Stuffed Zucchini Boats

 

With the end of summer and onset of fall, summer fruits and vegetables begin to close down shop. The last of the tomatoes are ripening on the vine, the peppers are turning red, and the final enormous baseball bat sized zucchini are finally the last of the crop with no more flowers in sight. If you’ve exhausted the number of times you can make stir fry, or latkes, or zoodles, and have bags full of shredded zucchini in the freezer for later, here is a great recipe to make zucchini taste brand new to close out the season!

This recipe has a lovely presentation, and will make people think you’re a master chef who spent hours in the kitchen. In truth this takes about 10 minutes of prep and assembly, then you simply bake it until ready. You can easily make this vegetarian by omitting the ground turkey and using tofu or lentils or some other kind of bean / meat substitute.

20160711_181242

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 smaller zucchini, cored
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup salsa (optional but recommended)
  • Optional: spices to taste

20160711_181432

Step 1: Cut the zucchini in half length wise, and use a knife or spoon to scrape out the inside core. Make sure you remove all the seeds, but you can save the pulp to add to the stuffing.

20160711_181622

Step 2: In a bowl, mix the cooked rice and meat (or beans, tofu, etc) with the pieces of zucchini pulp and salsa. Add the eggs and bread crumbs and any spices you want and mix well.

20160711_181919

Step 3: Spoon the stuffing mixture back into the hollowed out zucchini boats.

20160711_181928

Step 4: Bake face-up on a baking sheet in an oven set to 350 for about 25-30 minutes, until zucchini is soft enough to pierce with a fork and stuffing is slightly crunchy on top.

20160711_191627

That’s all there is to it! You can sprinkle on a bit of Parmesan cheese or garlic salt right before serving, or add extra salsa on top. You can sneak extra veggies in there too, I added a few bites of some roasted beets I had in the refrigerator, as you can see by the lovely pink color.

 

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 smaller zucchini, cored
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup salsa (optional but recommended)
  • Optional: spices to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the zucchini in half length wise, and use a knife or spoon to scrape out the inside core. Make sure you remove all the seeds, but you can save the pulp to add to the stuffing.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cooked rice and meat (or beans, tofu, etc) with the pieces of zucchini pulp and salsa. Add the eggs and bread crumbs and any spices you want and mix well.
  3. Spoon the stuffing mixture back into the hollowed out zucchini boats.
  4. Bake face-up on a baking sheet in an oven set to 350 for about 25-30 minutes, until zucchini is soft enough to pierce with a fork and stuffing is slightly crunchy on top.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegetarian/stuffed-zucchini-boats/

 

 

 

Save

Spicy Chicken Bacon Stir Fry

 

Ever come home after a long day, when you are mentally and physically exhausted, and starving because you probably only had a coffee all day long, and you want good home cooked food but you just can’t… and someone else cooked for you?!?

BEST DAY EVER, am I right??

Well, I will tell anyone who stands still long enough to listen that I’m the luckiest lady alive, and my now-husband (still makes me a bit giddy to say that) is an amazing chef when he wants to be, or is forced. 😉

So let me assure you, this recipe is easy to make, and man-tested and approved. Any son, teen, boyfriend, husband, neighbor, ex, whatever, is sure to love it. I mean, basically anyone who loves bacon will love this, so you’re set. (I’m so sorry vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who doesn’t or can’t eat bacon. I’ll post one for you next time!)

spicy chicken bacon stir fry

Ingredients:

  • 1  boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 pound thick cut bacon
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small chili pepper (jalapeno, cayenne, or serrano works well)
  • Optional: you could add a cup of extra diced veggies, stir fry is very forgiving. Try cabbage, bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, carrots…)

Step 1: Cook the rice as needed, set aside to cool (or use leftover rice).  In a frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside on paper towels to drain, and crumble.

Step 2: Pour out bacon grease, leaving about 1 tbsp in the pan. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides, remove and slice thinly or shred.

chicken bacon stir fry

Step 3: In the frying pan, add the soy sauce and balsamic, cook the peppers (and any other veggies you add) until fragrant, about 5-9 minutes. Add the rice, and mix well. Add the chicken and bacon back in, mix well and serve!  With a salad or some steamed veggies on the side, this is a perfectly delicious meal.

 

Save

Refrigerator Pickles

 

Just imagine biting into the perfect pickle. It is softened, but still crunchy, with a tangy note accented with just a touch of sweetness and an after-bite of pepper. The delicious, fresh taste of summer, to be had any time you have a hankering! I have some awesome news, friends, you are capable of making your very own pickles! Yes, you!

