Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Balsamic Zucchini Squash on the Grill or in the Pan

I use the same basic recipe to cook this squash on the stove-top or to marinate it and cook it on the grill. Either way, it’s simple and scrumptious. If you grill it as a vegetarian choice at a BBQ, make sure to grill up enough for the meat-eaters too since it will be very popular. The ingredients are the same for either cooking method.


1 or 2 small- or medium-sized zucchini squash cut into one-inch cubes
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
3-4 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
2-3 cloves crushed garlic (depending on size of cloves and how much you love garlic)


In the Pan:
Do not peel the squash. Cut the squash into cubes. Crush the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a deep dish frying pan over high heat until it is hot (about 2 minutes). Add the squash and the crushed garlic, turn the heat down to medium, and stir the squash frequently so that it doesn’t burn to the bottom. For more squash, you may need more olive oil. Use enough oil to coat the squash and prevent it from sticking. Cook the squash in the olive oil for about 3-4 minutes. Then add the Balsamic vinegar and turn the heat to low. Cook uncovered until the squash is tender, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. For more squash, you may need to add a little more vinegar.

On the Grill:
Do not peel the squash. Cut the squash into cubes. The squash needs to marinate for at least 30 minutes before you put it on the grill. There are two ways you can marinate it. You can put the squash cubes into a plastic Ziploc bag with the olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, and crushed garlic. If you use this method, zip the bag shut and toss it until the contents are thoroughly mixed and the squash is completely coated with oil and vinegar. After 30 minutes, remove the cubes from the bag and put them on skewers for easy grilling. This is a bit messy. A tidier way to marinate the squash is to put the squash cubes onto the skewers before marinating. Then put the marinade into a cookie sheet. Lay the squash skewers inside the cookie sheet and turn them over and over until the squash is coated with marinade. Let the squash sit in the marinade for 15 minutes, then turn it over on the other side for 15 minutes. The trick to the cookie sheet method is to use skewers that are short enough to fit within the cookie sheet so that the squash sits well down in the marinade. Once marinated, put the squash skewers on the grill and cook until the squash begins to brown.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pesto Lasagna Casserole

This is a variation on the Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna Casserole. Basically you substitute the tomato sauce with pesto. It’s one of those dishes that you kind of can’t stop eating because it’s just too good! And it’s perfect for the summer when you have fresh basil in the garden (or handy from the Farmer’s Market). Try making it with fresh pesto (see my pesto recipe) for a meal that will take you to heaven and back.


16 oz. pasta (spiral or curly pasta is better, rice pasta can be used)
¾ cup basil pesto (see my pesto recipe)
8 oz. grated cheese (use an Italian blend, such as mozzarella, cheddar,
parmesan, asiago, and romano)
2 eggs
9 oz. chopped spinach
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 tbsp. dry red wine (a merlot or cabernet works well)
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped onions or 2 tbsp. onion powder
3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano or 2 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease an oblong baking dish. Boil the pasta until it is done al dente.

Sauté the onion and mushrooms in olive oil for about 3 minutes, until soft, stirring frequently. Add the red wine and place the chopped spinach on top then put a lid on the pan to steam the spinach until it wilts. Do not overcook the spinach. If you are using fresh oregano then steam that with the spinach. Beat the eggs and combine with the vegetable sauté.

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend together thoroughly. Spread the ingredients in the oblong baking dish. Bake for 50 minutes uncovered.

Other vegetables may be added, such as olives, artichoke hearts, or sun-dried tomatoes. However, I recommend no more than 2 cups of added veggies (in addition to the spinach, mushroom, and onion already in the recipe). Otherwise the lasagna becomes overpowered with veggies.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!