Late Summer Zucchini Quick Bread



How many of you have loads of zucchini that are ripe and ready for picking?  Just a few plants seem to produce lots of long slender veggies that taste great sliced and sautéed with carrots and onions, diced and cooked into a spicy spaghetti sauce, or shredded and dumped into your favorite quick bread recipe.  

A local farmer dropped off a bag full of produce last week. I was delighted to see the assortment of zucchini that often overwhelm the garden. I graciously thanked my friend and scooped up the zucchini with this delicious recipe in mind.

Tip: I always use my food processor to shred a summer’s worth of zucchini and then place in freezer bags in 2 or 4 cup quantities.  (Label with date, product, and amount).  This way I have zucchini ready whenever I want to bake this quick bread throughout the year.  

This recipe yields four deliciously moist loaves that can be eaten, frozen, or given away as fresh baked gifts from the kitchen.  Don’t forget to share a loaf or two with a local grower who might be inclined to share some freshly picked produce when he/she has more than they can use.

Late Summer Zucchini Quick Bread 

6 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoon baking powder

6 teaspoons ground cinnamon

6 eggs

 2 cup vegetable oil

4 cups white sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

4 cups grated zucchini

2 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups raisins

1 package instant oatmeal for topping, any flavor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray with cooking spray, four 8 x 4 inch pans.  In a very large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together.

Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a separate large bowl. Add wet ingredients to the dry mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini, nuts, and raisins until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle flavored instant oatmeal evenly over batter.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20-30 minutes. Carefully, remove from pan, and cool completely.



Fresh from the Garden Refrigerator Pickles

I was pleasantly surprised this week when a co-worker brought in a big bag of freshly picked pickling cucumbers and plopped them on the break room table.  She announced that the cucumbers were from her father’s garden and that anyone was welcome to take as many as they liked.  Straight away, I scooped up a good majority of the pickles and packed them away for one of my favorite summer projects.  When I returned home from work that evening, I began the task at hand, slicing the veggies for my refreshing refrigerator pickles.  

This recipe yields several jars of a delicious, crunchy, sweet condiment.  Use a variety of green, red, or yellow  peppers to add a bit of color to the mix.  You will love the ease at which this recipe comes together (ridiculously easy). More importantly, you will love the taste of these refreshingly delicious refrigerator pickles!





Fresh from the Garden Refrigerator Pickles

1 cup distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1/4 cup mixed pickling spice

6 cups sliced pickling cucumbers

1 cup sliced onions

1 cup sliced green bell peppers

In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved, 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, drop a teaspoon of pickling spices into the bottom of each sterilized canning jar.  

Tightly pack the mixture of cucumbers, onions and green bell peppers into jars. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables, covering vegetables completely.  Twist on lids and store in the refrigerator for three days before serving.





Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal II



While watching a local PBS cooking show last Saturday afternoon, I was captivated by a recipe that was shared by Ellie Krieger.  After further investigation, a web search disclosed that the original recipe was actually written by an author working for the Washington Post. I quickly printed the recipe and looked forward to baking the dish this weekend.  My children would be traveling back from college for a quick visit and I was anxious to assemble the baked oatmeal for Saturday breakfast.  I doubled and adjusted the original recipe as I wanted to send back to school with my daughter a portion of the dish to be warmed up for weekday meals.  

This recipe did not disappoint.  On my goodness, it is absolutely delicious! While I changed up the recipe quite a bit, here is the link for the original recipe.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/recipes/morning-glory-baked-oatmeal/15077/

My recipe is posted below…



Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal II

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Pinch of salt

4 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats 

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 cups unsweetened almond milk

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 large egg

4 tablespoons canola oil

3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups apples, cored and diced  

2 cups carrots, shredded 

1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13X9″ baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix together the pecans, cinnamon, the brown sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, baking powder. Whisk together the milk, maple syrup, egg, oil and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. Pour the milk mixture over the oat mixture, stirring to combine, then mix in the apple, carrots and raisins.

Pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the pecan and brown sugar mixture.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden at the edges and just set at the center. Serve warm.

Adapted from a recipe first posted by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Queso Blanco Chicken and Salsa

On a recent Saturday outing, my family and I stumbled upon a quaint new restaurant in the middle of our town square featuring Mexican cuisine.  As we were seated in the festive dining room, a heaping basket of freshly made chips and salsa was delivered to the table.  Looking over the extensive menu, I was excited to find a chicken dish that seemed fresh and flavorful with simple ingredients.  I immediately requested the dish and continued to munch on the crispy chips and spicy salsa while listening to the sounds of the lively Mexican music streaming through the sound system.  

As we waited for our meal to arrive, we chatted about our desire to visit a local farmer’s market to find lots of fresh produce to make our own salsa when returning home for the day.  

