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yellow squash

Simple Pasta with Summer Squash and Spinach

Simple Pasta with Summer Squash and Spinach

Sometimes, nothing is more beautiful than a simple bowl of pasta.

It’s when I’m really hungry that these words couldn’t feel more true, and this time of year, that means after a long, hot summer run. After one of those, first I want watermelon. And then I want pasta.

Summertime (er, late springtime). It feels so good.

Simple Pasta with Summer Squash and Spinach

When the weather is nice, I spend a ton of time outside. More often than not, that means after work, I’m out strolling, cycling, running, or just hanging around until the sun just sets. I could be with my friends. I could be by myself. It doesn’t matter – when it’s warm out, I’m out. And I’m loving every minute of it.

However, this often leaves me locking up my bike at the end of the evening and heading inside with a sudden realization of hunger, and the urge to eat ASAP. Anyone else turn into a monster on occasion, too?

If so, you know that’s when simple recipes like this prove themselves to be rather handy.

Simple Pasta with Summer Squash and Spinach

Here, a quick saute of some onions, squash and spinach create a light and easy sauce for a meal you can make in under 30 minutes. It’s filling, yet not in the kind of way that will weigh you down on a balmy summer night, and is spruced up with parsley to make it feel extra fresh.

Simple Pasta with Summer Squash and Spinach

I don’t cook with a butter a lot, but I find that adding a Tbsp. to this enhances the inherent butteriness of yellow summer squash. Feel free to use all olive oil if that’s your preference. However, a little browned butter goes a long way to enrich the sauce, and pairs well with the lemony tones of the parsley.

Also, be sure to stick with angel hair or spaghettini when choosing your whole wheat pasta. While this sauce is certainly flavorful, it’s delicate, so to truly experience all of its nuances, a thinner pasta works best.


Pair this with a side salad, and a cold beverage of your choice, and you create a no-fuss summer meal for any night of the week.

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Summer Veggie Breakfast Tacos

Summer Veggie Breakfast Tacos

No, I’m not sick of tomato sandwiches yet. However, I did want to start whipping up some new recipes again. With so much fresh produce in my fridge, it was bound to happen. Creativity strikes when variety is abundant, happily attained through the perks of working at a farmer’s market.

I wasn’t too sure how I’d feel about crawling out of bed before 7 a.m. every Saturday morning to sell vegetables. Bags of summer squash and ears of corn later, the foodie in me has decided the weekly weekend gig is totally worth it. Saturday mornings spent working bring Sunday morning breakfasts. Delicious ones at that.

This past Sunday, that meant these breakfast tacos, filled with buttery yellow squash, vine-ripened tomatoes and sweet corn. Worth it, don’t you agree?

Summer Squash

I love summer because the days the season brings along are rarely ever dull. There are always new ingredients to to be experimented with for wrapping into tacos. There are always new swimming excursions to be found. There is always outdoor fun to be had. My favorite kind, for sure.

Lately I’ve been doing plenty of pool jumping, lots of jacket-less night time bike riding, and occasional ice cream eating. Summer has been treating me well. I wish it’d never leave. Perhaps, one day, my future career path will lead me to an endless warm locale. That certainly wouldn’t be a bad job perk either.

Anyway, I leave you with these Summer Veggie Breakfast Tacos. Although these make a perfect Sunday, late morning meal, they’d also serve as breakfast-for-dinner that can be pulled together quickly any night of the week. Perhaps make them now, and then repeat once the weekend rolls around.

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Fusilli with Summer Squash

I don’t typically cook with butter, but sometimes I’m inclined to use a dab here and there on my veggies. The natural butteriness of yellow squash lends itself particularly well to Paula Deen’s favorite weapon in the kitchen, and employs this dish with a simple richness that’s not too heavy for the summer.

When summer squash season arrives, the sunny-seasoned vegetable tends to stock its vines by the bucket full. That being said, if it’s in your garden, there’s generally plenty to go around. The first few weeks, I often stick to the simple steamer method, and drizzle the yellow or green rounds with a little olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. If I’m feeling a veggie-based indulgence, I’ll go for a dab of butter. (But let’s not go overboard with a whole stick. My northern roots will never take me close to a true Paula Deen).

You can only eat so many steamed squash, however, until the desire for something more leaves you astray. Which has led me to this fusilli pasta dish. It has the same minimal-feel of a simple steam, but a heartiness to keep your squash taste buds feeling inspired. I chose a mix of yellow and zucchini purely because the two happen to be in sync in terms of their growing time. Feel free to experiment with other summer varieties that are either growing in your garden or standing out at the farmer’s market. You’ll find that they’ll all pair well with a golden touch of butter and Parmesan.

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Summer Squash Ratatouille with Polenta Cakes

Ratatouille is by far a summer fav. It’s quick to pull together and the freshness of the season’s bounty lets its simplicity warrant a plate full of flavor. That’s truly the key to this recipe—garden-fresh veggies. If you aren’t growing your own, get to your local farmer’s market and grab a squash or two, a few vine-ripened tomatoes, and fresh basil. It will make all the difference.

I paired this summer squash version of ratatouille with slightly charred polenta cakes, simply crisped up under the broiler. I can totally see these thrown on the grill too, just be sure to also throw a sheet of aluminum foil below them to prevent any dismantlement. If you decided to stick with the oven route, avoid getting sidetracked during the cakes’ baking time. This girl over here ended up setting off the smoke alarm. Twice. Ooops.

As a light summer dish that comes together in no time, this is one I ideally picture eaten outside, catching the sun before it goes down and perhaps paired with a glass of red wine. Despite the brief ear-piercing episode from my smokin’ oven, my polenta cakes ended up perfectly charred. With each bite from these, picturing the romanticized Italian backdrop from your own yard gets easier and easier.

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