Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

“light” Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

zucchinibread

I am super excited to share this recipe with you- NOT just because it’s amazing and delicious and awesome.  But mostly because this is the first recipe that I was able to use my brand spankin’ new KITCHENAID STAND MIXER!!!  Can you believe I got it already?!  What an unbelievable gift from our wonderful family friend Cheryl.  I finally picked a first recipe for it, and it was awesome.  YAY!

Now, it’s time to share this super sweet but “light” zucchini bread recipe!  If you cut the bread into 16 slices, each slice should only cost you about 160 calories.  It’s delish!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Sugar 
  • 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 cup Unsweetened, All-Natural Apple Sauce
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Zucchini (about 1 medium) 
  • 1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Place the sugar, eggs, and vegetable oil in a large bowl.  Beat with a mixer on low until well blended.  Add applesauce and continue to stir on low until it is well combined.
  2. Lightly spoon the flour into measuring cups, leveling with a knife.  In a separate bowl, combine the measured flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and stir well with a whisk.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beating just until moist.  With a rubber scraper or wooden spoon, stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.  
  3. Put the batter into a 9×5 inch loaf pan prepared with cooking spray.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until it passes the toothpick test.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from pan to cool completely before slicing.  

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Cooking Light, 2004

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You might also like some of these other quick breads I’ve made!  Check them out…

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread

Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread

5-Minute Banana Bread

5-Minute Banana Bread

 

Crockpot Coconut Curry – SRC July

Crockpot Coconut Curry w/ Eggplant & Zucchini – for the SRC July

curry.jpg

I know that typically people whip out their good ol’ slow cookers in the dead of winter, but I am super happy I decided to try this out despite the fact that it’s (OMG… already?!?) July!  There’s absolutely something to be said about a recipe that takes zero effort to prepare and no time standing over a hot grill, oven, or stovetop.  And I just love having a “Meatless Monday” to start my week of right.

What I love so much about cooking -and blogging- is that I can find so many different recipes from different places.  This recipe happened because of a really awesome blogging club that I participate in, called The Secret Recipe Club.  Forget what my Secret Recipe Club is?  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with the adorable vegetarian blogger, Amanda and her blog Dancing Veggies.  Despite being the opposite of a vegetarian, I totally fell in foodie-love with Amanda’s blog.  Her veggie dishes are super flavorful and complex, it was so hard to pick just one.  Amanda loves spicy food, like us, so this Crockpot Coconut Curry won out.  It was amazing!

Crockpot Coconut Curry – Eggplant & Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, large
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 2 Thai Chilies, minced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 6oz can Tomato Paste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Light Coconut Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Marsala
  • 1lb Zucchini, cubed
  • 1lb Eggplant, cubed
  • 1/2 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Fresh Parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place the onion, bell pepper, and thai chilies into a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add garlic, tomato paste, coconut milk and spices and process until smooth. 
  2. Place the veggies and sauce into the slow cooker.  Cook on LOW for 4 hours.  Serve over rice with delicious naan bread.  Top with a dollop of yogurt and some fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Slow Cooker Coconut Curry

Ready to whirl!

Ready to whirl!

Sauce is complete and ready to go.

Sauce is complete and ready to go.

Veggies chopped... so good!

Veggies chopped… so good!

The finished product!  yummy vegetarian curry over brown basmati rice

The finished product! yummy vegetarian curry over brown basmati rice

Dave and I were just dying over this curry!  The veggies become completely melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the curry sauce is thick and packed with spice and flavor.  I served the curry over some brown basmati rice from Trader Joe’s and skipped the Naan this time.  This healthy dish should definitely make it into your weeknight repertoire!  ENJOY, and don’t forget to check out the other posts written below by the fabulous bloggers in the SRC!

Veggie Marinara Bake

This is what happens when you let a girl like me loose in a grocery store.  I just go wild.

I have been a very good girl lately with my food shopping excursions- always having a plan for the week including a list and a budget.  This past week, I was feeling rather uninspired and only had one dinner pre-planned.  When I got to the market and saw all of the bright, fresh produce… I finally got the inspiration I needed.  I decided that I wanted to take the idea of baked ziti (not sure why but I had a bad craving for it) and put it together using veggies instead of pasta.

I went through the different areas of the produce section picking out what looked to be the best local veggies I could find.  I went home and threw it together and this is what I came up with:

Veggie Marinara Bake

Makes 4 Large Servings

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon chopped Garlic 

1/2 Vidalia Onion, diced

2 small Zucchinis, sliced into thin circles

1 large Yellow Squash (or 2 small), sliced into thin half-moons or circles

1 Baby Eggplant, cut into small chunks

3/4 cup Shredded Carrots

1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced

1 small can Sliced Black Olives

Italian Seasoning, Salt, Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper

1 28oz can Crushed Tomatoes

1 package Hot Turkey or Chicken Sausage (I used Wegman’s brand, it came with 4 patties)

1/4 cup Fat Free Ricotta Cheese

1/4 cup Shaved Parmesan (divided, optional)

1/4 cup Grated Parmesan 

1/8 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs

Directions:

1.  Wash and cut all of the veggies.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes.  Add the rest of the veggies and saute, stirring occasionally to re-distribute.  Stir in Italian Seasoning blend of your choice or just some Salt, Pepper, and Crushed Red Pepper.  Once the squash and eggplant are soft, add the can of crushed tomatoes (reserve some if you’d like to dip).  Simmer over medium-low heat.

