Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chicken, Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Zucchini Boats


 Three words to describe this meal: light, fresh and summery. Not only is this meal delicious, but it's also super good for you. With lots of zucchini and summer squash to use, why not turn it into a meal rather than just using it as a side dish? And this dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes!

1. Preheat oven to 375. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and top with squash halves. Set aside. 

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground chicken and cook until no longer pink; transfer to a large mixing bowl. 


3. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the pan along with the leeks and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add the spinach and sundried tomatoes and cook 2 minutes longer. Transfer to the same bowl as the cooked chicken.  




4. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Fill the squash halves and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 20 minutes. 




5. Let the squash rest 5 minutes, then finish with toasted pinenuts and parsley (if using).



Chicken, Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Serves 4-6

All you need:
4 zucchini and/or summer squash, trimmed, halved lengthwise and seeded 
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound ground chicken
2 leeks (white and light green part only), sliced 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10 oz.) bag baby spinach
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil
1 egg
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese 
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling 
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
Toasted pinenuts and chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and top with squash halves. Set aside. 
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground chicken and cook until no longer pink; transfer to a large mixing bowl. 
3. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the pan along with the leeks and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add the spinach and sundried tomatoes and cook 2 minutes longer. Transfer to the same bowl as the cooked chicken.  
4. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Fill the squash halves and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 20 minutes. 
5. Let the squash rest 5 minutes, then finish with toasted pinenuts and parsley (if using). 
 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cooking with Cucumber

Cucumbers are abundant in the summertime, but we often have no clue what to do with them besides throw them in a salad. They actually were a common staple at our dinner table thanks to my grandparents tradition of serving them thinly sliced in apple cider vinegar. 

This week I received a large amount of cucumbers from the farm and decided to share a few fun ways to use them in appetizers. These recipes are cool and refreshing and sure to be a hit at your next summer get-together!

Cucumber Feta Hummus
Makes 2 1/2 cups 
 
All you need:
2 (15 oz.) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup feta, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons water
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh dill, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 
All you do:
1. Combine hummus ingredients in a food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

 
2. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl and garnish with feta and dill. Serve with fresh cut veggies, pita chips and/or rice crackers. 
 

Creamy Cucumber Avocado Soup with Garlic Herb Cheese Toasts
Serves 4
 
All you need:
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
Pinch sugar (or small amount of honey)
 
Toasts
1 small multigrain baguette, sliced on a bias
1/4 cup garlic herb cheese (such as Boursin)
 
All you do:
1. Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes. 



 
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and smear with herb cheese. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the toasts are golden brown and crisp. 

 
3. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with toasts for dipping. 
 
 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Roasted Beet and Sweet Corn Flatbread with Pistachio Pesto


If you love the farmer's market like I do, you know this is a great time to stock up on sweet corn. The taste doesn't even compare to the canned stuff and it adds a pop of freshness to any summer meal. This flatbread is perfect served as an appetizer or at dinner with a leafy green salad.


1. Preheat oven to 425. Place the beets, corn and onion on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast 20 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, combine the pesto ingredients in a food processor. Spread pesto onto each flatbread. 




3. Top the flatbreads with roasted veggies and sprinkle with goat cheese. Bake 8 minutes.  



4. Finish the flatbreads with parsley and serve.



Roasted Beet and Sweet Corn Flatbread with Pistachio Pesto
Serves 4

All you need:
2 beets, peeled and diced
2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed
1 yellow onion, sliced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pesto
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup olive oil
10 fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 
Salt and pepper, to taste

2 naan flatbreads (such as Stonefire)
2 oz. fresh goat cheese
Chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish 

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 425. Place the beets, corn and onion on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast 20 minutes. 
2. Meanwhile, combine the pesto ingredients in a food processor. Spread pesto onto each flatbread. 
3. Top the flatbreads with roasted veggies and sprinkle with goat cheese. Bake 8 minutes.  
4. Finish the flatbreads with parsley and serve. 
 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Cherry Peach Olive Oil Cake


 July is the perfect time to stock up on juicy cherries and peaches and I'm constantly thinking of new ways to enjoy them. This cake is light and fluffy and makes a wonderful summer dessert or light breakfast topped with a dollop of yogurt.


1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a non-stick 9-inch cake pan with olive oil. 
2. Combine the yogurt, olive oil, eggs and orange zest/juice in a stand mixer until well blended. 


3. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. 



4. Fold in the cherries and peaches. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 minutes. 



5. Cool cake completely then slice and serve dusted with powdered sugar.



Cherry Peach Olive Oil Cake
Serves 8

All you need:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil
3 eggs
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups almond flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 cup pitted cherries, halved 
1 cup diced peaches 
Powdered sugar, for dusting

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a non-stick 9-inch cake pan with olive oil. 
2. Combine the yogurt, olive oil, eggs and orange zest/juice in a stand mixer until well blended. 
3. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. 
4. Fold in the cherries and peaches. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 minutes. 
5. Cool cake completely then slice and serve dusted with powdered sugar.