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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Zucchini and Pepper Frittata

Breakfast for dinner? Yes please! Especially when I have peppers and zucchini growing in my garden this time of year. Now if I just had the time or the room for some hens, I could almost make this meal straight from the yard. This is one of those meals that you just can't go wrong with. I mean it's healthy, it's light, it's filling and most of all it's easy to prepare. It happens to be vegetarian, but if you are just dying to put some meat in it, throw in some bacon or some crumbled, cooked sausage and you have your self a non vegetarian frittata! :)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped 
1 medium zucchini (or 2 small zucchinis), diced  
1/4 green bell pepper, dicedd
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 small jalapeno, diced (Optional, leave out if you don't want it spicy)
6 eggs 
2 Tbsp milk 
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter
3-4 zucchini blossoms, Stamen removed (this is the stem on the inside bottom of the flower) and torn in half

Heat the olive oil in an 10-inch nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, zucchini, green bell pepper, red bell pepper and jalapeno and cook until just beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the milk. Add the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until combined.

When the zucchini and peppers have softened, remove the pan from the heat and add the zucchini mixture to the eggs. Stir to combine.

Add the butter to the same pan and swirl to melt. Add the egg and zucchini mixture and place the torn zucchini flowers onto the top of the frittata,  if using. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat until the edges begin to brown and the center has set and is puffed slightly, about 8 minutes.

To serve, slide the frittata out onto a cutting board. Slice and eat! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Brown Rice Salad with Orange Sesame Dressing

As I sit here trying to type up some story or something interesting to put here, I realize my mind is blank. I am plagued with a dreaded annual sinus infection. Last year in July, the night before I was due to fly home from my vacation to Portland, I got hit with the worst sinus infection of my life. Thankfully, Kaiser was able to get me a prescription and I thought I would be ok on the flight home. Well....everything was fine until the plane started it's descent. Oh my goodness, I thought my head was going to explode from all the pressure. Trust me when I say I would rather give birth to another child, before ever doing that again. So you are probably wondering why I would pick that story to tell you. WELL...guess who is leaving again for Portland soon and guess who has another sinus infection? Me..that's right. Let's hope this time, I get rid of this bad boy BEFORE my flight. No more head exploding episodes this year! Oh back to this salad. I wasn't feeling so well, so I decided to whip up this super easy salad. So glad I did, because it takes hardly any cooking, just slicing, dicing, stirring and cooking rice...yep that's it! In fact, I think this is what I will have today for leftover lunch. Yummy...I can't wait!
Recipe Adapted From:

For the Salad:
4 cups brown rice, cooked and cooled
1 cup edamame 

1 carrot, grated, or thinly sliced
1 cup brocccoli, cut into bite size chunks
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

For the Dressing: 
 1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup canola oil

For the top of the salad:
Juice of 1 whole orange
Toasted sesame seeds

To prepare the salad: 
In a large bowl, place the cooled brown rice, edamame, carrot, broccoli, bell pepper, cilantro,green onion and sesame seeds. Toss to mix. Set aside.

To prepare the dressing:
In  a small bowl, stir together all the dressing ingredients. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Pour over rice salad. Toss to coat. When ready to serve, squeeze the juice of one orange over the salad and toss again. Sprinkle the top with toasted sesame seeds. Serve cold.

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

I am always so thankful to find new tomato recipes this time of year. My garden is bursting with huge tomato plants and there is only so much salsa one girl can make. ;)
So when I stumbled onto this find on Pinterest, I just knew I had to try it. Like everything else, I "tweaked" the recipe a bit to suit my fancy. I was so happy to be able to use up some of the basil and jalapenos growing like crazy in my garden also. Now if I could only think of a way to grow some fresh mozzarella in my garden, I would be ONE happy girl!
Recipe Adapted From:

2 large tomatoes, cut into 8 thick slices

8 fresh basil leaves (or you can use dried basil, just sprinkle it on sparingly)

1-2 fresh jalapenos, diced
Italian Seasoning
Salt/Pepper to taste
8 pieces fresh Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced

Olive oil

Heat oven to 450°.
Place tomato slices on a Pam sprayed cookie sheet. Top each slice with a basil leaf, and a few diced jalapenos. Lightly sprinkle on some Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Top each slice with a thin slice of Parmesan cheese. Repeat with all tomato slices until they are all finished. Drizzle olive oil lightly over each cheese topped tomato slice. Bake in the oven, until tender, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Orange Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

