Monday, August 18, 2008

For all you Zucchini lovers out there!!!

This post is dedicated to all the zucchini lovers! I have been cooking up a storm with our zucchini the last few weeks. I have tried a lot of new recipes and have enjoyed every one of them. I haven't posted for a while so this is going to be quite the marathon post. I definitely couldn't run a marathon, so I will do a marathon blog post instead! Hopefully I don't "zucchini" you all out! This first picture is my Garden Roasted Vegetable Lasagna. It is a favorite. It is so colorful and full of flavor with all of the different veggies. It's cheesy, saucy, and delish! My mom loves to pick up the little cook books they sell at the check-out stands at the grocery store. When we first got married I didn't know how to cook so I took a few of my mom's check-out stand cook books. This recipe comes from a Betty Crocker Weeknight Pasta & Rice book. Thanks Mom! I change it up a bit every time, so be creative and use what veggies you have.

Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
2 medium bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, sliced (4 cups)
1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges and seperated into pieces
1/2 poun mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
12 uncooked lasagna noodles (12 ounces)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce

1) Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place vegetables in pan. Spray vegetables with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2) Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes, turning vegetables once, until tender.
3) Cook and drain noodles as directed on package. Rinse noodles with cold water; drain. Mix cheeses; set aside.
4) Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Spray rectangular baking dish, 13X9, with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce in dish. Layer with 3 noodles, 3/4 cup sauce, 1 1/4 cups vegetables and 1 cup cheese mixture. Repeat 3 times with remaining noodles, sauce, vegetables and cheese mixture.
5) Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until hot. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 10 servings.

***I always put more sauce than they say. I love a saucy lasagna! I like to choose 2 different colors of bell peppers. I love all the colors in this dish. I used one zucchini and one summer squash. I also made this one without the mushrooms. It was still great!

Next: Double Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

I love the moistness that zucchini gives to a cookie. These cookies were yummy!!! They were more like a cake cookie and so chocolatey. It was a great way to use some zucchini. I don't remember where I found this recipe, but whoever made it's great!!!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups grated zucchini

1 bag chocolate chips

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.

In medium bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add vanilla and egg and beat until creamy. Combine the flour, cocoa, soda and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Fold in the grated zucchini. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then remove to wire rack.

Next: Grilled Zucchini Quaesadillas

These were a big hit! They were so yummy and packed with flavor. We are learning to love zucchini next to anything! I love the corn and the black beans in this. They are perfect. They were so easy on the grill, and I was so glad that I didn't have to turn on my oven. I found the recipe here: . I did add half of a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis and black beans in my mixture to give it more color.

If you decide to do them on the grill, clean the grill good before. Turn it on a medium high heat. Take one tortilla and spray with cooking spray. Lay tortilla with the sprayed side down onto the grill. Spoon mixture over your tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Take another tortilla and spray and place on top of mixture with sprayed side up. Cook until both sides are light brown and have those yummy grill grate lines on them. It wasn't hard to flip them. I did use my hands a little bit. I'm not a pro! Cut like a pizza and serve with chopped tomatoes and garnish with cilantro. Aren't they just beautiful!?! I really wanted to make a fresh salsa to go on top but ran out of time. Next time I will and I will also add a slab of guacamole and a dollop of sour cream. They were great, and oh so filling for having no meat in them. Give them a try!

Last, but not least: Pesto-Chicken Packets

This recipe came from the very first cook book I have ever owned; Betty Crocker 4 Ingredient Dinners! Betty has got some great easy recipes in this book. This is one of them. It was perfect for a sunday dinner. Low stress, less mess, and really tasty!

Pesto-Chicken Packets

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

8 roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices

4 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/2 cup prepared basil pesto

1) Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

2) Place 1 chicken breast half, 2 sliced tomatoes and 1 sliced zucchini on 1 side of each of 4 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spoon 2 tablespoons pesto over chicken mixture. Fold other half of foil over chicken and vegetables so edges meet. Seal edges, making a tight 1 1/2 inch fold; fold again. Allow space on sides for circulation and expansion. Repeat folding to seal each side.

3) Cover and grill packets 4 to 5 inches from medium heat 20 to 25 minutes, or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut. Place foil packets on plates. To serve, cut a large X across top of packet; fold back foil.

*If you don't have a grill, bake packets in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

I'm off for the rest of the week to attend Brigham Young University's Education week. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you would like to learn more about the church go to . BYU offers a wide variety of classes for youth and adults this week and is called Education Week. You do have to pay, but it is well worth it! My husband and I have gone every year since we have been married. Now that we have kids we just switch off going to classes. We love to learn more about the gospel, and ways that we can become better parents, neighbors,friends and Christians. It will be a fun week.


Jenny said...

Wow, look at all these awesome recipes. I'll take one of each! Great job, they are all making my mouth water!

Prudy said...

Hooray-I've been waiting for this post. Everything looks so wonderful. I'd want the quesadilla first, then a big cookie, a double helping of lasagna, and I'll take one chicken packet to go. I make cookies every Sunday and I really will make these ones this week. Yum- you outdid yourself on this one!

Sara said...

Thanks Jenny and Prudy for the comments. I can always count on the both of you to check out the blog first!

Poonam said...

Hi Sara, my first time on your blog! You have a treasure here. And all these zucchini recipes are amazing!

Prudy said...

That's funny, my husband HATED shepherd's pie, too. I think the RS version that was going around had ketchup and canned green beans. Yikes-definitely a hateable dinner.

hot garlic said...

WOW! Everything here looks so great! Those Pesto packets are a great idea! I think I really will have to give those a go, I'll let you know.

Thanks for your visit to my blog, I am so glad you did so that I could find you! I love your cute header. I'll be back for a second helping for sure!

mooniqua said...

Yummy--I love zucchini but Jake doesn't care for it. I'll have to make some of these recipes so I can sneak it in. :)

mooniqua said...

I forgot to tell you that I made the double-chocolate zucchini cookies, and they were so good! I even froze some so I could eat more later. :)