Zucchini Bread & Muffins: Substitutions for the Win!


Don’t be alarmed…but this post contains TWO…yes TWO recipes at the bottom! :)

Recently we were away visiting my partner’s brother on the family farm.  Aside from a lovely piece of land and variety of animals, they also have a fantastic garden that creates more gigantic zucchinis than one knows what to do with!

We came home with four and today I finally used up a couple of them.

A load of bread and a dozen muffins later…I still have zucchini left…

Remaining zucchinis

I think I see a stir fry in our future!

Click here for the recipes or scroll to the bottom of the post.

 

So, to use up the zucchini we had, I decided to make zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini muffins.  The bread turned out awesome! Moist and yet dense enough that it doesn’t fall apart when you cut and butter it.

zucchini bread

The muffins are brilliant too…the only problem is that I left them in 3 or 4 mins too long and the bottoms started to burn.  Luckily they’re slightly crisp but it’s really not noticeable, especially when you’re distracted by the chocolatey goodness!

You can see the crispy bottoms in this picture

You can see the crispy bottoms in this picture

I have to say that I’m extra happy with how they turned out…since I had to substitute ingredients because there were items I either didn’t have or that ran out as I worked.  Substitutions for the win!

Here are the substitutions I made….

  • Subbed in grape seed oil for the vegetable oil
  • Cut the oil needed for the bread in half and added butter instead
  • Substituted honey greek yogourt for sour cream in the muffins
  • Had no brown sugar so used only white sugar for the muffins
  • Added nutmeg to the muffins

 

The bread is lovely and semi sweet whereas the muffins are chocolatey and delicious…no sign of healthy zucchini in them anywhere! (I swear though, I DID add it!)

I have altered the recipes below to include my substitutions since I really like how everything turned out.

 

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup greek yogourt (I used “honey” flavour and it worked out fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • zest from one orange (optional) (I didn’t use this ingredient but saw it mentioned and am curious how it would taste so I thought I would leave it in.  Terry’s chocolate orange anyone? ;)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease a muffin tin.
  2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
  3. Beat together sugars, oil, and eggs until slightly fluffy.
  4. Stir in vanilla and yogourt.
  5. Fold in the grated zucchini (and zest if using).
  6. Add to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine and add the chocolate chips. Don’t stir too much or the dough will bake denser than desired.
  7. Fill your muffin tin, each spot a bit over halfway.
  8. Bake for 15-20 or until a toothpick entered in the center comes clean. (At 20 minutes, my muffin bottoms got a wee bit burnt so check on them at 15 mins)

 Delicious and Moist Zucchini Bread

zucchini bread

 

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease a 9″ bread pan with butter
  3. Mix dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sugars, oil, butter and vanilla
  5. Fold wet mixture into dry mixture until just combined and then fold in the zucchini.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly, and give it about 15 minutes before transferring the bread from the pan to the rack.

Curried Stew: Fast, Delicious and Vegetarian if you wish!


The first time I had this dish was at my brother-in-law’s house.  Well, farm.  We were up visiting for a week and I have to say that we ate incredibly well while we were there!

The meat, the eggs and even some of the vegetables were from about 100 feet from the house in varying directions.  Cows, chickens, pigs and an awesome garden!
We were sent home with 4 *huge* zucchini (zucchinis?) but that’s a story for another post. :)

The point being that all the food was beyond delicious, including this dish.  It was yummy both freshly made and the day after, so a good choice for meal planning and/or freezing for future meals.  A family member made it initially and when I asked for the recipe, she wrote it down for me…short, sweet and open to creative additions and substitutions.

Delicious AND easy?  My favourite kind of meal!

Curried Stew close up

 

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

 

This blog post will be short as the steps are straightforward and easy.  The hardest part was all the chopping of the veggies.

To start, brown the onions and the chicken.  I used chicken thighs but you could substitute tofu, some other vegetarian protein, or forego it all together if you wish.
I also browned them in a pot to save on dishes rather than using a frying pan.  In the end, the pot in the picture below wasn’t big enough so I moved up to my larger soup pot.

