Sunday, April 22, 2012

Zucchini Squares

Zucchini Squares

from Annette Hill contributor to - 
Cane River's Louisiana Living -
A Culinary Tour

My favorite cookbook, besides the one my mother made for me when I got married, is my Louisiana Living cookbook.  It's tattered and has more than a few recipe stains from years of constant use.  My husband on his trips to south Louisiana on his annual deep sea fishing trip, used to always bring me back a cookbook.  On one trip he brought me this treasured copy and it has become one of my very favorites.

Years ago, when my oldest daughter competed in 4H food contest, this zucchini recipe was one that she made.  She won a first place with it and since then we fix this throughout the year, especially when I have an abundance of zucchini from our garden. 

The smell of these zucchini squares cooking is heavenly.  My brother's usually don't let many of them make it to the table.  And my nephew proclaimed at Easter that they were wonderful!  From that one, I take it as an extreme compliment!  This is one way to get a twelve year old to eat his veggies! 

The ingredients are simple and I have been known to double the recipe for family functions.  They reheat well in the microwave, but like any bread just make sure that you heat them for a few seconds only as to not overcook and harden them.

This spring I inherited a green house from my dear Uncle Andy. My husband didn't think that I needed it and now he loves it more than I do. We've practically grown all our vegetables and some of my flowering vines in it this year.  We expect a bumper crop of zucchini this year as the rains seem to keep coming and one seed packet goes a long, long way!

Try this recipe soon.  For the last few years these zucchini squares have been one step from being my next blog post.  It's one of my very favorites and a pretty healthy dish to boot!

Thank you Anita Hill and Louisiana Living cookbook for this wonderful recipe!   If you ever get the chance, buy this cookbook!

Zucchini Squares

3 eggs beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk biscuit baking mix
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese(2 1/2 ounces), grated cup
1/2 chopped green onions
3 cups thinly sliced zucchini - it calls for peeled, but I leave the skins on
2 tablespoons chopped parsley - I rarely use this
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper (I use regular pepper)
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (I use 1 tsp.)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
dash of pepper sauce (sometimes I use this, sometimes I don't)

Combine eggs, oil, and biscuit mix.  Add cheese, green onions, zucchini, parsley, garlic powder and hot pepper sauce, mixing well.  Spread batter in a 13x9x2 inch baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand until cook enough to touch.  Cut into small squares.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  Serves 15 - 20.

                                                                              Annette Hill

You'll love them!  And as I have said before about some of my best recipes...the true taste is if they are good cold...these are wonderful cold!  Make them soon and maybe with your abundance of zucchini!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Disney World Flowers

Disney World Flowers!

They say there are a few times of the year that everyone should go to Disney World; spring break, fall, and before Christmas.  Recently we chose spring break and decided that we will NEVER brave the hot weather in central Florida again.  To say the weather was perfect is an understatement.  It was refreshing to say the least.  Coming from my part of Texas, my family knows first hand about humidity...spring break was a very welcome break!

Besides being with my family while at Disney World, the flowers borders, pots, and hanging baskets are what draw me the most.  I am an avid gardener....really pretty obsessed with it.  My two oldest daughters were subjected to many weekends on road trips to nurseries to get my trailer load of bedding plants for my yard each year...they said they hate it...but now they will both have graduated or will graduate with minors in horticulture from A&M.   I told them that it is all my fault! 

My husband, who has gotten the bug as well, is really into our vegetable garden and loved, loved Epcot's 'The Land; exhibit of hydroponic gardens.  My daughter's enjoyed the butterfly garden the most while there.  And I just wondered over the many collections of flowers like the Italy section of Epcot's World showcase picture with the life size Pluto and the mass of flowering pots below. 

Here are some pictures that I got inspiration from.  This was our 3rd trip and we plan on going many more times.  If you go make sure you follow the book, The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, with it's day plans for each park.  It's invaluable and I have used it each time over the last 16 years. 

Hydroponics at The Land Pavilion at Epcot. 
Stitch Garden
Butterfly garden!

These topiary's like Daisy Duck were just precious!

My oldest and the hanging basket in the back

Hanging basket up close! Notice the o'rings that allow them to twirl without getting hung up. Disney has genius at every turn with their flowers.

Sweet potatoes grown on a trellis - genius.

Just inspirational...can I make my back porch look like this?
I loved these mixed containers!

