Tag Archives: onions

Zucchini Parmigiana

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Let me tell you, it feels good to be sitting at a computer and NOT working!  That hasn’t happened much in the last month, as evidenced by my lack of blogging.  (And my lack of reading blogs – I have a lot of catching up to do!)

I have been cooking, I promise!  But nothing terribly exciting – lots of grilling, lots of stir-frying.

But I’m changing all that!  I want to make exciting food!  Food that is beautiful, comforting, delicious…food that feeds the body and the soul.  Okay, that was both cheesy and overdramatic, but I’m okay with it.

My Basket of Life Farm CSA has been absolutely amazing this year.  They’ve started an “add-on” program, where in addition to the standard CSA box, you can go online and purchase additional items each week.  So far, I’ve gotten some awesome cherry jam and yummy peaches.  I’m looking forward to the coffee, granola and other goodies!

I am still working through a large amount of zucchini, however.  And I’ve been craving comfort food lately – pasta, bread, soups…fall foods!  Even though it’s August, in Northeast Ohio it’s definitely been feeling like autumn.  So tonight I indulged in some comfort food – a cheesy, wonderful Zucchini Parmigiana.

I based it on Alex Guarnaschelli’s Eggplant Parmesan recipe, but used baked breaded zucchini instead of fried eggplant.  I love the tomato sauce in this recipe, and it has a ton of cheese.  Fantastic!

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For the tomato sauce, I took three candy onions (from my CSA) and thinly sliced them.  I minced 7-8 cloves of garlic and sautéed the garlic and onions together in some olive oil.  I added salt and crushed red pepper and cooked them over medium heat until the onions were soft and translucent.

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I added three 28 ounce cans of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes and a little sugar and cooked the whole thing for about 20-25 minutes.  As it cooked, I smushed the tomatoes and just mixed it all together.  I turned off the sauce and let it cool down a bit while I made the breaded zucchini.

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I basically followed this recipe for the zucchini, except I used panko bread crumbs (it’s what I had on hand).  I used three medium zucchinis, but it would also be good with yellow or patty pan squash – or of course, eggplants!

I layered the sauce, zucchini, fresh basil, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan cheeses until I ran out of zucchini and room in the casserole dish – ending, of course, with cheese!

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Now I only have one problem.  I ate a huge piece of it, and you can’t even tell!  I hope I can talk my sister into taking some leftovers, or I’ll be eating it for a week.  That’s not bad, don’t get me wrong!  But I still have zucchini, squash, tomatoes, apples, peppers and lettuce from my newest CSA box to use!

FYI - I got this bowl for $.50 at the flea market!

FYI – I got this bowl for $.50 at the flea market!

Now, off to catch up on my blog reading.  So happy it’s the weekend!

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Fried Cabbage Hot Dogs

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I’d like to start by pointing out that I used both leftovers and frozen veggies from last season’s CSA in this somewhat unconventional hot dog.  Yippee!

Many times when I’m putting a dish together in my head, I find that I’m one or two ingredients shy of what I really want.  Today, when I was thinking of ways to use my weekend leftovers, I was determined to only use the food that I had in the house.  And I did!

We had some lovely weather in Northeast Ohio this weekend, so on Saturday, Brian grilled hamburgers and brats (spicy Andouille brats!  Yum!).  I sometimes feel that Brian loves condiments more than the actual base of the meal, so burgers and dogs are always accompanied by many, many toppings.  (To give you an idea, we had lettuce, broccoli sprouts, chopped onion, Hungarian hot peppers, cheese, and of course, ketchup, and several kinds of mustard.  I might be missing some, but that’s close.)

Brian's hamburger.  Yep, that's broccoli sprouts on the bottom bun.  They're good on hot dogs, too!

Brian’s hamburger. Yep, that’s broccoli sprouts on the bottom bun. They’re good on hot dogs, too!

As per usual on hamburger and hot dog days, we had an odd conglomeration of leftovers – quite a bit of chopped onion, one and a half hot peppers, a couple of brats that got grilled but not eaten, etc.

I knew that I wanted to use the leftover brats and hot dog buns, but I couldn’t decide what to top them with (sadly, we ate all the broccoli sprouts).  So, I started making mental inventory of my fridge and my new, big shiny freezer.  Ah ha!  I have frozen cabbage from my CSA!  And apples from my last farmer’s market trip!  And leftover onions and hot peppers!  Perfect.

