Main Dishes, Pasta, Recipes

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna Rollups

Need a fun twist on regular lasagna? Try this zucchini and yellow squash stuffed variety! It’s easy and cheesy and full of all kinds of yum.

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna Rollups | thepajamachef.com

I don’t know about you but I know that zucchini and yellow squash are going to start invading my life in the next couple of months. I don’t know tons of people in Nashville with gardens [no offense Southerners, but midwest gardens>southern gardens ANY DAY. Same goes for farmer’s markets but that’s a whole ‘nother story.]. Back in the days of Indiana living, we knew tons of people with gardens and I could hardly go anywhere without being given zucchini and squash for free. Even at the farmer’s market. It was like, buy 1 get 24820 free. No joke. So I’ve got to start getting my recipes ready NOW. Even though I’m in the south, I know squash season is a-comin’.

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna Rollups | thepajamachef.comI actually made these Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna Rollups LAST summer but never got around to sharing them. Oh well, here they come! I know I’ll be making them several times throughout the summer. I don’t usually mind turning on my oven on a hot day if I know something tasty will come out of it. These lasagna rollups are quite a treat, and are so fun to eat. They use three kinds of cheese [creamy ricotta, sharp Parmesan, and mild mozzarella] so there’s something for everyone! For me, they’re a great way to use up yellow squash too. It’s not my favorite by itself, but when paired with something else I can handle it. Especially if there’s cheese! 🙂 I hope you enjoy this great meatless meal!

one year ago: White Chocolate Snack Mix
two years ago: Pork Chops with Quinoa, Kale, and Blood Orange
three years ago: Best Burrito Bowls Ever
four years ago: Sausage Apple Egg Strata

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna Rollups

  • Servings: 4
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from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
  • 1 medium yellow squash, grated and squeezed dry
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 lasagna noodles, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2-1 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan and spread about 1 cup of sauce in bottom of pan.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add zucchini and squash and saute for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.

Then, in a large bowl, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, egg, and pepper. Fold in veggies until combined.

Lay the lasagna noodles down on a clean countertop, patting dry with a dish towel as needed. Spread 1/3 cup of veggie mixture over the entire surface of the noodle. Gently roll and place seam-side down in the prepared pan. Repeat until all noodles and veggie mixture are gone.

Divide remaining sauce over top of lasagna rollups, then sprinkle with cheese.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until heated through and cheese on top is melted.

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Breakfast, Egg Dishes, Recipes

Earthy Frittata

This frittata combines earthy mushrooms, yellow squash, and oregano with sweet corn for a wonderful savory summer meal. The cheesy, crunchy topping will make you come back for seconds and thirds! 

Earthy Frittata | thepajamachef.com

I first fell in love with frittatas a few summers ago when we got a CSA through a vendor at our local farmer’s market. Man, I miss that farmer’s market so much. I just haven’t found one in Nashville that compares! :(But that’s alright, Nashville wins in plenty of other ways [read: BBQ. beautiful parks. our awesome church. our cats getting along. I could go on and on and on.]. Maybe someday I’ll find a farmer’s market I adore. But back to this frittata. It is gooooooood! And chock-ful of all your summer favorites, ready to eat hot or cold for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Earthy Frittata | thepajamachef.com

Though I still make this kale frittata more often than a certain husband of mine might like, I do try to branch out in my frittata-making. Aside from this pizza frittata, I think this one is the most different, simply  because of the crunchy topping. I usually finish off my frittatas with a sprinkling of cheese on top but now I know the secret for impressing Ben with a frittata: add cheese AND panko! Seriously! It sounds weird to add bread crumbs to an egg dish, but it works! It almost makes this healthy meal into a hearty comfort food casserole, and almost keeps him occupied enough not to notice the mushrooms [which aren’t his favorite thing ever]. I used shiitake mushrooms because Ben likes those more than traditional white mushrooms, but either can work.

Earthy Frittata | thepajamachef.com

The best thing with frittatas is that they are totally customizable, so feel free to play around with the mix-ins. Use zucchini instead of squash, or tomatoes instead of corn. Use another herb or a different type of cheese. But don’t forget about the topping… it’s what really makes this frittata stand out! Enjoy!

two years ago: Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
three years ago: Pillow Cookies
four years ago: Tomato Pie

Earthy Frittata

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced [white mushrooms also would be fine]
  • kernels from one ear of corn
  • crushed red pepper
  • 8 eggs
  • 2-3 sprigs Greek oregano [or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano]
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Herb Panko breadcrumbs [or add a little Italian seasoning and a dash of Parmesan to regular toasted breadcrumbs or Panko]

Directions:

Place sliced yellow squash in a large colander in the sink. Sprinkle with salt and let rest for 30 minutes to draw out excess moisture. Roll in a clean kitchen towel and gently press squash to dry and draw out moisture.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a 10 inch oven proof skillet, melt butter over medium heat. When hot, add squash and mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Add corn and season with crushed red pepper and stir to combine. Cook another minute or so.

