Zucchini and summer squash frittata

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Whelp, I'm laid up in bed due to my lower back's semiannual revolt against the rest of my body. Luckily, I've made a bunch of these easy and quick frittatas and the leftovers are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks. Or eaten with your hands while watching The Great British Baking Show from the floor.

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I started making these because it's summer squash season, which means that markets and backyard gardens are flooded with zucchini and yellow squash. There are recipes for galettes and gratins galore and I'm sure they're all delicious. But I wanted something easier and lighter. 

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And what's easier than a frittata? They require one pan and come together so fast. I love adding a salty, garlicky, crunchy kick on top with the combination of panko, minced garlic, Parmesan, and sea salt.

I also like to leave the squash in fairly large chunks because otherwise the vegetables disappear into mush. If your kiddos will more likely eat something with less visible squash, feel free to use thinner slices or even to spiralize the veggies.

I find that the crunch on top often distracts from the fact that this frittata is vegetable laden. To that end, you really have to use panko or gluten-free panko to achieve that crunch. Regular breadcrumbs won't do the trick.

Serve this with ANY pesto from the archives!

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Zucchini and summer squash frittata

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ -2 lbs zucchini and summer squash, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
8 large eggs
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Gouda
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan
2 large garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350.

Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet over a medium flame and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and fragrant.

Meanwhile, crack the eggs in the bowl and mix until the whites and yolks are well combined. Add the squash, the shredded Gruyere or Gouda, and a large pinch of salt and stir to combine. Pour into the pan with the hot onions and stir again to combine.

Cook the eggs and squash, undisturbed (no more stirring!), on the stove top for 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the eggs begin to set.

Meanwhile, combine the panko, garlic, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. When you're ready to put the frittata in the oven, top pour the panko mixture evenly over the top. 

Put in the oven and bake, uncovered, until there is no jiggle left in the eggs, or about 15-20 minutes. If the panko topping browns too quickly, cover it loosely with tin foil until the eggs are cooked.

Yield: 6-8 servings, depending on what meal you're eating this for and what you're having with it.

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Green enchiladas

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So, we got the oven fixed. And by "fixed" I mean that a man came over, looked in the oven with his iphone light, and pronounced it "dirty." He then proceeded to mansplain how an oven works like I don't have A FUCKING COOKING BLOG. And then charged us $119. So far, homeownership is fairly humiliating.

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Anyway, now that we have an oven again, let's talk about enchiladas, shall we? I love them because they're a throw-anything-in-as-filling-and-bake-until-bubbly kind of dish and with cooler weather coming, who doesn't look forward to these dinners again? However, I haven't had many good jarred sauces, so I decided to make my own and now I can never go back. Which makes this dish a bit more complicated and more appropriate for, say, a lazy rainy weekend than a frantic school night.

A couple of notes about this recipe: I used zucchini, turkey, and pinto beans, but feel free to sub any other veggies, beans, and proteins. You will have extra filling, but I felt it was silly to use less than the whole pound of turkey, which is the only amount sold by our farmer's market turkey stand. Eat it with an egg for breakfast and you won't mind having leftovers at all. Do not, however, change the cheese. This recipe hinges on the cheese. If you can't find cojita (though look as hard as you can because its GOOD), you can use a crumbly white cheese like ricotta salata or queso blanco. You'll also have extra sauce. I recommend doubling the sauce recipe because the casserole calls for just a bit more than half of the original recipe. Doubling means you'll have enough for 2 more large casseroles. Freeze it in two parts and you can cut down on the prep time for this dish significantly.

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I adapted the sauce recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and it's darn near perfect. I added another 1/2 cup of green chilis because I thought the green chili taste could have been slightly stronger. Other than that, this sauce is dynamite.

For the sauce:
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups canned, roasted poblano or other green chiles
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent too much browning.

Add the flour and stir until it has coated the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently for 3 more minutes to take away the raw taste of flour.

Add the cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly. Add the green chilis and cook for one minute.

Slowly whisk in the broth and stir to break up any clumps. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce is sufficiently thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon while still being a little runny. If too thick, add more broth. If too thin, continue cooking until the sauce tightens some more.

 

For the filling:
2 Tbsp oil
½ large onion
1 lb ground turkey
2 small or 1 large zucchini, chopped (about 1.5-2 cups)
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ tsp mild chili powder
¾ tsp cumin (heaping ½ tsp will do if you don’t want to be that precise)
½ tsp salt

For the casserole:
12-15 Corn tortillas
1.5-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 3-4 oz)
1 cup cotija cheese (about 3 oz)
1.5-1.75 cups green enchilada sauce (about half of the recipe, plus a few more Tbsps)

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a brownie or casserole dish and set aside.

