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Last Minute Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Saturday night we had company, a last minute dinner we threw together with our two neighbors (and their dog!). We decided to cook up a tried-and-true recipe that was healthy, colorful and easy – Zucchini Boats! My mom first saw these on Pinterest from Recipe Girl, and since then we’ve been creating a variety of our own fillings.

Honestly, once you’ve got your hollowed zucchini “shells” the filling can be anything you want it to be (like my empanadas).  In the past we’ve created a Southwestern Zucchini boat with ground beef, beans, rice and cheese. A Vegetarian Boat with lentils, onions, bell pepper and celery. The “Original” with marinara sauce, onions, garlic, turkey sausage, mozzarella cheese and basil.

Last night we made a Couscous Veggie Medley boat to go along with some BBQ’d pork chops and green bean salad (to be featured later). They were bright and light and colorful!

To start: Cut your zucchini squashes in half lengthwise and chop off the ends. Use a spoon to scoop out the “meat” of the zucchini – put this in a separate bowl to be used later!

Prepare your filling: Diced bell peppers, onion, carrot, and celery.

Make couscous over stove-top. We used the tri-color to add to the brightness of the boats. Couscous is one of the healthier grain-based products with only .25 grams of fat and 175 calories per 1 cup. Plus it is so fluffy and has the perfect texture for this veggie mixture. Add in some chicken broth to the water when making the couscous for some extra flavor.

Mix all of the diced vegetables into the couscous once it is cooked; also add the zucchini that has been removed from the “shells” and combine. Then stuff the mixture in the zucchini boats and bake!

Even Missy and her friend Lucky were jealous of our summer dinner…

Fresh out of the oven!

This is a great vegetarian/vegan recipe, but if you are a carnivore like me and my family, I suggest adding some ground turkey and parmesan cheese. Mmm!

The night ended in a competitive and silly game of Apples to Apples…obviously I won ;)

It’s Sunday night meaning Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition is on! Who else is watching?

Couscous Veggie Medley Zucchini Boats:

makes 10 boats

5 zucchinis

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 cup uncooked couscous (to make 3 cups cooked)

1 chicken flavored bullion cube

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; chop ends off of zucchinis and cut in half length-wise.

2. Using a spoon, remove the “meat” of the zucchini from the inside and set aside in a bowl.

3. Cook couscous over stove top by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil, adding the bullion cube and couscous. Remove from heat, cover for 5 minutes, then fluff.

4. Combine the vegetables, zucchini middles and couscous. Evenly divide the mixture into the zucchini boats.

5. Bake for 30 minutes.


AMAZING Strawberry Banana Oat “Cookies”

One of my best friends, Bre, came over yesterday for the afternoon. We did what we do best: bake! I love making anything from scratch, especially when I can alter the recipe to reduce fat, sodium, sugar and/or calories. Yesterday we tried something new, an experiment, and it turned out fantastic! Strawberry Banana Oat Cookies. These “cookies” are vegan and do not require flour, sugar, butter or oil. That’s why I call them “cookies” with quotes – because while they look and taste like a chewy oatmeal cookie, they are so healthy it’s unbelievable.

These are like a cross between a granola bar, oatmeal cookies and banana bread. For a little variety, we added mini chocolate chips and coconut to some of the batches! I was a little skeptical of how these would turn out. I thought for sure they would be lacking a little flavor due to the absense of sugar and butter but I was proven wrong! There is plenty of sweetness from the bananas, applesauce, and vanilla. (We added honey but you really don’t need it.)

My friend and baking buddy, Bre, with our “cookies.”

(Note that however you place the dough on the baking sheet is the shape and size they will come out. There is no baking powder, baking soda, or flour to help them rise and flatten out.) It was a PERFECT summer dessert to enjoy right out of the oven with a cup of coffee. My favorite was the coconut! And the strawberries had just the right amount of tartness to make them so flavorful. These would be a great breakfast on the go as well – you get your oats and fruit and almonds! You have to try these, I guarantee it will be a hit :)

(Vegan) Strawberry Banana Oat “Cookies”

1/2 cup Almond slivers

1/2 cup Applesauce

3 very ripe bananas, smashed

1 Tbs Honey

2 cups Rolled Oats

1 heaping Tbs Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1 tsp Vanilla

10 Strawberries, diced

Optional:

1/4 cup Coconut flakes

1/4 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine smashed bananas, applesauce, oats, almonds, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well blended.

3. Add the diced strawberries into the batter and mix. Add in coconut flakes and chocolate chips.

4. Drop by the spoonful on to the baking sheet (I recommend flattening them a little.) Bake for 18 minutes; transfer to cooling rack.

5. Enjoy these guilt-free cookies with fresh coffee (this step is very important.)

I would love to hear what suggestions YOU have to add in instead of chocolate chips and coconut :)

 

 

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