You don’t have to buy sad, soggy pickles that were jarred in a factory months ago. And it doesn’t have to take hours of boiling water and hard work, expensive or obscure pickling spice mixes, or waiting months for the pickling process to be complete.  You can have the fresh, irresistible crunch of summer time bounty any time you want it, within hours, and using items you likely already have in the house. Well, as long as you stock your refrigerator with these pickles!

Refrigerator pickles in containers

My family always had these in spades during summer and fall, they are the perfect side dish, topping to burgers or hot dogs, or snacks eaten right out of the bowl by the handful. I have also heard them called “Dutch Pickles” by some crazy people.

They are also quite easy to customize. If you don’t like super puckery pickles, go easier on the vinegar and use more water. If you’re the sweet pickle kinda person, I will try not to judge you too much as you add up to a 1/2 cup of sugar. If you gag at the taste of black pepper, leave it out. If black pepper is for wussies, feel free to pop a jalapeno or habanero into the mix! You can also add other herbs and flavors like garlic cloves, fresh dill, sliced peppers, or mustard seed.

Whether you call them Refrigerator Pickles, or Dutch Pickles, or just pickles, you should definitely make this recipe at least once in your life! They are able to be eaten within an hour, best after 6-8 hours, and will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. Though after you get a taste, I doubt they will last that long. 😉

Refrigerator pickles ingredients

Ingredients (1 quart):

  • 1 large cucumber or several smaller (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 – 3/4 cup vinegar (to taste)
  • Black pepper & salt to taste
  • Optional: thinly sliced radishes/ zucchini / carrot/ peppers

Quart of pickles

Step 1: Slice your cucumber and onion as thinly as humanly possible! If you are using other veggies, slice those up thin as well. Be very careful and be aware of knife safety of course, or use a mandoline if you have one. This is important to get all the lovely juices distributed as quickly as possible to pickle your veggies!

Pickles!

Step 2: Heat the water just to boiling, and dissolve the sugar. Press your cucumbers and onion in layers into a quart container, adding black pepper and salt as you go. Add the vinegar to the water and pour it all over the pickles.

Pickles fresh from the refrigerator

Step 3: Wait about 8 hours to overnight or longer. Now you have the perfect summer snack! Eat them straight from the jar, pile them onto sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, tacos, or dice them and add to potato or tuna salads. These delicious pickles are a great way to enjoy summer’s bounty, and will keep long after the cold chill of autumn rolls in.

And did I mention this recipe is fat-free, vegan, gluten-free, and barely 100 calories even if you eat the whole quart in one sitting?!? I won’t tell if you don’t…

 

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber or several smaller (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 - 3/4 cup vinegar (to taste)
  • Black pepper & salt to taste
  • Optional: thinly sliced radishes/ zucchini / carrot/ peppers

Instructions

  1. Slice your cucumber and onion as thinly as humanly possible! If you are using other veggies, slice those up thin as well. Be very careful and be aware of knife safety of course, or use a mandoline if you have one. This is important to get all the lovely juices distributed as quickly as possible to pickle your veggies!
  2. Heat the water just to boiling, and dissolve the sugar. Press your cucumbers and onion in layers into a quart container, adding black pepper and salt as you go. Add the vinegar to the water and pour it all over the pickles.
  3. Wait about 8 hours to overnight or longer.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegan/refrigerator-pickles/

 

Save

Save

Corn & Potato Chowder

As summer winds down and schools re-open, some mourn the loss of hot, carefree summer days at the beach, while others rejoice at cooler nights and empty houses (I see you, moms everywhere!). For those who garden, or anyone who eats locally, you know this means that corn and potatoes are coming to the end of harvest season. There isn’t much better than biting into a crisp, sweet corn on the cob! But in case you get tired of that, this is a great way to use corn, or feel free to substitute in canned or frozen too.

Now that the heat of summer is starting to wane, soups and chowders become more tempting. Save some of your bumper crop of corn in the freezer, and potatoes store well for months in a cool dry place, and you can have this chowder anytime in the coming months. You can take fresh cooked corn cobs, and using a sharp knife just cut all the kernels right off.  Freeze those in bags, and you will have a taste of summer any time. Or use the freshest, sweetest corn you can get your hands on and make it right now!

