Stuffed Zucchini Boats

My neighbor shared a beautiful big zucchini with me yesterday. Jack immediately asked me to make my Stuffed Zucchini Boats for dinner.

I was feeling a little under the weather, so I was moving slowly. I sometimes believe I cook best when I go slowly. These certainly did come out nicely.

Here is the recipe for my

Stuffed Zucchini Boats.

20190731_185411Not the best picture, but it was very good!

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 c. onion
  • 1 cup chopped green & red peppers
  • 1 c. rice (I used Basmati Rice)
  • 1 large jar tomato sauce (I use Classico Sausage, Onion & Pepper)
  • 1 tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 chopped fresh basil
  • 8 slices Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped finely

Cut Zucchini in half and scoop out the center.
Place on a microwave plate and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
Place zucchini shells in a casserole dish.
Sauté beef, garlic, onion, and peppers until done, add cooked rice.
Mix tomato sauce with Italian Seasoning, then pour 1/2 into the dish with beef mixture.
Cook until hot.
Stuff cooked mixture into zucchini and pour remaining tomato sauce over zucchini.
Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
Uncover. Top with cheese and bake another 10-15 m. minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Italian Style Eggplant Parmesan

I found this quite interesting. Real Italian Eggplant Parmesan is not breaded! I had it when I was down in Connecticut and fell in love, all over again, with this great meal! Try it!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 pounds eggplants (about 3 smallish or 2 medium, peeled)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste (give or take)
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, preferably the Italian Basil variety
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil, plus additional basil for garnish
  • Freshly grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1 ½ cups, packed).

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • To roast the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven.
  • Line two large rimmed, baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Slice off both rounded ends on one eggplant, Peel, then stand it up on its widest flat side.
  • Slice through the eggplant vertically to make long, even slabs ¼- to ½-inch-thick.
  • Brush both sides of the eggplant slabs lightly with olive oil (you’ll likely need about ¼ cup oil).
  • Arrange them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the top sides with a few dashes of salt and pepper.
  • Roast until golden and tender, about 20-30 minutes—halfway through baking, rotate the pans 180 degrees and swap their positions (move the pan on lower rack to upper rack, and vice versa).
  • The pan on the lower rack might need a few extra minutes in the oven to turn golden. You may need to flip the eggplant.
  • Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, to make the tomato sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering.
  • Add the onion and green pepper, and a pinch of salt.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender and translucent, about 4 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and tomato paste.
  • Cook, while stirring, about 1 minute.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce has thickened about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chopped basil, salt.
  • Taste, and add more salt if necessary (I usually add another ¼ teaspoon).
  • When you’re ready to assemble, spread about ¾ cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9” square baker.
  • Arrange about one-third of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly (cut them to fit, if necessary).
  • Spoon another ¾ cup of the sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Arrange about half of the remaining eggplant slices evenly on top.
  • Spread another ¾ cup sauce on top and sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Layer the remaining eggplant slices on top and top with ¾ cup sauce (you might have a little leftover) and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
  • Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
  • Bake on the lower rack, at 350 degrees, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden about 1 hour.
  • Let it cool for at least 15 minutes to give it time to set, then chop and sprinkle additional basil on top.
  • Slice with a sharp knife and serve.
  • Leftovers keep well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days. Reheat before serving.

Zucchini & Summer Squash Saute

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2 small zucchini squash
2 small summer squash
1 large Vidalia onion
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2 orange pepper
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
4 small cloves garlic chopped
PAM

  • Slice squash into 1/2 inch slices, and make sure the slices stay small. Slice them 1/2 X 1/2 inch.
  • Chop onions, peppers into bite-size pieces.
  • Slice mushrooms.
  • Spray large saute pan with PAM.
  • Add onions, peppers, mushrooms, and garlic.
  • Saute until tender.
  • Add Zucchini and Squash and allow to cook.
  • Toss in some salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add fresh basil.
  • Cook until all vegetables are tender.

Enjoy!

My Flaxseed Muffin Recipe

Flaxseed Muffin
3 WW Points

Ingredients:

¼ cup Flaxseed meal                         1 Egg

½ tsp. Baking Powder                        1 tsp. Splenda or Stevia

½ tsp Cinnamon                                  1 tsp sugar-free applesauce

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Spray a heavy coffee mug with PAM non-stick spray and add a beaten egg. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Microwave on high for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Loosen around the edges and turn out on a plate. I cut it into thirds and use a little Fat-Free margarine. Yum!

