Monday, August 29, 2011

Last week of Summer Meal Plan

It is hard to believe that it is the "last week of summer". A lot has happened this summer. We explored a few lakes in Utah, sold our Arizona house, got lost in the days of summer, and I lost my grandma. Perhaps you have to have some downs to balance out the goods. Either way around it, we have said our goodbyes to grandma and now to summer.
Getting set for the last week of summer with this Monday Meal Plan  so we can be all set this week for dinner.
Meatless Monday: Pasta with veggies
Tuesday: Chicken tortilla soup
Wednesday: 3rd wedding anniversary out to dinner
Thursday: Roasted chicken with potatoes
Friday: Garlic pork with green beans
Saturday: General Tso's chicken with squash on the side (we haven't gotten to this meal in weeks)
Sunday: Try something new Sunday

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Zucchini Baked Ziti

Zucchini baked right in. 
Adding zucchini to baked ziti is an easy way to add extra vegetables to a pasta dish. Of course the bonus is that it is yet another way to use up the overflowing garden zucchini. I am a pasta lover. I probably eat it at least twice a week, but really I could eat it like 4 to 6 times a week with no problem. There are just so many different combination of how to serve it. Plus it is easy to add any vegetables that you have on hand, just like this zucchini baked ziti.

Zucchini Baked Ziti
Changed from a magazine advertisement
1 bag of ziti pasta
1/2 pound of Italian sausage or ground hamburger 
1 medium zucchini, sliced thin and in half moons
1 glove garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce 
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

In a large skillet, brown the hamburger or sausage (out of casing) over medium heat. When the meat is about half done, add the garlic and onions. 
In a large pot, cook the ziti pasta until just under al dente. 
Once the meat is completely cooked through, set aside on a plate covered with paper towels. In the same skillet, using the grease left in the pan, add the zucchini and cooked until just tender. Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper to the zucchinis in the skillet. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Add back in the meat and stir until all is combined. Once tomato mixture is warm, combine in with the pasta in the pot. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese into the mixture. Dump the entire mixture into a baking dish. Cover with the remaining cheese. If you like your pasta with a bit of a crunch on the edges, leave uncovered. Otherwise cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is completely melted and there maybe a few bubbles in the tomato mixture. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cowpie Cookies

Better to eat it, then step in it. 
Okay not the best name for a cookie, but seriously that is what they reminded me of in looks. Not in smell, touch, or taste. These cookies are another great tasty way to use up some zucchini. You can't even taste the zucchini, so really it is just like a chocolate, chocolate chip cookie with a serving of vegetables hidden in. The zucchini keeps the cookies really moist and soft, the chocolate chips give the cookies a bit of crunch. If you want to call them you can call them chocolate zucchini cookies instead of cowpies. I prefer cowpies, because I can't get past the little green strings through them, and the dark chocolate brown.

Cowpie Cookies
Adopted from Allrecipes  
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, silicone slip mat or grease cookie sheets. 
Cream together the butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Fold in the grated zucchini. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. 
Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chicken with Zucchini and Feta

Zucchini in the garden needing to be used.
When I was growing up there was a point in August when my mom would be giving zucchini to everyone we knew. I remember on Sunday when she left zucchini in a family friend's car before church started. Any method needed to get it out of our house. Unfortunately for my mom, they locked their doors after the first week.  I am starting to get a lot of zucchini and have already made the usually zucchini bread. I have been trying new ways to use it all up and now I am sharing a few ways that worked out well. Chicken with zucchini and feta is a great light and fresh summer meal.

Chicken with Zucchini and Feta
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine June 2006
3 Tablespoons olive oil                                        
boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
medium zucchini 
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning 
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper 
1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled Feta

Preheat oven to 400° F. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil in a roasting pan. Zest the lemon; set aside. Thinly slice the lemon. Place half the slices in the pan.
Place the chicken on top of the lemon slices and season with salt.
Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice each half into ¼-inch-thick half-moons. (If your zucchini has a larger diameter, cut into 6th). In a bowl, combine the zucchini, lemon zest, Italian seasoning, pepper, and the remaining oil, and salt; toss.
Spread the zucchini mixture around the chicken and sprinkle the Feta over the top.
Roast until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
Divide the chicken, zucchini mixture, and lemons among individual plates and serve.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Meal Plan it!

Meal planning is what really makes eating at home a lot simpler on busy weeks. I am trying to get meat out of the freezer the night before and marinading or just setting ingredients out to have all the things ready when getting home after a busy day. So getting things set this week for dinner, with this Monday Meal Plan.
Monday: Chicken Fajitas with refried beans, chips and salsa.
Tuesday:  Balsamic & garlic pork, rice and green beans
Meatless Wednesday: Eggplant Parma, noodles
Thursday: Sloppy Joes with watermelon on the side
Friday: Sesame ginger chicken over rice, with a side of broccoli
Saturday: Chicken, Feta and Zucchini
Sunday: Out to eat before another week

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meal Plan in Order

There has been a lot happening, so I have been very behind on meal plans. I was in Denver for a week, got back to Utah, went camping and now I am ready for some home cooking. I wrote down meals on a magazine page on the way home yesterday. So here we have this Monday Meal Plan, so we have this week for dinner.

Meatless Monday: Black bean quesadillas with salsa
Tuesday: Blueberry pancakes with turkey sausage on the side
Wednesday: General tso's chicken, sides of rice and broccoli
Thursday: Pulled pork sandwiches with green beans
Friday: Out on the town
Saturday: Hamburgers, corn on the cob
Sunday: Spaghetti Spaghetti