Tag Archives: zucchini

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This is one outrageous zucchini bread.  The batter will have your eyes rolling to the back of your head.  I can honestly say the first time I tasted the batter I seriously considered not baking the bread at all and , instead, simply eating it all…one generous, sloppy spoonful after another until there was no more.   I first began baking zucchini bread for my son, James, when he was a toddler but I never called it zucchini bread.  I’m pretty sure he would have turned his cute little Greek nose up at it, but how about “tea bread”?  He loved Mama’s “tea bread” and even helped me bake it.  Many a morning he suggested we invite his grandmother, Mimi, over for a tea party with “tea bread”.  Little scamp.  I covered his small, round child’s table with a linen tablecloth and set places for James, Mimi and his two best friends, Bert and Ernie.  I prepared cafe con leche or James’ favorite tea, Constant Comment and served the guests while they chatted politely about Curious George, which day that week they would go feed the ducks or the latest happenings on Sesame Street…”Mimi! Did you know there is a number 9?”  We have some lovely memories.  I hope this recipe makes it to your next tea party!

Baking day circa 1993-94. Someone was in charge of sprinkles:)

This wonderful recipe I found in the booklet of directions and recipes which came with my Cuisinart food processor.  I made no changes except for the addition of vanilla extract.  The recipe is that perfect.  It does state milk chocolate chips may be used as well but I’d rather have a sharp chocolate presence so I’ll stick with semi-sweet chips.  If your food processor is another brand I’m pretty sure it will be just fine.  (But I DO adore my Cuisinart!)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

  • Servings: one 9-inch loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of nutmeg (I used almost 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated)
  • 1 large zucchini (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (this is not part of the original recipe)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F.  Lightly coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  Reserve.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg in a medium bowl.  Reserve.
  3. Insert the shredding disc with the medium side facing up.  Shred zucchini.  Add to the bowl with the reserved dry ingredients.
  4. Put the sugar, eggs and oil into the large work bowl fitted with the large chopping blade.  Process on high for 30 seconds.  Add dry ingredients and pulse, to just combine, about 8 to 10 times.  Remove blade.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  5. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  6. Let cool in pan and serve warm if desired.



Roasted Vegetable Greek Stew…Tourlou Tourlou


After a weekend of pizza, steaks, casseroles heavy with cheese and dinners out, Meatless Monday sure does creep up fast.  The entire family, that would be the three of us!, worked at the Greek festival all weekend so when the week started, needless to say, the cupboards were bare.  And after grabbing a bite here and there of pita and hummus, flaming Greek cheese and sausage, baklava, feta fries and tender bits of lamb, a clean but healthful dinner was desperately needed.  When I say “clean” I mean little or no dairy, no heavy sauces and no frying.  Clean eating doesn’t sentence one to a lifetime of salads.  On the contrary, the Greek diet is mostly plant-based but the beauty is the brilliant twist the Greeks give their vegetables.  A stick of cinnamon thrown in here, a squeeze of fresh lemon there, elevate the humble dishes to celebrity status.  Smoky, roasted eggplant can be fused with walnuts, garlic and lemon juice yielding a creamy dip that will knock your socks off.  What I love about this dish of stewed, roasted vegetable is you don’t need to really follow the recipe.  There is a long, and I mean loooong, list of ingredients that work together magnificently and still offer a rib-sticking meal.  Most of the vegetables are interchangeable so feel free to throw in a bag of green beans if you’re out of zucchini.  Canned whole tomatoes are fine if you have no fresh ones.  When I prepared this dish this week I had forgotten fresh mint, dill and flat leaf parsley at the grocery store.  We’re in high season here in South Florida.  Every tourist and his brother is out joy ridin’ and if you think I was going out in that snarl of 5:00 traffic you’ve got another thing coming.  And I LOVE fresh mint in my Tourlou.  I had on hand, though, dried dill and a big ol’ bush of oregano.  This is also the ideal dish for out of season vegetables such as tomatoes.  Roasting them brings out flavors the tomatoes didn’t even know they had.

