Recipe: Zucchini Torpedoes

Zucchini TorpedoesWith just a little bit of time management, this main dish is easily put together with the rest of the meal for a total prep and cook time of thirty to forty-five minutes. My wife initially found a recipe for filling and baking zucchini in some “weekly recipe” magazine insert. I used it to get the cooking temp and times for the zucchini. The meat mixture is completely mine. Improvise it as you desire. I think the first time I made it, I used 1 lb. ground beef.
The Ingredients

zucchini (cut in half lengthwise and seeded)
1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. ground chicken
onion, minced (I used half of a not-quite-large yellow)
garlic, minced (five or six cloves)
ginger, minced (about 3/4 inch of medium sized piece)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
olive oil (I used extra virgin)
1 cup red wine
sea salt
shredded cheese

Prep and Cooking

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Prep zucchini (cut and seed), place in a casserole dish with 1/2 cup water, cover with foil, and put in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prep and start the rice.
4. Saute’ the minced onion, garlic, and ginger until onion is soft and garlic is beginning to brown.
5. Add ground poultry to the onion mixture and cook until the meat is browned.
6. Add red wine, tomatoes, basil, parsley, turmeric, and pepper to mixture and continue to cook on medium-high heat to reduce the sauce a bit.
7. When the zucchini is done with the first fifteen minutes of cooking, remove from oven, take zucchini from dish, and dump any excess water from dish.
8. Fill zucchini with meat mixture and spread the rest of the mixture evenly across the bottom of the casserole dish.
9. Press the filled zucchini down into the meat mixture in the casserole dish and cover with cheese.
10. Put back into the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
11. Serve with rice.

I used 2 pounds of meat so that I’d have plenty of extra meat mixture to put over top of the rice. One pound of meat would have been sufficient for six torpedoes, maybe eight, depending on how large the zucchini are.

Recipe: Lavender Chicken and Rice

Tonight I actually made two skillets of chicken.  The larger was one of my normal batches of onions, garlic, sliced/chopped chicken breasts sauteed in olive oil with diced tomatoes and a little (mostly) fresh basil.  I made this the larger because the smaller skillet was an experiment.  I really like the Lavender Metheglin from Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery.  Lavender Metheglin is mead (fermented honey) infused with one percent lavender flowers.  It smells and tastes wonderful.  While I frequently cook with wine, liquor, and beer, I hadn’t tried cooking with mead.  I figured it would work, but the Lavender Metheglin also has a unique flavor that I wasn’t sure the rest of the family (the children, mostly) would enjoy.  It turned out wonderfully and the kids and wife also liked it.  Next time, I’ll make the whole skillet with it.
The Ingredients
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped onion (my standard is Vidalia)
about a half pound of boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
a little salt
coconut oil
about 1 cup Lavender Metheglin
Prep and Cooking
1.  Get the rice going in a rice cooker (or via the old fashioned way on the stove)
2.  Saute the onions with a pinch of salt  in the coconut oil
3.  Add the chicken (already cut) and brown/cook it a bit
4.  Add the Lavender Metheglin.  In my small skillet, the chicken was completely covered so I kept the flame up a little higher than normal to reduce the mead a bit, making sure there’s enough sauce to mix into the rice.
5.  Serve over the rice
**Even though I had to use two skillets tonight, it still fits into my ‘Lazy Dinner’ category.

Recipe: Robio’s Crock Pot Squash & Zuke Lasagna

The last time my family was going on a camping trip, I made a zucchini and squash lasagna a week ahead of time, froze it, and brought it along to warm up and eat.  Everyone loved it, but it took nearly as long to warm it up as it did to make it fresh.  This time, I pre-cooked the meat and onions and took them with us in a Ziploc bag.  The day I made the lasagna, I just threw all the ingredients into a crock pot before we headed out for the day.  So what’s the Squash and Zuke part?  As a gluten-free recipe, instead of the noodles, I use squash and zucchini.  With the traditional preparation, I sliced the veggies lengthwise, relatively thin, and layered them in place of the noodles.  It tastes great and is a bit healthier than traditional.  This time, I chopped up the veggies as if I was cooking them for a pot or skillet.
The Ingredients
2 lbs Ground pork
Bacon (about 2 strips – I used thick cut, maple cured)
1 medium onion (I used Vidalia)
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
Italian seasoning
Ground Turmeric
1 large can (about 28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 or 3 Zucchini (depending on size)
2 or 3 Yellow Squash (depending on size)
16 oz part-skim Ricotta Cheese
2 – 8oz bags of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Black pepper
Prep and Cooking
1. Dice the bacon into small pieces.
2. Chop (not quite finely) the onion and garlic and begin sauteing them in a skillet.
3. As the onion begins to become translucent, add the bacon, then the pork, salt, and pepper.
4. While the pork is browning, chop the zucchini and squash into bite size pieces.
5. When the pork is nearly browned, add the Italian seasoning, basil, and turmeric.  ( I wait this late so the turmeric doesn’t give me a false sense of the pork being browned.)
4. When the pork and bacon have finished browning, drain the grease (or let it cook off –my preferred method).
5. Add all the ingredients (except one bag of shredded mozzarella) to the crock pot and stir to make sure the ricotta is mixed in thoroughly.
6. Cover and cook on low all day.
7. Remove the top and sprinkle the second bag of shredded mozzarella on top of the mix fifteen to thirty minutes before serving.

