Recipe Review: Zucchini Fritters

So I found this recipe via Martha Stewart and tried it out last weekend for our Easter Sunday family meal. My mom loved it, I liked the flavor but not the texture, and my husband hated it. Have I told you how much my family likes playing guinea pig for me??

The dish has a light flavor but you can definitely taste the lemon. If you’re not a fan of lemon, I’d cut the quantity of lemon zest in half or perhaps substitute it entirely for something else (such as scallions). I think this dish paired well with the Parmesan Crusted Flounder and Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Garlic I served (I’ll share those recipes soon) and due to its light flavor would likely pair well with just about anything.

Zucchini Fritters


Zucchini Fritters

Serves: not listed on the recipe itself but when I made it, it produced 9-12 fritters

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (1 lemon) plus
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges (optional)
  • 10 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed and leaves finely chopped, plus more sprigs for garnish (optional) (I used a half Tablespoon of freeze dried, refrigerated parsley)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Click here.

THOUGHTS

  • Part of the texture that I didn’t like is that these got nice and crunchy outside but were kind of mushy on the inside. To combat this, next time I will grate the zucchini into a colander, sprinkle with salt and let drain for at least 1 hour.
  • While the recipe calls for 2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil I found that I had to use quite a lot more than that.
  • Sidenote: A cup of chopped zucchini contains 22 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 24 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 29 percent for women, set by the Institute of Medicine (according to this article).

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Please Cheese Me (i.e. Healthy Mac N Cheese)

I’ve been making this for several years now and my husband and I both love it.  It’s originally from a website called Hungry Girl but I make it slightly differently.  It’s delish!  It’s also quick to make so it’s great for weeknights.

Please Cheese Me - a healthy alternative to mac n cheese (note - for picture source, click the Hungry Girl link above)

Please Cheese Me – a healthy alternative to mac n cheese (note – for picture source, click the Hungry Girl link above)

Please Cheese Me

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 boxes of frozen cauliflower in cheese sauce
  • 2 cups uncooked whole wheat spiral (rotini) pasta, uncooked
  • 4 wedges Laughing Cow Original
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare pasta according to the instructions on the box, and then drain well and set aside. While pasta is cooking, place cauliflower in microwave and cook according to manufacturers instructions (note: it may take longer than suggested on the packaging).  Make sure to stir your cauliflower every few minutes to prevent burning.
  2. Put cooked cauliflower (with sauce) and Laughing Cow in a food processor and process until smooth.  Add any salt or pepper at this time and re-blend.
  3. Pour sauce over pasta and stir to combine.

THOUGHTS

  • If you want to change up the flavor, you can use a different kind of Laughing Cow (other than the Original).
  • This is not going to replace Kraft Mac N Cheese like you ate growing up.  However, it’s much healthier and contains about half the calories and less than half of the fat of the packaged kind.
  • Note: this photo shows the pasta topped with parsley.  I’ve never served it this way and probably wouldn’t.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice

Have you ever been to Benihana’s?  We LOVE their food… it’s so delicious!  However, they’re a tad pricey.  So, when I ran across this recipe for copy cat Benihana Chicken Fried Rice you know I had to give it a shot.

Please note that some changes to the original recipe were found here.

Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice (click photo to see source)

Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice (click photo to see source)

Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice

Serves:  2 as a side dish (we doubled the recipe and it made enough for 2 people as a main course with no sides)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ounces cooked chicken
  • 8 ounces steamed rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons carrot, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons green peas
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 6 pinches pepper
  • 6 pinches salt (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Scramble eggs and chop after cooking.
  2. Sauté chopped onion, green onion, seasoning and carrots in the oil until done and mix with chopped scrambled egg and chicken.
  3. Mix steamed rice with vegetable, egg and chicken.
  4. Add sesame seed, minced garlic, ginger, salt and pepper, stirring well.
  5. Add butter and soy sauce into the mixture, stirring well until done.

THOUGHTS

  • This dish was very tasty.  My husband would be happy if I made this weekly.
  • I actually baked one whole chicken breast the night before (about ½ lb) and used that (which resulted in more than 2oz of chicken)
  • I would have been happy with 3 cloves of garlic and only 2 Tablespoons of butter.  It was a smidge too buttery for Chinese food in my opinion.
  • I didn’t have any fresh ginger on hand and didn’t want to purchase some for just this one dish so instead, I used about 1/8 teaspoon of grated powdered ginger.
  • I did not add the optional salt

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

 

Recipe Review: Asian Spaghetti

I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time successfully cooking Asian food for some reason.  I have no idea why, but that ability eludes me frequently.  However, the other night I made this dish from Taste of Home and it was delicious.

