Monday, July 30, 2012

{Recipes} ~ Cookout fare

As I mentioned yesterday, Ryan and I grilled out with another couple on Saturday night. They had already purchased some meat (bratwursts and chicken) so I volunteered to bring sides and appetizers! I made my favorite pineapple salsa and then tried two new recipes! I'm always a little nervous to try out new recipes on anyone other than Ryan (official taste-tester) or my family (because they'll still love me even if it tastes awful). But these were pretty foolproof and I think they were a hit!!

I love making fried okra with my mom in the summer, with a plateful of fresh tomatoes (ohmygosh, yum), but I'm always looking for healthier alternatives. I had pinned this oven baked okra recipe awhile ago, and decided this was the time to try it! It was so easy, and I was amazed at how well the breading adhered to the okra (this is always an issue when frying). With a healthy dash smattering of salt, I couldn't tell the difference in taste, and it still had the crunch without being fried!

I also modified this stuffed zucchini recipe and took them also! I kind of just winged this recipe (but included precise directions below) - I threw the zucchini in with the okra for the final 8 minutes or so. I didn't want potatoes like the original recipe called for, so I just used some of the scooped-out zucchini, tomatoes, and onions. I should've waited to put the cheese on once we got to Trent's house, because it was a little too melty. Oh well, you live (er, cook) and learn!

I liked how these sides included mostly veggies and didn't leave us all feeling overly full. "Healthy" eating for the win!

Oven Baked Okra
from Tasty Kitchen


1 cup Yellow cornmeal
1/2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoons Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cups fat-free Buttermilk
1 whole Egg, lightly beaten
1 pound Fresh Okra Pods, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch slices

Preparation Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Combine cornmeal, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes in a shallow dish. Set aside.
3. Combine buttermilk and egg in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.
4. Add okra to buttermilk mixture. Let stand 3 minutes.
5. Dredge okra in cornmeal/panko mixture.
6. Place okra in a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining salt over the okra.
7. Bake 30-35 minutes, stirring once, until golden brown and crispy.


Stuffed Zucchini Boats

4 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each), washed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow or red onion, chopped fine
5 large cloves garlic, finely minced
3 medium tomatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), seeded and chopped
1/3 cup shredded fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
Adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and second oven rack to lowest position, then place a rimmed baking sheet on each rack and heat oven to 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, halve each zucchini lengthwise. With a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and most of the flesh so that the walls of the zucchini are about 1/4-inch thick all the way around. Season the cut sides of the zucchini with salt and pepper and brush them lightly with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Set the zucchini halves cut-side down on the hot baking sheet that has been preheating on the lower rack. Roast the zucchini until slightly softened and skins are slightly wrinkled, about 10 minutes. When the zucchini has finished baking, remove it from the oven and using tongs, flip the zucchini halves over on the baking sheet and set aside.
While the zucchini is roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil, 1/2 cup cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
Divide filling evenly among the zucchini halves on the baking sheet, spooning about 1/2 cup into each, and packing it lightly; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return the baking sheet to the oven, this time to the upper rack, and bake the zucchini until heated through and cheese is spotty brown, about 6 minutes. Serve immediately.

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