Sunday, August 31, 2008

Short cuts

It's Labor Day weekend. The end of a long summer and a day for family cook-outs. I'm no different. My brother is grilling ribs tomorrow and I was thinking of making a dessert to take. I got thinking about all the short cuts we take now when it comes to cooking. I don't think I have made real mashed potatoes in years, but instead make instant when come out just as good. Then, there is slaw and potato salad. It's so much easier to pick up a container from the deli at the market. Although, I still think my potato salad is better than the deli's.

Then, there's dessert. It's so easy to use to ready-to use crusts when making a pie. Again, I think my homemade crust is better, but so much trouble to make. At Christmas, I used to make cut-out sugar cookies with my daughter when she was young. Now, I can buy a cookie mix or a tube of cookie dough to slice. Even easier are the cookies that are already cut and you just place them on the baking sheet.

What made me think of this is when I was at the market yesterday evening. I had just paid for my groceries when the clerk said something to the lady behind me about the huge pie she was getting. I looked on the moving counter and I admit, it was the biggest pie I had ever seen and boy did it look good. I think it was a caramel topped apple pie. I can't even imagine all the work it would take to make that from scratch.

I do love to bake and I always make pumpkin pies at Christmas from scratch, with the ready-to-use crust. But, with it being so hot on this Labor Day weekend, I would be crazy to run the oven to bake a pie. So, on the way to my mom's tomorrow for our cook-out, I think I will stop by the grocery store and see if they have any of those pies left.

Have a great holiday weekend and I can't wait for the cooler weather of fall.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Garden Harvest

I know I was supposed to post last weekend after returning from my business trip, but you know how tired you can be after a long drive. I had hoped that I would have eaten some fantastic dish while I was away and could come back to tell you all about it. Unfortunately, I ate fast food most of the week in my hotel room.

What I did come back to was neighbors and friends supplying us with fresh vegetables from their gardens. I definitely welcomed that because we weren't able to put a garden out this year due to my surgery in the spring. So, what I have included today are two of my favorite recipes using zucchini. The first one is how my mom fries zucchini. I could eat every slice, if I let myself.

The second recipe is for Zucchini Casserole from my late aunt. She used to fix several of these at a time in disposable aluminum pans and freeze them to fix when she had company. I sometimes fix and freeze one to bake when we get home from a vacation so I don't have to cook supper that evening.

Fried Zucchini
4 eggs
3/4 C. milk
1 1/4 t. salt
2-3 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced
2 1/2 C. flour
vegetable oil

Mix eggs, milk, and salt together to make batter. Dip zucchini into the batter and then roll in flour to coat. Fry in hot oil until lightly brown. Drain on paper towel, then service warm.

Zucchini Casserole
2 C. grated zucchini
1 C. grated carrots
1 C. diced onion
1- 8 oz. container sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 stick butter or margarine
1 pan of baked cornbread

Mix sour cream and soup together. Set aside. Crumble half of the cornbread on the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer zucchini, onion, and carrots on top of cornbread. Pour sour cream/soup mixture on top of layers. Then, crumble the rest of the cornbread for the top layer. Melt the butter and drizzle it over the cornbread. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees.