Category Archives: zucchini

Turkey Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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My son’s girlfriend brought over these huge zucchinis from her Mom and Dad’s garden. I love zucchini but these bad boys were big! I thought about frying them in slices and making some kind of spicy dipping sauce but I just hated to take those big beauties and fry them. Then I thought about the stuffed peppers I made and thought that the stuffing would work so well using the zucchini in place of the peppers. I mean the stuffing already has gated zucchini in it so I knew the flavors would be awesome. Plus it was taking a nice fresh veggie and keeping it on the healthy side. My stuffing uses turkey sausage and low fat cheese. 
When I ran the idea by the rest of my housemates everyone thought it sounded like a winner so that was enough for me, the decision was made. Then with Kevin’s father having to be placed in a nursing home, and us wanting to be there at mealtimes as much as possible so we can make sure he is eating, The ingredients just sat in my refrigerator. To be honest when I pulled them out last night was afraid that they wouldn’t be usable anymore and I would be making a trip to the store. But I wouldn’t be able to replace those big beautiful zucchinis. I crossed my fingers and pulled them out of the fridge. Yesssss they were fine, just like I first got them, thank you Lord!!! 

They came out better than I ever could have expected, they really did! I wish now I had made more. I just cooked the two large (extra large) zucchinis halved. So I had leftover stuffing. The original recipe was enough stuffing for 6 bell peppers so if you have 6 zucchinis it would be perfect. I also subbed yellow squash for the zucchini in my original recipe because I was already stuffing zucchini I wanted something else in the mix. 
Like I said, these came out so much better than I could have ever imagined. Kevin loves my stuffed peppers and he said he may just like these even more. Wow now I am in competition with myself! I love it!!
Turkey Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
6  large zucchinis
1 (28-ounce) can of Italian tomatoes
2 medium yellow squash, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup low fat mozzarella for the topping
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock, plus and extra cup for baking.
1 1/2 orzo (rice shaped pasta)
1 pound turkey sweet Italian sausage ( I used Jennie-O)
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Pour the tomatoes in a large bowl and break apart using your fingers or potato masher. Add the squash, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

Bring the 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook to package instructions. Use a fine mesh sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the vegetables, reserving the chicken stock. Stir to combine the orzo and veggies and pour the chicken stock into a 3 quart baking dish.

Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside of each zucchini, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh in each one. If zucchinis will not stand up use a knife to shave off a bit of the bottom to make it even. Set zucchinis into baking dish with all of the chicken stock. 

Mix 1 cup Pecorino Romano with the 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves. Set asaide.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, crumble and brown the turkey sausage until it is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and minced garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the orzo mixture and cook for about a minute to warm. Remove from the heat and spoon the mixture into the zucchinis. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle each zucchini boat with the cheese parsley mix. Return to oven and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and allow the zucchinis to cool about 5 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!!

Cod with Grilled Ratatouille Pasta

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One of the families past favorites is Cod Ratatouille en Papillote. I was so happy to find a way that we all liked veggies we just don’t normally eat. Eggplant? Zucchini? Not everyday food for us in this house. I have been lucky enough to sneek them in a few dishes that everybody liked but this was a BAM in your face you are eating eggplant right now! So like I said, pleasantly shocked errr surprised that everyone fell in love with the dish. 
Now it is summertime and I am going through a grilling obsession. It is  bad, really bad, I want to gill everything!! It has gotten to the point that my dogs go to the other side of the yard when I am standing by the grill. They just aren’t going to take any chances! But my mind was not on how to grill my dogs eewwwww *shudder* but rather on this cod dish we had loved so much. How could I make that dish on the grill? I contemplated using tin foil but I decided against that since it really isn’t grilling so much as steaming something on the grill. 

