Baking with Buddy: Grilled Chicken Squash and Zucchini Bake

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning is visit the local farmer’s market. I take my Thirty-One Market Tote and head out with my husband to find some produce. Recently, we picked up zucchini and squash, two vegetables I absolutely love. I usually saute them, but I wanted to try something a little different. Behold, the grilled chicken squash and zucchini bake!

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I found a recipe on Relish.com for a squash and zucchini bake and then tweaked it. Here’s that recipe:

Ingredients

4 small zucchini, diced (about 3 cups total)
2 cups (about 5 1/2 ounces) club cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan or 9-inch-square baking dish.
  2. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add zucchini; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
  3. Press cracker crumbs on bottom of prepared pan to form a crust. Dot with butter. Spoon zucchini on top.
  4. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until fluffy. Stir in onion, milk, 2/3 cup Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Pour over zucchini and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Cheddar and Parmesan.
  5. Bake, uncovered, 35 minutes, or until golden on edges.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m gluten free so the first thing out the door were the cracker crumbs. Instead, I substituted in two cups of gluten free bread crumbs. I then used organic eggs and milk and reduced fat cheese. I didn’t buy enough squash and zucchini at the market, so I added in some organic ones purchased at Wegmans. I also added in Bare Naked chicken tenders.

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Here’s my recipe:

1 package of Bare Naked chicken tenders

2 zucchini

2 squash

2 cups (about 5 1/2 ounces) gluten free bread crumbs

2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter

3 organic eggs

1 small onion, grated

1/2 cup 2% organic milk

1 cup shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan or 9-inch-square baking dish. I figured the chicken would add some size to the dish and I didn’t want it to be too thick so I used my Pyrex 9 x 13 baking dish. I sprayed it with Pam Organic Olive Oil to keep the casserole from sticking.
  2. Melt one tablespoon of organic butter in a large skillet and add chicken, cook until golden brown.20140707_190613
  3. While the chicken is cooking, slice the zucchini and squash into triangular pieces. I first cut it into slices and then cut those slices into fourths. Why? I don’t know, it just seems to be the best size for a casserole. You don’t want the chunks to be too big.20140707_190817
  4. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add zucchini and squash; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well in a colander. 20140707_193821
  5. With the zucchini and squash ready, the chicken should be finished cooking. Put the grilled tenders into a food processor (I used the 7-cup Cuisinart Food Processor (which I love)) and pulse them until finely chopped.
  6. Press the bread crumbs on the bottom of the prepared Pyrex dish to form a crust and dot it with the remaining butter.  Spoon zucchini and squash on top.20140707_192518
  7. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until fluffy. Stir in onion, milk, 2/3 cup Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Pour over zucchini and squash and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Cheddar and Parmesan. 20140707_195024
  8. Bake, uncovered, 35 minutes, or until golden on edges.
  9. Enjoy!

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I absolutely loved this dish and I hope you will too. It offered a new way to cook some old favorites. Let me know if you try it. I want to hear what you think!

DIY Fourth of July: Gigantic Patriotic Cookie

20140704_181919It’s here! It’s finally the fourth of July! If you’ve been following my posts, you should be all decorated. Now, you need dessert. Enter the gigantic, festive cookie! Seriously, it’s so big, it actually spilled over the sides of my pan and I’ll need to de-cookify the oven. Moving on… I used a recipe from Around My Family Table and tweaked it. Here’s the portion I used:

Giant Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookie {Gluten Free/Vegan}

 1-2 batches of chocolate chip cookies, prepared as directed, but not baked

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cookie/pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Prepare cookie mix according to package/recipe instructions. (You will probably need two mixes to fill the pan.) Spread cookie dough evenly in pan, pressing all the way to the edges. Bake for 15 minutes and then check every few minutes until cookies are baked and almost fully set in the middle.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  • Decorate with red white and blue icing
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Their recipe calls for handmade icing. I wasn’t feeling up to that so I decided to cheat and purchased Wilton icing instead. As a tip, you’ll need one tube for the blue and two tubes for the red. I found this out the hard way when I was halfway through decorating and ran out of icing.
 
