Baked Squash Casserole

It’s summer time and that time when we start gathering squash from the garden.  You always have a lot and one time and are looking for different ways to use it.  Try this recipe, we really enjoy it.  A little added bacon always makes every dish special in our house.

Ingredients:

8 medium size squash, sliced  (Yellow summer squash or zucchini, both are good this way)

1 medium onion, chopped

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4 cup melted butter

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

1 cup cracker crumbs or 1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

Dash of hot sauce

1 t Worcestershire sauce

Make It:

Cook squash and onion in a small amount of boiling water 5-7 minutes or until squash is tender, drain well.  (Can also be steamed if you prefer)

Combine squash mixture and remaining ingredients.

Mix well and spoon into a lightly greased 2 quart shallow casserole dish.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Yields: 8 servings

Recipe adapted from recipe in Southern Living Cookbook Annual Recipes 1983

Herbed Vinegars

Make your own herbed vinegars.  Great for salad dressings!

Ingredients

2 cups white vinegar (using a delicate vinegar like rice, champagne, or other white vinegars that have a more delicate flavor so that the herb flavors shine through.

1 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped

Make It

Chop the herbs and combine with the vinegar.

Let steep for at least two weeks.

Strain and put in a sealed jar to use.

 

Herbed Butter & Soft Cheeses

Make your own butter or soft cheeses or buy a good quality butter or cheese and add herbs to create a mouth watering treat!

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter,  yogurt cheese, cottage cheese, low fat yogurt, cream cheese or any other soft cheeses

1 T herbs, finely chopped

Make It

Mix ingredients.

Let it set for at least an hour to blend the flavors, preferably longer for more flavor.

 

 

 

 

Pesto Basil & Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Summertime is the time to enjoy fresh made pesto!  Fresh tomatoes and basil from your garden.  A healthy and delicious snack or a great addition to your meal.  Use it with pasta, as a spread on sandwiches or your sauce on your pizza that you make.

Ingredients

1 cup sun dried tomatoes

1 cup fresh basil

3/4 cup fresh parsley

2-3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup nuts (walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, macadamia nuts) Use what you have available

1 small fresh tomato or if you don’t have one use 1/3 cup crushed tomatoes

1/2 – 3/4 cup olive oil

1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Salt to taste

Make It

Soak your dried tomatoes in a bowl with warm water until tender.

In a food processor combine sun dried tomatoes, basil parsley, garlic and nuts.

Process until well blended, scraping down the sides as needed to be sure all ingredients are incorporated.

Drizzle in olive oil and process.

Stir in Parmesan cheese.

Season with salt to taste.

 

Garlic Scapes Pesto

You know those strange looking scapes that are on your hardneck garlic around mid May.  They are edible and have a really flavorful garlic flavor.  Use them in stir fry, pesto or really any dish that you would typically add garlic to.

Try this recipe for making pesto with the scapes.  They don’t have a long season so use them while they are available.

Ingredients

1 cup garlic scapes, sliced crosswise (usually about 12 scapes)

1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seed)  Use what you have available

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

1/2 cup basil leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

Small red onion

1 cup cherry tomatoes

Make It

Add garlic scapes and nuts to food processor.  Pulse till coarsely ground.

Add basil, lemon, onion and tomatoes.  Pulse.

Scrape down sides and pulse again.

Add cheese and pulse while drizzling oil through the spout.

Should have a smooth consistency.

Serve with bread, crackers or fresh veggies.

 

Super Healthy Sauteed Shiitakes

Shiitake Mushrooms are delicious and super healthy for you.

Shiitake mushrooms are very versatile and can be used with many savory dishes.  This simple mushroom recipe takes just minutes to make and will add valuable nutrients and flavor to your meal.