Lay out a tortilla and scoop 1-2 small spoonfuls onto the middle of one tortilla. Sprinkle with a tbsp of cojita cheese and fold the ends to overlap in the middle. Carefully flip the bundle over and place into your casserole dish with the folded-side down. Repeat until the dish is full, squeezing as many tortillas as you can into the nooks and crannies.

Cover the folded tortillas with a thick layer of green enchilada sauce and spread into the corners. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or the cheese starts to look lightly golden and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 dinner servings, depending on how hungry you are and your sides.

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Farmer's market bread salad

What a week, friends. We're staring down the barrel of a huge house move and the world seems to be devolving into complete chaos. To combat all of this uncertainty, I'm organizing. Or, organizing as much as possible when life feels like a giant snow globe: One flick of the universe's wrist and everything that makes me feel grounded will be flying around every which way.

As someone who claims to be unsentimental about "stuff" and who has become pretty cutthroat about culling after 15 years of living in one, two, or three-room (not bedroom, room room) apartments, we still have a lot of unnecessary crap. Why do I have receipts for jeans I bought two years ago? Why are there face creams I've never used in my medicine cabinet? I'm not terribly worried about getting rid of things because we're moving to a house with plenty of space, but seriously future self: STOP BUYING PARENTING BOOKS YOU WILL NEVER READ. No one has space on their nightstands or in their brains, house or no house. 

I've also been trying to keep the food easy and nutritious since we don't have time or energy to cook anything complicated and I don't want to feel terrible after a heavy meal when we have so much to do. Enter, bread salad with fresh raw veggies from the farmer's market and a quick basil dressing. I am the queen of buying bread that looks great, forgetting about it, and realizing it's there a week later when it's hard as a rock. Bread salad is the perfect way to resurrect stale loaves and is a great alternative to leafy salads. You can make a huge batch of bread salad and eat it all week without worries about wilting. Also, I've never met a toddler who wanted to tear into a salad of leafy greens. But a salad that features bread and tomatoes and can be eaten with your fingers is a win with my kid.

A couple of notes: I tend to make this salad with heavy, thick whole grain bread, but it can easily be made with a stale baguette or something lighter. Use your discretion with the amount of dressing you add to the bread: A thicker bread will require more dressing while a lighter, airier bread will turn to mush with the same amount of liquid. The goal of adding dressing to the bread is to revitalize it with liquid without turning it into a liquid. So, start with 1/2 of the dressing and add more depending on how dense your bread is.

I like to eat this salad as is for lunch, but for dinner, feel free to add cheese, grilled chicken thighs, shredded rotisserie chicken, hard-boiled eggs, or grilled shrimp to make this into a more well-rounded meal.

 

Farmer’s market bread salad

8 oz very stale bread
2 ears corn
1 medium zucchini or other summer squash
½ large red onion
1 pint cherry tomatoes

For the dressing:
2 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves (I used about 75 leaves, or about 1 cup slightly packed)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt

Make the dressing: Blend all dressing ingredients in a food processor until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Check for seasoning and set aside.

Chop the bread and place in a large bowl. Add ½- ¾ of the dressing (See note above to determine how much dressing) and toss. Set aside.

Chop the rest of the raw veggies and add to the bread mixture. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to eat, drizzle with leftover dressing before serving.

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Mexican chocolate zucchini muffins

We had an I-ONLY-WANT-TO-EAT-CAKE-FOR-LUNCH episode recently, so I decided to give the people what they really want: Cake for breakfast. But not!

In honor of Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, I added some cayenne for the slightest of kicks in these healthy-ish breakfast/snack/anytime muffins. In honor of wanting to maintain balance in our diets, I added whole wheat flour, coconut sugar, avocado oil, zucchini, applesauce, and blackberries.

These muffins are really incredibly easy. No need to drain the zucchini or use separate bowls for the mixing. They're also free of dairy and refined sugar if you skip the chocolate chips, and can easily be made vegan by swapping in two flax eggs. The batter is thick (almost like a brownie batter), but puffs up with a light, airy, and not at all dry crumb.

This batch only made 11 muffins because Sticky Fingers here kept munching on the blackberries and chocolate chips I'd measured out. All of my other batches made an even dozen.

This batch only made 11 muffins because Sticky Fingers here kept munching on the blackberries and chocolate chips I'd measured out. All of my other batches made an even dozen.

Mexican chocolate zucchini muffins

1-2 cups shredded zucchini (from one medium zucchini)
2 eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup avocado oil (coconut and olive oil also work fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup white flour
¾ whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cayenne or chili powder
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1 small container fresh blackberries, or 1 cup frozen berries (not defrosted)

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the shredded zucchini with eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix well. Add the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cayenne, cinnamon, and salt, and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks (if using) and the blackberries.

