Roasted Zucchini and Squash

I haven’t made scientific calculations about how often zucchini and yellow squash are included in CSA boxes, but if you live in the southern US, probably in about 70–80%. This can be challenging even for zucchini/squash lovers. Tonight I made roasted zucchini and squash, with a little tomato and bell pepper from my CSA box. I had leftover French bread, which was perfect for a homemade crouton finish.

Roasted Zucchini and Squash

Ingredients

vegetables
  • 4-6 zucchini and squash, sliced in medallions, 1/4 inch thickroasted zucchini and squash
  • 1 onion, sliced in thin rings
  • 1/4 c. bell pepper, sliced in thin slivers
  • 1/4 c. tomato, chopped
seasoning
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs and spices (oregano and/or thyme with chili powder works well)
topping
  • 1-2 c. cubed bread
  • 1/4 c. Asiago cheese, grated

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 450º.
  2. Toss the vegetables in a Pyrex baking dish. Slice zucchini and squash in medallions.
  3. Blend the seasonings. I use my Cuisinart Smartstick chopper/grinder. Note: I don’t use salt in most of my recipes. If you want to use salt, the seasoning is a good place to add about 1 tsp.
  4. Drizzle about half of the seasoning on the vegetables and toss.
  5. Place in oven, uncovered, and bake 15 minutes.
  6. Place the cubed bread in a bowl.
  7. Drizzle the 2nd half of the seasonings on the bread and toss.
  8. Add the grated cheese to the bread cubes and toss.
  9. Spread on top of baked vegetables.
  10. Return vegetables to the oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, the croutons are golden brown and crisp.
  11. Enjoy!

roasted zucchini and squash

Variations

  • Use only zucchini or only squash.
  • Use a different pepper: ancho, jalapeño, or banana.
  • Use more tomato, or none at all.
  • Instead of topping with homemade croutons, sprinkle with just cheese.
  • For a vegan dish, finish the vegetables with nutritional yeast instead of croutons or cheese.
© Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2016

Roasted Fig Chicken

What can you do with no time, seventeen figs, and some chicken? Roast! This Roasted Fig Chicken was a pleasant surprise on a busy night. I used very little prep time and what I had on hand: figs from our tree, CSA and garden vegetables, and chicken.


Seventeen Figs and a Chicken (Roasted Fig Chicken)

IngredientsRoasted Fig Chicken

  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 17 figs, 13 whole, 4 chopped
  • 5-6 red potatoes, whole
  • 1 med onion, sliced
  • 1 small bell pepper, sliced (I used bell)
  • 2-3 tbsp c grated Asiago (or other hard cheese)
  • 3-5 cloves garlic. whole
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • Salt/Pepper/Season to taste

ProcessRoasted Fig Chicken

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Saute about ¼ c of the onion and pepper with 4 chopped figs.
  • Prepare chicken (pat dry, pound in seasoning, cut a slit to stuff).
  • Stuff chicken with sauteed onion/pepper/fig mix and Asiago cheese.
  • Arrange chicken in Pyrex dish.
  • Throw in the remaining onion, pepper, and figs, along with potatoes, garlic cloves, and seasonings.
  • Cover with foil.
  • Bake for one hour.
©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2016

Grill to Oven Grilled Snap Beans with Feta

Looking for something new to do with your beans? Grilled snap beans! This is another grill to oven recipe for using up those generous boxes of summer CSA vegetables. You’ll need a grill basket or grill pan.

You may be tempted to eat these straight from the grill, but that extra step to the oven = feta baked into the grilled goodness. Worth it.


Grilled Snap Beans with Feta

IngredientsGrilled Snap Beans

  • 1 lb snap beans, ends snipped and strings removed (I used wax and snap beans)
  • 1 med to large onion, cut in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1-2 whole fresh tomatoes
  • 1-2 whole fresh peppers, sweet or hot (I used bell)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (sub other fresh and dried herbs and seasonings)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t use any)
  • ½ c feta cheese

Process

  • Prep
    • Preheat grill with the oiled grill basket.
    • Grind garlic and seasonings in olive oil in mini food processor. (Don’t bother cleaning the food processor yet. You’ll use it again.)
    • Toss beans, onions, tomatoes, and peppers in seasoned oil.grilled snap beans
  • Grill
    • Transfer beans and onions to grill basket, careful not to drip too much oil into grill.
    • Place tomatoes and peppers directly on grill.
    • Grill on high to med high for about 5-8 minutes, stirring beans and turning tomatoes and peppers every couple of minutes.
    • Remove beans to a 9X12 baking dish.
    • Place tomatoes and peppers in a bowl and cover with a lid or plastic to allow them to “sweat.”
  • Oven
    • Preheat oven to 350°.
    • Peel skin off of tomatoes and peppers.
    • Remove stems, and de-seed peppers.
    • Grind tomatoes and peppers in mini food processor (OK to chop if you prefer them chunkier)
    • Pour tomatoes and peppers on top of beans and toss.
    • Sprinkle feta on top of beans. You can leave the cheese on top or toss it into the bean mixture.
    • Bake for 20 min.

