Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cooking summer veggies

I have a small garden, but next year, it will be bigger. I really enjoy the fresh produce in summer... without requiring a trip to the store. It goes without saying that I am looking forward to my parents' visit this weekend. My mom is the ultimate gardener! We were raised working the garden. Childhood punishments were many times a trip to the mosquito patch garden to pick beans. Even though it's just the two of them at home now, they still continue to cultivate a big garden. When I see them in the summertime, it is a blessing! Cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, squash, asparagus, you name it!

I just used up the last batch of donated veggies this week, mainly zucchini. It comes fast and furious this time of summer, but at least it has lasting time in the fridge. I used to make zucchini bread in the past, but have steered away from sweet bakery items now. My kids aren't necessarily fond of plain zucchini, so many times I chop it up small and cook it into a meal - like last night's spaghetti. Cook it down in the sauce and it's hardly noticeable.

I borrowed an idea from Kim last week and made a Roasted Vegetable Medley... zucchini, broccoli, red peppers and mushrooms. It turned out absolutely perfect! Even my mother-in-law asked me how I made it... Success! After posting on Instagram, I had several requests for the recipe. It's really quite simple: Chop up the veggies and toss in olive oil, seasoned with GrillMates Roasted Garlic & Herb. Pop it in the oven at 425˚ and I'm really not sure on time. I just kept a watch and tested the broccoli with the fork. Overcook and you get mush... so I cook by feel. I like my veggies with a smidge of firmness yet.

One of my hubby's favorite meals is Stuffed Green Peppers. I remember having this frequently as a child, but for some reason don't make it very often anymore. They are kind of fun to make, but do require prep time (my downfall).

Again, I'm not very good about "following recipes" but will give you the gist of how it came together. These babies were the best I've ever made!

Cook 1 cup of rice (I used brown rice). While that is simmering, clean and empty out the peppers to make a nice cup out of each one. Don't throw away all the pepper scraps. Instead, chop 'em up, along with an onion, to brown with 1 lb of ground meat (I used venison). I also tossed in some chopped zucchini. Once the meat, pepper, onion and zucchini are nicely browned, add a 1/2 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Ragu Sweet Sausage flavor). Season by taste - I most likely added garlic salt/pepper. Cover and simmer.

Next, I blanch the pepper cups to soften the shell (and speed up baking time in the oven). Once the rice is ready, add to the simmering spaghetti mix. Place pepper cups in a small cake pan and scoop the meat/rice mixture heaping at the top of the peppers. Pour the remaining 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce over top the peppers. It should spill over to fill the bottom of the cake pan. Bake in the oven at 350˚ for 25 minutes. Five minutes before you remove from oven sprinkle shredded cheese of your choice over the top.

How are you cooking up your summer veggies? Have a recipe to share? 
Leave a comment below with a link please.  I'm always looking for new ideas!


  1. I love that you use and openly state Venison. Love the meat and flavor! OK for a recipe to share.
    Sauteed Zucchini Rounds
    thick slices of zucchini (rounds)
    panko or bread crumbs (depends on the number of rounds)
    grated Parmesan cheese (about a 1/4 c per 1 c of bread crumbs)
    1 egg - well beaten (will do about 8 rounds)

    mix Parmesan and bread crumbs

    beat egg in bowl
    dip zucchini round in egg wash (both sides) press in bread crumb/cheese mixture on both sides.
    Place in skillet with hot olive oil or grape seed oil; brown on both sides till tender but firm. Easy!!! and Tasty!

  2. Wow those both look very yummy!!

  3. I love love love eating veggies from my garden!!! I think they taste far better. I have a huge garden this year and it's been a lot of work, but SOOOOO worth it!

  4. Hahaha! I was banished to the garden to squash bean bugs by hand as punishment when I was a kid...

    Thanks for bringing back the memories!

  5. YUM! I love fresh veggies from the garden...it's the best! :0)


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