Showing posts with label zucchini. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zucchini. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Baked Mini Meatloaves with Roasted Apples

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Looking back over my posts in the nearly two years that I’ve been part of the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen crew (thanks, friends!), I see that I don’t post many meat dishes. When I do, you’ll often see Mr. Right’s hands in the photograph. According to Mr. Right, I officially lost my title of Picky Eater about ten or twelve years ago, when we ate street tacos in Mexico for my birthday—we’d miscalculated what would be open on a Wednesday in the small undeveloped oceanfront village where we were staying, and they were the only option. Not long after, we were in France and I ordered langoustines. “You know they come with their heads on,” he said. I knew. They were delicious.

Point is, I still have a few food quirks left—no doubt we all do. One of mine, a remnant from years as a vegetarian, is that I don’t like to physically handle red meat, although I will when necessary. I recognize the contradiction—we’ve all got those, too. So when we eat red meat, it tends to be a steak or a burger Mr. Right makes. 

That’s a long way of explaining why I don’t very often post meat dishes. But this one, in my mother’s Good Housekeeping magazine, caught my eye. It’s a variation of our basic burger, which includes ground sirloin, seasoning, Panko, and Parmesan. This version substitutes zucchini for the cheese, a great way to sneak in vegetables; they keep the burgers moist and hold them together well. 

The original recipe suggests ground beef or dark turkey; we prefer ground sirloin, which is a little more expensive, but is comparatively lean and doesn’t shrink much. It also calls for shaping the meat into 4 oblong meatloaves, but you can certainly make more, smaller burgers—just keep an eye on your baking time. And while it suggested Gala or Empire apples—firm and tart-sweet—I used two of the Red Delicious the bears kindly left on our tree this year and a Gala from a friend’s orchard. I think a mix of apples is always best; use anything firm enough to not turn to mush when baked. I thought the mustard might be too strong, but it mellows beautifully in the baking. 

Baked Mini Meatloaves with Roasted Apples

(Adapted from Good Housekeeping, November 2016)

1-1/4 pounds ground beef or sirloin
1 small zucchini, grated
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 small to medium apples, cored and cut into wedges
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped, or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
dash of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
fresh herbs for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the beef, zucchini, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. 

Shape into four small meatloaves or six small burgers, and place on baking sheet. Brush tops with mustard.

Toss the cut apples with the rosemary, cayenne, salt, and olive oil. Arrange on baking sheet around the loaves or burgers, in a single layer.


Bake 30 minutes, or until done. Garnish the meat with fresh herbs, if you’d like.

From the cover of KILLING THYME (October 2016, in paperback, e-book, and audio---large print coming soon!): 

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. after Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The 2015-16 president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Zucchini Cornmeal Summer Casserole #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: It's zucchini city in our garden. Even the dratted woodchucks who've broken in and are wreaking havoc with other crops are leaving the squash to us! So I had to come up with yet one more recipe--this one is adapted from the Joy of Cooking.


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
One half sweet onion, chopped
One green pepper, chopped
Two small red potatoes, chopped
One clove garlic, minced 
two medium zucchinis, cut into chunks
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup milk
Two eggs
4 to 6 tablespoons grated Swiss cheese

Sauté the onion, pepper, and potatoes in the melted oil and butter until soft, about three minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. And the zucchinis and sauté until soft.

Meanwhile, mix the cornmeal, flour, Parmesan, thyme leaves and white pepper in a large bowl. Beat the milk and the eggs together, and stir them into the dry ingredients. Stir the vegetables into the batter. Scrape everything into a well oiled glass pan. Sprinkle with Swiss cheese. 

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly and cheese is starting to brown. We ate corn on the cob alongside and John declared it a feast!

(I also had some leftover corn from corn on the cob that I meant to add, but forgot--really any summer vegetables can be swapped in or out.)

The seventh Key West mystery, KILLER TAKEOUT, is on bookshelves everywhere. What about yours?

