Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

 

We recently ate at a new Mexican restaurant in town. They had a Butternut squash dip on the menu, I liked the idea of it but theirs was very greasy. Here is my attempt of a healthier and more delicious dip.

Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

1 small butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed

1 c eggplant cubed ( peeled or unpeeled is fine)

2 poblano peppers cut into 1 ” pieces

1 onion peeled and sliced into 8ths

1 tomato sliced into wedges

1 T olive oil

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 t chopped garlic

2 t cumin

1 T lime juice

Queso Fresco and Chopped Cilantro for garnish if desired

Place cut vegetables on a baking sheet ( I used a silpat to prevent sticking) add oil and toss until vegetables are coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until squash is fork tender/soft. Let cool for 5 minutes. Add to a food processor or blender or mash by hand until smooth but not pureed, I like it better with a little texture. Stir in cumin, garlic and  lime juice. place in serving dish and top with queso fresco and chopped cilantro if desired. Serve with tortilla or pita chips. This would also be a great filling for veggie enchiladas or tacos.

Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

Roasted Squash and Poblano Dip

 

 

 

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Mango Quinoa

Mango Quinoa

 

Quinoa is a food trend that is delicious and healthy. It is as versatile and as easy as rice. This recipe is a perfect side dish to a spicy entree like jerk chicken, Hot wings or Spicy Lime and Honey Chicken. Try incorporating it into some of your weekday dishes. For ease and clean up I make mine in my rice cooker.

3 c water

1 1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 c chopped mango

1/2 t chopped garlic

1/4 c chopped cilantro or parsley ( I used a combination)

1/4 c crumbled Queso Fresco Cheese or Feta

1/4 t salt

1/8 t pepper

2 t olive oil

Add water and quinoa to the rice cooker and turn on, when quinoa is finished pour into a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, stir and serve.

 

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

This is a simple soup with natural ingredients that is big on flavor. Perfect for lunch or with a sandwich or salad at dinner. It is also vegan/vegetarian so it is a meatless Monday favorite.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

2t olive oil

1 yellow onion chopped

4 clove garlic chopped

6 cups sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 2″x 2″ pieces

4 c water

1/2 t dried Chipotle Powder ( found in the spice aisle, a little goes a long way )

1 lime zest and juice

1 t salt

Fresh herbs or arugula for topping if desired.

Heat oil in a 2 1/2 quart sauce pan over med high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, water, salt, lime juice, lime zest and chipotle powder. bring to a simmer, cover and cook 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly by removing from heat. Add to blender in 2 batches if necessary and puree. Add back to pan and keep on low until ready to serve. Add chopped herbs or arugula if desired.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

Cantaloupe Smoothies

Cantaloupe Smoothies

 

A quick dessert or after school treat, these are rich and delicious (and healthy too).

Cantaloupe Smoothie

1 small-med cantaloupe cut into chunks, seeds and rind removed

1/2 c milk

1 cup ice

Put milk and cantaloupe into a blender and puree until cantaloupe is broken up, add ice and puree until smooth. Serve with fresh berries if desired.

If you have a larger cantaloupe add 1/4 cup more milk and ice.

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Simple Summer Flavor: Grilled Chicken and Vegetables with Lemon Mint Yogurt Sauce

Let’s admit it, simple, clean flavors are the best. Especially in the summer when produce is at its peak. This uncomplicated dish sings Summer and lets the true flavor of the food shine through. Delicious, filling and healthy, the chicken and vegetables are kicked up with the acid of the lemon, the freshness of the mint and a subtle kick from cayenne. Perfect for a Labor Day cook out or any day of the week.

Grilled Garlic Lemon Chicken and Vegetables

3 lbs of chicken ( I used boneless skinless thighs and breasts)

4-5 T olive oil

1 lemon juiced

1 T garlic

1/4 t cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

2 zucchini sliced in 1 inch rounds

2 cups eggplant cut in 1 inch chunks

2 sweet yellow onions halved

2 red bell peppers cut into 2″ x 2″ chunks

Combine 2 T olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Lay chicken in a shallow baking dish and por marinade over chicken using , tongs to turn chicken so it is coated on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate covered for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop vegetables and place in a large bowl, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat, add salt and pepper .

