Zucchini Boats filled with Spicy Lager Lentils

May 28, 2020

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I’m going to take a bit of a break from bread recipes today and tell you all about these Zucchini Boats filled with Spicy Lager Lentils! If you are a fan of spicy, Tex-mex cuisine, you need to add this recipe to your repertoire.

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The Husband and I absolutely love zucchini. Can’t get enough of the stuff, which is a bit strange because neither of us liked it one little bit when we were kids. Now I want to eat it all the time. One of our absolute favorite sides are these Zucchini Spicy Grilled Corn & Cheese Pancakes:

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And zucchini adds moisture as well as flavor to my favorite Banana Bread recipe:

Zucchini Banana Bread

So yeah, we are all about zucchini here. Stuffing a few of them with some spiced up lager lentils seemed like a great idea. And boy was it ever! I first told you about these lentils when we made tacos with them. Absolutely delish!

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Now we’ve got those same spicy lentils wrapped with zucchini, rather than a tortilla. This is great news if you are trying to cut back on carbs. And you still get to top these Zucchini Boats with all the same fun toppings you would put on a taco.

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Another win is that these little boats are perfect for a Meatless Monday! I swear you won’t miss that meat at all.

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Later this summer, when you are absolutely swimming in zucchini, you will be so happy that I shared this idea with you. And the recipe is easily customizable, so if you are a hardcore carnivore – go ahead and add some meat. Turns out there really aren’t any rules. So have fun creating your own version of these Zucchini Boats today! (but I gotta say…these Spicy Lager Lentils are pretty amazing…)

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Zucchini Boats filled with Spicy Lager Lentils

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe inspired by: The Mountain Kitchen’s Meatless Mexican Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils, cooked (you will end up with about 2 cups of lentils when cooked)
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz. chopped green chilis
  • 1/2 cup salsa (your favourite – We love Green Mountain Gringo Salsa)
  • 6 oz.- 8 oz. lager beer (I used Estrella Damm, Dos Equis would be great too )

For the spice mixture:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Spanish Smoked paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

For the Zucchini Boats:

  • 4 medium zucchini – halved and with a channel scooped out for the spicy lentils
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • Toppings: sour cream, Cotija Cheese, salsa, fresh jalapeños, fresh cilantro

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and tin of green chilis, cook for another minute or two.  Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring frequently. You don’t want to burn the spices just crank up the flavor by cooking them.

Add the lentils, salsa and 6 ounces of the beer and stir to combine. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Using a potato masher or fork, gently mash the lentils until the mixture reaches the consistency you are happy with. Cook another few minutes until hot. If the lentils start to dry out, add another glug or two of the lager. ( If you haven’t slurped it down…cooking is hard & thirsty work!)

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to dredge out a channel for the spicy lentils to sit in. Don’t remove too much of the zucchini. Take care to leave at least 1/4″ flesh in the zucchini. Just remove the center seeds and discard.

Place the zucchini on the prepared baking sheet.

Fill the prepared zucchini boats with the spicy lentils. Sprinkle shredded Mexican style spicy cheese over the tops.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the zucchini are fork tender.

Remove from oven. Add any additional toppers you would like.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Boats filled with Spicy Lager Lentils brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Cauliflower Fried Rice

April 28, 2020

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So yup…still in lock-down. I don’t know about you, but not only have my workouts suffered over the past two months, but my stress eating and drinking have definitely increased. I hear folks talking about the “Covid 19” just like they do about the “Freshman 15” and considering the state of me, I think a gain of 19 pounds is a serious possibility! Yikes! So I thought maybe today I would offer up a recipe that is a bit kinder on your waistline while still being delicious – Cauliflower Fried Rice!

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That’s right! Carbs be gone!!! This Cauliflower Fried Rice is just bursting with flavor with none of those pesky carbs. Will you be fooled into thinking you’re eating rice? Nope. You won’t. Buuuuut – your pants might fit better. And this dish is actually delicious. The cauliflower does take on all of the flavor from those lovely seasonings. You won’t actually miss the rice, all things being considered.

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This dish comes together quickly. Just have everything all prepped before you begin cooking. Just perfect for a Meatless Monday or a “I better lose some weight before quarantine is lifted and I have to waddle out into the light of day”, moment of reckoning. Just saying…

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Cauliflower Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4 - Two Cup Servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Once Upon a Chef

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 64 grams chopped scallions, light and green parts separated (you’ll need 5-6 scallions)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • One 900-g head cauliflower (or 900 grams ready to cook cauliflower)
  • 4-5 Tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 130 grams frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 30 grams chopped cashews or peanuts (optional)

Directions:

Given that riced cauliflower is so easy to find in grocery stores, I urge you to save yourself a lot of trouble and just buy it “ready to cook”. However, if you truly love to grate things, see the following instructions. Grate the cauliflower in a food processor fitted with the grating disc. Alternatively, grate on the large holes of box or hand-held grater. Set aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a large (10 or 12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and a pinch of salt and scramble until the eggs are cooked. Transfer to a small plate and set aside. Wipe the pan clean.

Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan and set over medium heat. Add the light green scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the grated cauliflower, 4 tablespoons of the soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Add the peas and carrots. Stir to combine and continue cooking until the cauliflower “rice” is tender-crisp and the vegetables are warmed through, a few minutes. Stir in the rice vinegar, sesame oil, dark green scallions, nuts (if using) and eggs. Taste and adjust seasoning (adding the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce if necessary). Serve hot.

Enjoy!

Cauliflower Fried Rice brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cauliflower Fried Rice:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Once Upon a Chef, the Cookbook by Jennifer Segal – You will not find the recipe for Cauliflower Fried Rice in this cookbook, but will fin da bunch of other awesome tasty recipes. I love this cookbook, as well as the Once Upon a Chef blog. All of Jennifer’s recipes are easy to make and absolutely delicious!

 


Spinach Croissants

April 14, 2020

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So yeah…I told you all about how motivated I was in Stage I of our lockdown. Just an amazing little cleaning whirlwind. Full of energy, and raring to beat everything into a shining perfection of organization. Well, that anomaly has passed and I’ve moved into Stage II – complete lethargy. There is definitely still a lot that could be cleaned and organized around here, it isn’t like I’ve run out of things to do. It is just at this point I don’t really care to do them. I mostly just get up in the morning and start reading all of the depressing news from around the world. And even once I tear myself away from the old computer, I obsessively go back to those news sites again and again throughout the day to check for updates. Definitely not good. As a fun diversion, I’m trying to refocus on planning a trip for us when this is over.

Famous tourist attraction Hamnoy fishing village on Lofoten Islands, Norway with red rorbu houses. W

Yup. You were right – I’m not dreaming of a beach vacation. I’m looking at the Arctic again!

And speaking of trips, I have a bunch of blogs in the works from trips we’ve taken in the past which I have yet to write up. You know the thing, the Husband and I take a trip and then I will cook up a recipe which is inspired from the locale and share that along with some lovely photos. I also give you recommendations for accommodations, activities, restaurants and tours, should you be inspired to visit on your own. you can see the ones I’ve done previously by clicking on “Travels” in the top navigation bar. So be on the look out for a few of those in the future. But for today, I would like to share this amazing recipe for Spinach Croissants!

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Remember back in February when I told you all about those scrumptious Fruit Filled Morning Buns?

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These Spinach Croissants are also made with Baker’s Croissant Dough. This type of dough is a yeasted laminated dough. Basically you mix up a yeasted dough, roll it out and place a layer of butter on top of it. You then enclose the butter within the dough and proceed to roll it out and fold it over and over again. This creates a dough which has multiple alternating layers of dough and butter. The butter evaporates when baked and that is what forms all those lovely flaky layers in a croissant.

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Once the dough is ready, rather than filling it with anything sweet, these little devils are stuffed full of a savory filling made up of spinach, cheeses & roasted red peppers. And no meat in sight, so perfect for Meatless Monday.

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These Spinach Croissants are amazing! That buttery, flaky pastry dough simply melts in your mouth and the savory filling is just delicious. These croissants are conveniently portable and are great at room temperature but also crisp up well if you are reheating them. While it is a bit time consuming to make up that laminated dough, it is 100% worth it! Make a batch up today!

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Spinach Croissants

  • Servings: 9 square croissants
  • Print

recipe from: Sift Magazine Holiday 2018 issue: King Arthur Flour (and here)

Ingredients:

For the Pastry:

  • 1/2 recipe Baker’s Croissant Dough (detailed below)

For the Filling:

  • 1 Tablespoon (14 grams) Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces/106 grams) diced onion
  • 10 ounces (283 grams) chopped frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1/2 cup (3/4 ounce/21 grams) fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces/50 grams) grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) diced roasted red peppers
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the egg wash:

  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

Directions:

For the Filling:

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the spinach and bread crumbs and stir until well combined. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl, and let cool to lukewarm.

Stir in the cheeses and peppers and season with salt and pepper.

Note* This amount of filling is enough for a full batch of the Baker’s Croissant Dough. So, you can either use all of the dough, halve the filling ingredient or just save the other half of the filling for later. The spinach filling is great as a topping for pizza as well!

Line two baking sheets with parchment.

To assemble:

Roll the dough into a 12″ x 18″ rectangle. Trim 1/4″ of dough from the edges; this will give you a higher puff in the oven.

