Summertime in the Suburbs

Favorite Meal this week: Red, White and Green Piadine
Click here for this week’s grocery list.


Ahhhhh …. we love summer. Time to cook with some summer veggies! This dish makes a fair amount and is super tasty. You could change the veggies out based on what’s fresh and cheap that time of year.

Just don’t “forget” to add the salt… ok ok ..I didn’t really “forget”… I tasted the mozz as I was grating it (because seriously, you’re not a true cheese lover if you can grate cheese without using the “one for you dear grater, one for me” method) and it was fairly salty, even though it was part skim. I think it was the pchopper brand. ANYWAY…I figured since it was SO salty, why should I add extra salt. Now… backtrack slightly… there is something you should know. “B” LOVES Salt. He is the guy who salts the food before even tasting it. I think he may even salt his cereal in the morning. I, on the other hand… enjoy my savory things, but would prefer pepper (and other seasonings) over salt (unless the aforementioned salt is rimming my margarita glass). Needlesstosay… this dish, even for my standards, was admittedly under salted. “B” always… and I mean ALWAYS can tell when I “forget” to salt things and MOST of the time the dishes are good in my opinion without the extra salt, but in this RARE case, it did need a little more. Maybe I should have at least salted the pasta water? I can still hear, “Season as you go….how many times do I have to tell you! Season as you go!” ringing in my ears.

Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies

  • 8 ounces uncooked ziti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups any combination of chopped yellow squash, eggplant and zucchini (we used eggplant and zucchini this time)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided (Could use fresh as well!)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add squash, eggplant, zucchini, and onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
  4. Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

adapted from Cooking Light
JULY 2011


A few years ago my parents gave me this great cookbook which is organized by what’s in-season. So I flipped to the summer section and found this recipe. It’s a little similar to the insalata salads from last week (which I loved!) but it’s different at the same time. We really enjoyed this dish and “F” was particularly proud of herself for making the Piadines by hand! (If she can do it, so can you!).

Red, White and Green Piadine!

Piadine Dough

1 package active dry yeast
1 c warm water
3 and 3/4 c all purpose flour
2T olive oil
1 tsp salt


2 and 1/4 c roasted red peppers
1T minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/3 c grated Parmesan
2 T fresh oregano or basil
9 c spinach
1 and 1/2 c diced fresh mozzarella


3T Orange Juice
1T white balsamic vinegar (we used grapefruit balsamic)
1/4 c olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, stir together the yeast, water and about 2T flour. Let stand until foamy (indicating the yeast is working) about 10 mins.

With a wooden spoon, stir in 3 cups of flour, the oil, and salt. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes, adding more flour if needed to make a soft dough.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover it with a towel, and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour. (we went kayaking during this time!).

Punch down the dough and knead for two more minutes. Divide into 6 equal pieces. (At this point you may freeze the dough balls for up to 1 month. To use frozen dough, transfer to a bowl and defrost and let rise in the fridge).

On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a circle about 1/4 inch thick and 6-8 inches in diameter.

Preheat the grill or griddle to high. Prick the dough with a fork. Lower the heat to medium and cook the piadine on the grill until golden, about 2-3 minutes per side.

In a food processor (Or I tried using my immersion blender which kind of worked) combine the roasted peppers and garlic. Blend until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

Spread the pepper puree on each piadine and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of parm cheese and 1 teaspoon of oregano.

In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Add spinach and mozzarella to the bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Divide the salad among the piadines and serve open faced or folded in half.

Note: The original recipe includes grilled chicken, but it tasted perfect without the chicken! You would add the chicken to the salad.
Recipe adapted from “Simple, Fresh & Healthy” by Linda Hafner

Wednesday and Thursday



Our friends J&Z (the kool kids, not the rapper) came over for Friday night dinner. J is a bit selective in food choices sometimes (though we are somewhat successfully slowly oh ever so slowly…expanding her palate—we think Z appreciates this!), so we were surprised she was willing to come over once we said we were trying out a new dish. We tried a Slow Cooker Polenta Pie. It was OK. It started out as a very slow polenta cooking all day in the slow cooker. The you add a salsa/bean/corn type topping on top about 30 mins before you are going to eat it. Even though J, Z, and B all said it was ok and some people went back for seconds, I’m not really sure we would make it again. Therefore, I’m not going to post the recipe at this time. Plus…it was a pain in the BUTT to clean the slow cooker afterwards! We tend to use the slow cooker more in the fall/winter time. The cookbook we have is a vegetarian slow cooker book which we’ve had mixed results from. Some recipes we really enjoy and some are flops. Oh well. Oh a different note, J made mini low calorie cheese cake bites which were yum and perfect for a summer night!

4 thoughts on “Summertime in the Suburbs

  1. Both of these recipes sound delicious! I already have my meals planned out for this week, but I’m thinking of trying the ziti recipe for next week!

  2. Pingback: Beautiful Stacks of Food On and In-Between Bread | BeFresher

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