mashed potato vegetable pie

Photo credit: itsallfare.com

Remember when I said this was the best meal of my life? I may have changed my mind. As I searched for a recipe to use up potatoes and zucchini, I stumbled upon this Greek-inspired zucchini potato feta dish. With a few quick changes, it became a simple, delicious, and healthy casserole using the ingredients I had on hand.

——————————

Mashed Potato Vegetable Casserole

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 can of pizza sauce or marinara sauce
  • A teaspoon of minced dried dill
  • A teaspoon of dried parsley
  • A teaspoon of dried minced onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried red chili peppers
  • 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Bring peeled and chopped potatoes to a boil over medium heat; boil until tender. Mash with sour cream and butter.

In a casserole dish, spread half the potatoes. Sprinkle with herb mixture. Layer with half the zucchini, half the pepper, half the onion, and half the pizza sauce. Sprinkle again with herb mixture, as well as feta cheese. Repeat.

Cover with foil and bake at 350°F for 1 hour 15 minutes. Sprinkle with feta and bake another 15-20 minutes uncovered, until the cheese softens. Remove from oven, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

——————————

I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! As you may have noticed, I used pizza sauce instead of tomatoes {since I didn’t have any on hand}. It turned out perfectly! And I used mashed potatoes instead of sliced potatoes because I like the texture better. I would like to try this recipe again using fresh herbs and possibly even ground beef. And I may put even more feta next time because it adds a delicious little bite 🙂

on my menu for next week

Zucchini Bakes via All Recipes

Asian-Inspired Chopped Salad [tomatoes & cucumbers with sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, & rice vinegar]

Walnut Anchovy Pasta

More Corn Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Vichyssoise [chilled summer soup]

tuscan zucchini pasta casserole

Whenever I write up a recipe for my blog, I always have trouble coming up with a descriptive, mouth-watering title that isn’t too lengthy.

The alternative title for this casserole: Zucchini + Chicken + Sun Dried Tomatoes + Ricotta Pasta Casserole. Wow, that’s a mouthful.

The name I chose seemed fitting given that I pre-marinated the chicken in Tuscan Italian Dressing, which contains balsamic vinegar and sun dried tomatoes.

According to one site I found, “Tuscan cuisine is appreciated in the world for its fine natural and flavorful ingredients. It’s a typical expression of the Mediterranean diet, considered among others, the most wholesome and tasty, olive oil, pasta, fish and…meat.”

tuscan zucchini pasta casserole

1. One day ahead of time, marinate fresh or frozen chicken breast tenderloins (keep in fridge overnight) in Trader Joe’s Tuscan Italian Dressing and a dash of olive oil.

2. Thinly slice zucchini using a knife or mandoline. I used long thin strips. Place on tin foil on top of a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and bake at 350 until soft (about 10 minutes). Halfway through, toss chopped onions on top.

3. Bake chicken pieces at 350 until cooked throughout (about 15 minutes). There should be no pink visible. When cooled, chop into small pieces.

3. Prepare noodles according to package. I used egg noodles, my favorite!

4. Layer cooked noodles, chopped chicken, zucchini slices, and onion in a casserole dish (any kind of deep baking dish will work though). Spread ricotta on top; sprinkle with chopped pieces of sun dried tomato. Lastly, scatter parmesan cheese over top and cover with tin foil (you can re-use the tin foil from the zucchini!). Bake at 350 until heated throughout- about 15 minutes.

It sounds labor intensive, but I promise it’s not. And it’s delicious when reheated, so make extra for dinner or leftovers. Also, letting it sit before baking actually allows all the flavors to mix and mingle, creating a more rich flavor.

on the menu for next week

Carrot-Cumin Salad via EatingWell

Chickpea, Lemon, & Cumin Salad via TwoSpoons

Zucchini Bread via MyRecipes

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers via Bethenny

Crustless Broccoli Cheese Quiches via Martha Stewart

Greek-Style Quesadillas via BHG

Fresh Corn Rice Salad via BHG

grown up pizza alternatives

When my sister and I were little, we would eat pizza bagels (bagels with tomato sauce mozzarella cheese) all the time. Now that I’m grown up (who am I kidding?! I’m not a grown up), I make quick and easy tortizzas for a relatively healthy snack on the go. And occasionally, I buy Trader Joe’s pizza dough and make homemade pizza!

But I recently discovered an even better pizza alternative- zucchini pizza boats (via Budget Bytes). I made them for the first time last night and they are great- a guilt-free way to get pizza taste with vegetable nutrients. And depending on how long you bake them for, they maintain a nice, satisfying crunchiness. Follow the link above for the super simple recipe!

on the menu for next week

This insanely hot weather has me craving light, healthy foods with colorful, fresh ingredients, so I am planning my menu accordingly.

chilled gazpacho from oh she glows

creative salad mixes

caprese salad

corn with japaleno lime butter

healthy smoothies in my magic bullet

creamy avocado pasta via oh she glows

eggplant sandwich inspired by the rockford

zucchini pizza bites from budget bytes ($1.32 per serving!)

proving that girls can grill!

