Tag Archives: zucchini

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

It might not be traditional American Labor Day BBQ food, but it is a favorite around here. If there is soy sauce involved, my kids will always eat it. Add some peanut butter, and Little J is in heaven!

I like to serve this with either grilled zucchini or asparagus. Set aside a little bit of the marinade before you add it to the pork and use it to marinate your vegetables for about half an hour before grilling.

Pork tenderloins almost always come two in a package at the store. Our family at home keeps shrinking, so now I usually divide the marinade in half and freeze one tenderloin in the marinade to cook another day. This also makes a good freezer meal to prepare ahead of time and have on hand for busy days.

RECIPE:

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Sauce

2 (1-2 lb each) unseasoned pork tenderloins (usually sold 2 per package)
Optional: vegetables to grill: zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus
Hot cooked rice

Marinade:
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil or peanut oil
2 Tbs honey (or low carb sweetener)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili paste
1 tsp lemon pepper

Peanut Dipping Sauce:
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
2 Tbs honey (or low carb sweetener)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili paste
½ tsp lemon pepper
½ cup natural creamy peanut butter

Place pork tenderloins in a Ziploc bag. (**See note below if planning to freeze one or both)

Combine Marinade ingredients. If you will be grilling vegetables as well, set aside ¼ cup of the marinade. Add remaining marinade to the bag with the pork tenderloins. Place the meat in the refrigerator and marinate for 4-6 hours (up to several days). Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Slice squash lengthwise (or trim asparagus ends) and place in a Ziploc bag with reserved marinade for about 30 minutes.

In a Pyrex measuring cup, combine all of the Peanut Dipping Sauce ingredients except for the peanut butter. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Stir in peanut butter. Add additional water if the sauce is too thick or too strong. Heat for an additional 30 seconds, just before serving.

Prepare and oil grill. If you are using a gas grill, leave one burner of the grill unlit so that you can cook the tenderloin with indirect heat (so it doesn’t burn).  Remove the tenderloin from the marinade and place on the unlit side of the grill. Close grill cover. Grill the tenderloin for about 5 minutes per side (4 sides) until the internal temperature registers 145-150°F in the center. Remove from grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

While meat rests, grill the marinated vegetables over direct heat for about 3 minutes per side.

Slice pork diagonally into ½ – 1” slices. Serve the pork and grilled vegetables with peanut sauce and hot steamed rice.

**FREEZER NOTE: If you do not plan to eat both tenderloins (or just want to prepare a freezer meal ahead of time), place tenderloins in separate freezer bags and add half of the marinade to each bag and place in the freezer until ready to cook. The peanut sauce can also be prepared ahead and frozen. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before cooking. Do not freeze raw vegetables.

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Grilled Beef Kabobs

Beef Shish Kabobs 2

Summer may be ending for school kids, but it is still perfect grilling weather and fresh corn and zucchini are still plentiful at the farmers’ markets.

You can alternate the beef and vegetables on the same skewer, or separate them into meat skewers and vegetable skewers. I usually grill them separately so that I can better control the rareness of the beef (we like it medium) and how cooked the vegetables are.

I made these with fresh corn, mushrooms and zucchini, but you can use any combination of fresh vegetables that you like (including peppers, yellow squash, onions, cherry tomatoes). I especially like these with fresh rosemary in the marinade. It pairs really well with the beef, but you can also use other herbs like thyme or oregano.

RECIPE:

Grilled Beef Kabobs

Beef Shish Kabobs 2

Marinade:
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Fresh (2 Tbs) or dried herbs (2 tsp): Rosemary, thyme and/or oregano
Kabobs:
2 lb top round or sirloin beef steak, cut into cubes
Vegetables: Choose a combination of: fresh corn (cut into 1” rounds), onions, peppers, whole mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes
Hot steamed rice

Combine marinade ingredients. Place the beef cubes and half of marinade in a Ziploc bag or lidded container and marinate in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours (or up to 3 days). Set remaining marinade aside to marinate vegetables later. Add vegetables to reserved marinade and refrigerate for 1-4 hours (don’t over marinate the vegetables).

