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.

IMG_5424

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.

IMG_5425

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.

IMG_5428 IMG_5429
IMG_5447 IMG_5448 IMG_5449What’s your favorite ingredients for stuffed zucchini? Leave me a comment below!

Caitlin

Keeping It Real With Veggie Lasagna

Today was a perfect day.

It was a beautiful 80 degrees during the day and evening had just a touch of chill to the air. Matt mowed the lawn while Maeve and I supported him.

photo (4)

Afterwards we eat our delicious Veggie Lasagna outside on the blanket. It was one of those nights that reminded me of when I was little girl.

Now that I am almost 8 months post pregnancy I am going to focus on losing the last little big of weight I put on while pregnant. Well, actually, I have lost the weight but I still have a little chub around the middle I don’t want to see this summer.

With that said, I am trying to watch what I eat for snacks and how much sugar I get each day. While I am still breastfeeding I am not focusing on calorie intake because I need the calories to keep my little baby nice chubby. Now, instead of reaching for crackers or chips when I get hungry between meals I am trying to eat fruit in the morning and vegetables in the afternoon. When I want a cookie I have a small glass of fresh juiced orange or grapefruit juice (its whats in season and available on my moms trees) or a few almonds and raisins.

I have also upped my exercise routine. I have joined the wonderful Stroller Strides of Phoenix and am LOVING it!! It is a wonderful workout where we do far more than stride! I was having a hard time finding the time to exercise with a new baby, when, where how?! Stroller Strides allows you to bring your baby!!! I love this since I don’t want to leave her for an hour everyday.

On the days that I don’t attend Stroller Strides I try to hike, go for a run or do yoga. For yoga I highly recommend yogaglo.com. An online yoga center that has TONS of classes to chooses from!! I am not good at leading myself through yoga so this site is great for me.

Here I am mixing exercise with fun at a Mom’s Night Out doing poll dancing!

photo (5)

Hiking with the hubby and baby girl.

photo (6)

Hiking with my sisters and their babies on another day.

photo (7)

And here is the dish we had for dinner. Please try it out and let me know what you think!



photo (2)

Both my husband and I think that layering with the spinach and cheese on top really make it feel like there is more cheese than there really is.

Overall this dish has a ton of veggies but tastes like it could have pasta in it. We enjoyed it!

photo (3)

Veggie Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 table spoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 zucchini, sliced length wise
1 cup spinach leafs 
1 cup mozzarella, grated
2 cups marinara sauce

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large frying pan heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic till onion is translucent. Add spices. Add the carrots, celery and mushrooms. Cook till tender.

In an 8×13 pan start your layering. First layer the marinara sauce, then cooked onion/carrot/celery/mushroom mixture. Then layer the zucchini strips, then the spinach leafs, then half the mozzarella. End with mozzarella.

Cook for 25-30 minutes till the top cheese layer is a nice crispy brown (at least that’s how I like it).

Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Serves 4-6

Then, enjoy! Let me know how you like this recipe. I made it up myself!!

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.