Saturday, August 31, 2013

Zucchini Oat Bread

It's the last day of August and what better way to end the month than with zucchini bread.

This is my last zucchini recipe for 2013.  At least as of right now.  

I made a lot of zucchini dishes this year and I loved them all.  I got a little sick of it and was ready to move onto pumpkin pumpkin and more pumpkin until I saw this recipe for zucchini oat bread.

I called my mom up and asked her for some more zucchini from the garden and she said "I thought you were SO OVER IT" :)  Okay . . . so, I did say that . . . but hey, I'm a foodie.  I get instant cravings at any moment and just have to make something immediately.

This bread turned out great.  The oats give it a really hearty texture and my house smelled like a bakery/donut shop while it baked.  
Zucchini Oat Bread
adapted from: What's Cooking with Ruthie
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 1/2 c. sugar 
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sat
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs
1 c. applesauce
2 Tbl. butter, melted (or 2 Tbl. coconut oil)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. zucchini, unpeeled and shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  In a small bowl combine 1 Tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, flour, oats, baking powder, salt and baking soda; set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs until thick and yellow.  Add remaining sugar, applesauce, melted butter and vanilla; mix well.  Stir in the shredded zucchini.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir together until combined.  Do not overmix.  Pour into prepared loaf pan (depending on how tall your loaf pan is, you might not be able to fit all of the batter - you can make a few muffins with any extra).  Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Bake for 1 hour- 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely.    

Jenn's Notes: I used melted coconut oil in place of the butter.  I also added around a teaspoon of brown sugar to my cinnamon and sugar topping.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Southwestern Quinoa Pepper Boats

These pepper boats have become a favorite dish of ours.  The first time I made them as standing up stuffed peppers, but soon realized they are so much easier to make and eat as "pepper boats" and you don't have to worry about picking out peppers with flat bottoms so they stand up.

It's like a flavor fiesta in your mouth and there are so many textures involved.  You get a slight crunch from the pepper, the soft quinoa and beans, then a burst of juicy corn and the gooey melty cheese.

Healthy and delicious meal. 
Southwestern Quinoa Pepper Boats
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1/2 c. dry quinoa
1/2 Lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
1 can corn, drained
1 c. black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp. ground cumin, or to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp. onion powder, or to taste
3/4 tsp. chili powder, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
3 Tbl. cilantro, chopped
1/3 c. crumbled Feta cheese
3/4 c. Pepper Jack or Monterey cheese, grated
6 red bell peppers 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut peppers in half vertically; remove stem and seeds and place pepper halves in a large, lightly greased, baking dish.  Prepare quinoa according to package directions.  Meanwhile, brown ground beef or turkey in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and saute a few minutes.  Add the diced green chiles, corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, pepper and chopped cilantro.  Stir until well combined.  Add the cooked quinoa and stir together.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Fill each pepper boat halfway with filling and top each with crumbled Feta cheese.  Then, fill to the top with more filling and sprinkle evenly with grated Pepper Jack or Monterey cheese.  Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until peppers are tender.  Broil for a few minutes at the end to brown the cheese on top.  Serves 4-6.

Jenn's Notes: If you have leftover filling, it tastes great in tacos or enchiladas.  I make extra on purpose, so I can use it for another meal later in the week.

Idea adapted from: Damn Delicious 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My over-the-top 30th Birthday Cake

This is a belated post . . . I really turned 30 a few months ago.  Some of this might be old news to my friends, but this cake will never be old news and it will be a cake you will CRAVE and never forget. 
Four layers of eggless super-moist chocolate cake filled with browned butter cream cheese icing, smothered in chocolate frosting and garnished with mini chocolate chips and sprinkles all served with a drizzle of caramel sauce.

A little over the top?  Maybe, but . . . it is DIVINE!
One of the BEST cakes I have ever made and ever eaten.

I needed something over- the-top.  I turned 30.  I LOVED my 20's and I really did not want to leave that era behind.  I wanted to stay in it FOREVER.  The week before I kept thinking things like, "this is my last Friday in my 20's", "this is the last time I will eat pizza in my 20's", does this mean my metabolism is going to hit rock bottom and I'm really going to have to start watching what I eat even more?

While I was having my little "pitty party", my sweetie was out shopping with his mom.