Corn and potato chowder

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ears of cooked corn, with kernels cut off (or 1 can/small bag frozen)
  • 3-4 medium red skin potatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3-4 tbsp flour or cornstarch
  • 2 small leeks
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Black pepper & salt to taste

Step 1: In a frying pan, cook the onions, leeks, garlic, and potatoes in oil for 10-15 minutes, until onions are translucent and potatoes are soft. Add the corn and chicken stock, bring to a boil for 3-5 minutes.

Corn and potato chowder with biscuit

Step 2: Remove a few tbsp of the soup, and add the flour to it. Mix well to create a roux, then pour back into the pot along with the milk. Bring to barely a simmer, season to your tastes. Serve with fresh biscuits and top with fresh parsley if you like!

 

Corn & Potato Chowder

Corn & Potato Chowder

Ingredients

  • 3-4 ears of cooked corn, with kernels cut off (or 1 can/small bag frozen)
  • 3-4 medium red skin potatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3-4 tbsp flour or cornstarch
  • 2 small leeks
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Black pepper & salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a frying pan, cook the onions, leeks, garlic, and potatoes in oil for 10-15 minutes, until onions are translucent and potatoes are soft. Add the corn and chicken stock, bring to a boil for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove a few tbsp of the soup, and add the flour to it. Mix well to create a roux, then pour back into the pot along with the milk. Bring to barely a simmer, season to your tastes. Serve with fresh biscuits and top with fresh parsley if you like!
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegetarian/corn-potato-chowder/

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Smoothie Freezer Bags

 

Happy 500th Post! Time flies when you’re having fun  😉

Let me describe for you a typical American’s morning.  We wake up to the alarm going off, maybe hit “snooze” once or twice or ten times.  Realize what time it is, maybe freak out about everything we need to do today. Finally coerce ourselves out of bed (probably with the promise of coffee soon).

We stumble into the kitchen and autopilot the caffeine of choice (hot tea, cocoa, Moutain Dew, but probably coffee. So much coffee).  Glance at the clock, think “oh crap I’m gonna be late!” run back to our room, look through closets and drawers trying to find something to wear that is appropriate / cute / in season / matches the weather / doesn’t smell like rotten garbage / still fits.

Finally clothed, we rush to the bathroom.  We shave, shower, do our makeup, brush our hair, bonus points for time to blow dry or style it, brush our teeth (hopefully!). Now with negative two minutes to go until we need to leave, we rush out the door, maybe with second coffee in to-go mug in hand, and off to work we go… And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous circus that is a morning when there are children involved!

Where is the breakfast in all this rush?

You know your entire life your mom always said breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and of course she is right. A healthy breakfast helps you wake up, gets your metabolism revved to create and repair cells, pump blood and oxygen, filter out the bad stuff, and move your muscles all day.

It keeps you from getting hangry right around ten or eleven am and making a trip to the vending machine / coffee shop / donuts in the break room and gets you through until lunchtime. It keeps your neurons firing so you can think and be your best all day.

But you just don’t have the time!

I get it. I’ve been there a million times. Drive through bagels, donuts or muffins from heaven when someone has a birthday or there’s a meeting and its catered, a granola bar hidden in a desk drawer. Some days you gotta do what you gotta do.

But there is a better way.

Enter: The Smoothie Freezer Pack!

Smoothie freezer bags

Oh yes, this thing is a busy persons’ dream. Just pull it out, dump in a blender with some milk or juice, push “go” and walk away for a few minutes. Pour it into a glass or travel mug and you have a real food, super healthy, breakfast of champions with almost no work! It just takes a few moments of prep and a bit of planning ahead.  Don’t get scared now, I believe in you.

On a weekend or whenever you grocery shop, just stock up on 5 bananas, 2-5 other fruits you like, and some sort of green (spinach is a good starter, but you can also use kale, swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, etc). Then grab some plastic zip top baggies and a knife, and here we go!

Smoothie Pack Ingredients

Step 1: Cut up all your fruits. You will notice avocados, and that may worry you. But trust me, if you’ve never tried it, avocado is AMAZING in smoothies! And it is a super way to sneak in some healthy fats and a creamy texture that no one will even know is there! It will be our secret 😉

Freezer Smoothie Bags

Step 2: In each baggie, add 2-3 types of fruits, one whole banana, and a big ol’ handful of greens. I used avocados, pears, peaches, blueberries, pineapple, spinach, and beet greens. Try different combinations until you find what you like the best.

Smoothie Bags

Step 3: Zip up the baggies, and pop them in the freezer. That’s it! Now all you need to do when you want breakfast in a hurry is take out a bag, pour it into a blender. Then add about 1/2 – 1 cup of liquid of choice, I recommend milk, juice, green tea, or kefir, and blend until smooth.

