Crazy Summer Squash

When I first saw spiral cut vegetables I was certainly intrigued.  Friends were purchasing them and stores were selling spiral vegetables slicers and spiral sliced vegetables- so, what to do?  Try them.  I am a fan and I think the more interesting ways you can cook and serve vegetables the better.  I took our favorite pasta recipe and instead of pasta, substituted summer squash.  I think it is delicious and fun to eat.  If you haven’t tried spiral cut vegetables, now is the time!

crazy summer squash

Crazy Summer Squash
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Ingredients
  1. 4 spiral cut zucchini or yellow summer squash
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  4. 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  5. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  7. Fresh ground black pepper
  8. Additional olive oil to drizzle over the squash, if preferred
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium size skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. When hot, saute squash for approx. 2 - 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, in a medium bowl, toss squash with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. A great variation is adding sliced cherry tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the squash when cooking.
  2. You can adjust the amounts depending on the number you are serving - the above recipe serves 2 - 3 vegetable lovers.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pine Nuts

When was the last time you served Brussels Sprouts ?  If you have not tried brussel sprouts lately, now is the time to give them a try.  My husband remembers boiled brussel spouts as a child and I must say he was not too eager to try these.  Happy to say he is now a brussel sprout fan after I starting making brussels sprouts this way.  I think you will agree that these are too good not to try!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pine Nuts
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 20 - 30 brussel sprouts, ends cut and brussel sprouts cut into 4 quarters
  2. 3 -4 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 3 tablespoons balsamic Vinegar
  4. 1/3 cup pine nuts
  5. Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  6. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large ovenproof skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the brussel sprouts and cook until the edges of the Brussels sprouts turn golden brown, stir frequently. Put the skillet in the preheated oven, bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges begin to become caramelized and dark brown. Stir frequently. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and top with the pine nuts, return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Stir frequently, you do not want the pine nuts to burn, just turn light golden brown. Remove from the oven, drizzle with additional olive oil, salt and pepper and top with grated parmesan cheese.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Tuscan Style Beans

These are the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats or grilled Italian sausages.  I use dried beans that I soak overnight.  I think it is this one small step that sets these apart from using canned beans.  This recipe includes prosciutto, fresh herbs and tomatoes.  Truly a wonderful combination.

tuscan style beans

Tuscan Style Beans
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Great Northern white beans uncooked
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 1/2 pound prosciutto, chopped
  4. 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  6. 1 leek, white part only, rinse thoroughly and chop
  7. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  8. 1 28 oz. can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
  9. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  10. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Soak beans overnight in a large of water, add enough water to cover the beans and add an additional 1 inch of water. The next day, drain and rinse beans. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large saucepan oven medium-high heat, bring 4 cups of water and the drained beans to a boil. Add the prosciutto, rosemary, thyme, leek, and oil. Bring to a boil. Transfer to a casserole dish with a cover or cover your oven proof saucepan and bake for 2 hours covered. Add tomatoes, cover and bake an additional 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir in balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Baked Onions

Looking for that unique vegetable dish to serve?   Try delicious baked onions.  Onions become oh so sweet and caramelized when baked and they are the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats or fish. 

baked onions

Baked Onions
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large sweet yellow onions, unpeeled and cut in half
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  4. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  5. 1/2 - 1 cup chicken broth
  6. Balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place onion halves in a small cast iron skillet. Melt the butter and lemon juice, stir in the mustard. Spread one half of the mixture over the cut surface of the onions. Pour enough chicken broth in the pan to come up one half way of the sides of the onions. Bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drizzle balsamic vinegar over cut side of onions. Add more broth to pan, if needed. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until tender. Preheat broiler. Spread remaining butter mixture over onions. Place pan in the broiler until the onions are browned and the broth thickens. To serve, spoon broth over onions.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Cauliflower Casserole

My typical method for cooking all vegetables is drizzling them with a little olive oil, adding salt and pepper and roasting them in the oven.  However, I have a few recipes that are just too good not to share.  I thought I would share this recipe since it would be perfect to serve during the holidays.  Even non-cauliflower loving guests will love this dish.  Who doesn’t love a creamy, gooey vegetable dish with hints of bacon.  It almost tastes like a wonderful macaroni and cheese recipe with cauliflower.  I think you will agree it is delicious!

Cauliflower Casserole

Cauliflower Casserole
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 4 slices bacon, chopped
  2. 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  3. 1 head of cauliflower, sliced thin
  4. 2 tablespoon flour
  5. 1 1/2 cup cream
  6. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese
  9. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Saute bacon until golden brown in a large skillet, add garlic, cook an additional 1 - 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Stir in flour and mix well. Stir in cream, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, remove from heat. Pour into a shallow casserole dish, top with cheese and parsley.
  2. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Notes
  1. The casserole can be made ahead and refrigerated. Increase cooking time to 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Zucchini Flan

Looks like everyone’s zucchini crop is peeking and you can find an abundance in every market and at every farmer’s market.  I typically roast zucchini for a quick and easy vegetable side dish.  However, I thought I would try something different.  This flan features zucchini in a wonderful custard.  Perfect with any grilled meat and very easy to prepare.  Plan on letting the flan sit for fifteen minutes prior to serving.  This enables the flan to firm up prior to cutting. 

