Zucchini & Corn Saute

We have a 2 for 1 recipe today at Idiot’s Kitchen.

Recipe #1 – Zucchini & Corn Sauté makes a light, healthy, and flavorful side dish.

Recipe #2 – Baked Cod with Zucchini & Corn Sauté puts that side dish to work in a big way!

Baked Cod with Zucchini & Corn Saute

This recipe was a happy accident created during another dinner last week.

I’d made the zucchini & corn side dish and another fish recipe that had what turned out to be an unfortunate sautéed bell pepper topping.

I ended up scraping those bell peppers to the side and scooting the fish on over to the zucchini.

It’s a win-win dinner. Make just the veggies or add some protein and call it a meal.

Quick and easy, this entire dinner cooks in about 15 minutes.

Here’s what you need:

Baked Cod with Zucchini & Corn Ingredients

Fish, Zucchini, Corn, Lime, Garlic, Fresh Parsley (not pictured), Pecorino Romano, Olive Oil, Dried Basil, Dried Oregano, Red Pepper Flakes, Old Bay Seasoning (optional, not pictured), Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Baked Cod with Zucchini & Corn Sauté Shopping List

Preheat the oven too 400 degrees.

I plan on 6-8 ounces of fish per person. Here I’m using some lovely wild caught cod but any nice flaky white fish like halibut, corvina, or snapper would do.

If you live in Florida, this recipe would be great with grouper. You could also grill or broil your fish.

Grease or spray a baking dish big enough to accommodate your fish. I prefer to bake mine whole rather than in individual portions so that it doesn’t dry out.

I’ve seasoned the fish with salt & pepper and added just a little sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning. Old Bay was made for seafood. It can taste overwhelmingly of shrimp boil if you use too much, but a light dusting is a great way to easily season fish.


Bake the fish at 400 degrees for 10-14 minutes, depending of thickness, until it is cooked through and lightly flakes when poked with a fork.

This whole dish comes together in the 10 minutes it takes to cook the fish so if you are having anything else to eat, be sure it is also ready to go.

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Antipasto Pasta Salad

Antipasto Pasta…try saying that three times fast!

I’m a big fan of the antipasto platter – sliced cured meats, cheese, olives, artichoke hearts, etc. served before an Italian meal so I thought, why not put all those things into a huge bowl of pasta salad.

I like to load mine up with lots of extra veggies – feel free to customize this to include your favorites.

Since football and tailgating season is in full swing, Antipasto Pasta Salad is a great change of pace from the regular fare of hamburgers, brats, and chips.  Because this has an oil & vinegar dressing rather than mayo, it will pack, travel, and keep well throughout the big game.

Here’s what you need:

Antipasto Pasta Salad Ingredients

Pasta, Salami, Pepperoni, Fontina Cheese, Provolone Cheese, Zucchini, Bell Pepper, Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Olives, Artichoke Hearts (optional), Garbanzo Beans, Fresh Basil, Olive Oil, Vinegar, Dijon Mustard, Oregano, and Pepper.

Click here for an Antipasto Pasta Salad Shopping List

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and drop in your pasta. I have 12 oz. of rotini or spiral shaped pasta but any fun shape like farfalle (bow ties), shells, penne, or even big macaroni will work.

Gluten Free people, have you tried the new Barilla GF Pasta? It’s awesome! (No, they are not paying me to say that. As my grandmother would say, “They don’t know me from Adam.”)

Obviously if you’re not gluten free, use your favorite brand of pasta.

While the pasta cooks (7-8 minutes or per package instructions), make the dressing.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup vinegar (I’m using red wine vinegar & a little balsamic vinegar), 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon oregano, and 1-2 cloves of crushed or pressed garlic.


Whisk the dressing together until it is well combined.

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Chicken Piccata

chicken piccata

We planted a lemon tree last spring and are just now harvesting our first lemons!

Every time I walk by this tree in the back yard, I hear the old “Lemon Tree” song in my head.