Smoothie to go

These smoothie packs can also be a great after-workout refresher, or a snack / treat anytime you want a blast of healthy fruits and veggies. You can add some protein powder or a tablespoon of peanut butter for an extra protein punch. Now go forth and conquor your day!

 

What is your favorite smoothie mix? Do you have a super quick breakfast you love? Share here!

Save

Save

Sweet Potato Lentil Meatloaf

 

Everyone knows the iconic meatloaf, a loaf of meat.  You may have fond memories of your mother serving it as a child, you may have a secret family recipe, you may have only seen it on TV, or you may be a whiz at making vegetarian versions for faux-meat-loaf. Heck, maybe you don’t actually know what meatloaf is. Whatever the case, I will bet you you can adapt this recipe to suit your tastes!

When dating/living with/married to die-hard meat lovers and trying to stuff more vegetables into a resistant person’s diet, you need some tricks up your sleeve. This recipe is great because it combines two of my favorite strategies: shred the veggies so you barely know it’s there, and add lentils to meat to bulk it up without affecting taste too much. If you want a vegetarian version of this dish, easy peasy just leave the ground turkey out and double down on lentils, or try half lentils and half black beans.

Lentils and sweet potatoes

This recipe creates a moist, tender, tasty loaf which is packed with all kinds of healthy goodies.  The sweet potato gives it vitamin A, beta carotene, fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients.  The lentils give you tons of healthy fiber, protein, folate, iron, and other nutrients. If you add the meat, it keeps the carnivores happy too, and has a texture not much different from meat alone.

Lentil and sweet potato meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey (or pork, beef, chicken)
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1 med-large sweet potato, shredded
  • Spices to taste (suggest garlic salt, pepper, Italian seasoning)

For the Sauce:

  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup

If you are staying away from processed things (good for you!) and or feel ambitious and want to make your own ketchup (see here) or hot sauce (right here) then go for it!  You can use other sauces if you don’t like ketchup such as BBQ sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, or Thai chili sauce. Or  you can go sauce-less & have your meatloaf naked!

Lentil and sweet potato meatloaf ingredients

Step 1: In a large bowl, combine lentils, meat, oats, eggs, and any spices you are using. Optional additions here: diced onion, garlic, or bell peppers.

Mixing in the sweet potatoe

Step 2: Shred your sweet potato , and add that to the mix.

Naked lentil and sweet potato meatloaf

Step 3: Spray a bread pan with cooking oil, and spread the mixture into the pan, smoothing down the top.

Lentil and sweet potato meatloaf with sauce

Step 4: In a small bowl or just on top of the loaf, mix the sauce ingredients together and spread evenly over top.

Lentil and sweet potato meatloaf ready to bake

Step 5: Bake in a 350 oven for about 75 minutes.

Lentil and sweet potato meatloaf

And that’s all there is to it! Slice it up and serve it up. I made some cheesy potatoes and fresh corn on the cob and it was a delightful summertime meal.

Lentil and sweet potato meatloaf slice

Of course, with meatloaf leftovers the best thing to do it make meatloaf sandwiches! Add some shredded cheese, maybe some extra sauce, and it has a whole new life. Mmmm-mmm!

Lentil and sweet potato meatloaf sandwich

 

Sweet Potato Lentil Meatloaf

Sweet Potato Lentil Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey (or pork, beef, chicken)
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1 med-large sweet potato, shredded
  • Spices to taste (suggest garlic salt, pepper, Italian seasoning)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine lentils, meat, oats, eggs, and any spices you are using. Optional additions here: diced onion, garlic, or bell peppers.
  2. Shred your sweet potato , and add that to the mix.
  3. Spray a bread pan with cooking oil, and spread the mixture into the pan, smoothing down the top.
  4. In a small bowl or just on top of the loaf, mix the sauce ingredients together and spread evenly over top.
  5. Bake in a 350 oven for about 75 minutes.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/sneaky-healthy/sweet-potato-lentil-meatloaf/

Save

Caprese Salad

 

Isn’t it amazing how the simplest of things can tend to be the most delicious?  Sometimes we get wrapped up in crazy new flavors, seasonings, toppings, ingredients list as long as your arm. But it truly is quality that makes all the difference.  When produce is seasonal, fresh, local, and picked in its prime, there is nothing better. And nothing says “summer” quite like a fresh Caprese salad. Soft, creamy mozzarella cheese, tangy fresh basil, and plump juicy heirloom tomatoes fresh from the vine. OPA!