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The flavors reminded me of this Fried Cabbage dish, but the addition of the apples added some needed sweetness.  I made extra because my plan is to have leftovers of this dish tomorrow with grilled pork chops.  (Leftovers of leftovers!  I’m about to blow my own mind!)

This made enough to easily top six good size hot dogs/brats.  I’m thinking it will reheat well, but I’ll find out tomorrow!

Fried Cabbage Hot Dog Topping

  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 apple, diced (I used an Ida Red – a little bit sweet, but holds up well to cooking)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage (I used cabbage from my CSA that I had shredded, blanched and frozen)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Caraway Seed
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Sauté the onion and garlic with a bit of olive oil over medium heat.  When the onions are translucent, add the apples, Caraway seed, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until the apples are soft.

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Remove the apple and onion mixture from the skillet and put off to the side.

In the same skillet, add the cabbage.  Now, because I did not plan ahead, I did not thaw the cabbage first.  I just tossed the frozen hunk of cabbage right into the hot skillet and it worked just fine.  Once it had thawed, I drained the excess water and turned the heat up to high.  Stir the cabbage often so it doesn’t brown.

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When the excess water is cooked off and the cabbage is heated through, add the apple and onion mixture back into the skillet.  Turn the heat down.  Add the apple cider vinegar, stir and taste it – if you need to, add more salt and pepper.  Continue cooking over medium/low heat for a few minutes to let the flavors meld.

That’s it for the fried cabbage topping!  I then started assembling my hot dog.  Lightly toasted hot dog bun, whole grain mustard, spicy brat.  Top the hot dog/brat with the fried cabbage topping and rings of Hungarian hot peppers. Eat and enjoy!!

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Warning:  These peppers range from mild to HOT!! and there’s no way to tell until you take a bite.  If you’re not a fan of heat, you may want to skip these.  In case you’re wondering, this particular pepper was hot enough that my lips were tingling after I ate it!  Just the way I like it.

This post is linked to What’s In the Box?  at In Her Chucks.

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Today I started tracking my calories.  That’s right – every single thing I eat or drink.  I need to watch my portion sizes, and I need to start making some better choices (no more soda or snacking from the candy dish!) and I know that tracking works for me.  It makes me more conscious of what I eat, and more importantly, why.  Am I bored?  Do I need a quick sugar rush at 3pm to keep me going through the workday?  And if that’s the case, can I make a better choice than the fun size Snickers bar in the candy dish on my desk?  I’m betting the answer is yes.

That being said, I don’t want to stop eating -or cooking- what I love.   So my goal now is to continue to find yummy, beautiful recipes that use local, seasonal food – and be healthy.  I still want to put cheese on my pasta, and butter on my bread, darn it!  I just have to be smarter about how I do it.

Challenge accepted!

Now, as much as I love a good steak, I know that I need to cut back on red meat.  So for dinner tonight, I decided to do something with the boneless pork chops in my fridge.  And what goes better with pork chops than apples!  Espesially this time of year when there are fresh apples everywhere!  It turned out to be a great dish – tasty and pretty healthy.  A good start, I think!

I’ll admit, I did have a little bit of the leftover mashed potatoes I made a couple days ago, but I balanced that out with some steamed green beans.  (Plus the green on the plate made it look better!)

If you have any tips for making recipes healthier, please share!  And in the meantime, here’s the recipe I made tonight.  Enjoy!!

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

  • 3 boneless pork chops
  • 2 medium apples, sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock (low sodium)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried sage, about 1/2 teaspoon

Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops.  Sear the boneless chops on both sides with a little olive oil.  Remove the chops from pan (they’ll get added back later).

Turn the heat down to low.  Give the pan a minute to cool off and add olive oil.  Add onions, salt, pepper and sage and saute until the onions are transulcent.

Add apples and chicken stock and turn up to medium heat.  Add the pork chops back into the pan.  Cook on medium/medium high heat until the sauce is reduced and the chops are cooked through.  Once that’s done, eat and enjoy!!

New Year, New Look

Hello all.  I was thinking we needed a fresh new look to go with our second year of blogging.  What do you think?

Also, here’s a picture of last week’s box from Murray Hill Farm.  Kale, yellow squash, spinach, lettuce, onions, garlic scape.  I roasted the kale into kale chips and ate them out of the pan!  Getting ready for week number two!!