Cut the dough in thirds in both directions, to make nine 4″ x 6″ rectangles. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling on one side of each rectangle.

Fold the dough over twice to enclose the filling, with the seam ending up on the bottom. Press the croissant down slightly to flatten it.

Place the croissants on the prepared baking sheets and let them rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. They should expand noticeably, and when you gently press one with your finger, the indentation should remain.

Partway through the rise time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

When the croissants are not quite doubled, brush with the egg wash and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 15 minutes more, until the croissants are a deep golden brown, even where the dough overlaps (that’s where you want to look when checking for doneness).

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes before serving. Watch out, the filling will be hot!

Store, wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to two days. Refresh for 10 minutes in a 350°F oven before serving.

Baker’s Croissants Dough

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 2 large eggs + enough warm water to make 2 cups (454g) of liquid
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar, divided
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups (659g to 723g) All purpose Flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (71g) Bakers Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk, optional
  • 1 scant tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional; for sweet pastry)

For the Butter:

  • 1 7/8 cups (425g) unsalted butter, cool to the touch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (60g) All purpose flour

Directions:

For the dough: Put the eggs and water in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 3 cups (362g) of the flour, and the yeast. Mix until well blended; set aside to let the sponge work.

For the butter: Cut the butter into 1˝ chunks and combine with the salt and flour at low speed in a stand mixer just until smooth, with no lumps. Be careful not to beat too much; you don’t want to incorporate any air.

Spread the butter on a piece of plastic wrap and shape into an 8˝ square. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Finish the dough: Add the melted butter to the sponge. Whisk together the remaining sugar, 2 1/2 cups (298g) of the flour, the dry milk, and salt and add to the sponge. Mix until the dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes; touch the dough lightly with your finger. If it’s still sticky, add the remaining flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is the desired consistency. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, pat it into a 9˝ square, then wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Laminate the dough: Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and gently roll it to a 12″ square.

Unwrap the butter square and place it in the center of the dough at a 45° angle, so it looks like a diamond in a square. Pull the corners of the dough into the center of the butter diamond. Moisten the edges with a little water and pinch the seams together well to enclose the butter. Dust the top with flour and turn the packet over.

Tap the dough all over with a rolling pin, encouraging it into a rectangular shape. Once it’s pliable, roll it to a 20˝ x 10˝ rectangle, picking it up and dusting lightly with flour as needed.

When you’ve reached the proper size, use a dry brush to sweep off any excess flour and fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter. Take care to keep the edges straight and line them up directly over each other. If the dough slides around, use a little water at the corners to tack them in place. This is your first turn.

Rotate the dough out so it looks like a book about to be opened. Roll the dough out once more to 20˝ x 10˝ and fold it as before. This is the second turn. Wrap the dough and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to allow the gluten in the dough to relax.

Give the dough two more turns after its rest, then wrap the dough well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight before using. You can also freeze the dough at this point.

Enjoy!

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Spinach Croissants:

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Series 5 Qt. Stand Mixer

SAF Instant Yeast

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks

Whole Milk Powder or here from King Arthur

Dough Rolling Mat

Pastry Tool

Silicone Pastry Brush Set

OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop

 


Spicy Italian Lentil Loaf Cupcakes

November 11, 2016

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Yay! We’ve finally started getting some Fall type weather. I know a lot of folks have been digging that extended summer kind of thing that we’ve had going on, but I’m ready for some colder temperatures. And as that mercury falls, I’ve got a great comfort food recipe to share with you today: Spicy Italian Lentil Loaf Cupcakes! Yum, yum, yum! This delicious Meatless Monday favorite of ours will be loved by vegetarians and carnivores alike, I guarantee.  And you did hear me right – there is not one shred of meat in this dish – it is a vegetarian meatloaf. But that doesn’t mean it is lacking in taste. I do promise, you will not miss the meat one little bit once you take a bite of these savory little gems.

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This recipe is so versatile. You can bake it in cupcake tins or if you prefer in a loaf pan for a more traditional meatloaf appearance. I prefer the cupcake tins because of the cute factor. Kids will certainly find them more appealing and will have no idea how many veggies they are scarfing down. The cupcake version also has portability and ease going for it. Having a single serving all ready to go, no fooling around with trying to cut even slices in a loaf works out great for me. But really we love these little cupcake shapes because of the extra crunchy edges you get from baking them in cupcake tins.

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You can also prepare these cupcakes with or without the mashed potato “frosting”. Kids will definitely prefer the potatoes piped onto the top so that it actually looks more cupcake like. When I make this dish though, I usually prepare them “naked” topped only with the arrabiata sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. I serve the mashed potatoes on the side. These cupcakes are fantastic warm from the oven, but I’ve also enjoyed them the next day cold right out of the fridge. They are high in protein and fiber. I’m telling you, you can not go wrong with this recipe!

