Cheesy Zucchini Encihladas

zucchini enchiladas
This is another recipe from Skinnytaste and it was another delicious one! I will admit that though I was initially really excited about these (zucchini + enchiladas was a fun new combo to me), as I started preparing them I got a little nervous. They are really simple when it comes to ingredients and I was worried that they were going to be bland and no one would like them, including me. Luckily I was wrong. They were full of flavor and absolutely delicious, especially with fresh avocado on top!

Ingredients:
* cooking spray
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 2 medium scallions, chopped
* 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
* 2 medium zucchinis, grated
* kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
* 1 1/2 cups grated reduced fat mexican blend cheese
* 4 Large La Tortilla Factory Low Carb tortillas (I just used 9 plain corn tortillas)
* chopped scallions
* chopped cilantro
Enchilada sauce:
* 1 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tbsp chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, optional for more heat (I used 1 T of the liquid in jar, but not the actual peppers)
* 1 cups tomato sauce
* 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
* 1/4 tsp ground cumin
* 1/2 cup fat free vegetable broth (I used chicken broth)
* kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

Directions:
For the enchilada sauce: in a medium saucepan, spray oil and sauté garlic. Add chipotle chile, chili powder, cumin, broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium nonstick skillet, sauté garlic and scallions in olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes; add zucchini, salt and pepper to taste and cook about 4-5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup cheese; mix well.
Divide zucchini between in each tortilla, roll and place seam side down in baking dish.
Top with enchilada sauce (you might not use all) and remaining cheese and bake until hot and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.
Serve with chopped cilantro, scallions, and reduced fat sour cream if you wish. Enjoy!!

Tuscan Tomato Soup

tuscan tomato soup
I personally loved this soup! I just wish I had a good blender to get things to a nice, smooth consistency because the rest of the family was a little put off by the texture. The flavors were amazing though and it was super simple to put together! (recipe from The Recipe Club) Now if our weather would just cool down so we could really enjoy more soups!

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
5 cups diced and seeded tomatoes (or you can use 3 14 oz. cans drained diced tomatoes)
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 cup basil pesto
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Heat oil in a medium large soup pot.
Add onions and cook over medium-low heat until completely translucent.
Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
Add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Add whipping cream. Add pesto.
Blend to desired consistency with hand blender, food processor or blender.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
*Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and homemade sour dough croutons!
** recipe makes 1 gallon of soup

Basil Chicken w/ Coconut Curry Sauce

basil curry chicken
This is another great recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. She said there had been mixed reviews of this recipe but that she still really liked it, so I was curious to see what we thought of it and Mike and I both LOVED it! Just be warned that you'll want to open some windows in your kitchen to air it out after you make it :-).

Ingredients:
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 medium red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 cups hot cooked rice (I used jasmine)

Directions:
Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place in medium bowl. Stir together curry, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and chili powder. Sprinkle over chicken, tossing to coat evenly. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.
In a large nonstick frying pan, stir onion, basil, garlic and peppers in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add chicken and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 5-6 minutes until no longer pink.
Combine coconut milk and cornstarch and whisk well to combine. Carefully add to skillet, whisking vigorously. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in ginger. Cook and stir for another minute. Serve over hot rice.

Crock Pot Sausage Pasta Sauce

crock pot sausage spaghetti sauce
Hooray for another crock meal! I found this recipe on Gina's Skinny Taste, which I found out about from The Daily Dish...I love the new discovery of awesome recipe blogs! This recipe had a lot of things going for it...the crock pot, 4 ingredients, kid friendly, and of course yummy too. We had this on Sunday and it was such a perfect meal because it was super fast to throw in the crock pot before church and then was already to eat when we got home. I ate mine over gluten-free penne pasta and the rest of the family had it over spaghetti noodles.


Ingredients:
* 1 lb lean chicken Italian sausage, casings removed (I couldn't find these so I just used Italian turkey sausage)
* 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
* 5 cloves garlic, smashed
* 28 oz tuttorosso crushed tomatoes (my store didn't have this brand, so I used the store brand)
* fresh cracked pepper

Directions:
Brown the sausage in a large skillet, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon. When sausage is browned, drain if needed and add to crock pot.
Clean skillet with a paper towel and set flame to high; when hot add oil. Add garlic and cook until golden but do not burn; add tomatoes and garlic to crock pot along with fresh cracked pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
If you wish, take an immersion blender and blend the sauce a 2-3 seconds to break the sausage up into smaller pieces to combine with the sauce.