20160724_074016

High-quality cheese is a delight, while 99 cent slices of pasteurized processed cheese like product is hardly worth wasting the calories and preserving your insides. And you can taste the difference between a true fresh pressed, high quality olive oil and a knock off lower quality oil or mixture. It should taste grassy and strong on its own, maybe tickle the back of your throat a little. That is the anti oxidants working. It is worth investing in some! A little bit goes a long way.

20160724_073022

Ingredients:

  • 1 large fresh tomato
  • 1 large ball fresh mozarella cheese
  • Big handful fresh basil leaves
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Optional: Sea salt to taste

20160724_073649

Step 1: Slice the tomato and mozzarella into slices, about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. Layer them alternating on a plate with fresh basil leaves. Drizzle olive oil over it all, and sprinkle on some sea salt. That’s it.

20160724_074011

You can also make this salad on skewers to serve as an appetizer or snack, or use the tiny mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes for an adorable itty bitty version! These flavors also lend themselves very well to bruschetta or pasta dishes.

 

What is your favorite summer dish? Do you have other recipes with the Caprese flavors you’d like to share? Comment below!

Creamy Peas and Panchetta Pasta

 

Nothing is quite so satisfying and delicious as enjoying a brief crop of produce in its prime.  Spring peas are a great example.  They burst into bloom in the early spring, swell to full pods, and then quickly disappear, leaving round seeds to dry and protect until next year.

20160628_190549

The beauty of frozen produce is that you can lock in all the enzymes and living nutrients of a fresh item and keep it for use many days or weeks or even months later.  Flash frozen vegetables can be the next best thing to right-from-the-dirt produce, and maybe even better because it is washed and minimally processed. This way, you can enjoy this fresh taste of spring any time of the year!

20160628_190828

The cream sauce is made with a minimal amount of fat. I used some half and half and some regular 2% milk. Add fresh grated Parmesan cheese and if you desire a tbsp or so of flour for a thick, creamy, salty sauce that tastes like velvet and will satisfy any Alfredo lover.  You can use other types of cheeses too, don’t be shy about trying mozzarella or reggiano, asiago or feta.

20160628_191052

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 – 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 cup torn greens of choice (kale, swiss chard, collards, spinach)
  • 2 slices thick cut bacon (optional, you can omit for a vegetarian recipe or use turkey bacon instead)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated hard cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound cooked fresh pasta, drained

20160628_191434

Step 1: Boil and drain your pasta.  In a frying pan, cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove and drain all but about 2 tsp of fat*, and crumble the bacon.  Cook the peas and greens in the bacon fat for 5-10 minutes, until softened.

20160628_191437

Step 2: To the pan, add the milks and bring to a slow simmer.  Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well until thickened, add flour 1/2 tbsp at a time if desired.  Pour it over the hot drained pasta and top with a sprinkle of fresh grated cheese!

 

*If you want a vegetarian dish, omit the bacon and use vegetable of coconut oil instead!

Save

Save

Save

Stuffed Squash Flowers

 

If there’s one thing every gardener knows, it’s to always over-plant zucchini plants.  Just kidding. Every gardener reading this just did a facepalm I bet.

Zucchini is notorious for going from a few fan-like leaves to a gigantic jungle of non-stop baseball-bat sized squash within days. The things just can’t stop won’t stop. And every summer, we still seem surprised when we end up with so many of the dang things, we can’t even give them away anymore.

(That won’t stop me from planting it and loving it every year!)

Squash flowers in the garden

Once you have exhausted all the stir-fried zucchini, zucchini bread, and Zoodles (zucchini noodles), you may stop to wonder, where do these things keep coming from?!

The answer: flowers!

Flowers get pollinated and produce new zucchini. Flowers are also tender and delicious when stuffed and fried. Why not do yourself (and your neighbors) a favor, and eat some before they grow into a 10-pound giant you forgot under a leaf until it got too big and woody to eat?? Also they are just really, really good.

Ingredients for stuffed squash flowers

Ingredients:

  • 6-12 zucchini or any squash flower
  • 2-3 tbsp cottage cheese (any kind of cheese)
  • 2-3 tbsp ground beef
  • 1 egg, or 3-4 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup oil (coconut preferably)

Fried stuffed squash flowers

Step 1: Rinse the flowers and make sure there are no friends still inside. Not a joke, I picked some flowers and dropped one in shock when it buzzed. A bee flew right out!

