Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

Paddle your zucchini boat

I had one more batch of zucchini to use up and one night of dinner to imagine.  I’d seen a recipe over on Budget Bytes for zucchini boats and decided to give it a whirl with some of my leftover goods.  Here’s the absolutely delicious, nutritious, and stomach-filling result:

Zucchini Boats

3 medium zucchinis
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups Quorn beef style grounds (or other vegetarian beef crumble)
3/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the zucchini well to remove any grit. Slice the zucchini lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the center. Leave about one centimeter of zucchini around the edges. Save the scooped out zucchini flesh in a bowl.

Place the scooped out zucchini halves on a baking sheet. Dump the reserved zucchini flesh out onto a cutting board and chop it into smaller pieces. Return the chopped pieces to the bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Refill the zucchini halves with the prepared mixture. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is slightly browned. The longer the zucchini are in the oven, the softer they’ll be so if you like firmer zucchini, bake for a shorter amount of time.


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Scurry for curry

I’m on my game this week!  I’m making things!  I have (some) energy!  The weekend and patriotism are fast approaching!  All good things, as Martha might say.

Sometimes I’m not so good at motivating myself to make a well-balanced dinner and end up cooking something frozen or, for instance, throwing some hot dogs in a pan.  This week I wanted to make something for dinner that would take effort to prepare but was relatively easy to throw together.  And maybe kind of healthy.  My solution was a lovely little chicken salad with a kick — curry!  I know what you’re thinking: “How absolutely delicious and wonderful!”  And boy are you ever right.  This stuff is good.  Real good.

Curry Chicken Salad

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
5 cups water
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise (I used Hellmann’s light)
3 teaspoons curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped red apple (I used Fuji)
1/4 cup sliced grapes

Place chicken breasts in a pot that’s just about large enough to fit them in one layer.  Add water so that it completely covers the chicken by at least a half inch to an inch.  After bringing the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to a bare simmer so that only an occasional bubble breaks the surface. At this point, partly cover the pot, cook for about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, leaving the chicken to finish cooking in the hot water for 10-15 more minutes.  Remove chicken and shred with knife and fork.

In a large bowl, mix yogurt, mayonaisse, curry powder, salt and pepper.  Add shredded chicken, apples, and grapes; mix together.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Serve over salad greens, on a pita, in a wrap or sandwich.

** The yogurt in this recipe will tenderize the chicken so the longer you refrigerate the salad, the better it will taste!

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Mango Make These


Sunday always seems like the best day to bake something nice for breakfast.  It’s that “I think I might sleep in just a wee bit longer” day.  It’s a “I’m going to take my time” day.  It’s THE “I want to smell yummy things like cinnamon and sugar and fruit” day.  And lucky me, yesterday was the epitome of all those things.  With shopping!  YOW.

There was some mango in the fridge that needed to be used so I started thinking.  Should I eat the mango?  That would certainly be tasty.  Should I eat the mango with some vanilla yogurt?  Tastier.  Should I bake something with the mango?  TASTIEST.

And so the crumb-topped mango muffins were born.  These things filled the house with that nostalgic warm cinnamon smell, something like how you would imagine a stereotypical 50’s household would smell.  Always.

There was that smell and then there was the taste.  Ohhhhhhh my.  The muffin was moist without being heavy and the mango maintained its shape within to give a little boost to the texture.  The crumb topping was just an added bonus, as I think these muffins could stand well on their own.  Try making these on one of YOUR lazy Sunday (or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…) mornings.

fresh out

Crumb-Topped Tropical Mango Muffins

Yields: 6 large muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup agave syrup
1 egg
1 cup almond milk (or any other milk)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 fresh mango, peeled, seeded and finely diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
4 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut

Crumb topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup almond flour
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin or line with disposable liners.

First make the crumb topping. Combine the brown sugar, flours and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Cut the butter in with your fingertips or a pastry blender, processing until it has the consistency of wet sand. Set aside.

To make the batter, measure the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large mixing bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the agave syrup, egg, milk, oil, extracts, and lemon juice and mix just until moist. Gently fold in the mango and coconut, stirring just until combined.

Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full, then top with the crumb mixture, dividing evenly between the cups (about 2 tablespoons each).

Place the pan on the middle rack in the oven and bake 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and gently move muffins to a wire rack to cool fully.



Recipe adapted from The Daily Dish.

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Happy Cinco de Mayo


I know that Cinco de Mayo is more of an Americanized “holiday” but it gives me an excuse to drink Coronas and eat tacos.  Sounds like a good day to me!

I wanted to try something new but also wanted a fairly easy dish to prepare.  For me that means cooking with meat and dusting off the slow cooker.  I don’t eat a lot of meat, which means that I don’t have a lot of experience with it.  In my mind, the slow cooker is kind of a fool-proof way of preparing any kind of meat.  The results are always moist, juicy, tender, melt in your mouth, goooooood.  Tonight was no exception.

all the fixings

Our taco station was, dare I say, beautiful.  I loved all of the fixings that went into our hard AND soft tacos — variety is the spice of life, after all.  And there are plenty of spices to go around in that shredded beef there.  But leave room for dessert!

Slow-Cooker Mexican Shredded Beef

1 (3.5 pound) boneless beef roast (I used a bottom round roast)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 large onions, diced
3/4 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/4 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon parsley
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon oregano

In a large, heavy skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef roast liberally with salt and pepper.  Once the oil is hot, add the roast to the pan and brown on all sides, about 1 minute per side.  Place roast in the slow-cooker.

Add the diced onion to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add beef broth and spices.  Scrape any browned bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, then pour the broth-onion mixture into the slow-cooker over the roast.

