• Apple Zucchini Muffins

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    These muffins are healthy, delicious, and kid approved.  Need I say more?  I admit I was a bit skeptical given how little fat is in the muffins, but they turned out extremely moist and flavorful.

    They freeze wonderfully.  After they cool, I simply put them in a freezer bag, and then each night I pull 2 out (one for each kiddo), and put them in a sandwich bag for their school lunch the next day.  Perfect!

    Recipe adapted from Two Peas and their Pod.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
    • 3/4 c. dark brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
    • 1 c. buttermilk
    • 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 TBSP oil (melted coconut oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil)
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 c. grated apple (approximately 2 Granny Smiths)
    • 1/2 c. grated zucchini, moisture slightly squeezed out
    • 1 c. chopped peeled apple (approximately 1 Granny Smith)

    For the Topping: use more if needed

    • 4 TBSP crunchy sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

    Directions:

    1.  Preheat oven to 375*F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and all-spice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Do not over mix. Gently stir in the grated apple, zucchini, and chopped apples.
    3. To make the topping, combine turbinado sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir well.
    4. Fill the prepared muffin pan with muffin batter, filling each cup about 3/4 the way full. Sprinkle each muffin with cinnamon sugar topping. Bake for 20 minutes, or until muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let muffins cool to room temperature and serve.

    ***Note-these muffins freeze well

    Apple Zucchini Muffins:
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  • Homemade Red Sauce

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    We have tons of fresh ripe tomatoes, and what better way to use some of these delicious tomatoes than to make a homemade pasta sauce!

    Absolutely d’lish, and worth most definitely worth the time.

    Ingredients:

    • 16 med-large ripe tomatoes
    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
    • salt to taste
    • sugar to taste
    • 10 basil leaves, chopped

    Directions:

    1. With a sharp knife cut a small “x” on the bottom of each tomato, just enough to pierce the skin; then blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about 1 minute.  Peel and seed the tomatoes and puree in a food processor.
    2. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in pan; then add the garlic, and fry the garlic for a couple of minutes.  Add the tomato puree and bring to a boil.  Simmer uncovered until the sauce reduces by half.  Add salt and sugar to taste.
    3. Stir in basil just before serving.

    Homemade Red Sauce:

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  • Stuffed Shells Florentine

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    I love stuffed shells. They are so easy to make and are such a crowd pleaser. They are also great to bring to a potluck. The original recipe comes from my Aunt Nancy, but I’ve changed it up a bit, and it is a winner! My kiddos loved them, and it’s a great way to get some spinach into the kiddos as well.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 15 oz. container of low fat ricotta cheese
    • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1/2 c. grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
    • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, cooked and well drained
    • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • Box of Jumbo Shells
    • 1 jar of pasta sauce (I use Ragu Traditional)
    • chopped parsley for garnish

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Cook jumbo shells in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes. The box I used said to cook for 13 minutes, but you don’t want to cook them for that long, because the shells will continue to cook in the oven
    3. Meanwhile, cook the spinach in the microwave or in boiling water. Drain the spinach really really well. I put the spinach in a mesh strainer and used the back of a large spoon to press the spinach to get all the water out.
    4. Combine the first 8 ingredients (through the salt) in a bowl. Pour half of the jar of sauce onto the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan. Stuff the shells with about 3 TBSP of the cheese mixture; then place the shells (stuffed side up) on top of the sauce. Spoon remaining sauce over the shells. I made 20 stuffed shells tonight, so if your pan won’t hold all of them, put the extras in another pan. The number you make will vary by how much you stuff the shells.
    5. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until hot. Sprinkle with parsley.

    Here’s a photo of what the shells look like stuffed before I put the sauce on top.

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    Stuffed Shells Florentine:

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  • BeanTamale Pie

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    Tonight’s dinner is my adaptation from a recipe I found on Small Time Cooks. I call it Tamale Pie, because that’s what it reminds me of. It was delicious, and so easy to make. Next time I make it though, I’m going to pan fry the polenta first to get it a bit crisp, which I think will add nice texture to the dish.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 2 bunches scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
    • 2 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • pinch of salt
    • few grinds of pepper
    • 2 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
    • 2 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
    • 1/2 c. water
    • Cooking spray
    • 1 16 oz. tube prepared polenta, patted dry (I used about 3/4 of the tube)
    • 1 c. fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
    • 2 tsp. chipotle Tobasco sauce
    • 2 c. coarsely shredded Pepper Jack cheese
    • Salsa
    • Sour Cream

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium; then add the white part of the green onions, chili powder, cumin and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, and 1/2 cup water. As you bring to a boil, mash 1/4 of the beans with the back of a spoon against side of pan to release starch. Reduce to a simmer; cook until mixture has thickened and most of the liquid is gone, about 10 to 15 minutes.
    3. Spray your baking pan (I used a 9×16 pan, but you can use whatever size you want) with cooking spray. Slice the polenta into 1/4 thick rounds. You can either pan fry them in a nonstick skillet or just lay the slices on the bottom of your pan. Be sure the polenta slices are tightly arranged.
    4. Remove bean mixture from heat. Stir in green part of the green onion, cilantro, and Tabasco. Spoon bean mixture over polenta; top with cheese. Bake at 400 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired garnish with cilantro, and serve with salsa and sour cream.
    5. To freeze- Let unbaked pies cool completely; cover with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months. Bake frozen with foil on at 400 degrees until warm in center, 60-70 minutes for ramekins, 70-80 minutes for pie plates. Remove foil; bake until cheese is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

    Tamale Pie:

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