Pumpkin-Parsley Pizza Pie

20131029-203335.jpg

When my friend Amelia mentioned her pumpkin pizza in a Facebook post, I was perplexed. 20131029-203319.jpg

Pumpkin puree for sauce? Pumpkin pulp as a topping? Can that really taste good?

Yes. I’m always surprised when sweet-savory combinations work so well. I’m not sure why I always forget this little culinary truism, but I’m always pleasantly reminded.

Pumpkin as a topping, and a sauce that’s part pumpkin, part marina is oh so sweet, and it gets an herb-y fresh kick from our good friend parsley. I mean, really good. If you live pumpkin, you really should try this pairing.

And where’d I get the “pumpkin pulp”? The jack’o’lantern I carved all by myself (first time!) this year.20131029-203437.jpg

Ingredients

Dough

1 t honey or agave nectar

1/4 of a yeast packet

1/4 + 3 T whole wheat flour

1 T rolled oats

1 t cornmeal

pinch of salt20131029-203409.jpg

Seasonings: garlic, basil, oregano

Topping

2 T slice pumpkin pulp

1 T tomato sauce

1 T pumpkin puree

3 T fresh, shredded Mozzarella

small handful of chopped parsley20131029-203349.jpg

Crushed red pepper

Directions

Dough:

-In a bowl, dissolve sweetener and yeast in 2.5 T hot water. Let stand for about five minutes.

-Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture and stir ’til a soft dough forms. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

-Place in bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Let rise ’til double in size, about 30 minutes.

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.20131029-203335.jpg

-Punch down and work in seasonings. Roll into a circle or square shape. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and begin topping process.

Topping:

-In a small dish, mix the 1 T marinara and 1 T pumpkin puree to make the suance. Rub sauce evenly over the dough in a thin layer, and then sprinkle cheese on, too. Arrange pumpkin pulp evenly on top. Sprinkle parsley on top.

-Place back in oven for about 5 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Slice and serve warm.

Pizza Muffins

Thai Flatbread Pizzas

Zucchini ‘zas

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup

SAM_4998
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
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

French-Fried Green Beans

French fries are fun to make at home. I feel like I’ve made them from every kind of potato and squash that exists. If you follow this blog, you might be nodding yes right now.

But french fires don’t have to have a soft, squishy inside. In fact, if you prefer a crispier fry, I think I just might have what you’re looking for.

Green beans!

These little stalks crisp up quite nicely in the broiler and make for a super easy & fast side.

The beans I used were actually the last handful I had left from my Papa Lou’s summer harvest. I was sad to see them go, but I loved helping them leave.

And yes, this ketchup fanatic did dip 🙂

Ingredients

1 cup fresh green beans, washed and ends cut off

cooking spray

seasonings of choice (rosemary tastes great or cajun seasoning if you like a spicy twist like I do

Directions

-Preheat broiler to high. Lightly grease a broiler-safe pan. Set aside.

-Lightly coat beans in cooking spray and sprinkle with seasonings of choice. Coat well.

-Transfer to broiling pan and let broil for about 4 minutes. Then roll the green beans so that the other side cooks, too. Season more if needed.

-Broil another 5-6 minutes or until very crispy. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

 

Chicken Pot Pie

 

One very cool evening, I needed something that would “stick to my ribs.” I thought pot pie.

By now you know I wouldn’t cave in for a frozen Banquet pot-pie hockey puck. Oh, no. Like I said, I wanted something that would stick to my ribs, not the lining of my insides. (Yuck!)

So I adapted this chicken pot pie from Food.com because it didn’t require too much “healthification.”

It was very good.

Vegetarians, you could easily manipulate this for yourself by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

A very good recipe, indeed. One to save for the colder evenings to come.

Ingredients

Filling

2 T onions

1/4 t garlic clove

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup veggies of your choice (potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, etc.)

2-4 T non-dairy milk

1/2 T whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup cooked chicken breast (shredded or chopped)

Fresh parsley, basil, thyme, and black pepper

Crust

1/4 cup whole-wheat or spelt flour

pinch of ground sage, baking powder, and salt

1/2 T butter

2 T non-dairy milk

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a ramekin and set aside. Then, in a large saucepan, saute onions and garlic over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes (use oil or cooking spray).

2. Add broth and veggies. Bring to a boil ’til about half of the liquid is absorbed, then reduce heat to low heat. Simmer for 1o minutes, partially covered.

3. Meanwhile prepare the biscuit crust by mixing all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Then cut in butter until you’ve made coarse, doughy crumbs. Stir in milk.

4. Form dough into a ball. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out to the size and thickness you like (or whatever will cover your ramekin).

5. Remove simmered veggies from heat. Mix in milk and flour along with chicken and herbs. Stir well.

6. Pour into ramekin and place dough on top of the chicken mixture.

7. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes. Enjoy warm.

