Appetizer Idea: Baked Egg Rolls

photo (26)

Ever admired an egg roll for its fresh veggie crunch? photo (30)

I have. What I’ve loathed, though, is the fact that the crispiness is usually fried. You know how I feel about that. NOT a fan. I love my arteries a bit too much.

Yes, so my health-snobbish ways have me trying another recipe of my own. My usual approach plays out here. I’m not drawing from any one specific recipe. Instead I snoop around on Pinterest, get a feel for how the traditional, unhealthy recipes are made, get the steps and ingredients down pat, modify to my liking, and

love it.

Everything’s better when you make it to your liking. I wanted a crispy, unfried roll with stir-fry-like veggie filling. You could modify the half-cup of veggies with rice, meats, beans, essentially anything you like. Have fun, experiment, and make it something you would want to (28)

Again and again and again.


3 egg roll wrappers (I love Nasoya)

1/2 cup stir-fry veggies

1 t low-sodium soy sauce

dash of ginger

bigger dash of red pepper flakes

optional: 1/2 t Asian dressing (like Newman’s Own Ginger-Sesame)photo (27)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a small pan, fry up veggies in soy sauce, and then mix in ginger, red pepper, and dressing if you’re using that. Saute it up on high ’til tasty coating forms, then turn down to low after a few minutes. Juices will begin to thicken. Let saute a few more minutes.

When ready, evenly distribute the veggies on the three wrappers, laying them out in a thick line. At the ends of each line, fold edges in. Flip one of the adjacent edges over and roll. You’ll roll ’til you can’t roll anymore. Flip the egg roll over on its side or seal with a dab of water so the wrapper holds (but not much).photo (31)

Bake for about 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.

Hope you love it! I definitely want to try it as an appetizer for a group.


Zucchini Mac-and-Cheese


My foodie-paleo friend Sara and I went to a cooking class a few weeks back on gluten-free cooking. Okay, this recipe is not gluten-free, but it’s inspired by the class instructor’s zucchini pasta recipe–the one I mentioned a while back with the delicious cashew cream sauce, remember?SAM_5885

love zucchini in the summer and I’m always looking for smart, tasty ways to incorporate veggies in my pasta-protein dinners, which I eat almost every night. So zucchini works great with cream-based dishes. My little lactose intolerance problem usually steers me away from cream-based sauces, but every once in a while I splurge or hybridize the sauce to my stomach’s liking. That’s what I did here, and hopefully this solo-culinaire creation pleases others with similar dietary situations.


1/4 cup whole-wheat macaroni noodles, drySAM_5884

1/2 cup shredded zucchini

pinch of onion powder

1/2 t Dijon mustard

1 wedge of Swiss Laughing Cow cheese

3 T non-dairy cheese shreds

1/2 T Parmesan

dash of pepper


-Use my easy Mug’O’Mac recipe to boil your noodles quick! Just put your 1/4 cup of dry noodles in about 3/4 cups water and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes, stir, and then 2 more minutes in the microwave. Drain when finished.

-Once noodles are dry, toss in zucchini. Mix around.

-For the sauce, break up the cheese wedge into chunks and spread around, sprinkle on the cheese shreds, then the mustard, pepper, and onion powder go in. Heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Remove and stir quickly. If still not melty enough, heat for another 15 seconds or so. Toss around until noodles are evenly coated. Serve warm and garnish with Parmesan!

Moroccan Lentil Soup


“Lots of lentils means lots of filling fiber.”SAM_5357

Or so wrote the editors of Eating Well in this year’s February issue. Can’t have enough of that, right? plus all the delicious spices that come with this recipe–somewhat adapted to my personal preferences–featured along a half dozen or so other soups they featured. I wanted to try them all.

Unfortunately I don’t have that much time.

I do, however, have a lot of lentils in my cupboard. And so, Moroccan Lentil Soup was in order.