I hope you enjoy these pictures of the flowers at Disney World and Epcot.  They are forever inspiring to do more in my own ranch gardens.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Educated Taste

Brussels Sprouts are not everyone in the world's favorite vegetable.  As my grandfather would say when I was a kid if I didn't like what was on my plate, "It's an educated taste.  You're just not educated or mature enough for it!"  I think back now and think he was pretty profound in that statement!  Although, I profess to hating them as a child, I love, love them as an adult!  Not one of his grandkids were ever picky eaters at his house! I ate my Brussels Sprouts, liver, drank goats milk, and spinach at his house with out complaining!

What I once bought in mostly the freezer isle, now can be found in my local Sam's Club in the fresh produce section.  However, cooking them frozen are not at all bad. One bag of Brussels Sprouts will feed a family of five and two will take care of a small crowd for holidays or when guest come over. 

Sometimes I sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on the cooked Brussels Sprouts.  Truly, it's one of those three to four ingredient dishes that come together in less than thirty minutes from the oven or grill.  If you chose to grill it, make a foil packet, follow the instruction in the recipe below, and add four to six cubes of ice.  The ice will help steam any vegetable as they cook over a low grill fire.  I love foil packets most because of the easy cleanup.  Make a slit on the top and serve right off the grill.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 package of Brussels Sprouts (6 - 8 cups), with hard ends sliced off (about 1/4 inch off the hard bottom) and then slice in half

1/4 to 1/2 cup Olive Oil or Canola Oil

1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1 cup of Parmesan Cheese, grated

Prepare Brussels Sprouts by cutting 1/4 inch of hard bottom core off.  Then slice each Brussels Sprout in half or maybe even fourths depending on the size of each sprout.  Foil line or lightly grease a metal or glass pan.  Place Brussels Sprouts in pan and drizzle with oil, turning to coat well.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Turn on roasting element on your convection or regular oven.  Place pan six to eight inches, even further if you are scared of this being too close from direct flame and roast, checking frequently and turning Brussels Sprouts as they cook.  Brussels Sprouts are cooked when they are soft to the touch and slightly browned.  Some sprouts will get a charred edge to them, but that just adds to the flavor...however...don't get them too charred!  No one likes burnt food!  So you have to watch them closely! I can't stress this near enough as I am the queen of burnt bread!  Roasting can take as long of twenty minutes in the oven or on the grill.  On the grill if you use a foil packet make sure you place ice on the seasoned Brussels Sprouts and fold the packet upward so you do not loose any of the liquid  from the packet that will help cook it. 

I sometimes add Parmesan Cheese to the cooked Brussels Sprouts.  It great with or with out it.  I have thought adding cooked bacon, but have not wanted to add the extra fat.

This is a healthy dish that I know our family will enjoy.  Remember to always introduce your kids to 'educated taste' food in hopes of not making them too picky of an eater!  They never know what they might just love! 

So here's to you to my grandaddy Herbert Young!  Thanks for always making me try 'mature' food as a child, all the while knowing that later I would serve it to his great grandchildren!  He would have loved this dish.


Alise Nolan

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Strawberry, Feta and Sugared Pecan Salad

As I have mentioned many times, I really don't plan much when it comes to my recipes.  Sometimes they flop...but at Easter and a recent dinner with friends, I put together a salad that I will make from now on for special occasions.  It's simple, pretty, and is over the top good.  My health-conscious oldest daughter says I need to find a lower calorie dressing...I'll try...but overall sometimes a little sugar is a pretty good thing!

I hope your family and friends enjoy it as much as we did.  You can substitute cherry tomatoes for the strawberries.

Strawberry, Feta and Sugared Pecan Salad

8 - 10 cups of a mixed green salad mixture

8 - 10 strawberries, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 package, 1/2 cup of sugared pecans or 'Pecan Pie Pecans' that I found in my local grocery store on the top shelf by all the nuts

1 - 4-ounce package of Herb Feta Cheese, crumbles

1 bottle of Raspberry Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Start by placing 2 - 3 cups salad in a bowl.  Add 1/3 Herb Feta Cheese, 1/3 sliced strawberries, and 1/3 sugared pecans.
  Continue to layer two more times in the same order.

I highly recommend the Pecan Pie Pecans.  They are a new favorite of mine.

***You may also substitute cherry tomatoes instead of the strawberries.  Enjoy!