vegetarian

Squash and Zucchini Casserole

Looking for ways to use yellow summer squash and zucchini this past weekend, I came across two recipes, here and here, that I used as my inspiration for this recent experiment.

Ingredients

  • 2 large yellow summer squash
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp pepper

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  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Dice up onions and jalapeno. Sautee with coconut oil and garlic sauce. Remove from stove and let cool once cooked to desired consistency.
  3. Slice squash and zucchini into thin strips.
  4. Make egg wash mixture with eggs, butter, coconut milk, almond flour, salt, and pepper.
  5. Dredge strips through egg mixture and layer in 9 x 13 dish.
  6. Add onions and jalapenos on one or two layers as desired.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until egg is firm. Add dusting of almond flour to top for the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
  8. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

I think it turned out quite well. It’s odd to eat something without meat, it just seems to me like there’s not enough to it, but it’s surprisingly filling.

I used my mandoline slicer to slice up my squash and zucchini into very thin strips. PSA – be VERY careful with mandoline slicers. Even using the guard I managed to slice off the tip of my left middle finger, making typing this week extraordinarily difficult.

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I initially tried brushing the mixture on the squash but that wasn’t very effective.

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In the end, it was easier to dredge each piece through the egg mixture before placing it in the dish.

I alternated layers, one layer of squash, then a layer of zucchini. Adding the onions randomly. I didn’t have a lot of onion; I think I could have easily used the entire onion instead of just the half.

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When I ran out of veggies, I drizzled the rest of the egg mixture on the top. (There really wasn’t much left.) It’s hard to see how much egg is really there before baking.

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Once it’s baked though, the egg puffs up around the edges and fills in between the slices of veggie.

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It’s good but it’s missing a little pizzazz for me. If I make it again, I’ll make a few adjustments. I’d make a smaller one (I still have SO MUCH leftover), and I’d add more heat and spices.

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Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.
~ Auguste Rodin

Yellow Summer Squash Soup

My thanks go Jessica Meyers at Mastering the Art of Paleo Cooking for this summer squash soup recipe. I had a bounty of summer squash from a friend recently and was looking for new ways to use it. A quick Google search lead me to this recipe. As usual, I made a couple of minor changes to work with things I had on hand. I am pleased to report that it was delicious and a refreshing change of pace. And really not difficult to make.

Ingredients – makes about 5-6 servings

  • 2 pounds yellow summer squash
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp basil
  • salt and pepper to taste (if you remember)

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Down and Dirty Process: 

  1. Roughly chop the onion and bell pepper. Put in a large pot on the stove with the coconut oil on medium heat while cutting up the squash in 1 inch chunks. Add the squash, about 1/4 cup of your broth, cover, and cook/steam on med-high for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  2. Add the rest of the broth and thyme to the pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and blend using an immersion blender until smooth.
  4. Add coconut milk and basil. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Warm on med-low temp if the coconut milk has cooled the soup too much or if you’re not ready to serve yet.

Here, my onions and bell pepper are on the stove while I work on the squash.

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(Now I remember why I ate so late last night; it’s not easy stopping to take pictures while trying to make new recipes! LOL)

I weighed out my squash before cutting and it was about 2.25 lbs. Knowing I was shooting for about 2 lbs I thought that would be perfect. The bowl weighs in at .12 so after discarding the ends I’ve come close enough to the mark.

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I was a little nervous at this point that my pan wouldn’t be large enough! LOL

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It cooked down though and worked out just fine. I added a little broth as an afterthought to keep everything from sticking to the pan. The coconut oil had oiled the pan well but had cooked into the onions and bell pepper quite a bit and there was too much sizzling going on that made me nervous. The addition of the broth let me safely cover the pan and leave it to cook while I handled other tasks for 10 minutes.

Now, to add the broth and thyme…

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Compare the last two pictures and you can see how much the veggies cooked down as they softened.

The lid went on and it all simmered for 45 minutes. Smelling heavenly.

Next up – blending. I appreciate having an immersion blender that is metal and that stands up well to boiling temperatures – we once saw one that wasn’t and it melted. Yikes! (We have an older KitchenAid model with 8 speeds. It’s similar to this one but I’m seriously considering upgrading; this model comes with a ton of attachments we don’t have!)

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Our older trusty immersion blender did a bang up job though. Then I added the coconut milk and basil and just mixed gently with a spoon to finish it off.

Recipe Success!

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I completely forget to salt or pepper the soup, but I didn’t miss it! I thought it was packed with flavor just the way it was. 🙂

Cooking is the art of adjustment.
~ Jacques Pepin

A New Twist on Coleslaw

This is yet another recipe taken from Cat’s bag of tricks at Things My Belly Likes, called Cilantro Balsamic Coleslaw. I liked it. When it was fresh. I made about 4-5 servings and it wasn’t so good leftover. So my tip would be, make what you plan to eat. Don’t make extra. It didn’t keep as well as our version of coleslaw dressing, which I have to admit, Don liked just a tad better. BUT, we enjoyed the experience of making something different and trying some new flavors. As always. 🙂

Ingredients – again I would suggest cutting down these measurements if you’re only making it for two

  • 2 cups green cabbage (I’ve never bought green cabbage before; thankfully, it is labeled green cabbage at the store)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 tbsps fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Chop up your cabbage, roughly. I bought the smallest head on the shelf and used about half.

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Toss it all in a bowl big enough to mix everything well. Peel and shred your carrot into the bowl. Chop or shred your celery.

Whisk the vinegar, sour cream, and oil together. Roughly chop the cilantro and add to the dressing.

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Mix it all together and enjoy!

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I thought it made for a very pretty dish too!

Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious. 
~ Ruth Reichl

Nutty Noodle Salad

If you like spaghetti squash, here’s a new dish you might not have tried before, courtesy of Cat at Things My Belly Likes. I could not come up with a new name, so forgive me Cat for naming my post Nutty Noodle Salad as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tsps sesame oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsps lemon juice

This was the first time that I roasted a spaghetti squash in the oven rather than microwaving it. It takes longer, but we really like how it came out. The flavor is slightly different, it’s not watery like when microwaved, and the texture even seemed slightly different. Thumbs up for roasting. I think we’ll take the extra time, when possible, to roast from now on.

I roasted the squash for 60 minutes at 375 and then let it sit for about 15-20 minutes to cool.

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Cut in half, brush with olive oil, and place face down on a baking dish.
We like to use parchment paper over a cookie sheet.

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Once cooled, turn over, remove the seeds, and then use a fork to remove the squash.
It comes out easily.

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While the squash cooked, I made the dressing by combining the sunflower seed butter, garlic, sesame oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice.

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Then I chopped by chives.

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And prepped the almonds. When the squash came out of the oven, I set the oven to broil and toasted the almonds for about 5-8 minutes, checking them frequently so they didn’t burn.

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While the almonds toasted, I added the dressing and chives to the squash.

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We had a quick taste, topped with almonds. Then placed the rest in the fridge to chill. We did like it better chilled the next day.

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This was a success for us. The only thing we might change next time is to try a little less sesame oil. The sesame flavor was just a little too strong for us. But overall, we enjoyed it and the leftovers certainly didn’t go to waste. Thanks again Cat for another great recipe!

You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.
~ Kurt Vonnegut