 

To make Flaxseed meal, place whole seeds into a coffee grinder or food processor and grind until meal consistency. Store all Flaxseed in the fridge in a covered container after opening the bag.

Beef Stew

Or what to do when a roast is tough!

After cooking a beautiful Standing Rib Roast the other day and finding that although cooked perfectly, the meat was tough, I decided today to remake the roast into a Beef Stew. If the meat is tough, keep cooking it until it softens. That is my motto!

So, here’s my recipe, developed over the years.

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Large fireproof Dutch Oven, 3 inches deep (large size)

1 -2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil
2 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
4 carrots chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
1/2 cup green pepper,
1/2 cup red pepper chopped
1 – 2 large onion chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 cups of a full-bodied young red wine, or a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic chopped
1/2 – 1 teaspoon thyme (to taste)
1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered, sauteed in butter
3 medium potatoes peeled and quartered.
1 package frozen peas with pearl onions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Place olive oil in Dutch Oven and toss the beef in flour and then saute the beef. Remove to a dish.

(Since the meat has been cooked, when you cook the vegetables, take 2-3 tablespoons of flour and mix with 2-3 tablespoons butter in the pot. Allow to cook in order to form a base for the sauce.)

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Cook mushrooms in saute pan with butter.

Return the beef to the Dutch Oven and toss with the salt and pepper. Add mushrooms.

Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 3 – 4 hours. Add potatoes after 1 hour. Then add the frozen peas and pearl onions. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

For immediate serving: Serve in its casserole.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Serves 6.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Corned Beef and Cabbage St. Patrick’s Day Feast!

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Heat the oven to 290- 300 degrees F.

Heavy Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Large thick FLAT CUT Corned Beef Brisket.
3 onions
2 carrots, 1 stalk celery, 2 cloves garlic sliced thinly
4 fresh marjoram,
4-6 fresh thyme
4 bay leaves.

On the bottom of pot place, 3 large onions cut up into ¼ inch slices.
Add a few thinly sliced carrots, celery, garlic, fresh marjoram, fresh thyme and bay leaves.

Set the meat on top of the vegetables and add water to just cover the meat. Bring to a boil skimming any foam that surfaces.
Cover with lid. Place the Dutch Oven in the oven and cook slowly for 6 hours. Check and if it is boiling hard, turn oven down. If the meat is tough when you check it, it’s not done! This cut of beef needs a lot of slow cooking!
Remove from the oven, set on wire rack. Leave it covered and let it rest for 20 minutes. Slice the corned beef, and serve

Meanwhile: Portions vary depending on how many you are feeding.
Peel potatoes and cook until tender.
Peel carrots cut into chunks and cook until tender.
Remove outer skins from Pearl Onions and cut off ends. Cook until tender
Cut a large head of cabbage into wedges. Cook until very tender.

Salad Dressings

I’ve discovered the joy of making fresh, homemade salad dressings. The bottled dressing has now lost all of its glamour for me. Homemade dressings are quick and easy to make and so yummy! Here are two of my favorites!

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Quick & Easy Blue Cheese

Yield: Makes 2 cups
Ingredients:
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3  cup crumbled Blue Cheese (may add more)
1/3 – 1/2 cup whole milk (to make the consistency to your liking)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preparation:
Place the sour cream, blue cheese, milk, mayonnaise, salt, and vinegar in a blender and slowly blend it until completely combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if desired.
I place all the ingredients into a pint jar with a screw lid. I add some chunks of blue cheese to the jar and shake to blend. You can reuse this jar over and over.

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Greek Salad Dressing

For the vinaigrette:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil

For the vinaigrette, add the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper into a 1/2 pint jar. Add the olive oil and shake to blend. Store in the fridge and take out 1/2 an hour before serving with your salad. Shake well, just before you pour on the salads.

Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips, and Brussel Sprouts With Bacon

roasted vegetables

This is an amazingly simple and good recipe. I made this last night for Jack and he loved it! I was quite surprised as he is not a roasted vegetable fan. Anyway, it is good, so give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 slices of bacon diced
  • 3 medium carrots (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick circles
  • 1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts (about 1/2 pound), halved
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch thick slices
  • 3 medium parsnips (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (I used fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (I used fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Grease a large baking sheet pan with extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Place vegetables and bacon in the bowl and toss well with oil, herbs and salt and pepper.
  • Toss well, evenly coating all the vegetables with the seasonings and oil.
  • Add more oil if the vegetables seem dry.
  • Pour onto large cookie sheet.
  • Spread the vegetables evenly.
  • Place on middle rack in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. stirring occasionally.

When vegetables are nicely browned and done to your desired texture, pull out and eat right away.

When I’m Cooking

Yesterday I prepared an Herb Crusted Prime Rib Roast for dinner. The prep work for this is a bit daunting, as there is a lot of chopping and handling of the meat while rubbing it down with all of the herbs. But the end result was a perfectly cooked 4-pound roast that was seasoned just right!

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I used Garlic, Shallots, Rosemary and Thyme, along with Salt, Pepper and Dijon Mustard. You can find the recipe HERE.

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We ate it with some creamy horseradish sauce and it was just perfect!

I admit it. I like cooking. I also like it when everything comes out just right. Although the roast was perfect, my roasted potatoes did not come out well! Ugh! They did not cook in the time I had thought they would. So it was the microwave to the rescue.

Today I am planning to make Maribeth’s Marvelous Meatloaf, which I made up when my cousin Larry came to dinner. I took a bit from one recipe and a bit from another and made this up. It should be a good meal.

You can find the recipe for Maribeth’s Marvelous Meatloaf HERE. Aside from some chopping and mixing the ground meat with your hands, this is an easy meal. I’ll make mashed potatoes (and hopefully not mess them up!) and I think a nice garden salad.

Tomorrow I am planning to make my Roasted Chicken. That is a crazy good recipe that is fairly easy. You can find that recipe HERE

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This is a Julia Child recipe that I follow and it comes out perfectly every time! I encourage you to try this. Especially if you are a chicken fan like me.

After this, I will have enough leftovers so I will not have to cook for a few days. This will be a very good thing!

Heavenly Peach Jam – Revised

If I am honest with myself, I will admit that after all these years, I had gotten a bit sloppy making my Peach Jam.  Besides the peaches not being ripe, I think there were a few other things that made the first batches a few days ago, so horrid.

So this week, I did a few things differently. I paid attention to each detail and I actually changed a couple of things. Because I did this, I have written an entirely new recipe, complete with pictures.

Heavenly Peach Jam

  • 5 lb. very ripe peaches skinned and mashed
  • 7 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 Oranges
  • 1 large jar maraschino cherries, cherries quartered
  • 1 box Sure-Jell

jel5

I use Sure-Jell and I swear by it. I have not been compensated in any way for this review of the product. I just feel it helps make the best Jam around. And if Sure-Jell is looking for a new Spokesmodel I am available!

  1. Peel peaches; remove pits.
  2. Mash peaches; place in large saucepan.
  3. Add sugar; mix thoroughly.
  4. Cut oranges in half.
  5. Squeeze juice from both oranges; remove seeds.
  6. Take the rind from one orange and slice thinly and chop.
  7. Add orange rind and orange juice to the peach mixture.
  8. Add cherries.

Let rest overnight.

  • Bring to a boil. Cook for 1 hour.

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  • Add Sure-Jell;
  • boil for 20 minutes, stirring constantly until the jam begins to jell.
  • Ladle into sterilized jars, cover with sterilized lids and return to a water bath.
  • Boil closed jars for 8 minutes.
  • Set on dishtowels to cool.

Yields about 9 – 11 half-pint jelly jars.

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Notes:

If peaches are not full on ripe, put them in a brown paper bag and close the top. Leave 1-2 days, and then start the process.

To peel peaches, place about 6 in boiling water for 1 minute. Quickly remove them and place them in an ice bath. Continue until all 5 pounds worth of peaches are blanched.

Peaches should be so ripe you can squish them in your hands to break them up after removing the skin. But watch those peach pits! They can really hurt your fingers!

At the end use chilled dessert plates to check your jelling. You want the jam not to run off the plate after a minute on the frozen plate, but to form a heavy drip.

jel3

Like this. This was cooled Jam on my finger!

This shows you what you want your jam to do right before you can it. That drop stayed on my finger and hung there. That is perfect!