Saturday, August 31, 2013

Our Favorite Summer Recipes 2013

Well, it's Labor Day weekend and the end of summer. I don't quite know where this summer went. But I am eager for fall. Cooler temperatures, autumn leaves, comfy sweaters and cute boots. It's my favorite season for cooking and baking. Apples and pumpkins, cinnamon and cloves, so much yummy goodness. Plus, Eric and I are getting married September 20th!

 As I goodbye to summer, I put together a list of our favorite summer recipes.

1. Smores Pie
Eric made this for the Fourth of July/my birthday. There are millions of smores variations out there--cookies, cakes, bars, pies . . . but I don't think any of them hold a candle to this particular smores pie. I knew as soon as I took my first bite that this is a dish we will be making every summer from now on.

1 store-bought graham cracker pie crust
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg, room temperature
pinch of salt
7-ounce (a little less than a cup) marshmallow fluff

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the chocolate chips in a large bowl. In a heavy saucepan bring heavy cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 1 minute.

Whisk the chocolate and cream together until it's well combined and smooth. Add the egg and a pinch of salt to the mixture and whisk until well incorporated. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pie crust.

Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the chocolate is almost set--the center should be a little bit jiggly.

Place the pie on a rack and allow to cool for about one hour.

Add the marshmallow fluff on top of the chocolate layer and smooth with a spatula. Set the oven to broil and place the pie back in the oven for just 2 or 3 minutes or until the top of the fluff turns a golden brown.

Allow pie to cool for about ten minutes before serving.

2. Cheesy Tomato Zucchini Bake
If you read this blog, you know I have a mad love for zucchini. But even I was surprised by how much I loved this zucchini bake. I could easily made it a meal on its own--but that might just be me! I also love that this recipe is so easy to change up. Switch out some spices and you have a new delicious dish. 

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced (use a mandolin)
5 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced (use a mandolin)
2 tablespoons onion, minced
3/4 cup panko

Preheat oven to 375 degree. Spray a 9x9-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine cheddar, Parmesan, basil, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with the zucchini slices. Sprinkle about a quarter of the herb mixture on top of the slices. Add a layer of tomatoes using about half of the sliced tomatoes the sprinkle with a quarter of the herb mixture. Repeat the layers.

Sprinkle the panko on top of the casserole.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the panko topping is crisp.

3. Homemade Pita Chips
This is one of those recipes I've been making for years, but never managed to get onto my blog until this past summer. These chips are easy to make and so much better than store-bought pita chips. I got my mom hooked on them a few summers ago and Eric can easily eat the entire batch himself in a single sitting if he lets himself.

pita bread
olive oil
seasonings (I usually use garlic powder and a dash of cayenne pepper)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Either spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or lay a piece of parchment paper on it.

Pour some olive oil into a small bowl, add seasonings to taste, and mix to combine. Cut the pita bread into 6 or 8 wedges, depending on how large you want your chips. Separate each wedge into two pieces. With  pastry brush (or your fingers) lightly coat each side of the pita bread with the olive oil mixture and place on the cookie sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until the chips turn a golden brown. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

4. Jalapeno Popper Wontons
Oh wonton wrappers, you are so versatile. I can turn you into cream cheese rangoons, homemade pizza rolls, or even chocolate-hazelnut ravioli. Eric loves jalapeno poppers, and these jalapeno wonton poppers are particularly addicting.

16 wontons
4 ounces cream cheese, soften
1/4 cup cheddar, shredded
2 jalapenos, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.* Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray

In a bowl mix, mix together cream cheese, cheddar, and jalapenos. Scoop about 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture into the center of the wonton. Wet all four edges of the wonton and bring the four corners together in the center of the wonton and press the seams together to seal. Place on the cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the wonton wrappers.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until they turn a golden brown.

*You can also deep fry these. Eric is always after me to fry my wonton creations. He loves everything fried. I, on the other hand, try to stay away from fried foods and love that these can be baked.

Eric also suggested sprinkling parmesan cheese on top of them. I thought about adding crumbled bacon to the inside. Just some ideas to play with.

5. Tomatoes Stuffed with Chicken, Herbs, and Cheese
Made with surplus tomatoes from my mom's garden, I didn't follow any recipe when concocting these. I just went with the ingredients that we had in the house. I didn't expect them to make it onto the blog because I assumed I would have to play with them a bit to get them just right. But they came out perfect and I can't wait to experiment more with stuffed tomatoes. 

4 tomatoes (I used 2 beefsteak, 2 early girls)
kosher salt
4 tablespoons minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pieces of bacon (I used turkey bacon)
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or cubed 
1/2 cup Italian herb breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 cup Italian blend shredded cheese (or mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Cut off the top of the tomatoes. Scoop out the innards with a spoon. You can either reserve them for another use or discard them. Lightly sprinkle the insides with salt and set them upside down on a paper towel to extract juices.

While the tomatoes drain, cook the bacon; set aside. Reserve a little bit of bacon grease and saute the onions and garlic in it until they are golden brown. In a medium bowl, mix together the chicken, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, basil, garlic, and onions.

Place the tomatoes on the cookie sheet and divide the chicken mixture between the four tomatoes. Next, divide the cheese between the tomatoes, sprinkling it on top. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it on top of the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked and the cheese is melted.



More Smores Recipes
Smores Cookies
Smores Banana Boats
Peep Smores

More Zucchini Recipes:
Zucchini Chips 2.0
Parmesan Zucchini Bites
Pizza Zucchini Boats

More Chip Recipes:
Baked Apple Chips Banana Chips
Kale Chips
Potato Chips in the Microwave
Snowflake Tortilla Chips
Yellow Squash Chips Zucchini Chips 2.0

More Wonton Recipes:
Homemade Pizza Rolls
Cream Cheese Rangoons
Chocolate Hazelnut Ravioli
Smores Wontons
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Banana Wontons

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