Monthly Archives: September 2012

Zucchini Linguine

So, as summer is coming to a close and fall is around the corner, I thought I would give you one more summer vegetable recipe.  Because after this, it tis the season for pumpkin and spice.  Fall, a beautiful time of year, crisp morning air, the changing of the leaves and everything pumpkin.  Ah.. I can smell the nutmeg in the air.  Okay, okay sorry for the tangent, I’ll get back to the recipe.  I love pasta, but hate how I feel guilty afterwards.  Usually, they are filled with heavy meats and cream sauces, like alfredo.  This recipe however; is a wonderful blend of linguine and fresh vegetables, using a small amount of cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt to get you a light tasty sauce.  Plus, using shredded zucchini in the mixture gives you more volume in the pasta without using as much actual pasta.  Voila, a yummy, not so bad for you pasta dish.  Enjoy and start getting excited for fall recipes, soups and more.

 
Ingredients:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package linguine pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 zucchini cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 yellow squash cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if desired)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:

1.  Bring large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to box directions.  Keep pasta al dente, drain and set aside.

2.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Saute garlic in skillet until starts to turn slightly brown 1-2 minutes.  Stir in grated zucchini, saute for another 2 minutes.

3.  Add rest of zucchini and yellow squash.  Cook for another 4 minutes. Then remove from heat.
4.  Add cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt and basil to zucchini/squash mixture.  Mix well.
5.  Add pasta to skillet with zucchini mixture and toss well.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add red pepper flakes if desired.  Mix well and serve.

To mix this recipe up a bit, you could always use whole wheat past, spaghetti noodles or different vegetables, like tomato.  Give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed.  Let me know what combinations you tried and worked well.

Words of Wisdom

Sometimes it is such a simple thing that can bring a smile to my face.  If you have been following me then you know I have been living in Denver with a friend, until my husband moves from Phoenix next month. So, I flew into Phoenix last night for a quick visit.  I woke this morning and had the most wonderful cup of coffee.  My favorite coffee, in one of my favorite coffee mugs with my hubby.  Who needs diamonds, cars and all
of that, this one cup of coffee made me oh so happy!!!!!

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.  You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

~Albert Camus~

 

Coconut Sugar Cookie Squares

For the most part I would say I eat healthy, but if there is one weakness I have it is sugar.   So, in general if I am going to eat healthy, I usually allow myself the pleasure of a “real”, no healthy substitutes dessert.  I figure you have to live a little, and I’d like to experience mine through a cookie or a cake.  So I will not pretend this recipe doesn’t have any real butter, white sugar or sweetened coconut.  This is why it tasted so divine.  Seriously, I think I could hear the angels of dessert heaven singing when I took my first bite.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Go ahead and make something fun to eat and enjoy every bite.

Yields: 24 squares

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 21/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lite coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 13×9 baking dish
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 recipe Coconut Butter Cream Frosting, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut for garnish (optional)  
Directions:
 

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray 13×9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2.  Place 1/2 cup shredded coconut into food processor, process until coconut finely ground (about 2 minutes on high).

3.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add ground coconut to flour mixture, mix well and set aside.

4.  In another medium mixing bowl, place butter and sugar.  Using electric mixer, beat mixture until fluffy.
5.  Add egg, egg white, vanilla, coconut milk and sour cream, mix until thoroughly blended.

6.  Slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. 
7.  Place batter into pre-sprayed baking dish.  Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray and gently press dough into and even layer. 
8.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.

10.  Frost with Coconut Butter Cream Frosting.  Then if desired sprinkle with additional shredded coconut.


11.  Cut into serving size squares and store in airtight container.

Coconut Butter Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons lite coconut milk
  • 3/4 teaspoons coconut extract
Directions:
  • Combine all ingredients for frosting in large mixing bowl.  Using an electric mixer, whip together until mixture is smooth and fluffy.

 Adapted from :  Cooking Classy

Summer Vegetable Tian

 

As I find myself living at my friend Melissa’s house since my move to Denver, I realize until all of my own kitchen things make the journey to Denver I will be faced with continuing my blog without any of my normal kitchen ware.  So, since the blog must go on, I figured jump right in, new gadgets, serving dishes, pot and pans (thanks Melissa).

The first thing I find is a black cutting board and a purple slicing knife.  Far cry from my boring, bland wood cutting board and silver knives at home.   So, I think to myself, maybe it’s time for a little color in my life.  So, I decided to make this lovely vegetable medley combining all sorts of colorful veggies, in my new temporary kitchen.  The end result of my experiment in color turned out quite nicely.  The vegetables were done perfectly, still with a slight crunch and wonderful flavor.  And just in-case you were wondering what a tian is, well here is the definition.  Tian:  A mixture of roasted vegetables cooked in a shallow dish, usually with cheese or au gratin.


 Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 medium potato
  • teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
  • cooking spray  

 Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400°.  Spray 8×8 square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2.  Finely dice onion.  Place onion and garlic in skillet and saute over medium heat until onions are
     clear (about 5 minutes).

3.  While onions and garlic are cooking, thinly slice zucchini, yellow squash and potato into round 
      pieces.

4.  Spread cooked onion and garlic mixture into bottom of baking dish.  Next place sliced vegetables

      into baking dish vertically, alternating vegetables.
5.  Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper.

6.  Cover dish with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes on middle rack.  Remove foil and 
     top with shredded cheese and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned.

7.  Serve and Enjoy.

Words of Wisdom

As I begin my new job today, I think to myself how easy life can fall into place once you make your intention clear.  Life is yours to do what you chose with, so go ahead start taking charge of it. 
“It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny.”
~Jean Nidetch~
Ko Phi Phi, Thailand.

