Easy Side Dishes Made from Zucchini

Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable; it’s light and it’s one of the summer foods which recalls the sunny Mediterranean regions. Zucchini can be served with a barbecue, with chicken, fish or they are delicious with legumes such as chickpeas. The following recipes are made for four people as side dishes (some could also be served during an aperitif) and each recipe takes around 40 minutes to prepare.

Zucchini cakes

Ingredients: 2 medium potatoes, 2 medium zucchini, salt and pepper  olive oil, (optional: thyme, paprika, chillies, garlic powder or curry spices).

Peel and grate the potatoes. Grate the zucchini. Drain them. Season with salt and pepper (here you can add the other spices if you wish) and mix; form small patties. Heat olive oil in a pan and place the cakes on a medium fire to brown for about 10 min depending on the size of each unit. Turn and brown for another 6-7 min. Serve.

Grilled zucchini

Ingredients: zucchini, salt, pepper, olive oil, herbs (such as thyme or rosemary or parsley).

Take the amount of zucchini you want to cook and cut slices of about  1/3 of an inch and at an angle. Place in a bowl. Add about one tsp olive oil per whole zucchini used, add salt pepper and some herbs such as thyme or rosemary. Place on a hot barbecue or a hot griddle pan and brown the zucchini on both sides.

Zucchini and tomato millefeuille

Ingredients : 2 zucchini, 2 tomatoes, 4tbsp parmesan flakes, salt pepper, olive oil.

Heat the oven at 410 F. Slice the zucchini and the tomatoes. Season all the vegetables with the salt and pepper. Place one layer of zucchini in a baking tray, then place the tomatoes and then the parmesan. Start again: zucchini, tomato and parmesan and form little towers. Place in the oven for about 30 min. You might have to add some water or  broth during the baking process.

Zucchini mash

Ingredients: 6  medium zucchini, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp cream cheese, salt and pepper.

Peel the zucchini and cut them into about ½ inch cubes. Crush the garlic cloves. Boil water in a pan and add the zucchini with the garlic. Cook them for about 7-8 min, they should not be too soft. Remove the water and the garlic cloves. Pass the zucchini through a potato masher. Add the cream cheese, salt and pepper. Serve.  

Light breaded zucchini

Ingredients : 3 medium sized zucchini, 1 pot yogurt (you will probably need less), 2/3 of a cup bread crumbs, salt and pepper, 1 ½ tbsp dry roasted ground Hazelnuts, 2 tbsp thyme leaves, 5 tbsp grated gruyere cheese, olive oil.

Slice the zucchini at an angle, each slice should be a bit less than a ½ inch. Mix the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, hazelnuts, thyme and cheese. Mix and rub the preparation together. Brush a zucchini slice with the yogurt on both sides. Transfer the slice to the breadcrumb mix and coat both sides. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini. Heat two tbsp in a pan and delicately add the zucchini to brown, make sure that all of the slices touch the surface of the pan. If there is not enough place take two pans or do it in two batches (in this case keep the cooked zucchini warm in the oven on low heat). Cook for about 5-6 min and gently turn them to brown on the other side for another 5 min. Serve.

Braised zucchini

Ingredients: 500g zucchini, 2 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1tbsp balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

Chop the garlic. Cut the zucchini into slices (half the slices in case the zucchini are too large). Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the zucchini. Add the garlic. Turn the zucchini and continue cooking for another 5 min. Add the salt, pepper, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

Tips for Improving Restaurant Service

The Restaurant Service is a very demanding and challenging industry. Based on statistics, a great number of restaurants usually fail within the first year. With all said, this industry can be a very exciting and rewarding one if all the personnel involved continuously work on improving the service/s that they offer. Some of the ways or tips for improving restaurant service are as follows:-

AMBIANCE/DECOR

Potential customers who enter a restaurant are not just coming to eat. They expect a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. They are seeking an experience. In the waiting area, seating should be available and if patrons have a waiting period of half an hour or more, perhaps, an inexpensive drink )non-alcoholic) drink could be provided. Effort should be made to have furnishings attractive yet functional. Although a restaurant is in located within, it would be very appealing to bring a little of the outdoors within. This could be done by decorating with green plants at strategic spots and a water fountain at the entrance. Piped background soft music is always appealing.

TRAINED STAFF

Waitresses/Waiters are very important assets to the restaurant service. They are the backbone of the industry. Sadly, many of them are not given the right compensation and respect. Therefore, many restaurants lose out on invaluable staff. Because of this, there is constant rehiring of staff who are hurriedly trained. It does not matter how great a meal is, if a waiter is impolite, that is what a patron will remember. Customers are looking for polite, friendly yet professional service from staff. Proprietors should make staff feel like they are a valuable part of the business. Then, they will have partners for the life of the business. It is a win/win situation for all.

