Breakfast, Muffins, Recipes

SRC: Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins

Take zucchini muffins up a notch with some sweet bits of apple and crunchy walnuts. You’ll always be coming back for just one more muffin, I promise. 

Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins for #secretrecipeclub | find the recipe for these  healthy 'n delicious muffins on thepajamachef.com

This month for Secret Recipe Club I was assigned Chelsy’s blog, Mangia. Mangia means “eat” in Italian and boy does Chelsy make some good things to eat! She lives in Texas where she is a personal trainer, prefers pjs/workout clothes to jeans [ME TOO!], and loves sharing her food with family and friends. Fun fact: Chelsy started her blog in July 2010 just like me. We’re practically twins. 🙂 Since she’s been blogging for SOOOO long, there were so many great recipes to choose from. Eventually I settled on these muffins but first I was sidetracked by other deliciousness–Tahini Chickpea Salad, Ultimate Mushroom Soup,  Lemon Sweet Potato Muffins, and Toasted Coconut Espresso Mini Muffins. NOM! I’m going to have to try allll those recipes, asap.

But in the meantime, I’ll be over here munching on these Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins. They are amazing, you guys! Where do I start? For one, like most muffins I make, they’re really fairly healthy and as such, a great snack or breakfast [though let’s be real: one muffin is not my idea of a filling breakfast, but I digress]. Agave is the only added sweetener in these muffins. I have mixed feelings about agave, so you could always use honey if you prefer. I just had a bottle that I’m trying to use up! :/ They’re also made with white whole wheat flour, coconut oil, and walnuts for some crunch! I’m normally not a fan of nuts in baked goods, but they work here for sure!

Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins for #secretrecipeclub | find the recipe for these  healthy 'n delicious muffins on thepajamachef.com

Zucchini and apple combine to make a super moist, super flavorful, super delicious muffin. Though they don’t really need anything else to make them yummy [besides the aforementioned walnuts], some pumpkin pie spice [because I can’t wait for pumpkin season and didn’t want to use just cinnamon] and coconut emulsion really spiced these babies up a notch! Speaking of babies, I made them over the weekend when my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and my cute nephew were here. Let me just say everyone inhaled these. So they’re family approved and ready for making in your kitchen! 🙂 Enjoy!

P.S. I forgot to mention that Chelsy’s original recipe used coconut flour and as such, are gluten free. I just used ingredients I had but check out her original recipe if GF is your thing!

Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins

  • Servings: 20-24 muffins
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adapted from Mangia

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour [240 grams in weight]
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice –> or an equivalent amount of cinnamon with a bit of nutmeg would work too
  • ~2 cups grated zucchini, with water gently squeezed out in a dishcloth –> from 2 small/medium zucchinis
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon coconut emulsion/flavoring/extract –> I’ve seen it sold all three ways
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. In a medium bowl, whisk together zucchini, apple, eggs, agave, oil, and coconut emulsion. Gently add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, then stir until just combined. Fold in walnuts.

Divide batter between muffin cups, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Enjoy immediately, or cool on a wire rack for later. Muffins freeze well!

Check out the other SRC recipes below!

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Main Dishes, Pasta, Recipes

Cheesy Veggie Pasta

This pasta is creamy and cheesy, and full of lots of summer veggies. What’s not to love?!?

Pasta bursting with all your farmer's market faves and some yummy cheese! Cheesy Veggie Pasta via thepajamachef.com

Ahhh, pasta. If you’re like me, you probably have it at least once a week in some form or another. No matter how you fix it, pasta is always a vehicle for something delicious. Though baked pastas are my FAVE, in the summer, sometimes that’s too much. So this time, I threw in everything from my local farmer’s market and called it a day. I think the combo of mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, and corn was perfect. I thought about just tossing the veggies with an olive oil or butter-based sauce, but instead decided to try for a lighter creamy sauce. After cooking the veggies, I tossed in some flour and added some milk. After letting it cook down, I added cheese and herbs. I truly wasn’t sure how it would go, and was so happy with the results! In a word, or three… Flavorful, refreshing, and satisfying. Mmm!