He surprised me with an over-the-top 30th Birthday Present.  My jaw just about hit the floor when I opened the box.  I have never had anything like this before.
A COACH handbag and my beautiful M-I-L gave me a matching Wallet!

Cutest purse I have ever seen. 

Best 30th Birthday present a girl could get!  

My F-I-L gave me some cute mixing bowls and a big red enamel coated dutch oven.  My mom and dad gave me some moo-law.  I'm wanting to get a new vacuum.  Anyone know of a good one for a decent price?
Did any of you have a hard time when you hit 30?  

I keep getting told that my 30's will be better than my 20's?  I'm not entirely convinced yet.  We will just have to see what the next 10 years bring. 

Hopefully, it will be filled with lots and lots of cake and frosting.  Particularly, this cake and frosting.  It was so freaking good.  All of the flavors and textures blended perfectly together and I may have found my new go-to chocolate cake recipe.  It is so moist and chocolatey.  I loved that there are no eggs in it.  That makes it super easy to cut the recipe in half.  I didn't want a ton of cake hanging around, so I made a small cake.

I knew browned butter would give my cream cheese filling just the richness and nutty flavor I was looking for.  I used my favorite chocolate frosting to cover the entire cake.  It has a nice mellow milk chocolate flavor.  I love the texture of mini chocolate chips in desserts, so I added some of those and what is a birthday cake without sprinkles?

It doesn't get any better than this.
My over-the-top Birthday Cake
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
Eggless Chocolate Cake
adapted from: Crazy For Crust
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. hot water
1/2 Tbl. instant coffee granules
1/4 + 1/8 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbl. distilled vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 7-inch cake pans (see notes section down below); set aside.  Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl combine the hot water, instant coffee, vegetable oil, vinegar and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk just until blended.  Divide batter evenly between greased cake pans.  You don't want to fill them anymore than halfway or they will overflow.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.  Remove from oven and cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Browned Butter Cream Cheese Filling
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
4 Tbl. unsalted butter
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
pinch of salt
2 c. powdered sugar, heaping

Add butter to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until browned and nutty smelling.  Butter will get foamy right before it is done.  There will be brown bits in the bottom of the pan.  Be careful to not burn it.  Remove from heat and cool completely.  I usually put it in the fridge.  Combine cooled browned butter, cream cheese, vanilla and salt.  Beat until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time and beat until smooth and creamy.

Chocolate Frosting
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder, or more to taste
2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 tsp. milk, as needed   

Combine butter, cocoa, vanilla and salt and beat until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, adding milk as needed to reach desired frosting consistency.  Don't add too much milk or it will be too soft to frost the cake.  Beat until smooth and creamy.    

For Garnish
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips  
1/2 c. sprinkles
caramel ice cream topping, for serving

To Assemble Cake:
Slice cooled cakes in half lengthwise, so you have four layers of cake.  Place one layer on cake board and spread evenly with 1/3 of the cream cheese filling.  Top with another cake layer and 1/3 of the filling, followed by another cake layer and the remaining filling.  Top with last cake layer.  Frost a very thin layer (crumb coat) of chocolate frosting over top and sides of cake.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Remove from refrigerator and frost with remaining chocolate frosting.  Press mini chocolate chips into the bottom half of the cake and lightly press sprinkles onto the top of the cake.  Slice and serve. 

Jenn's Notes: I used two 7-inch round glass baking dishes with tall sides to bake my cake layers.  I know that is an odd size and most of you won't have them.  You can always use 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans.  Your layers will be slightly thinner and the baking time will vary slightly, but it will work.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


This whole dish is fabulous.  

Come on, just look at those ingredients.  Let's start with the chicken.  The secret to really good chicken is not overcooking it.  One of the best purchases I have made has been an instant-read thermometer.  I realized I had been way overcooking my meat.  Perfectly cooked chicken means tender and juicy and when you add an amazing rub like this one, it will have you begging for more.  This rub has become a go-to for me, because it adds so much flavor without having to marinate the chicken. 

The pasta portion of this dish is good enough you could eat it as your meal without any meat.  It is super creamy with a little heat and I added the same spices used in the chicken rub to tie the two together.    

