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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chicken with mushrooms and zucchini

Last one. I'm not exactly sure which blog site I got this off of, but I'm pretty sure it was either The Sisters' Cafe or My Kitchen Cafe. We liked this one a lot and the only adjustment I made was increasing the amount of sauce. I have posted the recipe with the changes.

Chicken with mushrooms and zucchini:

1 lb chicken, cut into 1" chunks
cornstarch for dusting
1 Tbl vegetable oil
1 Tbl sesame oil
4 Tbl soy sauce
2 Tbl balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbl oyster sauce (the original recipe doesn't call for this)
1 package of fresh button mushrooms
3-4 small zucchinis, cut into 1" chunks

Lightly dust chicken with cornstarch. Heat oils in large skillet or wok and fry chicken until golden brown. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Add zucchini and mushrooms to pan and stir fry for a few minutes. Add soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and oyster sauce, and stir fry until veggies are fully cooked. Add the chicken back to pan and stir to coat with sauce. Serve over hot rice. I also through some cashews on top.

Chocolate zucchini bread

Yet, another zucchini bread recipe. This recipe is adapted from one I found on allrecipes.com

Chocolate zucchini bread:
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar

3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. sour cream (I use light sour cream) or plain yogurt
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce

Sift in:
2 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

2-2 1/2 c. grated zucchini
3/4 c semi sweet choc chips

Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 325-350 for 50-60 min (or until toothpick comes out clean. Don't over bake). Let cool before removing from pan.

*since originally posting this recipe, I have found a way to cut out 1/2 of the butter and some of the sugar without sacrificing flavor. I think it may even be better than before (crazy). I have changed the recipe to the newer, healthier version.

Pumpkin zucchini bread

Here are a few more zucchini recipes for that plethora of zukes... oh wait, Luke keeps picking all of mine before they are longer than 4 inches, so I don't have a mountain of zucchini like I should. First one, you guessed it: zucchini bread. I like pumpkin bread and I like zucchini bread, so I decided to make a two in one.

Pumpkin zucchini bread:
3/4 c. oil or butter, softened
1 3/4 c sugar

1/2 c. milk
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 c pumpkin puree
2 c grated zucchini

Sift in:
3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
11/2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
few dashes cloves

Add 3/4 c semi sweet choc. chips (optional). Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 325-350 for 45-60 min (take out as soon as that toothpick comes out clean... don't over bake). Let cool before removing from pan. For muffins: fill greased or lined tins almost to the top and cook at 350 for 16-20 min. for reg. muffins or 12-16 min. for mini muffins.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

California Grilled Veggie Sandwiches

It looks like Liz has beat me to it, but if your counter is covered with the same vegetables mine is right now, you can never have enough zucchini recipes.

I made these last week and told Dave, "Call me crazy, but I really love these sandwiches." To which he replied, "I really love these sandwiches too." I turned up my hearing aid and asked for a repeat, but he really did use the word "love" in connection with vegetable sandwiches. I think that's a fair endorsement.

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red bell peppers
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • loaf of foccaccia bread, or other artisan bread, sliced however you prefer for sandwiches
  • sliced or shredded Swiss or Provolone cheese
Combine mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate while other ingredients are prepared.

Preheat grill to high heat.

Slice zucchini and squash lengthwise, a little thinner than a quarter inch. Slice bell peppers and onions the same thickness as the squash. Toss in a bowl with olive oil. Arrange on hot grill with zucchini and pepper near the middle and onions and squash around. Grill for about 3 minutes each side, or until they start to blacken. Remove from grill.

To assemble sandwiches. Spread each side of bread with mayonnaise. Layer vegetables as desired, top with cheese, and 2nd slice of bread. You may want to use toothpicks to hold it together. Place assemble sandwich on grill over low heat and cook until cheese is melted.

Recipe from allrecipes.com

May I also recommend, for your zucchini eating pleasure:

Pineapple Zucchini Bread, Prudence Pennywise's version that is a bit healthier and less cake-like, so when you eat it for breakfast you don't have to feel guilty, and

Pasta with Squash and Garlic, just a simple, fast way to cook up some zukes on a busy night.