Oh, the magic these vegetables will make after an olive oil bath and a little time in the oven!
Oh, the magic these vegetables will make after an olive oil bath and a little time in the oven!
Almost there. Another 30 minutes and this will be a melt-in-your-mouth triumph.
Almost there. Another 30 minutes and this will be a melt-in-your-mouth triumph.

Roasted Vegetable Greek Stew or Tourlou Tourlou

If you want to be creative this is the recipe for you.  My recipe is just a guideline and what works for me.  Mushrooms, peas…I guess the point I’m trying to make is roast whichever vegetables you enjoy.  My vegetable stew came out positively gorgeous, I mean, just look at the photos!  It was warm and satisfying, so good in fact, I didn’t even want the usual topping of crumbled Greek feta cheese.  I served the dish with a chunk of crusty French bread, absolutely necessary to sop up the exquisite bend of juices from the onions, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil.  And although it may be juvenile and straight out of the nursery, I’m 100% guilty of using my fork to crush a few random pieces of potato to then mix in the fragrant olive oil and juices.  Oh, yes!  Heaven on a plate.

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 large head garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, halved and cut into strips
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cut into 1/2″ rounds
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1/4″ rounds
  • 3 pounds tomatoes, each tomato cut into eighths
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped or 1 heaping tablespoon dried
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon each salt and pepper
  • Greek feta cheese, crumbled, optional
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  2. Cover an extra-large roasting pan or casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray making certain to cover all of the bottom and sides of the pan.
  3. If your roasting vessel is glass or not stove-top safe, use a pan for this next step.  If your roasting pan is metal and stove top safe the entire dish maybe prepared in the roasting pan.  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in the roasting pan or skillet.
  4. Add the onion slices cook until soft, stirring often.
  5. Add the garlic and continue stirring.  Take care that the garlic doesn’t burn.  If using a pan transfer this mixture to the sprayed roasting dish.  If onion mixture cooked in the roasting pan, turn off heat but leave stove top.
  6. Add all remaining ingredients except feta cheese, stirring between additions.  Make certain all ingredients are evenly coated with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper and any pan juices.
  7. Cover tightly with tin foil and bake for one hour.
  8. Carefully remove tin foil, stir vegetables and continue to bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes.
  10. If using feta cheese scatter one or two tablespoons over each plate.
  11. Serve with crunchy bread.

Puff Pastry Tart with Goat Brie, Ricotta and Zucchini

There’s not much better on a Friday evening than mouth-watering, delectable dinner that’s put together with ingredients you happen to have on hand.  Having discovered some time ago goat brie at Trader Joe’s, I thought maybe I would incorporate it into some sort of puff pastry tart for dinner.  Looks like any brie but this one has a strong, goaty flavor that’s positively sublime, and, yes, now I am an addict.  If you’re not able to locate it, the combination of a small wheel of brie chopped and mixed a small amount of chevre, goat cheese, will also work quite well.   I wanted a creamy backdrop to support the brie and  one small container of ricotta was the perfect foil, rich and spreadable but not as gooey as mozzarella.  An egg to bind, some fresh basil,  zucchini ribbons, a quick drizzle of a fragrant, green olive oil and I had one gorgeous, undemanding dinner.  The only fly in the ointment was neither of my boys had gotten home yet.  Jimmy was speaking at some conference and James catching up with a co-worker he had worked with on a gubernatorial campaign.  All fine and well but, hey, dinner’s ready!  I chased away the feeling of discouragement by serving myself the prettiest part of the tart.  Cut into quarters, my portion had the most browned, runny, chewy bits of cheese.  Not exactly first prize but I’ll take second prize any day.  I had prepared a splendid salad of leaf lettuce dressed lightly with creme fraiche; the requisite glass of Malbec had been poured.  Each bite was a song of flavors. The buttery puff pastry gave a satisfying crunch as did the barely cooked zucchini.  But the goat cheese was the star of that musical.  Not too sharp and  creamy-dreamy, the brie made its presence known in every bite.  Happy Friday night to me!