2.  In a separate pan, cook the sausage over medium heat and chop.  Stir and chop and cook until the sausage is cooked through and browned.  Put aside.

3.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Prepare a baking dish with cooking spray.  Add a layer of the veggie/tomato mixture to the baking dish.  Place half of the chopped sausage ontop.  Using a spoon, dollop little sections of the ricotta cheese onto the top.  Add the rest of the veggies, then the sausage, then more dollops of ricotta.  Top with half of the shaved parmesan if using.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly ontop, following with the grated parmesan.  

4.  Pop in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the top is browning just a bit.  

*Note: Serve carefully- since there is no cheese or egg throughout the dish, it will not hold shape like a baked ziti or lasagna will.  Just scoop and serve… it’s delicious, trust me.

Before: So pretty :)

Before: So pretty 🙂

The after:  Not so pretty... but it's going to be pretty tasty!

The after: Not so pretty… but it’s going to be pretty tasty!

After it's done baking

After it’s done baking

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Served with a side of garlic bread... nom nom

Served with a side of garlic bread… nom nom

Even good for lunch while I'm working at home!

Even good for lunch while I’m working at home!

At first I was disappointed that my faux-baked ziti did not turn out very pretty.  But then I started thinking about it, and who really cares what it looks like?  This was just a dinner for Dave and I to sit in front of the TV and watch the Eagles game.  I’d much rather have a healthier meal than have it look pretty.  Because this recipe is chock full of fresh veggies, we were able to only divide it by FOUR and still have the total calorie count under 300 (depending on whatever type of sausage/meat you choose).  Amazing.  Don’t you just love pigging out on food when you  know it won’t do any damage!?

What’s great about this recipe is that it’s something different from your typical same-old.  Try it with whatever veggies you have or whatever veggies you prefer.  You can also go crazy and take out the sausage to make it vegetarian! Oh, and the leftovers?  I’m eating them right now for lunch… they are even better!!

 

Posted Last year:  Lunchtime Tuesday

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Spinach-Artichoke Lasagna

Spinach-Artichoke Lasagna

"New" Chicken Parmesan

“New” Chicken Parmesan

Mom's Baked Tomatoes

Mom’s Baked Tomatoes

Tilapia w/ Black Beans & Zucchini

My 2nd gym (Planet Fitness) is right next to a supermarket.  How convenient.

The other day after I worked out, I hurried over to purchase a few healthy snacks, some turkey for lunches, and dinner- as I was on my own for the night.  Passing the seafood area, I noticed how cheap Tilapia was!  I really have never made any type of fish except salmon, so I was super excited to try Tilapia out.

With a whole 1/2 lb of Tilapia only costing me 6 points, I was able to have some fun with it!

Tilapia w/ Black Beans & Zucchini

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
1/2 lb Tilapia (usually 2 pieces), rinsed and patted dry
Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Garlic, Minced, divided
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1/2 can Black Beans
1 Zucchini
1/2 Onion
8 Green Beans
1 Tomato
2 Green Onions
Directions:
1.  Cut up all of the veggies.  In a large saucepan, heat just a little bit of olive oil (teaspoon?).  Add 1/4 teaspoon Garlic.  Saute for 30 seconds before adding the onion, zucchini, green beans, and green onions.  Stir around until the veggies become softer- I like to get it to the point where the zucchinis are browning just a little bit.
2.  Meanwhile, heat another teaspoon of Olive Oil in a separate pan over medium heat.  Season both sides of the Tilapia with Sea Salt, Pepper, and the other 1/4 teaspoon of Garlic (and a few shakes of Red Pepper Flakes if you’d like!).  Place the Tilapia gently in the pan over the oil.  Add the lime juice.  It only takes  about 4-5 minutes on each side.  Try to only flip it once to avoid it falling apart.
3.  When the veggies and fish are almost done, add the black beans and tomatoes into the veggie saucepan.  Stir to combine.  Serve together!

Here are my veggies sauteeing, before the beans and tom’s go in!

Delish Tilapia! I’d love to try this again.

This was really simple and completely thrown together last minute.  It worked out really well.  The simplicity was really nice, because you could really taste the flavors of the veggies and fish.  This would be really yummy too, if you’d add just a few shakes of Parmesan cheese ontop.

It was a nice change from my normal asian or cajun fish seasonings and marinades.

Veggies, Red Sauce, & Elbows

Stelly and I were left to ourselves last night, which has been rare now-a-days.  What to make for dinner?  I was looking for something quick (obviously) and healthy and the first thing that caught my eye in the fridge was our giant clamshell of Yellow Grape Tomatoes.  Here’s what Stel and I came up with!

