Thursday, April 17, 2014

Italian Zucchini Boats



So I don't have much to say in this post, other than there wasn't much to making this healthy meal! (AndI wish I had better lighting!) I had seen a recipe for something with zucchini and inspiration struck! Why not stuff them and make them a meal? The great thing about these zucchini boats is that you can use your preferred meat (ground beef or ground turkey, etc.), preferred spaghetti sauce (in a jar or use your own recipe), top it with cheese (or not), the only thing you can't change is the zucchini. Well, maybe you can. Yellow squash? Though I am guessing those might bake up too squishy?! In any case, these were super easy and delicious, and healthy to boot.

Ingredients:
6 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
1 lb Ground turkey (what I used) or ground meat of choice
Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
Spaghetti/Marinara sauce of choice
Mozzarella cheese for topping (optional)

Directions:
Brown your meat and season to taste. I am not adding the measurements of what I used because everyone likes to season differently; though I did use garlic powder, minced garlic, and oregano for mine since I was out of Italian seasoning. I am sure the addition of finely chopped fresh onion would be wonderful!

While the meat is browning, wash and cut the ends of your zucchini and cut your zucchini lengthwise. I found it best to scoop out the seeds with a melon baller (pictured below) in a see-saw motion with my hand. You can scrape down if you'd like, just find what works best for you. It may take a little doing, but I got the hang of it pretty quick. 


After your meat is browned, add your sauce and let simmer for about 10 minutes for the flavors to meld. Fill each "boat" with a spoon as pictured below, then place in a 350 degree oven. My zucchini took about 35-40 minutes to bake. At the 35 minute mark, I took the zucchini out and sprinkled shredded cheese on top and let it bake for 5 more minutes. 


Enjoy! Thank you so much for looking, now go bake something and spread some YUM!

As always, I welcome your ideas, thoughts, questions and and comments!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chorizo Burgers with Bacon and Guac


With the gorgeous weather starting to set in, it's time to get grillin' again folks! I am making some cheddar bacon burgers tonight, but remembered the chorizo burgers I made a few months back. For those of you not familiar with chorizo, it's a spicy Spanish pork sausage.

I grew up eating it crumbled, mixed with eggs or refried beans, reminding me of the summers I spent in Mexico in my grandmother's kitchen. She would have freshly made flour tortillas for us, butter them up, and fill them with the yummiest things.

As of last year, I had never mixed chorizo with anything other than eggs or beans until I saw a recipe for chorizo burgers. That sounded too good so I decided to make some for a day hiking trip/picnic we had late last summer. For these burgers, I didn't follow the recipe, I just threw a few things I liked together and cooked them up after our hike. I also made them bunless, but you are more than welcome to bun it up, m'kay?

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 2.5 oz link uncooked chorizo sausage (I like Ole Mexican Foods brand)
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 small finely chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
8 slices of bacon, cooked - optional - but who am I kidding? YOU NEED to have bacon.
guacamole - optional
cheddar slices (or your favorite cheese) optional

Method:
Fire (or gas up) your grill
Mix the ground beef with the chorizo, mustard, chopped onion, salt, and pepper until combined. Form into 4 patties. Grill about 10 minutes on each side, or until done to your liking. Top with cheese, guacamole and crisp bacon. Enjoy!

Thank you so much for looking, now go grill up some YUM!

As always, I welcome your comments/thoughts/ideas!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Meyer Lemon Blueberry Loaf with Meyer Lemon Glaze


I think the weather enjoys teasing us. Beautiful seventies one day, in the thirties the next. I am getting Spring fever, and as much as I love the cooler weather, I am getting so frustrated! Feeling the warm breeze has me craving days with ice cold lemonade, fresh berries, salads, Spring season things... Sigh.