Alas, our meals arrived and as the waitress placed the scrumptious looking dish in front of me, I realized how simple it would be for me to replicate the flavors at home and quickly made a note of all of the items on the plate.  After a lovely meal, we headed out to the farmer’s market located a few short blocks through the town square. We enjoyed a lovely walk through the bustling scene teaming with a variety of fresh vegetables and quickly scooped up the ingredients needed to replicate my chicken dish.  This is how I assembled my own version of the delicious meal…

Queso Blanco Chicken and Salsa

6 chicken breasts

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 (15 oz.) jar Queso Blanco Dip

1 1/2 cups Fresh (or store bought) Chunky Salsa (see recipe below)

6 ears corn, shucked and cleaned

2 avocado, sliced

Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Bake or grill for 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  In the meantime, place ears of corn on outdoor grill or indoor grilling skillet, roast until tender.  Slice corn off of the cob.  Season to taste with butter and salt, if desired.  In a microwave safe bowl, heat Queso Blanco Dip until warm and pourable.  To serve, place a chicken breast on each plate, drizzle with Queso Blanco Dip and garnish with fresh cilantro. Next,  add to the plate, a couple of heaping spoons of roasted corn, fresh salsa, and slices of avocado.  Simple and delicious!

Homemade Chunky Salsa

2 cups ripe plum tomatoes, diced 

1/4 cup white onion, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice, bottled or fresh

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

1 small garlic clove, minced

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Cover tightly and refrigerate before serving.



Oatmeal Snack Cake

 There are very few recipes that I bake where I don’t use oatmeal as an ingredient in some form or another.  I often stir a handful of oatmeal into the batter for cakes, cookies, and muffins.  Or, I might sprinkle oats over the top of the batter just before popping pans into the oven.  I even stir oats into my ground beef when making meatloaf, hamburgers, or meatballs.  I’m a big fan of the flavor, texture, and health benefit that oats can bring to many recipes. 

This Oatmeal Snack Cake is chocked full of flavor and is great with a cup of coffee, packed in the lunchbox for a mid-day treat, or served with a scoop of ice cream after an evening meal.  The sweet glaze drizzled over the top of the cake is optional but it dresses things up a bit.  Mostly, I just bake the recipe the way it’s written, slice it after cooling, pack it into a Tupperware container,  and wait for it to disappear.  


Oatmeal Snack Cake

1 1⁄4 cups boiling water

1 cup old fashioned oats

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1⁄3 cups flour

1 teaspoon  ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon  baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon  vanilla

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cups walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13X9″ baking pan, set aside.  

Pour boiling water over dry oatmeal; set aside for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt.  In a separate mixing bowl, combine sugars and oil until well blended. Add eggs, vanilla, and cooled oatmeal, mix thoroughly.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Stir in raisins and nuts.  Pour into prepared baking pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool completely before slicing. Drizzle with icing or sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Rosemary and Basil Herbed Flat Bread



I usually make this bread during the late spring and summer months when fresh herbs are abundant and ready to be trimmed.  There’s no point in making this bread unless you have fresh herbs to incorporate into the batter and snip over the finished product.  As the bread toasts in the oven, the irresistible aroma of freshly cut basil and rosemary, garlic, and olive oil is like no other.  The combination of herbs and spices help to make this summer staple undeniably scrumptious! Often served with pasta and red sauce, cheese and grapes, or a lite summer salad… It’s crazy delicious!



Rosemary and Basil Herbed Flat Bread

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning mix, and fresh herbs (to sprinkle over the top of bread after baking)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray or line each sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, herbs, baking powder and salt. Stir in water and 1/3 cup oil until mixture forms a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead for about 1 minute.

Divide dough in half; shape into two balls. Roll each ball into a thin oblong shape to fit on prepared baking sheet. Carefully transfer dough to prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack and  lightly brush each with remaining oil; sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, seasoning mix and fresh herbs. Slice for serving. 





Beef Salami

We recently had a substantial amount of local beef delivered to our home. One of my colleagues owns a beef ranch and I decided to try the product that so many often rave about.  The delivery came with a selection of cuts including various roasts, steaks, and ground beef.  As I looked at all of the individually wrapped beef packages, I was reminded of a recipe that I first spotted in a community cookbook that I’m fond of.  It’s an ole’ time recipe for homemade beef salami and the ingredients are few and common.  I substituted Lawry’s seasoning salt for the “tender quick salt” just because I didn’t have any on hand.  The beef salami turned out just fine.





As the holiday weekend approaches, I thought this might be a fun recipe to try as I’m often assembling plates of appetizers when friends stop by and the kids open the fridge constantly looking for something to munch on.