Pasta bursting with all your farmer's market faves and some yummy cheese! Cheesy Veggie Pasta via thepajamachef.com

I absolutely inhaled this colorful and light pasta! It’s cheesy and creamy and super wonderful. Unlike some saucy pasta dishes, this one reheated well which was a pleasant surprise. You better believe I hoarded the leftovers and will be making this again soon. 🙂 Enjoy!

one year ago: Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes
two years ago: Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
three years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
four years ago: Salmon with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic Sauce

Cheesy Veggie Pasta

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup corn, cut off the cob
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs – I used dill, basil, lemon thyme, and a tiny bit of mint
  • 3 ounces shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add pasta. Cook to al dente according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat butter or olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and corn. Season with pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Sprinkle flour over veggies and stir to coat. Pour in milk and stir. Constantly stir, cooking until thick–about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

When pasta is cooked, fold pasta into sauce. Sprinkle with herbs and mozzarella. Stir until cheese melts, then season with pepper to taste.

Serve immediately, or toss in an oven safe baking dish and cook until cheese on top crisps up. I think some bread crumbs mixed with butter and lemon zest on top could be magnificent too!

Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

This is the BEST zucchini cake I have ever had! And it doesn’t even have frosting. Crazyyy!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake - a great summer dessert with some chocolate for good measure | thepajamachef.comI never had zucchini anything until I met Ben. He opened up a whole world to me! Zucchini muffins, bread, cookies, pasta, cake… well, I guess he opened up basically a whole new world of sweets [with the addition of some veggies so you can pretend to be a little healthier]. HA! The first summer after we were married, we were served zucchini cake for dessert by some of our new church friends. This chocolate zucchini cake was amazing… and had the best, thickest chocolate frosting ever. It was positively scrumptious!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake - a great summer dessert with some chocolate for good measure | thepajamachef.comProblem was… every time I made zucchini cake after having hers, I wanted layer upon layer of chocolate frosting. But sometimes that’s too much work. Or you don’t want to wait for the cake to cool completely before that. Or you want to be able to eat the cake for breakfast. Or ___ [insert other “problem” here]. SIGH. But guess what guys?!? Once I discovered THIS cake, my problems were solved. Hallelujah!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake - a great summer dessert with some chocolate for good measure | thepajamachef.comThis zucchini cake, aptly named Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake, is equally chocolately yet requires not one layer of chocolate frosting because of the abundance of chocolate chips used to top this masterpiece. Genius, I say! Alright, so there aren’t mountains of chocolate chips on top of this cake, but there ARE enough to enjoy in just about every bite. The middle pieces have more so I recommend eating those yourself. Or, you know, not being selfish like me and sharing with those you love. I’m so nice! Each bite though, no matter if it comes from the side or the middle, is unbelievably soft and melts in your mouth. Buttermilk in cakes is fabulous, I think! It also has a teensy bit of warm spices to intensify the chocolate flavor even more. Hope you enjoy this cake as much as we did… and don’t forget to eat your veggies! 🙂

one year ago: Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies – with vegan and gluten free options!
two years ago: Eggplant Potato Frittata
three years ago: Baked Flounder
four years ago: Lavender Lime Scones
five years ago: Tasty Corn

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

  • Servings: 18
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from What Megan’s Making

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups peeled, shredded zucchini [1 medium]
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in the zucchini. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy! This is also great with ice cream.

Main Dishes, Pasta, Recipes

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna Rollups

Need a fun twist on regular lasagna? Try this zucchini and yellow squash stuffed variety! It’s easy and cheesy and full of all kinds of yum.

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna Rollups | thepajamachef.com

I don’t know about you but I know that zucchini and yellow squash are going to start invading my life in the next couple of months. I don’t know tons of people in Nashville with gardens [no offense Southerners, but midwest gardens>southern gardens ANY DAY. Same goes for farmer’s markets but that’s a whole ‘nother story.]. Back in the days of Indiana living, we knew tons of people with gardens and I could hardly go anywhere without being given zucchini and squash for free. Even at the farmer’s market. It was like, buy 1 get 24820 free. No joke. So I’ve got to start getting my recipes ready NOW. Even though I’m in the south, I know squash season is a-comin’.

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna Rollups | thepajamachef.comI actually made these Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna Rollups LAST summer but never got around to sharing them. Oh well, here they come! I know I’ll be making them several times throughout the summer. I don’t usually mind turning on my oven on a hot day if I know something tasty will come out of it. These lasagna rollups are quite a treat, and are so fun to eat. They use three kinds of cheese [creamy ricotta, sharp Parmesan, and mild mozzarella] so there’s something for everyone! For me, they’re a great way to use up yellow squash too. It’s not my favorite by itself, but when paired with something else I can handle it. Especially if there’s cheese! 🙂 I hope you enjoy this great meatless meal!

one year ago: White Chocolate Snack Mix
two years ago: Pork Chops with Quinoa, Kale, and Blood Orange
three years ago: Best Burrito Bowls Ever
four years ago: Sausage Apple Egg Strata

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna Rollups

  • Servings: 4
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from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
  • 1 medium yellow squash, grated and squeezed dry
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 lasagna noodles, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2-1 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan and spread about 1 cup of sauce in bottom of pan.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add zucchini and squash and saute for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.

Then, in a large bowl, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, egg, and pepper. Fold in veggies until combined.

Lay the lasagna noodles down on a clean countertop, patting dry with a dish towel as needed. Spread 1/3 cup of veggie mixture over the entire surface of the noodle. Gently roll and place seam-side down in the prepared pan. Repeat until all noodles and veggie mixture are gone.

Divide remaining sauce over top of lasagna rollups, then sprinkle with cheese.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until heated through and cheese on top is melted.

Beans, Main Dishes, Recipes, Rice, Sides

Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole

This simple, healthy casserole is filled with lots of vegetables, black beans, and a delicious taco rice. It’s perfect for dinner and makes enough for lunch leftovers too. Mmm!

Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole | thepajamachef.com

Once upon a time, when we were first married, our go-to dinner was tacos, spaghetti, or some sort of seasoned chicken dish. There’s nothing wrong with any of those dinners, but unless you are using assorted boxed or packaged ingredients they aren’t that easy. Well, if you don’t buy that stuff on a regular basis, that is. [For the record, I do buy that stuff sometimes. I just don’t keep it at home regularly. My pantry is too full of seventeen kinds of grains, pastas, mustards, and sauces. Seventeen EACH that is. :)]

Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole | thepajamachef.com

 

Now, my go-to dinner is much simpler. Black beans and rice. Directions: Open freezer, remove black beans that I make by the pound in the oven. Defrost in the sink while making some rice on the stove. Heat black beans up on the stove with some homemade taco seasoning. Serve together, with assorted toppings like avocado, cilantro, green onions, hot sauce, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, etc. It’s rare that I have all those toppings on hand at once, but when I do… it’s parrrtytime! [Yes, I realize that if black beans and rice with toppings is my definition of partytime, I’m probably not very exciting. Ha.]

Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole | thepajamachef.com

This casserole is the kicked up version of black beans and rice, except everything is all mixed up together and baked til it’s ooey gooey. MMM! If you like regular black beans and rice, you’ll LOVE this version. It’s from the Budget Bytes cookbook so you know it has to be good. Probably what makes it so freakin’ awesome is that the rice isn’t just normal… it’s taco rice! If your family isn’t comfortable with meatless meals yet, I think this would be a great way to introduce the concept. There’s tons of flavor in one lil casserole dish! We loved this meal and hope you do too! 🙂

one year ago: Oreo Ice Cream Pie
three years ago: Spaghetti and “Meat” Balls
four years ago: Caramelized Onion Dip

Southwest Veggie + Taco Rice Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

from the Budget Bytes cookbook

Ingredients:

for taco rice

  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice

for casserole

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, diced [deseeded if desired]
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered – or 1 cup mushrooms, another bell pepper, or an extra cup of corn
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups prepared taco rice [from above]
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

In a saucepan, whisk together chili powder, cumin, garlic, oregano, tomato paste, and 3 cups water. Whisk together then stir in rice. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Then fluff with a fork and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 inch dish with cooking spray.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Then, add rest of the veggies: jalapeno, bell pepper, zucchini, and chili powder. Stir to combine and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until soft and all liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in corn, tomatoes, and black beans. Add the taco rice [you will have extra rice left] and the cheese and stir well. Transfer to prepared pan, then bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Serve with green onions and cilantro.

Note:

Recipe can also be doubled [casserole portion–do not make extra rice] and baked in a 9×13 pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until bubbly.