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    Entries in not so hidden vegetables (6)


    Savory Zucchini Bread

    I know, right? Why is savory zucchini bread not a thing? Well, after you’ve tried this recipe, it will be a thing in your house. I guarantee it. (Is it possible to say that now without hearing it in the voice of Donald Trump?)

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1egg
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • ¼ cup cold butter
    • 1 cup grated parmesan or Italian blend
    • 1 Tablespoon dried chives
    • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 small/medium zucchini 

    Prep stuff first. Preheat your oven to 350° and butter a 9x5 loaf pan and set it aside.

    Grate your zucchini. I like to just use a box grater for this. It’s just not worth washing the 84 parts of the food processor.

    Measure the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir them together.

    Cut your cold butter into chunks and add them to the bowl.

    Mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand. I think it probably took something like 2 minutes.

    Add the dried herbs and cheese. My grocery store has a freshly grated 3 cheese blend, which I love. It’s a combination of parmigiano reggiano, romano, and asiago cheeses. If you can get your hands on something like that (make sure it’s freshly grated and not the stuff in a green can) it’s perfect. If not, just pick whichever is your favorite. Any of those three will work just fine.

    This is about the time I decided pepper would be a good addition to this recipe, so go ahead and add it now, as well.

    Mix until everything is evenly distributed.

    Now for the liquid stuff. I didn’t see any reason to dirty any unnecessary dishes, so I just cracked my egg into the now empty cheese container.

    Add the buttermilk and give it a good whisk, then pour it over the stuff in the mixing bowl.

    Stir just until it comes together. It’s a bit of a mess, but you don’t want to overmix it.

    Now comes the zucchini. I could almost cram all of mine into a 1 cup measure.

    Dump it into the bowl and stir briefly, once more. Scrape the dough into your prepared loaf pan.

    Spread it to the edges and level it out on top.

    Into the oven for about 70 minutes. When it’s done, it will be nice and golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.  

    Rub or brush the top of the loaf with some softened butter. Allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove it to a cooling rack to cool completely.

    Well, almost completely. Truth be told, it’s best while it’s just slightly warm. How have I gone my whole life without even hearing of savory zucchini bread. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sweet stuff. I’ve posted both a spicy version and a tangy, fruity version, which are both really delicious, but I’m blown away by how good this savory version is. The outside is definitely the best part, though, so I think next time I’m going to make it as little mini muffins.

    What is your favorite thing to do with zucchini?

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    Chicken Divine

    You’ve probably heard of a dish called chicken divan.  Unfortunately, like so many other casserole type dishes, it is almost inevitably made with canned, condensed, cream of crap soup.  Why?  Let me show you how easy it is to make a fabulous version, with no scary, jiggly, canned stuff. 

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 2 chicken breasts
    • 1 head of broccoli
    • 4 oz. cream cheese
    • ¼ cup green onion
    • 1 teaspoons fresh thyme
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • 2 Tablespoons flour
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 cup grated cheese
    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • 15 crackers
    • 1 ½ teaspoons poppy seeds

    First up, you need to cut the broccoli into florets.  Although I’m not using the stem in this dish, if your broccoli has a long stem on it like mine did, don’t waste it.  Clean it up, peeling off any rough or fibrous bits from the outside, then cut it into chunks.  Drop them into a freezer bag, and freeze them to use later for soup.

    Then just cut the top of the broccoli into roughly bite size pieces. 

    Dice your chicken breasts.  Add 1 Tablespoon of oil to a pan over medium heat and add the chicken.  Sprinkle it with the salt and pepper. 

    Cook briefly on all sides. 

    Then put a lid on and allow it to continue to cook for 7 minutes, moving it about once or twice so it doesn't burn. 

    Remove the cooked chicken and pour in 1 ½ cups chicken stock. 

    Add the broccoli and cover it, allowing it to cook for 5 minutes. 

    While you’re waiting for things to cook, go ahead and chop your green onions. 

    I happen to have fresh thyme on hand, so that’s what I used.   If you only have dried, cut it back to ¼ teaspoon or so. 

    If you’re using fresh, give it a good rinse, then remove the leaves and chop them. 

    When the broccoli has cooked for 5 minutes, it should still be green but starting to soften.  Go ahead and remove it from the pan. 

    To the remaining ½ cup chicken stock add 2 Tablespoons flour. 

    Stir that together until there are no lumps, and pour it into the pan. 

    Stir over medium heat until the mixture becomes nice and thick.

    Turn off the heat, then cut the cream cheese into pieces and add them to the pan. 

    Stir until the cream cheese is mostly incorporated.  It’s ok if you still have some small lumps. 

    Add the green onion and thyme. 

    Stir that together and add the chicken and broccoli, along with any liquid from them, back to the pan.     

    Gently stir until everything is evenly coated. 

    Pour the whole thing into a buttered casserole dish. 

    Give the pan a quick wash (or get a clean one out… your choice).  Place your crackers into a plastic bag. 

    And crush them until you all of the pieces are fairly little.  I just used my hand. 

    Melt 2 Tablespoons butter over medium heat and sprinkle in the poppy seeds. 

    Add the cracker crumbs. 

    Stir until everything is combined. 

    Spread the cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar) over the top of the chicken mixture. 

    Then sprinkle on the cracker crumb mixture. 

    Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.  It should be nice and bubbly around the edges. 

    See?  Delicious, beautiful, and not difficult, even without the cans. 

    What recipe that usually calls for canned soup would you like to see upgraded?