Easy Chocolate Zucchini Bread

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some Easy Chocolate Zucchini Bread that I made over the weekend. I had a few zucchini’s in my refrigerator that a friend gave me from her garden I needed to use. I decided to make a recipe from another friend who made me some Chocolate Zucchini Bread last year for my birthday. I like traditional zucchini bread, but I am a chocolate lover and I have to admit, this chocolate version is delicious. I did substitute honey for some of the sugar the original recipe called for, as well as put in some other substitutions you can use.

This recipe is easy to make and contains some healthful ingredients including fiber, vitamin C and magnesium from the zucchini, plus some good fat from the chocolate, (especially if you use a high cacao version of the chocolate chips). Give it a try if you are craving some chocolate or having a seasonal craving for zucchini.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

chocolate zucchini bread
chocolate zucchini bread

2-1 oz. squares chocolate
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
(You can also use coconut palm sugar for a lower glycemic load.)
1/2 cup honey
(You can substitute 1 cup of honey and omit the sugar.)
1 cup oil
(I used olive oil)
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
(You can substitute rice flour, if you are looking for a gluten free option.)
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
(I used one with a higher cacao content)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two loaf pans. Using a double-boiler, or similar, melt the chocolate squares. Stir until smooth and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, honey, oil, zucchini, vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold in the flour. Add the chocolate chips. Pour the batter in the two loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 60 minutes, or until a toothpick in center come out clean.

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more good recipes to try and ways to live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.

Recipe: Easy Sausage Spinach Vegetable Lasagna

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some easy sausage spinach vegetable lasagna that I made over the weekend. This recipe is a favorite of my family and I make it quite a bit, especially in the fall and winter months, when your body craves more comfort foods. It combines a healthy dose of vegetables including spinach, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onions and olives that not only are good for you, but provide a host of vitamins and nutrients your body needs. I also put in some options if you have a gluten sensitivity, or prefer a vegetarian version. Give it a try if you are looking for a new recipe to try for dinner.

Easy Sausage Spinach Vegetable Lasagna

spinach lasagna

  • 1 small box lasagna noodles (1/2 lb or approximately 9 noodles).
    You can use a gluten-free variety if you have issues with gluten.
  • 1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
    I used a local brand called Anna Lisa Spicy Pasta Sauce I got at Whole Foods that had no sugar or preservatives added. I really like this brand, but you can use any variety you like.
  • 1 container cottage cheese
    You can also use ricotta cheese
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
    I usually shred my own to avoid the added cellulose in cheese and other pre-packaged foods used to prevent caking. It is derived from wood pulp. Yes-wood pulp.
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
    You can also leave this out if you prefer to make a meatless version of lasagna
  • 1/2 bag of fresh spinach
    You can also you kale
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • 1 small package fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small can black olives
  • 1/2 jar green olives
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 medium size tomatoes diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cajun seasoning

Fill a large pot with boiling water and add the lasagna noodles. Turn down heat a bit and boil the noodles for 10 minutes and then strain off the water and set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the Italian sausage. Add the garlic, onion, green pepper and mushrooms. Stir the mixture until the vegetables are slightly browned. Add in the olives and the salt, pepper and cajun seasoning to taste and stir. Add the spaghetti sauce to the meat and vegetable mix and stir to combine all of the ingredients. Add the tomatoes to the top and stir, just so they become warn and then remove from the heat.

Grease a 13″ x 9″ cake pan with olive oil. Place 3 noodles on the bottom of the pan. Then spoon about 1/3 of the meat and vegetable sauce over the noodles. Grab a handful or so of the spinach and place it on top of the sauce. Next scoop about 1/3 of the cottage cheese on top of the spinach and then add a layer of the mozzarella or cheddar cheese.

lasagna layers

Repeat these steps 2 more times to create 3 layers total.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the prepared pan of lasagna in the oven and bake for 30-40, or until slightly crisp on the top. Remove from the oven and let set and cool for another 30-45 minutes. Serve warm with a fresh garden salad.

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more good recipes to try and ways to live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.

Healthy Chicken Parmesan Kale Pasta

After our big Fourth of July gathering at the lake, I was left with a lot of extra food, including a big bag of kale that I wanted to use before it spoiled. Since Pinterest is a great resource for recipes, I decided to look there for a healthy kale recipe to try. Of course, I like to change things up and added some chicken and a few other vegetables to make the recipe healthier and came up with my own recipe for some Healthy Chicken Parmesan Kale Pasta instead. It was easy to make, contains some healthy nutrients and was pretty tasty. Give it a try if you like.

Healthy Chicken Parmesan Kale Pasta

chicken parmesan kale pasta_close up
Chicken Parmesan Kale Pasta
  • 2 medium size chicken breasts (grilled and sliced)
  • 1 bunch (about ½ lb.) kale
  • ½ lb. angel hair pasta (You can also use a gluten free option)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 package mushrooms sliced (about 4 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Cherry tomatoes (handful or 2 sliced in half)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Red pepper flakes

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and other favorite seasoning. Place the chicken on a heated grill and cook until done, flipping the meat as needed. When the chicken is done, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Slice the chicken in thin strips and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Break the pasta in half, add it to the boiling water, and cook until soft (about 10 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander.

While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil, butter, minced garlic and sliced mushrooms in a large skillet pan. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and mushrooms slightly browned. Add the washed kale and continue to sauté until the kale has slightly wilted. Add the sliced chicken.

Add the drained pasta to the kale mix. Toss the pasta and kale together. Season the pasta and kale with salt and pepper to taste and then add the red pepper flakes. Add the sliced cherry tomatoes and stir to warm. Top with the grated Parmesan cheese.

chicken parmesan kale pasta
Chicken Parmesan Kale Pasta

Serve warm with another vegetable side or slice of garlic bread.

chicken parmesan kale pasta
Chicken Parmesan Kale Pasta

Enjoy!

Barb

Healthy Mediterranean Chicken & Vegetable Salad

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some healthy Mediterranean Chicken & Vegetable Salad that I made over the weekend. It is easy to make and includes some greens, nutrient dense vegetables and protein that your body needs and craves. It is also quite tasty. Give it a try if you like.

Recipe: Healthy Mediterranean Chicken And Vegetable Salad

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad_2
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut in small pieces
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 package bagged spinach
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 3/4 cup feta crumbles or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Pita bread, wrap, or corn chips for serving

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Coat the bottom of a  frying pan with olive oil. Add the cut up chicken. Season with Cajun seasoning, or another favorite seasoning to taste. Saute the chicken breast in the oil, until browned and slightly crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the vegetable and dill. Mix together and then add in the chicken. In separate smaller bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Stir until well blended and then pour over the vegetable and chicken mix, stirring until the vegetables are coated.

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad

Serve alone, or in a wrap, pita bread, or with Tostito chips. Top with the feta, or Parmesan cheese.

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are interested in other healthy recipes, as well as finding out more about living a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow a Simple Guide To Eating And Living,” which is available on Amazon.

Recipe: Lemon Caper Chicken

Here’s a good recipe I made over the weekend.  It is easy to make and has a really good flavor. I served it with oven fried potatos and green beans. Give it a try if you like.

Lemon Caper Chicken

lemon-caper-chicken

INGREDIENTS
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (You can also try coconut flour.)
1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. pepper
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp. capers, drained

DIRECTIONS
Flatten each chicken breast half to 1/4 inch thickness between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Coat chicken with flour; shake off excess flour.

Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over mediium high heat. Cook chicken and garlic in butter about 6 miutes, turning once, until chicken is brown.

Add wine and lemon juice; reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt. Cook 8-10 minutes, turning once, until chicken is browned. Sprinkle with capers.

lemn-caper-chicken_2

Enjoy!

Barb

Recipe: Southwestern Salad

Here’s a tasty recipe to try. It is easy to make, good for you and tasty. Go ahead and give it a try if you like.

Southwestern Salad

pexels-photo-126350-medium

1 bag romaine lettuce, or spinach
2 grilled chicken breasts (sliced)
1 small green pepper (chopped)
1 small red pepper (chopped)
1 small orange pepper (chopped)
1 small package cherry tomatos
1 small can corn
1 small can black olives
1 ripe avocado (cubed)
1 container feta cheese crumbles
Ranch dressing, or try another favorite

Pour lettuce or spinach in a  large bowl. Add chicken, chopped peppers, tomatoes, corn, olives, avocado, and feta cheese. Serve with dressing.

Options: Add a small can of black beans, or chopped red onion.

Enjoy!

Barb

Recipe: Spicy Quinoa With Vegetables

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe I put together for some spicy quinoa with vegetables. If you want to incorporate some healthy grains in your diet and like a little spice, you might want to give this recipe a try. It is easy to make, healthy and tastes great!

Spicy Quinoa With Vegetables

spicy-quinoa-with-vegetables

  • 2 cups quinoa (I used 365 Super Grains, a blend of red & white quinoa, millet & buckwheat, which I purchased at Whole Foods)
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen peas, or use fresh sugar snap peas
  • Large handful of fresh kale (chopped)
  • 1 large prepared chicken breast (chopped)
  • 2 strips cooked uncured bacon (chopped)
  • 1 package Old El Paso spicy taco seasoning, or use your favorite spices (See note below.)
  • salt & pepper
  • Follow directions on package to prepare the quinoa mix.

    super-grains

Set a side when fully cooked. Pour some olive oil in a large skillet, covering the bottom of the pan. Add the chopped onion, kale and peas to saute. Add the prepared chicken & bacon. Stir in the quinoa mix. Add the taco seasoning & salt & pepper.

old-el-paso-taco-seasoning

Note: You may need to add a little more olive oil to the mix, while stirring. Serve warm as a side dish, or main dish. Garnish with fresh avocado slices, tomato, etc.

Substitutions:

If you don’t like the idea of using Taco Seasoning, use other spices such as cayenne, turmeric, chili powder, Cajun seasoning, etc.  to taste. (This is what I prefer.) You may also add other vegetables such as peppers & mushrooms, which I would have, but was out of them at the time. You may also add another meat, or tofu, or just skip that protein part. Make the dish your own, by adding in your favorite vegetables & spices.

Enjoy!

Barb

Recipe: Chicken & Vegetable Medley Penne

Here’s a recipe I made the other day that I wanted to share with you, since it is easy to make, contains healthful ingredients and is pretty tasty. I know many people lead busy lives, and taking the time to prepare a home cooked meal isn’t always easy. It always helps however, to have quick, easy recipes on hand, especially when they contain plenty of nutritious ingredients. Make sure you plan ahead and have your chicken purchased and thawed, as well as the vegetables on hand.

Recipe: Chicken & Vegetable Medley Penne

chicken and vegetable medley pasta_3

2 chicken breasts (cut and cubed).
Note: I generally try and purchase an organic brand, but use whatever works for you and your budget.
1 head of broccoli separated into pieces, or  1 prepared bag
1/2 package carrots
1/2 package mushrooms (sliced)
2 cloves of crushed garlic
Olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded paremsan cheese
Salt
Pepper
Parsley
Basil
Parsely
Rosemary
1 package penne pasta
Note: I tried this Banza Penne, which I purchased at Target and is made from chick peas in place of regular pasta. This may work for anyone out there that has issue with gluten. I actually chose it for the high protein and iron content and I have to admit it was pretty tasty.

banza

Banza Penne (Made with chick peas)

banza-ingredients

If you are interested in trying this penne, here is another good reason to check it out. Look at the ingredient list. It contains only 4 items, which is great! When selecting processed foods, it is always better to select products that have fewer ingredients. In fact, those that contain 5 ingredients or less, are usually the best options to help us avoid unnecessary preservatives, or additives.

Anyway—here are the directions:

Prepare the penne pasta, following the the directions on the package. When the penne is fully cooked, remove it from the heat and using a strainer, strain off the water and set aside. Coat a large frying pan with olive oil. Add the chicken and saute on medium heat. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, parsely, basil, and rosemary, or add whatever spice or seasoning you like. Add the prepared vegetables and saute until they are just slightly crisp.
Note: Keep in mind, you can add in other vegetables you like, or have on hand. You may as well add in vegetables that you like.

chicken and vegetable medley pasta

Add the penne pasta.

chicken and vegetable medley pasta_2

Top with the Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Barb