Summer has been filled with a lot of barbecuing, salads, and summer type foods. Well, when we actually  had a cooler, though humid, Southern California summer day today, I decided to cook up some good, hearty food. You can always count on a healthy stir fry to fill you up and satisfy you, yet keep you healthy! This meal did just that. This has such a refreshing, light sauce and it goes perfectly well with the chicken and veggies. So get to stir frying and raise your glass to "good tasting healthy food."
Recipe Adapted From:

For the sauce:

1/2 cup orange juice 
2 Tbsp soy sauce 
2 Tbsp rice vinegar 
1 Tbsp oyster sauce 
Zest of 1  large orange
2 large cloves garlic, chopped 
1 tsp minced ginger 
1/2 Tbsp honey (you can add more if you like your orange chicken on the sweeter side)

For the stir fry: 

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks 
salt / pepper to taste 
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 onion
3 green onions
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 large zucchini, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Toasted sesame seeds
salt / pepper

In a medium sized bowl, stir all the ingredients for the sauce together. Set aside.
Chop up all the chicken and vegetables and have them ready to stir fry.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a bowl, toss the chicken with the corn starch and using your hands or a spoon, mix until the chicken is well coated with the corn starch.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken and all the vegetables. Cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through. This should take a few minutes. (You can test a piece by cutting it in half if you are unsure if it is done. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and stir Continue to stir it until the sauce has thickened up some. Serve and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Taste and add salt and/or pepper if so desired.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Grilled Chicken Salad with Honey-Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

Hot summer days always call for cool summer salads. This was just the right kind of salad and the right kind of dressing to cool off with at the end of a hot day. The tangy, light, refreshing dressing is a perfect blend of tastes. The lime and honey work perfectly together! I can't wait to  make this again and as hot as it's going to be in Southern California for the next couple of months, I'm sure I will be making it again soon.
Recipe Adapted From:

For the Salad:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and diced into strips
Fresh Spinach leaves
Tomatoes, sliced into quarters
1 cup fresh corn (cut from cooked corn on the cob)
1/4 small red onion, cut into strips or diced
1 green onion, cut into small slices or diced
1/4 cup fresh pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
2 Avocados, cut into strips
3-4 oz fresh parmesan cheese, grated

Build your salad however you would like. Add any ingredients you enjoy in your salads. Top with Honey Lime and Cilantro Vinaigrette Dressing.

For the Honey, Lime and Cilantro Vinaigrette

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Zest of 2 limes
1/2 tsp coriander
dash of cayenne pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
In a blender or food processor, combine lime juice, honey, rice vinegar, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, zest of limes, coriander and cayenne pepper. Pulse mixture until the cilantro is finely chopped. With the blender or food processor on, slowly drizzle the olive oil into it with a slow and steady stream, then blend until slightly thickened about 20 seconds longer.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers

We finally got our grill up and running again. The hubby had to take it apart, repair it and clean it. Thankfully he finished the job early yesterday, just in time to have a BBQ for the 4th of July. I had forgotten how great things taste when cooked on the grill. Also, let's face it, what is sexier than a man doing the cooking? ;)
Tonight I wanted to be able to grill again. My poor hubby hardly got any sleep last night due to fireworks and having to get up extremely early for work. So I wasn't sure how he would feel about manning the BBQ again tonight. But he is such a trooper and this is what he got rewarded with for doing the grilling. This is so tasty and for someone like me who doesn't even like burgers, this is a great solution to the problem. I stumbled onto this recipe on Pinterest and boy oh boy am I glad I did! This one is definitely a keeper.
Recipe Source: 

1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp chopped, fresh jalapeno
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Salt/Pepper to taste
Tomato slices
Fresh Spinach leaves

Place ground chicken in large bowl.
Add in the onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, paprika, cheese, salt and pepper. Use your hands and mix all this together thoroughly.
Form into 4 patties.
Grill over medium heat until cooked through. Approx 5-7 min. per side.
Top each burger with tomato slices, spinach leaves and guacamole.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Coconut and Rum Banana Bread with Lime Rum Glaze

I feel like banana bread is so versatile. You can add peanut butter, chocolate, chocolate chips etc. I have made coconut banana bread before, but this is the first time I found a recipe adding lime and rum.. I mean seriously, who doesn't like lime, coconut, banana and rum together? I know this girl does! To be honest, I wish that all those ingredients were blended together in a nice, big frosty tropical drink. On top of that, I wish I was sipping it with my feet up on a beach in Hawaii! But here I am in Southern California, choosing to bake on a hot summer day. Brilliant? Yes, I thought so, until the sweat started pouring off of me inside my own house lol. Maybe I should have stuck a little drink umbrella into the top of my bread to decorate it. This might have been the ultimate way to fool my sweaty body into thinking I truly was on a beach in Hawaii. So drink up, or eat up....but either way...relax, put your feet up and bite into some yummy coconut and rum bread with lime rum glaze! ;)
Recipe Adapted From:

For the bread:

2 cups flour 
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 2 1/2 - 3 bananas) 
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (you can substitute vanilla yogurt also)
3 1/2 Tbsp coconut rum
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 tbsp additional flaked sweetened coconut (for the top)

For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice 
1/2 Tbsp coconut rum
*You can add more rum if you would like more rum flavor in your glaze. You will need to also adjust the sugar so as not to make it too thin 

Heat oven to 350°.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.

In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until blended well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the banana, yogurt, rum and vanilla. Beat until blended together. Add the flour mixture and only beat until it's moistened. Do not over mix! Stir in the 1/2 cup coconut. 

Grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan with Pam. Spoon the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp coconut. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

While your bread is cooking, make your glaze by combining the powdered sugar, lime juice and rum in a small bowl. Stir together with a spoon until completely smooth.  

Once your bread is done cooking, cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove the bread from the pan onto a wire rack. Drizzle with glaze while warm. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Polynesian Coleslaw

Summertime is definitely the time to recapture my love for cold salads and slaws. What is better on a hot day, than sinking your teeth into a nice cold, crisp salad that has some crunch and is completely satisfying? Ok, so maybe jumping into the pool is better than that for cooling you off, but as far as food goes.....this slaw is amazing! I think next time I will add some chicken and call this a main dish!
Recipe Adapted From:

1 1/2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp Franks Red Hot Sauce
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite size strips or chunks
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 mango, cut into bite size chunks
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, garlic, salt, rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce and hot sauce until completely smooth. Stir in cilantro, green onions and red bell pepper. Add cabbage and mango and stir or toss, until the cabbage and mango are well coated with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Right before serving, sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

My garden has so much zucchini growing in it, that I am having to get very creative as to how to use up all of it that I can't give away. Today I chose to make this chocolate, chocolate chip zucchini bread. I had to make it early this morning because we were expecting a super hot day out here in Southern California. So that meant getting up to bake before it got too hot. Mission accomplished! Turns out I didn't even need to turn the air conditioner on today. It was humid here today though. I know all of you that live where it really is humid, will probably laugh at that statement, but us Southern California girls are not used to even slight humidity and we're not quite sure how to handle it when it happens. So it's a good thing my bread was already baked and cooled by the time the temps started rising. Now this lovely loaf is resting in my freezer, awaiting company next week. I will do my best to stay out of it, but I guess if I get into it, I will just have to say my prayers that nobody notices the nice big slice taken right off the end of the loaf ;)
Original Recipe Found At:

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 packed cups grated zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°.

Spray one 9×5 inch bread pan with Pam.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the oil and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients along with the zucchini and chocolate chips. Stir just until combined, and spoon the batter into the loaf pan.
Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the top is cracked and springs back when touched. (or a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean)

Healthy Banana Oatmeal Muffins

I just love when I find a recipe that is not only healthy but tastes great. This is definitely one of those! I wasn't sure what to expect when I made these. As I was making them, I kept wondering if they were going to be "dense" or not rise up like a muffin usually does. They were not dense and they definitely rose to the occasion. This just might become a new staple for my hubby's breakfast in the morning.
Recipe Adapted From:

To make 6 muffins:

1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 400°. Place paper liners into a muffin tin.
Place the oats into a food processor. Pulse the oats for about 10-15 seconds. Add all the remaining ingredients except the chocolate chips. Process until everything is mixed together well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly into the 6 muffin cups. Bake at 400° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Peking Stir Fry Asparagus and Cashews

Sometimes when it's this hot outside, it's difficult to think of meals to make. I love using my oven and since that is not an option during this weather, I decided to just eat light tonight and only have stir fry asparagus. I wasn't the hungriest and I knew that eating vegetables would be light and yet filling at the same time. I decided to add some cashews to it so I could have a little crunch and a little protein since I was not eating any meat for dinner. This turned out scrumptious and I can't wait to  make it again.
Recipe Adapted From:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, grated
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sherry
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cashews

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add asparagus and cook until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic and ginger and cook 30 seconds while stirring.

In a small bowl, stir together the chicken broth, water, soy sauce, sherry, and cornstarch. Add this mixture  to the skillet and cook until the sauce is thickened and smooth, 2 minutes, stirring. Add the cashews and cook for 1 more minute. Serve hot.