Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese

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I know it’s not quite the season yet but I couldn’t pass up the zucchini and corn in the grocery store this week. Zucchini is probably my all time favorite vegetable, actually they might tie with tomatoes I’m not sure I can pick one over the other. Anyway, I had this idea of roasting all these vegetables together and adding them to a mac and cheese. You know me, I love a good mac and cheese so why not add some vegetables to it??

After roasting the vegetables they looked and smelled so good I was tempted to skip the rest and just eat them right out of the dish. I continued with the plan though and I’m glad I did. I debated over which cheese to use and ended up deciding on a cheddar and gruyere mix. The sweetness of the corn really makes this dish.  Now I have a feeling I’ll be making similar mac and cheese dishes for every season.

And of course I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday! I had a great time co-hosting last week’s Fiesta Friday with Angie, Jhuls and Selma. I can’t wait to see what everyone else brings today!

Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese
2 ears of corn
2 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 box medium shells pasta
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups of milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully cut the sides of the corn to remove the kernels and place them in a bowl. Cut the zucchini, pepper and onion into bite sized pieces and add them to the bowl with the corn. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, salt, paprika and pepper. Pour the vegetable mixture into a large baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes until the vegetables have softened.

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2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta into a strainer.

3. Add the butter to the pot on low heat. Once the butter has melted add the flour and whisk until combined. Next add the milk. When the milk begins to warm up, turn up the heat slightly, to about medium. Then add the cheeses and stir constantly until the cheese melts and you have a thick sauce.

4. When the vegetables are done take them out and add the cooked pasta to baking dish. Then add the cheese sauce on top. Combine the sauce with the pasta and vegetables until everything is combined. Add the breadcrumbs on top.

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5. Turn the oven down to 350 and bake the mac n cheese for about 25 minutes, until the top has browned. Enjoy!

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Corn Dip

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I’m almost embarrassed to admit that in my household of only two people, who generally consider themselves to be pretty healthy, this dip barely lasts 24 hours. It’s that good. It’s the perfect mix of the sweet corn, creamy cheese and tiniest bit of spice. I’m a real whimp when it comes to spicy things so I usually only add a tiny bit of cayenne and add some paprika instead. But, if you’re a spice lover you can certainly up the heat or add a diced jalepeno. I also somehow only had about half an onion, so I added some green onion to to this batch. I used canned corn because that’s what I had, but fresh would be great!

I’m bringing this dip toAngie’s Fiesta Friday party! Hopefully everyone there likes it as much as I do (or maybe hopefully not so I can eat it all myself..eek)photo(83)!

Corn Dip
2 cans sweet corn
1 small onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
8 oz cheddar cheese shredded or cubed
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Drain the corn and place in a bowl. Combine the corn with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all mixed together well. Place in an even layer in a baking dish.

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3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, until it begins to brown on top, enjoy!

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Chicken Kabobs

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Can you believe it’s Friday already? I seriously can’t, this week flew by. I’m happy I’m now caught up and I didn’t miss Fiesta Friday ! I’m glad to see that many of my fellow bloggers have embraced the change in seasons and are already taking to their grills. Given that I live in a small apartment in the DC suburbs, I’m not allowed to have a “real” grill, but I’ve found my cast iron grill pan works almost just as well. You don’t get the exact same flavor, but definitely some great grill marks.

I’ve also noticed many people making kabobs which bring back memories of my visit to Turkey almost a year ago. While I’m sure nothing I’m grilling at home is going to taste as great as what I ate in Istanbul, I’m certainly willing to give it a try!

Chicken Kabobs
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove chopped garlic
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 red bell peppers
1 onion

1. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mint, oregano and garlic in a bowl. Add the chicken and let marinate for two hours.

2. Chop the peppers and onion into inch long pieces and add to the marinating chicken.

 

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3. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes.

4. Place the peppers, onions and chicken cubes on a skewer in alternating order. Place on a hot grill pan and cook for about 15-25 minutes (for some reason mine took a long time to cook), until the chicken is cooked through, enjoy!

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Onion, Pepper and Tomato Quiche

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I hate to admit it, but my husband and I have become incredibly boring over the past year.  The highlight of our weekends lately is usually a trip to Costco and binge watching whatever the newest hit tv series is.  This weekend, we had to suck it up and pretend to be fun people.  My husband’s best friend was coming to visit and so we had to go out, stay out late and actually do things during the day.  Not that we didn’t have a good time, but by Sunday, I was exhausted.

Growing up, Sundays were synonymous with pasta.  For the most part, I’ve continued that tradition into my adult life but this Sunday I decided to forgo the Sunday sauce and whip up something that would make up for the lack of vegetables in our weekend meals of mac n cheese, chili fries and frozen pizza.  So, I took every remaining vegetable out of the fridge, sauteed them up and made this quiche.  The best thing about this dish is it has that warm comfort food feeling, but gives you lots of nutrients and vitamins from the veggies.  It also requires minimal work.  Since I was aiming for doing the least amount of work possible I used a ready made pie crust but you could certainly make a homemade one very quickly.  The recipe below is what I put in it, but you can put really anything you want in this, it’s a great versatile meal idea.

Onion, Pepper and Tomato Quiche

1 ready made pie crust
1 large chopped yellow onion
1chopped green  bell pepper
3 large chopped heirloom tomatoes
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese chopped or grated
1/2 cup monterrey jack with jalapeno cheese chopped or grated
2 t butter
1 t olive oil
seasonings to taste (I used salt, pepper, parsley and oregano)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Add the butter and olive oil to a pan on medium heatphoto (16)

3. When the butter is melted add the onion to the pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and whatever spices you like

4. When the onion is starting to get translucent add the pepper
**I like my peppers a little under cooked, if you like them softer, add them in with the onion or slightly after

5. Cook for another 4-6 minutes until peppers begin to soften

6. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute or two

7. When the onions, peppers and tomatoes are cooked turn the pan off and set aside

8. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and add the heavy cream, then add the cheese photo (14)

9. Place the pie crust in a pie dish (my pie dish was dirty so I had to use my spring form pan but it worked)!

10. Pour the vegetables into the pie crust and top with the egg, milk and cheese mixture

photo (17)11. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the quiche comes out clean, enjoy!