Thursday, November 6, 2014

Zucchini-Crusted Pizza

Everyone likes pizza, right? In my book, pizza ranks right up there with ice cream. Zucchini pizza is a little different than your typical soft and puffy crusted pizza. But some claim that is just as tasty. Try it and decide for yourself!

4-5 cups shredded zucchini
1/3 cup quinoa flour (all-purpose flour may be substituted)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded cheese (pepper jack, mozzarella, cheddar - your choice)
2 eggs
1-3 finely diced jalapenos (if desired)
1 1/2 teaspoons herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, Italian seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F. Put a pizza stone in the oven to heat as it comes up to temp.
Squeeze as much moisture out of the zucchini as you can. Don't stress if there's still moisture left - if needed, a little more flour can be added. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Take pizza stone out of oven and cover with parchment paper. Spread zucchini mixture onto prepared pizza stone. Bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly brown. Remove from oven and top with your favorite pizza toppings. Return to oven until cheese is melted. I have found that allowing 5-10 minutes for the pizza to sit after removing from the oven makes cutting and serving the pizza much easier.

Some of our family's favorite pizza toppings include:

Grilled Chicken


And don't forget plenty of cheese! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pumpkin Cranberry Spelt Muffins

In anticipation of a lot of guests in the next month or two, I've been baking a lot of muffins and tossing in them in the freezer. Pumpkin and cranberry are foods typically eaten in the autumn, but I found a bag of cranberries in the freezer and we have a lot of canned pumpkin on our shelves, so I went ahead with it. The muffins are moist, not overly sweet, and I received a thumbs-up from one of my sisters for flavor! 

2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (leave whole or coarsely chop)
1/2 cup coconut oil (or oil of choice)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, lightly beaten

Combine flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Combine remaining ingredients except for cranberries in a separate mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moist. Fold in cranberries. Do not overmix. Grease a 12-muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups. Fill muffin cups about 2/3-full with batter. Bake muffins in preheated 350° oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove pumpkin muffins from tins to wire rack to cool. 

Makes 1 dozen

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
2/3 cup honey
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

Optional: 1/2 cup raisins and/or 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x5" loaf pan.
Whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs, milk, honey, and oil in a small bowl or large mixing cup. Stir into the dry ingredients until everything is evenly moistened. If adding walnuts and/or raisins, stir in.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Check the top; if it's wet looking and wobbles when you touch it, tend the bread loosely with foil and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes more.
Remove the bread from the oven and cool in the pan 15 minutes before taking it out of the pan and putting it on a rack to finish cooling completely.

Makes 1 9x5" loaf

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

This recipe is written on an old faded recipe card that was given to my mom years ago. It's been my mom's standard (and perhaps only) blueberry pie recipe. This past weekend when my sister's family came to visit, I made this pie from our own freshly picked blueberries. Everyone loved it, even my niece and nephew who claim they dislike blueberries!!

Prebaked pie crust

5 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter (I wasn't reading the instructions, so I missed the part about adding the butter. No one missed it!)
Slightly sweetened whipped cream

Combine 2 cups blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in pot and cook over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and add butter. Cool. (Once again, I didn't read the instructions and failed to cool.) Add the remaining 3 cups of blueberries and fill pie crust. Chill in refrigerator several hours or overnight until cold. Serve with whipped cream. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Basil Pesto

Our family loves pesto. In our opinion, pesto completes any meal or dish. Well... most! Pesto is terrific in chicken soup, casseroles, sauteed vegetables, sandwiches, or just as a snack with crackers. The possibilities are really endless! Because of our somewhat extreme use of pesto, I plant a lot of basil in my garden, and we make a lot of pesto. We freeze the pesto in 3oz. dixie cups, so whenever we need any it's a piece of cake to pull out of the freezer, tear the cup off, and add to the pesto-lacking dish!

