Domestic bliss in the kitchen

by Melody on September 29, 2011

We have (almost) literally been drowning in fresh produce over the last few weeks.  Our garden is still producing, my friend Monica has given us some more wonderful tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, we are still picking up produce from our CSA, we’re still shopping the local farmer’s markets and I can’t seem to pass up all the great Fred Meyer produce prices.

I realized that I was starting to hoard produce.  I needed to get a handle on this and have really enjoyed finding new uses for all these wonderful foods!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies– I substituted white chocolate chips, raisins instead of pecans and added ground flaxseed.  Sent some to my husband’s work and they got rave reviews.  I ate almost every single one that was left at home.

More ideas for zucchini:

Zucchini Pancakes
Zucchini Muffins from Once a Month Mom

Direct quote from my husband: “You don’t have to put zucchini in everything, you know?”

I roasted my first chicken of the year, which makes the house smell so divine I could almost eat the walls.  I saved all the bones and giblets and made homemade chicken stock.  I had never roasted a chicken until last Fall, to be honest I was a little terrified of the whole process.  I’m so glad I figured it out, because it is super easy (although a little messy).  The chicken itself and the stock are worth their weight in gold, they are so delicious.

While the stock was on the stove top, I chopped up all the tomatoes I got from Monica and tossed them with olive oil and several different herbs to make these slow-roasted tomatoes.  These went in the oven at 250 degrees for about 7 hours.  Next time, I would probably go with a slightly lower temperature to roast a little slower, as I burned a few.  However, even the burnt tomatoes were out of this world amazing.  I’m not even a huge tomato fan, but this brilliant, intense tomato flavor knocked my socks off.

I have also used up extra tomatoes by making this marinara sauce from Once A  Month Mom.  This was definitely more labor intensive than the slow-roasted tomatoes, but also outrageously delicious.  I now have some in the freezer to use for dinner in a pinch.

We have been eating a lot of butternut squash lately, as we’ve picked it up the last two weeks from our CSA.  I have roasted it with olive oil and salt and pepper, which my kids and I love, but my husband isn’t a huge fan.

I took some of the roasted squash, pureed it and made this Macaroni & Cheese from Rachael Ray.  The squash was basically part of the cheese sauce and added such a wonderful flavor.  My husband even approved.

I doubled the macaroni & cheese recipe (I had a LOT of squash) and threw it in the freezer for an easy dinner down the road.





I have also made these Butternut Squash Muffins and froze some of the squash puree to use later.

I still have quite a few cucumbers, does anyone have any fun ideas for using them up?

I would love to hear how you are using the produce of the season?  Are you prepping some for the winter?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather @ Queen Bee Coupons September 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Great job! Amazing. I’m inspired.


Meghan September 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm

So I don’t have a recipe and I have never done it, but you could try making pickles with the cucumbers! Just wondered are the slow roasted tomatoes like a sun dried tomato texture wise or are they pretty squishy?


Melody September 30, 2011 at 10:07 am

The tomatoes could be either way. The longer you leave them in, the less juicy they are. I left some a little soft and juicy and they were delicious, but also had some that were pretty crispy. Also delicious. 🙂


Erin @ Simply Frugal Mom September 29, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I have been obsessed with making those tomatoes since you posted a link earlier this week. I need to get to Fred Meyer while romas are still on sale and make them this weekend.


Emilie September 30, 2011 at 5:55 am

We eat cucumbers as a side dish when I have a bunch. I just marinate them in rice wine vinegar/water with salt and pepper all day. Yum! My dad slices up sweet onions to marinate with his but I skip that.


Heidi September 30, 2011 at 10:02 am

I agree with making some pickle chips – you can cut in slices and do refrigerator pickles. Yum! Also I like to make raita with cucumbers – grate them and drain the moisture out through cheesecloth or a paper towel, then mix with plain yogurt, garlic, chopped fresh dill and mint and some salt and pepper. Makes a great side for Greek food, or a creamy dip for crackers or pita.


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