Variations

  • If you love garlic-heavy dishes, place a head of garlic in foil, drizzle with olive oil, and place on the grill with the vegetables. Grind the roasted garlic with the tomatoes and peppers.
  • If you like beans with slivered almonds or other nuts, add these when the beans go to the oven.

NOTE: Snap and green and string are all the same thing when they’re a bean.

If you like this grill to oven recipe, check out my grill to oven squash and zucchini.
© Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 5016

Cabbage with Sausage

What to do with last week’s cabbage?

This week we received the biggest CSA box ever! Luckett Farms is spoiling us and I love it! Snap and wax beans; squash; zucchini; cherry and large tomatoes; cucumbers; red potatoes; white and purple eggplant; jalapeño, poblano, banana, and bell peppers; onions; basil; peaches, and blueberries! But I still had last week’s cabbage, so instead of reaching for the squash or zucchini, I cooked cabbage with sausage and made a peach and blueberry cobbler.

I tried a delicious recipe a few months ago from the New York Times, but the cooking time is 2.5 hours, and it was already 7:30 pm (I’m not a stellar meal planner). This is my tweak on that recipe. Delicious. But also flexible. If you’re in the mood for cheese, sprinkle some Romano or Asiago on top. It was too late when I thought about all the tomatoes from this week’s box. Sliced tomatoes on top would have been great.


Cabbage with Sausage (Express)

Ingredients

  • 1 small/med cabbage (or ½ a big cabbage)
  • 5 links of Italian sausage (delinked) or about 1 lb of loose Italian sausage
  • 1 small to med onion
  • 2 sweet and/or hot peppers (I used pimiento from my garden and banana from CSA)
  • 1 stick (unsalted) butter
  • ¼ c wine
  • ¼ c Panko bread crumbs

Process

  • Preheat oven 350º.
  • Cabbage
    • Slice cabbage in thin layers.
    • Bring a pot of water to boil.
    • Place cabbage in boiling water.
    • Return to boil and boil cabbage 3 minutes.
    • Strain.
  • Sausage
    • Sauté sausage, breaking up as it browns.
    • Stir in onions, peppers, wine, and 2 tbsp butter.
    • Cover and reduce heat.
    • Simmer until vegetables wilt (2-3 min).
  • Assembly
    • Melt 3 tbsp butter in 9 X 12 Pyrex dish.
    • Add 1 layer of cabbage. Toss in butter.
    • Add layer of sausage.
    • Add another layer of cabbage, then sausage.
    • Continue layering, and finish with cabbage on top.
    • Sprinkle Panko bread crumbs.
    • Drizzle with remaining 3 tbsp of butter.
    • Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Cook
    • Cook for 30 minutes at 350º.
    • Remove foil.
    • Cook an additional 10 minute to brown top.
© Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2016

Smothered Squash and Zucchini Spaghettis

What to do with all the summer squash and zucchini?

So many things!


Before our Luckett Farms CSA box arrived this week, Kacie, the farmer’s wife, gave a nod to the struggles of members using up the abundance of summer squash and zucchini (the struggle is real!). She wrote about her felicitous purchase of the “veggetti” a couple of years ago.

I decided to invest and looked up the device, only to realize: I already have one! Or something like it. A gift from our nephew and his wife, which I mistook for a German grater that, like the German language, I couldn’t figure out. I grabbed the biggest squash and tried the tool. I hadn’t quite thought that through, but it mostly worked wonderfully.

squash4

Chop the tails, too-fat tops, and other residuals and saute with the rest.

Now that understand my German spiralizer, I have ideas!

  • The usual spiralized squash/zucchini as a substitute for spaghetti noodles.
  • Spiralized squash/zucchini sauteed with sweet Italian sausage, onions, garlic, and peppers.
  • Spiralized squash/zucchini tossed in seasoned olive oil and airfried for a crispy side.

