Quick meals from your garden



With the garden full of delightful fresh selections, I thought it fitting to talk this week about quick soups and fresh casserole creations from the garden.

The last couple of weeks, the garden has produced a wide selection of veggies that can be put together and cooked easily, making a creative healthy meal for lunch or dinner. These selections are healthy, fresh, and low in cost.

Last week I featured a simple vegetable soup featuring chicken. This week the recipe is strictly using garden vegetables.

The ease and simplicity of meal creation at home is important. For me, the simpler the better and the yummier.

An unknown author said this: “A person who grows a garden never grows old.”

And with this, I could not agree more.

Jacqueline Iannazzo-Corser is a contributing writer to The Monroe News, writing about food and recipes. She is a chef, co-owner of Public House, Culinary Specialist at the Opportunity Center at the Arthur Lesow Community Center, and an adjunct professor of culinary arts at Monroe County Community College. She can be reached at [email protected].

Simple Veggie Garden Soup

6 to 8 Servings


  • 1 to 1½ onions

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1½ pounds of garden potato

  • 1 to 2 large carrots

  • 1½ to 2 medium zucchini

  • 5 to 6 medium tomatoes

  • 1 cup of green beans

  • 3 to 4 ears of sweet corn

  • 10 cups vegetable broth

  • Add fresh herbs like basil and parsley to taste


Cutting of vegetables –

  • Dice onion(s)

  • Potatoes – dice, carrots – round, zucchini – round or long medium strips, tomato – cho

  • Trim and cut green beans to desired size

  • Cut kernels off the corn husk

  • Mince garlic

Cooking 1 pot style –

  • In a large stockpot over low-to-medium heat, saute the onion(s) for 6-7 minutes using water or minimal oil.

  • When onions are translucent, add minced garlic and the potato, then saute 1 minute.

  • Add broth, carrot, zucchini, tomato, green beans, and corn. Increase heat and bring to a light boil.

  • Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes (or until potatoes are tender).

  • Cut and stir in desired herbs.

  • Cook until all ingredients are al dente and not mushy.

Notes: If you have an interest look up knife cutting and techniques. You may also add different vegetables to this garden soup creation.

Simple Garden Cream of Broccoli

Serves 6 to 8


  • 2 lb. of fresh garden broccoli

  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • ½ cup grated or sliced Parmesan cheese

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tsp. of garlic and onion powder or fresh

  • 1 tsp. of thyme


  • In a stockpot, add the chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste, onion powder, garlic powder, and thyme

  • Stir

  • Add the broccoli (I just cut into small pieces instead of blending)

  • Bring to a boil over high heat

  • Reduce the heat to low-to-medium, then cover. Cook until the broccoli is tender, approximately 15 minutes

  • Stir in the heavy cream and Parmesan

  • Cook just until heated thoroughly

  • Serve

Note: You can play with the herbs – add different ones to create your specialty.

Eggplant Casserole

Serves 10 to 12


  • 2-2 ½ pounds of eggplant

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 medium onions – chopped

  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 5 medium tomatoes (peeled and cut how you like)

  • 2 celery stalks – chopped

  • 1/4 cup minced fresh or jarred parsley and basil

  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

  • 2 tablespoons butter – melted

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Cut and peel eggplant into 1/2-inch slices, then rinse in colander

  • Salt and pepper both sides and place on paper towel to drain excess water

  • Place eggplant in a skillet and saute in olive oil until lightly browned

  • Add onions and zucchini, then cook 2 to 3 minutes

  • Add garlic, then cook 1 minute longer

  • Add the tomatoes, celery, parsley, basil and pepper

  • Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low

  • Cover and simmer for 10 minutes

  • Remove from the heat

  • Place into a greased, 13×9-in. baking dish

  • Combine bread crumbs, Romano cheese and butter, then sprinkle mixture on top

  • Bake uncovered at 350° for 15 minutes

  • Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese

  • Bake 5 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted

Zucchini & Squash Casserole

Serves 8 to 10


  • 3 to 4 medium zucchini washed & sliced to ¼ inch rounds

  • 3 to 4 medium yellow squash washed & sliced ¼ inch rounds

  • 4 to 5 medium tomatoes washed & sliced as desired

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil (more if needed)

  • 1¼ tsp. Italian seasoning

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • ¾ to 1 cup of Italian breadcrumbs (Panko style)

  • 2 ½ tbsp. basil (fresh or bottled)


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  • Coat bottom of baking dish with a small amount of olive oil

  • Stack zucchini, yellow squash, and tomato slices alternating in casserole dish

  • Sprinkle veggies with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste

  • Drizzle olive oil lightly over top of veggies

  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs over all

  • Cover with parchment then place foil on top (layer parchment between food and foil)

  • Bake for 20 minutes covered at 350 degrees

  • Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

  • Remove from oven

  • Sprinkle with Basil

  • Casserole should rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Note: You can play with squash varieties and also add onions and garlic if desired.

This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Quick meals from your garden

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