Recipe: Miss Piggy Is Delicious!

"Miss Piggy is Delicious" cookingWith the idea of making sure I made enough to have leftovers for lunch and that I needed to use the ground pork and some potatoes, I came up with this really simple recipe.  It is one of my favorite –the combination of the Andouille sausage and the cracked pepper bacon added a nice spiciness to the dish.  My wife and younger daughter weren’t as keen on that.

The Ingredients
Ground Pork, one pound
Bacon (about 5 strips – thick cut, cracked pepper)
1 Andouille Sausage (about 14 oz. – I used Smithfield brand)
1/2 medium vidalia onion
5 medium red potatoes, sliced and halved
black pepper
Prep and Cooking
1. Brown ground pork
2. Slice bacon into small strips, mix into skillet for browning
3. Slice sausage into small pieces, mix into skillet for browning
4. Dice and add the onion
5. Add the potatoes, cover and cook ten to fifteen minutes, or until potatoes are tender
**This another of my lazy dinners.  Only two items require chopping, it is all cooked in one skillet, and it doesn’t require much cleanup.

Recipe: Pseudo-Fried Rice (Ground Chicken and Peppers version)

Pseudo-Fried Rice (Ground Chicken and Sweet Peppers version)Light and easy was on the menu again, making use of left over rice and the ground chicken and some of a bag of mini sweet peppers.  The tumeric and peppers combined to give this a smoky sweet taste.
The Ingredients
cooked rice
1/2 medium onion (chopped)
16 oz. ground chicken
3 garlic cloves (coarsely chopped)
kosher salt
8 mini sweet peppers
ground tumeric
coconut oil
Prep and Cooking
1. Begin browning the chicken in a skillet, adding the garlic and some salt and pepper and the tumeric
2. Part of the way through the browning, add the onion
3.  Clean, chop, and add the peppers
4. Cook for a couple minutes and add the rice** and then the coconut oil
5. Stir the mixture fairly constantly to get an even temperature without burning
**NOTE:  Since the rice had been in the refrigerator for a few days, I sprinkled a little water on it and nuked it for a minute and a half to soften it before adding to the skillet.

Recipe: Pseudo-Fried Rice (Kielbasa/Smoked Sausage version)

Pseudo-Fried Rice (Kielbasa)Light and easy was on the menu, making use of the left over rice and kielbasa I had in the refrigerator.
The Ingredients
cooked rice
1/2 medium onion (chopped)
16 oz. Sausage or Kielbasa (I used Smithfield’s Polska Kielbasa)
garlic powder
sea salt
lemon juice
Prep and Cooking
1. Begin sauteing the onion in olive oil (I’ve been using a blend of olive, grapeseed, and canola oils) with salt and pepper
2. Slice the Kielbasa and put in the pan with the onions (add a little more oil as necessary) and the garlic powder
3. As the kielbasa begins to brown, add a squeeze or two of lemon juice (from the plastic lemon)
4. When the kielbasa is done cooking, add in the rice and a little more oil
5. Stir until the rice is warm/hot

Recipe: Robio’s Easy Peasy Pork Chops

Pork chops…hmmm…what to do???  Bake ’em in the oven with creamy mixture and peas…that’s what I did.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture.
The Ingredients
2 packages of Pork Ribeye Chops (about 8 chops, medium cut)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Cream of Celery soup
1 can Green Peas (I used sweet peas)
1/2 medium vidalia onion (finely chopped)
(about) 2 cups 2% milk
black pepper (to taste)
a sprinkle of ground Tumeric
Prep and Cooking
1. Preheat oven to 375 **
2. With a spoon, gently (don’t want to mush the peas) mix the two soups, milk, peas (drained), onion, tumeric, and black pepper until blended
3. Place pork chops into the mixture, making sure they are submerged
4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about an hour (or until the chops are cooked through)
5. I serve this with rice and salad
**I never really know what temperature to cook things…375 for an hour was a bit much.  It started to boil over and the pork chops didn’t require a knife.  Could have gone less time or less temperature…
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