Eat Seasonal: Zucchini Pizzette

Hello July!

After a scorching week, tomorrow promises to bring a break in our heat wave and I am finally thinking about baking again. The produce at the markets is so inspiring and each day I am coming home with something new to play with in the Simple Bites kitchen.

My own garden has surprised me this year, flourishing despite the lack of attention from me. The zucchini (or courgettes) are beautiful right now, with every plant producing 4-5 per week. I harvest them while they are small and add them to everything from Easy Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti to my Harvest Tortilla Soup.

Since we’ve been rocking the summer of the spritz, I’ve also been incorporating my homegrown zucchini into little pre-dinner appetizers and they are too good not to share the recipe.

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Early Summer Risotto with New Garden Vegetables

I can’t quite remember when risotto went from being a favourite menu item when dining out to a weeknight staple around our table; a go-to comfort food that changed with the produce brought by each new season.

It may have been when my Italian culinary school chef tutored my class on the art of the risotto, instructing us never to rush the dish or the rice would guess our haste and become gummy rather than creamy. Perhaps I became less intimidated to cook the classic dish after testing it out frequently on Danny when we were newlyweds.

At any rate, I eventually discovered that the cheesy rice dish was an indispensable vehicle for getting my children to eat vegetables. Ever since, I’ve seldom been without the basic ingredients for risotto: chicken or vegetable stock in the freezer, butter and Parmesan cheese in the fridge, rice and onions in the pantry.

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Zucchini Apple Mini Muffins

This year has been the first year that I have been able to grow a really successful garden. I’ve tried many summers before, but the disappointingly meager results didn’t ever seem to justify all the time and effort spent on the garden.

This summer, I finally met with some garden success. My monster of a zucchini plant alone makes all the weeding and watering feel like time well spent. We are pulling one or two good sized zucchinis off the plant almost every single day. It is incredible!

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Harvest Corn Chowder Recipe

Corn is at its absolute peak right now, and we’ve been taking full advantage of the season. Last week we blitzed about thirty cobs to get a small part of the harvest packaged and in the freezer.

The boys -and Clara, as she is 18 months-going-on-eight-years and must be involved in anything we do – shucked, and I removed the kernels with my nifty trick involving a bundt pan and a chef’s knife.

If you’re wondering what do to with corn, aside from rolling it in butter and sprinkling it with salt, I may have a few good ideas. But first, you need to add todays harvest corn chowder to your weeks’ menu plan.

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One-Pot Lemon Chicken and Zucchini with Rice

Written by Megan of Stetted.

My son just turned five the other day, and while that means we have yet to dive into the busy world of elementary school, I’m already having horrifying visions of homework and sports and fundraisers and PTA meetings.

OK, it’s probably not as bad as many of the parents I know make it seem (please don’t tell me if it really is that bad) but I am still trying to get a head start on planning for the future by building up a repertoire of dinners that are easy to make, don’t use a sinkful of dishes, and are family approved. One-pot meals to the rescue!

We’ve talked about one-pot meals on Simple Bites before – they can range from classics in the slow-cooker to quick stovetop dishes. But my favorite way to make a one-pot dish is to use my dutch oven.

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