Friday, May 30, 2014

Zucchini Cakes

Well, it's been a week and we are still trying to cook and eat our way through the heaping pile of huge homegrown zucchini my parents gave us. Last week I made a batch of simple and delicious Zucchini Bread using shredded zucchini. Last night I made these Zucchini Cakes, a recipe based on our Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Zucchini Cakes, as a hearty, tasty side dish for dinner.

If you are looking for a way to get your picky, non-vegetable eater to get their 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, try making these Zucchini Cakes. They might not even know they are eating a big handful of zucchini! Or if you just really like vegetables (like me), then try these cakes 'cause they are a fun way to mix up the plain-old, boring zucchini recipes.

The leftovers make a great, portable snack or lunch too! Just reheat them in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Zucchini Cakes
based on a recipes from happyhealthyyummyfoodforbabyandchild and
makes about 15 cakes

3 cups grated zucchini (about 2 large zucchini)
3 eggs
2 tbsp. light sour cream
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
pinch of red pepper (or more if you like to turn up the heat!)

Grate a zucchinis on a paper towel, then squeeze and wring excess water out of grated zucchini - very important!

Place grated zucchini in a large bowl. Add eggs, cheese, sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir well.

Add breadcrumbs a TBSP at a time until the mixture is moist but sticky (so you can form the cakes and they do not fall apart). Form small, flat cakes with the mixture (about a handful of mixture per cake) and place cakes on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for approximately 15 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

These zucchini cakes are delicious warm, especially right out of the oven. You could also dip them in some low-fat ranch! OMG yum. Seriously, these little guys are so tasty I almost ate the entire batch myself!!!! Oooops... well at least they are made with mostly zucchini so I don't have to feel too guilty. ;)

5 a DAY! Eat your fruits and veggies people.

Check out our other zucchini and vegetable recipes here.

- Janel

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Grilled Sweet Chili Pork and Brussel Sprouts

I just love outdoor cooking during the summer! Tonight I fired up the grill and made this Grilled Sweet Chili Pork and Brussel Sprouts. 

A bold, flavorful rub is placed on lean, boneless pork loin chops then they are grilled to perfection. The rub turns out amazingly sweet, smoky and spicy... the little bit of heat from the chili powder and sweetness from the brown sugar takes this pork to the next level. Since the grill was already on, I decided to skewer brussel sprouts and cook them along side the pork for my side dish. They grilled up nice too; they stayed crunchy and had a tasty charred flavor.

Amy and I really REALLY enjoyed this meal. Not only was it delicious, Grilled Sweet Chili Pork and Brussel Sprouts was quick and easy, healthy, and there was barely any clean-up!

Grilled Sweet Chili Pork
recipe via
Serves 4

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (approx 1.5lbs)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons brown sugar

STEP ONE: Preheat grill or grill pan. Combine all ingredients except for the pork in a large Ziploc bag or large container with lid. Add the pork to the container, seal, and shake to evenly distribute the spice rub. 

STEP TWO: Grill the pork over medium heat for 14-16 minutes, flipping the meat half way through, or until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees. Set the meat aside to rest before cutting.

For more information on grilling pork, click here:

These Grilled Brussel Sprouts pair great with the Sweet Chili Pork but they could be a great side dish for just about any meal! They would be fun at a summer cookout, party, or bar-b-que..

Grilled Brussels Sprouts
based on a recipe from
Serves 4

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, as uniform in size as possible*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat a grill to medium. Cut off the stem end of the Brussels sprouts and remove any yellowing outer leaves. Place the Brussels sprouts into a large, microwave safe mixing bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 3 minutes. Add the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Allow the sprouts to cool until you can handle them. 

Skewer 4 to 5 Brussels sprouts onto each metal skewer with the stem ends facing in the same direction, leaving at least 1/2-inch in between each sprout. 

Place the skewers onto the grill with stem end closest to the flame. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the skewers over and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. 

Serve as is or for additional flavor, remove the sprouts from the skewers, return them to the original mixing bowl and toss with any of the remaining oil and garlic mixture.


Enjoy your opportunity to do some outdoor cooking this summer... fire up the grill more often! It's so easy and so easy to clean up.

- Janel

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Zucchini Bread

One of the reasons I love this time of year... homegrown, giant ZUCCHINI! My parents garden always produces massive amounts of zucchini during the spring/summer. Our baking and cooking can barely keep up with the seemingly never-ending supply, so it's a good thing you can use shredded zucchini in so many different kinds of recipes.

I happen to love shredded zucchini in my baked goods and treats... in breads, cookies, muffins, pancakes, or scones! The zucchini cooks down (you can't even taste it) and gives the baked good really great moisture. I wanted to share this recipe for Zucchini Bread because it is simple and basic, but oh-so delicious.

You can eat this moist, tasty Zucchini Bread for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert! Since this is a fantastic basic Zucchini Bread recipe, feel free to make it your own. You could make the bread without walnuts, or add raisins or mini chocolate chips... next time I'm going to try making it with applesauce instead of oil, and adding some shredded carrots and raisins. YUM!

Zucchini Bread
adapted from
makes 2 loaves

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar (I only used 1 1/2 cups)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Note: The longer the bread sits, the more moist it will become. 

Store in the refrigerator up to a week or you can freeze any extra loaves!

