Zucchini Garden Chowder

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Drowning in zucchini? We are. (Thanks Stillmans!) Not a bad thing, either. We just have to find creative ways to use a lot of it. So this week I went on a zucchini recipe binge. Good news is that I loved them all and am pleased to share them with you. This one is also super easy for cleanup because it’s basically a one pot meal, which I always love. And, best of all, Desi (almost 2 years old) LOVED it, so you know it’s got to be kid friendly!

(Adapted from Simply in Season)

Serves: 6-8

2 Tb butter
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tb fresh parsley, chopped (I only had dried)
1 Tb fresh basil, chopped
1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes/packages
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (1 can)
2 cups corn (I used frozen)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1.) Melt butter in soup pot or french oven over medium heat.
2.) Add zucchini, onion, parsley, and basil. Saute until tender.
3.) Stir flour and seasonings into vegetables. Gradually stir in water to mak ea smooth stock.
4.) Add lemon juice and bouillon and mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, stirring often for 2 minutes.
5.) Add tomatoes, evaporated milk, and corn. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes until corn is tender.
6.) Add cheese just before serving and stir in.

Nutrition:
Weight Watchers Points: 8

One pot meal-- just a whole bunch of veggies, cheese, and your french oven.

One pot meal– just a whole bunch of veggies, cheese, and your french oven.

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Greek & Sausage Fennel Skillet

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I tried playing around with fennel a few times last year to use up what we got in our CSA, but I have to admit, I sort of hated it. That’s why I was *so excited* when I made this dish and it turned out to be one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. The original recipe is more of a side item with no protein except the cheese, but I wanted to use up some of the sausage I had in the freezer. I’ve made this dish twice using two different kinds of sausage– Jimmy Dean’s breakfast sausage first and sweet Italian sausage the second time. I would highly recommend the former, as odd as it may seem. Both times were delicious, but there was something extra rich about the breakfast sausage that just felt so savory and plain yummy. The other plug I’ll make for this dish is that it makes *excellent* leftovers for lunch at work the next couple of days.

(Adapted from Simply in Season Greek Fennel Skillet)

Serves: 5

1/2 lb sausage (breakfast or sweet Italian)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb avocado oil
2 medium fennel bulbs, sliced
1 large onion, julienned
1 Tb lemon juice
3 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (if you want to go super Greek, you can use feta instead)
1/2 cup olives (I used garlic stuffed ones)

1.) In a medium sized pan, brown sausage.
2.) In a large frying pan saute garlic in olive oil for about a minute.
3.) Add fennel and onion and saute until tender, 5-10 minutes.
4.) Add lemon juice and tomatoes and cook over medium heat until part of liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Pepper to taste. Partway through, add in the sausage.
5.) Stir in cheese.
6.) Slice olives 3/4 of the way through and fan olives out as a garnish on top.

Nutrition:
Weight Watchers Points: 9

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Pesto-Pork Pinwheels with Grilled Peaches

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Looking for a way to use up that random pork loin and frozen pesto ice cubes you’ve had in your freezer?  Looking for an excuse to buy a bunch of peaches?  No?  Just me?  Well, this is a pretty tasty complete meal anyhow, and it’s a nice opportunity to use the grill outside rather than heating up your whole house with the oven/stove.

 

(Adapted from Eating Well, July/August 2015 Issue)

 

Total Time: 35 Mins

Serves: 4 (2 pinwheels, 2 peach wedges each)

 

Equipment:

Six 12 inch skewers

 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 cup prepared pesto (I used my mustard green pesto I saved in ice cubes)

1 Tb extra virgin olive oil

1 Tb balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/8 tsp salt

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed

2 large peaches, quartered

 

1.) Preheat grill to medium.

2.) Combine breadcrumbs and pesto in a small bowl.  (If you use pesto ice cubes, melt them with a quick 30 seconds in your microwave.)  Combine oil, vinegar, pepper in another bowl, set aside.

3.) Lay pork on a large cutting board.  Hold the knife blade parallel to the board, make a lengthwise cut through the center of the meat, but not all the way through so it stays in one piece.  Fold open the meat so it lays flat, cut side up.  Cover it with plastic wrap and pound flat with a rolling pin until it’s about 1/4 inch thick across.  Lay it so one of the length of the original pork loin is in front of you.  Spread the breadcrumb mixture over the pork, stopping 1 inch from the opposite long side.  Starting at the side closest to you, roll up the pork.  Brush top with 1 tablespoon of the oil mixture.

4.) Toss the peaches with the leftover oil mixture.

5.) Slice the pork crosswise into 8 pinwheel slices.  Put 2 pinwheels each on 4 of the 6 skewers.  Make sure pinwheels are 1 inch apart, threading skewers through the meat to keep the pinwheel shape intact.  Be sure to put smaller pinwheels on the same skewers, so the cooking time will be equal.

6.) Slide peaches length-wise on the 2 remaining skewers to ensure skewers go through the skin.

6.) Oil the grill rack by oiling a paper towel and rubbing it over the grill rack.  Place all skewers on the grill, flat side down.  Grill turning once until the peaches are soft and the pork is 145 degrees.  The original recipe says this will be 3-5 minutes for the peaches, 8-10 minutes for the pork, however a few of my larger pork pinwheels took longer, so keep an eye on them.