Speaking of in-season things, Meyer lemons are here again! Last year I made a Meyer lemon icebox pie with freshly squeezed juice and it was delicious! Needless to say, the next time I went back for them, they were gone. I was so sad! Ever since I discovered Meyer lemons, I have been obsessed with making something involving them with blueberries. Instead of making a pie this time (though I have a feeling I will be making another one soon) I decided on a pound cake with fresh blueberries. As much as I bake, I have never made a pound cake before, so I went looking for and found a Paula Deen recipe. We all know we can't go wrong with a Paula Deen recipe, right? :) This recipe was a winner, with the addition of some Meyer lemon juice, fresh crushed blueberries, and a lovely sweet and tangy drizzle of Meyer lemon glaze.

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen's "Mama's Pound Cake" Recipe

Ingredients:

For the loaf:
Non-stick Baker's Joy or Pam spray for pans
2 sticks of butter
3 cups of granulated sugar
5 eggs
3 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Meyer lemon, juiced
2 pints of blueberries

For the glaze:
1 cup of confectioner's sugar
1 Meyer lemon, juiced - you may only need 2 - 3 tablespoons


Method:

Stir your flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Spray the non-stick spray into 2 5x9" loaf pans and set aside. (I used a 5x9" and a 4x10" pan) Using a mixer, cream your butter and shortening together. Add your sugar a little bit at a time, then add your eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated after each addition. Starting and ending with the flour, add the flour and milk alternately to the wet mixture until well blended, then add vanilla. Add the juice of ONE Meyer lemon to the batter and blend until incorporated. Next, prepare your blueberries: Smash one pint. Toss about half (more or less to taste) of the second pint of blueberries into a sandwich bag with a tablespoon or 2 of flour for the top of the loaves. Pour a quarter of the batter to cover the bottom of one of the pans, and do the same with the second pan. Top with smashed blueberries  on both and spread them around the batter to cover almost to the edges. Top each "loaf" with remaining batter and toss floured blueberries on top. Bake for an hour to an hour and a half. Loaves are ready when toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans for about 20 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack and let cool completely.


 (So I was a little obsessed with the glaze...)

While loaves are cooling, prepare your glaze. Add 1 cup of confectioner's sugar to a small bowl. Pour in 1 tablespoon of Meyer lemon juice to begin with and stir. Add more Meyer lemon juice in 1/2 tablespoon increments and continue to stir until it reaches glaze consistency, using about 2 -3 tablespoons total. Pour over loaves and enjoy!


Try it with blackberries as well, it's delicious!

Thank you so much for looking! Now go bake something and spread some YUM!

 








Sunday, March 16, 2014

Peppermint Patty Milkshake


Happy St. Patrick's Day! I am nowhere close to being Irish, but there's just something fun about the holiday, all the green, fun and frolic. It was one of my favorite things to be cheerleading in the St. Patrick's Day parade as a wee child in Chicago as we would pass over the river, which was dyed GREEN! It was always cold, but so much fun. Fun facts about the way the river is dyed green and how it came to be, click HERE.

I made a milkshake in honor of the holiday, it's fresh, minty, and definitely not for the minor Leprechauns. It's a Peppermint Patty Milkshake. Enjoy.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup O'Reilly's Mint Chocolate Liqueur (or a similar liqueur)
12 oz milk
3 cups of vanilla ice cream
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Honey and sprinkles for garnish (optional)

Blend all ingredients together in a blender, adding more ice cream if you desire more creaminess.

Pour sprinkles onto a dish. With a small food-safe paintbrush, dip into honey and "paint" around the rim on the glasses. Dip onto the sprinkles for garnish if desired.

Thank you so much for looking!

Now go blend it and spread some YUM!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Birthday Cake!


I always get a funny comment when my birthday rolls around. Several times. "Happy Birthday Diana! I hope someone else makes your cake so you don't have to!" WHAT??? You mean to tell me, baking is my passion and you think I want someone else to make my cake?! NO WAY JOSE! It might take a little bit of work for me to do it but by golly, it's a labor of love! For myself! Besides, I have started making more involved cakes and I don't want to put anybody through that just for lil' ol' me.