Veggies, Red Sauce,  Elbows

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
1 cup Smart Taste Elbows, uncooked (or any other pasta but I like this the best!)
1 1/2 – 2 cups Tomato Sauce (I used Prego Heart Smart)
Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Zucchini
1 Green Bell Pepper
Yellow Grape Tomatoes
Italian Seasoning Mix, Sea Salt, Pepper, Fresh Parsley, Cayenne Pepper
Shredded Parmesan-Reggiano
Directions:
1.  Cut veggies.  Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Dump the garlic, and veggies into the oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 10 minutes or so or until the veggies are cooked to your liking.  I like mine on the softer side, so I cook them until they start to brown just a little bit.  You can lower the heat to medium.
2.  Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and cook the pasta.  Add a few drops of olive oil and a shake of sea salt to flavor the pasta and make sure it doesn’t stick to the pot!  Cook for about 6 minutes.  Drain.
3.  Once your veggies are cooked, add the tomato sauce, chopped fresh parsley, italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper (for some heat… optional!)  Add the pasta.  Stir to combine.  Add cheese to each individual serving.  Enjoy!

So pretty. Veggies are cut and ready to be sauteed!

I originally thought this would make enough for me to eat for dinner and lunch the next day, which is why I measured the pasta, exactly two servings.  With the added volume from the veggies, it ended up coming out to be a whole FOUR servings.  This means that what I’m eating is 1. cheaper and 2. less calories!  Although I saved on those two important factors, the flavor was still great.  I didn’t share with Stelly, but I do have to share a few new pics of her and our other dog (Sushi) with YOU!

Stella is recently obsessed with waterbottles. She can take the cap off and drink water out of them. No lie. Video will have to come soon.

Sushi and Stella, patiently waiting for me to stop blogging!!

Zucchini Linguine

I’m totally going to call her out… my sister Melissa used to think the animal, Yak was a Zucchini.  I am laughing out loud as I’m typing this, but we used to have alphabetical animal playing cards, and she seriously used to call the “Y-for a Yak” card a ZUCCHINI!  How cute?

 

Yakity Yak.. don't talk back!

This week my Mom came home with a big bag of giant green Zucchinis… the squash… not the animal.  I LOVE Zuchs… they are my favorite vegetable.  As it starts to become warmer outside, you’ll see more of it in my recipes.  I love to grill them.  There are so many different ways to make them too.  Mom and I were in a bit of a rush so we threw together this fabulous pasta dish.  We were both pretty surprised at how amazing it came out!

 

Zucchini Linguine

Ingredients:
2 Servings Whole Wheat Linguine
Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
3 Zucchinis (large)
6 Sweet Tri-Colored Peppers (or bell!)
1 Onion
2 cans Mushrooms
Fresh Grated Cheese (you can do Parm, we had some Sharp Prov so we used that)
Directions:
1.  Hand slice or use the slicing attachment on a food processor to thinly slice the zucchinis (saved so much time!), onions, and peppers.
2.  Heat Olive Oil in a pan.  Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds-minute.  Dump the veggies in and stir occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the zucchini is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
3.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.  Drain the pasta.
4.  Serve the veggies over the pasta and drizzle just a touch of olive oil on top.  Add seasoning if desired, I just used some salt and pepper.  Add just a pinch or two of cheese.

Yummy, healthy, and very easy weeknight dinner

Ratatouille

I guess it was my recent trip to Disney that inspired me this week to make Ratatouille.  Apparently it’s not just Disney movie about an adorable mouse-chef… it’s a yummy and very healthy dish!

I based my recipe off of this “One Pan Ratatouille” Recipe from Sunset magazine.  The recipe is very simple and really quick.  The longest time you’ll spend on this is cutting up all of the veggies, so if you have anyone hangin’ around waiting for dinner… get them to help stir while you cut!

Ratatouille

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil (separated)

1 Onion

1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic

2 (14.5 oz) cans Diced Tomatoes, no salt added

1 Baby Eggplant

½ teaspoon Salt

¼ teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

1 lb Red Bell Peppers (or other colors if they are on sale!)

1  Zucchini

1 Yellow Squash

¾ cup Fresh Basil Leaves

Directions:

  1. Dice onion.  Heat 1.5 Tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a giant frying pan or a 5-6 qt pan.  Add onion and garlic and stir often for about 5 minutes until the onion softens up a bit.
  2. Add both cans of diced tomatoes, with the liquid.  Dice the eggplant.  Add the eggplant, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ½ cup Water.  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Cover and reduce heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.  Test the eggplant after 10 minutes- it should be soft when stuck with a fork.
3.      Meanwhile, dice the bell peppers, zucchini, and squash.  After the eggplant is soft, add the last 3 veggies and return to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the squash is now soft when pierced with a fork.  This took me about 15 minutes.
4.      Chop the fresh basil and add into the mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste and the remaining 1 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil.

Ratatouille

This dish was so colorful and pretty!  I served ours over whole wheat elbow shaped pasta and added just a touch of red pepper flakes for some spice (duh!!).  I usually don’t make dinners without any type of meat but the Ratatouille was hearty and filling enough to exclude it.