I had just read a blog post from a friend of mine, Melissa at Chin Deep and she had just done Baba Ganoush using grilled eggplant. Yessssssss I will grill all of the veggies that were in the dish, grill the fish, and then put it all together. We have a plan working now!! I could just taste all of those wonderful flavors. Oops gotta run to the store! So I picked up a few more things to grill through the week. One of them being Melissa’s Baba Ganoush, and got home in record time! As I sit down to flip through my new Everyday Food magazine what do I see? Grilled Ratatouille Pasta! Wow here I thought I was being so original *sigh* oh well. But I did like the addition of the pasta to the game and they didn’t have fish with theirs so it is kind of a marriage of the two recipes now. I don’t really care, all I know is that it tasted very very good. There were 5 people eating and this dish got a thumbs up from all of them. How could I be any happier?
How pretty do these babies look? Is it bad when you get all giddy over fresh produce? Hhmmm maybe I need to get out of the kitchen more often.
With the grill on medium-high heat, and lightly greased, we tossed all the veggies on the grill. It takes our grill about 5 minutes or so per side but your grill times may vary so start checking after about 3 minutes or so.
See how yummy they start looking? I kept wanting to pick a tomato off and eat it but I knew I would burn myself!! But it was worth the wait for the finished dish. 
This really is an amazing dish. The fish, the veggies, the pasta? Mmmmm heaven!!
Cod with Grilled Ratatouille Pasta
4 6-ounce fish fillets
1/2 pound curly pasta
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into thick slices
1 orange bell pepper, halved, stemmed, and seeded
1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into thick slices
1 small to medium red onion, halved
4 tomatoes, cut into thick slices
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for grilling
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup ( a generous handful) roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, reserve a tablespoon or so for garnish
Bring a medium pot of water to boil, salt well and add the pasta, cook according to package instructions. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.
Heat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the hot grill and place the vegetables on the grill. You may have to work in batches. Brush the veggies with oil and salt and pepper them. Cook on each side until browned and tender. Transfer to a cutting board to cool. 
Rough chop the veggies and add them to your cooked pasta along with the oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and the parsley and toss.
Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper and place the fillets on a clean oiled grill.  Allow to grill without moving until the fish becomes opaque about half way through. Carefully turn fish and finish cooking. 
To serve place a heaping pile of the pasta in a bowl and top with a fish fillet, sprinkle with parsley.
ENJOY!!
This recipe was also shared on;
Amee’s Savory Dish Fit and Fabulous Fridays

Grilled Veggies with Garlic Balsamic Reduction

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I was going to post this tomorrow but I just couldn’t wait. Yes, I am the one that shakes and pokes all of the presents under the Christmas tree. Want to make me crazy? Tell me you have a surprise for me and then make me wait a few days to tell me what it is! NUTS!!
Anyway, this is the side dish we had with the Salmon with Avocado Salsa. Since I seemed to keep my weekend menu theme grilling, I had to do the side dish on the grill as well right? When I went to the store I noticed they had just gotten in some gorgeous zucchini and summer squash, as well as Japanese eggplant. They NEVER have Japanese eggplant. Color me happy!! 

I was excited to grill veggies. I mean we have grilled corn but that is about it. I had thought about doing the Spicy Grilled Corn  but just thought it wouldn’t go with the salmon. I knew the veggies would be beautiful with it and the garlic balsamic reduction? OhhhEmmmGeeeee soooo good!! I love the flavor of balsamic anyway but when you reduce a good balsamic? Heaven! I am really starting to get adventurous with other flavored vinegar, just dabbling a bit here and there. Hopefully I will come up with a knock out soon!

This is super easy, healthy, cheep, and ohhh soooo tasty! What is your favorite vegetable to grill?

Grilled Veggies with Garlic Balsamic Reduction
2 medium zucchini
2 medium summer squash
2 Japanese eggplant
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
Slice the vegetables into even slices about 1/2 inch thick. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Heat grill to medium heat and place the vegetables on the grill. Cook until nice grill marks appear and they begin to soften. Flip them over and finish them up.
In a small sauce pan add the vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until reduced by about 1/2. The reduction will coat the back of a spoon. Drizzle the reduction over hot vegetables.