But for tonight I applied my Southern-style Smothered Squash process to the … squashghetti? … spaccini?

I’m proud to note that I used five things from my CSA box: squash, zucchini, onion, bell pepper, and basil leaves.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 squash and zucchini, spiralized. NOTE: You will have some pieces that don’t spiralize for different reasons: the ends, the middle ribbons, too fat. Chop those and saute with the rest. If you don’t have a spiralizer, don’t fret. Slice and/or chop the squash and zucchini.
  • 1 med onion
  • 1 med bell pepper (use hot pepper if you prefer)
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes (or any tomato in similar amount), diced
  • 4-5 leaves of fresh basil (OK to sub other fresh or dried herbs)
  • 1-2 tbsp honey (I use cowgirl “honey,” a byproduct of my cowboy pepper relish, because I like sweet heat.)
  • ¼ c wine

Process

  • Saute onion and pepper 2-3 minutes.
  • Add squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and basil.
  • Continue to cook on high/med high another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add basil, honey, and wine.
  • Stir and cook on high for 1-2 minutes.
  • Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes).
  • EAT!
squash and zucchini

Drizzle with honey.

© Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2016

Tasty Turnip Fries

Turnip Fries

Turnips are a low cal root vegetable, rich in vitamin C. Make turnip fries for a healthier alternative to french fries.

CSA members are sure to receive turnips in their boxes. This is what we did with our this week.

turnip2

It’s simple: Toss the sliced turnips in seasoned olive oil and bake or air fry.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs turnips (4-5 med. turnips) cut into “french fry” sticks (about ¼ in thick)turnip
  • ½ c olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp herbs (I used fresh basil)
  • salt/pepper to taste (I used cayenne, no salt)

Instructions

  • Chop or grind garlic and seasonings and mix with olive oil.
  • Toss the turnip sticks in the olive oil. Make sure they’re well coated.
  • Cook.
    • To bake
      • Preheat oven to 450°.
      • Spread turnips sticks on a baking sheet in a single layer.
      • Bake 30 minutes. Toss/Stir after the first 15 minutes.
      • Turn oven to broil and broil fries an additional 3-4 minutes for crispier fries.
    • To air fry
      • Preheat airfryer to 390°.
      • Place turnip sticks in the basket (2-3 layers okay)
      • Airfry for 10 minutes, tossing after the first 5 minutes.
      • Fry an additional 1-2 minutes for crispier fries.

We love our Luckett Farms CSA. Do you belong to a CSA? How do you use up your CSA vegetables?  Follow me for more CSA recipes.
© Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2016

 

Feta Chicken with Squash and Zucchini

During the summer, CSA boxes are filled with squash and zucchini.

I don’t mind! Squash and zucchini are versatile and tasty.

This one-pot main dish might help you find something new to do with your next batch.

This is a process, not a written-in-stone recipe. Don’t run to the grocery to buy what you don’t have for this! Use a different cheese, a different herb. Heck! Use a thick pork chop if you don’t have chicken breasts!


Feta Chicken with Squash and Zucchini

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (patted dry, lightly seasoned, lightly pounded, and slit open to create a cavity)
  • 1 c. feta cheese
  • 2-4 tbsp fresh chopped oregano and/or thyme
  • 1 tbsp grated onion OR 3 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped sweet pepper (I used pimiento)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 zucchini and/or squash, sliced
  • ½ c. white wine
  • 1 tbsp honey

Process

  • Prepare the chicken breasts: pat dry, season (I used herbs, no salt), pound, and split.
  • Blend the cheese with the herbs, onion, and pepper.
  • Stuff the cheese mixture in the cavity of the chicken.
  • Heat oil in pan.
  • Brown stuffed chicken on both sides (2-3 minutes each side)
  • Add squash and zucchini, saute between the chicken for about 3 minutes.
  • Add wine and stir to dissolve brown bits.
  • Drizzle honey over chicken and vegetables.
  • Cover and lower heat.
  • Simmer chicken and vegetables for about 10 minutes.

Use the juices to make a gravy or as a broth to cook rice.

You can read a little about my CSA journey here: Luckett Farms.

© Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2016

My CSA Adventure: The First Five Weeks

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

I joined one for the first time this year. My excitement was met with:

  • But you already have a garden!
  • Your mom has a garden!
  • You frequent the farmers’ market!
  • Why!?