Remember that one?

“Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat…”

Lemon Tree - very pretty

Well, with apologies to whoever wrote that song, these lemons are DELICIOUS to eat!

Since we only have a few lemons, I wanted to make something special with them. Chicken Piccata seemed to be just the thing!

Thin slices of chicken are lightly breaded a bathed in luscious lemony, buttery goodness.

Even though Chicken Piccata seems like a fancy restaurant entrée, it’s surprisingly quick and easy to make at home.

Here’s what you need:

Chicken Piccata Ingredients

Chicken Breasts, Lemons, Butter, Olive Oil, Capers, Flour, Chicken Broth, Parsley, Salt & Pepper

Click here for a Chicken Piccata Shopping List

You can buy prepared chicken cutlets at the store but they are pretty expensive for what are basically flattened chicken pieces.

Instead, I would buy either boneless skinless chicken breasts OR for even less money, regular old bone in, skin on chicken breasts and make your own cutlets.

I started with 2 chicken breast halves that I took off the bone myself so they are now boneless and skinless.

Then you take a sharp knife and run it horizontally and evenly through your chicken to make 2 thinner cutlets.


I find that it’s easiest to place your hand flat and right on top of the chicken to hold it in place.

I’ve honestly never even come close to cutting myself doing this. Be careful, but it’s really not a big deal.

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Tropical Green Smoothie

If you had told me even a year ago that I would now love green smoothies, I would have thought you were crazy.

But it’s true. I do!

While juicing and “cleansing” seems to be all the rage these days, we have 4+ years of recipes here to confirm that there is pretty much no way I would ever spend money on little bottles of juice in place of regular meals.

However, I will happily drink all kinds of good fruits and veggies crammed into my own blender.

It’s sort of like hitting the reset button on my stomach. I have one of these for breakfast (sometimes with yogurt too) and I’m feeling pretty darn good.

It’s not just about feeling good, healthy, or even virtuous. Drinking these smoothies is not work or some sort of chore…they’re GOOD!

I currently have 2 green varieties in my smoothie making repertoire, the Kalicious Smoothie which is banana & apple based and this Tropical Green Smoothie that features pineapple & ginger.

Here’s what you need:

Tropical Green Smoothie Ingredients

Kale, Spinach, Ginger, Banana, Lemon, Pineapple, and Pineapple Juice.

Add Ice to that list if you want your smoothie to be cold.

Click here for a Tropical Green Smoothie Shopping List

If I have it in my potted herb garden, fresh mint is a GREAT addition.

Smoothies are a great way to use up those gnarly looking bananas that you have lying around the kitchen. Break up a banana into the bottom of your blender.


Add ¾-1 cup of pineapple juice. I usually have these little 6 oz. cans (¾ cup) of pineapple juice in the pantry for making Tropical Pork Tacos.

(Psst…if you haven’t tried the pork tacos, you’re missing one of the best recipes on this site.)

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Linguine with Shrimp & Little Tomatoes

Linguine with Shrimp & Little Tomatoes is a recipe that my dad and I created back when I had a big garden and by this time of the summer was over run with little tomatoes.

Whether they are traditional red cherry tomatoes, pear shaped yellow tomatoes, plum shaped red, those awesome little gold sun sweet tomatoes, or the new fancy tiny mulitcolored heirlooms, any little tomatoes will do. You’ll get the best flavor and pop of extra color if you can use 2 varieties.

As with most of my shrimp dishes, I use wild caught shrimp. I always try to have a few pounds in the freezer for last minute meals since you can thaw the shrimp out in a bowl of cool water in several minutes.

And because shrimp cook extremely quickly, this makes a great weeknight meal. You can easily have this on the table in 20-30 minutes.

