Zucchini & Summer Squash Parmesan

Hey there! Are you sick of me posting recipes revolving around zucchini and summer squash? I am ūüėČ This will be the last one- promise! I have just about used up all of the zucchini and summer squash that I grew in my garden, which is a really good feeling!

Both my mom and her friend, Jean (not to be confused with her other friend, Jeanne, haha), suggested that I make zucchini parmesan back when I posted my Summer Squash and Zucchini Lasagna recipe a few weeks ago, so I decided it was finally time to do that! I had a perfect zucchini to use (not too small and not obscenely big) and also decided to cut open one of the HUGE summer squash to see if it would be edible; good news- it was!

Even though the zucchini and summer squash parm would have been enough if they were just placed atop pasta, I’m trying to up my protein (still trying to figure out what protein powder to buy!) so I decided to make a meat sauce, too. Now, when I say “make a meat sauce” all I really mean is browning ground turkey and adding it to a jar of store-bought sauce. I swear, I will make REAL homemade sauce, but when you’re in a time crunch in the middle of the week, cheating a little is necessary. I also decided to add MORE veggies to the sauce because we can never have too many veggies, right? I put together the meat and veggie sauce right away so that it could simmer on the stove while I prepared the rest of the meal; this is a great way to enhance all the flavors and thicken everything up so it feels like you’re really eating homemade sauce.

Zucchini and Summer Squash Parmesan with a Veggie and Meat Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (or beef, if you prefer)
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 large summer squash
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 a box of whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2-1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • herbs/seasonings

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1. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the back. While that is cooking, chop your veggies and cook them until they are mostly cooked (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from the pan and add the ground turkey to that same pan and cook until the meat is no longer pink.

2. Add 2 cups of marinara sauce, 1/2 cup of white wine, veggies and ground turkey to a pot. Add about 2 tbsp of Oregano, in addition to any other herbs/seasonings you may want to add (sea salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, etc.). Keep the heat low and let the sauce simmer while you prepare the zucchini and summer squash medallions.

3. Slice your zucchini and summer squash into 1/4-1/2 inch slices (you want them to be thick enough to feel “meaty”, for a lack of better words).

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4. Whisk¬†the eggs together in 1 bowl and add the panko¬†bread crumbs to another. Take each piece of zucchini and summer squash and coat them in the eggs first and then the panko¬†bread crumbs. Meanwhile, have a big pan (coated with EVOO) heating on the stove. I like to brown up each side of the medallions to “crisp” them up before baking them in the oven. I did about 3 minutes on each side.

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5. Once they are all browned, layer them in a casserole dish, placing thin layers of mozzarella cheese in between layers (you can never have too much cheese!). Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes, or until the zucchini and summer squash are cooked. Broil at the end for a few minutes to brown up the cheese.

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6. Place a serving of spaghetti on the bottom of a bowl, top with the veggie/meat sauce and then the zucchini and summer squash parmesan medallions. I also added some red pepper flakes because I love them!

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This meal was delicious! There’s just something about eating veggies from your own garden that is really cool, and fresh mozzarella makes everything better ūüėČ Already looking forward to leftovers!

Questions for you: What’s growing the best in your garden this summer? What type of recipe would you like me to make next?? I’d love suggestions!

Zucchini Boats

Hi there! If anyone else has a garden this summer, then I’m sure you can relate to the abundance of veggies that are coming from that garden right now, right?! Unfortunately for me, the only thing in abundance is massively large summer squash. I mean, seriously? Look at the size of these things! It’s just not normal.

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Anyway! I’ve seen some zucchini boats floating around the blog world and internet world and since I had a decent sized zucchini (not obscenely large like the summer squashes above), I figured that was the perfect thing to make this week! I didn’t want to stuff it with ground chicken since I just used ground chicken in my Summer Squash and Zucchini¬†Lasagna that I made last week, so my mom suggested that I buy uncooked chicken sausage, take it out of the casing and cook it on the stove as I would ground chicken or sausage. Mom, this was a great idea! Chicken sausage is so much more flavorful than ground chicken so it’s always a great addition to a veggie-filled meal.

I also cooked up my favorite veggies to have in any dish: onions, peppers, broccoli and corn. As I thought about what I could use to help keep everything together in the boats, as well as provide a little boost of flavor, I remembered another trick from mom: add cream cheese or any other type of cheese dip to veggies, because it makes it seem like you’re eating a rich, cream sauce when you’re not! Mixing red sauce and cream cheese was just what the dish needed! I highly suggest trying this recipe if you, too, have zucchini and/or summer squash growing out of your ears.

Zucchini Boats- Stuffed with veggies & a light creamy red sauce

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 3 uncooked chicken sausage links
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped broccoli
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 tbsp. cream cheese
  • herbs and seasoning

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1. Slice the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the seed part to create the “boat” that will hold the stuffing.

