salt & pepper chicken thighs with yogurt sauce

Dinner is an ongoing thing at my house. I am still trying to figure this out. WHY MUST THEY EAT EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? The struggle is real.
Trying to find something healthy that everyone will eat is an even greater struggle. Chicken is a fairly safe bet, most of the time. As long as I can serve it one way for some of my family and another way for the rest of my family. This recipe does just that.
For those with a more developed palate, serve the chicken on a bed of zucchini (spiraled or sliced in rounds and sautéed). The tangy yogurt sauce adds just the right amount of flair without overpowering the dish. Think of it as a fresh spin on chicken Alfredo. But if some of your people aren’t really into that and resolutely turn up noses, serve their chicken with a banana and a healthy side of Ketchup. Boom. Everyone wins. Enjoy!

SALT AND PEPPER CHICKEN THIGHS WITH YOGURT SAUCE

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6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4-5 small zucchini (Or roughly 4-5 cups)
Plain organic greek yogurt
2 tablespoons butter
salt
pepper

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, melt butter and coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken thighs and salt and pepper generously. Cover and cook until browned, then flip and repeat until the other side is browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Slice rounds or spiralized zucchini and toss into the same pan using the chicken juices to cook the zucchini. Salt and pepper lightly and cook until no longer crunchy but still firm. remove from pan being carful to retain all of the juices. I ran my cooked zucchini through a pasta colander and then returned the extra juice back to the pan. It will serve as the base for the yogurt sauce.

Once the zucchini is removed from the pan and set aside, add greek yogurt to the juice, 1/2 cup at a time until it is the desired consistency. Anywhere from 1-2 cups total, depending on how your preference and the quality of liquids you have from the chicken and zucchini. Use a whisk to incorporate the yogurt but keep the pan on very low heat so as not to separate the yogurt from overheating.

Serve chicken on a bed of zucchini with yogurt sauce spooned generously overtop.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Why, yes. This is another zucchini recipe. I’m trusting you’ll forgive the repetition as, hopefully, you have these gorgeous squash coming out of your ears as well. I have a basket on my kitchen counter full of them. I keep looking at them and making promises. “You shall not go to waste! Nor you! I shall make something beautiful out of you!” And so. And so: Another zucchini recipe. This recipe calls for four cups of zucchini, so it’s a fantastic way to use up some of the excess.

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE

14390399905391/2 cup butter —softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1  3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2  3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

FROSTING
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4-6 cups powdered sugar (as needed for desired thickness and weight)

In a large bowl, mix butter, vegetable oil and sugar. Add vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and eggs and continue mixing until well-combined. You can use a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or a good-old fashioned whisk, as you prefer. Spoon in the yogurt, cocoa powder, zucchini, and chocolate chips until smooth. Add the flour and combine well. (I always save the addition of flour for last so I can adjust the amount if necessary).
You can use a 9″x13″ pan for this cake, but I prefer loaf pans as the cake is easier to freeze and save for later. And I’m all about having cake on hand for later. So, whatever your pan preference, spray it well with a cooking spray or grease with butter so the cake will not stick to the sides of the pan. This recipe will make a deep cake in a 9″x13″ pan, or three loaf pans. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Once the cake is baked, set aside and allow to cool.

FROSTING
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter, milk, and cocoa power together, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar until there are no lumps. If you want to pour or drizzle your frosting, do not add as much powder sugar, but if you’d rather smooth or spread the frosting (this is my preference), then feel free to add all, or even more than six cups of powdered sugar.

Farmer’s Market Gold —Rustic Zucchini Bread

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My garden failed me this year. This may be in part because I forgot about it and it grew more weeds than actual vegetables, but seriously, how can you fail to grow zucchini?! Those things are like rabbits! Anyhow. Mine did not grow, so it was off to the farmer’s market for me. And thank goodness other people grew zucchini this summer!

And now, what to do with them? Usually this is a more urgent question because I have them coming out of my ears. But this summer there is anticipation in place of dread.
Bread, people. Bread.

I know the world doesn’t need another zucchini bread recipe. Like for real. But—but. But.

This is my go to. And it’s so good. And even better, it’s easy. And quick. All good things. Not too sweet, rustic (whole wheat flour!), with a crumb that is more reminiscent of actual bread rather than cake. Best of all? Three cups of zucchini per batch! A nice feature if you’re trying to use the stuff up.

Enjoy!

RUSTIC ZUCCHINI BREAD

3 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup greek yogurt (or sour cream)
3/4 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Optional add-ins: nuts, rasins, carrots, craisins, berries, etc.

Shred your zucchini—I use a food processor to simplify the process and speed it up—and throw whatever you don’t plan on using in the freezer for later use. This stuff freezes like magic.
Throw your remaining three cups of zucchini in a large mixing bowl along with the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Use a whisk to throughly but gently combine all the ingredients until everything is well mixed. The batter might even be a little frothy on top. (Note: If you want to reduce the sugar, you can substitute bananas or applesauce for the sugar, you’ll just have to adjust your flour accordingly).
Once the wet ingredients and spices are well-combined, add in the flour. Like muffins or any quick bread, you don’t want to over-mix, so blend it in, but don’t worry if there are still bits of flour here and there.
Divide the batter between two well-greased bread pans, and smooth it out so the batter is more or less even in the pans. bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the loaf comes out clean.

Savory Summer Squash and Angel Hair pasta

Summer is the season of garden glut. Gorgeous, true. But glut just the same. We have the season of strawberries and then beans. Followed by the gorge of cucumbers and  tomatoes. And then of course, summer squash. And if you garden, chances are your summer is awash is all the produce. Never fear. I’m here to help. And by ‘help’ I mean I will assist you in eating. Because I’m good at eating. It’s my talent. I am particularly good at eating pasta.

And so. Here’s a recipe that brings the gorgeous glut of summer squash together with that steadfast fail-safe: pasta dinner.

SAVORY SUMMER SQUASH AND ANGEL HAIR PASTA

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1 lb. Angel Hair Pasta (or other pasta shape of your choosing)
1 Tablespoon diced garlic.
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 Cup raisins (golden or brown)
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
2-3 cups of zucchini
Parmesan to top

Prepare pasta as per package directions (or you can substitute whatever pasta you prefer.)
In a large stir-fry pan, brown garlic in avocado oil, or whatever oil you prefer.
Add raisins and chopped walnuts. (Even if you’re not a walnut fan—personally, I’m not—add them anyway. Their taste sweetens as they cook and they add the loveliest texture to this dish!)
Slice summer squash in half-moons and toss with the raisin mixture until just tender—you don’t want them mushy.
Heap over pasta and top with grated parmesan. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of chilled white wine.