Cooking From the Garden

Hey everyone!  I hope ya'll are having a great week.  Things are good around here, & I've been having some fun cooking from our garden.  It isn't a large garden this time around, but it has been producing like CRAAAZY!  Shall we take a look?

No, it's not a baseball bat, but it might qualify as a lethal weapon....lol!  I truly try not to let them get this large, but these zucchini were hiding in the big plant & I almost tripped & fell over them!  Totally true!  There were several yellow crooknecks, too, but they are a little hard to miss in all their lovely 
mellow yellowness.

I'm getting a basketful of these little beauties every day or two.  I wash them & keep them in a bowl on the counter so we can grab & munch any time we pass by.  Sooooo good!

I had been waiting & waiting, watching all these big green lovelies;  then, YIKES, they all ripened at the same time.  Now what?  

What shall I do with all this bounty?  I decided to make Marinara Sauce -- yum!  I used the tomatoes, of course, both big & small.  I also cut up zucchini, the red peppers that were ripe, fresh basil, oregano & rosemary.  I cut up onion & lightly chopped several garlic cloves.

I loaded everything into the crockpot, added kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes & drizzled on some olive oil.

I cut everything in chunks & didn't peel anything except the onion & garlic.  I did remove the seeds from the tomatoes.  I started the crockpot on high for about an hour & then cooked it the rest of the day ( like 8 hours) on low until all the veggies were very tender.  This smelled sooooo good.  I then ladled off the excess liquid & used my Cuisinart Smart Stick to emulsify all the veggies.  I did a taste test & added a bit of sugar, & it was good to go.

As soon as the sauce was cool enough, I put it into 2 freezer bags with 4 cups each.   I also froze the extra broth which I will use in a soup or stew.  Oh, I feel so "Betty Crocker-ish!"

I've also been trying some vegetarian dishes once-in-awhile.  The one I made this week was
Black Bean & Zucchini Quesadillas.

Check it out at Health.com.  Even The Man, who was so skeptical, thought they were very good.  Super-easy to make, too!

My other new recipe is THIS Mock Apple Pie made with......

ZUCCHINI -- I'm not kidding!  This was a great way to use up one of those "club-size" zucs
that I had.  I pared the squash, sliced in half length-wise, removed the seeds (a grapefruit spoon works great for this little job), & then sliced it up.  Looks like apple slices, doesn't it?

It has a crumble topping & no pastry crust.  Sorry, I forgot to take an After pic.  It was very good!

I was kind of on a roll at this point & decided to try THIS recipe for Iced Coffee Concentrate.  I know, not exactly anything from the garden, but I did need a "pick-me-up" after all of that cooking!

This is a "cold brew" method which is supposed to be the best for iced coffee.  Just as an aside, you may remember that I gave up coffee (caffeine) a few months ago.  I still do not drink coffee in the mornings & have no cravings for it, but I do enjoy an iced coffee "sometimes" in the afternoon.  It's my special treat.

You do have to plan in advance for this, because the coffee & water needs to sit on the counter & brew for a day or overnight.  I strain mine through a fine wire mesh thingy lined with a double layer of cheesecloth.  This recipe is a stronger version of The Pioneer Woman's, which you can find HERE.   I keep mine in a couple of Pampered Chef pitchers in the fridge.

I fill my insulated tumbler with crushed ice, then fill about 2/3 to the top with the coffee concentrate, add milk & then top it off with a flavored coffee cream.  Because I was feeling very naughty (& because I had the ingredients), I made my own sweet cream using Dulce de Leche (melted slightly in the microwave) & Half 'n Half.  Dulce de Leche is the Mexican version of our canned sweet cream, but it is caramel-like.  It doesn't take very much of this delicacy to make my "tumbler runneth over with sheer joy!" 

Well folks, that about wraps up today's post.  I love throwing in a little cooking session every once-in-awhile just for fun.  If you have any good zucchini recipes you want to share, I would totally appreciate it.  It's amazing what one lone zucchini plant can produce.....lol!

Thanks so much for stopping by, & I will see you next time!

I'm happily linking to:
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Heather & Vanessa  At The Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday


  1. It's great that you are getting your veggies already! I just planted! lol! Your marinara sauce looks terrific. When I used to have a big garden I made it all the time but I canned it. Enjoy your bounty!


  2. Zucchini have a way of hiding, don't they? I also think they grow about a foot a day! I'll have to remember the mock-apple pie; by mid-summer, I'm always looking for creative zucchini recipes.

  3. I have never heard of the mock apple pie. How does it taste, and do you fool everyone? I can't believe all the beautiful veggies you are getting. So nice to eat fresh things that you have grown yourself. I love to eat cherry tomatoes like popcorn. Just have a bowl and keep popping them into my mouth. Lovely, and healthy post:)

  4. So pretty. What an idea for all of these vegetables. It all looks so good. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Your vegetables look great! Thanks for following me! I'm your newest follower!

  6. I have zucchini coming out of my ears! So far, I have made a zucchini cake (Pioneer Woman's recipe) and some zucchini muffins. Both were good. Your mock apple pie sounds delicious.

  7. Well, you really are on a roll, wow, so many great things from the garden and you are making some super sounding recipes. Love it. Hugs, Marty

  8. I love veggies! How nice you are getting such great products right out of your garden! I love your recipes also! They sound wonderful!

  9. My boys would die if I made the zucchini/apple pie and I'd love to just to see if they noticed! Looks like your garden is doing well and I'm glad you saved the juice from your sauce, bet it will be great in a veggie soup-enjoy:@)

  10. Yay! You got me drooling for quesadillas here Cas. It's one of my favorites. Unfortunately here, we seldom have fast food chains and restaurants selling them. The only famous Mexican restaurant here is Taco Bell. I think I have to catch one later :) Have a great day!

  11. Wow! You were one busy girl! I'm tired just reading about all that you got done. LOL Your sauce looks wonderful with all of those veggies to give it some rich flavors and that mock apple pie definitely has my curiosity piqued.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment about my chicken salad. Love to have you come back again for a visit. :~)

  12. Everything looks so good! I'm looking forward to grilling veggies this summer.

  13. Gosh, You're harvesting already? Your veggies look wonderful and the zucchini and black bean quesadillas look awesome.

  14. Wow your garden is so far ahead of ours and I am jealous. I can't wait to get some veggies. Enjoy it looks amazing.

    I am going to have to try making some iced coffee I am a big fan in the summer.

  15. Oh I'm so envious of all of those wonderful vegetables that you grew! We're getting close to ours being ready for harvesting. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying reading about the many different ways that you used yours. That marianara sauce sounds delicious! I can't get over those huge zucchini's too.

  16. How nice to have all those fresh garden veggies. They look awesome Cas!


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