Low-Fat Ranch

I know, your saying to yourself Ranch is not part of a healthy diet, “it’s so fattening”, well I would like to introduce you to the new improved low-fat Ranch Dressing.  This is a simple easy dressing you can make at home, using only 3 ingredients. And the most amazing part of this recipe is the entire jar of dressing only has 290 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.  As a kid Ranch dressing is considered a staple in your diet.  You would never dream of eating chicken nuggets, carrots or fries without dipping them in this delightful sauce.  But as you get older and you realize your metabolism begins to falter when those insane growth spurts come to a screeching halt, food begins to have new ingredients you never heard of before, calories and fat.  So, I would like you to say hello to Ranch again.  Feel free to begin dipping veggies, eating salads with dressing and enjoying a childhood favorite.   So, go on start dipping and pouring again.  Enjoy!


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1 packet hidden valley ranch dressing mix
  • (2) 5.3 ounce containers of Dannon oikos nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 air tight canning jar or dressing jar

Directions:

1.  Place all ingredients in small mixing bowl.

 2.  Whisk together until well combined.

3.  Place mixture in jar and place in fridge.

4.  Allow to cool in fridge for at least 1 hour.  Open and enjoy.

Avocado and Cilantro Deviled Eggs

Who doesn’t love a good deviled egg?  But after realizing a typical deviled egg is packed with not so thigh slimming saturated fat, you begin to think, “are they really worth it?”  Well, discover this recipe for avocado, cilantro deviled eggs.  I know looking at the picture your thinking, a little Dr. Seuss is in store, maybe green eggs and ham?   Nevertheless,  these green eggs are delicious.

This recipe contains no mayonnaise;  therefore eliminating the “bad” fat part of the recipe.  Considering the health benefits of avocados, including vitamins and monounsaturated fats (decreased cholesterol, lower risk for heart disease and decreased risk of breast cancer) using them in this recipe makes this a healthy protein rich side dish.  Plus, it is always good to give a new twist on an old recipe.

Also, on a side note, because of the natural browning process of avocados, I suggest making them up right before serving or taking them to a party.  However; if your not afraid of a brown deviled egg, feel free to eat them as leftovers, I did.  They still tasted just as good.  If your wondering how to make easy hard boiled eggs here is how I make them  How to: Hard-Boil an Egg.

Yield:  12 deviled eggs

Ingredients:
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • A few dashes of Cholula sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • extra cilantro for garnish


Directions
:

1.  Cut eggs in half lengthwise.  Carefully scoop out yolks and put into medium mixing bowl.  Place remaining egg white halves on plate and put into fridge.

2.  Cut avocado in half and remove pit.  Scoop out flesh of avocado from both halves and place in bowl with egg yolks.  Using a fork mash egg yolks and avocado until creamy.

3.  Add onion, cilantro, lime juice, Cholula, salt and desired pepper to avocado mixture.  Mix until thoroughly combined.

4.  Retrieve eggs halves from the fridge.  Using small spoon, scoop avocado, yolk mixture into egg halves.  Garnish with an extra cilantro leaf if desired.

5.  Serve immediately, before avocado begins to brown.

Adapted from: Rookie Cookie

Words of Wisdom

Sometimes, just when you think you have life figured out, that’s the moment you get run over by a train.  I’m sure everyone out there has experienced a moment of this in their own life.  So, what this has taught me is to live life with out expectations.  Learning to live for the moment and take it all in.  When you stop planning out your whole life, you open yourself up to endless possibilities.

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”
~Margaret Drabble~

 

Bolivia, South America

Coconut Mango Chia Pudding

So, there were two things that intrigued me about this recipe.  First, is anytime I see the word coconut in a recipe, my pulse automatically quickens.  I love coconut in pretty much any form raw, baked, shredded, sweetened, unsweetened, in creamer, in milk, in water….get the point.  Second is my husband’s love of tapioca pudding.  He loves the stuff, but when you look at the calorie and fat content of a pre-made pudding at the store, forget it!  I’d rather have a heath blizzard thank you very much.  So, back to the point with adding the chia seeds to this recipe makes the consistency much like tapioca and then with the added coconut, voila you have a marvelous more healthy style of pudding.  Plus, chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber.  And by using the light coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk and Stevia liquid for sweetener you eliminate many of the unnecessary calories from sugar.  Enjoy!

Yield:  Two 1 cup servings

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh ripe mango, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sweetened shredded coconut
  • 5 drops liquid vanilla Stevia 
Directions: 
Combine all ingredients in large bowl, mix well and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in refrigerator over night.

 Hope you enjoy this delightful dessert.  It’s a perfect ending for one of those last summer BBQ’s.

Adapted from: skinnytaste

How To: Hard-Boil an Egg

If you’re attempts at making hard boiled eggs have resulted in cracked shells, undercooked eggs or that horrible green-grey yolk effect, well here is a simple tip for you.  With these simple steps, you’ll make the perfect hard-boiled egg every time.

What you will need:

  • desired number of eggs
  • saucepan with lid
  • bowl
  • cold water
  • timer
1.  Place eggs in saucepan filled with cold water

-  Place eggs in a single layer in saucepan.  Water should cover tops of eggs by 1-2         inches of water. 

2.  Boil Water
         -  Bring water to a full boil.  Once boiling, place lid on saucepan and remove from
            burner.   Allow saucepan to stand, covered for 12 minutes. ***make sure to set timer
3.  Place Eggs in Cold Water
         -  Drain saucepan and place eggs in bowl filled with cold water.  This helps stop the
            cooking process.  Allow to sit at least 10 minutes in cold water.
 
4.  Crack and Peel Cooked Eggs
          -  Tap each egg a few times to crack shell.  Then gently roll each egg on a hard work
             surface to loosen shell.  Peel each egg slowly, dunking in bowl of water to help
             remove tiny bits of shell.