Tag Archives: zucchini

Dinner tonight: Vegetable Frittata

Our weekly plan is our guide to our meals – we mix up the dinners sometime and eat what we are in the mood for. Easy is what was on my menu for tonight – so I opted to have the vegetable frittata early.

Our Vegetable Frittata ingredients varies based on what I have in the fridge and what needs to be used. Below is tonights ingredients but you could add spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers – really anything goes.

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Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced (you could use leeks or spring onions)
1 garlic clove
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into small-ish pieces
1 medium-large zucchini, grated
1 tomato (I used a Roma tomato)
salt and pepper for seasoning
5 eggs, lightly beaten (You could use three eggs and 1/2 cup of egg whites)
2 tbsp italian cheese, grated (optional)

  1. Heat pan on medium heat. Place olive oil in the pan, then the onion and garlic. Cook onion until clear.
  2. Add Broccoli, Grated Zucchini and tomato to the pan – heat ingredients through. I add the broccoli first and then the other ingredients. Cool.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the vegetable mix to the eggs and lightly stir.
  4. Place the egg mixture back in the pan you were using to cook the vegetables.  Add cheese to the top (optional, My husband wanted cheese I did not so I only added it to one 1/2). Cook mixture for 10-15 minutes on low heat.
  5. Once almost set, place pan into oven and broil for 3-5 minutes (keep an eye on it) remove once top has become firm.
    NOTE: I put aluminum foil on the handle of my pan before putting in the oven as I do not think it is oven proof.
  6. Serve 1/4 of the frittata on a plate, it goes well with a spinach or garden salad.

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Ratatouille Casserole

In my weekly plan, one of my dinners was a ratatouille casserole. Here’s the recipe which I slightly adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe. This recipe is so easy, my wonderful husband made it 🙂

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Ingredients
1 small eggplant (aubergine)
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 onion
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
pinch of salt and pepper
1 tomato sliced

Cut all the ingredients into ~1-2 inch chunks. Throw all ingredients into a covered casserole dish and place in the oven at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Bake for 50 minutes covered, then uncover and back another 10 minutes.

I served our ratatouille casserole with brown rice pasta (first time trying it and it tasted great).
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Meatloaf: Success!!!

My son is not a bad eater but he has foods he loves and food he hates – there seems to be no in between. Our biggest problem is vegetables. I can easily list the vegetables he will eat:

  • raw baby carrots with ranch dressing
  • corn on the cob
  • fresh tomatoes diced on pizza
  • pasta sauce
  • potatoes, sliced or as wedges homemade baked fries and also white mashed potatoes (god forbid if we use yukon gold potatoes)

and that is about it. One thing he is good about is trying the new food – he will at least take one bite but, that one bite will determine his love-hate relationship with that food.

As an attempt to broaden his favorite meals, help me stop cooking two meals and provide healthy meals, I tried out a new meal. The meal was Meatloaf with a ketchup sauce, homemade mashed potatoes ( I say homemade, as my husband was a box mash potato person before I came along) and frozen peas and corn (to keep it simple).

The recipe for the meatloaf includes carrots and zucchini. This was not an attempt to hide vegetables in his food, I want him to know how to make good choices later on. So, after the first bite I showed him what was in it.

The meal  was a huge success for all of us….my son for the first time turned to me and said “Mummy can you make this again, soon”. I was beaming when I replied “of course”.

Recipe (modified from Weight Watchers Magazine September/October 2006 edition)

3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup organic chicken broth
1/2 cup carrot, grated
1/2 cup zucchini, grated (1 small zucchini)
1/2 onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp whole seed Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
Pinch of coarse ground pepper
1-1/2 tsp fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1-1.5 pound ground beef (5% fat or less)
1/4 cup ketchup

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. I use a silicon loaf pan (5 x 9 in.), you can line this with foil if you wish.
  2. In a kitchen whizz, I grate the carrot, zucchini, onion and cloves.
  3. In a bowl, combine oatmeal, milk, broth, grated vegetables, egg, mustard, salt, pepper, parsley and oregano.
  4. Gently mix in the ground beef to this mixture until just combined. I use my fingers to mix in the ingredients.
  5. Spoon mixture into the loaf pan and level out.
  6. During baking at the 45 min mark, I pour of some of the excess liquid and spread the 1/4 cup ketchup over the top.
  7. Bake for 1 hour or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 165 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes.
  8. Slice and plate with the mashed potatoes and cooked peas and corn.

As there are only 3 of us, I made one left over meal for my husband’s lunch and the rest I wrapped and placed into the freezer (once it cooled) for a future meal.

A few of my favorite things: Savory Breakfast

When I think of a savory breakfast, I would have to say an egg needs to be in my breakfast. I love eggs especially poached but I will take them scrambled, over medium (white cooked, yellow runny), or a boiled egg (again like my white cooked and yellow runny).

