Chocolate-Chip Zucchini Bread

My friend brought me over some zucchini from her over-abundant garden. So I hopped-to it and made some zucchini bread. I got this recipe from Rookie Cookie {I love her recipes!}, but I was worried her recipe would be TOO chocolaty for me {yes, there is such a thing as being too chocolaty} so I took out the cocoa in her recipe. But I do love the chocolate chips. And since it is made from a vegetable it is healthy for you. Right?

Just let me think that, ok?

Chocolate-Chip Zucchini Bread

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Set oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9x5 inch bread pans. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. While the machine is running, drizzle in the oil. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the vanilla to the buttermilk. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the beaten butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 parts, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold the zucchini and chocolate chips into the batter. Divide the batter between the bread pans. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans before unmolding and slicing.

{Adapted from Rookie Cookie}


Chicken Curry

One of my dear friends gave me a collection of her favorite recipes for our wedding. As a mother of 5 kids, she definitely knows what it means to make a fast, easy, and delicious meal. So this is one of those recipes.

This recipe was perfect when I wanted something exotic, but not as time-intensive as this dish. Because... lets be honest. We make Indian food in our house once a week. We just can't get enough. And I feel like when you make Indian food you just have to have Naan bread. And a strawberry lassi is such a cool, refreshing contrast to the spice, so you have to have that. Sooo if I want to cut down on time prep, I go with an easier main dish. This was perfect.

Curry Chicken

4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon slat
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
2-3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
cilantro (optional)

Melt butter and saute onions. Stir in flour and spices. Cook 5 minutes. Add broth and cook until it thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken and sour cream. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.

Note for Next Time: I thought the sour cream made it a little too....sour creamy. Next time I would substitute at least half of the sour cream with plain yogurt.


Chicken and Black Bean Salad

This meal fits right into my mantra of "yummy meals, fast and easy." My mom made this salad growing up and it is flavorful, beautiful, and filling.

Chicken & Black Bean Salad


1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all together.


1 can black beans
1 can corn or Mexicorn
1 red bell pepper
1/2 bunch green onions
1 chicken breast
lime wedges

Combine black beans (rinsed and drained) and corn (drained). Marinate in dressing.

Cook chicken breast in drizzle of olive oil. Slice into chicken strips. Slice red pepper and green onions.

Mix lettuce with black beans, corn, and chicken. Top with red pepper, onions, lime wedges, and cilantro.

NOTE: I usually find that this is enough dressing, but if you need more, drizzle some Italian dressing on your salad.


Naan Bread...the real deal

I have already posted one recipe for Naan bread, but this is more like the Bombay's House...which is basically the gold standard, as far as I'm concerned.

We served this bread to Ryan's grandma when she came over for dinner last week andshe dreamed about it the night after. It is just that good.

Naan Bread

2/3 cup warm water
3/4 teaspoon yeast
2 cups flour (the recipe recommends cake flour, but I just used all-purpose. I think the cake flour would have helped it be lighter...)
3 1/2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
sunflower oil or melted butter
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)
garlic, minced (optional)

Pour the water into a bowl. Whisk in the yeast, then add half the flour. Mix together with a fork, then cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Stir in the yogurt, then add the rest of the flour, the salt, and baking powder. Mix together with your hands into a soft, sticky ball. Spoon 2 teaspoons oil or butter into the bowl and rub it over the top of the dough, then pick the dough up out of the bowl and roughly squeeze it once or twice. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and leave for 15 minutes.

Pour another 1 teaspoon oil or butter onto the dough and rub lightly all over, then turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Knead lightly for 30 seconds, then return it to the bowl. cover and leave for 15 minutes.

By this time the dough should be much smoother. Knead lightly on the oiled surface for a minute, dust with flour and leave for 5 minutes. Begin heating the wok over medium heat.

Take one piece of dough and roll it out into a teardrop shape, dusting well with flour as you go. You want to get the dough as thin as possible. The best way we have found to do this step is to roll out a chunk of dough as thin as you can into a 12" circle (or so) and cut the dough into pizza-shaped slices with a pizza cutter. This works PERFECT!

When the wok is very hot, gently lay the dough on the wok. Brush the surface with butter, mixed with herbs and garlic (if you are using them). Place the lid on the wok and leave for 1 minute while you roll out another piece of dough.

The naan should rise slightly and bubble. With tongs, lift the bread. If it is slightly browned on the under side, flip it and cook for 1 minute longer.

Remove from wok and wrap it in a clean dish towel while you finish rolling out the rest of the bread.