Whisk eggs, oregano, and water together, then pour into skillet, taking care to distribute vegetables evenly throughout egg mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes until eggs are starting to set.

Next, top frittata with cheese and breadcrumbs, then bake for 10-15 minutes or until eggs are fully set and cheese is melted. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Appetizers, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Baked Cauli-Tots [Two Ways]

These cauli-tots are cheesy and crunchy, the perfect appetizer or side dish! Make them with cauliflower and add in some yellow squash or zucchini if desired! 

Baked Cauli-Tots [Two Ways] | thepajamachef.com

Before last month, I don’t think I have ever purchased a head of cauliflower in my life. I eat it, sure. It was a constant staple in the holiday vegetable tray throughout my childhood. If it’s on a salad bar, I’ll have some. If it’s in the mixed veggies of the day at a restaurant, same deal. But I don’t really buy it. Oh wait! I have purchased cauliflower once, to make fakeout alfredo sauce. Ben wasn’t fooled–this recipe is much better. But anyways, you get the gist. Cauliflower and I aren’t BFFs, not really. More like acquaintances of convenience or chance. Until NOW [mwahahaha, sorry Benjamin].

Baked Cauli-Tots [Two Ways] | thepajamachef.com

I’m not sure what convinced me to buy cauliflower this time, except that it was on sale. After much deliberation about what to make, I was in the kitchen whipping up these cute little tots. They are cheesy with the perfect crunchy shell. Since my initial foray into caul-tot making, I’ve messed around with the recipe a bit, adding some fresh herbs and even subbing out some of the cauliflower for yellow squash or zucchini. These little tots are addictive and are a great way to sneak in some extra veggies to a meal!

Baked Cauli-Tots [Two Ways] | thepajamachef.com

I can’t wait to experiment with more flavor combos with these tots… different cheeses, different herbs, different spices… I can’t wait! #sendhelptoBen Apparently, they freeze well too, but my batches haven’t lasted long enough to try that! My leftovers made an excellent lunch. Hope you enjoy!

one year ago: Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce
two years ago: Summery Squash and Chicken Lasagna
three years ago: Kale Frittata for Two
four years ago: Jambalaya 

Baked Cauli-Tots Two Ways

  • Servings: 2-4
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adapted from Cupcakes and Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups packed shredded cauliflower, water squeezed out with a kitchen towel [I use the shredding blade on my food processor. You can use the stems as well as florets.] – this is about half a head of cauliflower
    • If desired, you can make these squash-cauli tots by REDUCING the shredded cauliflower to 2 1/2 cups and ADDING 1 small shredded yellow squash or zucchini, water squeezed out with a kitchen towel [approximately 1 1/4 cups squash]
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
    • If squash or zucchini is added, increase the cornmeal to 1/3 cup
  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, optional [I used Thai basil and oregano]
  • dipping sauce, as desired – this homemade Chick-Fil-A sauce is great!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray two mini muffin pans with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together cauliflower, squash [if using], cheese, egg, cornmeal, pepper, mustard, and herbs [if using]. Spoon into prepared muffin tins, pressing mixture down firmly.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until crisp along the edges and golden brown on top.

Serve with dipping sauces as desired. We like honey mustard or bbq sauce best.

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.

Breakfast, Muffins, Recipes

Brown Sugar Squash Muffins

So, I kind of have a thing for muffins. They’re just so simple to make… leaving plenty of time to watch yet another episode of Make It Or Break It on Netflix. Muffins make such a convenient and [semi-healthy] snack. In a little over two years blogging, I have 11 other recipes posted here and a zillion others that are in the queue. Seriously! But enough about other recipes and muffins’ benefits. That’s boring. But these Brown Sugar Squash Muffins? They aren’t so boring.

These muffins are absolutely delicious! They’re stuffed with good things like grated yellow squash, applesauce, and mashed banana. The flavor of the yellow squash, for good or for ill, is drowned out by the applesauce and banana, so what’s left is a pillowy soft and light treat to make your day just a little bit better. The sweet fruity flavor is accentuated by the molasses-y, spicy flavor created by the welcoming combination of brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice [cannot WAIT for fall!]. Yum. Plus, if things weren’t good enough already… I topped them with a crumbly streusel to fancy them up a bit. Eeeeek! So. Good!

