Roasted Corn, Tomato, Zucchini Quesadillas + a Shawlsmith London Giveaway!

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Guys, I think it’s officially late summer…some kids are even back in school, already! Does it seem early or am I just getting older (do not answer that)? Either way, we have a few precious weeks of long days and sunshine before the leaves begin to turn and we embrace the best season ever–autumn! I know not everyone is as excited as I am for the season to turn, but let’s celebrate these last summer weeks with lots of sunshine, maybe a few beach days, and some delicious summer bounty.

I made these quesadillas with some of my favorite summer produce — corn, zucchini, and tomatoes! Everyone gets a roast in the oven to bring out their sweetness, then it all gets piled on a tortilla with one of my favorite melting cheeses, Queso Chihuahua. I think of this cheese, named after the state in Mexico, like a buttery monterey jack. It’s totally delish and melts like a dream.

Oh, and see that blue table runner up there in those photos? That’s actually a scarf from Shawlsmith London! It’s soft and light…just the sort of scarf that’s perfect for breezier summer days, transitional seasons, and even as a table runner or impromptu picnic blanket. Shalwsmith kindly sent me two scarves, one to try out and one for YOU! Yay! So, to win the same scarf in Poppy Red, simply leave a comment using the form below and tell me how you plan to savor the fleeting days of summer. I will choose a random winner Monday, August 19th. Shawlsmith are also, graciously, offering a coupon code just for us just type HUNGRYGIRL20 at check-out. Hurray!
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* Full disclosure, Shawlsmith kindly provided both scarves, free of charge. However, as usual, all opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this post.

Roasted Corn, Tomato, Zucchini Quesadillas

For medium-large, seedy zucchini, I like to slice around the core — I find it to be spongy and mushy when cooked. If you don’t have fresh corn, go ahead and use frozen kernels. You can find Queso Chihuahua in the specialty cheese section of well stocked supermarkets. Leftover vegetables are great in quick tacos or folded into an omelette. 

1 1/2 cups cubed zucchini

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup fresh corn kernels, sliced from about 2 cobbs

big pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 lime

4 ounces shredded Queso Chihuahua


Preheat oven to 425˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Toss the vegetables with 1 tablespoon canola oil, salt and spices,  spread onto the baking sheet. Roast in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables begin to caramelize. Remove from oven, squeeze lime juice over the vegetables and cool slightly before building quesadillas.

In a nonstick pan place a tortilla topped with some cheese and a few spoonfuls of roasted vegetables, followed by a little more cheese, fold. Cook quesadillas on each side a few minutes until browned, crisp, and cheese has melted. Serve immediately with hot sauce.


Cilantro-Chicken Meatball Soup

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That’s what I think/say when I make anything with meatballs. It’s just a reflex and since it means “meatballs” in spanish, it works. Don’t test me on my knowledge of foreign languages, though…okay? Cause, I will surely fail. Food SO is much easier to understand.

Anyway, this soup begins with searing little, spoonable chicken meatballs flavored with lots of fresh cilantro, some sauteed onion and garlic, and a bit of minced jalapeno for heat and excitement. Once the meatballs are brown and crispy-golden we sauté some more onion and garlic, another jalapeno, plus some carrots. There’s some corn (frozen is totally acceptable) and zucchini in there for health and science. Dried New Mexico chiles ground into a powder and cumin flavor and color the broth. More cilantro is added to brighten the party and bring the soup together. This soup is hearty, but not heavy. The clear broth is light but packed with subtly spiced chile flavor and the meatballs are tender and so flavorful with the cilantro and aromatics. This soup is so warming and with a super cheesy quesadilla on the side, it’s perfection on a cold day.

Cilantro-Chicken Meatball Soup

I find whole, dried New Mexico chiles in the international aisle of my regular supermarket. They are always affordable and pack a lot of flavor. The chiles vary in spiciness, but aren’t ever really super-hot-blow-your-top way. The spice is mild to medium, but you could certainly sub in your favorite chile powder. 