  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions and carrots
  • dash of minced garlic
  • dash of each spice: cumin, coriander, ground turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/4 cups lentils
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh kale
  • a little chopped cilantro
  • 1 big squeeze of lemon juice


-In a medium pot (yes, a pot), heat oil; sautee first two veggies and tomatoes ’til tender with garlic. Then add in spices one at a time.

-Add in liquids, cabbage, and lentils. Boil until the lentils are almost perfectly tender. Turn down to a simmer, about 10 minutes at that heat.

-Stew in the kale a few minutes before serving, along with lemon juice and cilantro.

Pretty easy, yes? And it makes one HUGE portion. Okay, maybe more like two. But with so many healthy veggies, you should probably eat the whole thing and get those vegetable serving counts in any way. It’s good for you 😉

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup

If you know me, you know Happy Fit Mama is one of my favorite bloggers. A successful young mom running her way to happiness and writing about it. What’s not to love.SAM_5001
Oh, and on Wednesdays, she shares her healthy little recipes. Oftentimes, they sound delicious, but I never get around to trying them.
But you know how much I love soup, especially soup I can freeze in mason jars and grab any time I need a quick lunch to take to work.
So I tried her Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup one Saturday sometime back. It was delicious. The recipe, which serves about six, follows…SAM_4991
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Onion, Minced
  • 1 Red, Yellow Or Orange Pepper (or combination), diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 14.5 Oz Vegetable Broth
  • 15 Oz Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 Oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn
  • SAM_49971/2 Cup Zucchini, diced (optional)
  • Additional optional toppings: avocado, shredded cheese, plain greek yogurt, cilantro
  1. Place 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add red onion and pepper. Cook till softened.
  3. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn and zucchini (if using).
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with toppings, such as diced avocado, shredded cheese, yogurt or sour cream and cilantro.

Zucchini Pizzas

As I continued to eat my way through the infant-sized zucchini I’d picked up at the Des Moines Farmers Market in late July, I remembered coming across a grilled zucchini pizza recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen.

But my apartment, like so many others, isn’t exactly conducive to grilling, and I wasn’t fortunate enough to have a George Foreman at my disposal. So once again, just like with my Grilled Corn Without the Grill recipe from July, I improvised with broiling.

The little za’s were a huge success! They tasted great. And I felt great knowing that I incorporated more healthy veggies into my lunch simply by swapping out traditional pizza dough crust with squash.

You’ll notice, too, that my zucchini rounds were pretty big, but I think using a smaller zucchini would make for adorable appetizers. Make them for your friends with gluten allergies (or gluten-free diets) and I promise they’ll love them.

Or if you’re trying to incorporate more veggies into your kids’ diets, let them make the zucchini za’s with you! They’ll be smiling bigger than this very happy zucchini face.


-3 large or 9 small zucchini rounds (about5-6 mm thick)

-1-2 T olive oil

-1/3 cup marinara sauce

-1/3 cup cheese

-1 t Italian seasonings

Toppings of choice


-Set broilers to high. Lightly grease a broil safe pan. Set aside.

-Coat each side of the zucchini rounds lightly with oil. Place on broiling sheet and broil on each side for about 3 minutes. Remove from oven once they’ve crisped up quite a bit.

-Spread sauce on each round. Top with cheese, seasonings, and desired toppings. Broil for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble and melt. Serve warm.

Zucchini Cookies & Mini-Muffins


Zucchini bread, otherwise known as Z bread to some, is a delicious treat. The best Z I’ve had came from a good friend of mine last winter. A Miss Angela Walther of Pleasureville, Kentucky, baked each of her friends a gift box full of southern treats right before we all left for Winter Break. They were all too tasty, especially the Z bread, and I loved that she shared with us the best recipes of her culture.

In cookie form

I’m not sure what was in Angela’s bread that made it taste so good, but I imagine lots of butter and sugar. I’ve got nothing against those ingredients. I’ll admit they’re tasty. And when a friend offers them to you, of course you enjoy them.

But I’ve found a Z bread recipe that rivals Angela’s sweet southern one. It comes from a mommy blogger committed to clean eating, and I just can’t get enough of it.

Makes four good-sized cookies, mini-muffins, or two regular muffins.


  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat or spelt flour
  • dash of cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract
  • 1/2 egg, mixed up
  • 2 T coconut oil (or vanilla yogurt or applesauce)
  • 1 T + 1 t honey
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • Optional: chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet, muffin tin, or small loaf pan (depending on what kind of bread you’d like to make.
  2. Blend the dry ingredients.
  3. Make a hole in the center and pour in the egg, oil, honey, and vanilla, but do not overmix.
  4. Fold in zucchini (and chopped nuts if using).
  5. Pour batter into baking dish or choice and bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the baked good. About 12-15 minutes.

    Are you feeling more mini-muffin or cookie-like today?

Enjoy each little treat thoroughly.

Or if you’d like to save some for later, these will stay fresh in the freezer for quite a long time.


Baked Zucchini Sticks

One of my favorite sides is sweet potato fries or chips. I eat them way too much.

So one summer evening I decided to mix it up with oven-fried zucchini sticks.

Okay, in truth I still had a lot of zucchini left over from the Des Moines Farmers Market. Zydia the Zucchini had been used to make chocolate zucchini bread, farm fresh veggie pizza, chicken pot pie, zucchini cakes, and zucchini cookies. And yet, she was still around.

Not wanting to freeze her, I indulged in this recipe from Eating Well (adapted to single-serving size) that I had been saving to my recipe to-do list on Pinterest for quite some time.

The results: very good! A nice change of pace from sweet potato fries.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 T whole-wheat flour
  • 2 T Panko crumbs
  • 1.5 tcornmeal
  • dash of garlic salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 medium-sized zucchini
  • optional: 1 large egg white, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. Chop zucchini into sticks, almost like French fries.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flours, cornmeal, and other seasonings.
  4. You can prepare the “sticky” coating of your zucchini one of two ways: either by dousing with cooking spray or dipping in egg white.
  5. To coat with flour mixture, either roll directly in the bowl in which the mixture was blended or pour coating mixture into Ziploc bag and drop in zucchini sticks. Coat well.
  6. Arrange on greased sheet, but keep each stick separate from the others
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and turn the zucchini. Continue to bake until golden and just tender, about 10 minutes more.

You’ll want to serve these straight out of the oven, piping hot!

You could get pretty creative with different dipping sauces. I’m a sucker for anything tomato, so I went with an Italian sauce, but you could also try ranch dressing, ketchup, Dijon mustard, etc.

Zucchini Cakes

Remember my cheesy zucchini tots? The ones I posted this past May?

Well I rediscovered them again, and this time they’re all grown up.

From, I found a recipe for 12 zucchini cakes. They’re like crab cakes, albeit vegetarian friendly. was promoting them for St. Patty’s Day, but I think they’d be great any time of year as a side dish to most entrees.

But if you’re single and want just one zucchini cake, that’s okay, too!

Here’s the bad news: I didn’t make a recipe for just one. They looked too good and the divisions I calculated yielded far more than expected.

Here’s the good news: It’s zucchini, folks! It’s so low in calories that you should allow yourself to have a couple. Trust me. Unless you hate zucchini, you won’t regret it.

1/2 cup zucchini, grated
1/2 large egg (mixed up)
2 T panko bread crumbs
Pepper to taste
1 T Cajun spices
1/4 c. Parmesan or cheddar cheese, grated

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a broil-safe pan. Set aside.

-Remove excess liquid from freshly grated zucchini by microwaving on high for about :45 seconds. Let cool.

-Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine all the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Then mix in zucchini. Shape into patties (press firmly).

-Place on baking sheet. Cook each side for about 7 minutes, or until the outside is golden brown. Finish the cakes off with a nice crispy layer by broiling for 1-2 minutes.

-Serve hot.