Purée of Zucchini Soup

Purée of Zucchini Soup

These cold winter days are perfect for a bowl of creamy zucchini soup. Unlike most heavy cream soups, this one is light, smooth, healthy, and delicious without giving up any flavor. Instead of using heavy cream, this soup gets its thick, rich flavor from adding a potato and a little low fat milk. This soup makes a perfect after work meal not only because it is delicious, but also because it is a fast and easy one pot meal. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread for a great meal.

Ingredients:
4 – small zucchini
1 – large Idaho potato
1 – large onion
1 – carrot
1 – small bunch of celery leaves
2 – garlic cloves
1 -qt. Chicken stock
1/2 – tsp. Salt
Gound black pepper to taste
1/2 – cup 2% milk
Crema Mexicana (for garnish)

Directions:
Cut off the ends of the zucchini, peel the onion, potato, carrot, and garlic. Quarter each of the vegetables and place the them in a medium sized pot, add the garlic and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the flame to medium and cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender. Add salt and pepper.

When the vegetables are fork tender, turn off the flames and use an immersion blender to purée the vegetables. Be careful not to cause the hot liquid to splash.

Once it is smooth, add the milk and stir thoroughly.

This soup can easily be made either vegetarian or vegan. Use can substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock, and the milk can be left out all together. It will still be just as delicious.

To serve, drizzle a little crema on top and enjoy!

Makes 6 servings.




Grilled Zucchine and Tomato with Mozzarella and Basil

Zucchini and tomatoes are two of my favorite things, and summer time is when they are at their best. This is a light meal that is perfect for a hot summer day. It is healthy, delicious and easy to make. It can be used as a main dish, appetizer or side dish.

Ingredients:
2 – large zucchini
2 – ripe tomatoes
1 – ball of fresh mozzarella
10 – basil leaves
Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Herbs de Provence
Garlic Powder
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:
Slice the ends off the zucchini then slice it in half across the middle.


Cut a thin slice of the skin from two sides of the zucchini length wise. Then cut thick long slices, about 1/4″ in thickness. Next cut thick round tomato slices.

Lay out the zucchini and tomatoes and drizzle a little olive oil over each of them. Then sprinkle each slice with a little salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and Herbs de Provence to taste.

In the meantime, heat the stove top grill and coat it with non-stick cooking spray. When the grill is hot, place each slice of the zucchini and tomatoes on the grill, seasoned side down. While the vegetables are cooking, drizzle the other side with a little olive oil and the seasonings.

Cook the tomato slices about 3 minutes on a medium-high flame before turning over. Do not over cook them or they will fall apart. The zucchini will take longer, about 4-5 minutes, until tender. When ready turn them over and cook the other side in the same manner.

Since the tomatoes cook sooner, you can place them on top of the cooked side of the zucchini to prevent them from over cooking, while the zucchini finishes cooking.

When the zucchini is almost done, place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each stack of zucchine and tomato, then place a lid on top to melt the cheese.

Remove each stack from the grill and place a basil leave on top of each one.

Serve immediately

Note:  A little drizzle of a balsamic reduction works very well with this.




Spaghetti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Cannellini Beans and Zucchini

 

img_0403Spaghetti con pomodori secchi, fagioli, e zucchini

This pasta dish is one of our favorites at home. It is my “go to” when I do not have any other ideas for dinner. I generally have all the ingredients in the house so it is convenient.  Whole wheat spaghetti is also a delicious option if you prefer to use whole grains.

Ingredients:

 1 – lb. spaghetti
6 – oz. sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)
1 – 15 oz. can cannellini beans
2 – medium zucchini
2 – cloves garlic
1/2 – tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 – tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 – tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/2 – cup pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:

Put on a large pot of water to boil. In the meantime, slice the zucchini in rounds, about 1/8 inch thick. If it is a large zucchine, slice the rounds in half and set aside. Cut the sun-dried tomatoes in slices about 1/4 inch wide. Peel the garlic and smash both cloves with the side of a wide knife. This will release the flavor.

Heat a large skillet and add extra virgin olive oil, enough to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and crushed red pepper. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Use a low flame so not to burn the tomatoes. Stir often. Add the zucchini, salt, and black pepper. Stir and cook about 6 – 7 minutes, then add the cannellini beans (drain first). Stir and cook until the zucchini is tender, but not limp.

Meanwhile, the water should have come to a boil, add about 2 tsp. salt. Add the spaghetti, stir to make sure it does not stick together. Bring back to a boil and cook according to the package directions. Check the pasta about 2 minutes prior to what the directions say in order to check if it is al dente. It should be a little firm to the bite.

Drain the pasta, but reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the zucchini mixture and stir, adding about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Stir in the pecorino, add more pasta water as needed to make a thick sauce. Do not use more water than necessary. Drizzle the top with olive oil and serve immediately.

Buon appetito!




Roasted Vegetables

roasted-eggplant-zucchini-butternutRoasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Butternut Squash

Roasted vegetables are one of the easiest side dishes you can make.  What’s great about it is that with very little effort you have a delicious vegetable to serve along with your main dish.  This recipes includes eggplant, zucchini, and butternut squash, but you can use any vegetables you like.  For example, bell peppers, onion, carrots, beets, or turnips.  You can even add potatoes to really round out the dish.

Ingredients:

2 – small eggplants
2- small zucchini
1 – small butternut squash
1 – tsp. salt
1/4 – cup extra virgin olive oil
1 – tsp. Adobo seasoning
1/2 – tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 – tsp. garlic powder

Directions:

Wash the eggplant and zucchini and cut into approximately 1-1/2″ cubes.  Peel the butternut squash, cut in half and remove the seeds; cut into equal sized pieces as the other vegetables.  Place all the vegetables into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and mix thoroughly to coat all the vegetables (use more oil if necessary).  Add the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and Adobo; mix thoroughly.

Cover a large baking pan with parchment paper and place the vegetables on top.  Spread out evenly and drizzle a little more olive oil over the top.

Bake at 400o for 50 min. to one hour until tender.