asian spaghetti

Asian Spaghetti

Serves:  5 (haha, yeah right – more like 2 to 3 if you’re eating this as your only side like we did)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup fresh snow peas
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, snow peas, carrots and onions in oil until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar and cayenne. Drain pasta. Add pasta and soy sauce mixture to skillet and toss to coat. Heat through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

THOUGHTS

  • I purchased presliced mushrooms and matchstick carrots which meant the only thing I had to chop was 4 scallions – this dish came together in a flash!  Great for a quick weeknight meal.  We served this with chicken marinated in a 30-minute Asian marinade I found near the salad dressings and BBQ sauce at our local grocery store.
  • This dish is a bit strong in the soy sauce department in my opinion but my husband disagrees.  I am not a huge lover of soy sauce like he is however.  I think next time I’ll use ½ soy sauce and ½ water or perhaps try tamari sauce which is supposedly a less salty, richer tasting type of soy sauce.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

 

Recipe Review: Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes with Tarragon

Beautiful.  Easy.  Delicious.  Need I say more?  You can view this recipe here

Marinated Heirloom Tomatos with Tarragon

Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes with Tarragon

Serves: 8 servings (serving size: about 3 tomato slices)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons extravirgin olive
  • 2 pounds (about 6 medium) heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Arrange tomatoes on a platter. Sprinkle tomatoes evenly with salt and pepper; drizzle with shallot mixture.

THOUGHTS

  • Y’all this recipe is so easy and when I served it at girls night every girl raved.  This dish is super simple to make and would be a great dish for a potluck. 
  • This dish doesn’t do well as “leftovers” so I’d make sure that you feed it to a large group or cut the ingredients in half if you just want to feed 4 people. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Baked Cheddar Broccoli Rice Cups

I have a confession to make.  I have a bit of a condiment problem.  You see, I don’t really like them unless they’re tomato based (like ketchup or salsa).  I won’t eat mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, guacamole, or pretty much any dressing with the exception of something oil based (like Italian).  There’s something about that creamy consistency that most condiments have that just sends me running for the hills.  So, when I came across this recipe from Amazing Pinterest World I was intrigued, but nervous.  It contains ranch dressing and I just wasn’t sure if I was going to like it.  Man was I surprised!

*Please note that Amazing Pinterest World is not the originator of this recipe.  She just posts recipes that she finds on Pinterest.  I am not sure of the original source. 

Baked Cheddar-Broccoli Rice Cups

Baked Cheddar Broccoli Rice Cups

Serves:  4 (2 per person) or 8 (1 per person)… trust me, you’ll want 2.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup quick-cooking brown rice (like Minute Rice)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 10-oz. box frozen, chopped broccoli, thawed and excess water squeezed out
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Prepare rice as directed on package, substituting stock for water. 
  3. Place cooked rice in a large bowl and let cool slightly. 
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, using only 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, and stir until combined.
  5. Transfer mixture to eight well-greased muffin cups–I like to use an ice cream scoop–and top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. 
  6. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until tops are lightly browned and edges are starting to get crispy.

THOUGHTS

  • OMG y’all these were SOOOO GOOD.  Surprisingly, however, my husband… who loves ranch dressing, hated these and asked me to never make them again.  I’ve decided that he’s broken.  That’s really the only explanation I can come up with.  Since he hates them I’m thinking very seriously about making them on Sundays for me to take to work for breakfast a few days a week.  I know it’s sort of a weird breakfast meal but you get your grains/fiber from the brown rice, your protein from the egg and cheese, and some veggie goodness from the broccoli.  That makes for a pretty good breakfast right?
  • I honestly can’t remember what I paired these with but I think it was baked chicken.  Then again, I could just make a meal out of these babies and forget the rest.  Sooooo yummy.  Go make them!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Fresh Caprese Quinoa Salad

I love Pinterest.  That’s how I stumbled across this amazing recipe.  It’s from a fellow blogger named Fit Foodie Finds.  This is one of the dishes I served the night I had company over but was still following my Foods You Should Eat Every Day Challenge.  Both my husband and my guest LOVED IT.  It was just delicious and will definitely be a new staple in our house. 

fresh caprese quinoa salad

Fresh Caprese Quinoa Salad

Serves: 3 to 4

INGREDIENTS 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Click here

THOUGHTS

  • Sometimes finding basil at my local grocery store is hit or miss.  To make this dish I went to two grocery stores and still couldn’t find basil.  I ended up buying freeze dried (in the refrigerated section of your local grocer) and honestly, I thought it was delicious.  I stirred it into the quinoa before I let the quinoa cool and it rehydrated and turned out delicious.
  • Please note that the recipe calls for fresh mozzarella.  That will be the soft, squishy kind normally formed into a ball. 
  • This dish would be great for potlucks.  You can guarantee that no one will bring something similar or nearly as beautiful!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Gluten-Free Cheesy Veggie ‘Pasta’ Bake

I like spaghetti squash.