Halibut Soup or just call it Epic Yumminess in a bowl!!

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I was sooooo excited to find this recipe! Halibut is one of my all time faves PLUS it was on sale (thank goodness) this week, so my pound and a half didn’t cost me an arm and a leg.

The first time I made this soup was back when I had my blog “Rachael Ray and Bobbi Renee”. I was new to the whole blogging thing and got so carried away with how good the food came out I forgot to take a picture. I also forgot to completely read the recipe so when I got ready to make the soup WHOOPS not all the ingredients were there. I used to do that a lot. Luckily I have gotten much better.

This soup could be made with cod just as easily, and much cheaper, but I do love halibut so much and again it was on sale so I have no guilt about it.

I can’t say enough about how awesome this soup is!! With the andouille sausage and poblano pepper it gives you just enough heat to make it tasty but not blow the top of your head off. Oh and don’t forget the crusty bread to mop up all of that yummy broth!!!

Halibut Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound andouille sausage
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled then sliced in half and cut into half moons
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken stock
1 15-ounce can of hominy (white or yellow)
1 1/2 pounds halibut cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium zucchini, cut in half and then cut into half moons
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 loaf of crusty bread
Preheat a large soup pot over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Remove the sausage casings and slice it thinly. Add the sliced sausage to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, carrot, poblano, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the veggies are tender. Add the white wine and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring the soup up to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the hominy, and zucchini and let cook on a slow simmer for 5 minutes. Slide the fish into the soup and turn the heat of. Cover the pot and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the fish to poach. This will prevent overcooking the fish. Uncover and stir in the parsley, cilantro, and lime juice. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with crusty bread for sopping. 

Cod Ratatouille En Papillote with Herb Salad

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OK I know that is a mouthful (and a tasty one at that, trust me) but really it is just fancy talk for cod cooked in parchment paper with a truck load of vegetables and a yummy herb salad on top of it all. But I figured that wouldn’t fit as a title so I went with the foo foo wording.

I was really excited to cook fish again because it gave me the opportunity to use some of my O Olive Oils. Remember I won the O Olive Oil and eRecipecards.com recipe challenge a while back? Well they sent me some of the olive oils I won and they have been staring at me from my counter saying “use me, use me!!” I didn’t marinade in the oil, which afterward I thought “dangit why didn’t I marinade?” but I did give the veggies and fish a good dousing of their Myer Lemon Olive Oil. I can’t say enough about their oils. The crush process they go through just gives the oils a fresh clean flavor. You can actually taste the fresh fruit in them sooooo yummy!!

I also got to break out the new Cuisinart food processor Kevin bought me for Christmas. He was disappointed because he thought he bought the one with the wide feed tube, but I am happy with it. I can chop the bigger stuff if needed. It sure made quick work of my zucchini I can tell you that!

But enough about my toys and gadgets. Lets talk about the food. I have to admit, this recipe looks a lot harder than it really is. The hardest part is slicing all the veg (unless you have a food processor…or a sous chef  hehe). Once you get the fish in that paper the oven does all of the work. No worrying that you have overcooked the fish or wondering if you should flip it over yet. Bing, bam, boom, fish done. Top it with the herb salad and you have a wonderfully healthy and tasty meal that the family, at least my family, will gobble up in no time flat! We had 2 pounds of fish for 4 people and I only eat small portions because of my surgery. So I will say that between the 3 of them they consumed 1 3/4 pounds of fish in mere minutes!

Even if you aren’t a big vegetable person (this has eggplant which I know some people will say eeewwww to right off the bat) the veggies are sliced so thin and they cook in the oilive oil, butter, and white wine which gives them an amazing flavor. A great way to get your vegetables without having to eat plain boring ones.

Oh, little side note, my parchment paper was not wide enough to wrap completely around the fish so I topped it with another sheet and folded up the sides. I even secured them with paper clips just to make sure it stayed sealed so all of the yummy steam and juices properly cooked the fish and veggies.

