Saturday, August 30, 2008

Savannah Day 1 - "The Ghetto"

We woke up Friday morning to a leisure departure - I was quite pleased to leave the house with a freshly made bed and all laundry washed (including that mornings bed sheets). We headed out, with the dogs, at 9 AM for the 5+ hour drive to Savannah (I've ALWAYS wanted to visit here)! We are trying our traveling with dogs and staying in hotel that allows them. We are both a little concerned about how this works, only because our dogs BARK when they hear outside noises.

The drive was exhausting, especially for Andy the driver, because it was our 3rd 5+ hour drive in the past month!! We finally cross the bridge and make our way into town.

I was thankful our Inn was right off the interstate - we pulled up and it was immediate disappointment...but we were both being troopers. We carry the luggage in and the room was pretty decent and had a mini fridge. We decided to head across the street to a gas station for cokes, water, beer, and a local newspaper. That’s when the CHAOS began…newspaper front page article (next to Obama Rocks) “Gunman killed in robbery” yep, that shoot out happened AT the gas station we were just in, RIGHT across the street on Wednesday night!!! Andy was FREAKING by that time and threatening to drive back home :(

I quickly searched and called around local places – and thankfully quickly found a LaQuinta Suites!! This place is a palace in comparison. We all immediately felt more comfortable about the areas surroundings, the room, and leaving the dogs. The only down is that we are a 15 minute drive from the city, but not too bad.

This is the way we left the dogs:


Andy and I finally "out on the town" in Savannah!!

Heading to the river walk

Talmadge Bridge on the Savannah River

Historic steps on our way back up, on our way to dinner
Savannah, GA - W Congress St
Dinner - we decided on THE LADY AND SONS!! They had a late evening opening and I snatched it up!!
We started with martini's - Andy got a Gin Martini and I got the special of the night a Pomegranate Martini

Bread offerings: Cheese Biscuit (tender and fluffy interior) and a Hoe Cake with maple syrup
We split the Cornucopia Salad - A bed of mixed greens topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, carrots, green peppers, red onion, cheese, walnuts, raisins, bananas, hard boiled egg and croutons. Served with Poppyseed dressing . My portion:
I ordered the petite filet with black, raspberry, and blueberry sauce and cream cheese. Served with crab legs, roasted potatoes and herbs, and french green beans, onions, and peppers! So divine!
Andy ordered one of the other speicals -Roasted Duck with an orange rosemary glaze (killer good!!!), cheesy au gratin potatoes, and broccoli with cherry tomatoes.

We headed back to the hotel at 9 PM - imaging the dogs as we left them....when we walk into the side hotel door....we hear the dogs BARKING!!! Argh!! This is the last time we plan to use a hotel for them, we like to be conciderate and this leaves us stressed!! We will head back to the city in the morning with the dogs for a mid-morning walk. Our friends our joining us this afternoon for the rest of the trip and we're having a late lunch once they arrive.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chicken Fajita's

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whole wheat flax flour tortilla's

2 leftover cooked chicken breasts, sliced

2 bell peppers, sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 lime, juiced

1/4 cup red pepper sauce or salsa

1-2 tsp red chili sauce


Heat 2 tsp EVOO over med-high heat.  Saute pepper and onions 5-7 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, lime juice, and sauces.  Continue to coook another 5-6 minutes.  Add chicken and heat through 2-3 minutes.  Serve warm.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dining Out: Rockwood Filling Station

I met my friend Laura tonight at Rockwood's, a recently opened restaurant by the owners of Nana's and Q Shack on University Dr. We found the wait staff to be super friendly, the atmosphere great (not too noisy, non-smoking, and a little "sheik retro"), and the food rocked.

We started off splitting the antipasto platter: flat bread, a whole roasted garlic head split, two deviled eggs, kalamata olives, roasted red pepper strips, white bean salad, prosciutto, some sort of goat cheese, and pickled cauliflower. We both thought it was great and LOVED the idea of a whole roasted garlic head - I squeezed it out onto the flat bread and Laura squeezed a bit on the pizza we ordered.