zucchini flan

Zucchini Flan
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoon chopped onion
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  4. 1 cup heavy cream
  5. 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  6. 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste
  8. 1/2 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook onion in butter until transparent. Add sliced zucchini and cook until tender.
  2. Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish.
  3. Combine cream, eggs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle the top with cheese.
  4. Bake 350 - until custard is lightly set, approximately 30 minutes.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Tomato Compote

One more tomato recipe to add your favorites.  This week at the Farmer’s Market I purchased an assorted box of heirloom tomatoes, various sizes and colors.  With a steak ready to be grilled, I wanted to create something with these beautiful tomatoes to complement our grilled steak.  I simply sliced the tomatoes, drizzled them with olive oil, added salt and pepper, fresh basil leaves and baked them for thirty minutes at 350 degrees.  Simply delicious!

compote - tomatoes

tomato compote

Quick Pickles

If you have a garden or frequent the farmers market, this is the time of year that there is an abundance of cucumbers. Here is a recipe for quick pickles that can be prepared and then frozen for up to 6 months. Just think of how great it would to have a taste of summer during the winter months. Besides serving these as a condiment, try topping a pulled brisket taco with these pickles. The crunch of the pickle and onions and their sweet tang will set your tacos apart from all others! My favorite onion to use in this recipe are Vidalia onions from Georgia, they have just the perfect sweetness and texture.

quick pickles

Quick Pickles
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups thinly sliced cucumbers, my favorite cucumbers to use are the small *Persian cucumbers
  2. 1 onion, thinly sliced
  3. 1 tablespoon salt
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. ½ cup white vinegar
  6. 3 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, slice cucumbers and onions. Sprinkle the salt over the cucumbers and onions, mix well. Combine the sugar, vinegar and water in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Cool. Pour over cucumber mixture, stir well and refrigerate for 48 hours. Pickles are ready to serve or you can freeze the pickles for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator prior to serving.
  2. *Persian cucumbers are thin-skinned, nearly seedless and are only about 5 – 6 inches long.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/
 

 

Spaghetti Squash with Mushroom Ragu

I picked up a spaghetti squash when at the farmers market this week.  I typically serve spaghetti squash with a marinara sauce.  This time I wanted to try a mushroom ragu with the squash.  We had some friends over for what I like to call a “blogger dinner”.  That means that they are my taste testers and you never know what is going to be on the menu.  Many times it is an assortment of dishes that I call “Blogger Tapas”.  The one rule is to be perfectly honest what you think of each dish and how can I improve each one.  One of our guests said he thought that a topping of grated parmesan cheese would be great with this dish.  I brought out some parmesan cheese and he was so right.  Topped with grated parmesan was all this dish needed to go from good to outstanding.  Always fun to get the imput of others. That is what makes this food blogging so much fun.  I think you all know that this is my passion and I just love sharing my recipes.

 spaghetti squash

Spaghetti Squash with Mushroom Ragu
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 medium size spaghetti squash
  2. Salt and pepper
  3. Olive oil
  4. 1 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced
  5. 4 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  7. 2 teaspoons minced parsley
  8. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  9. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  12. 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  13. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  14. Grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450. Carefully cut squash in half, remove seeds. Line baking sheet with foil. Brush cut sides of squash with olive oil, generously salt and pepper. Put squash cut side down on foil. Bake 30 minutes. Let squash cool until you can handle the squash. With a fork, shred squash into a serving bowl, keep warm.
  2. While the squash is cooking, heat remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet with lemon juice and minced garlic. Add mushrooms, saute 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Blend in remaining ingredients except the heavy cream. Heat to a boil, add cream, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Serve over the cooked squash. Garnish with additional chopped parsley, if desired. Serve with parmesan cheese.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Stuffed Zucchini

Summer and the abundance of fresh produce, especially zucchini is on the horizon.  What to do with all of those zucchini?   Stuffed Zucchini is a great way to serve this harvest special.  Stuffed with onions and tomatoes is the perfect side dish.  You can also add cooked ground beef or Italian sausage and make this a wonderful main dish.  Lots of options for lots of zucchini!   Enjoy.

 stuffed zucchini

 

Stuffed Zucchini
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 medium zucchini, washed and cut in 1/2 lengthwise
  2. 1/2 cup chopped onion
  3. 1 garlic clove, minced
  4. 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  5. 1 large tomato, diced
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  8. 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
  9. 2 tablespoon grated parmesan
  10. 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Hollow out zucchini using a spoon, leave shells intact, reserve pulp. In 2 tablespoons butter, saute onion until tender, add garlic cook an additional minute. Add tomato reserved pulp, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until liquid is absorbed. Fill each zucchini shell with cooked mixture. Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and Italian parsley. Top each zucchini with topping mixture. Bake 350 for 20 minutes. Broil an additional 2-3 minutes or until the topping is golden brown (watch carefully).
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/