Easy Stuffed Zucchini

IMG_5446With zucchini busting from every corner of the garden (and the grocery store) it’s hard for me not to think about zucchini bread. I sure love my carbs and what sounds healthier than vegetable filled carbs!? But I can only make zucchini bread so many times in one week, and can I really feed just bread to my hubs for dinner? The funny thing is I probably could and he would love it!

Fortunately zucchini is a great base for many dishes. One of my favorite is stuffed zucchini.

Here is my version of stuffed zucchini. There are so many ways to make this dish but this is how I usually do it. Feel free to get creative and use what you have on hand.

Ingredients

4 zucchinis
1 cup of cooked qunioa
1 onion, chopped
1/2 large tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Add any other spices you like
1/4 cup black olives, sliced or chopped
1/2 cup cheese grated, I used half extra sharp cheddar and half mozzarella

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash the zucchini. Slice them in half length-ways. I leave the ends on, makes for less chopping!

Spoon out the insides (leave about 1/2 an inch in) until you end up with boat like shells.

Now give the zucchini pulp a good chop, also chop a small onion and 1/2 a tomato while you’re at it.

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In a pan heat olive oil on med. Add the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes. When onion is fragrant and translucent add the tomato and seasonings. Cook another 2-3 minutes.

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Transfer the cooked onion/garlic/tomato mixture to a large bowl. Add the zucchini pulp and olives, then mix together with the cooked quinoa.

Line a baking pan with tin foil or parchment paper. Put the zucchini boats in. Grab a spoon and fill the shells with the mix. Sprinkle some cheese on top.They’re best served straight out of the oven.

Cook about 20 minutes and then turn on the grill until the top is golden brown.

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IMG_5447 IMG_5448 IMG_5449What’s your favorite ingredients for stuffed zucchini? Leave me a comment below!

Caitlin

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What’s for Dinner – Agave Lime Chicken with Asparagus and Toasted Coconut Butter Cookies

At the start of each week I try to have my meal agenda for the week. Go shopping on Sunday evening and plan my meals for week.

Each Monday starts out well, I make exactly what I planned for the week. Delicious and ready to go once Matt gets home. By the end of the week however, things get a little less organized. Things come up; friends want to go out to dinner (we want to go out to dinner), working late, don’t feel like what I planned, etc.

This is why I have tried to become more flexible with my planning. I have been trying to plan by main dish and side dishes with lots of options for salads. This gives me the flexibility of deciding what main dish I want to make and what side dishes I feel like for each night. So far it has  been working well.

This week I found a great recipe on Elana’s Pantry website, Agave Lime Chicken. However, since I didn’t have a whole chicken I used chicken tenders that I had on hand.

Here is my version of Elana’s recipe.

Agave Lime Chicken
Ingredients
  • Chicken tenders or breasts (I used about 2 pounds of chicken tenders)
  • 1-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • Dash of celtic sea salt
  • 1 lime
  • Half a red onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic
  • dash cumin dash chili powder
Directions
  1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry
  2. Place chicken in a baking dish
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and agave, then sprinkle with salt, cumin and chili powder
  4. Cut the lime into quarters, squeeze the juice from one quarter of the lime over the chicken and place the other quarters in the pan
  5. Cut the onions in half and place in the pan
  6. Leaving the skin on the garlic, break the head apart and scatter the cloves around the pan
  7. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes until inside temperature reaches 165 °F
  8. Remove chicken from oven and raise heat to 450°
  9. Remove chicken from oven
  10. Drizzle with pan juices and lime before serving
  11. Sauté the asparagus in a pan for about 8 mins with a dash of salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Serve along with chicken.
Serves 4

Now for dessert!

My pictures below DO NOT do these tasty little cookies justice.

They only take about 10 minutes to make and once they come out of the oven, you will hardly be able to keep your hands off them. I found the recipe on a new blog I found, Studio Cuisine.

Whip up a batch now and by the time your chicken is done cooking, you will be able to put these right into the oven. Enjoy!

Toasted Coconut Butter Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp almond flour*
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 5 (I used 4) tbsp butter, melted in saucepan over low heat
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey for SCD)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Spread coconut flakes out on baking sheet, and bake for 2-3 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from oven.
  3. Mix almond flour, baking, soda, and sea salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Combine melted butter, agave nectar, and vanilla extract.
  5. Add wet ingredients into dry and mix together.
  6. Fold in toasted coconut
  7. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Sesame-Ginger Chicken

As the temperature lowers and the days get shorter time seems to go faster. The past couple of weeks have flown by and my standard go-to meals have appeared back on the table.

Here is one of those meals, and one that my husband will rush home for when he knows it is on the stove.