Here’s what you need:

Linguine with Shrimp & Little Tomatoes Ingredients

Linguine (or other long pasta), Shrimp, Little Tomatoes (red & yellow), Mushrooms, Shallot, Fresh Basil, White Wine, Olive Oil, Parmesan/Romano Cheese, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Linguine with Shrimp & Little Tomatoes Shopping List

Because this cooks very quickly, be sure to start your pot of water boiling for the pasta at the same time, if not before, you start your sauce.

Finely chop 1 large shallot and slice 8 ounces of mushrooms.


I’m using baby bella mushrooms but regular white button mushrooms are fine too.

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buttermilk roast chicken

Buttermilk Roast Chicken might have changed the way I make chicken forever.

Knowing how to simply roast a chicken is one of the great delights of being able to cook. Julia Child always said you should judge a cook not on their soufflés and other fancy dishes, but on whether or not they could produce a quality roast chicken.

In fact, last year the website buzzfeed had a Roast Chicken Tournament and crowned Thomas Keller’s recipe the winner.

I’ve tried Mr. Keller’s method and it makes a good chicken. It also smokes up your house if your oven is not perfectly clean. I mean pristine.

Of course, I learned to roast chickens from our beloved Julia, adapting her tried and true method (minus the trussing) for my favorite Roast Chicken with Herbs. But that was all before I found Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Buttermilk Roast Chicken.

Game over.

This was, hands down, the best roast chicken I’ve ever had.

Here’s what you need:

Buttermilk Roast Chicken Ingredients

Whole Chicken, Buttermilk, Vegetable Oil, Olive Oil (not pictured), Honey, Garlic, Fresh Rosemary, Salt & Pepper.

You also need an extra large ziplock bag and foil to line the roasting pan.

Click here for a Buttermilk Roast Chicken Shopping List

Note:  This chicken needs to marinate OVERNIGHT so plan ahead!

You might notice in the top picture that our bird is sort of all splayed out in the pan. This is not by accident but rather because for this recipe you remove the backbone and butterfly or Spatchcock the chicken.

Spatchcock! How’s that for a great new cooking term. Best said with the crazy faux-European accent of your choice.

By removing the backbone, the chicken lies flat in the pan spreading the meat out to roast more evenly and in less time. Less time means juicier chicken. No more dried out white meat.

Choose your weapon of choice. I have (in order of preference) kitchen shears, a boning knife, and a small cleaver-type knife.


And if you think my kitchen scissors look suspiciously like garden clippers it’s because they ARE garden clippers.

I’ve broken at least 3 sets of fancy kitchen shears so I bought these at the hardware store and keep them dedicated for kitchen only use. They’re strong and tough (since they’re made to cut sticks and branches) and I even put them in the dishwasher. These have lasted at least 9 years and are still going strong.

Okay, let’s spatchcock this baby.

(Vegans, look away.)

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Peach Blueberry Crumble – Now with Gluten Free Options!

I’m confused by this one a bit…

Crumble or Crisp? What would YOU call this delectable concoction of butter, oats, and sugar?

It’s a little like the argument Soda or Pop? (Psst…the answer, if you are from Missouri/Kansas is “Coke.” Everything is a coke. Rootbeer is a coke. Sprite is a coke. You ask someone, “Do you want a coke?” and the next question is always, “Sure, what kind?” We’re weirdos that way.)

Anyway, be it Crisp or Crumble, this combination of peaches & blueberries is a real winner and crumbles/crisps are one of the easier and quicker desserts to put together since there is no pesky crust to roll out.

Here’s what you need:

Peach Blueberry Crumble Ingredients

Peaches, Blueberries, Lemon, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Flour*, Oats, Cinnamon, Salt, Vanilla, and Cold Butter.

Click here for a Peach Blueberry Crumble Shopping List

*For the Gluten Free variety – you need your favorite GF All-Purpose Flour (I have Trader Joe’s) and Xanthan Gum. More on this later in the recipe.

*If you’re not Gluten Free, regular old all-purpose flour is all you need. 

If you are worried that Henry looks a little disgruntled in the ingredient photo above, fear not. He is just verrrrrry sleepy.

