Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

IMG_2227I love chocolate. I love zucchini. But chocolate AND zucchini sounds like a weird disastrous combo like marshmallows with celery or white chocolate with tomatoes. At least that’s what I thought years ago before I had my first slice of zucchini bread.

Zucchini bread is amazingly moist and lightly sweet, plus, it’s getting you to eat your veggies right?!

They are lovely versatile summer veggies that I absolutely love all year-round, I’ve even made them into pancakes and chips!

For my first attempt at zucchini bread, I followed Chelsea’s Messy Apron blog’s Healthy Greek Yogurt Zucchini Bread. There are many ways to “healthify” your zucchini bread and this recipe does it in every way – from using coconut oil (instead of butter or vegetable oil), dark chocolate chips (instead of milk chocolate), and sneaking in some oats (instead of all white flour).

You will need:

  • 1 bread loaf pan, greased and floured or lined with parchment paper
  • grater
  • blender (if you do not have oat flour)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup low fat greek vanilla yogurt (you can use plain to reduce sugar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed (I think I even used less to cut down sugar)
  • 1/2 cup oat flour, measured after blending
  • 1 cup white or whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or nuts (optional)

IMG_2208First some of your ingredients require some extra prep work: zucchini needs grating, banana needs mashing, and oats need blending. But the results are well worth the effort.

As you start grating the zucchini, wrap handfuls in a paper towel and squeeze out all the water. You don’t want soggy zucchini bread. Do this until you have about 1 cup of grated zucchini. IMG_2210Pre-heat your oven to 325°F.

If you don’t have oat flour at home, that’s ok! I always have some old-fashion oats at home (mostly for baking purposes, secondly for breakfast!) and I just pulse it in my food processor for a few seconds and I’ll have finely ground oat flour that will give the bread some subtle chewiness. IMG_2215In a large bowl mix all your wet ingredients: yogurt, vanilla extract, egg, melted coconut oil, and honey. Add in mashed banana and light brown sugar.

In a small bowl mix all dry ingredients: oat flour, white flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.

(I know I accidentally switched around the bowl sizes, I always do this!) IMG_2216Add the dry flour mixture into the wet mixture and stir until just enough to blend everything together. Don’t keep mixing unless you like very dense bread. IMG_2217Lastly, gently stir in the zucchini and optional nuts/chocolate chips. IMG_2218Pour into your greased or lined bread loaf pan. IMG_2219 Set your timer for 40-50 minutes. It’s a big time range but you just have to see if the bread looks “done”- when the sides pull alway from the pan and the top gets a golden brown color. I took mine out at about 46 minutes. IMG_2222I was suppose to wait 10-15 minutes for the bread to cool, but I think I waited 5 and couldn’t help but taste test the softest, perfectly sweetened, and most delicious zucchini bread! IMG_2224

Advertisements

Basic Zucchini Pancake

My mom calls this an “Italian Pancake” – I have no idea what makes it Italian (Google ‘Italian pancake’ and this does not come up)! But with this super easy, über-basic recipe you can definitely give it whatever cultural spin you want. This savory pancake is similar to vegetable fritters (less crispy and oily) or Korean zucchini pancakes called Hobak Buchim. When my mom made this years ago, I was blown away and asked her for the recipe. As a true home cook, she never used precise measurements but attempted to give me some guidance:

You’ll need:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • chopped deli ham (optionally of course)
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of water (or broth for extra flavor!)
  • a large shallow pan
  • large spoon or small soup ladle
  • spatula
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Makes about 2-3 pancakes about 6″ in diameter

Start off by washing, peeling and grating the zucchini with a medium cheese grater- you don’t want it to be too fine or else it starts getting mushy.

Combine the flour, eggs, broth or water in a large bowl then add your vegetable or meat ingredients last. Make sure it is well mixed and the zucchini is coated with the batter.

2014-03-31 18.50.18Heat the pan to medium and add the oil, wait until the pan is nice and warm-hot and drop about 3/4 cup of the mixture into the pan and cook like you would a breakfast pancake.

2014-03-31 18.32.26When you start seen bits of golden brown (after about 5-6 minutes) you can flip the pancake over and cook for about another 5-6 minutes.

2014-03-31 18.36.19These pancakes are delicious and best served piping hot. You can eat it by itself or get creative and eat it like a crepe! Below I made zucchini pancakes and added ham afterwards for a quick lunch!

2014-03-31 18.54.58You can go crazy with the recipe and substitute or add other vegetables or experiment with different types of squash. I would, however, avoid vegetables that have a high water content, cheese, or extra sauces so the pancake does not get soggy. Some ideas for additions:

  • bell peppers
  • jalapeños (for a KICK!)
  • mushrooms
  • fresh herbs
  • thinly sliced onions
  • sun-dried tomato slices
  • artichoke
  • julienned carrots
  • spinach
  • hashbrowns (!!)

Note: if you do decide to add much more ingredients then you may need to adjust the batter to make sure its well proportioned.

2014-03-31 18.51.06Thanks ma!

 

Healthy Veggie Frittata

I have a confession, this was a recipe born out of necessity due to stupidity. I apparently love zucchinis too much and bought more from the store when I did not realize I had a whole bunch at home already! Lesson learned: always take inventory of the fridge before grocery shopping. So what’s a girl to do with a ton of zucchinis?