Did you know that shiitakes are:

  • Famous for their rich smoky flavor, shiitake mushrooms are said to have more than 10 times the flavor as white button mushroom
  • Shiitake mushrooms are known as a symbol of longevity in Asia because of their many health-promoting properties
  • Shiitake mushrooms may help boost immune system function and have anti-tumor, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-viral properties
  • Shiitake mushrooms are widely available at grocery stores, Asian markets, and some farmer’s markets; look for mushrooms that are firm, plump, and clean, and avoid those that are wet or slimy

Information and recipe are from the George Mateljan Foundation

 

Healthy Sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms

Calories: 212 per serving

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh sliced shiitake mushrooms (ideally organic)
  • 3 Tbsp. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 2 Tbsp. each of fresh rosemary, oregano, or feta cheese

Serving Size: 2

Procedure

  • Chop garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to enhance its health-promoting properties.
  • Remove stems from mushrooms and slice.
  • Heat broth in a stainless steel skillet. When broth begins to steam, add garlic and mushrooms and cover for 3 minutes.
  • Remove skillet cover and let mushrooms cook for 4 more minutes.
  • Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and whatever optional ingredients desired.

Recipe from George Mateljan Foundation

 

 

No Dig Vegetable Garden AKA Lasagna Garden

No Dig, No Till, No Weeding , No Kidding,

Mulch Queen Ruth Stout was the first person I read about that used the no dig gardening method.  Stout was born in 1884 and lived to be 96; by the 1950’s, she had written several books including how to have a green thumb without an aching back.  I was introduced to her books and no dig methods through the magazine Mother Earth News.

The no dig gardening method is simply to keep a thick mulch of any organic matter that rots on both the vegetable and the flower garden year round.  As it decays and enriches the soil, you add more.  You never till or dig up the garden but instead you just add more organic materials and plant into the decaying organic materials.

Several years later I read a book by Patricia Lanza called Lasagna Gardening.  No, this does not mean that you grow the ingredients to make lasagna to eat.  A lasagna garden is a nontraditional organic layering method you can use to create better soil.

 

Materials Needed

You use things like leaves, grass clippings, straw, vegetable scraps and finished compost.  You put down each of these materials in layers on top of the ground without tilling to plant your garden in. Using this method your organic materials are divided into two categories called browns and greens.  You want to use about twice as much of the browns as the greens and make several layers of each.  The greens can be thought of as wet or fresh like fresh green grass clippings or vegetable food scraps.  The brown can be thought of as dried materials like dry leaves or cardboard and shredded newspaper.  I also add organic minerals and fertilizer to the layers like AZOMITE (Mineral) and Espoma, a brand of Organic Fertilizer.  There are also many other amendments that you may use like Kelp Meal, Fish Meal, Rock Powders, Composted Chicken Manure, Worm Castings and many others.  Don’t overdo adding too many amendments because the layers of organic materials will have minerals and fertility that they will release as they decompose.

Finish with compost

You will need to add a little finished compost to the top layer so that you will have something less coarse to plant in.  If you don’t have any finished compost you can buy bags of it.  I like to use a brand called Black Kow.  If you make your no dig garden 6 to 8 months ahead you may not need as much finished compost on top because your organic materials will have decomposed more. I have made no dig gardens and planted the same day and they work just as well but they will need a 2 to 3 inch layer of finished compost on top to provide a better seed bed to plant into.

Because you are not tilling you don’t have as many weed seeds to contend with and basically you are creating a compost pile that is your garden so there is nothing hard about planting into it.

It sounds a little crazy but I have used this method and it works especially on a small scale home garden.  All you have to do is collect your materials ahead of time and most of them are free.

I have a vegetable bed on the farm that I made using a large pile of rotted leaves and food waste that has been very productive.  I have no reservations recommending it as a viable way to grow good food and ornamental plants as well.  The first step in creating a no dig garden is to collect the materials that you will need.  So start looking on your own property and what others are throwing away that you can use.  Once you have collected some large piles of organic materials and it usually takes more than you think.  You can start building your no dig garden.  You can use raised beds with boards around the outside but it is not necessary.  It is usually only done for aesthetics or to keep things tidy.  A mound of organic materials with no sides to contain it works just as well.

Start looking at leaves, rotted food scraps, grass clipping and other discarded materials as an opportunity to make your own No Dig Garden!