Grilled Zucchini

“How did you make this?”

The last time I wrote about zucchini was back in 2019 when the same question was asked (probably by the same friend) which motivated me to write down how I make Zucchini, Corn & Red Pepper.

This super simple recipe is the perfect side vegetable when you have your grill fired up and ready for your perfectly seasoned chicken using the world famous Iki Marinade. Three squash will be enough for six side servings.

  • three large zucchini
  • salt and black pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch dried basil
  • grated Parmesan/Romano cheese blend
  1. Heat up your grill.
  2. Scrub and rinse the zucchini. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Cut the ends off then slice each squash lengthwise and each half in half. You want four nice sized chunks each about 3-4 inches long.
  4. Arrange the squash in a baking dish and coat liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Flip the pieces so that they are cut side up.
  5. Lightly sprinkle with salt, onion and garlic powders.
  6. When your grill is nice and hot place the squash pieces onto the grill skin side down. Angle them if you want to make grill marks.
  7. Close the lid and grill for 1-2 minutes. Reposition the squash (for those grill marks) close the lid and grill for another 1-2 minutes.
  8. Flip the squash to cut side down. Repeat #7.
  9. The squash should be firm and cooked through after 8-9 minutes. Remove and place back into the baking dish cut side up.
  10. Lightly sprinkle black pepper, dried basil, and grated cheese.
  11. The zucchini can be served at room temperature or kept in a warmed oven prior to serving. If you use the oven to keep the zucchini warm remember they will continue to cook and might get mushy.
Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels.com

Tips and Otherwise Random Thoughts

You’ll note that the black pepper, basil, and cheese are added after grilling. I do this so that these ingredients don’t get burned/grilled off in the cooking process. For the Veganistas out there, leave off the cheese. I happen have a preference for Spanish extra virgin olive oil. The private label brand I buy sneakily substituted EVO from Portugal instead of Spain. Now I like Portuguese olive oil too. I specifically used a baking dish to hold the squash before grilling because I did put the veggies in the oven to keep warm.

The next time I grill zucchini I plan on grilling twice the number of squash. I’ll use the leftover squash in a pasta dish.

How To Decide if It’s a Lentil Soup Day

It’s a lentil soup day.

A lot of readers liked Spanish Style Lentils and so do I. But today I’m making my time tested lentil soup recipe which you can find here The Pandemic Pantry -Lentil Soup. Or if you’re feeling adventurous try one of the Lentil Recipes – The First Mess which to be honest I haven’t tried yet.

I’m glad I don’t need mushrooms because I used the one I bought recently in another dish.

Absolutely not an altered photo. Just one very large button mushroom.

I added more carrots and so far at the 30 minute mark I’ve used the entire quart of organic low sodium chicken broth. I did not use the mutant carrot because it went bad before I could use it.

You’re starting to see some interesting produce nowadays.

Today’s post was for the critic who complained about the lack of pictures in this blog.

White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Sunday is a good Beanday. A day of rest. Maybe a few, but not too many errands. Hang out the rest of the day at home and make a pot of beans for the week.

This morning I was compiling a dried bean inventory so that I wouldn’t buy more of what I already have on hand. My beans are in various containers in the pantry and on the kitchen counter. Some packages of dried beans are unopened. My quick inventory told me I had green split peas, adzuki, black beans, black eyed peas, red and brown lentils, chickpeas, pinto, mayacabo, white beans, and an unidentified variety which I had to research to figure out I had Cranberry beans!

The white beans were stored in a plastic baggie and fearing they may have been in the pantry since the last time I made Wing and Leg Navy Bean Soup I thought I would cook them. After a triple rinse I quick soaked them (rinse, drain, pour boiling water over all and cover for one hour). Drain again, cover with fresh filtered water, a little onion powder, garlic powder, one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to super low, and simmer for several hours.

Now I had a pot of beans before deciding what dish to make. After exhausting the possibilities I decided upon a White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew. My inspiration came from the same source as Spanish Style Lentils. So if you’re a visual learner, here you go:

Here’s a link to the original recipe – https://spainonafork.com/spanish-white-bean-and-sweet-potato-stew-recipe/

Here’s what I’ll eating all week.

