Yard 2 Dinner Plate

It's only cool to take pictures of your food if you grow it !

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The Last of My Tomatoes and Zucchini

The weather has turned chilly up here in Idaho, and I harvested what will probably be the end of our vine-ripened tomatoes and zucchini (I still have some green tomatoes, which I may blog about in the future). This is always a bittersweet time of year, when I reflect on the successes and failures of my summer garden endeavors, try to make the most of the remaining garden fresh ingredients that will be available, and start making plans for improving my garden in the future. That said, I still have a large number of fresh tomatoes and zucchini to get through, so I’ve been trying to use fresh tomatoes in my cooking daily, and have been working diligently to fill my deep-freeze with different types of tomato soups, salsas, and zucchini breads. There were four stand-out recipes that I hit upon that I thought were worth sharing: chocolate zucchini bread, sweet potato tomato soup, sausage kale carrot white bean & tomato soup, and pita pizza with tomato paste sauce.

I slightly adapted a zucchini bread recipe from Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right to make my chocolate chip zucchini bread, but I used even less oil and used chocolate chips instead of walnuts. This recipe is delicious and healthy. It uses less oil than other varieties, plus greek yogurt for protein, and substitutes agave nectar for the more traditional brown sugar. My son keeps calling it “cake” rather than bread, so I’d say it is a sweet tooth pleaser.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

4 large eggs
½ cup agave syrup
1 cup greek yogurt
2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 orange zested
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl combine all dry ingredients except the chocolate chips. Gently fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients and combine. Add chocolate chips.
3. Fill loaf pan and bake 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serves 10-12.

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This bread was the perfect complement for my sweet potato tomato soup! Sweet potato and tomatoes might seem like strange partners, but the flavor of this soup is bright, tangy, and sweet, and the sweet potato makes it very filling yet healthy. Sam and I left Chris home alone while we visited my family, and he ate a bowl of it from the freezer every day I was gone and asked I make it again when I got home. I’d call that a winner!

Sweet Potato Tomato Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 small onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (I also had about 10 yellow baby tomatoes that I added in)
1 tsp better than bouillon
4 cups of water (or more)
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large stock pot, sauté garlic, onion, and celery in olive oil over med-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, tomatoes, bouillon, and enough water to cover the sweet potatoes. Cover the pot, reduce the heat, add the bay leaves, and simmer until sweet potatoes are soft. It was about 30 minutes for me. Remove the bay leaves and use immersion blender to blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

soup and bread

I didn’t manage to get a picture of the following recipe because I made on a day when we were so hungry and the soup was so tempting that I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough. I served this healthy, hearty, veggie-filled soup with the delicious butter crust sandwich bread by Kathryn Conrad for Cooking Light that I found here.

Sausage, Kale, Carrot, White Bean, Tomato Soup

3 sweet Italian sausages, I used Johnsonville brand
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped into small pieces
4 carrots, chopped into small pieces (I used white carrots from our garden)
6 small fresh tomatoes
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp better than bouillon
4 cups of water (at least)
3-4 cups of fresh kale
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Cook the sausage in a medium sauce pan over med-high heat. Slice into ¼-1/8 inch medallions, and brown for another few minutes. Set aside.
2. In a large stock pot, sauté garlic, onion, and celery in olive over med-high heat. Add carrots, tomatoes, beans, bouillon, water, and bay leaves. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Add sausage. Cook until the carrots are soft. Just before serving, add kale and simmer until soft and reduced in size. Don’t overcook the kale, or you will lose the beautiful bright green color! Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

The leftovers from this recipe earned the choice spot in our freezer for ease of access: lower level, on the left, up front. No need to deep freeze this stuff because we’ll be finishing it up soon!

freezer

I came up with the last recipe when I was trying to think of a way to feature the last of our fresh tomatoes in a fairly unprocessed way. These pizzas were so delicious that I ate more than I probably should have of Sam’s leftovers. If you haven’t tried making your own pizza sauce using tomato paste, I’d recommend that you try it immediately. Soooooo good.

Pita Pizzas with Tomato Paste Sauce 

4 pitas (we like Papa Pita pitas from Costco)
2 cups of mozzarella or Colby jack cheese
2 laughing cow wedges
2 tomatoes, rough chopped
½ bell pepper, rough chopped
½ cup browned hamburger (check out a shortcut for keeping prepared hamburger on hand)
Non-stick cooking spray

For pizza sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp dried basil leaves (I used some of the ones I dehydrated this summer)
3 tbs water
1 tbs agave nectar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Mix paste, water, agave nectar, basil, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Cook garlic in olive oil in small pan until browned. Add garlic and oil to the bowl. Mix well and let set for a few hours so the flavors can blend.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and place the pitas on the cookie sheet. Top the pitas with the listed toppings.
3. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pitas are a little browned. Serves 4.

pizza night

 

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