So so good and easy enough for a weeknight.
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper

2 c. radiatore pasta (measure before it is cooked)
1 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. green or red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c. half-and-half (I used fat-free)
1/2 c. mild salsa verde (green salsa)
1 c. petite diced tomatoes from a can, undrained
1/4 tsp. ancho chili powder
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbl. cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbl. cold water

For the chicken: Combine ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper; season both sides of each chicken breast with the rub and set aside for a few minutes to allow the chicken to absorb some of the spices.  Then, grill on the George Foreman or cook in a skillet over medium heat until internal temperature registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

For the pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and chopped peppers and saute for a few minutes or until tender.  Stir in the half-and-half, salsa verde, diced tomatoes, chili powder, smoked paprika and cilantro.  Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.  Add the cornstarch/water mixture and continue cooking until thickened.  Stir in the cooked pasta.

To serve: Slice cooked chicken and serve over pasta.  Garnish with more cilantro, if desired.  Serves: 3-4    

Jenn's Notes:  This chicken rub has become one of my go-to rubs.  It goes great with many other dishes.  I have also made this pasta recipe and added cooked sausage and served without chicken and that was great too.

idea from: Picky Palate

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars

Pumpkin season has started early this year!

I usually try and wait until September to start posting pumpkin recipes with the exception of one or two recipes throughout the year.  I couldn't wait this year, but you WILL thank me when you make these bars.

The bottom layer tastes like a chewy, brown sugar, sugar cookie.  It has a rich caramel flavor.  The pumpkin pie layer is not just a creamy pumpkin pie filling.  Thanks to the flour and baking powder, it has some body to it and you can't forget the cinnamon sugar mixture on top.

They hold their shape so-well and can easily be packed in lunches or held in your hand as you vacuum . . . just saying :)

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

Cookie Layer
1 c. unsalted butter, room temp.
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbl. vanilla
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Pumpkin Pie Layer
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temp.
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 heaping tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree

2 Tbl. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.  For the cookie layer:  Cream together butter and brown sugar until creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until blended.  Spread/press cookie mixture evenly into baking pan.  For the pumpkin pie layer:  Cream together butter and sugar until creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add the baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, flour and pumpkin puree and beat until well blended.  Spread evenly over cookie layer.  For the topping: Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over pumpkin layer.  Bake for 38-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely.  Cut and serve.

Jenn's Notes: Recipe can be cut in half and baked in an 8x8-inch baking pan. 

adapted from: Dozen Flours    

Linked up at Weekend Potluck!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Asian Pork Chops

"The Mr." and I created this recipe when we were trying to think of a "meat" we could serve with our Easy Lo Mein.  

We mixed up a sauce and added a little of this and a little of that until it tasted good.  We poured it over our chops Saturday night and let it marinate until we were ready for dinner the next day.

They turned out so flavorful and it was an extremely fast dinner.  

We have made them a few times since and I wouldn't change a single thing.  These chops go  perfectly with our Easy Lo Mein and it tastes like a dish you would get at an Asian Restaurant.  

Be careful to not overcook the pork chops and they will be super tender and juicy.
Asian Pork Chops
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 - 1 1/2 Lbs. (1/2'' thick) boneless pork loin chops
2 Tbl. soy sauce
2 Tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbl. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbl. sriracha hot sauce
1 tsp. chili paste, opt.
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbl. green onions, chopped
1/4 c. water

Combine all ingredients.  Place pork chops in a zip-top bag or plastic container and pour marinade over top.  Cover tightly and allow to marinate overnight.  Heat 1/2 Tablespoon canola oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Add chops to hot pan, discarding the marinade.  Cook until browned, then flip over and cook until other side is browned.  Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 4-5 minutes per side.  Do not overcook.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Slice and serve.  

Jenn's Notes: These can also be cooked on a George Foreman grill.

Linked up at Inspiration Monday! and Weekend Potluck!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken

These Roasted Ranch Veggies are my current favorite side dish.  They are so good, that I have been searching for main dishes to serve with them.  Usually, it's the other way around.

I found this grilled chicken recipe the other day and it just so happened that I had all the ingredients on hand.  It turned out yummy and tasted great with my veggies.  I love new marinade recipes.  If anyone has a favorite, send it on my way.