Place meat and vegetables on skewers, discarding meat marinade and saving vegetable marinade. Grill skewers until cooked to desired temperature.

Heat vegetable marinade to boiling. Set aside. Serve over rice with heated marinade.

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Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread: where summer and autumn collide in a great tasting snack. This is a great way to use an over-abundance of zucchini from your garden (or local farmers’ market) and incorporate the great fall flavors of pumpkin and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.

You can also make these in muffin form for a delicious on-the-go breakfast or lunch box treat. There is no easier way to get your kids to eat their veges. Chocolate chips are optional, but always appreciated (unless you are a certain son of mine).

Pumpkin Zucchini Muffin

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

  • Servings: Makes 2 loaves
  • Print

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin
2 cups shredded zucchini
½ cup butter, melted
1 Tbs vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground nutmeg (or cloves)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, optional
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 medium loaf pans.

Combine eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add pumpkin, zucchini, melted butter and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into 2 loaf pans.

Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

FOR MUFFINS: Line muffin pans with paper liners (or grease pan). Bake at 375°F for 15-18 minutes.

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Triple Chocolate Nutella Zucchini Muffins

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We are still working on getting through the numerous monster zucchini that came out of our zucchini forest this summer.

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After a fall at a church young women camp, I spent most of the summer in this:

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I had spent a good portion of spring digging out old dirt and hauling in new topsoil to help rejuvenate our garden. The new soil made a huge difference and we ended up with zucchini plants that were almost as tall as me. I realize that at 5’2”, that is not a huge accomplishment, but for zucchini, I thought that was pretty impressive. Our garden is planted on a tiered hill, which was impossible for me to navigate in my new fashionable summer footwear. The plants were so tall that I had a really hard time getting my kids to wade through the jungle looking for squash. For some reason ratatouille and zucchini fritters (some of my favorites) were not a huge motivation for them to risk life and limb in the outback. However, when I switched to making zucchini brownies, pumpkin zucchini muffins and these chocolate zucchini muffins, I found I had ample volunteers!

And when they came across this little guy hiding out in the cucumber plants, they spent a good portion of the rest of the summer searching for living, crawling things in the garden.

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If you still have zucchini that you are working your way through, these muffins, spiked with Nutella and chocolate chips, make for a great breakfast (especially for a couple dozen awesome teenagers at 6am!) or a much appreciated lunchbox addition.

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RECIPE:

Triple Chocolate Nutella Zucchini Muffins

082012 023-1

3 eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup Nutella
1 ½ cups brown sugar
½ cup buttermilk or kefir (or sour milk**)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
3 ½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom or nutmeg
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line regular muffin pans with paper or foil cups. Or use large Reynolds Foil 3 ½” baking cups (these are self-standing-just arrange on a baking sheet).

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, Nutella, brown sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in zucchini.

In a separate bowl, use a whisk to mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom or nutmeg. Add mixed dry ingredients to wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon into muffin cups (fill about 3/4 full).

For regular muffins: Bake 15-18 minutes.
For large muffins: Bake 20-25 minutes.

Yield: About 36 regular muffins or 20 large muffins (made with 3 ½” baking cups)

**To make sour milk: place 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar in a ½ cup measuring cup. Add milk to ½ cup line. Let sit 5 minutes.

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Dinner in under 30 minutes: Southwest Chicken and Zucchini Sauté

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Sometimes we all need a quick fix dinner that can be on the table in under 30 minutes. But we still want something healthy and delicious. This sautéed chicken and zucchini meal satisfies our entire family: I love that it is quick and healthy, and everyone loves the taste.

Don’t have zucchini? Or have too many zucchini-haters? Use any other vegetable of choice: asparagus is very nice, or green beans. You can even throw in a bag of frozen vegetables if you are short on fresh ones.

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Serve on its own, or over cooked rice or pasta. With or without cheese.