I know the dish looks a bit “rustic” but it is oohhhh sooooo yummy!!

This is the fish all piled up on the veggies and buttered up ready to go into the oven.
When it comes out you cut open the parchment paper and top it with the herb salad. And then…..Viola a beautiful, healthy, and darn tasty dish!!
Cod Ratatouille En Papillote with Herb Salad
For the Cod Ratatouille:
2 pounds cod, skinned
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small eggplants, thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
White wine
1 red pepper, quartered and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped (we love garlic but you could use less if you aren’t a big fan)
8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tablespoons butter, cubed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Herb Salad:
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked
1 bunch of fresh chives, chopped
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 bunch of celery leaves, roughly chopped (I picked them off a bunch of celery I just bought)
1 bunch of baby dill, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
For the cod ratatouille, cover a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper that is about 2 inches wider than the baking sheet on all sides. Alternate the sliced vegetables along the length of the sheet making sure they are tightly aligned and long/wide enough to just peek out from under the fish. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the fish on top of the vegetables, drizzle with olive oil and white wine, season with salt and pepper.
Top with the red pepper, garlic, and time. Then dot it with the cubes of butter.
Top the fish with another sheet of parchment paper of the same size and roll/fold the sides and then ends up to seal the fish and veggies in tight (like I said I used paper clips to ensure it was sealed right).
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until the fish is flaky.
Meanwhile to make the herb salad, add all of the chopped herbs into a medium bowl. In a small bowl combine the balsamic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk it up and pour over the herbs. Toss with your fingers to get it combined. 
When the fish is done cut or tear the top open and top with the herb salad.
Serves 4 to 6

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Turkey Sausage and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

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I have been promising to post some of my “healthified” recipes but making excuses for my red meat lovers in the house. Well two things happened, my son started dating a sweet girl that HATES red meat and well, I just decided to put my foot down. OK so I did it quietly but put it down nonetheless.

I was really excited to switch this recipe up. This is one that I have been making for a few years now. It is the love child of an Emeril recipe mixed with a Giada one. Now adding the turkey sausage has made it even better!

Kevin was a huge help in prepping this because I am such a procrastinator. I have never actually written this recipe down. I just go off the two recipes I mentioned above and I know what I use and don’t use and how I tweak it here and there. He wanted to help me cook but I had to write everything out as we went along. So bless his heart he again was my awesome sous chef and prepped just about everything while I pulled my hair out trying to write everything down so it would make sense to someone to other than myself. Most people would not get my short hand, sometimes it confuses me!

Stuffed peppers were one of those things that, when I first set out to make them, my kids said, “Eeeewwww”. I also wasn’t happy with just the typical ground beef with rice recipe with marinara sauce. I knew I wanted the kids to try it (Seth loves it now, Jessi just eats the stuffing and leaves a poor little discarded pepper shell), plus I wanted to add some punch to the ingredients. Psssst I also added extra veggies but don’t tell the kids!

Turkey Sausage and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

6 large sweet bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow)
1 (28-ounce) can of Italian tomatoes
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese plus 1/4 cup for topping
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 orzo (rice shaped pasta)
1 pound turkey sweet Italian sausage ( I used Jennie-O)
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Pour the tomatoes in a large bowl and break apart using your fingers or potato masher. Add the zucchini, cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook 7 minutes, just shy of al dente. The orzo will continue to cook in the oven. Use a fine mesh sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the vegetables, reserving the chicken stock. Stir to combine the orzo and veggies and pour the chicken stock into a 3 quart baking dish.
Cut off the top of each pepper. Scoop the seeds and ribs out from inside each pepper. If peppers will not stand up use a knife to shave off a bit of the bottom to make it even. Set peppers into backing dish with the chicken stock.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, crumble and brown the turkey sausage until it is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and minced garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the orzo mixture and cook for about a minute to warm. Remove from the heat and spoon the mixture into the peppers.
Mix 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano with the 1/4 bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves. Sprinkle cheese mixture on top of each stuffed pepper. Drizzle melted butter on each pepper and place baking dish in the oven. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are crusty and brown and warmed through. Serve hot.