French Dip Sandwiches

french dip sandwiches
I've been trying to have at least one crock pot meal planned for the week because our Tuesdays and Wednesdays can get pretty crazy and it really helps our evenings go more smoothly. After seeing a recipe on Melissa's Bargains for French Dip Sandwiches recently they were on my mind already and then as I was searching blogs for crock pot meals I saw this recipe on Our Best Bites and added it to our menu for the week. It was probably one of the easiest meals I have ever made and it was one of the most well received too. EVERYONE ate it and loved it! 

Ingredients:
1 2.5-3 lb. beef roast
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
2 1-ounce packages dry onion soup mix
2 c. water
2 cans beef broth
6-8 large buns (I say more like 12-15 if you want enough for all the meat)
Swiss, provolone, or mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced. (we used provolone)

Directions:
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and rub roast with salt and pepper.
When very hot, carefully place roast in pan and sear on all sides. You're not cooking the meat, you're just browning it quickly on all sides to add flavor and seal in the juices.
Place in crockpot and sprinkle with onion soup mixes. Pour water and beef broth over roast.
Cook 8-10 hours on low or cook 4-5 hours on high and another 3-4 hours on low. It's hard to screw this part up; basically, the longer it cooks, the more tender it will be. But you know it's done when you pop a fork in it and the meat just falls apart. When meat is ready, shred with a fork.
Place meat in crusty rolls. Top with cheese and broil open-faced in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes, until bread is golden and cheese is melted.
Ladle juices into small cups for dipping and enjoy!

Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

funfetti cookies
I was looking for a fun, easy treat to make with the kids and saw these on Our Recipe Box. They were seriously THE easiest cookies ever! The kids loved helping me roll the dough into balls and of course really loved eating them. I want to try this trick with some other cake mix flavors!

Ingredients:
1 box Funfetti Cake Mix (18 oz)
1/3 c. oil
2 eggs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs. Stir until thoroughly moistened. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. With the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1/4 inch thickness.
Bake for 6-8 minutes until edges are light golden brown. Cool one minute then move to cooking rack.

Easy Asian Stir-Fry

easy veggie stir fry
This recipe was in the Sunday paper's Parade magazine not too long ago. It uses all my favorite veggies (asparagus, broccoli and zucchini) so I had to give it a try. It was surprisingly flavorful despite being pretty much veggies and soy sauce. I loved it and I loved that I felt good eating it! (and it makes lots, so be prepared for leftovers!)

Ingredients:
1 each green, orange and red bell pepper (I used yellow instead of green)
2 large zucchini
1/2 onion
1 head broccoli
15 asparagus spears
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil (I used sesame oil)
2 T soy sauce (I used low-sodium)
salt and black pepper
(I also sprinkled some ground ginger on it)

Directions:

1. Chop or slice all of the vegetables into bite size pieces.
2. Lightly oil a wok or skillet; heat over low until very hot.
3. Add the garlic; saute to a golden brown.
4. Add all the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Increase the heat to medium and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the veggies are crisp-tender.
5. Add the soy sauce and stir well to blend.
6. Transfer to a large bowl, adjust season and serve with rice (I used jasmine rice).

Zucchini Risotto

zucchini risotto
This was another recipe I found on Delicious Dishes. It is such a bummer when recipe sites you like stop posting, but at least you can always go back through the old ones! This was really yummy and could easily be a main course meal. I served it with some chicken just because I knew it wouldn't work as a meal for my family, but I would have been fine without anything else. I love zucchini and I love risotto so it was a great combination for me!

Ingredients:

1 cup arborio rice
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic salt
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground pepper

Directions:
In heavy saucepan, saute rice in butter stirring constantly.
Add onion, red pepper, and garlic salt. Saute until onions and peppers are tender.
Add 1 cup chicken stock, stirring frequently.
As the liquid cooks down, continue adding 1/2 cup stock at a time until all the stock is used and the mixture is creamy. Keep stirring!
Add zucchini.
Stir in milk.
Fold in cheese.
Top with fresh ground pepper.
Serve immediately.

