Zucchini Parmesan Crisps, Regular and Gluten-Free

Heather says

Did you think oven fried goodness was out of reach just because you have to go gluten-free?

Here’s a simple, magic substitution for you… swap crushed Rice Chex for Panko crumbs and you’re set. No other changes, no mixing a bazillion different flours or buying special bread to make your own crumbs. Take out your aggression on a handful of cereal and call it a day.

Tested. Tasted. Proven.

I really like oven-fried zucchini chips, but find them a bit too fiddly for most occasions. If you have older kids, make them bread the zucchini, it’s a great exercise in patience with a decent pay off. I see these often suggested for parties, but unless you want to keep the oven on until serving time, save them for a rainy afternoon with a craving for some savory, crispy deliciousness.

zucchini crisps

 

: Zucchini Parmesan Crisps (Gluten-Free)

: Crisp, cheesy, oven-fried zucchini chips

  • 2 medium – large zucchini sliced thinly (use the slicer on a grater)
  • 2 eggs
  • splash of milk or water
  • 1 cup grated parmesan -yes, the cheap stuff
  • 1 cup Rice Chex, crushed  -if you don’t have a wheat allergy / you can use Panko crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions:

  • Spread the sliced zucchini on paper towels and lightly sprinkle with salt
  • Turn the oven on to 450°F
  • Beat the eggs with either a splash of milk or water in a shallow bowl to create an egg wash.
  • In a second shallow bowl or dish, combine the crushed cereal, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, a pinch of salt if desired, and a few turns of fresh ground pepper. (If you want to kick up the heat a little, cayenne pepper is a nice addition)
  • Grease a baking sheet.
  • Roll or blot the zucchini in the paper towel to absorb the moisture it sweated due to the sprinkle of salt.
  • Dip the zucchini slices in the egg wash and then the breading.
  • Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes and flip the zucchini slices with a fork or tongs. Bake for another 8 – 10 minutes depending on how done / crispy you like your cheese. Watch them carefully toward the end.
  • Serve immediately.

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Easy Grilled Foil Vegetable Packets

Heather says:

Get ready to grill.  Today we’re using foil packets to to turn a pile of vegetables into a fantastic summer side dish. Actually if you look at the portions, the grilled vegetables were the main feature. I would like, at least while we’re rolling in produce, for you to consider treating vegetables as your main dish. Spend your time and energy planning your meals around the available, seasonal produce rather than treating slapping a can of green beans in the microwave as an after thought. Just give it a try, you may discover a new world of flavor or you’ll hate it, but you won’t have caused any harm.

Easy Grilled Foil Vegetable Packets

 

This tutorial is a guide rather than a strict recipe as the amounts are going to vary widely, but the technique remains the same.

Gather your vegetables and slice or mince as appropriate. These vegetable packets will contain: bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, garlic and mushrooms. *Note* Do not be lazy and assume your chef knife can go one more day without sharpening, even good cooks get distracted with less than fun results. Sharpen your knives regularly.

Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil or homemade Italian dressing.  If you choose to omit the dressing and go with straight olive oil, don’t be scared to add a sprinkle of your favorite herbs, some rosemary, thyme,  basil etc. Choose your seasoning based on the other items being served. Try to carry the same flavors throughout. Since we’re serving these packets with grilled Italian sausage, I went with an extra sprinkling of Italian seasoning. If I’d had fresh basil on hand, that would have been in there, too. Let the flavors mingle for a little while. A pinch of salt can be added now or at the table, either way works. While vegetables have wonderful flavor, herbs and aromatics like garlic and onions can go a long way to making them even better. This was almost a summer version of one of our favorite recipes, sausage, peppers, and onions.

Grab a sheet of heavy duty foil, don’t get the wimpy stuff, you don’t need it tearing on the grill. Arrange a couple of healthy handfuls of vegetables in the center of the foil. Bring the long sides together and fold over in an accordion or pleat type fold. You want to keep the steam that will develop inside your packet. Fold the short side over a couple of times to close the packet tightly.

Do not juggle with your packets. They are not that sturdy. They should be sturdy enough to handle being turned over.

Heat your grill, these should be grilled 10 – 15 minutes per side on a hot grill. If you cut your vegetables very thinly or used butter, you may want to grill indirectly or pay close attention and grill for less time. Packets with tender vegetables like zucchini and squash will be done faster than packets with sturdier vegetables like carrots and celery.

Enjoy!