HEALTHY/ORGANIC FOOD

Now-a-days, most people are trying to include organic foods in their diet. With the rise of obesity in society, everyone is counting calories. Customers should have the caloric information on meals if requested. Some customers are willing to pay the extra so as to receive food that are grown locally without dangerous chemicals and pesticides. They are seeking healthy yet delicious meals. Moreover, as the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life”. At times, customers do get bored with the same dishes continuously offered. Therefore, it is a great idea that the chef uses creativity in the preparation of meals.

DISCOUNT DAY

Everyone likes something free at some point in their life. In order to attract customers, it is a great marketing strategy to offer a discount on meals during days when business is in a slump. Perhaps, the elderly could get a discount daily and/or children under 12 years old could dine for free.

USE OF TECHNOLOGY

For those restaurants who have not utilized the Internet, it would be a opportune time to do so. It would be to a restaurant’s advantage to create an attractive web-site displaying some of its main dishes along with other pertinent information. Convenience is very important. Everyone is busy and is strapped for time. Some customers like the idea of making their reservations on line or ordering for delivery/pick-up. No doubt, sales will be increased by doing same.

With the above tips outlined, a restaurant service will be improved drastically and the balance sheet will reflect same.

Grilled Grouper in Foil

It seems most of  us broil, bake or fry fish. However, fish is absolutely divine cooked on the grill and so are grilled vegetables. Both fish and fresh grilled vegetables are very nutritious and beneficial to our health. Grilling fish is quite simple and makes an excellent meal to serve when entertaining guests.

The secret to great fish on the grill is to use the freshest fillets and vegetables available and the right blend of spices. The following recipe is for grouper grilled in foil envelopes and will feed four adults.

GRILLED GROUP IN FOIL

INGREDIENTS:

4 Grouper fillets

2 Green Bell Peppers

1 Large Onion

2 Zucchini

1 Large red tomato

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Tablespoon of Paprika

3/4 teaspoon Salt

3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Slightly less than 1/2 teaspoon of each of the following: Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Oregano, Cayenne Pepper, dried Thyme.

DIRECTIONS:

* In a clean, unused shaker bottle, combine the paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, and dried thyme. Stir with a straw to blend the spices together well and set aside.

* If planning to serve baked potatoes with the fillets, proceed to prepare those for baking and place them in the oven.

* Heat charcoal grill. If you must, use a gas grill but the taste is intensified on a charcoal grill.

* Rinse and dry the tomato and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Set aside.

* Clean and dry the zucchini and quarter each. Remove the seed section on each quarter and discard. Slice into strips approximately 1 1/2 inches long and no more than an inch wide. Set aside.

* Rinse, dry, and cut each bell pepper in half and seed, removing all white lining. Slice each half in thin strips about 1/4 wide.

* Peel and quarter the onion. Cut each quarter into thin strips lengthwise.

* Place all vegetables in sheets of aluminum foil and spritz with olive oil. Place on the grill and allow to cook approximately fifteen minutes before proceeding.

* Pull vegetables off grill and return to kitchen.

* Using 4 sheets of aluminum foil approximately 14 X 14, place 1 grouper fillet in the center of each. Spritz with the olive oil.

* Shake approximately 1/8 of the contents of the shaker bottle of spices you blended over each piece of fish.

* Top each fish fillet with 2 slices tomato, 1/4 of the onion strips, 1/4 of zucchini strips, and 1/4 of the bell pepper strips. Spritz each with more olive oil over the vegetables.

* Shake another 1/8 of the contents of the shaker bottle of spices over each.

* Fold the foil into an envelope and place the fillets on the grill for approximately 30-40 minutes. Remove one envelope and test to see if both vegetables and fish are done.

* When the fillets and vegetables have finished cooking, remove the envelopes from the grill and serve immediately.

This recipe is delicious served with a green tossed side salad and a baked potato. You may serve the fillets in the foil envelopes by tearing a hole in the top of each envelope, or by removing the contents of the envelope to the individual’s plate.

Fish Casserole

Casseroles are a great way to stretch our grocery budget and that has become tremendously important lately with the sky rocketing cost of groceries and dining out. Fish casserole is a very filling dish and beneficial to our health in many ways, which makes it one dish you can be quite proud to serve your family. A hearty casserole is a pleasing dish to serve on a cold winter’s evening.

The following casserole recipe is easy to prepare and the dish will feed six to eight people, depending on what side dishes you serve with it. The leftovers are microwavable.

MUSHROOM FISH BAKE

INGREDIENTS:

4 Ocean Whitefish fillets

1 can Campbell’s Mushroom soup

3/4 can hot water (empty soup can)

1 3/4 Cup warm water

1 Package Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing mix

1 1/2 Cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese

4 fresh scallions, chopped

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1/4 Cup fresh chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS:

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

* Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry with paper toweling.

* Using a pair kitchen shears, cut each fillet into bite sized pieces.

* Line a baking pan in aluminum foil and spray with Pam original cooking spray.

* Place the fish on the aluminum foil in a single layer and bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 10 minutes.

* Remove the fish from oven and place the pieces in the bottom of a 9 X 12 casserole dish.

* Sprinkle the chopped scallions over the fish.

* Lightly salt and pepper, to taste.

* Mix the can of Campbell’s mushroom soup with 3/4 of the can full of hot water. Blend until thoroughly mixed and pour evenly over the fish and scallions.

* Sprinkle evenly across the top with the shredded Cheddar cheese.

* In a medium mixing bowl, combine the contents of the Stove Top Stuffing mix pouch with 1 3/4 cup warm water. Stir mix with a fork until all the stuffing mix is moistened. Sprinkle across the top of the casserole.

* Bake the casserole at 350 degrees Farenheit for 30 minutes, or until cheese has melted and the stuffing mix and started turning a golden brown.

* Remove from the oven, garnish with the chopped parsley, and allow to cool ten minutes prior to serving.

This casserole, with the wholesome goodness of melted Cheddar cheese and the crunchy texture of the stuffing mix, is a great way to entice children into eating their fish. The casserole is delicious served with a green tossed side salad and a baked potato.

Coconut Streusal Topped Sour Cream Apple Pear Pie with Cranberries

Coconut Streusal Topped Sour Cream Apple-Pear Pie with Cranberries

This delicious holiday recipe is sure to be a hit. It is one that our family has enjoyed for many years, with new ingredients added for perfection until we finally got the recipe just right.

In a hurry? Frozen deep-dish or boxed pie crusts work well in a pinch, and wont detract much from the already flavor-rich pie. Serves 6-8. Embellish with a dollop of whipped cream, or french vanilla ice cream for best results.

For a home made pie crust:

Ingredients:

All purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup shortening

5-6 tablespoons cold water

Directions:

In a medium sized bowl, stir flour and salt. With pastry blender or two knives, used scissors fashion, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, into mixture, mixing lightly with a fork after each addition until pastry is just moist enough to hold together. Shape pastry into ball.

After preparing pastry (above), on lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round about two inches larger than pie plate. Transfer round to pie plate and ease into it. Trim edge leaving one inch overhang. Fold overhang under, then bring up over pie plate rim; pinch to form a high edge, then make a decorative edge by gently pressing around rim with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees F° for 15 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool before filling.

Apple-Pear Pie Filling

Ingredients:

3 med-Lg sized apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices

3 med-Lg sized pears, peeled, cored and cut into slices

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 stick of butter

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons flour

Juice from one lemon

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

1) Toss chopped apples and pears in a bowl with sugar, spices,  and flour.

2) Mix in sour cream, lemon juice and zest

3) Add walnuts and cranberries. Mix everything, and pour into pie crust

4) Cut butter ino pieces and poke into the top of pie

Topping:

1/2 bag sweetened. shredded coconut

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup melted butter

Directions:

Mix all ingredients and crumble over top of pie. Put tin foil under pie to keep from dripping into stove, and lightly place a piece of tin foil over the top. Bake in an oven at 425 degrees F for 45 minutes. Lift tin foil and continue baking until golden brown (about 15 minutes.)

As an alternative, if you are not a huge fan of coconut, a second pie shell crust can be substituted. Just place the raw dough over the top, pinch to seal and cut a few slits in it. I always like alternatives. The nice thing about this recipe is its adaptability. If you have freshly harvested a bunch of apples and/ or pears and want to make a quick dessert, but have no cranberries…it is easily done. Of course, the best recipe uses everything. Ths one will warm your tummy, and your family will probably want you to make it again, and again….

Fish Fillets Cooked in Wine

If you frequently entertain guests, you probably find yourself searching for new and delicious ways to prepare the main entree. We seem to always strive to impress our guests with our culinary skills when most often the guests accepted our invitation merely to enjoy our company. It is only natural, though, to want to provide our guests with a delightfully pleasing meal.

Wine compliments fish and adds a whole new dimension to the flavor of our favorite fillets. There are several ways in which to cook fish in wine, including the use of sauces containing wine in the list of ingredients it is prepared with. If finding the time to cook is often a problem for you, one of the simplest ways to prepare a taste tantalizing meal is by using parchment paper.

As you will see by the following two recipes, quick and simple still has the power to impress your guests.

FISH COOKED IN PARCHMENT

INGREDIENTS:

4 Ocean Whitefish or Orange Roughy filets

4 Tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons lemon juice

8 Tablespoons shredded carrot

1 Green Bell pepper, sliced

2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped

4 Tablespoons fresh scallions, chopped

Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

4 sheets 14 X 14 Parchment Paper

Dry White Wine

DIRECTIONS:

* Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

* Lay parchement paper sheets on a sold working surface.

* Place one fish fillet in center of each piece of parchment paper.

* Melt butter and drizzle each fillet with 1 tablespoon.

* Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.

* Sprinkle 2 tablespoons shredded carrot, 1 tablespoon of chopped scallions, and 1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley over each fillet.

* Top with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/4 of the bell pepper slices.

* Spritz each with dry white wine.

* Fold parchment papers like envelopes.

* Place the envelopes of fish on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for approximately 20 minutes.

* Remove baking sheet from oven.

* Cut the top of each envelope open and serve the fish in the parchment paper.

This is an impressive and very delicious recipe with a French flair and will serve four adults. Your guests or family will love it and it is quite good for you.

The following recipe is for fish fillets in wine sauce made with Sauternes wine. Due to the expense of Sauternes wine, you might want to substitute sauterne wine, a sem-generic form of the dessert wine. The semi-generic form is not capitalized and has no s at the end of the word. It costs considerably less than Sauternes.

FRESH HADDOCK IN WINE SAUCE

4 fresh haddock fillets

1/2 Sauternes wine

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

2 Tablespoons minced onion

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon cooking oil

1/2 Cup cream

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

* Place 1 tablespoon cooking oil in the top of a double boiler.

* Add the onion and saute until tender and transparent.

* Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper and blend well.

* Slowly add the milk while stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens.

* Remove from the heat and very gradually stir in the wine.

* Place the fish fillets in a baking dish and sprinkle lightly with salt.

* Pour the wine sauce over the fish fillets.

* Bake at 350 degrees F. for thirty minutes, basting frequently with the sauce.

* Remove from oven after 30 minutes and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

This recipe is delicious served with steamed or roasted vegetables and rice and will feed 4 adults. It is sure to please everyone dining with you. As you can see, it is quite easy to incorporate the use of wine into cooking fish whether you have little time to cook or want to create an exquisite sauce.

Comparing Arbys and Subway Fast Food Restaurants

If you know your fast food restaurant chains, you should be able to compare the differences between Arby’s and Subway. The two restaurants have similar slogans with Arby’s being, “Slicing Up Freshness” and Subway’s being, “Eat Fresh.” Both restaurants value serving items that are freshly made. In regards to Subway, the people that work there do make the subs right in front of you. That way, you see what goes inside the sub and how they handle them. You also have the choice of having the sub as is or having it heated up in the oven. In regards to Arby’s, that might not be the case. While Arby’s is using the slogan of “Slicing Up Freshness,” you have to think whether or not the food is freshly made.

However, there are major differences between the two restaurants. With Arby’s, you have to put the restaurant in the same group as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Checker’s, Hardee’s, and Burger King. With Subway, you have to put that restaurant in the same group as Blimpie’s, Quizno’s, or Wawa. Arby’s deals in many different sandwiches and sides while Subway deals mainly in subs. They both have a variety of sandwiches; but, neither of them serve hamburgers of any sort.

Arby’s main menu consists of Ultimate Angus, Turkey Roaster, Roast Beef, Market Fresh, and Prime-Cut Chicken Sandwiches. They come in varieties such as Beef ‘n Cheddar, Bacon Beef ‘n Cheddar, Deluxe Bacon Cheddar, Chicken Cordon Blue, Chicken Bacon & Swiss, Reuben, Philly, and Three Cheese & Bacon.

Its side menu has items such as Curly Fries, Homestyle Fries, Steakhouse Onion Rings, Mozzarella Sticks and Potato Cakes. Its dessert menu consists of turnovers and cookies.

Subway, due to its name, specializes in subs. You have the choice of getting a six inch or a foot long sub. There are deals where you can buy a foot long for five dollars. Sandwiches in the menu include the BLT, Black Forest Ham, Cold Cut Combo, Meatball Marinara, Oven Roasted Chicken, Spicy Italian, Big Philly Cheesesteak, Tuna, Turkey Breast, Subway Melt, and Veggie Delight.

It also has a breakfast menu in which some sandwiches are served in folded flat bread.

The side menu of Subway is simplistic letting you choose from chips, apple slices, cookies, or yogurt parfait. The drink menu tends to be healthier than Arby’s as you can choose from low fat milk, apple juice, Vitaminwater Zero, and Dasani Bottled Water.

Subway also focuses on nutrition. On the website, you can search for heart-healthy meals. You can also look up nutritional information on the subs served at Subway.

Comparing Arby’s and Subway with each other is pretty simplistic. By looking at the menus of both restaurants, you can easily tell the differences. Arby’s focuses mainly on different sandwiches while Subway focuses mainly on subs. Due to the differing menus, the two restaurants belong to two different groups of fast food.