 

Chocolate Zucchini Cakes

 

Zucchini bread is a fall-time favorite.

But chocolate zucchini bread? That I had never heard of before.

Hearing chocolate and zucchini together didn’t exactly trigger a tickling in my tastebuds. Not one bit actually.

But hey, I’ve tried chocolate cauliflower cake, and pumpkin-based chocolate brownies. Why not take on this experimental recipe from Allrecipes.com?

I didn’t love this one as much as the two aforementioned chocolate oddities, but it was still pretty tasty! If you’re a big fan of zucchini bread, I think you’d probably like this sweet little z-bread for one.

Makes one big serving

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 T stevia
  • 1.5 T cocoa powder
  • pinch of baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon
  • 1/2 egg (mixed)
  • 2 T coconut or canola oil (or applesauce)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 T grated zucchini
  • Mix-in Suggestion: 2 T chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a small ramekin or loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together all dry ingredients (not zucchini). Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Fold in the nuts and zucchini until they are evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool cake completely before frosting or decorating as you like.

I simply garnished mine with some zucchini slices for presentation (and then chocolate chips for taste), but I encourage you to have some fun with this.

 

Butternut Squash Fries

Butternut squash is a “winter squash,” i.e. one that’s harvested most in early fall to winter.

So as cold weather approaches, I’m trying out new winter squash recipes like there won’t be another winter coming. Remember my butternut squash mac-n-cheese? Too tasty for words!

Now I’m trying butternut squash–French-fry style. And the recipe is so easy, it’s practically foolproof.

Makes one generous serving of fries.

Ingredients

-about 1 1/2 cups butternut squash

-cooking oil or spray

-seasonings of choice (I used a little onion salt)

Directions

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

-Slice squash into fry-like strips. Toss in 1 t or less oil, or lightly coat with cooking spray. Lay on sheet and sprinkle lightly with seasonings.

-Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove sheet and flip fries, so the sides bake evenly. Bake another 20 minutes or so. Once the fries start to brown, remove from oven. If you like a crispier fry, broil for 3-4 additional minutes.

Serve warm with some tasty ketchup (my favorite comes from Trader Joe’s!).

Roasted Acorn Squash

 

If you buy a squash and use half of it, what do you do with the rest?

Look up another recipe?

Double the recipe to make more of it?

Throw it away? (I hope not!)

What I’ve learned is that my single-serving recipes aren’t enough to support the use of an entire squash–oftentimes not even half. And squash doesn’t reheat particularly well.

But what I’ve also learned is that you can roast (basically oven bake) just about any quash and it will be delicious.

Cut in thin slices and pair with a great dip for a twist on fries.

Or chop into bigger chunks and roast for the perfect addition to any soup or broiled meat.

For my leftover acorn squash this time, I simply sliced it into thin strips and dipped in my all-time favorite condiment: Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup. Yum!

Ingredients

-Almost any squash you can think of

-favorite oil or cooking spray to coat the squash (lightly)

-favorite seasonings

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees for thinly-sliced squash or 425 for thickly-sliced squash. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

-Again, slice or chop your squash as you like. Cover very lightly with oil or cooking spray, and then toss in seasonings of your choice.

-Spread on cookie sheet, making sure know pieces are overlapping, if possible. Bake for about 15-20 minutes on each side. Serve warm.

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.

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

Directions

  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.

Harvest Pumpkin Chili

If you follow this blog, you’ve read about my friend Sareena more than once. I’m mentioning her again because this time I cooked something for her and her new family last Sunday.

It started as a sweet idea: Our friend Sarah started a Facebook group for friends to sign up to bring the new family–“new” since the coming of their new baby, Lydia, in late August–a home-cooked meal. Several of us took turns making sure this new family was well fed.

Since it’s fall, high-time for chili eating, and Vince loves pumpkin-based dishes, I went with a pumpkin chili recipe from SnackGirl.

I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. I don’t normally like mixing sweet and savory.

But this recipe was really good! Not too sweet at all.

I’ll link here to SnackGirl’s full-size recipe (serves 6), but you can find a single-serving version below:

Ingredients

3 oz. lean ground turkey

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

5 oz. crushed tomatoes

1 T green chili peppers

1/4 cup chickpeas (black beans would work well, too)

1/2 T chili powder, oregano, and cumin

2 T diced red onion

red pepper flakes to taste

Directions

-In a skillet, saute onion in cooking spray or 1 t olive oil for 5 minutes or so (’til golden brown).

-Add in ground turkey. Let it cook all the way through before adding in all remaining ingredients.

-Simmer for as long as you like. The longer, the better. But if you do let it sit for a few hours, you might want to add a T of water or so to keep it from drying out.

Serve warm with your favorite wheat roll or corn muffin.