Cook on low for 9-10 hours. The beef should be tender enough to easily pull apart with two forks. Once the beef is shredded, return to the slow-cooker to absorb any leftover liquid.  Assemble tacos/sandwiches/etc. with your favorite toppings.

my tacolee's taco

Recipe adapted from Handle the Heat

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Sunday Stew

The weekend always seems to end much too quickly.  There’s still so much that I want to do!  Paint, sew, craft, eat, bake, cook, eat…so little time!  Especially for exercise…

Ah yes, exercise.  I told myself that I was going to hit up the gym again starting Monday (tomorrow).  Why?  Well, for one, people say it’s the healthy thing to do.  I also may have told you that I like food and food minus exercise equals plump.  What does that mean for me and you?  Well, healthiness!  But I’ve considered your feelings here, too, which is why I will be giving you DELICIOUS healthy things.  And probably some not so healthy things.  I mean, I can’t be serving bran muffins for the VIP holiday coming up this weekend!  That’s just not proper (remember, Momma’s Day is May 8th this year).

Since chocolate and cake were out for dinner tonight, I decided to make a hearty curried vegetable stew.  I actually found the recipe on the Quorn brand website about a year ago and wanted to put it back into my meal rotation.  If you haven’t tried any Quorn products, I would highly recommend sampling one.  Or two.  Or all of them.  Their products are vegetarian without tasting like they’re vegetarian (there’s some veggie stuff out there that is just not okay).  So maybe try this recipe on for size, especially since I’ve figured out the nutrition information for you!

Curried Vegetable Stew

Yields: 4 servings

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 package Quorn Chicken-Style Tenders
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 cup canned chick peas, drained
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup plain yogurt
salt & pepper, to taste

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and Quorn; cook, while stirring 3-5 minutes or until onion is softened.

Add mushrooms. Cook and stir 3 minutes longer or until mushrooms are just cooked through.

Add chick peas, 1½ cups of the vegetable broth, mustard, curry powder, and chili powder. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover, simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Dissolve cornstarch in remaining vegetable broth. Stir into Quorn mixture. Continue cooking, while stirring, until sauce thickens. Season with salt & pepper.

Remove from the heat. Stir in yogurt. Serve over brown rice.

Healthy Stuff

Creamy Curry Goodness

Nutrition facts are an approximation and do not include brown rice.  Per serving:

Calories: 220; Fat: 7.2g (Saturated Fat: 0.5g); Carbohydrates: 27.6g; Protein: 14.9g; Fiber: 7.8g; Sodium: 773.2mg

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Yesterday was such an amazing day, so much so that I actually YELLED in joy.  I didn’t want to cram too much into yesterday’s post so let me fill in the rest of the details for you.

It started off lackluster with misting rain.  I’ve got to say that I really dislike misting rain.  It’s that kind of rain that you can’t avoid because it just sort of floats around in the air before sticking to your skin.  But!  All was not lost because the rain picked up (I much prefer a full-on rain) and joined forces with some lightning and thunder.  It would have been better if there was a little more booming going on but, what do they say?  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?  Wait, no.  I think it’s beggars can’t be choosers.  Or maybe, when in Rome.  Something.

Long story short, all the elements combined to make me a very happy girl.  The rundown goes like this:

1. I received a pineapple upside cake (remember?).
2. Rain/lightning/thunder occurred.
3. Lee (aka the boyfriend) picked up my NEW glasses.
4. I picked up some herbed goat cheese and a perfectly delicious french loaf (more on this in a moment).
5. My new bathing suit arrived in the mail.
6. My heavily discounted Vosges chocolate caramels arrived in the mail.
7. My SO AWESOME owl mug arrived in the mail.
9. I opened said surprise present and found a beautiful set of oven mitts and tea towel that I had wanted (he’s the sweetest).
10. Making a comfort food dinner to complete a rainy day.

Seriously, I was kind of like a five year old last night when everything seemed to join forces (like Captain Planet?) to make me happy. Not that I’m not normally happy but, you know.

The owl peaks out amongst the goodies

Mail Goodies

But back to this comfort food business. I ended up making “gourmet” grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. To give you an idea of how good they were, Lee told me, “You know, this is just, SO GOOD. Like, I would pay $100 dollars for this! This is one of the best grilled cheeses I’ve ever had. No, wait, no. This is THE best grilled cheese I’ve ever had.” And there you have it. Out of the mouths of babes (what’s with me and idioms today?).

The recipe is pretty simple but oh so flavorful and one hundred dollars good.  What’s the secret ingredient?  Goat cheese.  It’s like a velvety goldmine of deliciousness.  You may, however, want to hide the fact that there’s goat cheese in this sandwich, depending on your sandwich recipient.  I certainly wouldn’t blame you.

“Gourmet” Grilled Cheese

Yields: 2 Sandwiches

4 slices of good quality bread (I used slices from a French loaf)
1 tablespoon butter (I used Smart Balance Light)
1 ounce or 2 tablespoons herb goat cheese (I had a Mediterranean spices and garlic goat cheese)
4 slices American cheese
4 slices tomato

Spread a thin layer of butter on the outside of each piece of bread. Place two slices of the bread, butter side down, in a large frying pan. Spread a thin layer of the goat cheese on the non-buttered side of the bread in the pan. Arrange the American cheese on top of the goat cheese layer, two slices on each piece of bread. Place the tomato slices on top of the cheese layer, again, two slices on each piece of bread. Top with the remaining pieces of bread, butter side up. Cook over a medium flame for a few minutes, flipping the sandwich over when the underside turns a golden brown. Cook for a few more minutes until the same golden hue emerges on the other side. Serve by cutting in half and enjoying with some blue corn tortilla chips, fruit salad, or perhaps a dessert of your choice!


Golden Goodness

Ooey gooey


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