Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas

With Mother's Day on Sunday, I thought I would share a few brunch menu ideas for those looking to cook for your dear ole Mom! In my experience, cooking for my mother on her celebratory day is the ideal gift. She gets to sit back, relax and enjoy a Mimosa!

Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas |

Speaking of Mimosa's, this is a great way to start off the meal. I like to use Simply Orange for the juice, but any orange juice will do. Mix it with a Champagne that you would drink by itself. Drop in a little fresh strawberry and cheers to many years of Mom's hard work! 

Other drink ideas:
  • Coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream
  • Cappuccino (if you have a milk frother or fancy coffee maker or Starbucks around the corner)
  • Bloody Mary (Ina Garten has a good basic recipe) or if you want to go one step further, Bloody Mary Oyster Shooter (a fav in our family).
  • Cranberry juice, sparkling water and lime.

While she is sipping away, put out something for her to snack on while you finish the meal, such as: 
  • Smoked salmon with cream cheese, crackers and capers or lemon
  • Fresh fruit with orange liquer and basil drizzled on top
  • Steamed asparagus spears wrapped in proscuitto
  • or, just cook some bacon!
Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas |
And for the main course - Zucchini Pie. This is one of the favorite recipes that my mother passed on to me several years ago. I have since spiced it up a notch with several fantastic flavors and maybe a little extra cheese. 

The great thing about this recipe is threefold: super easy, meal for any time of day and it is filling. I often serve this for dinner with just a simple side salad.

Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas |

A few notes about this recipe:
  1. Use fresh herbs when possible, but please don't feel like you have to go out and buy 5 types of fresh herbs. I have an herb garden in the summer that gives me plenty of fresh herbs. However, if I make this in the winter, I use dried to save money. I have included measurements for both in the recipe.
  2. In the recipe, I mention "blind-baking." This refers to baking the pie crust alone. For best results, roll out the pie dough and place into the pie dish as usual. Take a piece of foil and lay over the dough, pushing down gently. Then put either pie weights (which you can purchase at a cooking store) or dried beans (the economical way) on top to weigh down the foil. This helps the dough keep its shape while cooking.
  3. Do not blind-bake the crust all the way since it will continue to cook with the mixture in it as well. The partial blind-baking helps keep the crust crispy from all the zucchini and vegetable juices.
If you would prefer a gluten-free menu plan, try my Very Veggie Frittata recipe.

Zucchini Pie

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes + 25 minutes

Prepared pie crust (uncooked)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion, chopped
4 cups zucchini, sliced (about 2-3 zucchini)
1 cup favorite mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 T dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
2 eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh mozzarella ball, sliced (about 8 slices) (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F and partially blind-bake (see note above) the pie crust for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. No need to wait for the crust to cool for this recipe.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the garlic and onion for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Add in the zucchini and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often. Don't cook the zucchini all the way, just until slightly softened. Remove the zucchini mixture from the heat and stir in the herbs, salt, pepper and sun dried tomatoes. Set aside.

Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas |

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and stir in the shredded cheese. Add in the zucchini mixture and mix well. Pour the mixture into the ready pie crust and top with fresh mozzarella slices (or more shredded cheese if fresh is not available). 

Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas |

Bake the pie at 375F for 20-25 minutes, or until the pie is set in the middle and slightly browned on top. Remove the pie from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas |

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