August 24, 2012

cooking garden veggies.

don't you think these tomatoes are BEAUTIFUL?
i do... i love that color red with the cute green tops.
(we also planted chocolate tomatoes-- they are the brown ones. and no, they don't taste like chocolate.)
how do you eat your garden?
my summer meals are quick and simple.
i have snapped a few, random pictures... but honestly, nothing fancy here.

Everything Eggs.
(i make these almost every morning.  i LOVE them.  my kids, endure them.)

Everything Hashbrowns.
we do the same thing with potatoes that we do with eggs.
i start by baking potatoes in the oven for an hour at 325.
i bake a whole bunch at a time and leave them in the fridge to use for lots of different recipes.
potato soup with baked potatoes is my favorite.
and, i LOVE potato salad with baked potatoes...  as my base, i use 1 cup plain Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup light mayo.  it makes the potato salad so much better than just plain mayonnaise.

Everything hashbrowns are just chopped up baked potatoes (skins and all).
Fried in a skillet with hot olive oil, lots of garlic, onions, peppers and tomatoes.
I usually have real bacon bits in my fridge so i'll add a handful.
I fry them till they brown a bit and seem crispy.
so good!

Zucchini Chips.
because we've eaten A LOT of steamed zucchini, i am always looking for new ways to eat zucchini.
these zucchini chips were really delish.  but they take a long time to cook and not a long time to eat.
if i cook them again, i will cook 4 trays at once.
Just slice your zucchini fairly thin and lay them on a sprayed, foil lined cookie sheet.
Sprinkle the slices with salt and olive oil.
I roasted mine for about 3 hours at 225.
Next time i'll try 325.  I think it would be ok if they burned a little bit.

these were huge zucchini that shrunk as they cooked.
they were SO good we ate them in two minutes.

Fried Stuff.
We also fry things a lot.
Because my kids will eat most anything fried.
I already talked about our Fried Green Tomatoes- here.
these were our fried green tomatoes... with mango salsa and chipolte chicken.
SOO good.
We do fried zucchini a lot.
my father in law suggested dipping them first in canned milk and then bread crumbs.
worked great.
i either do canned milk, or milk with a couple of eggs.
do you fry things?
it's easy and good.
one bowl of flower, one bowl of wet, one bowl of bread crumbs or bread crumbs mixed with corn meal.
dip flour, milk/eggs, then crumbs.
then fry them, flip them, and put them on paper towels to drain.
And, homemade Chicken nuggets.
(make fresh chicken nuggets with the same breading you use for your veggies.)
NOTHING is better than homemade chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes.
although it's not super healthy, it is pretty fun to just start frying things and have a whole fried meal.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad.
i like to pair fried zucchini with a fresh tomato and cucumber salad.
i don't have pictures of that...
it is just thinly sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, very thinly sliced onions, a little bit of vinegar and a little bit of olive oil.
salt and pepper.
easy, fresh and a good way to use your cucumbers and tomatoes.
If i am lazier... i just cute up the veggies and squirt them with italian dressing.

Add Veggies to EVERYTHING.
EVERYTHING i cook i start with sauteed garlic, celery, peppers and some zucchini diced small.
(?sorry for the sideways picture?)
Macaroni and Cheese and Veggies.
do you make homemade mac n cheese?
you should.
it's dreamy.

this is my recipe.
cook a bunch of elbow macaroni.
while it is cooking,
melt 2 Tb. of butter in a big saucepan.
add 2 Tb. of flour and stir to make a paste.
slowly add 2 cups of milk, stir out the lumps.
add 2 cups of grated cheese.

poor the cheese over the macaroni and TAH DAH!!

but, not super healthy.
so-- i always add fresh broccoli to the pasta as it is cooking.
if i'm in a super nice mood, most of my kids just eat mac n cheese and broccoli, like this...
they also love homemade mac n cheese with broccoli and fried Spam.
(they got THAT from their father.)

in a separate pan, i saute veggies.
start with a little bit of olive oil and add what you have...
garlic, onions, peppers, zucchini, broccoli, and tomatoes.
tomatoes are my FAVORITE in mac n cheese.
cheese and tomatoes are really good together.
it's like dipping a grilled cheese sandwich in to tomato soup.

Pasta, Keilbasa and Veggies.
are you noticing a trend to my summer meals?
we also love to saute' together veggies with keilbasa and cabbage and put that over buttery pasta.

my kids do not love all the onions and veggies stuck into our dinners.
i allow them to pick out the veggies that they don't like IF they are not rude about it.
i think kids get used to eating things if they SEE them.
i also imagine that some of the vitamins from the veggies get stuck to the pasta even if they pick out the vegetable parts.  ha!
so, i don't apologize for my vegetable laden fare.
and, my kids are pretty good at eating it!

Fruit Shakes with Hidden Veggies.
We have lots of frozen berries that we blend into shakes.
We do not have a super, vegi-blender that costs $400.
although, i'd love one.
but, our little blender works great.
we start with berries and we add in LOTS of stuff.
carrots, zucchini, kale, spinach...
we fill the blender with water and a few scoops of juice concentrate and we blend.
our kids will drink any fruit smoothie.

one tip--
we freeze stuff that goes in our smoothie.
i have a bag of frozen bananas-- peel them first and put them in a freezer bag if they are going bad.
they are great for smoothies.
i also have a bag of frozen diced zucchini and a bag of frozen, fresh spinach leaves.
i like having the add-ins frozen to keep things colder.

How do you eat your garden??
summer cooking makes me happy.
i LOVE the color!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should try turkey stuffed zuchinni. I used a recipe from and we ate it with spaghetti sauce. It was SO good. My kids loved it! Most every recipe I have tried from that site is really good.

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