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For the cookie itself, I used two boxes of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Each box requires one stick of butter (I used Simply Balanced Organic Unsalted Butter), one egg (I used brown eggs) and one teaspoon of gluten free Vanilla (I used McCormick).
  • 20140704_162925Following the directions from the original recipe, I prepared the two boxes of cookie mix using my KitchenAid Mixer. If you don’t have one, break down and buy one. You’ll love it and, if you look hard enough, you can find them at a great price thanks to sales. I also used the KitchenAid Flex Edge Beater which actually scrapes the bowl as you mix. My parents gave me the attachment as part of a Christmas gift and I love it. I don’t have to occasionally stop the mixer to scrape the bowl.
  • Once the mix was prepared, I scooped it into my Chefmate Pizza Pan. You really have to press down on the dough and work it a bit to get it to spread out and fill the entire pan, up to the edges.20140704_163555
  • Bake your massively large cookie for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. There’s almost a little too much dough for the pan, so the cookie will spill over when it’s baking. I actually left it in the pan once it was done cooking and trimmed around the edges to make it perfectly round. It was far too heavy to try to move onto something else.
 
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  • Let the cookie cool completely before decorating. This is a perfect time to eat the pieces that you trimmed off.
 
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  • Using the blue icing, draw the square for the flag and fill it in. You can use a butter knife dipped in water to help evenly spread the icing.
  • 20140704_172654Using the white icing, draw the stripes, leaving space for the red stripes between. Also, with a star tip, add white stars to the blue square.
  • Fill in the empty space between the white stripes with red, finishing up the flag design.
  • Rejoice in your cookie talent. And, of course, eat it!

Happy fourth of July!

 
 
 
 

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Ron made me muffins today and not just any muffins, but rather blueberry gluten-free muffins. I’ve always had gastrointestinal issues from childhood on. I recently started researching gluten insensitivity and many of the symptoms fit with my issues so I decided to try 60 days gluten-free. If I can tell a difference I’ll continue on with it past the 60 days. If not, I’ll try a different elimination-style diet. I’ve only been gluten-free for a week, but so far so good. The only real problem I’ve had is with breakfast. Most breakfast foods include some form of wheat, rye or barley. They make gluten-free waffles and pancakes, but I don’t really like either, so hopefully these muffins will help fix that.

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I continued my baking today with sugar cookies and peppermint swirl cookies. Really, I should have just done chocolate chip or something easy. Sugar cookies are such a pain. I love them though and they turned out fine. The peppermint swirls are fine too, just not round enough. Oh well. Cookies are cookies, right?

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I finally got the chance to do some baking today. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. I made these really intense stained glass cookies. It’s basically a sugar cookie with melted candy in the center to look like glass. They were pretty meticulous to make with cutting everything out and pouring the crushed candy in. Taste wise it’s like a cookie-candy thing. I can’t really explain it. Tomorrow I’m going to do some more baking and also make pretzels.

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For Easter, I made two of these cakes, one for lunch at Ron’s grandparent’s house and one for a cookout at my parent’s house. I made them last night and Ron helped me. I found the idea on Pinterest, of course, and the cakes turned out great. Sadly, we ran out of Kit Kat Bars last night and Ron made an emergency run to 7-11 to get some more. I’m nostalgic for the days when candy was cheap. Five packs of Kit Kats was $8. That’s pretty ridiculous, but I guess it was worth it since the cakes turned out great. However, should you try to make these, please note it takes approximately 56 Kit Kat Bars to circle a nine-inch cake, not 36 like some woman online said. Happy Easter!

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I finally made some Christmas cookies today. I usually start way earlier, but today was the first time I found the time to actually cook. I was also able to get all the remaining presents wrapped and under the tree. Ron and I also made some presents last night and I finished them today with some decorative touches. Now it’s time for bed. Something’s been going around and I don’t feel that great. Every year since I was little I’ve always managed to get sick at the holidays. I’m trying everything to fight it, but we’ll see how it goes.