Baked Parmesan Zucchini Marinara

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Marinara.

It’s Zucchini time of year!

Though this is one vegetable folks usually get an abundance of when they plant it, we have had a little “challenge” in our garden this year…

His name starts with a “C” and ends with an “E.”   He has stubby eyebrows, floppy ears, and a white-tipped brown tail….

Have you guessed yet?

None other than the infamous Charlie, who has figured out a way to wiggle through the locked gate of our fenced-in garden during the day while we are at work!

We have barely been able to harvest a handful of cucumbers and tomatoes from our tiny little garden this year.  As soon as I see a blossom, then the fruit/vegetable begins to ripen, and I anticipate a few more days until it is ready to pick, it is gone!

Charlie sure has been enjoying some healthy treats this summer!

I did manage to grab two zucchini so far, so was very excited to be able to enjoy one the other evening for dinner.

I simply cut it into spears, drizzled with some olive oil, sprinkled with some Parmesan cheese, seasonings, and my new go-to secret ingredient – Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Seasoning.  I baked them until tender-crisp, then dunked/smothered them in marinara sauce.

Not the prettiest dish to photograph, but it was a super simple, delicious, healthy, light, filling vegetarian dinner for a hot, summer evening.  I loved it!

Here is how I made it.

How do you like to prepare your zucchini?

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Marinara

  • Servings: 1 as main course, 2-4 as side
  • Print

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine Parmesan and seasonings in a small bowl.

Cut zucchini in half, then each half into 6-8 wedges, depending on size of zucchini.  Place on stoneware baking sheet or cookie sheet.  (I always using baking stones!)  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and seasoning blend.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes until tender.

Raise heat in oven to 450 and bake for 5-10 more minutes until crisp and brown.

Dunk or smother in marinara sauce.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake.

This is NOT your momma’s zucchini bread recipe!

Are you overloaded with zucchini and looking for new recipes to use up the abundance you have this time of year?

You have to try this amazing cake!  A co-worker made this to share for a recent celebration at work, and I knew I had to make it.

I modified it slightly from the recipe he found at I Am Baker by cutting the frosting in half, and it was absolutely amazing.

Go bake this!

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • Lemon Buttercream Frosting
    • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
    • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 Tbsp)
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • Dash salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

Shred zucchini and spread out on a clean dish towel.  Roll up and squeeze gently to drain a bit of the excess water.  Set aside 2 cups of shredded zucchini.

Beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar, and lemon zest with electric mixer.  Gently fold in the zucchini.

Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Stir until incorporated.  Gently fold in the blueberries.

Pour half of batter into each cake pan.

Bake approximately 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Prepare lemon butter cream frosting by beating butter, sugar, salt, lemon juice and vanilla with electric mixer until creamy.

Spread on top of each layer, leaving sides “naked.”

Decorate with additional fresh blueberries, lemon zest, zucchini blossoms, and powdered sugar if desired.

Refrigerate.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

Zucchini Pizza Casserole.

Are you enjoying the abundance of garden fresh zucchini squash in new and creative ways?

There are oodles of zoodles.  There are breads and brownies.  There are soups and sticks,  fries and fritters  and frico.  There are even planks and boats.

Well – here’s one that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  It is Hubby tested and two thumbs up approved here!

A version of this recipe was recently posted by a friend on Facebook in one of those hyperlapse videos that make everything look easy.  And in this case, it was!

This is a wonderfully delicious, cheesy, gluten-free, low-carb way to get your protein and veggies all in one wonderful casserole.

Serve it with a fresh green salad, and you will be all set.

We really, really, really loved this, and it made enough that we’ll be happily enjoying it for a few days!

Give it a try, and let me know if you like it as much as we did.

Zucchini Pizza Casserole*

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini (do not peel)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15oz.) jar of your favorite pizza or tomato sauce
  • 1 medium sweet red, yellow, orange, or green pepper, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2-4 leaves fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with about  1 tsp salt.  Let set for 10 minutes.  Squeeze out water.

In medium bowl, combine zucchini, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.  Mix well and press into a greased 13×9″ baking dish.  Top with half of the mozzarella cheese slices.  Bake for 20 minutes.

While that is baking, brown ground beef or turkey with onion and garlic, and salt and pepper in a large saucepan.  Add pizza or tomato sauce, and stir well.