Puff Pastry Tart with Goat Brie, Ricotta, Basil and Zucchini

This tart may be made with fresh baby spinach or fresh basil leaves.  If you have a handful of some strong, flavorful cheese and you want to get rid of it, it’s most welcome in this dish.  I’ve  used the odd bits of Gruyere and even used the last quarter cup of bagged, shredded Publix brand 4-cheese Italian .  One cup of marinated artichoke hearts roughly chopped is lovely, too.

  • 1 puff pastry sheet, I use Pepperidge Farm, keep chilled until assembling tart
  • 1 wheel goat brie 4.4 ounces, or cow’s brie with 3 or 4 ounces of chevre added
  • 1 15-ounce ricotta, fat-free is great…that’s all I use in this tart
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 12-15 zucchini ribbons made with a vegetable peeler or mandolin
  • fresh spinach, washed and dried, as much as you like to scatter on top, optional
  • fresh basil, cut into strips, optional
  • 1 cup marinated artichokes, drained well and roughly chopped, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil to drizzle when serving
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a medium size bowl place a paper towel.  Gently dump the ricotta cheese on the paper towel, bring the corners of the towel around the cheese and softly press all excess liquid away.  Turn cheese back into the bowl and discard towel.
  3. Roughly cut the brie into 1/2 chunks and add to ricotta.
  4. Add the egg to the cheeses.
  5. If using spinach, basil or artichokes add to cheese/egg mixture and mix well.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cover baking sheet with tin foil.
  8. Open puff pastry on floured  surface.
  9. With a rolling-pin, use a cold wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling-pin, quickly roll puff pastry out to a 12″X15″ rectangle.  Don’t fret.  It doesn’t have to be perfect but you do want to keep the dough cold so move fast.
  10. Using your finger or a small brush and a little water paint a 1/4″ rim around the entire rectangle.
  11. Fold 1/4″ of dough from the edge each of the four sides of the rectangle onto the wet area to make a collar or dam, if you will, to keep in the cheese mixture.  Press the dough firmly to adhere to the water painted dough.
  12. Cover the puff pastry evenly with the cheese mixture just up to the folded edge and  smooth the top.
  13. Arrange the zucchini on top of the cheese, flat and on its side to resemble a lovely jumble of green ribbon.
  14. Bake 45-60 minutes until corners are browned and top is slightly browned.
  15. Cool 10 minutes before serving.


Quick Turkey Meat Sauce for pasta

We recently learned that Elizabeth is coming to visit.  Sweet, brilliant, older cousin of James, Catherine, Christopher, Meg and Annie.  They adore her and she them.  As a new-born Elizabeth began her summer journeys down to South Florida.  After James was born she was the perfect summer playmate, being four years older and a girl.    Cynthia and she would fly down and stay for a month.  Or two.  It was most splendid.  They always, always stayed at Mom and Dad’s.  But come 4:00 p.m. those two girls would be at MY house.  It was hot out, damned hot, and respite could be found out back in the cement  pond.  Well, at least for “the cur-dren”, white-trash talk for “children”.  We would get them all greased up with 75 SPF sunscreen while they protested, tried to wiggle away and when we just couldn’t bear it any more allowed them into the pool.  Then came our preparations.  The Mama’s preparations.  In spite of the killer, oppressive heat we had to cover every inch of our flesh with sticky, bad-smelling mosquito repellant.  Foreheads, backs of hands, toes, ears…every inch of exposed flesh had to be covered.  The mosquitos were huge.  There were times you thought you had  reached down to pet the dog but turns out it was a really big mosquito.  Then we had to select tunes.  Everyday we would deliberate between the same two cd’s, K.D. Lang’s “Absolute Torch and Twang” or Sarah Vaughan’s “Brazilian Romance”.  If it had been a good day, meaning the children had been getting along,  then K.D. Lang was scorching the outside speakers.  But.  If it had been a bad day, and they had been quarreling, more likely than not, Say-ruh Vaughan was crooning in the back ground.  It was 5:00 in the afternoon by then and hotter than blue blazes outside.  We’d pour ourselves liquid anesthesia, take it outside, gather our chairs and settle in.  While K.D. Lang belted out “She was a big-boned gal from southern Alberta, you just couldn’t call her small…” we would be getting in that “don’t move, barely breathe and it’s almost cool.  Or at least tolerable” mindset.  But James and Elizabeth were in their element.  Happy and shrieking, water splashing everywhere, the children were loving their pool time.  Cousins have such a bond.