You can follow Lucy on Facebook,
and Instagram!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Oven-Fried Zucchini Fingers @LucyBurdette #recipe

LUCY BURDETTE: It's zucchini time in our garden, which means we better get eating! In my pre-low-sodium days, I would have sauteed rounds in olive oil and then added soy sauce to taste. Because soy sauce (even the low-sodium kind) is loaded with sodium, I had to find another tasty way. When I saw a recipe on "The Girl Who Ate Everything"'s Pinterest page, I knew I could tweak to suit us and enjoy. We both loved the results--not one spear was left.

Ingredients (for 2)

Two medium zucchini
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon homemade Cajun spice mix 

one egg white

Cut the zucchini into shapes to your taste. I went for easy--cut them in half horizontally and the into spears. 

Separate the white from the egg yolk and whip the white in a shallow bowl. Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and the spice mix. (I had some homemade mix leftover from my Key West boiled dinner so I used that.) The ingredients were white pepper, red pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, thyme, dried mustard. But you can pick and choose the flavors you and your family will enjoy. Preheat the oven to 425.

Dip each finger into the egg white then roll it in the breadcrumb mixture. Place them on a cookie tray covered in parchment paper. Bake at 4:25 for about 25 minutes until the crust is crunchy. 

I served these with barbecued chicken and fresh corn on the cob--a perfect and easy summer supper! 

The seventh Key West mystery, KILLER TAKEOUT, is on bookshelves everywhere. What about yours?

You can follow Lucy on Facebook,
and Instagram!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Baking Up Summer -- Zucchini Muffins #recipe from author @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  Eat your vegetables! But what of all those zucchini? Put them in muffins! These are a basic, slightly cake-y muffin that freeze beautifully. And when we have a bumper crop of zucchini, I grate the extras, pack two cups of grated zucchini in a small plastic bag, and freeze. Then next winter, when we’ve got a longing for a taste of summer, it’s easy to thaw the grated zucchini by letting them sit for an hour or two in a colander.

This recipe can easily be adapted for other flavor combinations. Instead of the zucchini, add 2 cups grated apple and a teaspoon of freshly grated lemon peel, or 1-1/2 cups mashed overripe banana (about 2 bananas), and eliminate the cardamom.

Congratulations to Linda Wiken on the release today of TOASTING UP TROUBLE, first in the Dinner Club Mystery series! 

Zucchini Muffins

2 cups grated zucchini
2 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup raisins or currants
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil or spray a standard muffin baking tin.

Grate the zucchini.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.

Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir to combine, careful not to over-mix. Fold in the raisins and nuts.

Spoon into muffin tins and bake 20-25 minutes, until slightly puffed and golden, and a knife or cake tester comes out clean.

Makes 12 standard muffins.

From the cover of GUILTY AS CINNAMON: 

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

GUILTY AS CINNAMON is now available in audiobook! The large print edition will be available mid-August. KILLING THYME will be published in October, 2016.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Zucchini, Rice and Cheese Gratin

By Leslie Budewitz

One of my favorite food blogs is Deb Pererlman’s Smitten Kitchen. Perelman lives and cooks in a NY apartment with a small kitchen—no gourmet showrooms or palatial spaces with room for every kitchen appliance imaginable. Her recipes are much-tested and easy to follow, and beautifully photographed, step-by-step. And while she does occasionally offer a combo I can resist—you will never catch me frying an egg on top of anything—most of her food is easy to imagine making myself. (The perfect Manhattan? Yes!)

And she knows the classics. She’ll play with them, or as with this dish, serve it fairly straight. The original recipe comes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II.

We used the creaky, old full-sized food processor to grate the zucchini—it’s messy, leaving a pool of green liquid wherever it sits, but it makes quick work of the job with no scraped knuckles! We let the grated zucchini sit about 20 minutes, while we readied everything else, and got about a cup of liquid, which we supplemented with vegetable broth. We parboiled the rice and it came out perfectly; many comments say that’s not necessary, and next time, I’ll try the suggestion of simply letting it sit for five minutes, covered, in hot water, then draining it.

We used vegetable broth; chicken broth would also taste good. The original recipe calls for milk, which would be too rich for my taste, but is worth a try.

Perelman suggests baking in two one-quart dishes and freezing one; we have not tried that yet.

