Baked Zucchini Quesadillas + VICTORY

I.  Made.  It.
Through a whole summer in a mini kitchen using a mini oven, mini baking sheet, pseudo-freezer, yadda yadda yadda.

We arrived back home a couple days ago.
I walked in the house and kissed my Kitchenaid.

Just kidding.
Kind of.

Just wait till you see what will be coming out of of that Kitchenaid this fall and you'll see how much you missed it too!


Back to business.

This is a simple recipe for those who have garden zucchini growing out of their ears!
It's super versatile; switch up the veggies or cheese for whatever you have in your fridge and you're bound to be as pleased as punch.

I mean, pleased as quesadillas...?
Whatever, I'm just glad to have my Kitchenaid back.

Baked Zucchini Quesadillas
6 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2-1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 small zucchini (about 1 lb), halved lengthwise & thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 big handfuls fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
4 (8-in) 100% whole wheat flour tortillas
2 cups grated pepper jack

Preheat oven to 400. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion, salt, & cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft (5 minutes). Add garlic & cook for another minute.

Add zucchini, corn, and spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini & corn are soft and spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.

Brush one side of each tortillas with olive oil. Lay two of them, oil side down, on a baking sheet. Divide zucchini mixture & cheese between both. Place remaining two tortillas on top with oil side up. Gently press down with a spatula to seal.

Bake for 5 minutes, flip them over, and bake for another 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream & salsa, if desired.


Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (with whole wheat!)

My time in our temporary kitchen is dwindling...thus begins the make-random-stuff-out-of-what-you-have-left stage.  Good thing I have a very non-picky husband!

I looked in my cupboard and I had:  whole wheat flour, oats, almond butter, and dark chocolate chips...
which equals cookies, of course!

I started with a peanut butter cookie recipe from allrecipes.com, substituted almond butter for the peanut butter, and healthified a few things.

Soft and chewy, while crisp on the outside.  We loved them!  And with almond butter, dark chocolate (antioxidants!), whole wheat, and oats...how can you go wrong??

Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup natural almond butter (of course, peanut butter works too)
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 cup regular whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I like 60% cacao)

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream together butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and almond butter until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Separately mix flour, baking soda, and salt; then combine with wet mixture. Fold in oats & chocolate chips.

Shape dough into golf-ball size balls and bake on ungreased baking sheet for 8-12 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Let cool in pan--if you can bear to wait--for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.


Whole Wheat Yogurt Pancakes

These pancakes are super moist while still maintaining fluffiness.
A hint of sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon add the perfect amount of sweetness, making these absolutely




So delectable, in fact, that I ate that whole plate myself.
You think I'm kidding?
Okay, I am.
BUT...I wanted to.  :)

*sigh* ...soft, fluffy pancakes with fresh summer berries and warm maple syrup drizzled on top.
Need I say more?

Whole Wheat Yogurt Pancakes
Makes 6-8 pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp plain, nonfat yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Whisk together dry ingredients, then separately whisk together wet ingredients.  Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until just combined.  Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly grease it.  Pour batter (about 1/4 cup size) onto the skillet.  When pancakes bubble, flip them over and finish cooking on other side until lightly browned.  Serve with fresh fruit and warm maple syrup.


Vegetable Enchiladas with Homemade Red Sauce

As summer's end fast approaches, garden vegetables are plentiful!

...and bountiful,
and beautiful...


even delightful.

And this dish is
of 'em!

(I know, the clever-est thoughts come into my head while I sit here and feed baby boy.)

This is one of my very favorite dinners (my husband agrees)!

Feel free to switch up the veggies in here if you want, according to whatever pleases your veggie-loving self. 

The feta cheese in these enchiladas adds a fun, tangy twist.

(Please notice our 100-year-old lamp in the background.)

This recipe does require some chopping & prep, but the filling and sauce can easily be made ahead.
(Or you could use a store-bought enchilada sauce if you're tight on time, although I highly recommend this homemade version. :)

P.S. I just added a recipe index tab at the top to make recipes easier to find!

Vegetable Enchiladas with Homemade Red Sauce
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
6 servings

Ingredients & Directions:
For the Filling:
1 (15-oz) can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
8 oz baby portobello mushrooms, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup red enchilada sauce (recipe below)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 cup canned diced green chiles, drained
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 & lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Transfer half of the drained beans to a small bowl & mash with a fork until mostly smooth; set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion & bell pepper and cook til softened (5-7 minutes). Stir in zucchini & mushrooms and cook til tender (3-5 minutes). Stir in garlic and corn, cook for about 30 seconds, then add mashed beans and whole beans. Heat through.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup red enchilada sauce, the feta cheese, cilantro, and green chiles. Season with salt & pepper.

For the Sauce:
1 tsp canola oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sugar
1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper, to taste (about 1/4-1/2 tsp each)

Heat oil over medium-high heat; add onion & cook until softened (5 min). Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar. Cook until fragrant (30 sec). Stir in tomato sauce & water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened (5 min). Season with salt & pepper.

For the Assembly:
12 (6-in) corn tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
additional cilantro & feta for garnish

Briefly microwave tortillas until warm and pliable (30-60 sec). Place a heaping 1/3 cup of filling down the center of each tortilla. Roll up tightly & place seam-side down in prepared baking dish. Bake (at 450) for about 5-7 minutes in preheated oven. Take enchiladas out, pour remaining sauce over top, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until enchiladas are heated through and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with extra feta & cilantro for garnish, if desired.


Healthy Banana Bread

Overripe bananas are hard to come by at our house. My husband and I eat them daily (as will my sweeter-than-ripe-bananas baby...soon!), plus, the minute they start to show brown specks, I usually slice 'em up and throw 'em in the freezer for a future smoothie.

Well, the other day, I was pleasantly surprised at three overripe bananas in our fruit basket.
Of course, banana bread is the no-brainer answer to overripe bananas!

Banana bread is usually very cake-like (in flavor (which is good) and in nutrition (not good)), and I always think you might as well just eat cake. But not this time. This time I've brought a healthy banana bread recipe to the table! It's crispy on top and moist inside.

*I also wanted to substitute applesauce for the canola oil, but I didn't have any...next time!

Healthy Banana Bread
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

2 eggs
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup very ripe bananas (I like 1 cup mashed and 1/2 cup sliced, for some chunks)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey

2 1/2 cups regular whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients up to the flour. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until just combined. Pour batter into a large loaf pan and bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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