Pizza Twist

Pizza TwistThis recipe was inspired by an appetizer I had at a home party for kitchen supplies. The original recipe calls for pepperoni pizza style fillings but you can experiment with any type of pizza toppings you’d like! This version is vegetarian-style to feature veggies harvested from the garden. Serve with pizza sauce, a side salad or sliced tomatoes for a full meal sure to be a favorite for adults and kids alike!

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 bunch of baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small can black olives, chopped
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 packages prepared french bread dough (Pillsbury has a great one, you can find it in the refrigerated section) or 1 recipe homemade french bread dough
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. italian seasoning
  • 1/4 c. shredded parmesan
  • Pizza sauce for serving

Directions

Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Add garlic and spinach, cook for two more minutes or until spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool. While vegetables are cooling, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place cooled veggies in a bowl with olives, mozzarella and flour. Toss to combine. Remove french bread dough from canister. Using a sharp knife cut down the seam to the center of the loaf, about 3/4″ inch. Press dough flat until it is about 5 inches across. (If you are using homemade bread dough split the recipe into two pieces of dough and roll out into two 5″x12″ rectangles).

Pizza TwistDistribute filling equally down the center of each flattened loaf. Bring up sides of filling, pinching dough together to seal, forming one long filled tube.

Lay the loaves on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in an “X” pattern. Cross each end again leaving approximately an inch in between the ends.

Combine egg white and italian seasoning. Brush pizza twist with the egg wash. Use a sharp knife to cut slits into the top sections of the twist to reveal some of the filling. Sprinkle with parmesan.

pizza-twist-3Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool on baking rack for 10 minutes before slicing. Cut into 1 inch slices and serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

Fried Okra

Fried OkraFried okra is an incredibly popular dish in the southern states. Many people have a love/hate association with this particular vegetable due to its unusual texture. To encourage everyone to give this pod a try why not add some breading and fry it up for a crispy snack? Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh okra, sliced into 1″ sections (can use frozen)
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt & pepper or your favorite seasoning mix (we used a cajun spice mix)
  • Hot sauce

Directions

Heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat.

Pour flour and cornmeal each onto two different plates. Add desired amount of seasoning mix or salt and pepper to the flour. Be generous, you are trying to flavor both the okra and the flour! Beat eggs in a pie plate, add a few dashes of hot sauce.

Roll okra pieces in flour mixture. Shaking off excess flour, roll the flour-covered okra in the egg mixture. Again shaking off excess, dredge okra pieces in cornmeal.

Test the oil temperature with one pieces, if the okra sinks but pops right back up to the surface it is ready to go. Add okra to the oil. Stir and turn occasionally in order to brown all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer okra to a baking sheet with a rack to drain. A paper towel lined plate will work too.

Serve with hot sauce for dipping!

*Note – The fresh okra gives this snack a very crunchy texture. If you prefer the okra to be on the mushier side frozen would be best for you!*

Lemon Berry Tart

Lemon Berry TartTry this easy Lemon Berry Tart with your Fourth of July menu! We took a few shortcuts with the recipe this week by using a few store-bought ingredients since we were short on time but you could replace them with homemade crust and pastry cream. Get the kiddos in the kitchen to help you out with this treat, my 8-year-old loved using the berries to create a firework pattern. Happy Independence Day from the Square Foot Gardening Foundation!

Ingredients

  • 1 refrigerated 9″ pie crust, softened for 15 minutes
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 6 oz. plain greek yogurt
  • 1 box instant lemon pudding (4 serving size, any flavor will work, use your imagination!)
  • 1 c. milk
  • Assortment of berries (we used blueberries, strawberries and raspberries for our patriotic theme)

Directions

Bake pie crust in a tart pan as package directs, cool completely.

Mix cream cheese with a whisk until smooth. Add remaining filling ingredients (yogurt, pudding and milk), stir until combined. Pour into cooled pie shell. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set.

Top with mixed berries and serve. *The kids can have some fun here by using the berries to create patriotic patterns!*

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

The garden gave us a generous crop of carrots this year and we are finally reaching the tail end of the harvest. We decided to use the last of the bunch in a side dish favorite, Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots. Serve them up with meatloaf and mashed potatoes and you have yourself a meal reminiscent of TV dinners. Or, as my eight year old son calls this meal, man food. Happy eating!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch diagonal chunks (can use baby carrots too!)
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1/4 t. salt

Directions

Add water to a double boiler or a pot fitted with a steamer basket. Bring water to boil. Place carrots in the basket and steam until tender, roughly 10-15 minutes. Drain. *Note- Carrots can be boiled instead of steamed if desired.*

Melt butter in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and salt, stir until brown sugar is melted. Add steamed carrots to the brown sugar mixture, combine. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring until carrots are glazed and hot.

Caprese Salad

tomato basilOne of the highlights of early summer is that first ripe, juicy tomato, plucked from the vine. Fresh is the best way to enjoy this first jewel of the summer garden and Caprese salad is an excellent showcase for that fresh flavor. This salad is quick and so easy to prepare that directions aren’t even required!

