What to do with Zucchini?

It’s the Great Garden question — what do I do with all that zucchini taking over my garden? It seems to grow overnight. One moment it’s shorter than the length of my hand and the next moment it’s the size of a baseball bat. I usually stir-fry zucchini or turn it into bread (see recipe here), but I needed more options. So I turned to the ever-trusty Google for answers and found several recipes to try.

Do you have any favorite zucchini recipes to share? Link them in the comments below ūüôā

Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini Muffins from Simply Recipe¬† is the first of these zucchini recipes that I tried. They have a really good flavor¬† — love the cinnamon and nutmeg. They’re neither too dry nor too moist. We had a Lord of the Rings-like conversation here when my mother, sister, and I were talking about how filling these muffins were and my brother got this guilty Hobbit-ish look on his face and said, “I’ve had three.”

Verdict: This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Roast Carrots and Zucchini “Fries” from Voracious Veggie. This is the very best way to cook carrots. They’re healthy and taste like candy. Since we like them so well, we thought we’d follow this blogger’s suggestion and cook zucchini the same way. Maybe I did something wrong, but they were gross. Soft, squishy, slimey — the texture was so bad I couldn’t even tell you if the taste was any good.

Verdict: keep the carrots, toss the zucchini

Zucchini Pistou from Baked Bree uses as it’s base a French version of pesto made with zucchini¬† as well as basil. It caught my attention because Bree’s pictures are so gorgeous. Mine didn’t look much like this (for one thing I ran out of basil and used walnuts instead of pine nuts in the pistou), but it had a pretty good flavor.

Verdict: I cooked too much pasta, which spread the sauce around too much, so I plan to try this one again and see if I can get it right.

Julia Child’s Zucchini Tian. This one is still on my to-do list. It’s doesn’t look hard, just a bit time consuming. I’m sure anything baked in that much cheese has to taste good, though ūüôā

 

Advertisements

Chicken and Broccoli Shells

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.comThis recipe is one of the answers to the question, “What do you do with broccoli heads the size of bowling balls?” Seriously, that’s how big these things are. I’ve never seen broccoli grow this large. We weren’t able to use it all before they started to bloom, but the plants we cut are already producing side-shoot broccoli heads. If you’ve grown broccoli, you know the second heads are significantly smaller than the first ones. For these plants, that means they are size of broccoli you see in the grocery store.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells

2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut in 1″ cubes

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 1‚ĀĄ2 cups chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen

2 cups chicken broth

1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of chicken soup

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups small shell pasta, uncooked

1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add broccoli, broth, soup, pepper, garlic and pasta. Bring to a boil.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Check near the end of cooking and add a small amount of water, if needed. Stir in cheese during last two minutes of cooking.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Creamy Pesto Chicken | marissabaker.wordpress.com

I made pesto a little while ago to go with some bread. Now we’re out of bread and I’m left with almost a full batch of pesto. Whatever should I do with it all? Here’s one answer (also yet another way to use the monster heads of broccoli out in the garden).

I’m sure it would taste even better with fresh pesto but, alas, I didn’t get my herb garden planted and I have no basil. Instead, I used a recipe I pulled off the Internet some years ago for dried basil pesto. It’s not as good, but it works in a pinch. If you haven’t any other pesto you like to use, scroll down to the end for that recipe.

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Creamy Pesto Chicken | marissabaker.wordpress.com1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 to 3 cups rotini or bow-tie pasta

2 cups broccoli florets

1 can cream of chicken soup or substitute

1/3 cup pesto

1/2 cup milk

Cook pasta with broccoli until al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet. Cook chicken until no pink remains.

Creamy Pesto Chicken | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Add cream of chicken soup, pesto, and milk to the skillet with the chicken. Bring to a boil and cook on low for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta and heat through before serving.

Creamy Pesto Chicken | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Dried Basil Pesto

Homemade pesto from dried basil | marissabaker.wordpress.com
up close with the pesto

1/2 cup dried basil

1/4 cup walnuts

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 ‚Äď 3/4 cups olive oil

Pulse first four ingredients in food processor until walnuts are chopped. Add olive oil and run blender for about 30 seconds. Chill until ready to use.

