Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash

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This Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash is a delicious summertime vegetarian dish. The extra flavor from the bruschetta topping adds beautiful color and pairs perfectly with the zucchini and yellow squash.

You’ll notice below I’ve made extra bruschetta topping, I’ll explain the reason, in my notes, in the post below. Adding shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the dish adds another layer of unforgettable flavor.

I garnish every dish with a large sprig of fresh basil giving you the choice to add torn fresh basil leaves through the pasta.

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Zucchini And Yellow Squash

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Olive Oil

Frezno Chili

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Ciabatta

Ciabatta (2)

Toasted Ciabatta Bread

Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Diced Mozzarella Cheese

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E.V.O.O.

Parmigiano-Reggiano-Cheese

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: veggie spiral machine, 1 (6-quart) stockpot, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, vegetable peeler, long-handled tongs, chef’s knife, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl

Ingredients:
4 zucchini, ends removed, cut in half and spiraled
4 yellow squash, ends removed, cut in half and spiraled
1 pound box of spaghetti
2/3 cup of good olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Fresno chili, seeded and finely minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Large sprigs of fresh basil for garnish
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shavings for garnish
*E.V.O.O. for garnish

Ingredients For Bruschetta Topping:
16 Roma tomatoes, cut in half, seeded and finely diced
1 (16-ounce) package of Galbani mozzarella cheese, finely diced (low moisture, whole-milk variety)
1/2 cup of fresh basil, sliced chiffonade style
*E.V.O.O. for garnish
1 loaf of Tuscan garlic Ciabatta, toasted (yields 16 slices) OPTIONAL

Note: I’ve made extra bruschetta topping not only used as the garnish for this dish but to also serve on top of the toasted Tuscan garlic Ciabatta bread. I can’t get enough of that delicious basil, mozzarella, and tomato topping with a tiny little drizzle of really good *E.V.O.O.

Directions For Bruschetta Topping:
Slice the Roma tomatoes in half, spoon out the seeds, and finely dice. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Next, finely dice the mozzarella cheese and add to the diced tomatoes. Finely add the chiffonade style basil toss everything to combine. Set aside.

Directions For Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash:
Start by spiraling the zucchini and yellow squash and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Next, prep the Fresno chili and garlic, set aside.

In a large stockpot of boiling salted water drop the spaghetti. Cook between 8 to 12 minutes or until al dente.

Note: As soon as the zucchini and yellow squash spaghetti start to wilt and soften slightly turn the heat off. You want them to keep their crunchiness and integrity. All you’re really doing is making sure they are well coated with the flavored oil.

In the meantime, in a saucepot over medium heat add the olive oil minced Fresno chili and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the spiraled zucchini, yellow squash, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Using your tongs, toss the spiraled zucchini and yellow squash with the oil, garlic, and minced chilies. Cook, continuously tossing, for 2 to 3 minutes allowing the vegetable spaghetti to begin to wilt and soften slightly as they become evenly coated with the flavored oil. Immediately turn the heat off.

Again using the long-handled tongs, transfer the cooked spaghetti to the saucepot. Toss to combine the vegetable spaghetti and pasta together. Continue to toss until the pasta is evenly distributed.

Ladle a good helping into a porcelain serving bowl and garnish with a large sprig of fresh basil. There you have it my Spaghetti With Zucchini And Yellow Squash.

Directions For Toasted Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice the Ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of Ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

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Sweet Italian Sausage And Cavatelli Soup

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Sweet Italian Sausage And Cavatelli Soup (2)

I’d first made this soup some time ago and found a couple of pictures of the finished dish. I’m not even sure how I came up with this soup. I just started throwing ingredients together and my Sweet Italian Sausage And Cavatelli Soup was born.

I just bought an inductions burner and I was super excited to try it out. I know it’s going to work perfectly when my sister and I film my next video. Anyway, I decided to make this soup while I had some time off from work.