Homemade Mayonnaise

retrochick.JPGMichele says:

If you’ve ever made your own creamy salad dressings from scratch, you may have been shocked by the inclusion of up to a cup of store-bought, chemical filled mayonnaise.  Since when does a “from scratch” recipe call for “sauce from a jar”?  Moreover, can a salad dressing, potato salad, or tuna sandwich qualify as “fresh” or “homemade” when the main ingredients, eggs and all, can sit on the shelf for years before expiring?  I’m no whole food purist (I’ve even been known to employ a well placed can of Tex Mex tomatoes) but in my opinion, store bought mayonnaise is on the same level as Miracle Whip.  No hate for you Whip lovers, but this post is about real mayonnaise.

Mayo lovers, would you make your favorite salads and sandwiches with Miracle Whip?  I didn’t think so.  Then why do you happily slather your sandwiches with commercially prepared, shelf-stable mayonnaise?  Have you tried your hand at mayo in the past, only to end up with a bowlful of frothy, separated mess?  This recipe is 95% goof proof—and includes a way to rescue the 5% of you who do manage to goof.

Is time the issue?  If 5 minutes is too much time to wait, by all means have at the six month old jar that languishes on your refrigerator door.  Perhaps you’ve heard that you need a fancy food processor or immersion blender to really make mayo at home?  My recipe for homemade mayonnaise requires no tools other than a bowl, a whisk, and your hands.  Don’t have a bowl, whisk, or hands?  This recipe can be made in the blender, the food processor, or in a bowl using the immersion blender/hand mixer—or you can throw the ingredients into a jar and make your kids shake it into creamy submission.

There’s no getting out of this one, so let’s get whippin’!

Homemade Mayonnaise

Easy Homemade Mayonnaise

Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature + 1 additional yolk, as needed
  • 2 drops water
  • 1 tablespoon acid (options: lemon juice, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar) + more, as needed
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup oil (options: olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil), plus additional oil as needed
  • Additional seasonings, as desired (options: salt and pepper, garlic, Sriracha, minced chiles, herbs)

Step 1: Combine 2 large egg yolks with 2 drops of water in a medium sized stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl (or the bowl of your food processor or blender [or your jar]).  Then, add 1 tablespoon vinegar (or other acid), and up to ½ teaspoon coarse salt.  Whisk (or pulse in blender/food processor, or shake vigorously in jar) egg mixture until smooth, slightly fluffy, and lighter in color.

Step 2: Drizzle 1 cup of oil into the bowl as you whisk (or start your blender/mixer and drizzle the oil through the hole in the lid) until emulsified and smooth.  (If you’re making jar mayo, add 1/3 cup of the oil and shake until combined and creamy before adding the remaining 2/3 cup oil and shaking until just set.)

Step 2 A: If your mayonnaise “breaks” and looks curdled, vigorously whisk (or, if in making mayonnaise in jar, shake) in an additional egg yolk.

Step 3: Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, or as desired.  If you feel as though your mayo is still lacking, add up to an additional 1 tablespoon of acid while whisking vigorously.  (One of my favorite mayo flavors is Heather’s chipotle mayonnaise dip and spread.)

Step 4: Add mayonnaise to sandwich or side and enjoy.  Otherwise, refrigerate for up to a week.

Michele Newell is a housewife turned blogger turned Home Ec 101 contributor.  You can read her near daily ramblings at Dreams Unreal.

Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad

retrochick.JPGMichele says:

If you had to summarize summer in three words, which words would you choose?  Swimming, picnics, and ice cream?  Vacations, thunderstorms, and fireflies?  Bikinis, bonfires, and s’mores?  How about red, white, and blue?

To me, summer never fails to feel like one big patriotic party, and the colors of the season seem to agree. Other than the American flags we associate with Independence, Memorial, and Flag Days, those three colors bring to mind so many other iconic parts of summer from ripe strawberries, sunscreen, and the ocean to sunburns, sand, and tongues dyed blue by snow cones. Though I find it quirky, the inherent patriotism of summer doesn’t really surprise me because it gives we Americans an excuse to do what we do best (eat, drink, and shoot off fireworks), all in the name of celebrating our freedom.

Red, white, and blue, potato salad

Since summer and patriotism seem to go perfectly hand in hand, don’t you think it’s time your summertime food gets in on the action?