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They had a nice selection of pizza choices and make your own. The White Pie; Ham, Egg and Spinach; and Margarita all sounded tempting but we both agreed that we wanted to split a Roasted Eggplant, Ricotta, Caramelized Onion, and Capers Pizza. The bad news is, I apparently was so excited about it, I completely forgot to take a photo :(

Check out this blog for a glimpse of their pizza.

We topped the evening off by splitting a dessert - you HAVE to when they make their own selection of ice creams and sorbets. I chose a scoop of blueberry beignet and she got Praline & Caramel - we split the two scoops down the middle and shared (served with a homemade pizelle cookie).

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I'm looking forward to taking the hubby back to enjoy a nice date night here. It was VERY affordable too, splitting a appetizer, entree, and dessert (I drank H2O) and tip - was $14.50!! (Sarah, let me know if you want to double date sometime!)

Summer CSA - Week 7

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two green bell peppers

acorn squash

butternut squash

delicata squash (excited to try this!)

Delicata Squash

squash 1 lb

zucchini 1 lb

tomatoes 1 lb

Monday, August 25, 2008

Spicy Thai Mango Chicken Breasts

Tonight dinner was a rich spicy, sweet sauce with tender diced mango poured over a warm sauteed chicken breast.  I would defiantly make this again; it was very good and simple and quick to make.

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Saute chicken breast in EVOO 4-5 minutes per side.  Remove from pan.  Whisk together red pepper relish, apricot jelly, crushed red pepper flakes, and 1 lime juiced.  Add sauce and diced mango to heated pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened.  Add chicken back, cook for additional 2-3 minutes.  Serve chicken with sauce drizzled on top.

Along side we had roasted veggies (with lime), steamed corn on the cob, and ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


Monday: Spicy Mango Chicken with Roasted Asparagus and Summer Squash

Tuesday: Dinner at Rockwood Filling Station

Wednesday: Chicken Fajita's

Thursday: Homemade or Frozen Pizza

Friday: Savannah, GA!!

Saturday: Savannah - Lady and Sons

Sunday: Savannah

Beach Make Ahead: Florentine Mac and Cheese with Chicken-Apple Sausages

Today: It started off with a warm skim milk coffee and yogurt with granola topping, Andy and I did a Yogini DVD workout, then it was onto completing the upcoming months finance forecast, we finalized our Living Wills, did more laundry, cooked speltberries, prep muesli and hard boiled eggs for the week, made calamari and homemade marinara for lunch, made and froze a pasta casserole for the beach and now it's onto more hammock time :o) Whew, I'm ready to go back to work so I can get a break around here, ha ha.

Beach Prep Begins!!

The last couple of years I have begun cooking and pre-making most of our food that we take to our week beach vacation. I really enjoy doing this for several reasons:

  • ease of meals while at the beach and more time to relax
  • convenient
  • frugal to bring prepared meals and to buy most of the ingredients here vs. paying higher prices at the grocery stores at the beach
  • AND beach anticipation!!!

I know it's right around the corner when I start making and freezing the meals!

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First up: Florentine Mac and Cheese with Chicken-Apple Sausages - click here for the original recipe. I swapped up the meatballs for chicken-apple sausage and also threw in roasted squash and mushrooms.

Pasta boiling and cheese sauce simmering:

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Cheese sauce with spinach, roasted veggies, and chicken sausage addition

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Homemade Spicy Marinara Sauce

Andy decided to pull out frozen calamari today for lunch. We still had tomatoes on hand that needed to go towards a good cause. I came up with the idea to make homemade spicy marinara sauce (based off of Kath's posted recipe). It was outstanding; Andy raved about it and wants us to make several more batches this summer to freeze.

  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 pepperocinis, diced
  • 3 large tomatoes, gently squeezed and diced
  • 1/2 pt cherry tomato, gently squeezed, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

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Heat EVOO and saute garlic and pepperocinis for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring mixture to a slow boil and simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring once or twice until moisture has reduced and thickened a bit.

Add the following herbs and if desired puree using a blender (or stick blender).

  • 10 basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs oregano, roughly chopped

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Once blended, stir in the following:

  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar

Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes more.

