Meatless Monday – Crustless Squash and Spinach Pie

I recently checked out a few cookbooks at the library. I don’t own any vegetarian cookbooks and I wanted to pick up a few ideas for Meatless Mondays. I couldn’t see us having soup or grilled cheese or beans/rice ever Monday night (nothing wrong with that, mind you, but just not every week!). I have returned most of the books, but I had to renew Vegetarian Classics: 300 Essential Recipes for Every Course and Every Meal because I started marking things to make and my list was a mile long!

This pie was a recipe that immediately caught my eye. I know it’s not right and some (like my husband!) would like to disown me for it – but I could live my life without crust. At Thanksgiving, I will eat the filling to my pumpkin pie and give my husband the crust. He thinks I’m weird but doesn’t argue because he gets to be the clean up crew! Anyway, this pie is so full of great summer veggies and lots of flavor. You hardly miss the crust, and I certainly don’t miss the calories. You can eat this as a breakfast meal along with some home fries and fresh fruit or make it more dinner-y by adding a salad. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this colorful feast!

Crustless Squash and Spinach Pie

Serves 6
Adapted from: Vegetarian Classics: 300 Essential Recipes for Every Course and Every Meal

1 Tablespoon butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced into 1/2″ pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium summer squashes (yellow, zucchini, or a combination of the two), quartered lengthwise and then thinly sliced
10 ounces fresh spinach, leaves torn and stems discarded
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups grated Swiss cheese.

1) Use the butter to grease a 9″ pie plate, reserving any butter left over. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the bottom and sides of the plate, swirling the dish to get them to stick. (there will be extra just hanging out in the plate, and that’s ok!)

2) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper and saute for 5 to7 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

3) Mix in the squash and saute, stirring often, until the squash is tender; about 10 minutes.

4) Add the spinach and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally. Allow the liquid to evaporate. If you have any butter left over from step #1, now’s the time to throw it in. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the vegetables to cool.

5) Preheat the oven to 375 degreese. Beat together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cooled vegetable mixture.

6) Spoon half of the egg/vegetable mixture into the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Spoon remaining mixture in dish and top with remaining 1 cup of cheese.

7) Bake at 375 for 30 minutes (a knife inserted in the center should come out clean). Allow the pie to cool for 15 minutes before slicing into 6 servings.

Mom’s Zucchini Bread

This recipe comes from my mom. Her original recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, but we have modified it to make it a little lighter. It’s still just as tasty and a great way to use up some of your bumper crop of zucchini (or in my case, the overflowing CSA box!)

Best we can recall this recipe should make 2 full sized loaves, but my mom hasn’t made full loaves of this in years. She makes it in mini-loaf pans. I wanted to try it in a few different formats so my one batch made 5 mini-loaves, 24 mini-muffins (I need a 12 step program!!), and 6 regular sized muffins. They all took a little different length of time to cook, but they all came out great!

Mom’s Zucchini Bread

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated raw zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine oil, applesauce, eggs, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla in a bowl. Stir in flour, soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. (use a spoon or spatula – don’t use a mixer!). Stir in nuts, if using. Spoon into greased loaf or muffin pans.

Baking time: Large Loaf Pans = about 1.5 hours, Mini Loaf Pans = 35 to 40 minutes, Regular Size Muffin Tins = 30 minutes, Mini Size Muffin Tins = 20 minutes

Cool in pan 5 minutes. Flip out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool fully before cutting into it.

(72) Fettucine with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

Our first Meatless Monday and it was a rousing success!! This pasta dish is pretty much as close to heaven as it gets for me. I had 5 lbs of zucchini and squash to use from my CSA box. It just so happens that one of my favorite summer dishes is a simple saute of squash and onions. It also happens that I love goat cheese with all my heart. Pasta makes me happy. (see where I’m going here??)

This is super easy to put together and we all loved it! I am the happiest foodie on the planet – my (almost) 2 year old gobbled the heck out of this. She HATES zucchini, but covered in goat cheese, well, I guess that’s a different story!

Fettucine with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

Yield: 6 servings

1 pound uncooked Fettuccine
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced onion (half a large white onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds of zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces herbed goat cheese, divided (use the log kind, not the pre-crumbled!!)

1) Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain the pasta, but reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.

2) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and slightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add the minced garlic and saute 30 seconds.

3) Add the zucchini, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper to the onions. Saute until the zucchini is tender and slightly browned (6 to 8 minutes).

4) Reduce heat to medium. Stir in 6 ounces of goat cheese, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 3/4 tsp kosher salt (yes, really!) and 1 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and nice and ‘saucy’! If you need more water, add it as you see fit. I only needed the 1.5 cups, but you might like it saucier!!

5) Serve the pasta onto individual plates. Top with zucchini and sauce. Sprinkle the remaining goat cheese on the top. Enjoy!!

(66) Thai-Style Chicken Stir-Fry

In my attempt to use up various packs of meat from the freezer, I pulled out this Thai-style stirfry recipe. My husband LOVES stirfry (and egg rolls!) so he was pumped to see this on the menu! I was a little concerned about two whole jalapenos, but I carefully seeded them and the dish was mildly spicy, but could have used a touch more heat. So if you like a kick, leave some seeds in!

This was a hearty, filling, and DELISH meal! Spend the 25 minutes of marinade time chopping and you’ll be ready to roll when the time is right!! After that, this is quick to make! I served over jasmine rice and with some frozen eggrolls (again, the freezer holds all sorts of surprises!). I will make this again for sure!

Thai-Style Chicken Stir-Fry

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
Source: adapted from a Cooking Light recipe

1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini
1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices yellow squash
1 cup (1/2-inch-thick) slices onion
1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices red bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (keep some seeds if you like a kick!)
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice. Add chicken; seal and marinate in refrigerator 25 minutes. Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; stir-fry 2 minutes or until chicken begins to brown. Add zucchini, squash, and next 4 ingredients (through jalapeños); stir-fry 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Add reserved marinade, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, basil, cilantro, and green onions.

(10) Rigatoni Mediterranean

This is a solid 3 star recipe. It’s not AWESOME, but it was hearty, flavorful, and worth making. I feel like it was missing something, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it. My husband suggested kalamata olives. I agree, or think maybe some red pepper flakes, a bit of tomato paste (to boost the tomato flavor) or even some sundried tomatoes! Anyway, a very filling dinner. Took about an hour to chop, saute, and bake.

Rigatoni Mediterranean

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, July 2007
Yield: 10 servings (serving size: about 2 cups)

This is an easy and delicious meal. Allowing this entrée to stand about 20 minutes after baking allows the flavors to meld.

1 pound uncooked rigatoni
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
5 1/2 cups diced peeled eggplant (about 1 pound)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups thinly sliced Walla Walla or other sweet onion (about 1 large)
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 6)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can organic crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant to pan, and sauté 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in pan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add sweet onion, zucchini, and green onions to pan; cook for 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add chopped basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Combine pasta, eggplant, and tomato mixture in a large bowl; stir in shredded mozzarella. Transfer the pasta mixture to a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 15 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes.

CALORIES 346 (29% from fat); FAT 11g (sat 4g,mono 5.3g,poly 0.8g); IRON 2.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 17mg; CALCIUM 224mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45.7g; SODIUM 397mg; PROTEIN 15.7g; FIBER 5g

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