Cynthia and I would sip on our G & T’s, occasionally moving our chairs to miss the tidal wave coming straight for us from the pool.  After an hour of happy shrieks and splashing water; of races and cannonballs we could see the kids had slowed down and were getting a little frayed around the edges, if ya catch my drift.  The children were tuckered out and needed to be fed.  It was time for some frozen sugar recreation to avoid total meltdown.  Unfortunately, that’s when the tears, bitterness and recriminations would set in.  I’d go inside, get the bottomless box of popsicles out of the freezer and bring it out to the pool.  “Who wants a popsicle?”, I cheerfully called.  And, predictably, it was always the same tired response, “I do! I do! I CALL THE BLUE ONE!”  Well, guess what?  In that big ol’ box there were probably four orange, (yuck), four green, (that’s even worse), one red, (okay),  and one prized, coveted tropical blue popsicle.  And just who’s gonna get it?  Well, the arms were waving in the pool, the children were jumping like little fools with excitement.  Cynthia would tell me to give it to James and pull Elizabeth aside.  Then we had melt down. Big, fat alligator tears would fall out of poor Elizabeth’s eyes and stream down her red, sunburned cheeks.  Cynthia would drape her towel over her and hold her tightly and say in her calm, soothing way, “Elizabeth, darling.  You’re older than James.  Let him have the blue popsicle.  You’re older, darling, have the red one.”  Poor Elizabeth by that time was sobbing; face all splotchy and swollen from crying.  She always responded the same way, “But, Mama.  He ALWAYS gets the blue one and you always say he can have it because I’m older and I never, EVER, MAMA, get the blue one!”  Sob, sob, hiccup, hiccup.  Meanwhile K.D. was just a wailing in the background, “Coyote, coyote, can you tell me why?  Every time that moon big moon shines you sit right down and cryyyyy…”  Well, who’s cryin’ now?  And pitiful  Elizabeth would reply, “Fine, Mama!”,  with all the anger in her tiny, bony body.  She, predictably, turned to James and under her breath say, “How’d you like it if I left and went back to New Jersey ?  Tomorrow?  I’m leaving!”  Of course, James would burst into tears and wail, “Mama! Elizabeth is leaving us! She’s leaving!  Tomorrow!  To New Jersey!”  Ugh. Every single day we replayed this scenario. Clearly, play time was over…WAY OVER.  Cynthia and I would bundle the sobbing, heaving little ones in their beach towels, put the chairs back, grab the remains of our worn out, tepid gin and tonics and head into the house.  Into the bathtub she’d put them while I rustled up spaghetti with meat sauce, apple slices and organic skim milk to tame the savage beasts.  She’d dress and deposit those tired, hungry babies onto the sofa and pop one of their favorite Disney movies in the DVR, Robinhood or Lady ON The Tramp, as Elizabeth called it.  We’d quote lines from the movie as we served them their dinners.  “Oh, Marion! What a bonny, wee bunny!”, we’d sing as they munched on their apple slices served on melamine plates.  Well, they ain’t fighting over the blue popsicle anymore, nor are they watching Robinhood.  But they still laugh at each other and verbally shove each other during a rousing game of Scrabble.  They go to concerts and work out together.  They support each other in times of disappointment and revel in each other’s accomplishments and achievements.  They call each other the “Co-Bro” and “Co-Sis”.  And they’ve gotten to that special place where they’ll gladly share the blue popsicle….I think.