You might also like:
24 Hour Chicken Marinade
One Pan Roast Chicken & Veggies in an Hour
Aussie Chicken
Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken
adapted from: Spend with Pennies
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

- 4 chicken breasts

Teriyaki Sauce
3 Tbl. soy sauce
2 Tbl. fresh lime juice
3 Tbl. pineapple juice
1/4 c. water
3 Tbl. honey
3 Tbl. ketchup
splash of sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbl. fresh ginger, grated
2 Tbl. minced green onions

Combine all sauce ingredients and pour over the chicken in a zip-top bag.  Marinate overnight.  Grill chicken (I used my George Foreman) and serve.  Serves: 4 

Jenn's Notes: I only use half the sauce to marinate my chicken and then I heat the remaining sauce and mix with 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 teaspoon cold water to thicken and drizzle that over my chicken before serving.   

Linked up at Inspiration Monday!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Zucchini Spice Yellow Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

I've been trying to make as many zucchini recipes as I can, because once September hits, my mind is all about Pumpkin.  I can't wait for Fall. 

The spices in this zucchini cake remind me of Fall and it is such a comforting feeling :)

It is a dense, lightly spiced, yellow cake full of zucchini and topped with my favorite cream cheese glaze.  Like most bread and cake recipes, you really can't tell there is zucchini in it.  During the long baking process, the zucchini dissolves into the cake and creates a super moist cake.  

There is only 1/4 cup of oil in the entire cake and since it is loaded with Greek yogurt, I'm thinking it would make a great breakfast cake too?  You could even go all out and use sugar-free cake mix and pudding mix if you want.  Just saying.

P.S.  It tastes amazing cold, straight out of the fridge.

You might also like:
Banana Streusel Bundt Cake
Zucchini Spice Yellow Cake
(Printable Recipe) and (Printable with Picture)

1 yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
4 eggs
2 c. grated zucchini

Cream Cheese Glaze
4 oz. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
milk, enough to reach desired consistency

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a bundt pan; set aside.  In a large bowl combine all of the cake ingredients, except the zucchini.  Using a hand-mixer, beat until smooth and creamy; about 2 minutes.  Fold in the grated zucchini.  Spread batter evenly into the greased bundt pan and bake for 60 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.  Cool in pan 15-20 minutes, then invert to a wire rack and cool completely.  When cooled, top with glaze.  

For the glaze:  Place cream cheese in a medium glass bowl and microwave 20-30 seconds or until very soft.  Stir until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 Tablespoon of milk.  Stir together until creamy.  Add a little more milk, if needed, to reach desired glaze consistency.  Drizzle over cooled cake.  

Cake adapted from: The Cake Mix Doctor and Glaze from: Jenn@eatcakefordinner

Linked up at Link Party Palooza! and Inspiration Monday! and Weekend Potluck!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches

We wanted some breaded chicken cutlet sandwiches for dinner.  We were originally going to go the homemade Chick-fil-A route, but decided we needed some bacon, so this is what we came up with and it was delicious.  

Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 large chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
1 c. Panko bread crumbs
1 Tbl. vegetable oil
2 hamburger buns
4 slices cooked bacon, for serving
ranch dressing, for serving

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Whisk the eggs in a shallow dish.  Place the flour, dry ranch dressing mix and pepper in another dish and the Panko bread crumbs in a 3rd dish.  Dip both sides of the chicken cutlets in the flour and then the egg and last in the Panko, pressing to adhere the crumbs.  Add the cutlets to the hot skillet.  Cook on first side until browned, flip and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  

To serve: Toast the hamburger buns, top each with a cooked chicken cutlet (you will have to cut the cutlet to make it fit the entire surface of the bun), cooked bacon and drizzle with prepared ranch dressing.  Serves 2.  

Jenn's Notes: These would also be good with some Cheddar cheese on top.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lemon Dream Yogurt Cake with Lemon Marshmallow Buttercream

My friend just gave me the best smelling Lemon Tree candle.  It almost smells like lemon buttercream and that is what started it all :)  I really wanted a lemony treat.  

I made my FAVORITE GO-TO cake mix recipe for the lemon cake.  This recipe creates the softest, most tender cake that just melts in your mouth.  I topped it with a pillowy soft lemon marshmallow buttercream and it is a perfect pair.

