30 May 2012

double chocolate strawberry zucchini muffin recipe

It's good someone figured out that it's smart to put strawberries in zucchini bread; there are plenty of both being harvested this time of year. My sis-in-law, Ashley, has a huge zucchini crop this year and shared some of the yummy green squash with us. 

In my brief search to find a strawberry zucchini muffin recipe, I found this: Double Chocolate Strawberry Zucchini Muffins. YES!!! They are delicious. The slightly tart strawberries pair well with the chocolate, and the zucchini makes these muffins moist. And they're mostly healthy. Check out the original recipe, or follow what I did here. 

If you want more healthy, tasty muffin recipes, check out my "muffin girl" board on pinterest

2 cups shredded zucchini, shredded
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt, divided; (use half for zucchini, see directions)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
2 eggs
4 Tbsp skim milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 + cup strawberries, chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins. Yield: 18+ regular muffins.
  • Shred the zucchini, then place in a colander and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Let it sit, for about 10 minutes, while combing the other ingredients, so that the excess water from the zucchini can be released.
  • In a bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and allspice.
  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in the applesauce and milk.
  • With a paper towel, gently press the zucchini in the colander to release any remaining excess liquid. Add the zucchini to the egg mixture and stir.
  • Add the zucchini/egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips.
  • Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • After 1 day, keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.

24 May 2012

smiley baby

I love this smiley little fella. Eliad is 9 weeks old. Today was a pretty good day for him; no major meltdowns, which is nice for everyone.

23 May 2012

chicken cooking and meal ideas

Here is an example of what I do with a whole chicken:

1. Cook the chicken.
I have 2 ways I like to do it depending on what kind of time I have--roasting and crock pot cooking.

Roasting a whole chicken.
I use a 9x13 pan and a rack from my toaster oven turned upside down (because I don't own a roasting pan). I take the chicken out of its bag and put it straight onto the rack-pan combo, breast side up. I don't wash it first. All the bacterial is going to get cooked, so it seems to me that rinsing the chicken is just going to potentially contaminate more of my kitchen with salmonella. But I am careful about washing everything that touches the raw chicken with soap and warm water-- including the sink and soap dispenser after I finish washing my hands. I usually rain salt over the chicken in the pan, then put it in the oven, preheated to 350. I cook the whole chicken for 20 min per pound plus 20 additional minutes.

Crock pot cooking a whole chicken. 
I use the same health safety precautions when handling the raw bird. This time it goes straight into the crock pot, breast side up. This way works with either a frozen or fresh chicken. I sometimes sprinkle salt on top, but I've mostly stopped doing that. I cook it on high for at least 4 hours. I keep an eye on it after 4 hours to see when I want to turn it off. I basically just wait til it looks thoroughly cooked. I know this isn't super safe, but I haven't had any trouble cooking it this way. I do err on cooking it a little too long, because in the crock pot, it just gets more tender, not dry. If you aren't comfortable cooking poultry this way, don't do it. Easy enough. I prefer the crock pot over roasting because it makes the next step easy..

2. Make chicken broth by boiling the bones and drippings with a generous amount of water. I usually refrigerate the broth before using it so I can get the fat off the top and throw it away.

3. Make/ cook meals from the meat. I usually get at least 2 meals with 2-4 servings each. Suggestions:

--Just chicken (best the same day I cook it).

--Chicken salad.

--Chicken enchiladas.

--Chicken pot pie (I usually make a version with a biscuit topping rather than making pie crust).

--Tex-mex chicken casserole.

--Chicken tetrazzini.

--Chicken on salad.

--Chicken sandwiches or wraps.

--Chicken chili.

--Pizza with chicken.

4. Make soups from the broth. In the summer I use the broth to cook fresh veggies, but we have soup a lot more in the winter. I also use the broth to make cream of chicken soup for cooking. Sometimes I'll chop up and throw some chicken in the soup too. I get at least 2 pots of soup, 4 servings each. Suggestions:

--Chicken noodle

--Vegetable soup with chicken broth base

--Green soup. I don't have a good name for it, but I use tomatillos, cilantro, black beans (if I planned ahead) or lentils (if I didn't), and sometimes corn. And of course other spices.

--Veggies, lentils, and curry.

--Chowder of some sort, like potato or corn.

--Various beany chili recipes.

It looks like I get 4 meals, each with about 2-4 servings from cooking one whole chicken. Of course, I'm adding veggies, beans, cream soup, spices etc to make the dishes, and we eat appropriate sides with a lot of them. But the chicken is a good/ cheap starting place for lots of different kinds of healthy meals.