Fish en Papillote or Fish in Parchment Paper

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This recipe is such an easy one. But it looks so fancy it will make you look like a professional chef. I mean just the sound of it. Fish en Papillote. Really it is just the French way to say “wrapped in parchment”. But it sounds much more romantic in French right? This is a perfect date night meal. The fish and veggies all cook together in their little parchment paper envelopes, it makes for a beautiful presentation. Just add some wine, candles, and WALA it’s a date!

I have made this recipe in different versions with different fish several times. I love the fact that the fish steams with the vegetables in one neat little package with whatever you chose to include. I used thyme as my herb, but you could do this with salmon and use dill, or chives, or tarragon they are all so good! You can also mix the vegetables up using asparagus, summer squash, etc..Then when you are done….clean up is easy peasy lemon squeezy!

You can use foil instead of parchment paper but you will have to leave out anything acidic such as lemon, wine, etc… they will react with the metal of the foil and make the meal taste awful. Parchment is supper easy once you get the hang of folding it into the “envelope” and pssstttttt don’t tell, but I cheat a bit by using a paper clip to seal the very end. Just make sure to use your hot pad holder to remove that hot clip when you take the fish out of the oven!

Fish en Papillote

1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over the veggies
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 (6 ounce) white fish fillets such as sole, snapper, flounder (I used Ling Cod)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
several sprigs of fresh thyme (you could use dill, chives, or tarragon too)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
Dry white wine
Preheat oven to 375 degees F
In a bowl mix together the onion, zucchini, carrots, and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine.
Salt and pepper the fish fillets and set aside.
Tear off 4 large squares of parchment paper. Place a handful of the vegetable mixture on the parchment paper, then top with 1 of the fish fillets. Top fish with 2 slices of lemon, a pat of butter, several stems of thyme, and drizzle a couple tablespoon of white wine over it all. Fold parchment paper over the fish to meet the edges together. Begin folding the paper around the edges tightly in 1/4 inch folds to create a half moon shape. Make sure you press as you fold the paper to get a tight seal to keep the steam from escaping. When you come to the end fold the piece under (this is when I use the paper clip).Arrange the packets on a baking sheet. Bake until the fish is cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish fillets.
To serve, cut open the packets with a small X in the center and carefully tear the paper open in triangles and place directly on a plate.

Portuguese Stew

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I had some linguica sausage and really wanted to do something new with it rather than just grill it. After finding some great veggies in my fridge, and doing a quick search on Google about Portuguese seasoning, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Jessi, my daughter, labeled the left over stew “The stew of my people” since she is part Portuguese she takes the credit for the inspiration that created this recipe. Gotta love her!! 

This stew does well in the freezer. I always use the gallon freezer bags and lay them flat to freeze. Then you can stack the soups and stews or store them vertically. Make sure you label the bag or you will end up playing “Name That Leftover”! 

This stew will take a large slow cooker.

PORTUGUESE STEW

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound linguica sausage, sliced
2 1/2 pounds potatoes, cubed
4 small zucchinis, sliced
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 28 ounce can of tomato puree
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
crusty bread for dipping


Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and then add the chopped bacon, cook for about 3 minutes, just until the bacon begins to render fat. With a slotted spoon, remove the cooked bacon and reserve. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sliced linguica and continue to cook another 3 minutes or so. Add cooked bacon, onions, garlic, and linguica to the slow cooker. 

In a bowl mix the tomatoes with all of the spices and red wine. Pour tomato mixture into the slow cooker. Add the potatoes, zucchini, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper to the cooker and give it a good mix.

Cover and cook 3 hours on high, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally.

Ladle into bowls top with a couple slices of bread and ENJOY!!