Step 2: Gently peel the flowers open, and pick out the stamen. Stuff a tiny bit of beef and cheese inside. To keep these vegetarian, you could use any cooked vegetable or grain combo and forego the meats and cheese.

Fried stuffed squash flowers

Step 3: Roll the stuffed flowers in the egg or milk, and then in the breadcrumbs. Completely coat it. Heat the oil just until it start to sizzle, then add the flowers. Fry for 1 minute and flip, fry the other side. Place onto a plate, and then try to let them cool enough to scarf them down!

You could stuff these little guys with any number of things, from rice to quinoa, to shredded carrots or feta. If you want it to be totally vegan, use plain water instead of egg to make the breadcrumbs stick. I made 8, and my husband only got ahold of one of them before I demolished the whole plate! You’re lucky I even got photos…

 

Have you ever tried stuffed flowers? What do you stuff them with? Let me know below!

 

Blender Pesto Sauce

 

One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh delicious produce, including fresh herbs.  Basil in particular seems to grow really well near me in CT, last summer it turned into a huge bush of a plant, and this year’s crop looks promising for the same.  As you may or may not know, to keep basil producing you need to harvest regularly to encourage new growth and discourage the plant from going to seed.

That’s great news for those who love basil, like me!  Pesto is such a great, fresh, summer recipe that can be way easier than you may think. Many people are intimidated by pesto, thinking Pine nuts are way too expensive for me, or I don’t want to grate fresh hard cheeses just for a weeknight dinner.

Well, don’t worry this recipe is super low-stress! And super low cost too, if you have your own basil plant. During the summer, even if you don’t have basil of your own, it is super affordable at a farmer’s market as it peaks in production. This recipe uses fresh basil, but you can SO EASILY slip other greens in here!  Try adding fresh chives, green onion, swiss chard, spinach, collards, or arugula. Just keep it less than 1/3 the total volume and use mostly basil.

Basil in the blender

This recipe is made in the blender, which saves you the trouble of chopping or blending yourself. Just add you ingredients, adjust as needed, and whir away. Mix in the cheese just before serving, and you have a super quick, super healthy meal in minutes.

Blender Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basil (optional extra greens)
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces (or pine nuts)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used the green can stuff, you can also buy fresh hard cheese and grate it yourself to be more authentic)
  • Dash of lime or lemon juice
  • Sea salt or garlic salt to taste
  • Dash of cooking water from pasta, or hot water

Blender pesto sauce in a bowl

Step 1: Add the basil and greens into your blender, and whir once or twice.  Toss in the garlic, walnuts, and olive oil. Blend for a minute.

Step 2: Using a spatula, push the pieces down the sides of the blender. Continue blending and pushing it back down to blend it all together. Meanwhile, boil your pasta and drain, reserving a bit of the cooking water.

Fresh pasta and pesto sauce

Step 3: Pour the pesto into a bowl, using a spatula to get it all out.  Mix in the lime or lemon juice and sea salt or garlic salt to taste.  Then mix in the cheese, and add the hot cooking water until it is the consistency you desire.

20160716_152313

Step 4: Mix the pesto into your fresh pasta, and enjoy! I served this with garlic bread and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan on top. Some swiss chard and arugula is hiding in there, and no one was the wiser, I got two males to eat this and praise how good it was! Give it a try and see if you don’t want this to become a staple of your summer meals.

 

(Oh, and if you still have more basil left over, pesto freezes well, or try making some blueberry basil iced tea to go with the pasta!)

 

Blender Pesto Sauce

Blender Pesto Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basil (optional extra greens)
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces (or pine nuts)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used the green can stuff, you can also buy fresh hard cheese and grate it yourself to be more authentic)
  • Dash of lime or lemon juice
  • Sea salt or garlic salt to taste
  • Dash of cooking water from pasta, or hot water

Instructions

  1. Add the basil and greens into your blender, and whir once or twice. Toss in the garlic, walnuts, and olive oil. Blend for a minute.
  2. Using a spatula, push the pieces down the sides of the blender. Continue blending and pushing it back down to blend it all together. Meanwhile, boil your pasta and drain, reserving a bit of the cooking water.
  3. Pour the pesto into a bowl, using a spatula to get it all out. Mix in the lime or lemon juice and sea salt or garlic salt to taste. Then mix in the cheese, and add the hot cooking water until it is the consistency you desire.
  4. Mix the pesto into your fresh pasta, and enjoy!
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegetarian/blender-pesto-sauce/

Save

The fusion of food, fun, frugality, and curiosity.