Spoon meat mixture over top of baked zucchini mixture.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup cheddar, sliced mozzarella and chopped peppers.  Sprinkle with chopped basil.  Bake for 20 more minutes until browned and bubbly.

Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Slightly adapted from Taste of Home.

Zucchini & Broccoli Galette

Zucchini and Broccoli Galette.

So you know yesterday was #SneakSomeZucchiniIntoYourNeighborsPorchDay – right?

Of course you did!

So after picking three zucchinis from our garden, I snuck one to our neighbor on the right…

and one to our neighbor on the left.

Then I decided to use the third zucchini to make a revised version of Jenna from the Painted Apron’s recipe for Zucchini Galette.

Fresh zucchini, broccoli, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese all wrapped up in a golden, flaky crust……..

is surely a glorious way to celebrate this zucchini lover’s day!

How did you celebrate?

Zucchini & Broccoli Galette

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 tube Pillsbury Crescent rolls
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted*
  • 4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and Pepper

Lay zucchini slices out on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.  Let sit for 15-30 minutes.  Pat dry, then turn over and repeat on new dry towels.  This will help remove some of the excess water that naturally occurs during cooking of zucchini.

Caramelize sliced onion by cooking over medium-high heat in 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and brown.  Add broccoli and  the other 1 Tbsp butter, and cook for 5 more minutes.  Lay out crescent roll triangles in a circle on a baking stone or baking sheet, pressing together and flattening with rolling pin. Squeeze out roasted garlic and spread over dough, leaving a 1 inch border.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese.  Top with 1/2 of onion and broccoli mixture and half of zucchini.  Repeat layers.  Top with cheese.  Fold dough up and over filling around the edge. Brush dough with an egg wash and bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes or until golden and melted.  Cut into 6 wedges to serve.

*Roasted Garlic:  Cut top off top of garlic head exposing the cloves.  Place on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap up and bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 1 hour.  This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese.

I bought a few zucchini recently itching to use my Spiralizer again, and I created this super easy, wicked fast, uber healthy, gloriously delicious lunch that came together in 10 minutes.   Seriously!

I spiralized two small/medium zucchini to create the “pasta” and tossed them in a skilled with some minced garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes sizzling in olive oil.  After just a few minutes. I tossed in some chopped fresh basil, chopped campari tomatoes, and some grated Parmesan cheese.

After I poured it from the skillet to my bowl, I sprinkled it with some fresh black pepper and flaked sea salt.    That’s it!

And it was absolutely amazing!  You will seriously question if you are eating fresh pasta!   I can’t wait to make it again and again this summer when I am able to pick the fresh produce right from my yard.

Here’s the simple recipe I came up with:

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese

  • Servings: 1 as main course, 2 as side dish
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 small/medium zucchini, spriral sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 Campari tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Spiralize zucchini.

Heat olive oil in stir fry skillet.  Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes.  After about a minute when oil begins to sizzle around garlic, add zucchini.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing every minute or so.  Add chopped tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan.  Cook and toss for about 2 more minutes.

Pour into bowl or on plate.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Oodles of Zoodles

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Oodles of Zoodles.

Has anyone else joined the zoodle craze?

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Low carb, low calorie, gluten free, grain free, wheat free, healthy, nutritious, unprocessed, vegetarian, cheap and and easy ZOODLES!

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Zoodles are zucchini noodles.  Or better put, vegetable noodles made from spiral cut zucchini.  They can be used in so many ways!

I recently purchased a SpiralLife Vegetable Slicer, and couldn’t wait to give it a try.  Super inexpensive at $14.99 on Amazon, it was easy to use, easy to clean, and easy on the wallet.

I made my zoodles to accompany a light dinner of Lemon Butter Chicken this week, and we loved them.

I simply sauteed them ever so briefly in olive oil with salt and pepper and a couple cloves of minced garlic.  After about two minutes, I added a handful of halved grape tomatoes and a generous grating of fresh Parmigiano reggiano cheese.  After sauteeing another two minutes, my zoodles were ready to serve and eat.  Yum!

How are you making your zoodles?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Summer Vegetable Tart

Summer Vegetable Tart Baked

My sweet friend Janet found a recipe for this amazing summer vegetable tart, and I told her she had to come over so we could make it together and enjoy.