I used to get the Baskin Robbins mint chocolate chip ice cream cake with chocolate cake just because it's some of what I grew up with and it's my favorite ice cream flavor evah, but then I starting experimenting with new flavors and just distanced myself from buying cakes. Last year I found and made a cake on Sweetapolita's site that had me drooling, and this year, I found a couple of other recipes that I decided to blend together. Chocolate Cake and Nutella Cloud Frosting. The only change I made was that I used Hershey's Special Dark for the cocoa (I didn't have access or enough time to order the fancy cocoa she uses) and my coffee happened to be Dunkin Donuts Blueberry Muffin flavor. (It's all I had folks!) I also added sprinkles in between flavors because she gave me the idea and I loved it! I just have to say, if you ever make yourself a cake, make this one. Please. It's SO worth it! 

Click HERE for the Chocolate Cake Recipe, and HERE for the Nutella Cloud Frosting. 

Now go bake this cake and SPREAD SOME YUM!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Spring Has Sprung!


 
Spring is in the air! I was walking around work one morning this past week and smelled cucumbers. It took me back to spring and summer and reminded me of a wonderful salad I had posted on an old food blog a LONG time ago. 
This salad is such a wonderful mix of flavor and colors, perfectly crisp and delicious. Great for a side salad and I usually make it for Easter gatherings as well! I got the recipe from a co-worker and I've been hooked ever since she took it to the office. Try this out for your next large gathering, it makes a good bit! Enjoy!  
P.S. Please excuse the small picture, it was all I had!

1 Head of lettuce, torn into pieces and washed
1 bag of Spring Mix salad (it helps to wash this as well, gets rid of the plastic bag flavor)
1 hothouse cucumber 
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 red, 1 green, and 1 yellow bell pepper, all sliced 
1 quart of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Croutons (whichever you like) 
Ranch or Italian dressing. Either of these dressings seem to be pretty good for this salad. 
Toss everything together and enjoy!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Eggs in a Nest


Good morning sunshine! Well, okay. I am not a morning person. But I DO love morning food! I woke up this beautiful bright Sunday morning, starving from not eating much the night before, but I can't eat super fast breakfast food (no cereal! wah!) I had to come up with something healthy, but awesome. I am in the middle of doing the Whole Life Challenge, which challenges us to eat unprocessed and healthy foods.

Well here's a little history about "Eggs in a Nest". I had never heard of them until I met my husband. Using a shot glass, he would cut a hole in the middle of a slice of bread, butter up a pan, place the bread in there, and crack an egg over the hole, making sure the yolk landed in the hole. He would then flip them over to cook the tops a bit, but he always made sure the yolk was still runny so he could sop it up with the surrounding "nest". I have to say, it was pretty darned yummy.


This morning, I pulled out my spiralizer and started "noodling" a sweet potato. I usually cook them in a pan with some coconut oil, throw some eggs in, and scramble them. This time, I thought to myself, "Those noodles look like a little nest" - voila! I was inspired! Sweet potato Eggs in a Nest were born. If you don't have a spiralizer, you can probably create the same thing with some shredded sweet potatoes. These got 5 stars PLUS from the hubby. His new favorite! I hope it becomes yours too!

Here's what you need:

1 medium - large sweet potato, peeled and spiralized
5 - 6 large eggs
About 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1.) Heat coconut oil in a non-stick pan until melted and slightly shimmering.
2.) Toss in half of your sweet potato noodles and cook until color changes to a more yellow-orange color and they are slightly crispy. 
3.) Separate your noodles in the pan into 2-3 "nests", or do one at a time. Make sure there are some spots  open for the egg to permeate the noodles underneath (this will help with more even cooking). Crack your egg(s) and pour over the middle of your sweet potato nest(s). 
4.) After the bottom appears cooked, flip over and cook your eggs until the whites are done, but try to make sure your yolk still stays a bit runny if you like it that way. Serve immediately! This went very well paired with some avocado slices and Whole Life Challenge compliant sausage links. Enjoy!

Thank you so much for looking, now go cook something and spread some YUM!