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Spicy Italian Lentil Loaf Cupcakes

  • Servings: 20 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe inspired by: Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (Really!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 leeks, sliced – white and light green parts only
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzerella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 6 ounces of spaghetti sauce + a bit more for spooning over the top (we use a spicy arrabiatta sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (we love spicy food – but if you don’t feel free to leave this out)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 20 slices fresh mozzarella
  • Mashed potatoes for “frosting” if desired
  • Fresh Chives & Basil for garnish

Directions:

Place 2 cups broth or water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and cook at a simmer, covered, for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.

In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and sauté the mushrooms and leeks until they are fragrant and softened. Set aside to cool.

Drain any remaining liquid from the lentils. Mash approximately half of the lentils. Place them into a large mixing bowl and allow them to cool.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously spray two muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. *If you would rather bake this as a traditional meatloaf, generously grease a loaf pan. You will also likely need to adjust your baking time to 40 -45 minutes.

Once lentils have cooled, add the leek/mushroom mixture, oats, and cheeses to the lentils and stir to combine.

Add the eggs, sauce,garlic powder, basil, Worcestershire sauce, peppers, paprika and salt to the bowl and stir until combined.

Fill prepared muffin tins 3/4 of the way full with lentil mixture.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

If you wish to have mashed potato “frosting” for the cupcakes. Go ahead and make the mashed potatoes while the cupcakes are baking.

After 30 -35 minutes, remove the pans and add a teaspoon full of spaghetti sauce to the top of each cupcake, as well as a spice of fresh mozzarella.

Bake until mozzarella is melted.

Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes.

Run a knife around the edges of pan to loosen the cakes and then carefully remove from the tins.

Pipe mashed potato frosting onto the cupcakes if you desire and decorate with chive sprinkles. Or if foregoing the frosting, garnish “naked” cupcakes with freshly chopped basil.

Enjoy!

Spicy Italian Lentil Loaf Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 

 


Zucchini, Pancetta & Cheddar Frittata

September 27, 2016

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Anybody else still have zucchini hanging around their kitchen? I’m so happy to say we do. The husband and I are way into zucchini these days. Can’t get enough of the stuff. It not only tastes fantastic all on its own, but it also seems to magically enhance any recipe you add it to, like that Zucchini Banana Bread I told you about a couple of weeks ago. The addition of that wonderful summer squash made what was already really good banana bread into absolutely amazing banana bread. So when I came across the recipe for a Zucchini & Cheddar Frittata on Once Upon a Chef‘s blog, I just couldn’t wait to make it.

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Frittatas are just a perfect meal in my house. They’re great because they work for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And lucky for me, the husband is a big fan of the whole “breakfast for dinner” concept. I don’t think he has ever met an egg dish he didn’t like and is happy to eat them anytime of day. So frittatas are perfect. They are also wonderfully versatile and are a great way to use up any leftovers you might have on hand. In fact, I did customize the original recipe a bit. I added leeks to it because we love them nearly as much as zucchini. I also decided to add some crispy pancetta. And I must say I quite pleased with the results! This frittata was so delicate, creamy and delicious! It was great warm from the oven and also delicious cold from the fridge the following day. It was really quick and easy to make. I was able to have this tasty summer supper on the table in a little over 30 minutes. Huge win in my book!

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Zucchini Pancetta & Cheddar Frittata

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe slightly adapted from: Once Upon a Chef

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound (12 oz) zucchini (about 2 small zucchini -try to use small zucchini as they contain less water)
  • 4 oz. pancetta, chopped*
  • 2 leeks, washed and cut into rings – white & light green bits only**
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces (about 1 cup) grated Cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Using a food processor or box grater, grate the zucchini. Place the grated zucchini on top of several layers of paper towels and wring dry. If necessary, repeat 1-2 times to remove any excess moisture.

In an 8 or 10-inch ovenproof, nonstick sauté pan, over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crispy and set aside on paper towels to cool. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the grease from the pan. Add the leeks, zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture evaporates and the zucchini is tender, 6-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Add the crispy pancetta, cooked zucchini and grated cheese to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour the frittata mixture into the pan (no need to wash it), then place in the oven and bake until just set, 20-23 minutes.

Enjoy!

*Don’t have any pancetta? Substitute bacon – everybody loves bacon! Or just leave it out altogether for Meatless Monday.

**The husband and I are mad for leeks, but if they aren’t really your thing you can substitute in 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots, from 1 – 2 shallots.

Zucchini Pancetta & Cheddar Frittata brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


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