Monday, September 16, 2013

My new favorite 'fries'

I've mentioned here before our new found love of veggies with Bountiful Baskets.  It's A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!

In the past we were quite selective with our vegetable purchases simply b/c they cost a lot and we weren't sure the kids would eat them.  Translation --- we didn't want them to go to waste.  Carrots, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes (when we had tacos), green beans, broccoli once in a while, the occasional squash in the fall, and lots of mixed frozen veggies encapsulated our rut.

We were even hesitant, at first, to purchase the Bountiful Baskets b/c of the aforementioned fear of losing a bunch of fruits and veggies that no one would eat.

With that in mind, as we began receiving the baskets, I turned to the internet; specifically Pinterest - for recipes.

We discovered that EvErYoNe in our family LOVES, LOVES, LOVES roasted veggies with a little extra virgin olive oil and spices.

I began experimenting with lots of roasted veggie recipes.

Kale chips were a favorite.  Who knew, right?  Kale, chopped in bite size pieces, drizzled w/olive oil and tossed with various spices - salt, garlic, no-salt seasoning - and voila!  A tasty little side dish PACKED with nutrition.

Broccoli was another favorite once roasted.  Cauliflower was pretty good too.  Zucchini wasn't snubbed either.  Even green beans were a huge hit.

THEN......  I discovered MY favorite.  Quite by accident.

A neighbor had brought over 4 HUGE eggplants along with lots of cucumbers, tomatoes, and potatoes.

Then we received N-I-N-E zucchini in our Bountiful Baskets.

What. To. Do. With. All. Those. Eggplants. and. Zucchini?

To Pinterest I typed.

Pleasantly surprised, I found a recipe for zucchini and eggplant 'fries'.  Looked good; easy; similar to many of my other 'roasted veggie' recipes.

I decided to give it a whirl.

Cut up the zucchini and eggplant in 'fry size' strips.  Threw 'em in a baking pan.  Drizzled with EVOO.  Tossed with salt and other seasonings.  (I used a little garlic, and no-salt organic seasoning -- favorites in our house).  Ta da.

But..... I decided to 'kick it up a notch'.

I like 'fries' to be crispy.  Zucchini is pretty moist.  So..... I added some shredded parmesan cheese and some panko bread crumbs atop the strips just before plopping them in the oven at 450 degrees.

Took about 30-40 minutes (most likely b/c I had 6 pans roastin' at once) and they were nice, crispy, and oh. so. yummy. looking.

I 'tasted' one to see how they were..... let's just say I kept snagging some every time I went by the stove -- they were yum to the nth degree.  I even made special trips around the island JUST to get another 'fry'.

Finally, after Charity chastised me for 'eating them all', I decided I needed to force myself to stop so I could share with the rest of the family.

They were THAT good.  Everyone had seconds and gave their accolades to yet another 'favorite' veggie addition.

I'm pleased my new favorite 'fries' have less guilt attached to eating them.  I'm sure they aren't as healthy as 'au natural', but they sure beat regular fried potato french fries and they taste EVEN better.

{A side note:  I think I prefer the eggplant fries slightly over the zucchini, but only by a tad bit.} :-)  

Go enjoy some 'fries' of your own. I promise you won't be sorry.

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