 

Nutrition: 389 Cal; 21 g Fat (sat 5 g); 70 mg Chol; 19 g Carbs; 30 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 435 mg Sodium

Weight Watchers Points: 10

Step 2, breadcrumb mixture

Step 2, breadcrumb mixture

Step 3, pounded pork

Step 3, pounded pork

Step 3, spread breadcrumbs

Step 3, spread breadcrumbs

Step 3, rolled pork

Step 3, rolled pork

Step 5, cut pinwheels

Step 5, cut pinwheels

Pesto-Pork Pinwheels with Grilled Peaches

Pesto-Pork Pinwheels with Grilled Peaches

Summer Vegetable Pasta with Kielbasa

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This one I’m really proud of. It was incredibly delicious, made use of tons of random stuff we had on hand, and was a 100% original creation of my mind. I hope you love it as much as we did! Also, it made excellent leftovers for lunch at work the next day!

Note: You can totally get creative with this, and even leave out the kielbasa, but it really gives the sauce an incredible flavor. If you can get your hands on the Costco kielbasa links (they were recently sampling them at our Costco, and they were *so good* we had to get them), that’s what I used and it was amazing.

Summer Vegetable Pasta with Kielbasa

Summer Vegetable Pasta with Kielbasa

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

Serves 4

4 cups whole wheat pasta (I used linguini)
1 clove garlic
1 Tb avocado oil
1 medium zucchini
1 medium summer squash
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
1 link kielbasa (ours is like large hot dog size, from Costco)
2 cups bottled pasta sauce
2 Tb heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, shredded

1.) Cook pasta according to instructions.
2.) Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add whole grape tomatoes and cover, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
3.) Add zucchini and summer squash to skillet. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally. Add kielbasa to skillet after a few minutes.
4.) Pour bottled pasta sauce over veggies and meat, stirring uncovered and continuing to cook to heat the sauce through. Add heavy whipping cream and stir to combine.
5.) Dish up pasta and sauce, then sprinkle with desired amount of cheese.

Nutrition: Unfortunately, since this was all in my head and I didn’t do the math, I don’t have the full nutrition facts.

Weight Watchers Points: 14 (Totally worth it!)

Pea & Chicken Greek Salad

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This is one we had tonight. As always, I had to make some modifications based on what we had on hand. It turned out pretty delicious, though, especially the last few bites that got to soak in the dressing a bit longer. We had some leftovers too, and I hope to eat them asap tomorrow to see if they’re even more delicious than our dinner tonight.

So, substitutions– The original recipe includes edamame, but I don’t typically have that on hand, so I used shell peas instead. They were great. The original recipe also calls for romaine lettuce. Our CSA gave us leaf lettuce, so that’s what I went with. I’m also not a big lover of feta cheese, and find that when we buy it, we don’t use it quickly. So instead I went with our delicious Pecorino Romano that we have on hand in the fridge. And the original recipe calls only for kalamata olives, but I had a lot of other olives on hand, so I used a mixture. And… even after I had Steve run to the grocery store to get me red onion, I forgot to slice it up and add it. Oh, and I almost forgot… I added wine to the water the chicken cooked in, which gave it an amazing aroma and a nice taste.

Pea & Chicken Greek Salad

Pea & Chicken Greek Salad

(Adapted from Eating Well, July/August 2015 Issue)

Active: 30 Mins
Serves: 4 (2 1/4 cup each)

1 8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tb extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
8 oz shell peas, shelled
8 cups lettuce
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup slivered fresh basil
1/4 cup sliced olives (all kinds)
1/4 cup slivered red onion [I forgot it, but I think it would be good to keep in]

1.) Place chicken in a medium sauce pan and add water and white wine to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until a thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165 degrees, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

2.) Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add peas, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, basil, olives, onion, and the chicken. Toss to coat.

Nutrition (original recipe): 336 Cal; 22 g Fat (sat 5g); 48 mg Chol; 14 g Carb; 22 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 550 mg Sodium

Weight Watcher’s Points (adapted recipe): 7*

* This ended up being less points due to the swap in peas for edamame.

Fish & Vegetable Packet

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This one was a tasty one involving fish and bunch of yummy early summer veggies, but I think some adaptations might make it even better.  I already adapted it a bit since it called for things like asparagus and peppers, which I didn’t have on hand.  I think you can really use whatever veggies you have available and maybe make this different every time.  As for fish, the original recipe calls for anything from salmon to roughy, cod, or tilapia.

Fish & Vegetable Packet

Fish & Vegetable Packet

(Adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Gas Grill Cookbook)

Prep: 40 Minutes

Grill: 12 Minutes

Serves 2

 

Fish fillets, 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick

1 cup carrots, cut into thin strips

1 summer squash

1 zucchini

1 cup green beans

1/4 cup white wine

1 tsp fresh rosemary, crushed

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 Tb butter or margarine, cut up

White Rice

 
 

1.) Thaw fish if frozen.  Rinse, pat dry with paper towels.

2.) Cut 4 18 x 18 inch pieces of heavy foil.  Place 2 sheets together to form 2 stacks.  Coat one side of each stack with cooking spray.  Divide veggies among stacks of foil.  Top with fish and squash.

3.) In small bowl, combine wine, rosemary, garlic, salt, and black pepper.  Drizzle over fish and veggies, dot with butter.  Bring 2 opposite edges of foil and seal with a double fold.  Enclose all sides, leaving space for steam to build.

4.) Preheat gas grill.  Reduce heat to medium.  Place foil packets on grill directly over heat.  Cover and grill until fish flakes easily with a fork and veggies are crisp-tender.  (Allow 12-14 minutes per 1/2 inch thickness of fish.  Serve with hot white (or brown) rice.

 

Nutrition: 518 cal; 22 g total fat (8g sat fat); 91 mg chol; 294 mg sodium; 43 g carb; 6 g fiber; 32 g protein.

Weight Watcher’s Points: 13 (based on counts above); 8 (based on 1/2 cup rice and other ingredient modifications