Zucchini and Corn casserole

Are you searching for a new side dish that incorporates vegetables in a different way?  I think I found one from the Six Sisters.  If you are not familiar with them, there are just that, six sisters with busy lives and families.  Some of their recipes are just fantastic.  This one I happened to find in magazine published last Fall 2016. (Six Sisters Stuff)  As usual, I adapt the recipe for our taste, but followed the same preparation technique, and the casserole was very tasty.

Here is how I prepared this side dish.  Gather olive oil, 1/3 red onion, garlic in a tube, 2 medium to large zucchini, cubed, one bag frozen corn, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella,  1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, and salt plus black pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  On the cooktop, saute oil, onion, garlic to taste, and cook until the onions become tender.  Add in the zucchini and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are browning.  Add corn, cheese, salt and pepper.

Place into a ceramic casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Serve while hot.

Any leftovers can be stored very easily with a new product I found at the home and housewares show.

Lidlover lids can be used with ceramic, stainless, glass, bamboo, plastic or even with plates.  They can be used to cover dishes in the oven up to 400 degrees.  They are BPA free and made of high quality food grade silicone. More about the product can be found on their website at http://www.LidLover.com

Watch for these products coming this year to stores.  Additionally, they will be featured on QVC this May. I have been using them for the past few weeks and they are an amazing new product.

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Mushroom casserole

Spring is coming to Michigan.  At least I am hopeful.  Soon all types of mushrooms will be available at the market.  So this is a perfect time to share my recipe for a mushroom casserole.  If you are searching for a great side dish or something for a meatless Monday, I recommend this casserole.  Any kind of mushroom would work and I have made this dish with a variety of types of mushrooms as well.  This is a great recipe that can be doubled as well to make a larger casserole for guests.

Recently, I used these ingredients: 1/2 package of egg noodles, 1/2 box white mushrooms plus 1 jar of sliced mushrooms, 3 Tablespoons margarine, salt and pepper to taste, and one 8 ounce block Swiss cheese, grated.

To make the casserole:

Cook the noodles according to the package and drain.  Saute mushrooms in the margarine in an open skillet.  Prepare a ceramic baking dish with a Pam spray.  Divide one-third of the noodles into the dish and season them to taste with salt and pepper.  Add 1/2 of the Swiss cheese and one-third of the mushrooms.  Repeat the layers and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve alongside chicken, fish or by itself with a side salad. Quite tasty.

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Kitchen tool: cooking thermometer

One of the most important tools to have in a kitchen is a cooking thermometer.  Under-cooked foods can be dangerous. Meats, such as, pork, chicken, and beef have precise done temperatures.  With various sizes and cuts of meat, it is often just a guessing game to determine if the cooking is complete.  The best way to know when meat is fully cooked is by using a food thermometer.

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Other uses for a cooking thermometer include checking on egg dishes or casseroles.  Egg dishes are not done until the internal temperature is 160 degrees, and casseroles should be 165 degrees for proper safety.

Most of us use the suggested cooking times in a cookbook, or simply look at the food and presume it is fully cooked.  Food borne pathogens cause many illnesses.  And, for that reason, check food temperatures.

I used this thermometer for another reason this past weekend.  I was baking bread, and to avoid a bread failure from using the wrong water temperature–I used this tool.  Proper water temperature for adding to yeast is 105 to 115 degrees F.  If using melted butter in a bread recipe, the butter temperature must be cooled to 85-90 degrees F.  Adding water that is too hot will kill the yeast, and adding water that is too cold will not stimulate the yeast to proof for rising.  It is amazing to me how hot the temperature of the water is flowing from my kitchen tap.  I tested it several times at various settings.

I love this thermometer, and will recommend it to anyone. It is precise and fast reading.  No more bread failures for me.  I plan to check my ingredients every time before the rising step.

For more information on the Measupro, please follow this link:

http://www.amazon.com/MeasuPro-DCT250-Ultra-Fast-Instant-Thermometer/dp/B00QAVJT32/ref=cm_aya_orig_subj