The following recipe is a little more sophisticated than what we gave the children but it is still a magnificent way to squeeze in more vegetables.  I grate zucchini and add it to so many of my dishes, this being one.  Grated zucchini and chopped spinach both seem to disappear in this so with a large amount of savory vegetables it packs quite the nutritious punch.  If you’re really pressed for time, by all means use frozen chopped onion and bell pepper.  I also use a great deal of turkey products.  In this dish I use ground turkey and spicy turkey sausage which really isn’t spicy but just well seasoned.  Jennie-O brand is great in this dish.  When it comes to pasta I’m crazy about the whole grain lines out on the market.  Whole wheat pasta is not the block of sticky lead it used to be.  Use which ever brand strikes your fancy but do try it.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Quick Turkey Meat Sauce for pasta

Quick Meat Sauce (for pasta)

  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 package ground turkey
  • 1 package turkey sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, grated on large holes of box grater or 1 bag frozen, chopped spinach defrosted with all water squeezed out
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of good oregano
  • 1 or 2 six-ounce cans tomato paste, I use organic
  • 2 28 ounce cans San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound pasta of your choice, cooked to al dente stage
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional
  1. In a large pot bring olive oil to medium heat and brown ground turkey.
  2. Take sausage out of casings and brown in pot with ground turkey, breaking up sausage with a spoon.
  3. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic.  Stir well.
  4. Add oregano and tomato paste. Stir well making sure paste is combined.
  5. Add whole tomatoes and break apart with spoon.
  6. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Tear fresh basil leaves and add to pot.
  8. Taste for salt and pepper.
  9. Serve over pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Zucchini Casserole with Feta Cheese

Saturday mornings will usually find me at the Swap Shop with my father, affectionately called “Jungle Jack” or “JJ”  by his grandchildren instead of Granddad or Granddaddy.  We started going on our adventures about two years ago, Dad really needed to get out of the house and I wanted to spend more time with him.  He’s 89…and fabulous.  We love the Swap Shop.  At this place you can get just about anything for your home or toolbox.  Dad was looking for batteries and I was checking out the wicked looking hunting knives piled up there in front of him.   Even in their sheaths they scared me.  Machetes, guitars, meat cleavers, playing cards, sewing kits, rat traps, calculators, house coats, nails, outside paella pans… you can get it ALL here.  We have a little routine, the same every Saturday, beginning where we park.  Always the same area and as we walk in, I always pull the old lady cart, we play “Pick a Car”.  Pretty self-explanatory.  After dodging the cars pulling in, I’ll ask, “Hey, Dad.  You want to see your Syrian friend?”  “Yeah,  yeah!  Good morning, my friend!”  And after a quick fist bump, too much bacteria shaking hands, they launch into a discussion on the unrest in Syria.  This Saturday Dad bought two packages of socks from his Syrian friend, who cut him a deal and shaved $2.00 off each pair.  When Dad protested, the Syrian said, “No, no!  Don’t worry.  I’ll get it back from the next guy!”  Our next stop is always “the bird man”.  His wife passed away a few months ago and for the first time I noticed a middle-aged bird groupie camped out on a folding chair in his booth.  Who’d a thunk?  “The bird man” had a girl friend.  We looked at the chicks, fighting cocks, (yes, they’re illegal), parrots, finches, love birds, it just goes on and on. The bird man even has freshly laid eggs from his farm in one of those mini fridges.  Dozens and dozens of them.  JJ picked up some supplies, “the bird seed looked good today!”, and off we went to see “the Haitian lady”, another kindred spirit.  Dad gets finger bananas from her and I get fresh mint, flat leaf parsley and scallions.  She’s beautiful and constantly flashing brilliant white smiles to all who pass by.  Known for wearing a red bandana and showing off the gap between her two front teeth, without fail she gives Dad a crushing embrace.  This past weekend he said, “Jesus! She even got her hair in my mouth!”  I know he secretly likes all this attention.  At this point we’ve crossed from the far west side of the Swap Shop to the far east and now we’re going to double back, cutting through the kiddie rides.  The rides aren’t set up yet; teenagers in their bright yellow uniform shirts are lining up bumper cars, hosing down the walkways, taking inventory of tickets and generally straightening up.  I like this long walk back…we shout instead of talk, the salsa’s just blaring out of the overhead speakers.  It’s kind of sad and tired looking but it’s part of our adventure so I appreciate it.  Somewhere along that walk Dad will say, “Listen.  I’m going to go see my Mexican friend.  I need some papaya and I want two kiwis.  Are you going to see your Tall friend?”  “I am.”  “Okay.  I’ll meet you by the orchids.  I want to talk to my Portuguese friend about his potting medium. ”  And off we go.