I recently discovered that I have a grill in my apartment’s garden patio, so my friend and I decided to try our hand at grilling. I was on a mission to prove that girls can grill, and I was definitely successful. And I say “I” instead of “we” because her only job was to make the margaritas haha.

————-

on the menu

Roasted Garlic Teeny Tiny Potatoes: based on this recipe; for tomorrow’s BBQ, I’m going to parboil the potatoes to ensure that they are cooked throughout. I’m also using Tuscan Italian dressing as a marinade this time around.

Italian-Style Mini Zucchini: based on this recipe; I simply cut the mini zucchinis in half and marinated them in homemade Italian dressing. Amazing!

Chile Lime Chicken Burgers: from the frozen section of Trader Joe’s. Incredibly easy to prepare.

—————

For tomorrow’s BBQ, I am making the above adjustments to the potatoes; preparing more mini zucchinis; marinating peppers, onion, tomatoes, and more zucchini in Island Soyaki; grilling summer squash; brushing herb butter on husked corn; and tossing together a crunchy cabbage salad.

Photo credits: here, here, & here

magic bullet vegetable lasagna

I overestimated the amount of mozzarella and zucchini that I needed for my cheesy zucchini pizza {which was great by the way! We may or may not have dipped it into ranch dressing, like you do with zucchini sticks}. I toyed with several ideas for using up my leftovers- wheat berries with cheesy zucchini sauce {wheat berries take too long to cook}, another pizza {no more dough}, cheesy zucchini rice bowl {meh, maybe another day}. I realized I had leftover lasagna noodles, so I decided to make a quick vegetable lasagna casserole.

————————

In  a Magic Bullet (or food processor), blend chopped or grated zucchini, canned tomatoes (without liquid), a dollop of tomato paste, a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese, a scoop of ricotta, a chopped roasted red pepper, a handful of grated carrots, a small cube of frozen basil (available in a small tray at TJ’s) and a dash each of garlic powder, dried red chili pepper, flax seeds, salt, and pepper.

Layer sauce with no-cook lasagna noodles in an oven-safe pan. If you have extra mozzarella cheese and/or shredded zucchini (like I did), spread it over top. Cover and cook for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

————–

I thought I’d add flax seed because it adds a little crunch without an overwhelming flavor. Most importantly, it is full of fiber, very nutrient-dense {omega 3s!}, and may help stave off diabetes, tumors, and cancer.

Ziti with Roasted Zucchini and Tomatoes

November 30: Ziti with Roasted Zucchini and Tomatoes

 

Photo credit: Epicurious.com

 


I found this recipe in Bon Appetit Magazine and made it as a GW Bites meal. It’s slightly time-consuming because of the roasting, but it’s very simple and delicious.

My slightly edited version is below.

  • 2 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled, halved
  • 8 large shallots, halved, thinly sliced
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 1-pound boxes ziti, cooked, drained, 3/4 cup cooking liquid reserved
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (I replaced with fresh parmesan)
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 225°F. Halve tomatoes and roll in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange on cookie sheet and roast for about 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss zucchini, garlic, shallots, 5 tablespoons oil, and crushed red pepper in bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until tender, turning occasionally, 30 to 35 minutes.

Boil pasta according to package instructions. Toss cooked pasta with 1 tablespoon oil.

Place pasta in large skillet. Add roasted vegetables, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, and 1 tablespoon oil; stir over medium heat until heated through. Add 3/4 cup basil and cheese. Toss, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten if dry. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to large platter. Sprinkle pasta with remaining 1/4 cup basil.

Cheap, nutritious, and easily reheated!

P.S. Any of my pasta recipes can be made gluten-free with rice or quinoa noodles!

Baking + cooking + tea

Yikes, now that I’ve started blogging, I can’t stop! I should slow down so I don’t burn out.

I’m currently sipping decaf green tea and settling in for some studying.

I just whipped up lunch for tomorow:

  • Zucchini and yellow squash stir fry: chop both into quarters; toss with a dash of olive oil over medium-low in frying pan; add in a pinch of oregano and cayenne; pour in a dash of soy sauce; stir fry till soft!
  • “Burger ball”- I had leftovers from this amazing recipe, so I added chopped yellow and orange peppers to the turkey and sauteed over medium-low. Voila- combination of meatball and hamburger!

I also baked the rest of the batter I had from Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (thanks to my friend Sarah for the recipe!). I delivered the warm cookies to my elderly neighbor, who is recovering from a surgery. Coincidentally, baking for a neighbor is on the 100 Things List. And coincidentally, checking 2 things off the 100 Things List is on my October goals list! That’s a lot of coincidences that align nicely 🙂