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Here is it in all it's glory with the calamari (which we heated 1 Tbsp EVOO, and sauteed for 4-5 minutes with salt and pepper. Then squeezed with lime juice and served.) It was perfect and scrumptious!!!

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Better yet, a batch to freeze:

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Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Dinner was amazing! This is one of our FAVORITE pasta dinners and I should have been making it more often since it uses so many wonderful summer veggies! It's very versatile, so swap up the veggies with your favorite.

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  • 2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
  • 2 jalapeno's, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise, 1-inch cubes
  • 2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise, 1-inch
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix
  • 1 pound rotini or penne pasta
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grated colby cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet (or two), toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and tomatoes with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Everyday Italian here

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Quick Pickles

I can't wait to try these!!  This recipe took 15 minutes max and since I tripled the recipe I have 3 quarts worth.


Cucumbers quartered and in jars with tarragon.

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1/3 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt


4 Kirby cucumbers, washed, dried, and quartered lengthwise
2-3 sprigs fresh tarragon

Bring the syrup mixture to a boil, stirring, until sugar and salt have dissolved.  Turn burner off and allow mixture to sit momentarily. (I used about half apple cider vinegar.)

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Place the quartered cucumbers and tarragon in a jar.  Pour mixture into jar.  Let cool completely, uncovered.  Pickles are best refrigerated overnight (or up to 6 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months). Thaw to serve.

Makes 1 quart jar.

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Cooling and ready to go!  I placed one jar in the fridge and the other two in the freezer.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Apple-Chicken Sausage and Pineapple Pizza

Great combo - savory and sweet.  Served with a glass of Charles Shaw White Zinfandel (our last bottle of the summer).

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1 whole wheat pizza dough ball (Trader Joe's)

1/4 cup Hoisin sauce

1 thinly sliced, pre-cooked apple-chicken sausage

1/3 cup pineapple tidbits, drained and patted dry

3-4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle pizza stone or pan and dough with cornmeal. Using your finger tips, press dough out to the edges of your pan. Spread sauce onto dough, top with chicken, pineapple, and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until dough is golden brown on the edges and cheese is bubbly. Cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Slow Cooker Indian Curry

We're still EXHAUSTED from the weekend road trip, luckily I have a few crock pot recipes that I have been wanting to try.  Tonight, I made Indian Curry with Brow Rice.  I based the recipe from Rachael Ray's, but ended up making many substitutions.  This was pretty good, but not so awesome that I will likely make again.

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  • 1 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 1 4 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Few dashes hot sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 large eggplant, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 cups fresh purple hull peas (or 2 cans chick peas)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Brown rice


    In the bowl of a crock pot combine the coconut milk, tomato paste, water, lime juice, curry powder, coriander, cumin, and hot sauce. To that add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, eggplant, sweet potatoes, and peas. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper and then turn the crock pot on to high heat, cover it, and let the curry stew for about 8 hours.  Serve the curry with prepared rice.


    Summer CSA - Week 6

    I plan to make Kath's gazpacho this weekend with the tomatoes and cucumbers (and peppers from my garden).

    cucumbers 2 lbs

    squash lb

    zucchini lb

    tomatoes lb

    red cherry tomatoes pt

    okra lb

  • Sunday, August 17, 2008

    Zucchini Rocks!

    I like to keep pretty busy around the house, but that's hard to do when your a visiting guest. We've been visiting Andy's grandmother several times each day, but that only occupies so much time. I mentioned this to my Mom; that if I were at home I'd be cooking this or that but since most of the family is at the hospital there's no one really around to eat the food even if I did make something. She then had a brilliant idea (she's so smart :) to cook and freeze several dishes for them to pull out and bake!! That's all I needed and away I've gone!

    I just placed the last dish in the oven this morning, Zucchini Casserole. I also made a double batch of Goulash, Pastitsio, Chocolate-Pecan Tart (without the chocolate my father-in-laws favorite), and a slightly modified version of Tina's Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookie!

    This dish is SO good. We've been eating it for dinner and then as a savory reheated breakfast item! If I make this just for Andy and I plan to omit the cheese in the batter and just use 1 cup sharp cheddar for the top.