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup canned stewed tomatoes
  • dash apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 cups organic vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized stock pot
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrot. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and both paprika powders. Saute briefly for about a minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, vinegar and simmer for five minutes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens.
  4. Add the beans, sweet potato, and two cups of broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for around 30 minutes. Check and stir throughout this process and add more broth to desired thickness and to prevent sticking/burning of the stew.
  5. When the potatoes are tender the stew is done. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
  6. Makes approximately six large servings.

Now I need to figure out what to make with the butternut squash I baked in the oven.

Spanish Style Lentils

I always wondered how they make lentils in Spain. So I went You Tubing.

Then my mind wandered and thought “I wonder if this chef has a website?”

Of course he does. https://spainonafork.com/classic-spanish-lentil-stew-recipe/

And since I’m feeling lazy today (while giving credit where credit is due) check out either the video or website for ingredients and instructions for the Classic Spanish Lentil Stew, known in Spain as Lentejas.

My tweaks:

  • no red pepper because I didn’t have one in the fridge
  • only two cloves of garlic plus granulated garlic to taste
  • 1/2 cup canned stewed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce (adds sweetness)
  • 2 carrots instead of one (because I like carrots)
  • 2 bay leaves instead of one
  • One quart organic vegetable stock instead of five cups (thicker stew, less soupy)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp regular sweet paprika (watch that smokey paprika because it can be quite strong and overpowering)
  • no added salt

This is an excellent recipe if you are gradually adding vegan dishes into your diet.

The Boss liked it.

Chickpea and Cabbage Soup

There was a head of green cabbage in the fridge that needed to be cooked. So I made a simple saute of cabbage, onions, carrots and garlic then put the entire veggie mix back into the fridge for another day. I spend quite a bit of time being creative with food items in the pantry/freezer/fridge in preparation for massive food shortages in the near future. My WFH coworker likes soup for lunch and I’ve frozen single servings of different soups so we could have different soups together for lunch.

This soup starts with leftover sauteed cabbage. You can always make this soup by starting with a veggie saute if you don’t have leftover cabbage. I always have vegetable broth in the pantry and there were cooked chickpeas in the freezer.

My inspiration came from https://www.thefullhelping.com/spicy-cabbage-chickpea-soup/#recipe but the two recipes are not really the same. The quantities here make about two servings. I didn’t want to make a lot in case I didn’t like it (I liked it).

Accidentally Vegan Chickpea and Cabbage Soup

  • 2 cups leftover green cabbage and vegetables
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can, drained and rinsed)
  1. Everyone into a small pot
  2. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes
  4. Makes about two servings

Tips

Salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the quantities of spice to taste also. I tossed in some extra garlic powder because I like garlic. Red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you’re into spicy. Subbing pasta or rice for the chickpeas would work nicely (if you can’t or won’t eat beans). This soup freezes well.

Keep a Journal/Food Diary

Journaling, it seems, is one of the most successful strategies for achieving long-term weight loss.[3-4] It increases a person’s awareness of what they’re eating and helps to unveil habits and patterns of eating. A Kaiser Permanente study with 1,700 participants found that those who kept food diaries six days a week lost twice as much as participants who didn’t journal.[5-6] Keeping a food journal also encourages us to take in fewer calories.[4-5]

Could Keeping a Food Journal Be the Missing Link to Finally Losing Weight? — https://nutritionstudies.org/could-keeping-a-food-journal-be-the-missing-link-to-finally-losing-weight/

I write in my journal nearly every day. I used to keep a food diary within my journal but somewhere along The Path I stopped.

I’ve gained some weight.

I have started to track my food intake again.

Grocery Store Bargains

With food inflation absolutely skyrocketing I decided to write a post about finding bargains. Yes, bargains in the grocery store. A little while ago I boasted about finding a dozen eggs for $0.89 and wrote Egg Salad (because you will be eating more eggs). Well eggs in my part of the world are no longer this cheap but you’ll never guess what I found at the store yesterday.

$0.49 a pound!

Even though The Boss is not a dark meat chicken person at this price she will be eating dark meat chicken for dinner. Besides, The Boss really likes Chicken Thighs with Spinach which I’ve made several times since discovering the how to video online. I just need to figure out some decent recipes for preparing drums.

The increasing domestic demand for thighs is incentivizing producers to keep chicken legs, which have historically been heavily exported overseas, in the US market. But since every bird has one drumstick for every thigh, it leaves more drumsticks in the market, often at bargain-basement prices.