Browning the onions and chicken

Browning the onions and chicken

Onion and chicken in a pot. (Not sure what’s up with the colour of that photo)  I also added pepper and salt…but at this point you could add any spices that you think would go well with curry.

Now, remember what I said about having fresh veggies on the farm?  Yeah, now that I’m back in the city without a garden, cans are my friend.

tomatoes peas and coconut milk

Diced tomatoes, peas and coconut milk

Well, not completely.  I did use fresh vegetables too, including one of those zucchinis I brought home with me!  For the vegetables, I would say to look in your fridge and use up what you have.  I added celery, cauliflower and zucchini but you could also add potatoes, carrots, etc.  Depends how much chopping you want to do!

celery and cauliflower

 

And then….it all goes in the pot (except the zucchini) and left to simmer.

simmering stew

I took the above photo after adding the zucchini.  I originally held it back and let the stew simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Then I added the zucchini and let it go for another 10 minutes or so.  Otherwise, the zucchini turns to mush and I prefer a bit of texture….just on *this* side of crunchy.

The time you leave it to simmer is flexible as well.  We like our vegetables to retain their shape so we didn’t let it simmer too long.

The other option is to parboil the vegetables separately and then add them but I wanted it to be easy so I threw everything in together.

I kept checking the cauliflower by piercing it with a fork as it was the part that would take the longest to soften.

When it felt right, we ate!

 

Curried Chicken Stew

Curried Stew close up

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can peas (or frozen)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of curry paste
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • celery, I used 3 sticks, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped into half moons
  • any other vegetables you wish to add
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • rice, if desired
  1. Brown the onion in a pan with the olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Halfway through, add the chicken thighs, salt, pepper and garlic to taste.
  3. Add tomatoes, peas, coconut milk, curry paste and vegetables.
  4. Bring to a simmer and leave on low to continue simmering for approximately 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Add zucchini near the end and allow to simmer for the final 10 minutes or so.
  6. Serve on rice (or in a bowl on its own) and enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Breast; Without the BBQ


IMG_3246

A delicious and satisfying lunch!

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

 

I love BBQ chicken.  Sadly, we don’t have a BBQ so I have to make do with our oven and stovetop.

This particular way of preparing the chicken breasts leaves them moist and delicious!  You don’t get the grill smoke, but the smoked paprika helps with that and the coating keeps in all the flavour and juices.  So good!

The first thing I should mention is that this chicken needs to marinade for at least an hour so this isn’t a spur of the moment recipe.  You have to preplan a bit.  I left my chicken to marinade in the fridge overnight and it was spectacular so if you can wait for longer than an hour, I would encourage it.

Also, go with bone-in chicken breasts.  The bone adds to the flavour, not to mention they’re cheaper! :)

These are my chicken breasts after marinading for about 16 hours, laid out on a cookie sheet and sprinkled with a good amount of pepper and sea salt.

Before

Before

And here they are afterwards.  I baked them at 350F for about 20 minutes, brushed on BBQ sauce, baked for another 10 minutes, did the BBQ sauce brushing yet again and then allowed for another 10-15 minutes.

 

After

After

 

They were moist and delicious!  All that was missing from this BBQ chicken was the grill lines!

BBQ Chicken Breasts: Moist and Delicious!

IMG_3246

  • chicken breasts, bone in
  • smoked paprika
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • garlic, minced
  • cajun spice (or other mixed spice that you like)
  • BBQ sauce, your preference
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Mix the paprika, lemon juice, garlic, oil and spice mix.  Place chicken breasts in a freezer bag (or something else as sturdy), cover in marinade and place in fridge for anywhere from 1 to 12+ hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Place chicken breasts in a casserole dish uncovered, or a cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 20-25 mins.
  5. After the initial bake, remove from oven and brush on the BBQ sauce.  Return to oven for 5-10 mins.  Do this 2 or 3 times depending on the size of the chicken breasts and how long they need to reach an internal temperature of 165F.
  6. Serve!

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