The salt: Our kitchen cabinets have become a storehouse for varieties of salt: Fleur de sel from the Camargue region of France, two varieties of gray Celtic sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, truffle salt, and who knows what else. (The refrigerator corollary: We once had nine varieties of mustard, but are now down to four. Bummer. I feel a mustard spree coming on.) But when we tried the Great Paddlefish Roe experiment, we used up all the kosher salt in the house, and somehow didn’t replace it. So when I saw Diamond, the brand Perelman recommended, in the grocery store, I bought a lifetime supply for 3.89. Actually, I doubt it will last more than a decade or so, barring any more paddlefish experiments.

This dish is the perfect accompaniment for Krista’s Parmesan Baked Chicken Breasts.

Zucchini, Rice and Cheese Gratin 

2-1/2 pounds zucchini
2 to 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup plain, uncooked white rice
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Broth or milk
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray or butter for dish

Prepare zucchini: Wash zucchini and trim ends. Halve lengthwise, and if seeds are particularly large, core them out. Coarsely grate and place in a colander set over a bowl. Toss with kosher salt. Let drain for 20-30 minutes.

 Save drained liquid.  Squeeze a handful of the zucchini and taste; if you think it’s too salty, rinse and drain again, but don’t save the liquid this time. Squeeze all of the zucchini in handfuls, gently, collecting any juices in the bowl of drained liquid. (Perelman says blot dry on paper towels; I didn’t and all was well.)

Prepare rice: Boil for exactly 5 minutes in salted water. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare remaining ingredients: In a large frying pan, saute the onions slowly in 3 tablespoons oil for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and translucent. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until very lightly browned.

Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic; add a few twists of pepper, and salt to taste. Toss and turn for 5 to 6 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.

Assemble dish: Measure the drained liquid from the zucchini. Add broth or milk to bring the amount up to 2 1/2 cups.  Stir the liquid into the zucchini-onion mixture. Bring to medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring.

Stir in the par-cooked rice and all but 2 tablespoons cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Spray or butter a 2 or 3 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved 2 tablespoons cheese and one tablespoon olive oil. (I think this could also be prepared and baked in a cast iron pan or other oven-proof skillet.)

Bake in upper third of oven until bubbling and browned on top, about 25 to 30 minutes. (If yours begins to brown too quickly, you can cover it with foil until the last 5 minutes.) The rice should absorb all the liquid. Let rest five minutes; any extra liquid bubbling around the edges should be absorbed as it rests. Serve hot.

Serves 6.

From the cover of BUTTER OFF DEAD: As the national bestselling Food Lovers’ Village mysteries continue, the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana try to heat up chilly winter business with a new film festival. But their plans are sent reeling when a dangerous killer dims the lights on a local mover and shaker …

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Zucchini yumminess, #recipe from @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl aka Avery:

Zucchini. I love it. It's so versatile. It works as a veggie. It goes into pastas and risottos. It goes into breads and muffins. It's good raw. It's tasty in a salad.

And it's so healthy for you, too.

It is low calorie. No saturated fats, no cholesterol. A good source of dietary fiber. It is also a good source of potassium and is an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Zucchini is rich in vitamin A and has moderate amounts of C and B. What's not to love!

This easy-peasy recipe is a go-to for me pretty much every week. All you need is a firm hand when chopping (or a fun chopping tool where you can pound out your aggressions).

Now if only I could figure out how to grow zucchini without it taking over my entire garden. I remember as a girl we would grow zucchini. We had a lot of acreage, and it was good thing we did. Every zucchini plant we ever had was about 6 feet wide and produced huge - no, gargantuan-sized - zucchini.  Personally, when eating as a veggie and not using in breads and such, I prefer the smaller sized zucchini. Much more flavorful, not as much pulp.


PS  Figure 1 zucchini per person. I made this recipe for 2. Do your math when it comes to the butter, Parmesan, etc.

Zucchini Yumminess

(serves 2)

2 zucchini, chopped fine
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Chop zucchini fine and set aside. Heat butter and salt in a sauté pan on medium-high.

Add the chopped zucchini. Cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add in the Parmesan cheese. Stir for 1-2 minutes more.

Remove from heat. Set on plates and decorate with sour cream and nutmeg.


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