2014-03-30 11.18.05

Shred the heck outta them and put them in anything I can think of.

I wanted to make a egg bake/ frittata with zucchini and other vegetables in my fridge, but I couldn’t find the “perfect” recipe that uses all the ingredients that I had. So used this recipe as a “base” for the right proportion of eggs, milk, and flour and got creative with the rest.

Whisk together 6 eggs, 3/4 cup milk, and 2 tablespoon of all-purpose flour.

2014-03-30 11.23.48

I had some fun adding tons of random spices! Got the idea from a variety of zucchini egg bake recipes. Of course fresh herbs would have been better.

2014-03-30 11.20.00

I took a buttered 9-in. round baking pan and filled the bottom up with all my favorites from my fridge: mini sweet bell peppers, asparagus cut into 1 in pieces, and shredded deli turkey meat. Look at those colors! Of course this is the fun part where you can add whatever you’d like: onions, peppers, corn, mushrooms, cheese, chicken strips, etc. Ooohhhhh, if only I had some bacon.

2014-03-30 11.36.39

Add about 2 cups of shredded zucchini. I actually wish I added it to the bottom and let the more colorful veggies be on top. Then pour the egg mixture into the pan until it fills up almost to the brim. When you bake it, it will puff up a little but it won’t spill over.

2014-03-30 11.38.21

Ready to go in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

2014-03-30 11.40.40

I almost forgot to add the sundried tomatoes before I took the before-picture and I sprinkled some sundried tomatoes from Trader Joe’s on top, it really was the much needed final touch! It not only made the frittata extra flavorful, but really made the dish visually pop.

IMG_0146

IMG_0150

IMG_0153

Pair with a side of greens and you got yourself a delicious healthy brunch.

IMG_0154

Happy brunching!

Oven Baked Zucchini Chips

DSCN3192

I love zucchini aka Italian Squash. It’s one of my favorite veggies that available all year round and cheap to buy. My no-brainer prep method is just to slice it into thick “coins” and pan fry it with some olive oil and black pepper. I saw these zucchini chips on Pintrest and definitely needed to try it.

I hate wasting food and I had a leftover packet of parmesan cheese topping from Pasta Prima Ravioli from Costco and it was perfect for this recipe. The original recipe calls for parmesan, garlic powder, and black pepper.  DSCN3193

I’m not very good at measuring thickness but you are suppose to cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick coins.

DSCN3197 DSCN3198

A neater way to grease the cooling rack saturate a paper towel and just wipe it evenly over the rack.

DSCN3199 DSCN3200

Got ready to dip the zucchini slices in soy milk (unsweetened of course).

DSCN3201 DSCN3202

Then coat the slices evenly on both sides, the cheese should stick pretty easily to the milk.

DSCN3204

Lay the slices evenly over the rack. My slices were pretty small and some occasionally fell through the slots.

DSCN3206

Once you get all your slices coated with the cheese mixture, set your kitchen timer for 30 mins.

DSCN3207 I had this cute owl timer I got for Christmas!

30 mins later…I get these lovely golden brown, slightly-shrunken zucchini “chips”. Allow them to cool on the rack and they will become more crunchy than when you first take them out of the oven.DSCN3209

They came out wonderfully as far as color and taste, it could have been a little crispier thought.

DSCN3214

A great healthy snack and satisfies your salty/ savory snack craving.

DSCN3212

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

I love baked pasta dishes because they are filling and, best of all, saves me time with an abundance of leftovers. I was also craving some roasted vegetables after eating some at a work potluck a few weeks ago, so this Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables recipe from Food Network just hits the spot.

DSCN2825

I went to 2 supermarkets to find summer squash but couldn’t find any so I just left it out. I also added Aidells artichoke and garlic chicken sausage to the recipe for flavor and meat. I love mushrooms so I added more than the recipe called for (I know, I know, I’m such a rebel!)

DSCN2826

I usually print my recipes out or just bring my laptop into the kitchen but I’m always worried about it falling or getting dirty. My kitchen is super tiny so I finally thought of using my Nexus 7 as a my recipe book! It’s so awesome!! Plus I can listen to some tunes and dance while I cook!

DSCN2830This is a pretty time consuming recipe just because there are many steps to go through: roasting, boiling, and baking. First I chopped up all my vegetables and tossed it with extra virgin olive oil and Italian Herb mix.

A new addition to my spice collection.

A new addition to my spice collection.

DSCN2832

After mixing it really well, spread the vegetables on a shallow pan and roast in the oven for 15 mins at 450 F.

While I waited for the vegetables to roast, I boiled the penne chopped up the sausage into coins and prepped my Pyrex glass pan (An AWESOME investment if you bake a lot).

Can I just eat it now???

Can I just eat it now???

In a giant bowl mix the marinara sauce, pasta, and roasted vegetables together with the frozen peas, cheeses and sausage. Mix gently so you don’t break the pasta. The spread the mix into the greased pan and sprinkle on parmesan cheese and…yes those are giant cubes of butter.

Ready to be popped into the oven.

Ready to be popped into the oven.

I really wanted to just start eating this but you know what they say: all good things come to those who wait. And there was just one more step to go: bake for 25 mins.

DSCN2841

This came out beautifully! And baking it was the grand finale- ooey-gooey cheeses melted, top layer of penne was slightly burnt and crispy which was the BEST part!!

DSCN2843

DSCN2841Dinner is served!