Big Chicken’s Drumstick Dilemma — https://tastecooking.com/chicken-drumstick-dilemma-dark-meat-thigh/

My big old roasting pan came in handy. Cover the bottom with foil for easier clean up. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Artfully place the drums in the pan, coat with some olive oil, and add some herbs and spices. I used salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and thyme. Bake for 45-50 minutes flipping over once about halfway through. After removing from the oven let the drums sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

De-boned chicken drumsticks.

The picture represents about half of the drums. The other half got served with squash and rice on the side. There’s plenty of leftover chicken to top a green salad, make chicken salad, quesadillas, tacos, Ampaipitakwong Fried Rice (aka Pete’s) or just about any other dish that has cooked chicken in it. Like my One Rotisserie Chicken series except you get to cook the chicken.

One Rotisserie Chicken, 50 Meals – #1 Salad

One Rotisserie Chicken , 50 Meals – #2 Spinach Salad

One Rotisserire Chicken, 50 Meals – #3 Sour Cream Chicken Enchillada Casserole

I picked up two packages of drums. Not bad for two bucks.

Chicken Thighs with Spinach

For all the complainers who complain about my lack of food photos.

I tend to waste a lot of time watching other people cook on YouTube. But every now and then I actually make a dish I’ve watched someone else make and say to myself, this is a keeper.

“I make simpler things in a simpler way, now—as you get older your metabolism changes and you want something simpler, without embellishment.”

Jacques Pépin

Chef Jacques Pépin got through the pandemic with kitchen utensils, a video camera, and a great wardrobe — https://thecounter.org/rewrites-covid-19-chef-jacques-pepin-facebook-recipe-cookbook/

Salt, pepper, garlic, chicken thighs, and fresh spinach. That’s it. No added fats. Some rice or potatoes on the side and you have dinner on the table in 45 minutes or less. Check out the video.

I learned a lot by watching Jacques Pépin make chicken thigh. Incredible technique.

Egg Salad (because you will be eating more eggs)

https://investigatemidwest.org/2021/06/03/408469/

I just bought a dozen large eggs for $0.89. This is an inexpensive sandwich filling!

First boil some eggs. Add the eggs to a saucepan and fill with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let the eggs bathe for 12 minutes. When time’s up carefully drain the eggs and add cold water to the pan. Drain again then add cold water and lots of ice to the pan with the eggs. This shock treatment will allow for easier to peel hard boiled eggs in about 15 minutes. ( I used to hate peeling hard boiled eggs until I learned this technique);

4 large eggs
2-3 T mayonnaise
1/4 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 stalk celery diced
1 dill pickle spear diced
couple of dashes of onion powder and garlic powder
salt and black pepper to taste

Peel the eggs. Slice in half lengthwise and pop out the yolks. Place the yolks in a medium sized bowl and smash with a fork. Dice the egg whites and add to the bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Taste and adjust your seasonings. Four eggs will make enough egg salad for 2-3 hefty sandwiches. If you need more egg salad double the recipe.

Odds and Ends

Use just enough mayonnaise to hold the egg salad together. You want to taste the ingredients and not just the mayo.

Some folks will use fresh onion and garlic. I feel using fresh adds harshness and a certain pungency to the salad and prefer to use garlic and onion powders or granules. Diced carrots work well instead of celery. I’ve never tried using both carrots and celery but if you are a daredevil, be my guest. A couple of slices of crumbled bacon adds another depth of flavor if you like bacon.

Dill, no. Mustard, also no.

Many thanks to Ol Red Hair for nudging me to write this recipe down. This recipe holds a dear place in my heart because during the first year of the pandemic I ate more egg salad than I have eaten in my entire life. I also lost 25 pounds during the first year of the pandemic and some of the credit has to go to this egg salad recipe. It fills you up and as a result I snacked a whole lot less. When I told this story to my doctor she just looked at me and said,

“I can’t wait to see your blood work.”

“I’m eating more eggs to train my liver to produce less cholesterol.”

She smiled at me as if she wasn’t quite sure whether I was joking or being serious.

CHOLESTEROL 175 mg/dL
TRIGLYCERIDE 69 mg/dL
HDL 65 mg/dL
LDL CALCULATED 96 mg/dL
NON-HDL CHOLESTEROL 110 mg/dL

I was serious.