Zucchini couscous

In honor of the plentiful vegetable we know and love, I am posting not one but two recipes to help you use up some of your zucchini. Actually, I happen to really like the taste of zucchini so I like to use it in dishes that do not combine it with chocolate chips. Don't get me wrong, I love the sweet breads from zucchini but I also like the more "vegetable" type recipes too. I came up with this recipe after watching a similar dish on the Food Network. I did a little tweaking and came up with this. I think other vegetables could be used in place of the zucchini too. Think, chopped broccoli, peas, or squash maybe?

1 1/2 c. chopped zucchini
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 c. plain couscous
1 c. chicken broth

In a skillet heat olive oil on med. high heat. Add green onions, garlic and zucchini. Saute until zucchini becomes softened and garlic and onions are cooked. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Next, stir in couscous and cover with a lid. Remove pan from heat. Let sit for five minutes or until all of the chicken broth is absorbed. Fluff couscous with a fork and serve.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chocolate chip zuchinni muffins

These muffins are a great change from the usual zucchini bread. They have just enough sweetness to make them kid friendly. Last time I made them I baked up a bunch in my mini muffin tin so they were the perfect size for little hands. Emily even suggested that I could make for her to take in her cold lunch. I found this recipe last year on this blog. Last time I checked she had 19 zucchini recipes so this website might be a good spot to check if you have a crazy amount of zucchini to get rid of.

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder (I upped it to 1 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional, I didn't do the nuts)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper liners. Spray the paper liners with nonstick spray. (This is key, or the muffin will stick to the liner)In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar to blend them smoothly. Whisk in the oil and vanilla until blended. Use a large spoon to stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Stir in the zucchini, then stir in chocolate chips and walnuts (if using) until evenly distributed. Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into each paper liner. Bake until the tops are light brown and a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 23 minutes. If the toothpick penetrates a chocolate chip, test another spot.Cool muffins in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Using pot holders to protect your hands, invert the muffin pan onto a wire rack and tap the bottom to release the muffins. Turn the muffins right side up to cool for about 15 minutes and serve warm, or let cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blackened Corn Salsa

I got this recipe from Prudence Pennywise. Has anyone tried it yet? If you haven't, you really need to! I made chicken enchilada's last night for dinner. My kids are REALLY picky and like them pretty plain. Rocky and I like actual flavor in our food, so I thought I would give this a try. I put it in our enchilada's and it really added flavor! Rocky ate a little bit with tortilla chips and really liked it. Check out her website for a picture. I didn't get a picture of it, sorry!

Blackened Corn Salsa

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups corn fresh or thawed, if frozen
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of one lime
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add corn and onion and cook, stirring from time to time, until corn and onion are blackened in places. Combine with other ingredients in a medium bowl and serve.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Add a little Spice to your chicken

Grilled Southwestern Chicken

4-(5-6 oz) boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup canola oil
3 Tb cider vinegar
1 Tb chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Flatten chicken to even thickness and set aside. In a small bowl, combine all other ingredients an mix well. Place chicken and marinade in resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Remove chicken and discard marinade. It is VERY important to grill this on low heat. The marinade will scorch otherwise. That is also why it is important to flatten the chicken.

Serve with salad greens and ranch dressing. YUMMY!

Also, if anyone out there has any great ideas for healthy, filling on the go breakfasts, it would be appreciated. Happy cooking!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A couple of quick dinners

Okay, Danielle, I've got a couple of quick dinners that come to my mind, but I'm almost embarrassed to post them because they aren't very exciting/creative. But, they both take less than 30 minutes, without being spaghetti, so here you go:

1. Taco plate/taco salad... whatever you want to call it:
1/2 - 1 pound hamburger (whatever your preference)
1 can drained kidney beans
1 can semi-drained pork and beans (I know, sounds lame, but I think it works. If you don't stock your cupboards with pork and beans though, it's not a vital ingredient)
1-2 can tomato sauce (I use 1, if you like it more tomato-y, you may want more)
taco seasoning to your liking (I usually use about 1/2 a packet)

Brown burger, salt and pepper it, add all other ingredients and simmer a bit. We usually eat ours like this: layer of tortilla chips, meat, cheese, lettuce, ranch, etc... whatever you like on a taco salad.