Ingredients

  • Fresh, sliced tomatoes
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

Drizzle tomato and mozzarella slices with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Tip: For a fun appetizer try Caprese kabobs. Thread cherry tomatoes, bocconcini (miniature fresh mozzarella balls) and whole basil leaves. Drizzle with flavored olive oil then sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Summer Minestrone

Summer Minestrone
A bountiful garden is always a good thing but finding new ways to use up your crops at their peak can be difficult. If your crisper drawer or veggie storage is overflowing try this simple soup to use up your harvest, changing up the vegetables to suit what you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 2 c. diced carrots (1/2 inch)
  • 2 c. diced celery (1/2 inch)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 c. chopped zucchini or summer squash
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2-15 oz. cans chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh too!)
  • 6 c. chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 15 oz. can white beans, drained
  • 2 c. cooked small pasta (such as elbows or small shells)
  • 1 bunch baby spinach or other green
  • Parmesan cheese and pesto for serving

Directions

Heat 2 T. of olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme; cook until veggies start to soften (about 8 minutes). Add tomatoes and chicken stock, flavor with bay leaf, 2-3 t. kosher salt and 1 1/2 t. fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in squash, beans, cooked pasta and greens. Cook just until heated through and the greens have wilted slightly.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with grated parmesan and a spoonful of pesto for additional flavor.

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

This week we have yet another versatile recipe, a vegetable frittata, that can be modified to use up whatever ingredients you have on hand. This dish is a great way to dress up leftovers. Try different vegetable combos and cheeses to suit your taste. Pair the egg dish with sliced tomatoes, roasted potatoes or a garden salad to round out the meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini, diced in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow squash, diced in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bell pepper, 1-inch dice
  • 1 red onion, 1 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 c. 2% milk (for a richer dish, try half-and-half)
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan
  • 1 T. butter
  • 3 scallions (green onion), sliced
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup shredded cheese (any type will do, gruyere was used in the test and tasted great!)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl toss chopped zucchini, squash, pepper and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheet. Roast vegetables for 15 minutes. Add garlic to roasting pan, stir vegetables and continue to roast for 10-15 minutes more. Reduce oven heat to 350.

Whisk together eggs, milk and parmesan. Set aside.

Melt butter in an oven-proof 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add scallions and sauté for 1 minute. Add roasted vegetables to pan, stir to combine. Pour eggs into skillet and cook over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes.

Place entire skillet in the oven. Bake the frittata for 25-30 minutes until eggs have set in the middle. (The frittata may look puffy.) Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top, bake for three minutes more.

Roasted Beets & Pickled Beets

This week’s recipe is a two-for-one…. After being faced with an abundance of beets we were forced to come up with a few ways to use up the harvest before their quality deteriorated. While roasted beets are a great side dish you can only eat so many in a short period of time so we found an easy way to make pickled beets in the refrigerator using some of the roasted beets. Be sure to take care when dealing with beets as their bright juices can stain clothing!

Roasted BeetsRoasted Beets

  • 6-8 medium sized beets, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 spring onion bulbs, peeled and halved (shallots will work too!)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 t. olive oil

Place beets, shallots and rosemary in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Place entire mixture on the center of a large section of foil. Bring ends together and fold into a packet. Roast foil packet at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes. Let beets cool, remove peel and serve.

Pickled BeetsRefrigerator Pickled Beets

  • Roasted beets (depending on the size, anywhere from 8-10)
  • Large red onion, sliced
  • 1 c. tarragon wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water

Slice peeled roasted beets thinly. Using quart-size canning jars (two should be plenty) layer the beets and onions in alternating layers. Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar and water in a sauce pan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the layered beets. Put a lid on the jars and place in your refrigerator for roughly seven days before serving.

*Note – This recipe is intended for refrigerator storage ONLY. It has not been tested for canning uses.*

Vegetable Baked Ziti

Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-4
Need to use up veggies in your crisper drawer but tired of vegetable soup? Give this recipe for Vegetable Baked Ziti a try! The ingredients are easily customizable for any taste and the casserole can even be assembled a day in advance if you know you’ll be crunched for time. The recipe is written to use up what I had on hand but feel free to swap out vegetables as you’d like!

Ingredients

    Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-1

  • 12 oz. uncooked tube-shaped pasta, such as ziti or penne
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, shredded
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese as I had it on hand but use less salt as the sodium count in cottage cheese is a bit higher than ricotta!)
  • 1/4 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella

Directions

Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-2Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 13×9 inch casserole dish.

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain.

Heat oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and bell peppers to pan, cook for 3-5 minutes until just tender. Add zucchini and swiss chard, cook just until chard is wilted. Stir in tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-3In a large bowl combine the pasta, the vegetable mixture, the ricotta cheese and half of the mozzarella. Transfer pasta/vegetable mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses evenly over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheeses are bubbly.

Serves 8