Italian Tuna Melt

Italian Tuna Melt recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.comThis is an Italian version of the Tuna and Pasta Cheddar Melt that I posted several weeks ago. These are quick and easy meals that take me about 20 minutes from start to finish, so they are a popular choice for lunch around here.

Italian Tuna Melt recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.com
tastes great with chicken, too

I had a bit more time a couple days ago and tried this with chicken, which had an excellent flavor. It’s not as fast of a meal option, but if you want to try that variation all you have to to is cook about 1 pound of cubed chicken in olive oil and then remove it from the skillet before cooking the pasta. Add the cooked chicken at the same time as you would the tuna.

Oh, one more thing. The recipe says to crush croutons over the pasta, but I was out so I just seasoned some breadcrumbs like I did for the Cottage Cheese Chicken Bake.

Italian Tuna Melt

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

3 cups uncooked rotini pasta

Italian Tuna Melt recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.com1 can cream of chicken soup or substitute

1 cup milk

2, 5-ounce cans of tuna

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

6 garlic and cheese croutons

Heat the broth and water in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat to a boil. Stir in the pasta. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the pasta is tender, stirring often. Do not drain. Stir the thickened soup, 1 cup milk and tuna into the skillet with the pasta.

Italian Tuna Melt recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.comStir in spices and Parmesan cheese, then sprinkle the mozzarella over the top. Crush croutons. Sprinkle over the tuna mixture and cook until the cheese has melted and mixture is hot and bubbling.

Italian Tuna Melt recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.com

Tuna and Pasta Cheddar Melt

Tuna and Pasta Cheddar Melt recipe. marissabaker.wordpress.comI think I found the original for this recipe on a site for Campbell’s soup, but I changed its ingredients to add carrots and use this cream soup substitute from Center Cut Cook instead of canned soup. Haven’t tried the soup yet in any of my other recipes that call for cream of chicken, but I plan to. The texture is perfect, though the color and taste is a bit different.

Tuna and Pasta Cheddar Melt

print this recipe

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

3 cups uncooked rotini pasta

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

Tuna and Pasta Cheddar Melt recipe. marissabaker.wordpress.com1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup milk

2, 5-ounce cans of tuna

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)

2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

2 teaspoons butter, melted

Heat the broth and water in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat to a boil. Stir in the pasta. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the pasta is tender, stirring often. Do not drain.

print this recipe

Tuna and Pasta Cheddar Melt recipe. marissabaker.wordpress.com
cream of soup substitute

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly stir in 1/2 cup chicken broth, then 1/2 cup milk. Whisk until it begins to thicken. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuna and Pasta Cheddar Melt recipe. marissabaker.wordpress.com

Stir the thickened soup, 1 cup milk and tuna into the skillet with the pasta. Stir in 1/2 cup of cheese, then sprinkle the rest over the top. Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the tuna mixture and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

Tuna and Pasta Cheddar Melt recipe. marissabaker.wordpress.com

Top 5 Recipes of 2013

I was reading a Top 10 recipes post from another blogger, which gave me the idea to start off this new year of blogging by sharing a list of my most popular recipes from 2013. Since I didn’t have a full year’s worth of recipe posts, I decided to post my top 5 instead of top 10. Honorable Mention: No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake was only one view away from being tied with General Tso’s Chicken for 5th place.

  1. Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
  2. Bowtie Pasta Bake
  3. Sweet Potato Casserole
  4. Unleavened Banana Bread
  5. General Tso’s Chicken
Top 5 Recipies of 2013 by marissabaker.wordpress.com
A tasty side-dish that can be made in the microwave or oven. Click here for the recipe.
Top 5 Recipies of 2013 by marissabaker.wordpress.com
One of my favorite pasta dishes. I’ve also made it with turkey and penne. Click here for the recipe.
Top 5 Recipies of 2013 by marissabaker.wordpress.com
My family agrees this is the best sweet potato casserole recipe. For a little extra flavor, try adding 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon to the filling. Click here for the recipe.
Top 5 Recipies of 2013 by marissabaker.wordpress.com
I was a little surprised to see this recipe was so popular. It’s one of my favorites, but I didn’t expect so many people to be looking for unleavened bread recipes. Click here for the recipe.
Top 5 Recipies of 2013 by marissabaker.wordpress.com
It seems fitting that the most popular Chinese recipe in our house should be one of the most popular recipes on my blog. Click here for the recipe.