Some folks find poaching an egg difficult. I am especially picky with them and don’t like them to have a very strong vinegar taste to them (using vinegar stops the whites from spreading – you add it to the boiling water). I actually found these cool silicone poach egg pods which you place your egg into, then once the water is boiling add the pod into the water. You get the perfect semi-circle shaped poached egg, and no vinegar taste – PERFECT!!!

The first of my recipes, no surprise uses poached eggs.

Breakfast Open Sandwich

Ingredients (serving size: 1)

1/2 english muffin
1/4 avocado
2-3 slices tomato
2 slices Canadian bacon
few leaves of spinach
1 poached egg
salt and pepper

I start with boiling the water for the poached egg. As I am using the poached egg pods above – I follow their instructions for cooking the egg. I leave it in the water ~5-6 minutes in the pods.

While the egg is cooking, add two pieces of Canadian bacon to a fry pan and cook; toast the english muffin in the toaster.

Once these steps are completed, spread the avocado on the muffin. I stack the sandwich then, in this order:
Spinach
Canadian Bacon
Tomato
Poached egg

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Breakfast Bratkartoffeln (Fried Potatoes)

I discovered one of my all time favorite meals in a “pub-like” restaurant Vetters Brauhaus in Heidelberg, Germany – the meal is called Bratkartoffeln. The fried potatoes are fried in a cast iron skillet in probably bacon fat and topped with fried eggs.

This recipe is a twist on that, a light and healthy version that makes a great breakfast or brunch item

Ingredients (serves 1-2)

1 Tbsp Olive oil
2/3 cup frozen grated potato (in the US – Ore-Ida Country Style hash browns)
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/2 bell pepper, chopped (green works best)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 slices Canadian Bacon, chopped
1 tsp dried Paprika
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1 Egg (Poached or Fried)
Chives (optional)

Add the olive oil to a heated fry pan, add the frozen potatoes (Hash browns) – stand back a little in case of initial spitting of the olive oil when add the potatoes.  Leave for approximately 1 minute just to defrost the potatoes a little.

Add the zucchini, onion, bell pepper to the potatoes. Spread the ingredients across the fry pan surface. Try not to flip the contents often – it will become mushy if you do. Sprinkle paprika, thyme and salt and pepper over the contents. Cook until the potato mixture until it starts to turn golden brown on the bottom and flip the mixture.

Add the Canadian bacon. Again once the bottom starts to turn a golden color flip the potatoes one last time. Once cooked, plate the potatoes (could split for two if you want – add an extra egg if you do), add the poached or fried egg on the top. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper and chives on top of the egg and server immediately.

NOTE: I love the yolks of my egg running over the potatoes… if you break the yolk and it spreads over your potatoes it tastes fantastic!!

Summer and Fall Vegetable Garden Planning

One thing I have discovered in my first year of designing and growing a vegetable garden…..it is truly a science.

My summer garden has been very successful, surprisingly so, since I knew almost nothing going into this project.  I grew from seed cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, bell pepper, lettuce and corn in my main garden beds.

  

In two oval tin barrels, I grew the herbs again from seed…basil, thyme, rosemary, chives, oregano, and parsley.

Some lessons learned this summer:

  1. Plant zucchini, in the south, as early as you can (after frost though) – you are almost guaranteed to get vine borer in early July and lose your plants. I almost cried when it happened as my zucchini were in full production and rocked!!! You can also replant late summer but there is still a chance you may loose this to.
  2. Don’t waste your home garden space with corn. Mine grew great but for the yield it takes up a lot of room.
  3. Bell peppers, due to the very hot weather here in North Carolina tend to be late summer. Due to the cooler temperatures and the rain this past month, my bell peppers are taking off (they like 86 degrees F or below). I gave them more room once the lettuces finished and I removed the corn.
  4. You don’t need to grow 40 plants of each vegetable :-). I had extremely high yield from my seeds especially the tomatoes and bell peppers – almost all the seeds produced and I was only expecting about 1/3 to grow….we had some happy friends who now also have plants.

Late in the summer, the other thing we started was our own compost pile. What a great way to reduce on waste, we were already recycling and now this is a perfect compliment and a great learning opportunity for the family.

For my fall garden, which I am hoping to plant this weekend (delayed since I am recovering from surgery) I was able to plan it out much better. For example, did you know that there are companion plants?? These are plants that should be planted with each other as they complement each other and can ward of viruses etc. There are also plants you should never plant with others in your garden. So my plans are to grow the following:

  1. Replacing the tomatoes with cabbage and spinach
  2. Replacing the zucchini with broccoli and swiss chard
  3. And once the bell peppers ripen and finish I will add cauliflower and carrots. The cauliflower I can grow in seed starter trays and then transplant.

I am also expanding the garden to include another small bed. I am thinking of adding more fruits to the garden for next year as my son prefers them to vegetables; strawberries and rhubarb are definite (rhubarb can remain for up to 5 years so I need more room).

To finish off, I wanted to share some photos of the fruits of labour.