August 2, 2013

Super Easy Summer Vegetable Casserole

Now that all of those yummy summer vegetables are becoming plentiful, I am always on the look out for new ways to prepare them. The other day I saw this recipe floating around on Facebook and was so impressed with the pretty colors, the fact that the slices veggies are vertical, and aside from the cheese (I used extra cheese), it really is a pretty healthy dish! So yes...I had to make this casserole!


Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sautéing
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped

Now try to keep the slice thickness the same for all of the sliced veggies. I used by brand new food processor for the zucchinis and potatoes.

2 zucchinis, sliced
2 potatoes, sliced
2 summer squashes, sliced
3 plum tomatoes, sliced
salt and pepper
dried thyme
fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup shredded Italian cheeses

Sauté the garlic and onions in the olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Spray an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the garlic and onion mixture on the bottom of the pan and then begin to stack your veggie slices vertically. I stacked my zucchini, then potato, summer squash and tomato. It kind of rhymes so it's easy to remember. Yay that and the fact there are only 4 vegetables!!!

Season generously with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in an oven set at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle on the cheese and then return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is a golden brown.

Serve hot and enjoy those vegetables!!!

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July 30, 2013

Buttermilk and Oatmeal Bread with a Honey Butter Spread

Last week while we were on vacation visiting the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, Chris and I took the kids out for dinner at this wonderful steak house over at the Fallsview casino mall called the Canyon Creek Chop House

The first thing we were served was a delicious bread with this ah-mazing honey butter spread! At that point I knew I would be on a mission to recreate that butter.

As it turns out, the butter was pretty easy to make. It is a 2:1 ratio of butter to honey, just let the butter sit at room temperature until it becomes soft, do not melt it in the microwave. Once soft add the honey a whip the butter and honey together. You can store it in the refrigerator as you would any butter, but make sure you remove it from the frig about 15 minutes before spreading it so it has the chance to soften naturally.

Now for the bread...I actually went on line looking for a nice healthy bread recipe and came across this buttermilk and oatmeal bread at a blog call Courage in the Kitchen. This recipe is very simple and the bread is incredibly soft and moist.


2 cups of warm water
1/4 tsp white sugar
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 old fashion oatmeal (must be old fashion oatmeal, no quick cooking or instant oats)
1/4 brown sugar
1 T salt
2 T butter
4-5 cups of all-purpose or bread flour (I used bread flour because I happen to have it on hand

First put 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl and then stir in the 1/4 tsp. of white sugar along with the dry yeast. Make sure the water is roughly body temperature...if it is too hot it will kill the yeast. Let mixture stand to proof the yeast. (Proofing the yeast = until the yeast becomes active)

Bring the rest of the water 1 1/2 cups to a boil and add the oatmeal, let cook for about 3 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Pour the oatmeal into a large bowl and stir in the butter, salt, brown sugar and buttermilk. Mix until smooth. This should cool the oatmeal enough for you to handle. Begin to add the flour and keep adding it until the flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes. It will be sticky at first but as you knead it it will become pliable and elastic. Add more flour as to your working surface as necessary. Place dough in a  bowl which has been greased with butter, shortening of cooking spray. Roll the dough until it is coated with the grease. Cover with damp towel and place in a warm spot to allow it to rise to 2 times its original size. This may take anywhere from 45-50 minutes.

Grease two 9 X 4 1/2 in loaf pans. Once the dough doubles in size, punch it down and knead for one more minute. Split the dough in half and place each half into a prepared pan. Again cover the two pans of dough and let them rise until the dough is even with the top of the bread pans. Place the pans in the center rack of an oven preheated to 375 degrees and let bake for about 30-35 minutes. The original recipe says to let it bake for 40-45 minutes, so just keep an eye on it as oven temperatures do vary.

 Remove from oven and let cool slightly. I like my bread on the softer side so I wrapped each loaf with plastic wrap and aluminium foil while they were still warm.


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