{Adapted from The Cook's Book}


Lemon Coconut Layer Cake

I am a complete sucker for lemon anything. So when it came time to make my birthday cake, of course I went lemon. I tried this new recipe and it was delicious. I loved the lemon-coconut combination and the pudding in between the layers was so flavorful and divine.

I didn't have 3 cake pans, so I just did two layers. I think it would be even better with 3 layers because there would be more of the pudding filling. But either way...delicious.

Lemon Coconut Layer Cake


1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
3/4 cups granulated sugar
grated rind of 1 lemons
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (save the rest of the juice for the filling)
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line three 8 or 9-inch cake pans with wax paper and grease. In a bowl, sift together the flour and salt and set aside.

Place 6 of the eggs in a large heatproof bowl set over hot water. With an electric mixer, beat until frothy. Gradually beat in 3/4 cup of the sugar until the mixture doubles in volume and is thick enough to leave a ribbon trail when the beaters are lifted, about 10 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the hot water. Fold in half the grated lemon rind and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice until blended. Fold in the coconut.

Sift the flour mixture into the egg mixture in 3 batches, folding in thoroughly after each addition.

Divide the mixture between the prepared pans.

Bake until the cakes pull away from the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes. Let stand 3-5 minutes then unmold and transfer to a cooling rack.


2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs
grated rind of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon (I just used the remaining juice of the lemon I squeezed for the cake)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter

In a bowl, blend the cornstarch with a little cold water to dissolve. Whisk in the eggs just until blended. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the lemon rind and juice, water, sugar, and butter.

Over a moderate heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Whisk in the eggs and cornstarch, and return to a boil. Whisk continuously until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cover with wax paper so a skin won't form.


1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
6-8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in the lemon rind and enough lemon juice to obtain a thick, spreadable consistency.

To assemble:

Sandwich the 3 cake layers with the lemon filling mixture. Spread the frosting over the top and sides. Cover the cake with the coconut, pressing it in gently.

{Adapted from Complete Baking, by Martha Day}


Chicken Enchiladas

I love enchiladas. Might be because I life up in the frigid north where there is no such thing as Mexican food (ok I may be exaggerating a little, but not much).

I love using this recipe and splitting it into two pans, freezing half for later.

2-3 Chicken Breasts
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can chopped green chiles
1/4 cup chicken broth from chicken just cooked (or to your preference...depending on how saucy you like it)
1/4 cup cream cheese, diced
1 cup sour cream
8-10 flour tortillas (have you tried the uncooked tortillas at Costco? We buy like 5 bags every time we are down in the states. So yummy)
1/2 pound Monterey Jack Cheese, grated

Place chicken breats in saucepan and cover with water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is done (about 30 minutes). Shred chicken and save the broth.

Saute the onions and green chiles in the oil until golden brown. Drain off any excess fat. Add broth, cream cheese, and sour cream. Heat through.

Lay out tortillas one at a time. Put in each about 1/3 c. of filling, 2 T. chicken, and a sprinkle of cheese. Roll up. Line up each enchilada in a 13x9 inch casserole pan (or two smaller pans). Spread remaining sauce and cheese over top.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes.

Mexican Rice

This was an excellent side dish for anything Mexican. Easy. Yummy. Just what I like.

Mexican Rice

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
1/2 cup stewed tomatoes, chopped small
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt,cumin, and taco seasoning.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.



I'll admit it. Sometimes, we have breakfast for dinner. Like when I haven't gone to the grocery store yet. Or I don't have any time. Or we just feel like it. Like...tonight.

This is my favorite waffle recipe. And it sure hit the spot tonight with some homemade strawberry-rhubarb syrup.

2 eggs, separated

2 cups flour

2 cups milk

1 TB baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup oil

Whip the egg whites until stiff. Set aside. Mix all other ingredients together. Beat on low until moistened then mix on medium until smooth. By hand, fold in egg whites gently. Cook on waffle iron.


Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake

This is oh-so similar to Ryan's favorite dinner that I made our first Valentine's as a couple, with some delicious changes. Sentimental? Just a little.

Another great easy to throw together freezer meal. I served this over rice and it was the perfect sauciness.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake

1 package stuffing mix
1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp pepper
3-4 thick slices of deli ham, cubed
2 cup combination of swiss and cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cooked chicken breasts ( I used shredded)

Prepare stuffing mix according to directions on box. Meanwhile in a bowl, combine soup and milk. Put chicken in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with pepper. Layer with ham, half of the cheese, soup mixture and stuffing. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer.

To make into a freezer meal, I would recommend preparing this in two separate smaller pans (especially if you are a small family like ours...this was plenty for two meals). Prepare both pans until ready to bake in oven and then stick one in the freezer for later!

{Recipe, with adaptations by me, from Sister's Cafe}