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Corn and Salsa Spiralized Zucchini Pasta

Southwest Spiralized Zucchini Pasta

A spiralizer has been sitting around in my closet for quite some time, gathering dust. Something recently caught my attention and prompted me to buy a couple of zucchinis and dust that puppy off. Being that it is Summer, and the height of fresh veggie season, now is the time to do it!

First thing I did was set up the spiralizer with the smaller of the string settings.

Spiralizer and a few ingredients

I washed and trimmed the ends off of two zucchinis and ran them through the process.

Zucchini “noodles”

The center remains as a long “rod”, about the thickness of a pencil. I cut those into little chunks and set them aside. I added two or three good pinches of salt to the “noodles” and tossed them well. I set those aside, while I assembled my other ingredients: about a half of a cup of corn (fresh, cooked on the cobb, and removed), a half cup of salsa, the zucchini core pieces, a minced garlic glove, and a few grinds of black pepper.

In a 10″ nonstick skillet (or wok, if you prefer), add a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. When melted and bubbling, add the veggies, except for the “noodles”.

Corn, zucchini pieces fron core, garlic clove.

Toss to saute for a minute, the add salsa. Make sure it’s all heated through, then add the zucchini noodles.

Almost done!

If there isn’t too much salt, it should be okay to toss straight in. If you think you added too much, rinse and drain before adding to the skillet. Toss the mixture a couple of times, to coat the noodles, cooking for a minute or so. Cover and steam for a minute. Add the black pepper and adjust seasoning to taste. Sprinkle with cheese of your choice, if desired. If I had some fresh cilantro on hand, I would have added a handful of leaves at the last minute.

The Final product…yum!

And let me say, if you’ve never tried the spiralized zucchini noodle thing, you will be pretty amazed. They really do feel like noodles, with just a slight crunch. Both my wife and daughter thought I had mixed regular thin spaghetti noodles in with the zucchini. Of course, this could be sauced an endless number of ways, and with different veggies. Also, with or without meat. I might try an alfredo next….

 

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Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley Pizza

Trader Joe's Punjab Choley Pizza

Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley Pizza

An unabashed appeal to Trader Joe’s to try my recipe and publish it on their website. Maybe get a plug for my blog…maybe a sponsor? I don’t mind hawking a few Trader Joe’s recipes…I regularly visit my local Trader Joe’s and enjoy their products. This recipe uses their very convenient pre-made pizza dough, a spicy Indian chick pea dish that comes in a shelf-stable package (and is really good over rice!), and their Authentic Greek Feta packaged in a little plastic tub of brine that lasts well in the refrigerator. This recipe is versatile and easy. Add more or less cheese, to your taste. Add garnishes to your liking…if I had some on hand when I made this, I would have used some finely diced cucumber and some cilantro leaves after the sour cream drizzle. A very light dusting of cumin would be nice. In the summer, some roasted or grilled veggies. Maybe add a sprinkle of corn kernels before baking…hey, it’s pizza…do whatever you like! So far, it’s vegetarian, but it doesn’t have to be. Add some diced ham or tandoori chicken, maybe? Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley Pizza      created by Matt Miller

Ingredients:

1 Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough

1 pkg. Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley

2 to 3 ounces Trader Joe’s Authentic Greek Feta, crumbled (to taste)

2 to 3 ounces Trader Joe’s Shredded Mozzarella (to taste)

3 T. Trader Joe’s Sour Cream

1 t. Trader Joe’s Half’n’Half or Heavy Cream

All –Purpose Flour, for dusting

Olive Oil or Non-Stick Spray

Directions:

Coat a mixing bowl with olive oil or spray with non-stick spray. Place dough in the bowl and turn to coat in oil/spray. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.

Dough and Punjab Choley

Dough and Punjab Choley

Preheat oven to 475F and place pizza stone in the center of the oven, if you have one, and prepare pizza on a flour dusted pizza peel  or cutting board. Otherwise, prepare the pizza and use a flour dusted pizza pan or pizza screen. First, squeeze bubbles out of dough and roll out in a circular shape to about 14”. Use a fork to poke holes in the dough all over. This is called “docking” and reduces large bubbles forming in the oven. Empty the contents of the Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley onto the center of the dough. Spread the Punjab Choley evenly across the pizza.

Assembled and just put in the oven.

Assembled and just put in the oven.

Distribute the mozzarella and feta cheeses evenly across the pizza as well. I recommend not covering with mozzarella as heavily as you would an Italian pizza.

Transfer the pizza onto the pizza stone or place the pizza pan in the oven. Bake until bottom is golden brown and the cheeses are bubbly and lightly browned.

Cooked and cut.

Cooked and cut.

While the pizza is baking, mix the sour cream and half’n’half or cream together to make a thick sauce. I like to put the mixture into a zip lock bag, seal and squeeze into one corner.  IMAG2454When the pizza comes out of the oven, cut into pieces and serve hot. Just before service, cut a tiny corner off of the zip lock bag and squeeze a drizzle of the sauce onto each piece. Enjoy!

Drizzled with sour cream and served.

Drizzled with sour cream and served.

Optional: You can garnish with finely diced cucumber and/or cilantro leaves, if you like.

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Relax…and Throw Together a Pot of Chili!

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In colder weather, we still have some things we need to do outdoors. Some activities more fun than others. From shoveling snow to picking out a Christmas Tree to taking the dog for a walk; whatever takes you out into the cold, something hot to eat warms the mood as well as the bones. It helps if the meal is an easy “do ahead” that you can have ready as soon as you walk back in the door. Chili is also versatile and easily adaptable to individual tastes. You can add green chilis, crushed red pepper, various toppings, serve it over macaroni or rice. The possibilities are practically endless! So, relax…and throw together some chili! Enjoy!

Relax …and Throw Together Some Chili

Ingredients:

Some of the ingredients.

Some of the ingredients.

1-1/2 to 2 lbs Ground Beef

2 T Chili Powder

1 T  Ground Cumin

1 T  Garlic Powder

¼ t  Cayenne Powder

1 T  Corn Masa (optional)*

1 medium Onion, diced

½ bottle Beer (Whatever can we do with the other half?)

1 can  Tomato Sauce

1 can  Diced Tomatoes, fire roasted if you have them

2 cans  Black Beans, do not drain (or Kidney beans)

Optional: 1 lb macaroni, cooked

Garnishes: Sour Cream, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Saltine Crackers, Raw Diced Onions and/or Tomatoes, Cilantro, Sliced Pickled or Fresh Jalapenos, Hot Sauce….be creative! (I like Parmesan Cheese…I Know…I’m strange that way.)

 

Directions:

In a large saucepan, over high heat, brown the ground beef.

Beef and onions

Beef and onions

Drain most of the fat and reduce heat to medium, add the diced onion and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Mix in the spices (and Masa, if using) and continue stirring over heat until the spices are fragrant, about a minute or two.

Browned ground beef with spices

Browned ground beef with spices

Deglaze the pan with the beer.

Beer...oh, and tomatoes.

Beer…oh, and tomatoes.

Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and black beans. Stir to combine.

Simmering chili!

Simmering chili!

Simmer for twenty minutes and serve hot. Alternately, you could transfer to a crock pot set on “LOW” and serve at your convenience. Enjoy!

*Masa is a corn-meal like product found in Mexican food sections of the grocery store. It will impart a little tortilla-like flavor. You don’t have to use it or you can substitute corn meal.

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