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2. Cut up the veggies and cook them in the pan. I always cook the onions first (for about 3 minutes or until translucent) and then I add the green peppers, broccoli and then corn. While these are cooking, I throw all sorts of herbs and seasonings into the pan: sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, oregano, etc.

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3. When the veggies have finished cooking, remove from the pan and add the chicken sausage (removed from the casing). Cook just as you would cook ground chicken. When it’s fully cooked,¬†the veggies back in, as well as 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and 1 tbsp. of cream cheese. The cream cheese helps to make a nice, smooth sauce (learned this tip from mom).

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4. Once everything is combined, scoop it into the boats, top with cheese and bake at 350* for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese gets nice and browned.

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2 words: Holy.Yum! Such a healthy and light summer meal! Now I just have to figure out what to make with the 3 ginormous summer squash and 1 more good sized zucchini….

Questions for you: What’s your favorite recipe that incorporates zucchini’s and/or summer squash? I’m in desperate need of good ideas!! Do you have a garden? What’s your favorite summer veggie?

[Dad’s] Pork Pie & [Mom’s] Tomato & Zucchini Casserole

Hey everyone! How is your week going so far? Anyone else enjoying the #AprilArmsChallenge as much as I am so far? I am still battling a nasty head cold, but trying to push through it and sweat it out when I can!

Today was the first day in probably a month where I was able to come right home after work and I cannot tell you how nice that feeling was. The only problem with coming home early, though, is that I don’t know what to do with “extra” time and am horrible at relaxing.¬† What’s¬†a girl to do besides pour a big glass of vino and think about what to do to fill the time (please tell me I am not the only one who suffers with relaxing and enjoying free time!)?

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(Recycled Photo, but you get the idea. Tonight was actually red wine. I heard it helps with congestion ūüėČ )

Dinner didn’t take me much longer than 20 minutes to prepare, but that is because the hard part of the meal was already done thanks to my dad! Both of my parents are 100% French Canadian, so having Tourtiere¬†(aka Pork Pie for the non-Frenchie¬†readers) around Christmas is a big tradition for us. According to every friend and family member who has tried dad’s Tourtiere can attest that he makes the absolute BEST around. Seriously. People pretty much place orders in November. Lucky for you (anyone who might be looking to indulge a little, but as dad said on the phone today “don’t drain the excess liquid. The saltines soak it up. Just have a smaller piece if you’re watching your waist”), he has agreed to share the recipe. It all sounded so familiar since Danielle and I spent a few hours with him right before Christmas making 9 (I think) of them!

pork pie

Dad’s Tourtiere

Note: it’s 1 pound of ground pork per 1/2 pound of onions and 1/2 pound of potatoes. Use this ratio if you plan to make a bigger batch than what is below. He said he usually makes a batch with 10-12 lbs. of pork.

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. onions
  • 1/2 lb. potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp.¬†Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. Red Hot
  • 1 tsp. All Spice (this is key- you don’t want to add too much of this! A little goes a long way!)
  • 1/2 sleeve crushed Saltine crackers
  • Pie Crust

1. Place the pork and onions in a big pot. Add the Worcestershire and Red Hot and stew until onions are translucent and meat is fully cooked.

2. While pork and onions are stewing, boil your potatoes. When cooked, “smash” them, which means leave the skin on when you mash them. Mix the smashed potatoes into the pork/onion mixture and mix well. Add the All Spice.

3. Crush up 1/2 sleeve of saltine crackers (1/2 sleeve per pound of meat) and add to the meat/onion/potato “pudding” as dad called it (clearly we have different ideas of what “pudding” is). He said this is key to soaking up the excess¬†liquid and helping to keep the pie filling together when slicing and serving.

4. Place the pie crust into a pie dish and spoon in the mixture. Bake at 400* for about 15 minutes (or until the pie crust has browned up).

011(my own mini pork pie that dad sent me home with!)

To accompany the pork pie that I thawed, I wanted to make my favorite veggie dish that my mom makes in the summer: Tomato and Zucchini Casserole.  This is SUPER easy and so tasty!

Tomato & Zucchini Casserole (small version)

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • herbs & seasoning of your choice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of cheese (can be parmesan or Italian blend or whatever you have on hand

1. Slice up the zucchini and tomatoes.

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2. You’re going to layer these in a small casserole dish. In between each layer, sprinkle in some herbs/seasoning and a sprinkle of cheese. Repeat until you’ve used up all your veggies. Top with extra cheese and microwave for 4-5 minutes to speed up the cooking. Bake at 400* for about 10 minutes to brown everything up!

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This meal reminded me so much of a meal cooked at home with mom and dad and I loved it!

Questions for you: What meals remind you of home? Do you have any “traditional” meals that your family makes around the holidays?