We’re living in extraordinary times due to COVID-19. People are doing a lot more of grocery shopping and cooking at home, because of a shelter-in-place order, that said, many products, because of high demand, had limits placed on them or they weren’t readily available. I wasn’t able to find any Cavatelli pasta so I’m going to be substituting baby shells. I found the shape of the two kinds of pasta to be similar. Cavatelli pasta will be back on the grocery shelves soon enough so I’m keeping the name for this dish.

Whenever I make a soup using sausage, I like to cook the sausage separately then incorporate it into the soup. This makes what I call a clean broth. By cooking the sausage separately and leaving all the grease with the pan I believe makes a big difference in the finished soup.

Sweet Italian Sausage, And Cavatelli Soup

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Onions

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Spinach

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diced roma tomatoes

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Olive Oil

Thyme

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Rosemary-1Rosemary (2)

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diced roma tomatoes

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Sweet Italian Sausage, And Cavatelli Soup

Sweet Italian Sausage And Cavatelli Soup (2)

Homemade Croutons

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, chef’s knife, mesh sieve, 1 (6-quart) stockpot, colander, large slotted spoon

Tip:  The night before, place the frozen spinach in a mesh sieve over a bowl to drain. You could also use the defrost setting on your microwave the thaw out the spinach.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (substitute a hot variety)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 head of green cabbage, cored and quartered
1 1/2 cups of carrots, 1-inch dice
1 large onion, diced, 1-inch dice
3 ribs of celery, 1-inch dice, include leafy tops
1 Fresno Chili, seeded and minced
1 fresh bay leaf, substitute dried
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup of diced Roma tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (squeeze all excess water from the spinach)
1 quart of chicken stock, unsalted
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups of Cavatelli pasta (substituting baby shells)
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:
Begin by dicing and mincing all the vegetables. Drain and squeeze as much water from the thawed the spinach as possible.

Remove the casings from the sausage links. In a large sauté pan over medium heat add olive oil and sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage and cook until sausage is no longer pink about 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, allowing as much grease as possible to stay with the pan, transfer to a bowl or plate lined with a paper towel, set aside.

In a preheated Dutch oven over medium-high heat add olive, diced onions, and red pepper flakes. Add the diced carrots, celery, bay leaf, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and fresh finely chopped thyme. Stirring, frequently, cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cook for 1 minute more.

Next, add the cooked sausage, cabbage, and diced tomatoes. Add the chicken stock, bring up to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally,  for 40 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the cover, taste for seasoning (add salt if needed). Add the Cavatelli pasta, stir to combine. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes before adding the spinach, again stir to combine. Turn the heat off, and serve.

Ladle a good helping into a porcelain soup bowl. Add fresh parsley, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and Homemade Ciabatta Croutons. This is my Sweet Italian Sausage And Cavatelli Soup.

My Hanging Organic Herb Garden And Summertime Flowers

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

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Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Chicken Quesadillas (2)

My Chicken Fajita Quesadillas are a combination of two delicious Tex-Mex favorites. I love Fajitas, and Quesadillas so why not combine the two. I’m also going to be doing the quesadillas two ways, one, using a grill-press and two, without the grill-press.

Rice also is one of my favorite side dishes and goes really well with this dish. I’m taking a little help from the grocery store on this one, I’m using a quick-cooking Basmati rice along with a few other bold and flavorful ingredients that will make my Tex-Mex Rice super delicious.

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Fajita Spice Blend

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Chicken Broth

Green Onions

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Frezno Chili

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Cast Iron Grill Press

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Prep Time: 10 minutes, (prep can be done while the chicken is poaching)
Cook Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6 Quesadillas
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, cast iron grill press, 1 (4-quart) saucepan with lid, plastic cutting board, 2 bowls, large mixing bowl, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans

Ingredients For Fajita Spice Blend:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Directions For Fajita Spice Blend:
In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients together. Store in an air-tight container in a cool dry place.