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3-4 garlic cloves

Combine all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until blended. Spoon into 3oz dixie cups or desired container. If freezing, to prevent the top from turning dark, pour a thin film of olive oil before freezing.
I doubled this recipe and it filled ten 3oz cups. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Raw Chocolate Mousse

We had this delicious chocolate mousse today and it was a pretty good hit! 
And there are only four simple ingredients!!!
Check out the recipe here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

For my younger sister's birthday, I baked this delicious carrot cake. Carrot cake is carrot cake and you can't get too many variations from it. This basic carrot cake recipe is simply delicious as it is very moist and even somewhat healthy for you. =) We, in the Pena home, are of the opinion that carrot cake must always be frosted with cream cheese frosting. However, if one desired to decorate a carrot cake for someone's birthday, for instance, it would be of much import to use a frosting that would have more stability. Thus, our find of White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting which you can find below the instructions for the cake. Enjoy!!

1 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Whip honey, butter, and oil together in a medium-sized bowl. Add eggs. Mix dry ingredients together and blend into honey-oil mixture. Add vanilla. Fold in carrots and, if using, walnuts.
Bake in oiled 13x9-inch pan or two 9-inch pans for 40-45 minutes and 30-35 minutes, respectively, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool and frost cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

10 ounces white chocolate, chopped
10 ounces cream cheese
10 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water. Remove from heat, cool until lukewarm, and set aside. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth in a large bowl with a mixer set on medium speed. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add sugar and mix until frosting is light and fluffy.

Makes 5 cups

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sausage and Kale Soup

About a year ago, Rebecca took me out for lunch at Olive Gardens for my birthday. I can't remember which of us ordered this soup but sisters we are, so we tried each other's soups and loved this one. When we returned to her home, Rebecca searched the web for a copycat recipe of this soup. A couple weeks ago, I pulled this recipe out again to see how my family liked it. I changed a few things to suit our family better and everybody loved it. When there's actually been leftovers, Dad asks for it to be saved for him for when he comes home from work. This soup tastes fabulous served with a crusty bread. Enjoy!

4 cups Yukon gold potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4" slices.
1 1/2 cup onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 Lb. Italian sausage (Hot is best as it gives a wonderful flavor)
2 packed cups kale, chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Brown sausage and crumble. Drain and set aside. Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water, garlic in pot and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Add sausage and bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat, then add kale and cream. Heat through and serve. 

Serves 8

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Café au Lait Bars

These are those wonderfully delicious coffee bars that everyone raves about once they’ve tasted a bite of them.  First dubbed, “Nathanael’s coffee bars” because of my brother’s love and fascination for them, they were later simply referred to as “those scrumptious coffee bars” that everyone asked the recipe for.  So if you haven’t tried the café au lait bars, now is the time!!

3 large eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup butter, melted
2 cups flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup instant coffee crystals, or 3 tablespoons espresso powder
¼ cup heavy cream
Mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until light-colored and thick. Add the sugar, beating until glossy and stiff. Add the vanilla and melted butter, beating to combine. Stir in the flour and salt.
Set aside 1 ½ cups of the batter. Stir together the coffee crystals and cream and add to the remaining batter. Spread the coffee batter in the prepared pan.
Now, I’ll try to explain how I did the next step. Fill a Zip-lock bag with the reserved batter. Snip off one corner, and pipe three lines of batter the length of the pan. Use a knife to pull the batter from side to side through the coffee batter. Optional: Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Bake the bars for 30 minutes, or until the sides just barely pull away from the edge of the pan and the center is set. Remove them from the oven and immediately with sprinkle mini chocolate chips. Cool before cutting.
Makes 24 bars

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Summer Squash Enchiladas

Here is another summer squash recipe that I made to use up that surplus amount of squash. =) Everyone liked it; even those who don't care for squash!!

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
salt and pepper
6 cups diced summer squash
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups diced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh hot peppers or to taste
16 (8-inch) tortillas
2 cups diced tomatoes - we had picante sauce on hand, so that is what I used instead

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour and chili powder to make a thick paste. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring well after each addition to prevent lumps. Add the cheese and heat gently until the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Steam the squash until just tender, about 5 minutes.
In a saute pan, heat the oil and saute the onion, garlic, and hot peppers until limp, 3-5 minutes. Add the squash and two-thirds of the sauce. Toss to coat.
Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Spoon some filling onto each tortilla and roll like a crepe. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Spoon the extra sauce on top and sprinkle with the tomatoes. Bake the enchiladas for 30 minutes, or until hot. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings