Zucchini, Baby Spinach and Cottage Cheese Phyllo Tart

Ummmm yes please !

I have finally come to the realization that I REALLY enjoy zucchini’s !, courgettes, or marrows or whatever you guys call them. (Sorry I did not mean to shout, I really just wanted to emphasize how much I really do enjoy them) It’s not a bad thing though as they are healthy, low carbs… but seriously, look at all my posts and 90% of them have zucchini’s in them !!!! (Okay, I still am getting used to the idea of calling what I know as ‘marrow’s’, zucchini’s or courgettes….I know I am carrying on about it, but this is a major for me.

So, this little savoury tart I have done like a billion times, over the years.  I decided that it clearly is good, and it is clearly time to share.  The combination of the marrows zucchini’s and cottage cheese is just delicious.  I have made it with both phyllo and puff.  Both are good, so basically when I am in this tart mood I use whatever pastry I have on hand, so clearly anything goes! (did you notice how many times I said ‘clearly’ in this paragraph?….yip! I am losing it !!!)

Zucchini, Baby Spinach and Cottage Cheese Phyllo Tart

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  30 – 45 minutes

Total time:  40 – 55 minutes

Ingredients:

6 – 8 sheets of phyllo pastry

1/2 cup (125 ml) melted butter, plus more if necessary

250 gram plain chunky cottage cheese

2 Tablespoons basil pesto (be generous)

8 small zucchini’s, sliced with a potato peeler

a handful of baby spinach, sliced finely

4 Jumbo-sized free-range eggs

1 cup (250 ml) crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup (125 ml) dry toasted pumpkin seeds

To Serve:  Rocket and Sour Cream

Instructions:

Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease an oven proof dish approximately 23 x 28 x 5 centimeters / 9 x 11 x 2 inches in size.

Layer one sheet of your phyllo pastry into the dish and brush the pastry with some melted butter.  Continue to layer and brush with butter until all the sheets of phyllo are finished.

Then blanch the sliced zucchini’s in boiling water for a few seconds, drain and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl add the cottage cheese and pesto.  Taste and if needed season with salt and pepper.  Spoon mixture onto the phyllo pastry.

In another bowl, add the zucchini, baby spinach, eggs and feta. Mix well. Then stir in half of the dry toasted pumpkin seeds.

Spoon the zucchini mixture over the cottage cheese mixture, and top with the remainder of the pumpkin seeds.

Place in oven and bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until egg has set and phyllo is golden brown.

Serve with rocket and sour cream.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  If you find that your phyllo is browning too quickly, cover the exposed phyllo with tin foil, so that it does not burn.

 

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Garden Fresh Crunchy Marrow/Zucchini/Courgette Salad

Say hello to crunchy salad !!! Say hello to this amazing, light summer salad I threw together for lunch! I really had no clue how this was going to turn out, it was a matter of using what I had in the fridge (yeah, I do that a lot) and …I surprised myself! This is the perfect summer salad for all those lucky people out there enjoying the warmth of summer.  And, of course those that aren’t (me)….. just pretend the sun is shining and the day is good !

This is a super easy salad, and could work well just as a side salad or as a main. I am just loving the spiralized marrows, it just makes this salad so pretty :-). Just one thing, if you do make this salad, and you are wanting to make it ahead of time, don’t cut your tomatoes until you are ready to serve, otherwise your salad will become quite watery.

Garden Fresh Crunchy Marrow/Zucchini/Courgette Salad

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Serves 2 *

Ingredients:

2 cups spiralized marrows

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup fresh basil leaves

2 cups baby spinach leaves

2 cups exotic tomatoes, chopped/halved (or cherry tomatoes)

salt and pepper to taste

Olive Oil for drizzling

Nutritional Yeast for sprinkling on the top (optional)

Instructions:

Throw spiralized marrows, chopped celery, basil and baby spinach into a bowl.

Add tomatoes.

Season.

Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

Enjoy 🙂

 

  • This recipe can easily be halved or doubled, depending on how many people or if you are wanting it as a main or side.  I also, used Nutritional Yeast so it is vegan, but this can be subbed with feta or any cheese of your choice if you don’t want the vegan option.

Vegetarian Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings

 

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Another Vegetarian Meal guys…I am just on this crazy but wonderful Vegetarian ride at the moment, and its like…I just don’t want to get off it.

Well, its Spring here in good old South Africa, but with the weather we have been experiencing lately, it is hard to believe.  We have had bouts of some miserable weather, I mean about two weeks ago it was even cold for a day to two !  It was like we all of a sudden had the winter we never had this year ! Weird…. Now, these last few days have been so windy, to the point of unpleasantness, and I do not like wind.  Wind, really is not my friend….

But its cool, because over the real Winter time, it was so hot, we were eating salads, and now for Spring we are eating curries and all those nice comfort warming meals…..hence Vegetarian Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings !

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Yum, yum and yum :-). This dish is filled with delicious vegetables, and again it is very adaptable.  I basically again, used the veggies I had in my fridge before they started to look sad and bedraggled…you know how it goes.  Usually I throw them all into a pot and make a soup, or throw them…. (that really sounds awful….I don’t really ‘throw’ them….I place them…yes…I place them….) in a pan and make a delicious healthy frittata or definitely some form of a veggie concoction.

Anyway, back to the dish of the day…..super easy, scrumptious, warming to the soul and those dumplings….to die for :-).

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I thoroughly enjoy dumplings with a casserole, I remember years ago jotting down a recipe from  a cooking show, in which Rachel Allan hosted.  It was a Chicken Casserole with Cheesy Herb dumplings.  Well, need I say the recipe was divine, and the dumplings really just added this special touch to the dish. Since then, if I am wanting something special…dumplings in all forms will be added :-).

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This Vegetarian Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings is easily adaptable and can be made into a Gluten-Free meal as well, just by using a Gluten-Free Self Raising Flour for the dumplings. You can also substitute the full cream milk with a milk of your choice, and then obviously the cheese can be changed, if you don’t want to use tinned tomatoes, you can also use fresh chopped tomatoes…. I love versatile recipes !!!

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Vegetarian Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 – 55 minutes

Total time:  1 hour 5 minutes – 10 minutes

Ingredients:

3 – 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil/olive oil/coconut oil

2 – 3 medium-sized onions, peeled and roughly chopped

1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed

3 – 4 large carrots, peeled and grated

2 medium-sized turnips, peeled and grated

3 – 4 sticks of celery, chopped thinly

800 grams of tomatoes

250 millilitres (1 cup) vegetable stock

3 -4 large baby marrows/zucchinis, sliced fairly thickly

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried origanum

200 millilitres (1/2  tin) of Coconut Cream

salt and pepper to taste

For the Dumplings:

660 millilitres self-raising wheat flour

60 grams salted butter

160 grams cheddar cheese

250 millilitres (1 cup) of full cream milk or buttermilk

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/390 degrees F.

Firstly, once all the ingredients are prepared and measured out, in a large pot, on medium to high, heat up the oil and saute’ the onions, carrots, turnips, and celery. This will take a few minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.

Add the tomatoes and stir.

Pour in the prepared vegetable stock and baby marrows (zucchini’s).

Cover the pot with a lid and bring to the boil.  Once the mixture has reached boiling point, reduce the heat to simmer and allow the vegetables to simmer for ten to fifteen minutes.

Add the coconut cream and stir.

Taste, and season well with salt and pepper.

Place the vegetables in an oven-proof casserole dish approximately 20 centimeters in width by 10 centimeters in depth (8 inches in width by 4 inches in depth – it needs to hold at least 1.5 Litres/6.5 cups) and then allow extra for the dumplings on the top.

To make the dumplings:

Place the self-raising flour in a large bowl.

Add the chopped butter, salt and grated cheese.

Make a “well” in the flour, and pour in the full cream milk or buttermilk.

Using a knife, stir and mix in the flour into the milk until this mixture forms a dough.

If you feel the dough is a bit dry, add a little more milk by the tablespoon,  This should not be a very sticky dough at all.

With your hands, form balls of dough, (approximately golf ball sizes). These don’t have to be exact, the more rough and rustic they look, the more character they will have. Pack the balls of dough onto the vegetable mixture.  Brush each ball of dough with some milk and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until  the dumplings are golden brown and cooked through.

Serve hot and from the oven.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  If you are wanting to add more to this meal, serve with cooked quinoa or rice…personally though, the dumpling mixture makes quite a few, so that serves as the carbs 🙂

NB*  This meal does keep in the refrigerator if need be, but it must be covered.

NB*  Check your carrots, they may just require washing and not peeling. Remember all the nutrients are in the skins, so if the skins look good, rather not peel :-).

NB*  The oven-proof dish I used was not the correct size, it was far too shallow.  The recipe does state the correct size (no less than 1.5 litres/6.5 cups)

Baby Marrow (Zucchini/Courgette) Noodles with Toasted Sunflower Seeds and Almonds

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Whoever invented the Spiralizer, is a genius !!!  I had been wanting one for months, and finally just took the plunge and bought one…awesome 🙂.  I have had my new toy now for about three weeks, and I love it.  I am still in the throws of experimenting with it and doing meals, so yes, my inventions will be popping up every now and then, if they are blog-worthy :-).

Zoodles! what a cool word…but we call zucchini’s, baby marrows here in good old South Africa, so now what???  Do we have to use a different word???Hmmmmm ??? Well, for now, I will stick with Baby Marrow Noodles, hope that’s okay.

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I am definitely on the vegetarian bandwagon these days, for various reasons. This meal which I concocted is very versatile for sure.  I started off with the vegetarian version which I love.  It is loaded with all the added crunch I enjoy with toasted sunflower seeds and almonds with a dash of heat in the form of a little chilli or two.

I made it to test out, and my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed it for lunch ……and dinner.  For us, it was a winner!

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Ha ha…. I just envisioned puppy dog eyes at the table when yet another vegetarian meal is served…

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So….for the meat eaters, I really can’t have you guys missing out on this healthy meal, so…. I have included an option 1, 2 or 3  (I am so kind). It’s unbelievably easy, it is just a matter of adding the cooked meat to the dish, and that way the meat eaters will be happy.

And…this way, everyone will be chuffed :-).

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Baby Marrow (Zucchini) Noodles with Toasted Sunflower Seeds

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

600 grams spiralized baby marrow noodles

100 grams sunflower seeds

100 grams raw almonds

a dash of oil (coconut oil, olive oil or vegetable oil)

2 medium-sized fresh red chillies (Not Devil Chillies, these are incredibly hot and will overpower the meal completely)

2 large fresh garlic cloves

freshly grounded salt and pepper, to taste

Then for the meat eaters:

Option 1.  100 grams chopped cooked, left over chicken

Option 2.  100 grams chopped cooked, left over bacon

Option 3.  100 grams chopped cooked, left over chicken and bacon (50 grams each)

and for all 1,2 and 3 options, an extra 100 grams of sunflower seeds to be added when serving.

Instructions:

Dry toast the sunflower seeds by putting them in a small pan on top of the stove.  Do not add any oil as seeds contain their own oils.  Turn on the oven plate to medium.  Turn and toss the seeds around with a wooden spatula. They burn quite easily, so be careful, as burnt offerings with this dish wouldn’t be too cool.  They could even start popping, just warning you… So there could be a scattering of seeds around your stove (just eat them, I do…the perfect snack attack whilst cooking :-)).  Wait until they become a nice golden brown before removing the pan from the oven plate.  Place in a bowl and set aside.

Dry roast the whole almonds the same way as the sunflower seeds were done. Once toasted, chop, place in a bowl and set aside. (I quite like keeping some almonds whole as well, but that is purely optional)

Then once that is done, its chilli time….cut the top of the chillies off, and then with the chilli between your hands, roll the chilli, that will help remove the pips.  If the pips are being stubborn, just slice the chilli up the side and remove the pips with the knife.  Toss the pips aside and wash your hands :-). (probably not a good idea to touch your eyes…..) Then with either a very sharp knife or a pair of scissors, chop or cut the chillies up finely.

Finely chop up the garlic cloves.  I usually get the back-end of the knife and press down on the garlic clove with a little force till it squashes and flattens a bit and then I chop…just so much easier

In a large frying pan, add a little oil, just enough to lightly saute’ the garlic and chilli.  This will only take a minute before the aromas start filtering the kitchen. Add the spiralized noodles and toss very gently to avoid breaking the noodles.

Add the toasted sunflower seeds and toasted almonds.

Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly.

Enjoy 🙂

For the meat eaters…

Follow the above instructions; just after the nuts and seeds have been added, add either the chicken, bacon or both and then taste before seasoning. Bacon is generally quite salty, so if having the bacon option, season after the bacon has been added.

For the added crunch with this meaty dish, add the extra 100 grams of toasted sunflower seeds on serving.

Enjoy 🙂