I have had the fortune of great friends with the greenest of green thumbs extoll gifts from their garden. I LOVE summer’s bounty am elated when the supply far exceeds the demand. Truthfully, how much zucchini, tomatoes, beats and lettuce can one eat in a week? Hmmmm…..
So, with open hands and a grateful heart, I accept these gifts and in return, I share recipes, dog treats and treasures from my kitchen.
My zucchini growing friends did quite well this year….you know who you are 😘 and I am sharing one of my favorite recipes…Zucchini Napoleons.
ZUCCHINI CAKE NAPOLEONS
Makes 4 servings
4 zucchini, green, yellow or both (4 cups)
1/2 C. shredded onion
1/2 C. shredded Romano cheese
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup Italian panko (or Italian breadcrumbs)
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large tomato
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 Cup prepared pesto (I use Trader Joe’s…cheap + fresh)
Shred zucchini and onion
Place zucchini and onion in a salad spinner, sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes.
Spin mixture in a salad spinner to dry; transfer to a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove more liquid.
Whisk together egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, and baking powder.
Stir in zucchini mixture and panco.
Scoop batter with 1/2 cup measure onto a baking sheet and press into 8 cakes.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil with drippings in skillet. Sauté cakes in two batches over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed.
Add a mozzarella slice to each cake in the last 2 minutes of sautéing to slightly melt mozzarella.
Transfer cakes to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Assemble Napoleons by layering
fresh mozzarella slice
a tomato slice
2 T. pesto
Top each with a remaining cake and garnish with a basil sprig; serve immediately
Summer’s bounty isn’t over until it’s over. I hope you enjoy this delicious dish. It has great presentation and doesn’t take forever to make…just a few small steps.
Great friends are truly a blessing. I remember taking a Steven Covey class many years ago where he emphasized the concepts of deposits and withdrawals in friendship. “Over deposit and under withdraw” was his best advice in any relationship and no words could be truer.
Cheers to friends, family and everything else you love. Until next time…
WOW!! What a game!! The game, the halftime show, the commercials….all so great! I think my favorite part was Justin Timberlake’s tribute to Prince and HARMONIZED!!!!
We did end up with some last-minute company (family) and fortunately, they aren’t staying for the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday 😳? Chile is always a great crowd go to for me, but if chile doesn’t seem to rock your taste buds, and you are serving a crowd, check out this 8 layer lasagna! The Secret is the Borsin Cheese in the bechamel sauce! Holy cheese balls, Batman! Put this recipe in your lineup for a winning event!
Both the meat and béchamel sauces can be made the day before assembly and chilled. The assembled lasagna may also be frozen—thaw before baking.
MAKES ONE 9X13X3″
FOR THE MEAT SAUCE:
11/2 lb. ground chuck
11/2 lb. ground mild Italian sausage ADD:
2 cups yellow onion, diced
2 T. garlic, minced
2 T. tomato paste
2 t. each dried basil, thyme, and oregano
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
CALORIE CUTTER….Use ground chicken or turkey and chicken or turkey sausage!
STIR IN; SIMMER:
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes in puree
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup chicken broth or water + 2 T. balsamic vinegar
SHORTCUT……..Skip the tomatoes & broth….Add a jar of your favorite ready-made pasta sauce…AHHHHH!!
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL—
1/4 Cup unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
10 oz. Boursin cheese,
8 oz. frozen chopped spinach 1 egg, beaten
1 lb. oven-ready lasagna sheets, parboiled. *Careful….these guys stick together, so keep them separated.
Preheat oven to 400° with rack in the center. Brown the meats in a large saute pan over medium-high heat; spoon off as much of the fat as possible. Add onions, garlic, tomato paste, and seasonings. Saute until onion softens, about 8 minutes.
Stir in both types of tomatoes, broth, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Simmer over medium heat until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes; set aside. Saute onion for the béchamel in melted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cayenne, and nutmeg; cook until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching.