In the future, I can definitely see tossing in some dried cranberries, chopped apples, or nuts to add a little more texture, but they were amazing as-is and don’t really need that to succeed. Nope, we loved them and I hope you do too! I can’t wait til lunch–I have one waiting in my lunchbox! 🙂

Brown Sugar Squash Muffins [adapted from Parenting Miracles]
click to print

Ingredients:

for muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup summer squash, shredded
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed

for streusel

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease well with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, applesauce, milk, yogurt, eggs, squash, and banana. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then spoon into prepared pan.

Next, make streusel. Mix together oats, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Add melted butter and toss until mixture makes coarse crumbs. Spoon on top of muffin batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Time: 45 minutes.

Yield: 24 muffins.

Main Dishes, Pasta, Recipes

Summery Squash and Chicken Lasagna

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… poor, poor Ben and his experimental cook of a wife [that’s me, in case you were confused]. I can’t remember exactly when this was, but it was a couple summers ago. Ben came home from work and I proudly announced that I had made pasta. Like, from scratch. He was super impressed… and then sorely disappointed to discover that I hadn’t made fancy, familiar pasta, but rather zucchini “pasta.” It was something like this: long, thin strips of noodle-like zucchini. Though Ben was a dutiful, sweet husband that night and ate his “pasta” with as much gusto as he could reckon, after dinner was over, he promptly declared “never again.” Frankly, I was pretty glad. I like veggies more than the average person, I think, but when I want pasta, I want pasta. I want pasta like this.

Gooey. Cheesy. Herby. Veggie-licious, yet still utterly ridiculous.

So how did I get from fake-out pasta to this lasagna ridiculousness?

Well, last week I was looking around the fridge and spied some leftover grated zucchini as well as a big ‘ole yellow squash. I did a little googling and to my surprise, most of the pasta recipes involving these adaptable, versicle, hearty veggies that are so awesome in taking on the other flavors of a dish are either for the banned zucchini “pasta” or else include large chunks of squash. Large chunks of squash aren’t really my cup of tea, so I decided to get creative.

The heart of this Summery Squash and Chicken Lasagna is not the layers of luscious shredded cheese, cottage cheese [could also use ricotta], or even the homemade garlicky alfredo sauce. No, the star of the show was the lemony-herb chicken vegetable filling. This filling pairs mild squash with juicy tomatoes, bright parsley, tangy lemon, and just enough chicken to satisfy the meat lovers in your life.

Summery Squash and Chicken Lasagna is the comfort food version of light summer pasta, for sure. We loved that this lasagna wasn’t as heavy as traditional versions are, yet it still added a bit of richness to our evening meal. A richness that was tempered by the sweet, sour, and fresh tastes of summertime produce. Maybe another way to explain that richness, would be to say gold medal greatness, huh? Mhmm, you know what I mean if you were watching Aly Raisman’s gymnastics last night. Gold medal greatness right there… and ta da, right here! And it can be yours, in your very own kitchen. Yay! There will be good things in life when the Olympics are over. 🙂 And this lasagna is #1 on my list. Enjoy!

Summery Squash and Chicken Lasagna [a TPC original; alfredo sauce from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe]
click to print

Ingredients:

for alfredo sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 8 ounces cream cheese [regular or low-fat], softened and cut into 12 pieces
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

for filling #1

  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded [mine was from a chicken I roasted, but store bought rotisserie chicken would work too]
  • 1 cup grated zucchini, packed
  • 1 cup grated yellow squash, packed
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped [I used a yellow pear variety]
  • 1/4 cup parsley, loosely packed and minced
  • zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

for filling #2

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • pinch oregano
  • pinch garlic salt
  • 8 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 8×8 [9×9 should work too] baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Begin by making the alfredo sauce.

Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese piece by piece, stirring until smooth between additions. Mixture may appear curdled, but keep stirring. After about 3 minutes, you’ll be rewarded with a smooth paste. Next, slowly add milk in 1/4 cup increments. Make sure the milk is fully incorporated before adding the next 1/4 cup. Then, stir in parmesan cheese and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, mixing until cheese completely melts. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to thicken, then cover and remove from heat.

Next, combine chicken, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes in a bowl. Fold in parsley, lemon zest and juice, and red pepper. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese, egg, oregano, and garlic salt. Top with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, then mix to combine.

Assemble the lasagna by spreading a thin layer of alfredo sauce [about 1/5 of the total amount] on the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with two [uncooked] lasagna noodles, 1/4 of the cottage cheese mixture, 1/4 of the chicken/squash mixture, and 1/4 of the cheese. Repeat layering sauce, noodles, cottage cheese, chicken/squash, and cheese 3 more times–making 4 layers–then end with a layer of sauce.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until bubbly and brown. Remove from oven and wait 10 minutes before slicing.

Time: 90 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 4-6 servings.