Sesame-Ginger Chicken

Ingredients:
1 cup brown jasmine rice or quinoa
1 cup organic low-sodium chicken stock
3 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp low-sodium gluten free soy sauce
1 tbsp dark or toasted sesame oil
16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breats, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
3 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp light sesame oil
4 cups small broccoli florets
4 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1/3-inch pieces
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Prepare rice/quinoa according to package directions. Remove from heat and let stand, covered until ready to serve.
  2. In a small bowl, combine chicken stock, agave, soy sauce and dark or toasted sesme oil. Place chicken in medium bowl and add stock mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes. Drain chicken, saving liquid. Set chicken aside. Stir arrowrot into stock mixture.
  3. In a large wok or skillet, combine ginger and light sesame oil. Stir-fry over medium heat until ginger is sizzling, about 2 minutes. Addbroccoli and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add carrots and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add chicken and stire-fry for 2-3 minuetes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender-crisp. Add stock mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, unti it comes to a boil and thickens, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Serve stir-fry over rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Addapted frrom Clean Eating magazine.

Rosted Tomato Soup with Rosemary Cheddar Crackers

Fresh tomotoes are like precious jewels found at the end of summer when all else is wilting away.

Growing up on home-grown tomatoes have ruined me, or should I say, opened my eyes to the real taste of tomatoes. When I can not get tomatoes from my mom’s garden, I buy organic from the farmers market. I find that the “other” tomatoes don’t even taste like tomatoes; usually they taste somewhere between a sponge and an unripe watermelon (never thought of it that way did ya?).

Well, with a bundle of home-grown tomatoes from the last batch of the season, and a brisk evening breezing blowing through the house, I decided it was time to whip up one of my favorite soups, Roasted Tomato Soup and a side of Rosemary Cheddar Crackers.

Start with fresh ingredients….

…a bit of time…

…and bam! You can’t mess it up! Delicious, heart warming soup.

 

Now for the yummy homemade crackers.

(soup and cracker recipe below)

I started with Erica’s Almond Saltine Cracker recipe from a SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) blog, Comfy Belly, a good starter recipe to add other ingredients.

Here is my version….

Perfect for dipping in your soup.

Rosemary Cheddar Cracker

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of blanched ground almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (almond flour tastes naturally salty to me, so I don’t add much salt)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or butter)
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 cup grated organic cheddar cheese

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and blend well.
  3. Add the rosemary and cheese.
  4. Then add the egg and oil, and blend and shape the mixture into two balls of dough.
  5. Place each dough ball on a non-stick baking mat, then place a piece of parchment paper (or other non-stick mat) over the ball and roll the dough into a thin layer.
  6. Score the crackers with a pizza cutter and sprinkle extra sea salt lightly across the cracker sheet.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they start to lightly brown.
  8. Cool for about 15 minutes and break apart into crackers. Store in a sealed container.

Roasted Tomato Soup

INGREDIENTS

2 lb organic Roma tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil or italian seasoning
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
4 cups organic vegetable stock, low sodium
1/4 cup chapped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

PREPARATION

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Halve the tomatoes and lay cut-side up in a baking tray with the garlic. Drizzle the olive oil and dried basil on top on the tomatoes. Roast for 30 minutes. Take the garlic out after 20 minutes if it is drying out.

2. Heat the extra oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the onion and chili powder, cook, covered for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.

3. Chop the tomatoes and squeeze the garlic pulp from their skins. (You can throw the tomatoes and garlic to your food processor or vitamin to make a smoother soup.) Add to the pan along with the vinegar and honey. Cook, stirring together for 1 minute. Add the stock. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Season to taste and add parsley.

Prep time: 20 min
Total cooking time: 1 hr 19 min
Serves 4-5

Lemon Delight Cake

All four of my sisters were born in August or September, this means “birthday season” for my family, which in turn, means baking time for me!

For the last birthday bash of the “season” we decided a brunch would be a nice change from the regular dinner party. I was delighted to hear this because I have been wanting to bake my favorite lemon dessert for a while now.

When it came time to start baking I went to right to my cookbook shelf to find the very first gluten free cookbook I ever owned, (thanks to my sweet college girl friends who knew that just because I developed a gluten allergy it didn’t mean I could stop baking).

Great Gluten Free Baking by Louise Blair, has a variety of creative and original recipes that always catch my fancy. My husband’s all time favorite desert comes from this cookbook as well, Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake.

I opened the cookbook to Lemon Drizzle Bread, but I wanted to make it into a nice cake instead, topped with Lemon Curd from a cute little blog called Hey, That Tastes Good (what most people say when they find somethign tastes good that is gluten free.)

I call my adapted creation Lemon Delight Cake.

Looks delightful, right?

It was a huge success! 

This cake was light airy, but still dense and luscious; it burst  from the seems with sweet lemon tartness while the fresh raspberries brought you back to a place of calm serene. Really, it was heavenly. I can just imagine this dessert at a bridal shower served with earl grey tea.

Lemony Delight (Lemon Drizzle Cake with Lemon Curd)
Recipe coming soon!