Stir in flour to coat; cook 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add Boursin in small pieces and whisk until smooth; season with salt. Set aside 1 cup béchamel for the top of the lasagna. Cool remaining sauce for 10 minutes. Whisk in frozen spinach and egg. Prepare lasagna sheets + have both cheeses ready. Assemble lasagna alternating layers ending with bechamel and parmesan cheeses.
Bake uncovered for 40–45 minutes, or until bubbly and top is golden. Allow lasagna to rest 20–30 minutes before cutting and serving.
LEFTOVERS? Easy….make Lasagna Soup. My Steve used to make ‘Refridgerator Management Soup on Sundays. We were never sure what was in it and I have to admit…a little scary sometimes. Well…..the snowstorm came and you have a TON of leftover lasagna……OH….. So, when life gives you too much lasagna…make lasagna soup!
Here is a delicious recipe for lasagna soup, and if you do have leftover lasagna….Check out the verson of “Leftover Lasagna Soup!”
(Leftover lasagna soup to follow!
Makes 6 servings (8 cups) Total time: 45 minutes
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
2 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can chopped Italian-style stewed tomatoes in juice (14.5 oz.)
1 cup dry mafalda pasta
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup diced provolone or part-skim mozzarella
1 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil
Brown sausage in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and garlic and sauté 3 minutes more.
Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook until it wilts, about 1 minute. To serve, place diced cheese in each serving bowl, then ladle soup over to melt. Garnish servings with Parmesan and basil.
LEFTOVER LASAGNA SOUP
4 C. Low sodium chicken brother
1 can chopped Italian style stewed tomatoes in juice
Leftover lasagna (refrigerated or at room temperature)
Place broth in a pot. I prefer to use ready made chicken stock which is more flavorful than broth.
Separate the layers of the lasagna keeping the cheese in a separate pile.
Cut the noodle layers into bite size pieces and add everything to the broth except the cheese.
Cut the cheese up into bite size pieces and place in individual serving bowls.
1 t. each kosher salt, black pepper + garlic powder
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
Trim 3 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, coat with rub and place in a 4-6 qt. slow cooker.
Add 1/2 C. minced onion and sauce to the slow cooker.
Cook on high for 3 hours until chicken is fork tender.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred.
Return shredded chicken to the slow cooker, toss with sauce & serve on kaiser rolls with slaw.
Two great versions of this delicious twist on coleslaw from my favorite Cuisine Magazine…..No need to purchase slaw dressing! One, made with yogurt, super creamy and the other made with a spicy and refreshing vinaigrette. Try them both!
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 jalapeño, sliced
Wow!! What a game and I have to admit….I’m usually pretty big on the underdogs! (Maybe because I’m a dog lover!). My Steve is an avid football follower and is glued to any game…Me? I’m all about the food and fun. One of the most wonderful things about these huge events is the cities that are featured. Visiting Philadelphia has to be a highlight of last summer. I’m a tourist all the way! Check out this game memorabilia….
“When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad….I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad!” Oscar Hammerstein’s song resonates holiday for me. “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and “In My Own Little Corner” are amongst his other iconic pieces which conjure emotion. Click to listen ….My Favorite Things – Julie Andrews
With the constant stream of men charged with sexual harassment these days, it’s a breath of fresh air to revisit the lives of beautiful people and read quotes which helped make them famous. My favorite Oscar Hammerstein quote is: “A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it, A song’s not a song ’til you sing it, Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!” Reading it closely, I now wonder if, in today’s world, someone would misconstrue that as sexual harassment……
In a recent edition of “O The Oprah Magazine, staff and readers were asked to respond to the question of the month; “WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE HOLIDAY SONG?” The responses were varied and personal as you might imagine. They ran the gamut of predictability to absurd, but all a fun quick read. My personal favorite with the response from the Senior Web Editor, Ruth Baron, whose ultimate holiday song was, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” She stated that she grew up Jewish and that song convinced her that all of her “Santa-believing” friends could have anything they wanted.
