Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gardener I Am Not.....

Gardener I am not, but lover of things gardened I am. I have never had a green thumb. My mom always had a garden before she was confined to a wheelchair. She had a flower bed in the front yard and a vegetable garden in the back yard. I would often find her outside tending to her gardens on summer mornings. Alas, I did not inherit the gardening gene, if there is one. My husband did however. Whenever we have had plants in the house, he's the one who has kept them alive. He does a wonderful job with our lawn and landscaping. He's also the one to keep plants alive for his coworkers at the office.
I've often dreamed how nice it would be to have a garden. To wander out to the backyard and pick vegetables for dinner. To be blissfully aware of how environmentally and fiscally responsible I was. But......the worked involved usually prevents me from carrying out my dream. There's also the pain. After all of my surgeries, I've developed bursitis in my hip which prevents me from bending over for any extended amount of time. I could have a raised-bed garden, so I wouldn't have to bend over so much, but no. I still don't think I would have the energy or the inclination.

Not being a gardener doesn't prevent me from enjoying all of the wonderful produce Minnesota has to offer in the summer. I'm always on the lookout for seasonal vegetables at the store, and love when it is Minnesota-grown, like the tomatoes pictured. Last week zucchini and yellow squash were on sale, so I decided to make one of our favorite summer dishes, Cheesy Italian Turkey Zucchini Casserole. It started with this recipe, but I made so many changes, I basically made it an entire new recipe. This is really good served with cheese garlic biscuits and a nice Shiraz. I like this recipe for cheese garlic biscuits because it's made entirely from scratch, but I'm still tinkering around with it to make them a better texture and not so greasy. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we do!

Dianne's Cheesy Italian Turkey Zucchini Casserole

(This is not a low-FODMAP recipe)

1 cup rotini pasta, uncooked
1 pound Italian seasoned ground lean turkey
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup diced fresh tomato
2 cups cubed zucchini squash
2 cups cubed yellow squash
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. shredded Italian cheese blend
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

1.  Prepare pasta according to package directions.
2.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (165 degrees C).
3.  Cook turkey, onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until evenly browned. Drain excess grease and remove from skillet. Add olive oil, zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms to skillet and cook until tender. Combine turkey mixture, vegetable mixture, pasta, half of the cheese, oregano, salt and pepper in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
4.  Bake, covered, for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Uncover and top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

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