Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread

What a mouthful! This recipe is packed with flavor from the banana and chocolate chips while the zucchini keeps it moist and light. There is enough batter for 2 loaves or 2 dozen muffins or in my case, one of each! The bread tastes like dessert but since it has a fruit AND a vegetable in it, I think it is perfectly reasonable to have it for breakfast or a snack, right?

Total Time Required: 1 hour – 1.5 hours

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yields: 2 loaves or 2 dozen muffins

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar (reduce to 1 1/2 cups for less sweetness)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Shred zucchini on the medium or large side of a stand grater
  3. Place shredded zucchini in a paper towel and gently squeeze out moisture just enough that the paper towel becomes wet but moisture is not dripping out much (you don’t want the zucchini dry but you also don’t want it too watery) — be sure to measure the zucchini after you squeeze out excess water!
  4. Beat eggs in a medium bowl
  5. Add sugar, oil, mashed bananas and vanilla and mix well
  6. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
  7. Slowly whisk dry mixture into egg mixture
  8. Fold in zucchini with a rubber spatula
  9. Fold in chocolate chips
  10. Pour batter into greased 9×5 loaf pans or muffin tins
  11. For loaves, bake for 50-60 minutes and for muffins, bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Individual Apple Streusel

Do you ever want a good dessert but don’t want to make an entire sheet of brownies or a full batch of cookies? Well, good news! Today I am sharing a recipe for individual apple streusel that is ready in just about 30 minutes. Technically, 1 apple serves 2 people but you can easily half the recipe or, if you’re really ambitious, (and hungry) have it all yourself! Don’t skip on the vertical slices in the apple halves- they ensure that the coating and streusel permeate throughout the apple!

Total Time Required: 30 minutes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 apple (Fuji, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Peel the apple and remove the core
  3. Lay the apple cut-side down and carefully make 4-5 shallow vertical slices (about halfway through the apple- don’t cut all the way through!) on each apple half and place on a greased baking sheet
  4. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter and add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Drizzle or use a pastry brush to coat the outside of the apples
  5. Bake for 20 minutes
  6. Prepare the streusel by combining remaining butter and brown sugar, oats, almond butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and sea salt in a bowl
  7. Spoon streusel over top of apple halves (it is okay if some falls onto the pan) and bake for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown
  8. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or by itself!

Baked Spaghetti Squash

This baked spaghetti squash is one of my favorite recipes to make. It’s healthy but doesn’t taste too healthy which, in my opinion, is the perfect recipe. I like to include onion and broccoli but this would also be great with peppers, zucchini or any other vegetables you have at home. The Italian sausage gives it a ton of flavor and slight spice but you can easily sub in ground turkey or ground beef. The egg provides it a little extra protein while binding everything together and the melted mozzarella gives it a great crunchy top! I made this recipe to be half dairy-free so one side had dairy-free mozzarella which you can clearly see from the photos– turns out, it doesn’t melt quite the same!

This recipe would be great for dinner parties or to serve a crowd because it has to bake for an hour. You can prep any sides you’re serving with it or spend time with your guests and all you do is pull it out, let it rest for a few minutes and serve it warm! It also makes great leftovers! I made this to share with one other person and am stoked to have leftovers for lunch for the next few days.

Left- non-dairy mozzarella. Right- regular mozzarella

Total Time Required: 2 hours

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb (4 links) Italian sausage, removed from casing (I used pre-cooked)
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Carefully cut spaghetti squash in half long-ways (I first make small slices along the line I want to cut- makes it much easier!)
  3. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to cut-side of both halves
  4. Place spaghetti squash cut-side down on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes (lower oven temperature to 350 when the squash comes out)
  5. Heat olive oil in a large pan and add onion and broccoli
  6. Once onion and broccoli have browned slightly, add Italian sausage and cook for 3-5 minutes (if not pre-cooked, cook until no pink remains)
  7. Add pizza sauce, thyme, salt and pepper and allow to simmer for a few minutes
  8. Once the spaghetti squash is cool enough, use a fork to remove strands and place in a greased 9×12 baking dish
  9. Pour pizza sauce mixture over spaghetti squash and mix together
  10. Add in whisked eggs and combine thoroughly
  11. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top
  12. Bake for an hour at 350
  13. Allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing and enjoy!

Healthy Banana Oatmeal Cups

These banana oatmeal cups come together in just a few minutes and use ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. The 3 main ingredients are oats, bananas and almond butter but to give it a little extra flavor I added chocolate chips, vanilla extract and cinnamon, plus a light sprinkle of sea salt on top because I love a sweet-salty combo. These cups would be great with dried cranberries or nuts if you’d prefer to sub out the chocolate chips! They make a great quick breakfast or easy snack.

Total Time Required: 25 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yields: 12 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sea salt flakes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mash bananas with a fork
  3. Add bananas, oats, almond butter, chocolate chips, vanilla and cinnamon to a large bowl
  4. Fold together with a spatula until combined
  5. Evenly distribute mixture into greased muffin tin
  6. Sprinkle with sea salt
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes

Chocolate Cake with Strawberries

I made this cake for a friend’s birthday recently and it was a hit! The cake has a rich chocolate flavor so pairing it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream lightens it up quite a bit and gives it more of a summery feel.

Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time Required: 1 hour

Yields: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray
  2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder in a large bowl (bowl of a stand mixer if available)
  3. Bring one cup of water to a boil
  4. While the water is heating, add milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla to dry mixture and beat on medium speed until well combined
  5. Carefully mix in the boiling water
  6. Pour batter evenly into the two greased cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, rotating the cakes halfway through
  7. Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to cooling racks
  8. Frost when cakes are completely cool

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Total Time Required: 10 minutes

Yields: enough for 1 cake (potentially with extra)

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks butter (1 1/2 cup), softened
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

Directions

  1. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until smooth
  2. Add sugar and milk and mix on high speed
  3. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and mix until combined
  4. Frosting should be thick and hold form but should not dry
  5. Refrigerate until cake is ready to frost

Whipped Cream

Total Time Required: 10 minutes

Yields: 2 cups whipped cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

Directions

  1. Add heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until peaks form
  2. Beat in vanilla and confectioners sugar for additional 30 seconds
  3. Refrigerate and serve cold!

Frost cake once completely cool. Decorate with sliced strawberries.

Serve cake with sliced strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

These muffins are flourless and sweetened with maple syrup and honey so they make an easy, grab-and-go breakfast or a healthy snack. I mixed in chocolate chips but you can leave them out or substitute dried fruit, nuts, etc.!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time Required: 30 minutes

Yields: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 12 muffin cups
  2. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips into your blender and blend until smooth
  3. Fold in chocolate chips
  4. Evenly distribute batter into 12 muffin cups and bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Polenta Fries

These polenta fries are crispy, savory and so delicious! They require some prep time (1+ hour in the freezer) but trust me, they are worth it. The combination of garlic, sage and parmesan make these incredibly addicting and the garlic lemon aioli (also seen with the zucchini chips last week!) puts it over the top.

Polenta Fries

Total Time Required: 2 hours

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Directions

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add in polenta, garlic, 1/4 cup parmesan, salt & pepper
  2. Stir for several minutes until creamy
  3. Turn off heat and cover for several minutes
  4. Line a square (I used 9×9) baking pan with parchment paper and pour in polenta, spreading evenly
  5. Freeze for at least 1 hour
  6. Preheat oven to 425
  7. Remove from freezer and cut polenta first into quarters and then each quarter into ~8 fries
  8. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 30-45 minutes, tossing halfway through, until golden brown and crispy
  9. Add chopped sage to melted butter and once fries are finished baking, pour butter mixture and 1/4 cup parmesan over fries
  10. Serve hot and enjoy!

Garlic Lemon Aioli

Total Time Required: 35 minutes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yields: 1/3 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and cover
  2. Let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes until ready to serve

Zucchini Chips with Garlic Lemon Aioli

Is anyone else surprised by how versatile zucchini is? You can throw it on the grill for a quick side dish, spiralize it into noodles, bake it into brownies, or in this case, make chips!

This recipe might’ve been easier if I had a mandolin but instead I used the slicing side of a standing cheese grater and it worked great. I think the size of the “chips” would’ve been more consistent with the mandolin but mine turned out totally fine! It does take some time to bake these in the oven so be sure to keep that in mind!

Zucchini Chips

Total Time Required: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 3 cups zucchini chips

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 225
  2. Cut off ends of zucchini and slice zucchini into even, thin discs (using a mandolin or slicing side of standing cheese grater)
  3. Place slices between paper towel sheets and dab away excess moisture
  4. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange zucchini slices so they are close but do not overlap (they will shrink in the oven)
  5. Using a pastry brush, coat top of zucchini slices with a layer of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  6. Bake for 1.5-2 hours or until zucchini chips are brown and crispy

Garlic Lemon Aioli

Total Time Required: 35 minutes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yields: 1/3 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and cover
  2. Let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes until ready to serve

Grilled Turkey Burgers & Kale Chips

Turkey burgers and kale chips are a great healthy alternative to the traditional burger and fries. Both recipes are simple to make and come together in under 45 minutes. It is a perfect meal for a summer evening!

Grilled Turkey Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time Required: 40 minutes

Yields: 4 burgers

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced (we caramelized the other half and used as a topping!)
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Turn grill onto medium heat
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  3. Form into 4 patties
  4. Grease grill and add patties, cooking for 6-10 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees
  5. Add buns to grill face down until they are lightly charred
  6. Add cheese, caramelized onions or any other toppings you like on your burger!

Kale Chips

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total Time Required: 20 minutes

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 head of Kale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Wash and dry kale well
  3. Cut leaves from stem and cut into 2-4 inch pieces
  4. Place kale pieces in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add garlic powder, salt & pepper and toss thoroughly
  5. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and add kale
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until kale is crispy but not yet browned

Caprese Salad

A Caprese salad is the perfect summer side and with only a few ingredients, comes together in under 10 minutes! This salad is always a crowdpleaser and pairs well with a variety of main dishes. We had this with steak on the grill and orzo with pesto.

Total Time Required: 10 minutes

Yields: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 16 oz mozzarella
  • 10-15 basil leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Balsamic Glaze (optional)

Directions

  1. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella into discs with relatively even widths
  2. On a platter, alternate laying tomato, mozzarella and basil (either one small leaf or half of a larger leaf)
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze and season with salt & pepper
  4. Serve cold and enjoy!