time I might blanch them a day ahead of time to let them dry more.

While the recipe begs for Swiss Cheese, it is hard to find in the stores other than sliced; I don’t find blocks or shredded Swiss Cheese. So, I grated some Asiago I already had for the cheese. That comes from a little farther south than Switzerland, but it worked. Other swiss-type cheeses include Emmentaler and Gruyere.

For the bread crumbs, do not use flavored bread; you would be fighting the basic flavors of the recipe.

I was able to refrigerate the baked zucchini boats and later heat them in the microwave for another meal.

Zucchini Hash and Eggs

My neighbor Jill Swain gave me the idea for this recipe; she stopped over the other day and I gave her a zucchini and asked if she had any recipes for it. She first mentioned Zucchini Bread which we already have. Then she suggested zucchini with eggs; she said “Breakfast for supper is also good”.

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I talked it over with daughter Mindy and decided that we should keep the eggs separate from the hash until after we have cooked them. That way, you can fix your eggs however you like them. We also started calling the fixings a “hash”; I had to look that word up, and it originally meant any combination of chopped foods The idea of a hash has changed over time. More modernly, the idea of a hash has come to imply an inclusion of chopped meat with the other ingredients. This recipe is right on the edge of those definitions since it allows you to include bacon, or ham- any of the breakfast meats. But to be a zucchini hash, it has to include chopped zucchini.

The reason we decided to separate the eggs from the hash while cooking is so people that like runny eggs can still have those on top of the hash, and let them ooze down through the hash. Also the separation allows you to make an omelet with the hash inside. If you want to stir scrambled eggs into the hash, you can also do that.

That all said, it is difficult to write a recipe for the hash; if you are adding meat into your hash, it has to be sauted first. However if you are not using bacon, you might need to add a Tablespoon of oil in which to saute the ingredients. I will give you ideas, but you must feel free to do everything your own way. Add ingredients, delete ingredients, just have fun.

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Zucchini Hash with Eggs

Jill Swain, Mindy Crary

Per Serving:

  • 1 Tablespoon of oil unless you are using bacon or sausage
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped breakfast meat e.g. bacon or ham or sausage
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped green pepper – Japapeno or Bell or …
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 or 2 cooked eggs – cooked as you like them

Saute the meat and vegetable ingredients; combine with the cooked eggs.

I used jalapeno pepper for one ingredient, and I like my eggs with runny yolks. To cook my eggs, I break them into the fry pan, add a little water to make steam, and put a lid on the pan. I have a clear lid, and I let the eggs cook until the glair around the yolk has turned white; at this point, the covering over the yolks has also started to turn white. Perfect eggs for me; the whites are not tough, and the yolks are still runny.

Broiled Zucchini

Here is a simple recipe for zucchini, that is about as easy as it gets. The nice thing about broiled zucchini is that you can cook them to your own taste. I happen to like them “al dente”; this allows me to pick them up with my fingers to eat them. I think they would make nice finger food, or hors d’oeuvres, as well as the classification of a vegetable for the meal.
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Broiled Zucchini

  • zucchini
  • olive oil
  • garlic salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Paprika

Slice squash into 1/4″ rounds, ovals or lengthwise into slabs. Lay flat on a shallow baking pan. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle on top the garlic salt, Parmesan and paprika. Broil until lightly browned.


The wishy-washy direction about how to cut the zucchini is because it really doesn’t matter; it is the 1/4″ thickness of the pieces that is important. Thus, you can cut straight across the zucchini and get rounds, you can cut at a diagonal – like 45 degrees, and get ovals, or like I did, long wise and get slabs of zucchini. Probably the diagonal cut is the most appeasing to the eye.
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The broiling can be done in a toaster oven if you have one of those. That is how we did it many times, rather than heat up the main oven. In that case, you are limited to how many pieces you can cook at a time by the size of the broiler pan. I wasn’t using our toaster oven enough to warrant the counter space, and so I packed it away, and use the main oven for my cooking. I suspect you could also do them outdoors on a grill by using indirect heat.
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Recently, I made the recipe a second time- my zucchini plants are producing a lot and I need to use the produce. This time, I thought I would do a couple things differently so you could see the versatility of the recipe. I was cooking a chicken breast on the outside grill, and felt I should do the zucchini there also. I also wanted you to see cutting the zucchini at an angle to get oval shaped pieces.
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On the grill, you want to place the zucchini on the rack, or away from the direct heat to the side. I would also keep the grill pan to help deflect the direct heat.
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I am happy to say that the meat and zucchini both finished together and made a nice meal.
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Creamed Squash

This is an easy, delicious side dish made from zucchini. Jenn admits that it is one of her favorites, and she has made it herself. So I gave her half of what I made.
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Creamed Squash

  • 2 lbs. fresh zucchini squash.
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon flour

Coarsely grate zucchini. Using a 10″ or large frypan with a tight lid, combine the butter, water, pepper salt, basil and garlic. Place on high heat; mix in squash. Cover and cook about 5 minutes or until tender. Remove lid and cook to evaporate the liquid—about 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the sour cream and flour. Mix until smooth; stir into squash mixture. Bring to a boil stirring until blended into a smooth sauce.

While I don’t think any hints are necessary for you to have success with this recipe, I will explain what I did and think. First, the two pounds of grated zucchini takes a large space. It cooks down, but you need to start with a large pan. I used the 12 inch sauté pan, but remember you need a pan with a lid.

It took me a couple minutes longer than 10 to evaporate the water, but then, I don’t like to turn the burner all the way to “high”. I tend to keep the burner about 70-80% of “high” when the recipe calls for high heat.
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When I served myself some of the Creamed Squash, I felt that the salt was not as strong as I would like it. However, I won’t change the recipe, but instead will add salt from the shaker on the table.

I hope you will try this delicious side dish of zucchini, and find it as good as I say it is.