Polenta and Vegetable Bake

Since I bought two rolls of polenta, I want to use them but I want to do something, I know we will like, with them.  Since, we are vegetable aficionados, I knew vegetables of some kind, had to be involved.  Eating Well comes through time and again with good, solid, healthy recipes so that is where I turned for an idea.  With a name like, “Polenta and Vegetable Bake”, I couldn’t go wrong. 

If you have not made polenta or bought the rolls, I suggest you give them a try.  They are versatile and I have a feeling, as I am more comfortable cooking with polenta, my imagination is going to be the drive that determines the recipes.

Polenta and Vegetable Bake (adapted from Eating Well)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 small zucchini, finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce, preferably lower-sodium
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or oregano or cilantro
  • 4 slices prepared polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese, divided

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Coat a round baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.  Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in basil or oregano or cilantro.
  3. Place vegetables in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.
  4. Top with polenta and cover with cheese and more sauce, if necessary
  5. . Bake until bubbling and the cheese has just melted, 12 to 15 minutes.

This is linked to Real Food Wednesdays     Whole Food Wednesdays          Gluten-free Wednesday    We Are That Family     Allergy Free Wednesdays    Cast Party Wednesday     Momnivore’s Dilemma        Frugal Follies     Allergy Free Wednesday     Creative Juice     Pennywise Platter    Breakfast Ideas Monday

Tomato Vegetable Casserole

This is my disappearing recipe.  I copied it, into the blog and was about to alter the recipe to what I had actually done but decided to get my photos first.  I still am not sure why but I could not find them.  I went through pages of photos and still no photos for this recipe.  I finally gave up and saved this as a draft and promptly forgot about it.

Today, when I was about to blog another recipe, I found the draft and decided to take another look.  Lo and behold, the photos jumped out at me, almost immediately.  Have you had days like this?

Tomato Vegetable Casserole     Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis  (adapted)     6 servings

Ingredients
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yam, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings
1 large zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
Salt and pepper
1 large ripe tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons taco chip crumbs
Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the potato, yam, bell pepper, carrots, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss until coated. Spread vegetables evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Arrange the onion slices evenly over the vegetable mixture. Arrange the zucchini over the onion. Drizzle with 1  tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the tomato slices over the zucchini.
Stir the Parmesan and  crumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the Parmesan bread crumbs over the vegetables in the baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender, and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes. 

CookbookSundays    Cast Party Wednesdays      Pennywise Platter   Seasonal Event

Potato, Zucchini, Goat and Cheddar Cheese Gratin

Today  is  the Improv Cooking Challenge which is hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker and our ingredients are potato and cheese.  I make so much with potatoes and cheese, I could have a dozen recipes here.  I wanted to make something new, though, and decided to see what I could do with what I had in the refrigerator to make a new recipe.

This is what I came up with and I really liked it and Romeo liked it a lot but not as much as some of my other cheese dishes.

Potato, Zucchini, Goat Cheese  and Cheddar Gratin
1 medium zucchini, sliced thin

4 medium potatoes, sliced thin

1 red onion, sliced thin

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces plain  goat cheese

2/3 cup white cheddar cheese

1/2 cup Italian Dressing

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Pour olive oil in a casserole dish  and spread to cover bottom.

Layer potato zucchini, red onion, goat cheese.  Pour half of the dressing over this.

Repeat layer.

I had enough for a third layer of potatoes so put on another layer and cover that with Cheddar.

Bake  for 30 minutes.  Cover and bake for another 15-20 minutes. 


This is linked to Friday Food      Gallery of Favorites     It’s A Blog Party

Cream Cheese Pasta with Veggies

The familiar voice of my husband reached me, “Are we having lunch today?”  That is his way of not asking me to make him lunch but hinting at it.

If I am busy, he will prepare lunch without a whimper but he is a lot happier, If I respond, “On my way.” Good thing for him, that I love to cook and experiment and a good thing for me, he is willing to try my concoctions.

When I asked what he wanted, he mentioned the possibility of pasta and cheese.  That is easy enough so I took out some elbows (the pasta – not the body parts).  I also found a single zucchini, some tomatoes, an onion (actually a lot of onions) to go along with the pasta.  What I made was easy and we both gave it an A for taste.

Cream Cheese Pasta with Veggies

8 ounces elbows

1/4 cup water from the cooked pasta (secret ingredient)

1 zucchini, roughly chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

8 grape tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons whipped cream cheese (the secret ingredient)

Procedure

Cook elbow pasta according to directions, keeping 1/2 cup of cooking water.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in skillet and add zucchini, onion and tomatoes.  Cook until onions and zucchini are soft.

Add elbows to vegetables, keeping burner on low.

Add two tablespoons cream cheese and 1/4 cup of cooking water.  Add more water to get desired consistency.  These two turned this dish into a creamy concoction.  Mix it until the macaroni is coated.