This week, from my Tall friend, I scored 5 or 6 pounds of blood-red tomatoes, 7 zucchini, 3 eggplants, one gorgeous bundle of radishes with the tops still on, a large bunch of cilantro and 6 huge yellow-skinned onions.  I spent $15.00.  Walking out, we passed more vegetable and fruit stands, sugar cane and cane juice stands.  Dad and I looked at each other and when our eyes met, we smiled.  It was a happy morning for both of us!

Zucchini Casserole with Feta Cheese

  • Servings: 4-6 as an entrée
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 7-8 washed zucchini, grated using large holes of box grater
  • 1 large onion or 2 bunches of scallions, finely chopped
  • 3 cups fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cups low-fat, low moisture grated mozzarella (optional, but I like it!)
  • 2 cups feta, crumbled by your own little hands
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites or 5 eggs or any combination
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.
  2. Spray 9 X 13 pan with non-stick spray.
  3. In a clean, linen dish towel, place 1/2 grated zucchini.  Gather sides of dish towel and wring moisture out of zucchini.  Do the same with the other half.
  4. Combine all ingredients except 1/2 cup mozzarella, if you choose to use that cheese.
  5. Mix ingredients well and pour into prepared baking dish.
  6. Scatter remaining mozzarella over dish, if using.
  7. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until bubbly on top.


Tomato, Zucchini and Potato Casserole

The past few days have been overcast, windy and downright cool in South Florida.  I can’t seem to get warm.  I cringe to think what my stylish and stunning Godgirl would say if she saw me.  That maybe James’ sweatpants from high school were only for people who sweat?  That white ankle socks in my fleece-lined moccasins weren’t the sexiest look to rock right now?  Or, maybe, just maybe, sweatshirt + sweatpants = balloon person?  People, I can honestly tell you she would not be that generous.  However, learning that I was about to prepare one of her favorites, she would make a quick about-face and lovingly say, “That’s all right, Yaya.  Just don’t go out.  Anywhere.  Can I have a piece of tomato, please?”  Love that girl.  Brutal with a capital “B” but absolutely gorgeous.  And she will agree that this casserole is just the dish to take the chill off the house and warm your bones.  It’s great as a main dish since we all seem to be eating less and less meat.  Served with crunchy, whole grain bread it’s a beautiful thing.  This dish can be dressed up a million different ways.  You can use zucchini, yellow squash or a combination of both, as I’m doing tonight. The squash can be sliced or grated. The dish holds up quite well with sliced potatoes or without.  Peeled or not peeled.  Oregano, herbs of Provence or basil are all terrific.  Parmesan, feta, romano, kefalotiri, Gruyere, just about any sharp cheese works well.  I like a combination of cheeses using mostly feta, sometimes all feta or with a scattering of mozzarella.  If you use feta, you don’t need to invest in cheese imported from Greece.  When you use it to bake,  the cheese’s sharpness and flavor changes so it’s hard sometimes to tell the difference between grocery store and the imported stuff that cost one eye and someone’s firstborn.  I like to bake or cook with Vigo brand feta in brine, one single block.  I wouldn’t give my sweet dog, Pericles, that crumbled stuff, never mind that fat-free junk.  If you buy the cheap or already crumbled feta you’ll definitely taste a difference.  Don’t do it.  This dish is good hot, room temperature or cold. And, of course, the fact that the dish contains tomatoes makes it what?  Better the next day.  Oh, yay for us.  My little sister stopped by the other day, she loves this stuff, so I gave her a container to take home.  She was so happy.  Off she went to pick up one of the Tinies, (there are two), at school.  She pulled up and got into the pick-up queue and waited. And waited.  She figured she’d just look… because it’s not as though she had a plastic fork or anything else.  Then she just wanted to taste it.  Just a taste.  So she did.  Then she wanted more.  So with her fingers she ate the casserole.  All of it.  And then, she said when she was finished, she threw her head back and drank the juice straight out of the container. In the pick-up line.  We laughed and laughed.  And, by the way, I AM leaving the house tonight in my ugly outfit to go to class so don’t look too closely.  Okay.   I’m leaving for class and I changed from sweatshirt to a stylish UNC fleece hoodie, lost the socks and the mocs and have on running shoes and all my jewelry.  Perfect lipstick is in place.  Baby steps, people, baby steps.