You are getting verrrry sleepy!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse 1 pint of fresh blueberries and blot them dry with paper towels. Pick through the berries to remove any stems or funky shriveled berries.


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Seafood is one of my favorite things to make on weeknights and when I am busy because it takes so little time to cook.

Poached Salmon with Scalloped Tomatoes is proof positive that just because you are busy, you don’t have to resort to eating icky food.

If you have really fresh ingredients like ripe tomatoes and wild caught sockeye salmon, you don’t have to go much further or add too many extras to have a healthy dinner in fairly short order.

The fish only needs about 10 minutes to cook; once you do a little chopping, slicing, and layering, you’re good to go.

Here’s what you need:

Poached Salmon with Scalloped Tomatoes Ingredients

Salmon, Onion, Garlic (not pictured), Tomato, Fresh Thyme, Lemon, Olive Oil, Panko Breadcrumbs* (see note in recipe),  Wine, Dried Oregano, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Poached Salmon with Scalloped Tomatoes Shopping List

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Choose a baking dish just big enough to comfortably hold your portions of fish. Pour ½ cup of nice, dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio into the bottom of the pan.

The wine will provide the liquid to cook or poach the fish.


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Bourbon Peach BBQ Pulled Pork

Let’s have a Labor Day where we don’t have to labor over dinner!

Bourbon Peach BBQ Pulled Pork to the rescue. It cooks in the slow cooker (Crock Pot) so the day is YOURS to do other things.

Pull a few ingredients together, do a little chopping and mixing, and you’ve got dinner ready to go.

You can feed a few and have awesome leftovers or a feed a crowd for the exact same effort.

No need to heat up your oven, no need to feel left out of the BBQ scene if you don’t have an outdoor grill.

It’s all good with this one. Oh, and there’s bourbon!

Here’s what you need:

Bourbon Peach BBQ Pulled Pork Ingredients

Boston Butt Pork Roast, Onion, Garlic, Olive Oil, Chicken Broth, Molasses, Peach Preserves, Soy Sauce/Tamari (GF), Balsamic Vinegar, Bourbon, Cornstarch (not pictured), Smoked Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Bourbon Peach BBQ Pulled Pork Shopping List

Yes, there are a lot of ingredients but by now you probably have most of them on hand. If you don’t already have peach preserves, buy a big jar and you can make Yummy Oven Glazed Chicken the next night. See how easy that was? I’ve got almost your whole weekend covered!

I have a 3½-4 pound Boston Butt Pork Roast. Mine is boneless and tied by the butcher but if your store only has bone in, that will work just as well.

And since I am not the first person to think of having pulled pork on a summer holiday weekend, chances are very good that Boston Butt Roasts are on sale at your store right now.

Season your roast on both sides with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. I used about 1 teaspoon each per side.


Use your hands to massage the spices into the meat.

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Crispy Salt & Vinegar Potatoes!

We haven’t spent much time on side dishes around here but they are a great place to experiment or to spruce up a dinner that you make regularly.

For example, take your favorite good old Oven Roasted Chicken recipe and add some new sides like Glazed CarrotsGreen Beans, or these Salt & Vinegar Potatoes.

I’ve made these a couple of times and they are equally at home with beef, pork, chicken, or even fish.

Honestly, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with a good, crispy potato anytime. These boil in a vinegar and water combo that give them extra zip and flavor.

Think of salt & vinegar chips and you’ll quickly understand why this is a great idea.

Here’s what you need:

Crispy Salt & Vinegar Potatoes Ingredients

Baby Potatoes, Vinegar, Butter, Green Onion, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Crispy Salt & Vinegar Potatoes Shopping List

I have 2 pounds of baby Yukon Gold potatoes but any small potatoes will do.

Cut the potatoes in half and place them in a large pot with 1 cup of white vinegar. Fill the pan up with water to cover the top of the potatoes by about 1 inch.

Bring the pot to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are fork tender but not falling apart, about 15 minutes.


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