    Zucchini Casserole

    4 eggs, beaten (or 2 eggs and 2 egg whites)
    1/2 c. vegetable or canola oil
    1 c. biscuit mix (dry)
    1 can (4 oz) chopped green chili peppers w/ juice OR 4 oz salsa OR diced peppers & tomatoes
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 c. grated cheddar cheese
    4 c grated zucchini

    Combine eggs, oil, & biscuit mix. Stir in chili peppers, onions, garlic, & 1/2 the cheese. Stir in squash. Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish.

    Bake @ 350 for 40 min. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes more.

    THE BEST RECIPE OF THE WEEKEND!!! I've been craving these ever since Tina posted them about two weeks ago and they did not disappoint, these are definitely becoming one of my favorite cookies. They are moist, tender, a little chewy, sweet and chocolaty!! Bonus they have healthy zucchini, whole wheat flour, and heart healthy canola oil.

    Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
    (Makes about two dozen)

    1 egg, beaten
    1/4 cup butter
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/3 cup honey
    1 tbsp. vanilla extract

    Combine in large bowl.

    1 cup white flour
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1⁄2 tsp baking soda
    1⁄4 tsp salt
    1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
    1⁄4 tsp nutmeg

    Combine in a separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture.

    1 cup finely shredded zucchini
    6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350°, 14 to 18 minutes. Thoroughly ENJOY!!

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    Emergency Roadtrip

    We are making an emergency trip back to KY tonight to visit with my husband's grandmother who has been very ill. We haven't seen her since Christmas, so we felt it was best to visit now in the event this is our last chance. I plan to be back home sometime Monday and will blog when I have the availability.


    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

    As you may have seen I typically like using short pastas (I hate spaghetti, angel hair, and vermicelli).  For tonight's dish it calls to cut the zucchini and squash into thin ribbons so a thin noodle is desirable and I really enjoyed having fettuccini for a change. 

    The dish looked and tasted great; it had a nice freshness and crunch from the veggies.

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    3/4 pound whole-wheat fettuccini
    2 medium green zucchini (about 1 pound)
    2 medium yellow zucchini (about 1 pound)
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    1/4 cup grated (1-ounce) Parmesan (lightly packed), plus 2 tablespoons
    1/3 cup finely minced parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
    1 cup thinly sliced basil leaves, plus more for garnish
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

    In a large pasta pot, cook pasta "al dente", 1 or 2 minutes less than the package instructions call for. Drain.

    Meanwhile, slice off ends of zucchini and discard. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a mandoline, or carefully with a sharp knife, slice zucchini into very thin (about 1/8-inch) slices, trying to keep some skin on each piece for color. Stack slices and cut in half lengthwise. Reserve zucchini ribbons in a large bowl.

    In the pasta pot, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft and translucent but not browned, about 1 minute. Add zucchini ribbons and 1/4 cup chicken broth, raise heat to medium-high and cook until zucchini is still somewhat firm but just cooked, about 3 minutes. Return pasta to pot and add remaining chicken stock; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until liquid has mostly absorbed into the pasta. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, black pepper and toss to combine. Season with salt, to taste. Serve garnished with additional parsley, basil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese.

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    Recipe courtesy of ellie krieger

    I also prepped tomorrow nights crock pot ingredients.  I placed them all in the pot, covered with plastic wrap and placed into the fridge.  Tomorrow morning I will pull the pot out, uncover, add in the chicken and be ready to set and go!

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    With the orange sweet potatoes and black skinned eggplants, It looks just like Halloween.  I am really starting to get in the mood for fall.  We've been having cool mornings and mild, rainy days.  I hope it stays this way and we have an extended fall season.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Rice and Black Bean Pilaf

    Tonight for dinner I heated up my first ever store-bought frozen veggie burger.  I purchased Amy's Kitchen California Veggie flavored ones last week for our trip as back-up food and we never needed them.  I had it on a whole wheat bun with tomato and red-pepper relish.  It was tender and had more of a burger taste than my homemade black bean burgers do.  It was satisfying, but I still prefer mine :o)

    Along side I tried a new Ellie Krieger recipe of rice and black bean pilaf.  It was quite good and very filling,  I thought it could have used a little more flavor so I added a tablespoon of Penzey's Creamy Peppercorn.  Here's my take on the recipe:

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    1 cup basmati brown rice, uncooked
    2 cups water
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 teaspoons fresh chopped oregano 

    1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
    1 large cubanelle pepper 
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
    1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed  

    1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved                            

    salt and pepper, to taste                                        

    1 tablespoon, Penzey's creamy peppercorn

    Place rice and chicken broth in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook rice, covered, until tender and all the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, and fluff with a fork.

    Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, parsley, bell pepper, cumin and chili flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is tender but not mushy, about 6 minutes. Stir in black beans and cook until just warmed through, about 1-2 minutes.

    Combine onion-black bean mixture, hot rice, and tomatoes in a serving bowl and toss to combine. 


    Summer CSA - Week 5

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    red cherry tomatoes 1 pt

    tomatoes 1 lb

    squash 1 lb

    zucchini 1 lb

    sweet peppers 1 lb

    japanese eggplant 1 lb

    purple hull peas  in the hull 1 lb

    cream peas  in the hull 1 lb

    ALSO: purple bell peppers from Mom's garden (on the back right side)

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Long Weekend's Over - we both had the best time

    We've finally gotten unpacked, supper cooked, lunches packed, laundry folded, receipts recorded, and emailed checked :-)  from our long weekend in the Smokey Mountains (and a quick stop home to KY). Andy had a refreshing time with his grad-school friends and I had non-interrupted quality time with my family.

    Friday morning we headed out for TN.  It wasn't too long of a trip, a little over 5 hours and just about an hour further than Asheville.  That evening we made three pizzas and has Oreo ice cream sandwiches for dessert.  The oven was SUPER hot and the baking pans were pitiful, so pizza was a little disappointing compared to the usual. 

    Saturday morning I got up and left the chalet at 6:30 AM to drive to my hometown in KY, which was 3 hours further.  My sister, Sara, was having a surprise birthday party and I was very happy and excited that I was able to be there with her to celebrate her 30th!


    Afterwards Mom, Sara, and I spent the evening eating a few Fig and Ginger Truffles, drinking a little wine, and talking about everything we've been needing to catch-up on.  We finally retired to bed at midnight, so we could continue our fun the next morning.

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    Sunday morning, Mom made double blueberry muffins and I brought old-fashioned country seasoned sausage patties to go along side.  We also went for a cool, early morning walk (only 60 outside!), picked home grown green beans, tomatoes, and purple bell peppers.  It was the best couple of days we've had together in a long time!!!

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    (Tonight's dinner was leftover pasta salad from Sara's b-day party; roasted home grown green beans; green leaf lettuce with bell pepper, tomatoes, peanuts and Asian toasted sesame dressing; and sautéed hot bratwurst's.

    At noon on Sunday it was time for me to start heading back to TN, in order to make it back for supper.  The drive was a little too eventful, right as I reached the top of the mountains my gas light came on!!  We have AAA which was assuring, but I really didn't want to sit for an hour waiting for them to come rescue me.  Luckily, 20 miles later (I was starting to freak) I found an exit with gasoline - I know better to let my tank get that low...but I just lost track of how low I really was. 

    Sunday dinner was Grilled Chicken and Paneer Skewers; Grilled Potatoes, Garlic, and Onions; and Grilled Corn on the Cob.  Three of Andy's friends are from India.


    The chicken and paneer (an Indian cheese) was marinated in low-fat plain yogurt with paneer tikka gravy mix.  It was skewered with red onions, red and green bell peppers, and tomatoes.


    While I was out a few more delicious Indian dishes were prepared and leftovers saved for me!  Thank you guys!


    Chole: Chick peas, tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, cilantro, mint, green chillies, chole masala, jeera, bayleaves, dhaniya jeera, red chilli powder, salt, rice, frozen naan.

    Menu Plan Monday


    Monday: Brats, roasted green beans, and mixed salad

    Tuesday: Veggie Burger w/ Rice and Black Bean Pilaf

    Wednesday: Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

    Thursday: Thai-Style Crock Pot Curry

    Friday: General Tso's Pizza

    Saturday: Durham Caviar and Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Sunday: Caesar Burger's and  Zucchini Casserole