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Chocolate Zucchini Brownies from alidaskitchen.com

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Brownies from alidaskitchen.com

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies are so chocolaty and fudgy, you would never guess they’re filled with zucchini!  Plus they are made with whole wheat flour and can be made vegan.  These are quite possibly, the best brownies ever!

The other night I shredded zucchini to make Chocolate Zucchini Bread again.  It was so chocolaty and good, I just couldn’t resist!  But then I opened my iPad and saw a zucchini brownie recipe that I had been researching.  Brownies are always tasty, plus this recipe looked quick and easy.  Why not try something new?  Considering how delicious chocolate and zucchini are together, I had no doubt Chocolate Zucchini Brownies would be good.  Now, they weren’t just good,……

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Baked Pumpkin Pasta

Baked Pumpkin Pasta #WeekdaySupper


Baked Pumpkin Pasta from Alida's Kitchen

Baked Pumpkin Pasta is a quick, healthy pasta dish made with pumpkin, zucchini and ricotta cheese.  This simple comfort food is perfect for a weeknight dinner.    

I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again: Fall is my favorite time of year for cooking and baking.  Mainly because I love pumpkin recipes!  While I typically prefer to use pumpkin in baked goods, this Baked Pumpkin Pasta made for a delightful, easy and healthy weeknight dinner.  …

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread | alidaskitchen.com

Chocolate Zucchini Bread | Bundt Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Bread is a moist, chocolaty bread made with zucchini and a delicious way to use up all of that zucchini taking over your garden! 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread | alidaskitchen.com

I love the entire season of summer produce, from the abundance of berries and herbs, to everything in between. However what I really look forward to is the end of summer produce.  Mainly…zucchini!   All summer long I compile zucchini recipes in anticipation of the great bounty of summer squash….

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healthy carrot zucchini bread

Carrot Zucchini Bread

Carrot Zucchini Bread | alidaskitchen.com #recipes
Carrot Zucchini Bread is a moist, delicious twist on zucchini bread.  If you have extra zucchini, this is definitely a must-make!

The end of summer is one of my favorite times of year because it means zucchini is everywhere.  Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable that gets turned into delicious dishes, both savory and sweet, with so many possibilities!  I found myself with some zucchini and some leftover carrots from making Carrot Cake Pancakes.  My first instinct was to make pancakes (which might come later), but Carrot Zucchini Bread has been on my list for quite a while.  A quick bread with double veggies has got to be a good thing.  Carrot Zucchini Bread is a super tasty, fun twist on zucchini bread!

Carrot Zucchini Bread
 
Yields: 1 loaf (12 servings)
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cup grated zucchini (squeeze out some excess moisture)
  • ½ cup grated carrot
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x4 loaf pan (or spray with baking spray) and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and oil until well blended. Add sugar and vanilla, and whisk until combined. Add zucchini and carrot, stirring until combined.
  4. Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture, gently folding until just combined.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then move to wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Food.com

Carrot Zucchini Bread | alidaskitchen.com #recipes

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Spicy Beef and Zucchini Pasta

When I was flipping through a recent magazine for the second time, I was a little surprised to see that I flagged something called ‘Stovetop Chili Mac.’  It’s not something that I would typically make, based on title alone.  After a quick glance, I could definitely see the potential in this dish – increase the veggies, give it some kick,…and we find ourselves with the delicious Spicy Beef and Zucchini Pasta.

The beef and zucchini sauce was a spicy and flavorful topping on top of pasta, which is a nice change from your every day bolognese.  The preparation of this sauce reminds me of my go-to taco recipe though.  This recipe makes plenty, so enjoy pasta for dinner and then tacos for lunch the next day.  That’s what we did!

Spicy Beef and Zucchini Pasta
Yields 4 servings

3/4 pound (12 oz) short pasta, such as rotini or rigatoni
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 green and/or red bell peppers, chopped
1 pound extra lean ground beef
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes with chiles, including juices
2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, for topping

  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium.  Add onion, peppers and garlic and cook until onion is translucent and peppers are soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Increase heat to medium high, add beef and break it up with a wooden spoon.  Cook until no longer pink.  Add chili powder and cumin, and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add zucchini and cook until tender.  Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook until mixture is thickened and heated through. 
  5. Divide pasta among 4 bowls, top with meat sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.

Adapted from Everyday Food

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Pineapple Zucchini Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

One of my favorite things about birthdays is birthday cake. Especially making birthday cakes! The birthday person chooses a cake or simply gives me inspiration.  Then I try to make the best cake I can.  When it came time to choose my birthday cake, believe me, it was a tough decision. My head was still in zucchini-mode. I love pineapple, and I love cream cheese. So I was on zucchini, pineapple, and cream cheese mission. Seems easy enough, right? 

I researched a few recipes until deciding on this one, and made a few changes, reflected below.  The frosting is a nice balance of cinnamon and cream cheese and the perfect complement to the cupcakes.  There are chunks of pineapple and hints of coconut and zucchini in the cake.  They are healthy and come in under 200 calories.  Pineapple Zucchini Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting made the perfect birthday treat!

* REMINDER:  MAGAZINE GIVEAWAY ENDS TONIGHT!  GO HERE TO ENTER!  *

Pineapple Zucchini Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields 18 cupcakes

Cake:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt  (optional)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini (squeeze out some of the moisture)
20 ounce can of pineapple tidbits or crushed in juice, drained (I used tidbits for chunkier pieces)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 standard muffin cups with paper liners (fill the empty cups halfway with water). 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt (if using) and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended.  Add zucchini and pineapple and mix until combined.
  4. Add zucchini mixture to dry ingredients and gently fold until combined.  (Note: Batter will be thick).
  5. Divide batter evenly among 18 muffin cups.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting:

8 ounces Neufchâtel (1/3 less fat) cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. 
  2. Pipe or spread frosting on cupcakes, as desired. 

Note:  If not serving immediately, cupcakes/frosting should be refrigerated.  Otherwise, the frosting gets too soft.  When serving after refrigeration, let cupcake sit out for 10-15 minutes at room temperature.  (They are good straight from the fridge, however…if you can’t wait like me!)  🙂

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 cupcake and 1/18 frosting)
Calories: 190 ~ Fat: 6g ~ Carbs: 33.6g ~ Fiber 2.9g ~ Protein: 3.2g

Adapted from Skinny Taste

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes {Alida's Kitchen}

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes are perfect for chocolate lovers and picky eaters, and a delicious way to use up some of that zucchini taking over your garden!
I was asked to make cupcakes for a very special birthday party.  Mike’s grandmother turned 90!  How cool is that!  She is an amazing lady, who loves chocolate.  This request came shortly after I made Zucchini, Banana and Flaxseed Muffins, and I had zucchini on the brain.  Then it hit me – Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes.  Perfect!

I knew this birthday crowd would appreciate the use of zucchini in these delectable goodies, though you would never guess that’s the secret ingredient simply by taste.  (Score if you’re serving a picky eater!)  The zucchini creates a moist cake, makes it slightly healthier, and is the perfect complement to this delicious chocolate cupcake!

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
 
These are a delicious way to use up some of that zucchini taking over your garden. Perfect for chocolate lovers and picky eaters. You would never guess there's zucchini in there!
Yields: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (squeeze out excess moisture)
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dutch processed cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Frosting:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ⅔ cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. CUPCAKES: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, cream the brown sugar, butter and oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, zucchini and chocolate chips.
  4. Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until combined (do not over mix).
  5. Spoon batter into muffin pans, filling them until about ¾ full. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in pan and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Once cooled, frost with chocolate frosting and decorate as desired. Store cupcakes at room temperature in an air tight container.
  7. FROSTING: Melt the butter. Whisk in the cocoa powder, whisking until smooth.
  8. Stir in vanilla and alternately add powdered sugar and milk, using a hand mixer (or stand mixer) to beat to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed.

Adapted from  Two Peas and Their Pod

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Portobello and Zucchini Tacos

As Mike was sprinkling cheese on his Portobello and Zucchini Tacos, he could see it in my eyes and knew what I was about to do.  I couldn’t help myself – I had to do it!  I stole his dinner so I could plate it for pictures.  Who knew he was such a food stylist!  In all fairness, as I ran away with his dinner, I told him to take mine.  Off I went to snap away and he got to enjoy a warm dinner.
Portobello and Zucchini Tacos
So is the life as a husband of a food blogger. He sometimes gets cold dinner. He sometimes loses his dinner to pictures.  But there are some perks, with the most obvious being…actually getting to have dinner (or lunch, or muffins, you get the idea).  Mike is definitely a good sport…even if sometimes he has to give up his tacos for the craft.

Portobello and Zucchini Tacos
Now about the tacos. These tacos are fun, tasty and super easy! First you prepare your veggies, toss them in olive oil and seasoning, then throw it all in the oven to roast. In the meantime, heat up the tortillas and get the toppings ready. Serve. See? Simple, easy and so good!
Portobello and Zucchini Tacos
 
Yields: 4 servings (3 tacos per serving)
Ingredients
  • 5 medium portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut into 2-by-1/2-inch sticks
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese with roasted red peppers*, shredded, for serving
  • ½ cup fresh salsa, for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a 13 x 9 baking dish (or rimmed baking sheet) toss mushrooms with 1 tablespoon oil, 1½ teaspoons oregano, 2 minced garlic cloves, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a separate 13 x 9 baking dish (or rimmed baking sheet) toss zucchini and red onion with remaining oil, oregano and garlic; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place both dishes in oven. Roast, tossing approximately every 10 minutes) until vegetables are browned and fork-tender (about 30 minutes).
  5. Meanwhile, stack tortillas and wrap in damp paper towel and microwave for 30-45 seconds.
  6. To serve, fill each tortilla with mushrooms, vegetable mixture, cheese and salsa.
Notes
You can substitute plain Monterey Jack cheese if you are unable to find Monterey Jack cheese with roasted red peppers.

Adapted from Everyday Food

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Zucchini Bread

Childhood summers, playing in the vegetable garden, my 3rd birthday “cake”, that’s what this zucchini bread tastes like. 

Throughout my childhood, my parents had a vegetable garden.  I remember they grew cucumbers, green beans, various other vegetables, and of course zucchini.  Zucchini plants are the gift that keeps on giving.  Even better, lots of zucchini meant lots of delicious zucchini bread!

My mom said she got this recipe from an old relative of my dad’s.  Isn’t that the way it is…the greatest recipes are the old tried and trues?  Classic zucchini bread…one of the best simple pleasures.

Zucchini Bread
Yields 4 small loaves

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (with peel)
3 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 cups all-purpose and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray 4 small loaf pans with cooking spray (or grease/flour).  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Sift dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until creamy.  Add zucchini and stir until combined.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients until combined (do not over mix).
  5. Evenly distribute batter among 4 small loaf pans and bake for 60-70 minutes.  Let cool in pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

 

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Ravioli with Roasted Zucchini

For the second recipe of ‘Zucchini Week,’ I am very excited to share this Ravioli with Roasted Zucchini recipe.  This dish has immediately vaulted its way into our rotation, and frankly we have been trying to find excuses to make it again and again and again.  It’s that good and easy too!

We are huge garlic fans, so I thought slices instead of crushed would be a nice change.  The garlic pieces become a little crispy, which adds nice texture to the dish and the flavor is incredible.  The crushed red pepper gives this dish a little kick as well.  All together, this becomes the perfect topping for ravioli, or any pasta really.

Ravioli with Roasted Zucchini
Yields 4 servings

4 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound fresh cheese or spinach ravioli
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Spray baking dish or rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.  Set aside.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil
  2. In a small bowl, mix olive oil and crushed red pepper. 
  3. Add zucchini, garlic and 3 tablespoons cheese to oil mixture and toss until thorougly coated.  
  4. Place zucchini mixture in a single layer on a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing halfway through, until tender and golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, within the last 5-10 minutes of baking time, add ravioli to boiling water and cook per package directions (or 3-5 minutes until they float).  Drain and place in large bowl.
  6. Toss ravioli gently with roasted zucchini and garlic, half the parsley, and half of the remaining cheese.  Serve immediately, topping with remaining parsley and cheese.

Adapted from Real Simple

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins | alidaskitchen.com

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins | alidaskitchen.com

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins are a healthy muffin that tastes good too!  They are made without any butter or oil, yet the are moist and delicious due to the zucchini and banana. 

 New magazine day is one of my favorites days of the month.  Since I subscribe to several magazines, this translates into several favorite days a month!   Actually, I think Mike might like new magazine day more than I do.  Especially when after just one quick perusal, it looks like this…

10 flags after just a quick glance.  Not bad, eh?   Just wait until I get a chance to be more thorough!

It was hard to choose what to make first, but there was clearly no better way to kick off zucchini week here than Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins!  Good thing too, because these might be the tastiest muffins ever!  I know, I know, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  But this time I mean it!

After one bite, you will never guess that these are healthy and low fat!  Sure there is zucchini and banana, but I’m sure you’ve noticed a lot of times muffins find some way to become glorified cupcakes.  Not these.  There is no butter and no oil added to these muffins, yet they are incredibly moist and delicious.  For an additional nutrition boost, I subbed in some whole wheat flour.  I also replaced whole milk with buttermilk since it seems everything is made better with buttermilk.

This week I will be featuring several zucchini recipes throughout the week.  I hope you will all enjoy them as much as we have!

Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups coarsely grated zucchini (I used 1½ zucchinis)
  • 1 mashed ripe banana (approx ⅓ cup)
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • nonstick cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  3. In a small bowl, stir zucchini and mashed banana together. Add to flour mixture and stir to combine.
  4. In medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir gently until combined (do not overmix).
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely (about 30 minutes).
Notes
Adapted from Everyday Food, September, 2011