I like pasta.

Spaghetti squash, however, is not pasta. I understand that it looks like it, but it’s not. It doesn’t have the same texture, and it definitely doesn’t have the same taste. That doesn’t make it bad… it just makes it different. Why can’t we just call a spade a spade and call this a Cheesy Veggie Bake? It makes no sense to me.

I found this recipe here.

Gluten-Free Cheesy Veggie ‘Pasta’ Bake

Gluten-Free Cheesy Veggie ‘Pasta’ Bake

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Poke spaghetti squash all over with a knife and cook in the microwave for eight to 12 minutes until soft. If you don’t have a microwave, place the poked squash on a baking pan and bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. While that’s cooking, add the oil, garlic, pepper, zucchini, and carrots to a pan, cooking over medium heat.
  3. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and with a fork, scrape the flesh from the peel. It should flake off easily in strings, resembling spaghetti. Place the spaghetti squash flesh in a casserole dish. Add the cooked veggies, diced tomato, sauce, and most of the cheese and mix well. Sprinkle leftover cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.
  4. Allow to cool for five minutes, serve, and enjoy!

THOUGHTS

  • It’s delicious and definitely a healthy alternative to pasta. I love that this is covered in cheese… I love cheese and if I can eat cheese with a load of veggies them I’m all for it!
  • I cook my squash differently – I cut it in half and remove the seeds – then place cut-sides down in a 13×9 pyrex dish. Add 1” of water and 1 tablespoon of butter – bake at 350 for 30 minutes then CAREFULLY (it’s HOT!) scrape the flesh from the peel. It should flake off easily and resemble spaghetti noodles.
  • For a little bit of kick, you can add 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • I think this is definitely a crowd pleasing dish.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

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Recipe Review: Glenda’s Savory Sweet Potatoes

I have a friend who I love dearly who is one of those crazy fitness Crossfit-obsessed people.  I think she’s nuts.  But I love her.  And she’s gorgeous.  As you can imagine, she’s quite the health nut too.  So, the other night when she had me over for dinner we had a very healthy dinner of broiled tilapia, spinach salad, and savory sweet potatoes.

I should mention here that until this night, I’d never met a sweet potato that I liked.  They’re sweet people.  I’m sorry but I just don’t think vegetables should be mixed with sugar or marshmallows.  Blech!

This recipe is a recipe for people who don’t like their sweet potatoes, well, sweet.

sweet potatoes-edited

Glenda’s Savory Sweet Potatoes

Serves: 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 white or yellow onions
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 4 whole heads of garlic (or you can cheat, like I did, and buy a large container of the pre-peeled garlic cloves)
  • Olive oil (about ¼ cup)
  • Italian seasioning, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut up the sweet potatoes and the onions into small bite-size pieces (mine were about the size of a nickel).  You can choose to leave the skin on the potatoes for extra health benefits as well.  If you chose to buy whole garlic heads, you’re going to want to peel all 4 heads right now.  I cut any big cloves in half.
  2. Put your chopped onions, potatoes, and peeled garlic in a large bowl and then drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste.  I used more spices than I thought it really needed, and it honestly could have used a little bit more of everything.  Be liberal.
  3. Place on a large cookie sheet (I had to do mine in two batches) and bake at 350 degrees for at least 30 minutes, mixing every 10-15 minutes.

THOUGHTS

  • I still don’t love sweet potatoes.  They’re definitely not my go-to vegetable.  That being said, the health benefits are astounding so if I have to eat them, this is the way to eat ‘em!  By and large the tastiest sweet potatoes I’ve had so far.
  • When Glenda made them for me she left the skin on, I chose to take it off when I cooked them for myself.  I prefer it with the skin on.
  • I realize that 4 heads of garlic seems like a lot, but it’s not once you see how much veggies you’re going to end up with.  Just trust me.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

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Recipe Review: Vegetarian White Bean Soup

As I mentioned yesterday I’ve been eating this soup practically every other day and I’m gotta tell you… I’m hooked.  I love a good brothy soup and this soup is just mmm mmm good.  It’s ANOTHER Taste of Home recipe (you’d think I’m a rep for them or something with the consistency in which I review their recipes but I’m not… although that’d be cool). 

vegetarian white bean soup

Vegetarian White Bean Soup

Serves:  7

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 cup each chopped onion, celery and carrot
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan, sauté the zucchini, onion, celery and carrot in oil for 5-7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 

THOUGHTS

  • Top this with a little mozzarella cheese and you have a match made in heaven.
  • I know some people don’t like tomatoes and if you’re one of ‘em, you should still like this soup.  The flavor of the tomatoes practically disappears. 
  • This is a great vegetarian dish if you’re a fan of Meatless Mondays!

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