Oven Kalua Pork

kalua pork
I found this recipe on Delicious Dishes and made it with the intention of freezing half of the meat for a future meal...I love it when I can do that (it's so nice having meals on hand for busy weeks)! This pork was super easy to make and had a great, yummy flavor to it. I was wanting some sort of sauce with it though and would definitely figure out something next time for that. I think we will use the leftovers for pulled pork sandwiches! (and I'm sure you could do this in a crock pot if you wanted to leave it cooking for longer)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 small piece of fresh ginger root, crushed (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
1 clove garlic, minced
5 pound boneless pork roast
1 tsp. liquid wood smoke flavoring

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, salt, Worcestershire sauce, ginger and garlic. Mix well. Lay 3 sheets of aluminum foil out, one on top of another. Place roast in center of aluminum foil; rub with soy sauce mixture and sprinkle with liquid smoke. Fold all 3 sheets of aluminum foil over top of roast and secure tightly. Place wrapped meat in a baking pan. Roast at 375 for 5 hours. Shred the pork before serving.
** Recipe from the Lion House Entertaining Cookbook**

3 Recipes: Grilled Beef Skewers, Sun-Dried Tomato Relish, and Summer Squash and Chive Pancakes

beef kabobs plus more
When I saw this yummy dinner on The Daily Dish, I instantly knew I wanted to try it! I love all kebabs and the squash and chive pancakes sounded awesome! The pancakes were our favorite part of the dinner and we'll definitely make them as sides for other dishes in the future. The beef had an awesome flavor (even though I only marinated it for 2 hours) and it was a perfect combo with the relish. The relish was my least favorite part of the meal, I think I'm just not used to the strong flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes, but I did love the way the 3 things complimented each other. Plus, it all looked so fancy together which is always fun :-)!

Summer Squash & Chive Pancakes

Ingredients:
- Canola oil spray
- 2 cups of cooked yellow squash, crushed (from about 3 1/2 yellow squash)
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 3 tbsp of fresh chives, chopped
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- A pinch of ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Place the squash in a large pot. Fill with water making sure to cover the squash completely.
2. Bring the pot to a boil and cover, cooking until soft.
3. Once soft, drain and set to the side to cool for a few minutes while you chop the rest of your ingredients.
4. After the squash has cooled down a bit, add them to a food processor and pulse until crushed.
5. Place the squash in a large mixing bowl with the egg, egg white, flour, baking powder, garlic, Parmesan cheese, chives, salt, and pepper, and mix until smooth.
6. Spray the bottom of a large griddle pan with canola oil and place the burner on medium heat.
7. Take 1/4 cup of the batter (per 1 pancake) and drop it onto the griddle. Use the book of a spoon to slightly flatten them and cook for a few minutes until golden brown on the bottom side.
8. Once the bottom has cooked, flip the pancake and cook the other side until golden brown.
9. Set the finished pancakes aside on a platter and repeat with the remaining batter until all 12 pancakes are made. Serve and enjoy!

Grilled Beef Skewers

Ingredients:
- 2 lbs of beef of choice, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch of salt
- Skewers (I use metal)

Directions:
1. In a resealable bag or glass container, combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, salt & pepper with the beef. Refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.
2. Once the beef is done marinating and you are ready to begin cooking, place a grill pan on medium-high heat (or preheat your gas or charcoal grill).
3. Remove the meat from the marinade and begin placing the cubes on a skewer
4. When the skewers all set, place on the grill pan for about 4 minutes on each side.
5. Arrange the skewers on a plate and serve along side the relish below.

Sun-Dried Tomato Relish

Ingredients:
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup of oil-packed sun dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of frozen (thawed) corn (or 1 ear of corn kernels removed if you are using fresh)
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (I omitted because the tomatoes were already plenty oily)
- 1/2 of an avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
- 1/4 cup of feta cheese crumbles
- Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. In a small to medium-sized bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes, corn, and olive oil.
2. If you are prepping this in advance, refrigerate these ingredients until ready to serve.
3. Just before serving add the avocado and feta cheese before mixing all of the ingredients together. Add the ground black pepper to taste.
4. Serve the relish alongside the beef skewers, and enjoy!