Thread on skewers. I like to do each skewer with an individual vegetable so they cook evenly since different vegetables have different cooking times.

Preheat Grill and place chicken and veggie skewers on grill.

Cook until vegetables are slightly charred and softened slightly. The onions and zucchini will cook slightly longer.

Cook chicken to preferred temperature or until no longer pink. About 5 min per side.

Lemon Mint Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain greek yogurt

1 lemon juiced

1t lemon zest

1 t garlic

2 T chopped fresh mint

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl

Serve with grilled chicken and vegetables

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

To low carb or not to low carb, that is the question. Yes, I know I lose weight this way, especially belly fat. But sometimes it is unrealistic, I have 2 teen boys, there is no way they are giving up on bread, pizza crust and cookies. My husband wants to, but he loves cereal and beer too much. I don’t think I can ever swear off potatoes for ever. So where does that leave us, weeknight dinners that cut down on the big bad carbs, pasta, white refined sugars, rice, potatoes and bread. We are still keeping fruits and veggies, all types. Beans and legumes are ok in our book. An occasional splurge on weekends and whole grain cereals for breakfast are fine too. I am not saying that we are going on a big strict diet, we are just going to try and incorporate more vegetables into our diets and leave out bad carbs when they are not necessary.

So that brings us to my Greek stuffed zucchini, it has all the flavor of yummy stuffed zucchini, just without the bread crumbs, which don’t add flavor anyway, just filler.

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1/4 cup chopped or grape tomatoes

1 T lemon juice

1 T minced garlic

1 T fresh oregeno

3 oz  feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a spoon, scoop out the middle of the zucchini halves and add to a food processor bowl.

Add remaining ingrediants to food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth mixture, Fill the empty zucchini shells with the tomato and cheese filling.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until zucchini shell is tender and filling is bubbling.

Serve as a side dish, snack or appetizer.

Pinspired: Cucumber and Avocado Summer Rolls

I was looking for a starter to bring to a barbecue at my in-laws. It’s August and its hot as can be here in Florida so I didn’t want to do anything that required an oven. I was stumped so I went on to Pinterest,  and reviewed my boards, I had pinned this Summer Roll recipe from Williams-Sonoma awhile back. It seemed perfect but I have never made Summer rolls before, never used rice paper, so I had my reservations. I couldn’t come up with anything else though so I decided to go for it. I am glad I did. I have to say as long as you prep all the ingredients before hand and follow the instructions it’s pretty easy and the rice paper is much more forgiving that I thought it would be. My husband even rolled a few and had no trouble and he is not a patient man. They were so fresh and delicious, I will be making these again, and again. My only snag was my neighborhood supermarket was out of rice paper ( normally my market has it by the pre-made sushi/fish counter). I had to take a trip to the Asian market, but that was fine, they were super friendly and had several different kinds, their prices were cheaper than the supermarket too.

Cucumber and Avocado Summer Rolls

For the dipping sauce:

juice from 1/2 lime

2 T canola oil

2 T rice wine vinegar

1/2 Dijon mustard

1/2 soy sauce

1 t brown sugar

1/4 t red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl

For the Rolls:

1 package rice paper rounds (I used about 12)

1 head green leaf lettuce, washed, leaves left whole (not iceberg or romaine hearts, it needs to be soft and flexible)

1 bunch basil

1 bunch mint

about 2 c matchstick carrots (or carrots and shred them yourself)

2 haas avocados peeled and diced

2 T lime juice

1/4 t salt

1 english cucumber peeled and cut into matchstick like strips

Prep all vegetables. put into piles or bowl for easy access. For the avocado, toss with lime juice and salt to prevent browning. To cut the cucumber, cut into 4 pieces and then slice into planks

turn on its side

and then cut into thin strips

Get a large sallow pie plate or bowl and fill with warm water, must be big enough to submerge whole sheet of rice paper. Place a clean kitchen towel in front of the water and all prepped ingredients next to it. (I had not yet chopped my avocado in this picture)

Submerge 1 sheet of rice paper into water until pliable, place on towel, submerge 2nd sheet and place directly on top. Each roll will have a double ply of rice paper. Then Place one lettuce leaf on top of paper (tearing if needed to fit) the Horizontally , one row of carrots, one row of cucumber and one row of avocado, then place 2 mint and 2 basil leaves on top.

lift bottom edge of rice paper up and over the filling and roll once to make a tight cylinder. If paper sticks to towel, use water to wet fingers and gently pull off. Fold in the sides of the paper and continue to roll into a cylinder shape, place seam side down on a platter and continue rolling the rest of the rolls, place a wet paper towel between layers to prevent sticking.

Cut on the bias and serve with dipping sauce.

Grilled Chicken with Peach Salsa

Grilled Chicken with Peach Salsa

2T olive oil

1 1/2 limes juiced

6 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets

3 ripe peaches, peeled and chopped

1/2 red onion diced

1 small jalapeno (or half large), minced (ribs and seeds removed)

2 T chopped cilantro

Combine olive oil, juice of 1 lime and salt and pepper in a small bowl, pour over chicken breast and put in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Grill over med high heat for about 4-6 minutes per side depending on thickness (check with a meat thermometer).

In a medium sized bowl combine peaches, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and juice from 1/2 a lime. sprinkle with salt. Serve over cooked chicken.

Happy National Sneak Some Zucchini on to Your Neighbor’s Porch Day AKA National Zucchini Day

Well I love Zucchini but had no idea about this holiday. It was started by Tom Roy, a man from Pennsylvania, and this holiday encourages sharing of large zucchini crops. “Due to the overzealous planting of zucchini, citizens are asked to drop off baskets of the squash on neighbors’ doorsteps.” and apparently creativity is encouraged in this endeavor. I don’t have any crops of zucchini but I will share some recipes and tips.

Zucchini can be used as pasta in any recipe, delicious, low carb and gluten-free.

To make ribbons like papperdelle, uses a regular vegetable peeler and make thin strips, yo can leave the skin on or off.

To make smaller “noodles” use a julienne peeler. Available at most home stores and cooking shops.

Now just add your favorite sauce, no cooking required. The heat of the sauce will warm the zucchini without making it too soft or watery.

Also try Zucchini Orange Salad

 

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

And my favorite, Calabacitas

What is your favorite way to eat zucchini, or sneak it on to someone’s porch?

Calabacitas: Simple, Healthy, and Delicious

This is one of my favorite things to eat. I first had them at a small hole in the wall restaurant in Tarpon Springs, FL. It was called El Jalapeno, their decor was not the finest but the food was delicious, homemade mexican with clean and simple flavors. I would eat there at least once a week and in fact had my first date with my husband there over 20 years ago. Sadly it closed, but I continue to make this dish at home. Calabacita means “little squash” and zucchini is the star here. It is buttery and delicious, highlighted by the sweetness of the tomatoes and the slight crunch of the red onions. Back in the lean years this was dinner, we served it over some black beans or in a tortilla with some cheese. It also make a great side dish on taco night.Don’t underestimate the flavor in this dish because of it’s simplicity, try it tonight.

Calabacitas

2 T canola oil

3 medium sized zucchini quartered and chopped into 1 inch pieces

1 carton grape tomatoes chopped in half

1/2 large red onion chopped into 1 inch pieces (about 1 cup)

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet, add vegetables, saute over med heat for about 5-7 min, stirring occasionally. Vegetables should still be slightly al dente, toss with salt and pepper. Serve as a side, over black beans, or in tortillas.