Both the cake and frosting are lightly flavored with lemon.  Just a hint.  This is not a make you pucker lemon cake and I love it.
Lemon Dream Yogurt Cake
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 white cake mix
1 (3.4 oz.) box lemon instant pudding mix
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract

Lemon Marshmallow Buttercream
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 (7 oz.) carton Marshmallow cream
pinch of salt
1 - 2 tsp. lemon extract, to taste
grated zest of one lemon
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  For the Cake:  Combine dry cake mix, dry pudding mix, water, oil, yogurt, eggs and lemon extract.  Beat until smooth and well combined.  Pour into a greased 9x13-inch cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.  Cool completely and frost.

For the Buttercream:  Beat butter and marshmallow cream until fluffy.  Add salt, 1 teaspoon lemon extract and lemon zest and beat until combined.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time and beat until very light and fluffy.  Taste and add more lemon extract, if needed.  Spread over cooled cake.  

Jenn's Notes:  I prefer the flavor of imitation lemon extract over pure lemon extract.  The recipe above is written using imitation lemon extract.  The cake gets pretty brown during baking, but it does not taste burnt.    

Linked up at Link Party Palooza! and Weekend Potluck!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cream Cheese Swirled Zucchini Muffins

HOLY COW . . . these are so good!  One of my favorite zucchini recipes are my ZUCCHINI CAKE COOKIES WITH CREAM CHEESE FILLING, so I know how well cream cheese goes with zucchini.  

Plus, I know how well lemon goes with cinnamon and zucchini because of my BEST EVER ZUCCHINI MUFFINS.
It is a super bonus that these are somewhat HEALTHY.  At least healthier than your average muffin.  They have some whole wheat flour, hardly any oil, Greek yogurt and lots of zucchini.

The flavor is awesome, the texture is soft and light and the cream cheese filling takes these from an every-day zucchini muffin to a gotta-eat-these-now zucchini muffin.
Cream Cheese Swirled Zucchini Muffins
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon, opt.
2 c. zucchini, grated

Cream Cheese Filling:
6 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, room temp.
1/4 c. sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  For the cream cheese filling:  In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and beat until smooth and creamy.  It might be runny, but that is okay; set aside.  For the muffins:  In a large bowl, combine the wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside.  In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, vegetable oil and eggs and beat until smooth.  Add the brown sugar, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest and beat until combined.  Last, stir in the grated zucchini.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Do not overmix.  

Spoon some of the muffin batter into a well-greased muffin tin, filling each cup around 1/2 full.  Top each with a heaping spoonful of the cream cheese filling (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons each).  Then, top each with more muffin batter.  Muffin cups will be full.  Bake for 20-23 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.  Yield: 12-15 muffins. 

Jenn's Notes:  The lemon zest is optional, but I love the flavor of cinnamon and lemon with zucchini.  I made these exactly as I typed above.    

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mexican Corn Pasta Salad

This salad was absolutely delicious.  "The Mr." made the best Mexican-style chicken marinade.  He is the "marinade master" and this was the best one he had come up with yet.  Too bad I didn't pay attention to what he did.  I'll see if I can get it out of him to share with you guys.  Anyway, we grilled some chicken on the George Foreman and served alongside this awesome salad and it was such a bright and fresh meal.  

This pasta salad is loaded with fresh corn, chopped cilantro, Feta cheese, Parmesan cheese and it is all lightly coated in a chili mayonnaise.  I used light Mayonnaise and it actually felt like I was eating a somewhat "healthy" meal.  It wasn't heavy at all.  

I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day and it was even better!
Mexican Corn Pasta Salad
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

8 oz. radiatore pasta

2/3 c. Mayonnaise (I used light)
zest of 1/2 a lime
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika, opt.

3 c. corn (3-4 ears corn)
1/2 c. Feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. green onions, chopped
2 Tbl. cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, diced, opt.
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse.  Rinsing the pasta will keep the noodles from sticking together.  Set aside and allow to cool and dry completely.  Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Cut the kernals off the ears of corn and add to the hot skillet.  Saute for a few minutes or until tender; set aside to cool.  Mix together all of the dressing ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.  

When the pasta is cool and dry, add the cooked corn, Feta cheese, grated Parmesan, chopped green onions, chopped cilantro and diced avocado.  Add the dressing and fold all of the ingredients together until everything is coated with sauce.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Garnish with more chili powder and serve.  Serves: 4-6  

Jenn's Notes:  You could always use canned corn if you would like and skip the cooking part.  I did not add avocado to my salad.   

Slightly adapted from: Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

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