1-2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed if desired), minced

1 lb. ground chicken

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped


In a sauté pan heat olive oil and sauté onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook over medium until onions are tender and translucent  Scrape into a bowl and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl mix together the cooled onion/jalapeno mixture with the ground chicken, cilantro, egg, and breadcrumbs. Add salt (I used about 3/4 teaspoon) and pepper. Mix gently to combine well. Refrigerate the mixture until ready to shape and sear meatballs.



2 Tablespoons oil (I used grape seed, light olive or vegetable oil work too)

1/2 large onion, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed if desired), sliced

4 dried New Mexico chiles

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 carrot, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

1 cup frozen corn kernels

6 cups low-sodium chicken stock

cilantro to garnish

salt and pepper to taste

Shape meatballs, I shoot for something that fits nicely in the spoon and can be eaten in one bite–think larger than a marble, but smaller than a cherry tomato. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil over medium high heat in the bottom of a dutch oven or soup pot. Sear the meatballs in batches until deep golden brown all around. Place seared meatballs in a dish and set aside.

Over a gas burner (you could also do this in a hot oven, it may take a few more minutes), lightly char the chiles–the idea is to make them extra dry for easier grinding and to add a touch of smokey flavor. Cool chiles and grind in a spice grinder to a medium-coarse powder. Mix chile powder with cumin and oregano in a small bowl. Set aside.

Add the onion to the remaining oil and whatever brown bits are left in the pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt and sauté, being sure to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan, add the carrots. Cook until onions are just translucent and carrots begin to soften, add the garlic and jalapeno, cook an additional minute. Stir in the ground chile and other spices. Add the corn, zucchini, meatballs, and chicken stock. Bring the soup to a boil, taste for salt and season as needed. Reduce the soup to a simmer and cook an additional 15 minutes, until the zucchini is tender and meatballs are heated through. Serve hot with additional cilantro for garnish.



Zucchini Boats – 3 Cheese and Roasted Tomato

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While I love warm, sunshiney summer days…I am a total fool for drizzly, overcast, cool weather. I blame the foolishness on so many dry, cloudless years in the desert. This weekend was a welcome (to me!) respite from heat and humidity in Michigan. It was rainy and a little cool, there were clouds and a bit of thunder, and just the teensiest hint of fall in the air.

As a fool for cool, autumnal days, I always eagerly anticipate the change of the season as summer winds down. I (prematurely) switch my candles, bust out a pumpkin or two, and begin to bake and cook with fall in mind. This recipe takes the late summer bounty of zucchini and tomatoes, and pairs it with plenty of baked and bubbly cheese–making this dish a transition from fresh summer fare to baked, cheesy, comfort.

Zucchini Boats with 3 Cheeses and Roasted Tomatoes

Not only does this dish pair fresh, summer vegetables with a warm, casserole situation, it’s super easy and meatless main or side dish. PS, there’s a lot of cheese in this dish…I just like it that way. 

1 pint grape tomatoes, or other small tomatoes

3 medium zucchinis


1/2 cup ricotta

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup grated mozzarella

1-2 teaspoons finely chopped basil

1 1/2 cups prepared marinara–homemade or storebought

Preheat oven to 400*F.

Spread tomatoes evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake tomatoes in the oven for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes begin to burst, release juices, and start to caramelize around the bottom. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl mix together ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, and basil, season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Halve zucchinis, scrape out the seeds with a spoon creating a well–being sure to leave 1/4 inch or so of flesh around the edges, ends, and bottoms. Season zucchini boats with salt and pepper. Spread the marinara sauce evenly in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Nestle the zucchini boats into the sauce. Gently fold the cooled, roasted tomatoes into the cheese mixture. Generously fill each zucchini boat with the cheese and tomato filling. Bake in the 400*F oven for 20-30 minutes until zucchini become tender and the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown in spots. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before serving.