Is it even summer if you don’t end up drowning in zucchini at some point? I think not.
Between our garden and our CSA, we always have plenty of zucchini around. I have, of course, been experimenting with lots of new, fun recipes – but I just keep coming back to zucchini bread. It’s a classic.
This loaf is our favorite. It’s a little heavy on the nutmeg which gives the loaf a nice spice. Pecans and chocolate chips are mixed in, too, to add a little sweetness and texture.
This recipe does make a big batch, so it’s great to share with neighbors – or freeze a loaf for later!
We have a few more weeks of summer here, so I haven’t quite wrapped my head around back-to-school. We’re entering a brave new world this year – Kindergarten! – and I’m not ready to give up our relaxed summer schedule.
I know a lot of our friends are starting to head back, though, and I’ve gotten quite a few requests for easy back-to-school dinners. This dinner is perfect – easy, but still full of the fresh flavors of the season.
This dump-and-bake pasta couldn’t be easier – you don’t even have to pre-cook the pasta! We used leftover grilled chicken, but you could use a rotisserie chicken too. This is also easily made vegetarian by skipping the chicken and using vegetable broth instead.
A few minutes to chop and assemble and then your hands are free to help with homework or spend some quality time with the little ones who have been at school all day!
Today is the first Friday of Lent, so I’m kicking off my annual Lenten project – sharing meatless meals every Friday. What began as simply a way to keep from eating plain spaghetti and pizza every Friday has grown into one of my favorite yearly blog projects.
But, nine years on, how do I keep this series fresh? I’ve spent a bunch of time thinking about our family’s current needs and how to get them to reflect in my meatless Friday posts.
In the food blogger world, we’re often working ahead. Like, I’m currently working on Christmas cookies, as absurd as that sounds on this 80 degree summer day. Sometimes I feel like I’m living three steps ahead, not in the moment, so I was super excited that more than 80% of you were still up for summer recipes when I asked on Facebook this week.
I feel like I’ve missed most of it, honestly. The move chewed up so much of my time that I feel like I’m frantically playing catch up now before school starts. Grilling is something I’m catching up on – we finally got our grill ready to go this week. This was the first thing I made.
This “recipe” is really flexible – it’s more of a method. You can use any vegetables you have on hand. Want it to cook faster? Cut the pieces smaller. Want the veggies to caramelize a little more? Don’t stir as often. Sub the balsamic for fresh Parmesan. Add a nice, crusty loaf of bread and serve it as a meal. So many options!
It can also be served warm, cold, or at room temp which makes it so flexible for potlucks or entertaining.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables (adapted from Stop & Shop) Serves 6-8 as a side
If there’s one piece of produce synonymous with summer, it’s got to be zucchini. I feel like everyone knows someone that has waaaay too much zucchini in their garden and is trying to pass it off on everyone. (PS, if you’re that person, I’m happy to take it!)
These scones were something I made for myself. I figured vegetables in a not-overly-sweet pastry would be a hard sell, but as soon as these came out of the oven, the kids were BEGGING for them. They requested them for snack twice that day, and were thoroughly bummed when I informed them they weren’t allowed to have them again for dinner.
To be fair, they really are delicious. The buttery, flaky layers here are so on point! There’s just enough sweetness in these to make them perfect, but not overly sweet, and they’re a great way to use up some of that zucchini that I know you have hanging around!
2 and 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick (unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream (full fat)
2/3 cup zucchini, grated and drained
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated, divided
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Cut in the butter until it forms a course meal.
In a smaller bowl, combine the egg and sour cream. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the zucchini and 1/2 cup cheese.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and work it into a round loaf shape. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut like a pie into 8 wedges.
Carefully transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with remaining cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
These are best served the same day.
Looking for more farm fresh inspiration? Here’s what other bloggers have cooked up for you today as part of #farmersmarketweek!
Julie’s now 7 weeks old and I’m just getting into enough of a rhythm with the kids that I can actually stand over the stove and cook some nights. Up until this point, dinner has been something I can throw in the crockpot or oven between diaper changes. It’s been nice to do some hands-on cooking for a change!
Still, dinners haven’t been anything too involved – this easy, one-pan meal was a recent favorite. I added a loaf of crusty bed and dinner was on the table in a half hour. Mom win!
2 chicken breasts, cut in half and slightly pounded out
8 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, coin-sliced
In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat.
In the microwave, melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk together the bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan and flour. Coat the chicken in the butter then in the bread crumb mixture and add to the skillet.
Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through and the breading is golden. Remove chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add the remaining butter to the skillet. When melted, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add in the zucchini and cook until tender. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Add the chicken back and cook until heated through.
Current craving: all the veggies. I’ve eaten more salad and grilled vegetable sandwiches recently than I ever have in my life. I’m not sure if it’s a pregnancy thing or just the mid-summer bounty, but it’s been delicious.
While aimlessly flipping through Pinterest, this recipe caught my eye because of all of the veggies. I adapted it slightly to fit what we had in the garden/what looked best at the store, but you could really do this dish at any time of the year with whatever produce is in season.
I served it along with a loaf of warm, crusty bread – it was an awesome summer dinner.
Chicken Sausage and Marinated Summer Veggies (slightly adapted from Beachbody) Serves 4
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, taste
2 zucchini, coin sliced
2 yellow squash, coin sliced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
4 cooked chicken sausages, coin sliced
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss all the veggies with the balsamic mixture and let sit for 30 minutes, stirring halfway.
Preheat your broiler to high.
Stir the chicken sausage into the veggies and transfer to a sheet pan. Broil for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are soft, turning halfway.
Every once in a while, we end up with a really healthy week of dinner plans. I don’t usually do it consciously – it seems that after a week of celebrating or heavy eating, I naturally go for something lighter. And, really healthy meals are always a bit of a gamble around here. Something drowning in cheese and butter? Sure to be a hit. Something naturally gluten free and heavy on the veggies? Maybe – or maybe not.
Luckily, this was a huge hit. Zoodles as a side dish were great and the chicken was super easy but super flavorful. I was really impressed on how quickly this meal came together – and how satisfying it was.
Chicken Piccata with Zoodles
(adapted slightly from Primal Palate)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thickness
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsps.. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. capers
2 Tbsp. white wine
1 Tbsp. butter
2 zucchini, ends cut off and spiralized
Whisk together the almond flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and add chicken, one at a time, turning until thoroughly coated.
Cut half of the lemon into slices and juice the other half.
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover with foil.
Add garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the chicken broth and lemon slices and cook several minutes, until the lemon gets soft. Add the capers, lemon juice and white wine and cook until it’s thickened a bit. Remove from heat and stir in butter until well combined. Pour into a bowl and cover with foil.
Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in the skillet. When shimmering, add zucchini noodles and cook a few minutes, tossing occasionally, until they’re al dente. Sprinkle cooked noodles with salt.
Serve the noodles topped with a chicken breast topped with the sauce.