Note: If you prefer the tortillas just warmed up and not pressed, you can warm the tortillas up in the microwave. On a microwave-safe plate, wrap up 2 tortillas in a couple of sheets of damp paper towels. Heat anywhere between 30 to 60 seconds.

Ingredients For Poached Chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-quart unsalted chicken broth
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Ingredients For Chicken Quesadillas:
2 tablespoons of Canola oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (if making vegetarian, substitute mushrooms)
1 large onion, sliced into thin half-moons
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
4 green onions, sliced thin (reserve green tops for garnish and sliced thinly on the bias)
1/4 cup of Fajita Seasoning blend
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup of chicken broth, unsalted (if making vegetarian, substitute water or vegetable broth)
1/4 cup of fresh Pico de Gallo, medium (reserve more for garnish)
2 (8-ounce) packages of shredded Mexican cheese (substitute grated Monterey Jack and/or Queso Freso)
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, finely chopped, (reserve some for garnish and 2 tablespoons for the Mexican-style rice)
lime wedges for garnish, optional
1 (20-ounce) package of 10″ large flour tortillas, (8-count)
Non-stick cooking spray

Ingredients For Mexican-Style Rice:
3 cups of cooked Basmati rice, (Success, Boil-in-Bag)
1 (14.5-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
1 (10-ounce) can of Steam Crisp Southwest-Style corn, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons of Pico de Gallo
2 limes, zested
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, (1 juicy lime)
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
Green onion tops for garnish

Directions For Poaching Chicken:
Place the chicken in a single layer, thyme, smashed garlic, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper into the saucepot. Pour 1-quart of unsalted chicken broth to cover the chicken by an inch. Turn the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil. You’ll see some white scummy foam collecting on the surface as the water comes to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, cook. As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and let the chicken simmer. Begin checking the chicken after 8 minutes. It’s done when opaque through the middle and an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the meat registers 165-degrees F. Chicken will typically finish cooking in 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.

While the chicken is poaching, cook the rice 8 to 10 minutes then drain really well. Slice onions into half-moon slivers, julienne the peppers, mince the garlic, seed and mince the Fresno chili, and slice the green onions reserving the tops.

In a large mixing bowl add the cooked Basmati rice, drained corn medley (Southwest-style), drained fire-roasted tomatoes, Pico de Gallo, green onion tops, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, chopped cilantro, and lime juice. Mix to combine.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid to a plate discarding the poaching liquid. On a plastic cutting board, using two forks, shred all the chicken and transfer to a large plate.

Directions For Quesadillas:
In a large sauté pan heat the Canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, and minced chili to the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes just until hot. Next, add the sliced green onion (the white parts) and minced garlic cook for 1 minute more.

Add the cooked shredded chicken into the pan, the fajita seasoning blend, and unsalted chicken broth, stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium, add the Pico de Gallo and fresh lime juice, simmer and stir for another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the fajita filling into two bowls, equally divided. Each bowl of fajita filling will make 4 quesadillas.

Note: If you don’t want to make all eight at one time, transfer the fajita filling in an airtight container and store in the frig up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 200-degrees F.

Spray one side of a tortilla with non-stick cooking spray. Place the tortilla, sprayed side down into the same sauté pan set on medium-low heat, sprinkle an even layer of the shredded cheese onto the whole tortilla then top half of the tortilla with the cooked chicken fajita mixture. Fold the other half of the tortilla over placing the grill press on top. Cook, flipping once, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat the process using all the remaining fajita filling.

Note: Place the finished quesadillas, on a sheet pan, in the oven to keep warm while you’re making the remaining ones.

Slice the Chicken Fajita Quesadillas into wedges. Top with shredded cheese, Pico de Gallo, and finely chopped cilantro. Serve with a side of the Mexican-style rice and garnish with some cilantro and lime wedges.

For Vegetarian Quesadillas: Follow the recipe leaving out the chicken substituting mushrooms or Tofu. The only other change would be to substitute water or vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Tex-Mex Rice

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