Tag Archives: zucchini

A Healthier Side of Chili

P1060572It’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog!   And of course with my New Year’s Resolution of a healthier lifestyle just a flash-in-the-pan behind me, I can’t forget how much I’ve ignored my readers this past year. I apologize and hope that you will all be satiated with a delectable dish for a cold winter’s night–Chili.

Ok, so it’s not all that cold this afternoon in Southern California, but I’m banking on the fact that our weather will flip-flop back to its fogginess in a few days anyway.  And who doesn’t love to whip up a bowl of chili after a busy day at work? Yes, in just 30 minutes or less!

I know most people think of chili as something that simmers away all day, and there are certainly some great slow cooking recipes out there that work magic, but so many of them have you prep way too much before you turn on the machine. I hate that! I mean, really, who wants to get up earlier just to get dinner going before you head out for the day? My kind of slow cooking is really dumping it all in and letting it all work its own magic….ok I’ll admit it–slow cooking is for my way too hectic days where I know I will be too lazy to cook at the end, and I want to avoid going the fast food route.

So if you are craving a little chili, but don’t want to waste your slow cooker day (mine is Wednesday, btw) give this recipe a try. I think you’ll really enjoy the fresh flavors and the added vegetables that give it a slight sweetness.

Shopping List:

1 pound ground beef, I prefer 7-15 % fat organic

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 medium zucchini, quartered and diced

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1-28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon of chili powder

2 teaspoons of cumin

2 teaspoons of ancho chili powder

salt to taste

Suggested toppings: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, red onion, black olives, radishes, tortilla chips, corn chips…ok, so basically anything you like.

Instructions:

1. In a large sauté pan, sauté on medium-high heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the garlic until the garlic begins to brown.

2. Add the ground beef to the pan and brown it for approximately 5 minutes until it is mostly cooked. A little pink is still ok, since you will continue cooking it from this point.

3. Push the meat to the edges of the pan, and add the zucchini and corn to the center, and then let it cook for 5-7 minutes until the meat and vegetables are nicely caramelized.

4. Reduce the heat on the pan and begin to season dish with the cumin, the chili powders and the tomatoes. Let this simmer at low for another 5-7 minutes. Then taste it! You might want to add some salt or of course your favorite hot sauce. Now it’s ready to enjoy with any (or none) of those yummy toppings.

Serves: 4-6

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins: a yummy breakfast you can feel good about

Alarm rings. Rub my eyes. Squint at the clock. “No, That can’t be the time!” It is. Insert curse word here. I jump out of bed, skip a shower and start pulling the kids out and pushing them off to school. What a way to start the morning!

We’ve all had those moments. Huffing and puffing our way out the door, only to realize at the very last second before turning the ignition that we all need breakfast too. Yep, it’s a muffin morning!

Here it is as a cute little bundtlet! Darling huh? You wouldn't suspect zucchini would be laying low in this one.

I don’t know what it is about these bite-sized cakes, but their sexiness is never-ending. I mean, really, a prepackaged carb that appears like a cupcake, but is not laced with sugar, who can say no to that!

In all honesty, I love all hand-held and/or mini-food. I am a sucker for the portion control aspect of it all. Plus there’s such kid-appeal to these babies.    

In this variation the zucchini is virtually unnoticeable.

Shopping List:

2 medium zucchini, roughly chopped

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Wheaties, crushed

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin pan with 18 cupcake liners.

2. In a blender, puree zucchini with 3 tablespoons water until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the next 7 ingredients (flour, Wheaties, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spice).

4. Stir in eggs, sugar, oil and zucchini. Let this mixture stand 10 minutes before adding the chocolate chips.

5. Spoon into baking cups and bake for 15-18 minutes.

Makes 18 muffins or 6 bundtlets. If making bundtlets, use cooking spray before filling and bake for 18-22 minutes. 

Inspired by The Joy of Cooking Carrot Muffins recipe page 785.