Recipe:

Southwest Chicken and Zucchini Sauté

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2 Tbs olive oil
4 chicken breasts (about 1 lb), diced
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
2 cups sliced zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
1 can yellow corn (or 2 ears fresh corn)
1 can chili seasoned tomatoes
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, for garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet. Sauté chicken and onion until browned. Sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, and salt. Add zucchini to skillet and cook until chicken is cooked through and zucchini is crisp-tender. Stir in corn and tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Garnish with shredded cheese, if desired.

Serve alone, or over cooked rice or pasta.

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Zucchini Boats with Turkey Sausage

jan10 170-1

One of my resolutions for the year is probably the same as at least half of the rest of the women in this country: to lose weight. My goal is pretty specific however, and has nothing to do with pounds, involves no commercialized diet plan, or even involves such vague undefinable goals like “eating healthier” or “exercising more”. My goal has to do with inches: I want to lose ½-inch (and I may be satisfied with about ¼-inch). Pretty ambitious, don’t you think?

The kicker comes in where I want this ¼” – ½” to come from. I need it to come from the ring finger of my left hand. So that I can remove the wedding rings from my finger! Not that I want to keep them off, it would just be nice to BE ABLE to take them off – for cleaning and such. So if anyone has any sure-fire finger-fat-shrinking diet they would like to share, I am open for suggestions!

Until then, I will have to stick with those unmeasurable methods of eating healthier (I am taking the “whole food, very limited sugar/refined starch” approach) and exercising more. We have always eaten a mostly whole foods diet, but I am going to be much more diligent about the exceptions that I allow myself to eat (like the cookies and desserts that filled my life over the holidays). I’ll let you know when I reach my goal, or my rings completely cut off all circulation to my finger.

Zucchini Boats with Turkey Sausage

This recipe, from Simply Recipes, turned out to be both super healthy and a new family favorite (probably because no one could tell just how many vegetables were packed into that filling-Hurray for the food processor). Most of them even ate the zucchini boat! Which actually surprised me, as we have only one admitted-squash-liking child.

The zucchini I used were pretty long, so I cut them in half both length-wise and width-wise. This also made for better kid-sized portions. Just be sure to leave part of the shell on both ends when you are scooping. A small melon-baller worked great for scooping out the insides. I softened these “boats”  slightly before filling by brushing with olive oil, sprinkling with s&p and microwaving for 2 minutes.

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The turkey sausage filling is made using ground turkey, onion, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini-insides, seasonings and Parmesan cheese (I kept that a secret from Big A, as well). I chopped all of the vegetables, except the tomatoes, in the food processor so that they would not be recognized. This is not a dish that it would be easy to pick out more coarsely chopped mushrooms and squash bits. Once my home is occupied by fewer picky eaters, I will keep those veges more chunky. They would provide a nice texture. But for now, the food processor is my friend.

Fill your zucchini shells and bake about 45 minutes, until browned. The crispy browned pieces of filling were especially delicious, so don’t take it out of the oven too soon!

In fact, the browned bits were so good that I broiled the extra filling until most of it was brown and crispy (thinking that the original amounts would not feed our whole family, I made much more filling than I ended up needing) and made a breakfast casserole with it the next morning.

RECIPE:

Zucchini Boats with Turkey Sausage

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2 zucchini
about 4 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chopped mushrooms
1 lb ground turkey
2 Tbs white wine
2 diced tomatoes (I used ½ of a well drained can of diced tomatoes)
3 Tbs chopped fresh basil
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out insides (a melon-baller works great here), leaving about ¼ inch of the shell on all sides. Chop zucchini insides; set aside. Place zucchini shells in a glass baking dish and brush insides of zucchini with a very small amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Microwave for 2 minutes to soften zucchini slightly.

(For my vegetable-adverse children, I chopped the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and zucchini-insides in a food processor)

Heat 1-2 Tbs oil in a large skillet. Sauté onion, garlic, and mushrooms until tender. Add zucchini-insides and cook until tender. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat an additional 1-2 Tbs oil in the same skillet. Add the turkey and cook until browned. Drain any fat. Add wine and stir to deglaze pan. Stir in onion/mushroom mixture, tomatoes, basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Fill zucchini shells.

Bake, uncovered, at 375°F for 45 minutes, or until well browned. Serve hot.

Adapted from Simply Recipes

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