I served this with a scoop of guacamole on top which I mixed in.  It does not have to have the guacamole.  I tried it both ways and liked it both ways.

This is linked to Mangia Mondays     Savory Sundays   This Week’s Cravings     Tuesdays at the Table    http://www.jamhands.net/

Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Sauce

Spaghetti Squash is a gift to the world.  We can do much with it besides fooling our husbands into thinking it is pasta.  That is fun, though.

Whenever, I pick up a spaghetti squash, I end up doing something different with it.  It is open to dairy sauces or being mixed with meat – those being my favorites.  This time, I stuck with the vegetables and made a zucchini squash for the stringy stuff.

Spaghetti Squash with Zucchini Sauce  

Ingredients:

1 medium spaghetti squash

1 large zucchini or 2 small, sliced  thin (then slice each thin slice into 3′s)

5 scallions, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and shredded

1/2 yellow pepper, sliced thin

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons basil pesto (I bought ready-made for this)

1 teaspoon rice vinegar, seasoned with oregano and basil

1 teaspoon brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Bake squash in 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes.  (I microwaved mine and I am not sure of the timing.)

Heat oil in medium-large skillet.

Add zucchini, scallions and carrots. (I shredded carrots into the pan.)

Cook until curls up and blends together (about 5 minutes)  Mix, every minute or two.

I added the yellow bell pepper as an afterthought but it did cook up, fine.

Add pesto, rice vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Mix into vegetables.

Remove seeds from squash.  With a fork, pluck thin slivers out and pile up, in a bowl.

Place in a  serving bowl and top with vegetables and mix together.

Serve with meat, fish, cheese, or whatever is to your liking.   We had big bowls and filled up, on that.

  Plain Spaghetti Squash Above

Below is the finished dish.

 
 This is linked to Five Flue Fighting Foods

Fried “Basque” Vegetable Rice

I started out making Eating Well’s recipe for Basque Vegetable  Rice and midstream, I decided, I wanted fried rice.  As a result, this is not authentic basque nor authentic Chinese.  It does have some good vegetables in it and I added bits of egg to the brown rice.  Bottom line is that it is a good way to make the most of rice and vegetables.

Fried Basque Vegetable Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced,
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika,
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups short-grain white rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Procedure

  1. Heat oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion  and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft but not browned, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  3. Add rice; stir to coat well with the zucchini mixture. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Drop egg in small bits and let it cook up, one or two minutes.  Remove and mix in with the rice. (I pushed my rice to the side of the pan and cooked in the other side.)
  5. Serve hot directly from the pan, garnished with parsley and lemon wedges, if desired.

Zucchini Pasta Pancake

I was reading the latest Cooking Light (August 2011) .  Their reader recipe caught my interest; a zucchini angel hair pancake.  I already envision this, using spinach in place of the zucchini.  That is for the next time.

I learned a lot, making this recipe.  I, basically started off, following directions, until I ran into a problem, I could not solve.  I could not turn the large pancake in the pan, whole.  I had to resort to dividing in, into 4 sections and cooking a piece at a time, in a smaller skillet.  This meant, a recipe, I chose for the short cooking time became one that took, what seemed, forever.  I, purposely took a quick recipe because of the abusive heat.  I had no desire to stay in the kitchen with the stove on for more than I had to.  That did not work out.  Next time, I would use two smaller skillets.

I sat in front of an air conditioner and shredded the zucchini and sliced the onions.  If you are cooking in the heat, my advice to you, is be organized.  I had everything lined up, ready to be used.  I had pre-measured.  When push came to shove, I had little left to do besides stand over the hot stove, watching my huge pancake.

Zucchini Angel Hair Pancake (adapted)

  4 servings (serving size: 2 wedges and 2 tablespoons marinara)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded zucchini

  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided

  • 1 (8-ounce) package angel hair pasta, broken into 3-inch pieces

  • 1/2 cup lower-sodium marinara sauce (I served this without the sauce – I think the sauce would add to the pancake)

  • 1 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup)

  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream

  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

  • 1 onion, sliced and then halved

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preparation

1. Place zucchini in a colander, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Drain for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Press zucchini between paper towels until barely moist.  (I am always amazed at the liquid that comes from the zucchini.)

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Don’t forget to break the spaghetti into smaller pieces, first.

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, flour, and the next 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Add zucchini and pasta to bowl; toss well.

5. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini mixture to pan, pressing down. Cook for 5 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned. Carefully turn pancake over; cook 5 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned. Cut into 8 wedges. Serve with marinara.

*The last step is the one, I had to change.  I had some difficulty cutting the wedges and moving them to the smaller pan.  They kept falling apart and I kept reshaping them, the best I could.  My best was not good enough.

The finished pancake was delicious.

This is linked to Savory Sundays
Mounthwatering Monday @ A Southern Fairytale

Mangia Mondays @ Delightfully Dowling
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