Zucchini Gratin, Strawberry Jam, and Baked Potato Pizza…made with l♥ve by the Cookie Mama

This week I made a ton of really great recipes.  First I made zucchini gratin.   We had some zucchini that our neighbors had given us, so I decided to make this recipe.  I have made it multiple times in the past, but it has been a bit,  so I decided to make it again.  It is super simple and really yummy.  I got the recipe from one of the Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks that I’ve had for years.  The casserole is so yummy!  You layer zucchini and onion in a casserole dish and then you top it with breadcrumbs, butter, and cheese…YUM.  The recipe does call for a lot of butter, but I always substitute olive oil for butter in this recipe and it works great.  Here is a link that is similar to the recipe that I used: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/zucchini-gratin-recipe2/index.html

In addition to zucchini gratin, I also decided to make strawberry jam.  I actually wanted to make strawberry rhubarb jam, but I didn’t have any rhubarb so I had to improvise.  I have this issue that occurs in the kitchen A LOT!  Inevitably I’ll get an idea to make something specific, but I am always short one or two ingredients.  That is exactly what happened that last time I had extra strawberries in the fridge.  I wanted to make strawberry rhubarb jam, but I had no rhubarb.  So I decided to freeze the strawberries until I got some more rhubarb.  Well long story short, I never got the rhubarb.  So I just decided to make the strawberry jam sans rhubarb.  Dan LOVES strawberry rhubarb jam which is why I wanted to make it in the first place.  That said,  he also LOVES my strawberry jam, so I knew he’d be happy regardless.  Anyway, I still don’t have all the canning supplies necessary to can all by myself, so I decided to make freezer jam.  I use the recipe that comes along with the box of pectin.  I usually buy the pink box as it allows you to make “no sugar added jam”, and that is what we prefer.  I never realized how much sugar is needed to make jam until the first time I made it…YIKES! Since that first time, I always make the “no sugar added jam.”  Until this time…here’s what happened.  As I mentioned, I am cursed with never having all the ingredients necessary to make particular things that I get obsessed with.  I say obsessed because what usually happens is this.  I will be going along, minding my own business, and all of a sudden, a recipe or a particular food will pop into my head.  Then I have to think about that particular food or recipe until I actually make it or eat it.  That is exactly what happened with the strawberry jam.  I was driving home from an appointment, and all of a sudden I started thinking about strawberry rhubarb jam.  I knew I didn’t have rhubarb, and the grocery store closest to us didn’t have any either, so I decided just to make strawberry jam.  I got home and started to gather my ingredients, and when I pulled the pink box of pectin out of the pantry, it was expired!  I did happen to have another box of pectin that was donated to me, but it had to be used with the full sugar recipe.  So I decided, that instead of driving back into town to pick up some “no sugar added pectin,” I’d just bite the bullet and make the regular version. Well it came out delicious! Dan loved it, and actually exercised some self-control by only eating it in small quantities!  If you haven’t ever made jam, you should try it.  It really isn’t that difficult, and the results are delicious    Here is a link to the recipe that I used: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/strawberry-freezer-jam/

The last recipe I made this week was baked potato pizza.  I got this recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  Guy Fieri was featured and this was one of the recipes that he shared.  I thought is sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a try.  I had pizza dough in the freezer, and I also happened to have some Yukon gold potatoes that weren’t slated for anything else, so I gave it a shot.  The result?  YUM…YUM…YUM!  When it comes to pizza, I usually stick with the traditional Italian versions.  This pizza albeit different, looked pretty interesting, so I wanted to try it.  Victoria told me that “…pizza and potatoes are two of her all time favorite foods…,” so she was super excited for me to make this recipe. I am really glad that I tried it, because the pizza was DELICIOUS!  I love to make pizza.  I love to roll out the dough.  I love to sprinkle the cheese.  I love to spread the sauce, and of course, I always love to add my signature ingredient…love.  Well this pizza was born in love…it literally started as a hunk of love.  Here’s the story.  I thawed the pizza dough overnight in the fridge, so the next day all I’d have to do with the dough was let it rise.  So I got home from taking the kids to school, and I began the dough prep.  I always let my dough rise in the oven, covered with a clean towel, with the oven light on.  So I put the dough into the oven, and then left it to do its thing.  After a bit, I went to check on the dough, and when I lifted the towel off the pan, I saw a heart.  Not a real heart of course, but a dough heart.  My dough had taken on a heart shape all by itself!  I thought it was so cute! Of course I took a picture, because I knew immediately I’d have to include that detail in the blog.  Cool right?  A pizza made FROM and WITH lots of love…how could it not be delicious?  Well delicious it was, and I would definitely make it again.  Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://morethanmamas.com/tag/baked-potato-pizza/  I did make a few substitutions to the recipe. First, I already had pizza dough so I didn’t have to make it.  Second, I used vegetarian bacon.  Lastly, I used feta cheese on my pizzas because, in my opinion, feta makes everything taste better. ☺

This week was pretty busy for us.   I am super glad that midst all the craziness, that I still found time to “play” in the kitchen.  Speaking of play, my little family is “East Lansing bound” to watch my Spartans play football!  We are going to the game tomorrow, and I cannot wait.  It will be the first time that my kids have ever been on campus, and it will also be their first real football game.  They are beyond excited to go, and I am beyond excited to take them.  I will also get to “play” with some of my sorority sisters.  My Alpha Xi Delta sisters, organized this weekend’s activities, and I am so happy that we get to attend some of them.  Dan and I will be skipping the legendary bar crawls that are planned, but we’re looking forward to the tailgate and the game!  So tomorrow afternoon, everyone channel your “inner Spartan” and “SPARTY ON!”  I hope you try the recipes…they were delish!

Go AZD and Go State!!!  Enjoy ♥


About THE cookie mama

I am not professionally trained in any way shape or form, BUT I come from a long line of really great cooks. I learned mostly by watching my parents and grandparents, and then replicating what they did. I love love love to cook and bake, and I love to share what I make with "my people."
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