Tomato, Zucchini and Potato Casserole

  • Servings: 6 as the main course, 8-10 as a side
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • approximately 20 ripe plum tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • 6 or 7 medium redskin potatoes, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 5 or 6 zucchini or yellow squash or combination of both
  • 2 or 3 onions, peeled and sliced in 1/8″ thick quarters (peel, half lengthwise, half again lengthwise without cutting through root end and slice away!)
  • 16 oz. cheese, shredded or crumbled
  • roughly 3 tablespoons dried oregano or herb of your choice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup good olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350°

  1. Coat a 9″X13″ dish or pan with nonstick spray and using 1/2 of ingredients, lay down a layer of potatoes, if you’re using them.  If not, start with 1/2 of the squash. Scatter salt and pepper, then continue layering with 1/2 of the onions, then tomatoes, cheese and herbs.
  2. Drizzle with 1/2 of olive oil and continue layering other half ending with tomatoes, cheese and herbs.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil and oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  Bake for 45 minutes ’til golden and bubbly. I sound just like Dolly.  You can half this recipe and freeze the other one.  To bake the casserole frozen, put it in a cold oven, covered with tin foil and bake an extra half hour.  The last 10-15 minutes remove foil to brown.


Turkey Meatloaf

Tell my godson he’s having meatloaf for dinner and his face will fall.  His shoulders will slump and his eyes will have that “dead man walking” stare.  I understand.  We’ve all suffered from CNMD (Chronic Nasty Meatloaf Disorder) at one time or another.  But tell MY boy he’s having turkey meatloaf for dinner and all of a sudden the day’s getting much better. He always asks with anticipation “with butternut squash and asparagus?  Awesome!”.  I love using turkey because it’s much lighter and no matter how hard you mix it, it will not toughen up.  What is important is to season the mixture well because you know how bland ground turkey can be.  I usually always use quick, not instant, oats instead of bread crumbs.  Might as well make it healthful when you can.  The oats just disappear into the mixture just like the bread crumbs.  Last night, however, I found myself out of oats.  Damn.  And after a full day of work, I am NOT going back out into the dark for anything.  Anyway, I knew there had to be something I could use and after rooting around…voila! Le Wheat Germ.  Works great, loses itself in the mixture and, also, packs a healthy, nutritional punch.  Last night’s meatloaf was covered tomato paste but I often make it with a peppercorn crust. Both produce a phenomenal sandwich the next day.  And the recipe doubles well.

Turkey Meatloaf

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 375°

  • 1 20 oz. package lean ground turkey (1.25 pounds)
  • 1 medium onion, grated using large holes in box grater
  • 1 carrot, grated using large holes in box grater
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced (I use a rasper)
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 3/4 cup quick oats or wheat germ
  • 1 medium zucchini or 1/2 cup cooked spinach, both optional
  • 2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 /4 cup water
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste or a thin layer of black pepper. I grind it directly over loaf.
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  1. Mix all ingredients EXCEPT turkey, tomato paste and spray in a large or medium bowl.  Incorporate well.
  2. Spray loaf pan or baking dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Mix turkey well into vegetable oat mixture and put into baking dish.  Using a spatula or the back of a cooking spoon, shape mixture into a loaf.
  4. Spread tomato paste all over or grind pepper over turkey to make an even layer.
  5. Bake at 375° for 30-45 minutes.