2. Chicken and black bean quesadillas:
1-2 chicken breasts, cut up
1/2 - 1 can of drained/rinsed black beans
1 can green chillies
taco seasoning to your liking

Cook chicken completely in a little oil with salt and pepper, add the rest of the ingredients and heat through. Make quesadillas: tortilla, cheese, chicken, cheese, tortilla. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa... whatever you like. I also like to use this for a taco salad for yet another change.

Quick Dinner Quest

Okay ladies, I am on a quest. I'm looking for new ideas for quick, on-hand dinners for those nights when its 5:00 and I haven't started dinner (or just plain don't want to). You know those nights when you don't want to order out, but don't want to resort to Ramen noodles or cold cereal. I'm not the only one who has those nights, am I?

I'm not coming empty handed. Here are a couple things I do:

I try to have frozen ravioli/tortellini on hand that I can cook, pour a bottle of sauce over and serve with a quick salad-I'll admit, sometimes the salad doesn't happen.

I also like to freeze chicken in a ziplock with marinade. I just freeze it in amounts that make one dinner for our family. (Be sure to label it) Then I can thaw it, grill/cook it, and serve it up with frozen veggies and one of those quickie rice dishes in a box.

I tried this Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken marinade last night. I found it on My Kitchen Cafe. Its totally easy and super yummy. It even passed the Hannah-test, which is MAJOR.

See, I'm not looking for gourmet. In fact, quite the opposite, the easier the better. Don't be shy. What may seem totally mundane and basic to you is probably something I haven't even thought of. Come on...who doesn't need some quickie-dinner ideas?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Strawberry Cupcakes

I am so addicted to these right now I am going to have a strawberry cupcake caboose pretty soon. They taste like summer! I got the recipe from this site and I have loved everything I have made from her. This is a must try. This is also a fun recipe for kids to help with.

Wild Strawberry Cupcakes
Makes 24 plus-the recipe said 36 but I got about 28
16 oz Strawberries Destemmed
4 eggs
1 3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
1 t. Vanilla
1 1/2 t. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Cups Flour
Place first four ingredients in blender. Blend until fully pureed.Pour into large bowl and mix with remaining ingredients. Spoon into cupcake wrappers. Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched. Allow to cool. Frost with recipe below.
Sweet and Pure Strawberry Buttercream
3/4 Cup fresh Strawberries destemmed
1/2 Cup Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
2 lb Powdered Sugar
Over a large bowl crush the strawberries in your hands(I just used a fork in the bowl). Allow juice and pulp to fall into bowl. Add remaining ingredients and beat well with an electric mixer. Frost cooled cupcakes. Allow to set at room temperature. I have found you have plenty leftover after frosting cupcakes to eat with a spoon-or your fingers!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chicken Pasta Salad

Chicken Pasta Salad

I love Chicken Salad sandwiches – so I really enjoyed this pasta salad with the same flavors. My mom made this for a family gathering and I couldn’t stay out of it. Of course when I tried to make it for a party, it didn’t quite taste as good - but that is because I didn’t have all of the ingredients and so I substituted.


3 cups bow tie (farfalle) pasta

1 (16 ounce) bottle bottled coleslaw dressing

1 cup mayonnaise

4 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups seedless green grapes, halved

1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved

2 cups thinly sliced celery

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 cups cashew halves

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, and set aside. (Not an Al Dente fan - I usually cook mine for about 12 min )

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together coleslaw dressing and mayonnaise.

  3. In a large bowl, combine pasta, chicken, grapes, celery and green onions. Stir in dressing, add salt and pepper if desired and mix well. Place the salad in the refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours, or overnight. Mix in cashews just before serving.
    Serve cold.

I don’t love onions – but these are pretty mild so I didn’t mind them. When I re-made the salad I didn’t add them and I think they needed to be there. Also I didn’t have enough mayo and so I added more coleslaw dressing and this made the salad a little too sweet. The other substitution I made was to use almonds instead of cashews – while almonds are tasty, they will never be as good as cashews.