Artichoke Mushroom Lasagna

artichoke mushroom lasagna
I don't think I've ever been so behind on posting recipes before...I like to get them up here as soon as I make them. But life has been SO busy that it just has been low on the priority list. This lasagna was a hit though...even with Mike who is not a big pasta (or meatless dish) fan. In fact, he even had leftovers of it the next day...and he's not a leftovers guy either, so that says TONS!!! I used gluten-free noodles and loved it! (recipe from Taste of Home apr/may 2011)

Ingredients:
* 1 pound sliced baby portobello mushrooms
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 cans (14 ounces each) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
* 1 cup chardonnay or other white wine (used white cooking wine)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
SAUCE:
* 1/4 cup butter, cubed
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used cornstarch)
* 3-1/2 cups 2% milk
* 2-1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
* 1 cup chardonnay or other white wine
ASSEMBLY:
* 9 no-cook lasagna noodles (I used gluten-free and cooked them before assembly)
* 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Directions
* In a large skillet, saute mushrooms in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the artichokes, wine, salt and pepper; cook over medium heat until liquid is evaporated.
* For the sauce, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in Parmesan cheese and wine.
* Spread 1 cup sauce into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Layer with three noodles, 1-2/3 cups sauce, 1 cup mozzarella and 1-1/3 cups artichoke mixture. Repeat layers twice.
* Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Chilled Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies

chocolate cereal cookies
I saw these yummy guys in All You magazine quite awhile ago, but the kids and I just got around to giving them a try. They were a big hit! They were easy to make, gluten-free, and surprisingly delicious! We will definitely be making them again and again!

Ingredients:
* 2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1/4 cup light corn syrup
* 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
* 1/4 cup chocolate chips
* 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
* 3 cups corn flakes, lightly crushed

Directions:
* 1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Place a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add coconut and toast, stirring constantly, until light golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool.
* 2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, corn syrup and peanut butter. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, then remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and cocoa.
* 3. Continue stirring until chocolate chips have melted, then stir in cereal and toasted coconut until well coated. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.

Snickerdoodles

snickerdoodles
I have tried snickerdoodles, but I have never made my own, so when a volunteer was needed to make some for my book club meeting came up last week I thought it was a perfect opportunity to give them a try! I went to a blog that is known for yummy desserts but quite a few of the reviews of her snickerdoodles said they were spreading too thin when baking. Since baking is not my specialty I decided not to risk and went to allrecipes.com instead. This recipe from Beth Sigworth had awesome reviews (I did tweak it a bit after reading through some comments)! I was so proud that they turned out so beautiful...AND tasted awesome too! They were a hit!
(now I need to attempt a gluten-free version!)

Ingredients:
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda (make sure it is fresh!)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3 tablespoons white sugar
* 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 390 degrees F.
2. Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
3. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake 8 minutes (you don't want to over-bake), or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Crisped Brown Rice with Beef, Vegetables and Eggs

crisped brown rice and bbef
I saw this recipe in a magazine I recently started getting, Whole Living, and their picture looked amazing (see it here). It included so many things I love...rice, eggs, and cabbage. It ended up being quite a hit and a fun variation of stir fry! I am re-inspired to try more new, healthy recipes again after being in a bit of a cooking rut!

Ingredients:
* 4 ounces sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick strips
* 2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari sauce (I used low-sodium soy sauce)
* 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 6 scallions, chopped
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
* 1/4 cup water, plus more for saucepan
* 2 large carrots (6 ounces), julienned
* 8 leaves napa cabbage (8 ounces), sliced into 1/2-inch-thick strips
* 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
* 3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
* Coarse salt
* 4 large eggs

Directions:
1. Marinate sirloin in tamari with 1 teaspoon ginger, the garlic, 1 scallion, and the red-pepper flakes. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook remaining scallions with the carrots and cabbage until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a wire-mesh skimmer.
2. Heat a medium-heavy skillet over high heat; add 1 teaspoon oil, and sear sirloin, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Return skillet to medium heat, and add remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil and 2 teaspoons ginger. Cook until sizzling. Stir in rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in scallion-sirloin mixture and any juices. Add water, and cook, covered, until rice is heated through and sizzling, 7 to 8 minutes.
3. Uncover, and make 4 indentations in the rice with the back of a spoon. Crack 1 egg into each, and cook, covered, until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes. Stir eggs into rice.