 

Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad

  • 24 ounces (1 ½ pounds) mixed baby red, white, and blue potatoes, washed and eyes removed
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 ounce (about 1/3 cup) chives, cut into ½” long pieces
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, very finely minced or ground into a paste
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (use less if desired)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for boiling potatoes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Red, White, and Blue or Tri-Color Potato Salad

Notes: I found red, white, and blue (sometimes called purple) potatoes pre-mixed in 1 1/2 pound bags.  If you can’t find pre-mixed potatoes, just mix your own!  If you can’t find baby colored potatoes, you can use bigger potatoes; just cut them into bite sized pieces before cooking.  If you don’t like onion and garlic, you can omit them, however, I recommend adding 1 tablespoon of garlic powder to the boiling water with the potatoes.  This recipe can be easily doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled if you need to feed a crowd.

  1. Fill a large pot with water, leaving enough room to add the potatoes.  Cover the pot, then bring the water to the boil over high heat.
  2. Once the water is boiling, remove the lid from the pot and add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the water (you want it “salty like the sea”).  Add 1 ½ pounds red, white, and blue potatoes to the salted boiling water and cook until you can pierce the biggest one with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes in a colander and allow to cool until you can comfortably handle them.  Once cool, slice the potatoes into halves with a sharp knife, doing your best to keep the skin intact.
  4. In a large bowl, combine 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (or garlic paste), 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, ½ cup mayonnaise (homemade or store bought), ½ teaspoon coarse salt, and pepper to taste.  Whisk the dressing and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  5. When you’re happy with the dressing, add the cooked and halved potatoes, ¼ cup finely chopped sweet onion and 2/3 ounce of chopped chives.  Use your “kitchen clean” hands to mix the salad, taking care not to break up the potatoes.
  6. Once the potatoes are evenly coated with the dressing and the onions and chives are mixed in, cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours or until ready to serve (up to 24 hours).
  7. Mix again just before serving.  You can use a spoon this time if you’re not comfortable with touching food people are about to eat.

Serves 8-12 (depending on how many other sides you have)

Can’t get enough of red, white, and blue potatoes, try these:

Tri-Color Roasted Potatoes

Red White and Blue Roasted Potatoes

Michele Newell is a housewife turned blogger turned Home Ec 101 contributor.  You can read her near daily ramblings at Dreams Unreal.

Picnic Perfect: Potato Salad

Dear Home Ec 101:

My neighborhood will soon be throwing their annual blockparty. I don’t want anyone to know that I can’t cook for beans. Do you have a recipe for me? Please don’t tell me just to go to the deli and put it in a new bowl. I want to try, but I’m busy and I need something I can make the night before. Oh, and I’m vegetarian but eggs and dairy are fine.

Signed,

Persnickety Picnicker

Heather says:

I recently talked my mother into giving up her potato salad recipe. Everyone needs a go-to dish for events like this and as long as you promise she won’t be there, you are welcome to bring this dish. This recipe is easily halved and makes a great side dish for BBQ dinners.

 

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold for best results)
  • 5 hardboiled eggs – (save two for garnish) And here’s How to Hard Boil Eggs
  • 1 medium sweet onion – diced
  • 2-3 green onions – chopped or diced
  • 2 stalks of celery – chopped or diced
  • ½ cup canned olives – green and black, sliced (save a few for garnis)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 TBSP sweet pickle relish
  • 1 or 2 dill pickles, diced or chopped
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2-3 TBSP honey mustard or honey mustard salad dressing
  • Salt / Pepper to taste
  • Paprika for garnish / color

Peel and cut up the potatoes, letting them sit in a bowl of lightly salted water during preparation.  Rinse several times and place into deep pan, cover with water. Bring to a simmer or low boil on medium heat until potatoes are cooked, but not mushy, between 10 – 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing. In a separate, medium bowl combine the mayonnaise, mustard, honey mustard, pickle relish, diced dill pickles, celery, sweet and green onions, and salt/pepper. Taste this mixture (use a clean spoon, not your fingers, please!)

When the potatoes are fork tender, drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. When cool enough to handle, place potatoes in a large bowl.  Peel and cut up the hardboiled eggs (reserving two). Add these to potato mixture.

When you are satisfied with the tastes of the dressing fold it into the potato and eggs. To do this, slide your spoon or spatula down the side of the bowl and then scoop the potatoes to the center. Turn the bowl a little after each scoop. Doing this prevents the spoon from mashing the potatoes.

Cover tightly and refrigerate. It’s best if the flavors have several hours to blend.

Just before serving, add slices of eggs or olives for garnish and sprinkle with paprika for color, if desired.

Enjoy!

*Check out Mouthwatering Monday at Southern Fairytale*