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Posts Tagged ‘cheddar cheese’

Recently we were able to visit some high school friends who have moved within two hours of us. Happy! I sat in her kitchen flipping through one of her cookbooks as she prepared a meal for us and came across this recipe. Any recipe using zucchini always grabs my attention!  It looked easy with interesting flavor combinations, so I gave it a try. It’s a keeper!

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simple ingredients!

WHAT YOU NEED:

3 cups diced and steamed zucchini, drained

4 oz. can diced green chilies

1 cup fresh or canned corn

2 cups tomato sauce (I used homemade salsa)

½ Tbl. chili powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon white vinegar

6 fresh corn tortillas, cut in fourths and fried ( I used 24 store-bought tortilla corn chips)

2 ½ cups grated cheddar (divided use)

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings: sour cream/green onions

WHAT YOU DO:

Chop zucchini. I used my vegetable chopper.

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Quick and uniform pieces!

Steam the zucchini. I boiled the chopped zucchini in about a cup of water for 5 minutes or so. Drain well.

Combine the steamed zucchini with the next 8 ingredients and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. I used the same skillet that I used to steam the zucchini.

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All thrown together!

Stir in the tortilla chips. I do not like to fry, so I used some store-bought tortilla chips. They worked fine!

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crushed tortilla chips!

Spread into a lightly greased (or sprayed)  casserole dish. I doubled the recipe and filled a 9×13 glass baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until hot. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and continue to bake until cheese is melted.

If desired, serve with a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions.

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Sonora Casserole

I took this to a church dinner meeting, and it was devoured! People were very surprised that it contained zucchini. The southwest flavors were very obvious and delicious. I’m sure using salsa rather than plain tomato sauce added to the intensity of the flavors – in a good way! I’ll be making this fast and tasty dish again. You can never have too many ways to cook up zucchini!

 

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I am always on the lookout for new ways to cook up our CSA veggies, so when I saw this recipe in the newest Penzeys catalog, I ripped it right out. Our grandchildren (ages 5 and 3) were with us the next day, so I whipped up a pan for lunch. They gobbled them right up and declared the recipe to be a keeper!

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Summer Squash Squares: cheesy goodness!

WHAT YOU NEED:

1/4 Cup oil

1 small onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

4 small shredded squash (about 4 Cups)

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 Cup fine bread crumbs

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. black pepper

3 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 Cup sesame seeds

1/2 tsp. sweet paprika, optional

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

Shred the squash. I used zucchini since that is what I had on hand.

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Quick tool, but a hand-held grater works as well.

Heat the oil (I used grapeseed) in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring often, (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and squash and cook until tender, 5-7 minutes.

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Grated squash is sautéed with onion and garlic.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, bread crumbs, salt, basil, oregano, pepper, and cheddar cheese. Mix well. Add to the squash mixture and stir.

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Combine cheese and squash mixtures.

Spread in the pan and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and sesame seeds. If desired, sprinkle with paprika. I wasn’t sure the little ones would like sesame seeds and paprika, so I added them to one half of the pan. After tasting both sides, we all agreed that the side WITH the sesame seeds and paprika looked and tasted better!

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Half with paprika/sesame seeds and half without.

Bake at 325° until set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes and then slice into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Golden, cheesy goodness!

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I’ve made this recipe three times in two weeks. It is delicious and uses up those eggplants exploding in our garden.

Our grandson asked why it’s called an eggplant if it doesn’t have an egg in it. I explained that it’s probably because it is shaped like an egg. I did an internet search and read that Solanum melongena is technically a fruit, but like the tomato, it is referred to as a vegetable. Early varieties of eggplant were smaller and white, resembling eggs, hence the name. (I was right!)

Experimental botanist Thomas Jefferson brought the eggplant to the United States, where it was primarily used as a table ornament until the 20th century. Today, thanks to Asian and Southern European influences, it is finding its way into more and more dishes. It is a good meat substitute, making it attractive to vegetarians. Eggplant actually has a quite bland flavor, but it soaks up flavors of accompanying foods, herbs, and spices like a sponge, much like tofu.

Eggplant spoil fast, so it’s best to use them as quickly as possible. Stored in the crisper of the refrigerator, unwrapped, it can last up to a week or longer. Eggplant cannot be stored in the freezer, unless cooked. Bags of frozen cooked eggplant are handy to have!

This recipe for Eggplant Corn Casserole is from that cookbook I mentioned last week. It worked well to prepare it up until the baking part and then refrigerate overnight. This allowed me to pop it into the oven and bake right before our Sunday lunch, so it was nice and hot and bubbly!

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 medium bell pepper, chopped fine

Garlic, chopped fine

1 can cream style corn

1 egg

1 cup bread crumbs

½ cup grated cheese and more for topping

Salt and pepper

Basic ingredients for this tasty casserole!

Basic ingredients for this tasty casserole!

WHAT YOU DO:

Prepare your eggplant by peeling and cubing. I thought my eggplant were on the small side, so I used two.

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Stabilize the eggplant by cutting off both ends;
then use sharp knife to remove peeling.

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Stack thick slices and cut into cubes.

I read conflicting articles about salting/sweating to remove the bitterness. I was always taught to do this, and that was confirmed by this Good Housekeeping article which states that the eggplant has a naturally occurring enzyme that can leave a bitter aftertaste in some dishes.

One way is to peel, slice thickly, place on paper towels in a single layer, and generously sprinkle with kosher salt. Allow to sit for a minimum of 20 minutes. When ready, blot off the surface liquid and any remaining salt left on the eggplant. The enzymes have been denatured, and the eggplant is now ready to prepare.

Another article said to soak the peeled eggplant in heavily salted water for at least 10 minutes, rinse with cold water, and drain well. Since I was going to par-boil the cubed eggplant, that is the process I used. After soaking in salt water for 10 minutes, I rinsed it well, added fresh water, and boiled until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

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Soak peeled, cubed eggplant in salt water for 10 minutes.

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Boil eggplant until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

While eggplant is boiling, sauté the chopped onion and bell pepper in some olive oil. When it is translucent, turn off the heat, add the chopped garlic and stir quickly to prevent the garlic from burning. I added the garlic to the original recipe. I learned many cooking tips from my Cajun mother-in-law, and the addition of garlic to onion and bell pepper (called The Trinity) is a must for flavorful cooking!

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Cajun cooks refer to this trio as The Trinity.

Add the cream-style corn to the skillet, and then pour the beaten egg onto the corn. The cool corn prevents the egg from cooking in the hot onion mixture. Stir to mix.

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Add the beaten egg to the cool corn rather than the hot onion mixture.

Next add the bread crumbs, cheese, and salt and pepper.

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Bread crumbs work with egg as a binder.
The cheese just adds flavor!

I coated a small rectangular glass baking dish with cooking spray before pouring in the eggplant/corn mixture. Pop it into a 350 degree oven and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. It should bubble and begin to thicken up. Top with additional grated cheddar cheese and allow to melt before serving.

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Melted cheddar cheese is the perfect topping!

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