CSA Week 4That didn’t stop me. I’m finishing up my fifth week of waxed boxes and so far the only vegetable that escaped me was a cucumber. At week five, I have just two regrets: that slimy cucumber and week 3 (out of town and missed my box).

For general information and history about CSAs, visit Local Harvest.

This post is about my CSA experience, the content of my waxed boxes, and how I used it.

My CSA is Luckett Farms. I found out about them through friends who were already participating in the program. When I knocked on the garden gate, the CSA was in mid-season and not taking any new members. While I waited to join the next season, I read about the program and decided which box size best suited our empty nest.

Luckett Farms offers three share sizes: Senior, Average, and Abundant. I chose Average Share.

  • But you already have a garden!
  • Your mom has a garden!
  • You frequent the farmers’ market!
  • Why!?

Disregarding the possibility that I was biting off more than we could chew, I chose Average Share. I’m a little greedy. I wanted at least one of each thing. I had a couple of habits in my favor: I cook almost every day and I can and dehydrate produce at least once a month, sometimes weekly. If push came to shove, I could shove what we couldn’t consume, can, or dehydrate into our upright freezer. (Note: These are important strategies for CSA members).

My first pick-up day finally arrived. My friend, another veggie aficionada, went with me to claim my first box.

“That’s it?” my friend moaned. She rapped on the door of the home (maybe they can explain). No one answered. She peaked into several boxes as I retrieved my notes from the car.

“Yep. That’s it. That’s the right size.” We were both a little disappointed.

When I returned home, I decided to document my CSA venture because I knew the question was coming: “Did we save money by doing this?”

CSA Box 2

Week 2 of the CSA: the box almost doubled in size, and included locally grown rice!

I pulled out my scale and measured. This first box had eight items of fresh produce weighing a total of 6 pounds and 9.11 ounces. Luckett Farms promises at least eight items. They had delivered that, plus honey, a packet of seasonings, and a couple of recipes. I spoke with a friend who had participated in the CSA. She reassured me that the content of the boxes would vary from week to week not only in selection, but in abundance. (Note: The Local Harvest’s tips is an important read for potential CSA members.)

I took heart. I had already concluded that, even though my first “harvest” was less than I had expected, it was worth the $25 dollars. Based on my friend’s experience, I could expect more abundant harvests in future boxes.

I continued to weigh and document my harvests, except week 3 (dang it!), which, according to the newsletter, included mixed greens, scalloped or patty pan squash, and red beans.

What did I find in the boxes I did collect? Here it is in a nutshell box. To my delight, the number of items and total weight increased each week.

CSA-table-week-1-5-A

Except for one badly bruised tomato in week 4, and stings” on a squash, the produce was beautiful and fresh. We consumed (or stored) all but the one cucumber that turned on me.

This is what we did with our super-fresh vegetables.

CSA-table-week-1-5-applicat

We started out with loads of okra. When I have more than I can use, I typically dehydrate it, then grind it to use as a thickener for soups. Because my dehydrator bit the dust on week 1, I discovered grilled okra. This recipe from Southern Living includes a dipping sauce.

We enjoyed zucchini and squash (also plentiful) grilled, smothered, stir-fried, and in soups and salads. Some recipes I applied:

Cowboy candy and syrup

Cowboy candy and cowgirl syrup

Week 5 has been the most impressive box so far. The most celebrated members of this box were the corn and eggplant. We boiled and ate the corn straight. So sweet! The huge eggplant was perfect! I read five or six eggplant lasagna recipes, then made my own version of mostly this recipe, adding ground turkey and substituting mozzarella and Asiago cheese for the typical ricotta/egg mixture.

My friends get a giggle when I tell them there are peppers in my box. My thing is peppers. Pepper jellies, pepper sauces, pepper relishes, dehydrated peppers, roasted peppers, and it goes on. So what did I do with those jalapeños in my box when I already had a few in the fridge, and many still growing in the garden? I rounded up all my jalapeños and made my own version of Cowboy Candy or candied jalapeños. I have a jar full of leftover jalapeño syrup, which will be great for grill glazing or for that interesting oomph in a dish.

I still have a little time to cook up my sweet potatoes (although they will keep quite a while) and scalloped squash before I pick up box 6.

Am I pleased so far with my venture? You betcha! As I collect weeks 6 through 14, I’ll continue to document the harvests, and maybe I’ll follow-up with more recipes. If you’re considering joining a CSA,  I hope this information helps. Keep in mind, CSA models vary, so study up before you sign up.

Copyright © 2015 by Pennie Nichols, All Rights Reserved.