Line or spray cupcake tins with coconut oil. Fill each opening ¾ full and bake for 23-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Yield: 10-12 muffins

Turkey dumplings

Turkey dumplings | Me & the Moose. Precooked filling speeds up the process of making these dumplings that are a fun vehicle for veggies and protein for lunchboxes, snacks, and dinners. #meandthemoose #dumplings #turkey #luncboxinspo #lunchboxideas #kidscooking #kidsrecipes #healthykidrecipes

If M used a lunchbox, these would be a great filler. A small, hand-held vehicle for lean protein and vegetables that you can make in a big batch or freeze and steam in small groups? Yes, please. Also, I folded some to look like origami dogs, which is always a hit with the toddler set.

Turkey dumplings | Me & the Moose. Precooked filling speeds up the process of making these dumplings that are a fun vehicle for veggies and protein for lunchboxes, snacks, and dinners. #meandthemoose #dumplings #turkey #luncboxinspo #lunchboxideas #kidscooking #kidsrecipes #healthykidrecipes

I'm always trying to get M into the kitchen with me for a few reasons: 1) Kids are more likely to try new things and be adventurous eaters when they have a hand in making the foods; and 2) It's SO HARD to cook and photograph meals when M wants to be doing something else. So far, sugar cookies and/or anything that needs to be rolled, rolled out, or stirred, have led to pretty successful partnerships. I try my best not to be precious about the kitchen and the mess that he's making. I draw the line at letting him eat anything raw, but otherwise, we have some good stain-remover and I lots of spare towels nearby to sop up spills.

Turkey dumplings | Me & the Moose. Precooked filling speeds up the process of making these dumplings that are a fun vehicle for veggies and protein for lunchboxes, snacks, and dinners. #meandthemoose #dumplings #turkey #luncboxinspo #lunchboxideas #kidscooking #kidsrecipes #healthykidrecipes

However, this recipe was a tough one. I think it required more dexterity than M currently has. I originally thought he could dip his finger into the water and wet the four corners or sides of the wontons before folding them, but he just wanted to drink the water. The filling is also fully cooked, so I wasn't worried about him sneaking bites, but alas. This one might be better for a 3-year-old, but use your judgement. HOWEVER! Here's how YOU can make these dumplings (see the recipe for full instructions):

Easy peasy. And the dogs:

Turkey dumplings | Me & the Moose. Precooked filling speeds up the process of making these dumplings that are a fun vehicle for veggies and protein for lunchboxes, snacks, and dinners. #meandthemoose #dumplings #turkey #luncboxinspo #lunchboxideas #kidscooking #kidsrecipes #healthykidrecipes

Turkey dumplings

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey (I used dark meat, but light meat or a mixture would be fine)
6-8 scallions (1 medium-sized bunch)
1 zucchini, shredded
1 Tbsp soy sauce
½ Tbsp fish sauce
Wonton wrappers

Shred the zucchini and let drain in a fine mesh sieve while you prepare the other ingredients. (If you don't have one, squeeze the zucchini between a few pieces of paper towel.) In a large sauté pan, heat oil over a medium flame and brown the ground turkey, breaking up any chunks. Add the scallions and drained zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes. If zucchini releases lots of water, don’t worry about it; it’ll evaporate in the cooking. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Let cool.

Clear off a large workspace. Have a small bowl of water nearby.

To make the square dumplings: Wet all four sides of a square wonton wrapper. Add 1 tsp of the turkey mixture to the center of the wonton. Fold the four corners into the middle and press down to secure. 

To make the dog dumplings: Wet two sides of a square wonton wrapper. Add 1 tsp of the turkey mixture to the center of the wonton. Fold wrapper in half and press down on two sides of the resulting triangle. Put a dot of water on both of the top corners and fold down a small triangle to make the ears.

To steam: To a regular steamer basket, add a circle of parchment paper with several slits cut into it. Bring a few inches of water to a boil and add the steamer basket. Add wontons, cover, and steam for 8 minutes.

To bake: Preheat the oven to 350. Place the wontons on a large baking sheet and spray with a neutral oil. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Yield: 34-40 wontons

Try one of these dipping sauces while you're at it:
Traditional, soy-sauce based 
Non-traditional, many varieties!
 

Turkey dumplings | Me & the Moose. Precooked filling speeds up the process of making these dumplings that are a fun vehicle for veggies and protein for lunchboxes, snacks, and dinners. #meandthemoose #dumplings #turkey #luncboxinspo #lunchboxideas #kidscooking #kidsrecipes #healthykidrecipes