One of my favorite things at any time of year is cookies. Around the holidays, however, from early November through late December, I’m partial to the gingerbread cookie. The aroma of these delicious little morsels screams, “Welcome home!” to all who enter your kitchen, that is if they aren’t burning :).
Here it is….the Ultimate Gingerbread Cookie. Remember….under-bake, serve warm (reheat in the microwave if you need to before serving) AND they go well with hot spiced apple cider with a splash of rum.
THE ULTIMATE GINGERBREAD COOKIE
• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 cup molasses
• 4 tablespoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses.
Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.
Shape the dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar.
Place the cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. You don’t need to flatten them.
Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes approximately 30 cookies. Store in an airtight container.
Unbaked cookies can be stored in the freezer and popped in the oven!
Wishing you the happiest of Holidays and health in the New year.
P.S. If you feel like shopping, check out these finds….
LAURA’S FAVORITE THINGS SHOP
ALSO AVAILABLE IN LETTERS TO MYSELF, MY GRAND CHILD, MY MOM, MY DAD, AND MY FUTURE SELF.
I don’t ordinarily get super excited about kitchen gadgets, but this one is AMAZING! This little monster is the ultimate one pot meal making which makes all other Crockpots obsolete!
It steams! It bakes! It Sears! It sautes! It slow cooks! And the best part, is that it does it all in one pot.
So, I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably right. You’re thinking that I sound like one of those Vita-mix sales demonstrators you normally find in a tent during county fairs. Endorsing a product, particularly with your friends, is risky business but truly, this new machine is a game changer.
The Ninja 4-in-1 Cooking System best features are:
1 pot with 4 cooking functions: Stove Top, Slow Cook, Oven, and Steam.
Unique heating elements let you sear, sauté, and slow cook—all in one pot—for easy cleanup.
Bake in oven mode. Dry Bake for chicken and roasts, and Steam Bake for delicious, moist cakes.
Steam delicious and healthy vegetables, fish, and other delicate foods.
What to do with that leftover turnkey? Try these delicious recipes from the Ninja 4 in 1 Cookbook that comes with your purchase.
TURKEY POT PIE
CRUST Pie dough FILLING 4 medium carrots, peeled, cut in thirds 3 stalks celery, cut in thirds 1 1/2 small onions, peeled, cut in quarters 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 pound leftover turkey cut in 1 inch pieces 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter 1/2 cup flour 4 cups chicken broth 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves Salt and pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons milk
To prepare crust, see Pie Dough recipe.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place carrots, celery, and onion into the 64-ounce Precision Processor.
Select CHOP. Transfer chopped vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add chopped turkey and continue cooking until vegetables are softened, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour to saucepan, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add broth, stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture thickens to form a sauce. Add thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Combine the vegetables and chicken with the sauce, then pour mixture into a casserole dish. Remove one pie dough disc from refrigerator and roll out to 2 inches larger than the casserole dish. Place dough on top of filling and crimp edges. Cut vent holes in dough and brush with milk. Cook for 45 to 50 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.
1 pound leftover turkey cut in 1 inch pieces 1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce, divided 8 uncooked no-boil lasagna pasta sheets, divided 1 medium zucchini, cut in 1/4-inch thick rounds 1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Place turkey and 1/3 cup sauce into the pot. Cover with 4 sheets pasta, breaking up the fourth to cover the sides of the pan.
Scatter the zucchini slices over the pasta. Spread with ricotta and sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover with half the remaining sauce.
Layer the remaining pasta, then top with the remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Cover pot.
Select Auto-iQ Quick Meals: Recipe 20 and press the START/STOP button.
For best results, let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
The Thanksgiving countdown as officially begun and I love all of the new gadgets designed to make our lives a little bit easier. Even if you don’t purchase this great cooker, I hope you’re able to enjoy the recipes with your leftover turkey.
Cheers to a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by people in your life who make you smile and appreciate you.