Zucchini Bread is a great way to sneak some veggies into your picky eater too; they'll never even know they are eating zucchini. The bread is moist, has a great spiced flavor and nice texture from the walnuts. YUM! I like mine served warm with some butter or cream cheese on top.


- Janel

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Earlier this month our family took a trip to the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii... also known as Paradise.

Bags of Kona coffee, local treats, and macadamia nuts were among the coveted items we brought home with us. So when Amy asked me to bake cookies for her work potluck, I thought a batch of cookies using our Hawaiian macadamia nuts would be the perfect way to spread the aloha spirit!


I had no idea just how delicious these White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies would turn out... but WOW!!! I love everything about these cookies; they are sweet and salty, buttery and nutty, soft and chewy. They smelled amazing baking, I couldn't help but devour a few of them warm, right out of the oven.

Macadamia nuts are popular nut because they are rich and buttery, with a light crisp texture. They are great for snacking! They are also the perfect compliment to white chocolate chips and give this cookie wonderful crunch and texture. Unfortunately, this is not a low fat, low calorie treat... so try to enjoy these cookies in moderation. ;)

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
original recipe by Nestle Tollhouse 
makes 2-3 dozen cookies

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 375ยบ.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in white chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet for a minute or so, then move to wire racks to cool completely.

These cookies are so incredibly good, they are a little piece of paradise and take me right back to the islands! ♥



Monday, May 19, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes

Great news everyone.......... PANCAKE SUNDAY IS BACK!!!!

Do you like oatmeal raisin cookies? Amy and I happen to love them, so Sunday morning I created a new way to get our oatmeal cookie fix for breakfast. A few ingredients and a few minutes was all it took for me to throw together a batch of tasty Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes. Not only are these pancakes healthier than your standard pancake (no-sugar, no-white flour, no-oil), they are super hearty and filling! These Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes were the perfect re-fueling food after a hard morning workout.


Healthy, yummy pancakes are a great way to start your Sunday... or any day! :) For a list of all our Pancake Sunday recipes click here.

Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes
based on a recipe from

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup raisins

In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine milk, applesauce, egg whites, and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in raisins.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a heated griddle coated with cooking spray. Cook until bubbles appear on the top; turn and cook until lightly browned. Yield: 5 servings (2 pancakes each).

Stay tuned for another Pancake Sunday recipe next week. I have a few homegrown, beautiful zucchinis laying around... so I'm thinking Zucchini Carrot Pancakes!?

Have a great week!

- Janel

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Grilled Thai Chicken Pizza

When I grill chicken breasts for dinner, I always throw on a few more so I have leftovers to use for a couple meals. What's your favorite recipe or way to use up leftover chicken?

Normally I would use my leftover grilled chicken on a salad, like my favorite BBQ Chicken Salad, but I decided to change it up today... it's been awhile since I had a delicious grilled pizza! And seeing as how it was 105 degrees here in San Diego, using the grill for dinner again seemed like an excellent idea. Now, the big question... what kind of pizza do I make with my leftover chicken?

My sister has been working really hard on her garden lately... and I am enjoying the fruits of her labor. I love having fresh herbs to cook with! Since I have fresh cilantro right at my fingertips, I went with a Thai Chicken Pizza tonight. For this grilled pizza, a spicy Thai peanut sauce is prepared then spread on top of naan bread (or flat bread), covered with mozzarella cheese, a crunchy mix of vegetables, chicken, and roasted peanuts, placed on the grill until the cheese is bubbly, then sprinkled with cilantro.

Wow, that is one good-looking pizza!

Grilled Thai Chicken Pizza
based on a recipe from
makes 2 small pizzas

Spicy peanut sauce - 
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced ginger (or more if you wish)
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce (or dried chili flakes)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons water

Thai chicken pieces - 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 pre-cooked chicken breast

For the pizza - 
2 naan bread, flat bread, or premade pizza crust
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup white bean sprouts
1/4 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small pan over medium heat.
2. Bring the sauce to a boil; boil gently for one minute.
3. Stir sauce until all ingredients are well combined; set aside.
4. To make Thai chicken: Cook the chicken in olive oil over med-high heat, stirring, until just cooked; 5 to 6 minutes do not overcook (OR use pre-cooked chicken).
5. Set aside in refrigerator until chilled through.
6. Once chilled, coat the chicken with 1/4 cup sauce.
7. To make the pizza: Use a large spoon to spread 1/4 cup sauce evenly over each naan bread or pizza crust within the rim.
8. Cover sauce of each pizza with 3/4 cup cheese, the distribute the chicken pieces over the cheese followed by the bean sprouts and carrots.
9. Sprinkle an additional cheese over the toppings and top the pizzas with chopped peanuts.
10. Transfer the pizzas to a heated and oiled grill; cook on low-medium heat until bottom is golden and crisp and golden and the cheese is bubbly, about 8 to 10 minutes.
11. When cooked through, remove pizzas from grill, then sprinkle chopped cilantro over the hot cheesy surface.


I have a feeling I will be making this Grilled Thai Chicken Pizza again soon. This pizza tastes just like (or better than) California Pizza Kitchen's Thai Chicken Pizza... seriously! Not to mention, it was super easy to make and only took a few minutes to heat up on the grill. This is a spicy, flavorful pizza... perfect to for summer. Would go great with a cold beer!

- Janel