And that we did one evening this week.

Besides being so great to see her and spend time in the kitchen slicing and chopping and chatting….

O. M. G. –  this turned out so delish!

Summer Vegetable Tart Before Baked

With summer coming to an end and the abundance of zucchini and red-ripe tomatoes and eggplant and squash, this recipe is a must-do for a hot August evening dinner or Sunday lunch or brunch – or anytime really!

Summer Vegetable Tart Before Baked with Cheese

Anything smothered with Parmegiano Regianno is a winner in my book, but this savory summer vegetable tart is seriously a new favorite.  Dare I admit I had 4 pieces?!

I think you are going to want to try this, so here is the recipe.

Summer Vegetable Tart

Ingredients:Summer Vegetable Tart Baked

  • 1 medium zucchini squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (or pie crust or crescent rolls)
  • 1/4 cup tomato or pizza sauce
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmegiano Reggiano Parmesan cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Roll out puff pastry or pie crust or crescent rolls on a baking stone or cookie sheet to rectangle or circle to form “pizza” tart crust.

Thinly slice vegetables with mandolin or sharp knife.  Lay out on parchment paper or paper towel.  Sprinkle with salt, and let set for 15 minutes.  Pat dry with paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

Spread tomato sauce on pastry.  Layer with vegetables.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until crust is golden brown, vegetables are tender, and cheese is melted and browned.  Let set for 5-10 minutes, cut, serve, and enjoy!

Happy Eating!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Zucchini Lasagna

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The Challenge:  Take a classic recipe, and make a healthier version.

That was the assignment my son, Nick’s girlfriend, Liz, had for her final assignment in a cooking class she is taking as part of her Master’s Degree Program in Nutrition.

We were excited to help her out and have her cook dinner for us last evening.

And she rocked it!  This Zucchini Lasagna recipe is a KEEPER!  I do believe I like it even better than the classic version.

Liz was sweet enough to allow me to photograph her and share the adventure and recipe here with all of you.

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One of the joys of cooking is appreciating and embracing the fresh ingredients that make a recipe so wonderful – like the smell of fresh basil.

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And the only thing better than smelling fresh basil is the smell of sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil!

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For the meat sauce, Liz used lean ground turkey instead of beef or sausage, and when mixed with crushed tomatoes, fresh basil, onions and garlic, you would never know you are “missing” anything – except you get the bonus of less fat and calories!

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This adorable amateur in the kitchen totally mastered using a mandolin (which she formerly only knew as a musical instrument 🙂 ) to perfectly slice the zucchini to replace the pasta noodles.

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And of course Mikey was on his steadfast “clean the floor” duty making sure no crumb is left behind (and yes – he even likes raw zucchini).

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This recipe even includes mastering the grill, so Nick was in charge of instructions here, and the zucchini strips were char-grilled beautifully.

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Yummy ricotta and Parmesan cheeses are mixed with some parsley, salt, pepper, and an egg for the traditional filling.

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Everything was layered, using the zucchini strips as “noodles” and topped with fresh slices of mozzarella for that extra yumminess.

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And who can’t resist an extra sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan on top before diving in?!

Here is the recipe Liz used as adapted from Skinnytaste.com:

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients:  z

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 4 medium zucchini, sliced thin
  • 24 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 lbs. part-skim fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, brown ground turkey.   Season with salt.  Remove from pan to bowl, and add olive oil to the pan.   Saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes.  Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. 

Simmer for 30-40 minutes, covered.

While sauce is simmering, slice zucchini into 1/8″ thin slices.  Salt lightly, and set aside for 10 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out some of the moisture. After about 10 minutes, aggressively blot excess moisture with a paper towel.

On a gas grill or grill pan, grill zucchini on each side, until cooked, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Stir together ricotta and Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and egg in a medium bowl.

With zucchini, sauce, and cheese mixture complete, you are ready to begin assembling the lasagna.

In a 9×12 inch casserole, spread half the sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover. Then place the ricotta cheese mixture topped with half  of the mozzarella cheese.

Repeat with remaining sauce, another layer of zucchini, mozzarella and a bit of extra Parmesan.

Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover, and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving to “set.”

ENJOY!

Thanks, Liz, for being such a good sport and for being such a bright spot in our lives.  We love you!  🙂

And you all are going to love this recipe!

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi