Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘make ahead’

This is a wonderful tasting, moist and healthy muffin that you can feel good about giving to your kids or enjoying as an afternoon snack.  After tasting these, you won’t believe there isn’t any white flour, sugar, butter or vegetable oil in them.  They truly taste decadent — and they’re not!  Note: if you don’t have the wheat germ or flax, substitute with oats and the muffins will turn out fine!

Healthy Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Recipe adapted from the blog Baking Adventures in a Messy Kitchen.

Healthy Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups grated zucchini
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened or melted
2 large eggs
1 banana , well mashed
3/4 cup yogurt (vanilla or plain; Greek or non-fat or low fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups whole wheat white flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flaxseed or meal
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (heaping) dark chocolate mini chunks (Whole Foods private label sells these in a bag)

Directions:

To prepare, grate the zucchini, using paper towels to squeeze out any excess moisture, and mash the banana.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease mini muffin tray, planning for 45-50 mini muffins.

Using a stand mixer, beat together the zucchini, honey, molasses, coconut oil, eggs, banana, yogurt, and vanilla until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, wheat germ, flax seed, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt with a whisk.

Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer incrementally, beating on low speed, stopping as soon as the flour is fully incorporated.

Remove the bowl from the stand and fold in the dark chocolate mini chunks.

Scoop the batter into mini muffin cups (filling just over 3/4 full), and bake them in the oven for approximately 13 minutes. Let sit in the pan for a few more minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Try to eat just one. Really. Try.

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I love the Orzo and Spinach Salad that Whole Foods makes and thought about replicating it at home.  A quick search on the internet brought me to one that sounded promising, and I made a few modifications.  This salad can be served cold or at room temperature and would be great to bring to your next BBQ.

Orzo & Spinach Salad

Recipe adapted from Food.com

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta (can be whole wheat)
  • 1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb crumbled feta cheese (2 cups)
  • 1/2 small red onion, very finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in spinach, feta, onion, pine nuts,olives, basil, salt and pepper. Toss with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate and serve cold or at room temperature.
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This is one of my ‘go-to’ grilled chicken marinades – very flavorful, fresh and healthy.  I do think marinating the chicken overnight makes a big difference (and makes for one less thing to do the day of!)  I whiz up my marinade, toss with my chicken pieces in a bowl, and store in Ziplock bags in the fridge overnight.  Let sit on the counter 15-30 minutes prior to grilling.  Recipe is easy to double if you’re having friends over.

 

Zesty Chicken Thighs

Recipe very slightly adapted from the blog healthyseasonalrecipes.com

Zesty Chicken Thighs

Active Time: 1 hour

Makes: 8 – 10 thighs or drumsticks

Make ahead: Prepare marinade 1-2 days before adding the chicken.

Ingredients

  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat or Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 
2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Approx. 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, any extra fat trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish, optional

Instructions

  1. Fit food-processor with steel blade attachment. With motor running, drop garlic cloves one at a time through feed tube and process until finely chopped. Remove lid and add yogurt, ginger, honey, lime juice, curry powder and salt. Process until smooth.
  2. Place chicken thighs and/or drumsticks in a large bowl and toss with marinade. Pour everything into a resealable plastic bag and seal. Allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator a minimum of 4 hours or up to 1 day for maximum flavor.
  3. Oil grill rack and pre-heat grill to medium heat (375 degrees). Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the grill and cook without turning for 10 minutes. Turn chicken over with a thin flexible spatula and continue grilling, turning and rotating occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat (without touching the bone) registers 170-180 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Note the chicken may stick to the grill slightly. Serve hot or cold garnished with cilantro.
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Wondering what to do with Swiss chard?  It’s one of the healthiest vegetables out there and bountiful at the grocery store and at farmers markets almost year-round.  I’m always looking for new, simple recipes that use this superfood.  This one is wonderful – it’s basically a Swiss chard pesto that would be great on orecchiette or penne pasta.  If you double the recipe, the pesto would freeze well for future dinners.  Enjoy!

 

Orecchiette with Swiss Chard and Parm

Recipe from Mario Batali; featured on the Today Show.

Orecchiette with Swiss chard and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
Preparation

Combine the oil, onion, garlic, and chard in a large pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion and chard are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Season well with Maldon salt, add 1/4 cup water, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is very tender, about 20 minutes. Season with pepper and remove from the heat. Place ingredients into food processor and finely chop. Set aside in large bowl.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Drop in the pasta and cook until just al dente.

Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the chard ragu and stir and toss over medium heat until the pasta is well coated (add a splash or two more of the reserved pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce). Stir in the cheese.

Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and serve with additional grated Parmigiano on the side.

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I’ve made this recipe a few times and it’s always a hit (even with the kids)!  If you love artichokes (um, yeah!) and olives (yeah!), and you’re looking for something new to do with chicken (please!), then try this meal.  I serve it with crusty bread (rustic sourdough loaf) which is great for soaking up any excess liquid.  I hope you love this!

 

Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Olives

Slightly adapted from Epicurious | February 2013; originally from The Longetivy Kitchen by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson

 

Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Olives

Yield: Makes 4 servings
Total Time: about an hour

Ingredients

  • 8 organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 11/2 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Generous pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cinnamon stick, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups organic chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and mixed with a spritz of lemon juice and a pinch of salt
  • 8 thawed frozen or jarred artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 2/3 cup whole pitted green olives, such as Picholine or Manzanilla
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or cilantro

Preparation

Pat the chicken dry and season salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, working in batches if necessary, and cook until well browned on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Decrease the heat to medium. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until soft and slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in 1/4 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pot. Stir in a pinch of salt and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the remaining 1 3/4 cups of broth, the lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Decrease the heat to medium-low, add back the chicken thighs, and cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the chickpeas, artichoke hearts, and olives and stir gently to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Check largest chicken thigh with a digital thermometer to make sure it is cooked through to at least 170 degrees in the center.  Stir in the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste; you will likely want to add another squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Garnish with the mint or cilantro.

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This is my easy, weeknight (and weekend) vinaigrette that I make all the time, all year round.  It’s so easy to make — it only takes about 3 minutes — and you can make 2 or 3 X the recipe to keep in the fridge for the week.  Some nights, even making a 3-minute dressing is just too daunting, right?

Basic White Balsamic Dressing

 

Basic White Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar (Trader Joe’s brand is the best!)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes
pinch of fresh ground pepper
pinch of marjoram and/or dill

In a small glass dish, add balsamic vinegar, then slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil until combined.  Finish with salt, pepper and herbs.  Add vinaigrette into your greens in a salad bowl, tossing to see how much you need.  Taste a leaf.  If your salad has no taste, it just needs another pinch of salt and that will bring out all of the flavors.

To make a green salad special (I usually favor Butter / Bibb or baby lettuces), I often add toasted nuts and a sweet fruit like pears, persimmons, or apples.  I also like the combination of scallions and avocado.

 

 

 

 

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