snack

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Bites

I love zucchini. It’s a green vegetable with a creamy, almost buttery, texture when baked. Top it with a little pepper and salty Parmesan, and well you’ve got yourself a tasty treat. But let’s take this one step further and serve it with a side of marinara dipping sauce. Oh my goodness! Guiltless indulgence is like an oxymoron when it comes to healthy eating… but it does exist!

As organic as possible:

Snack serves 2 (or a hungry 1) 

Olive oil cooking spray

2 Medium Zucchini, washed, dried and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

3 oz. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Coarse Kosher salt

Freshly ground Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly sprayed with olive oil. Place zucchini rounds on the oil-misted parchment paper, not touching eachother. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pinch a tiny mound of Parmesan cheese to top each slice of zucchini. Place baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until Parmesan turns golden brown. Serve warm with a side of marinara. (And maybe an iced glass of S.Pellegrino?) Indulge.

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Chocolate Chip-Cinnamon Muffins

It’s a well publicized fact (on my personal blog) that I am a breakfast person. I am also a coffee person, a baked good person, a chocolate person… I really enjoy a freshly baked muffin in the morning with my cup of joe. This hits the mark on a number of levels. And it’s so easy to whip up- to appease the craving. Please note: it’s very satisfying eating this warm, while the chocolate is still soft… The cinnamon adding just another little hint of depth. (It’s really like eating a cupcake. But don’t tell anyone.) So sit back and relax. You have my permission to take in the moment.

As organic as possible:

1/2 cup Butter, melted

3/4 cup Milk

2 Eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp Vanilla

2 cups Flour

3/4 cup Sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

11.5 oz Milk Chocolate Chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Using non-stick spray or butter, grease a 12 cup muffin pan. (Or line with pretty papers)

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Remove about 3 tablespoons of the dry mixture and in a small bowl toss with the chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add the dry flour mixture and stir until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan, filling to the brim. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before indulgence.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee (or tea, or milk… or whatever you like to drink) and serve. Enjoy!

 

Smokin’ Hot Potato Skinny’s

It’s Super Bowl season, time to gather up and chow down! And who doesn’t like watching the guys toss around the ole pig skin while munching on some potato skins? No one around here anyway! (Although to be honest, I can eat potato skins all year round.) This is a great and lightened up (aka “skinnier”) version of a family favorite, with all the flavor. It’s got Greek yogurt for a little tang and smoked Gouda to bring the BBQ flavor inside. It’s a crowd pleaser for men, women and children alike… which makes it a perfect choice for this family! Happy Game Day!

8 Small Russet potatoes

3 Tbsp Olive oil, divided

1 Tbsp Course Kosher salt

1 tsp Freshly ground Black Pepper, divided

3/4 cup Whole Milk or Non-fat plain Greek Yogurt (such as Chobani)

8 oz. Smoked Gouda (or Smoked Cheddar), shredded

1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic

1 tsp Granulated Onion

1 tsp Salt

3 Strips Regular or Turkey Bacon, cooked & chopped into small pieces (optional)

2 Scallions, sliced (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°.

On a baking sheet, using a brush or your hands, coat the outside of the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and an even coverage of the coarse salt. Place the potatoes in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly for handling, and cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a sharp knife, outline a rim inside the edges of the potato skin, about 1/2 inch thick. Then using a spoon, scoop out the potato to make room for the filling. Reserve 1 cup of the warm potatoes for the filling. (Keep the rest for a couple breakfast potato pancakes?) Brush the potatoes with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of the black pepper and return to the oven for 4-5 more minutes.

In the meantime, place the cup of baked potato in a medium bowl, add the Chobani yogurt, 3/4 of the shredded gouda (reserving 2 oz. for topping), Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, and salt. Mix well until combined.

When skins are ready, carefully remove them from the oven. Spoon the potato, yogurt and cheese mixture into the center of each skin. Top the skins with the remaining shredded cheese, black pepper and bacon pieces. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes or so, until cheese is melted. Take the skins out of the oven, and top with the chopped scallions (and if desired more plain Chobani Greek yogurt). 😉

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Parmesan Kale Chips

I don’t know what you may or may not be thinking, so let me just clarify… These are Delicious! They are crispy and salty, with more depth in flavor than you can get from a potato chip. I think they would be a great side dish for any meal. But they are so good on their own, that my favorite way to serve them is as an appetizer or starter. They are perfect little finger foods to accompany aperitifs. Only four ingredients and completely guilt free, because it is kale after all!

As found in Barefoot Contessa’s Make it Ahead:

1 Large bunch of flat-leaf kale

Good olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

With a sharp knife, remove and discard the hard rib from the center of each leaf, leaving the leaves as intact as possible. Place them on the sheet pans, drizzle or brush them with olive oil, and toss to coat lightly. Sprinkle generously with salt and bake for 10 minutes, until crispy. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool and serve.

* I like to brush them with the oil for even coverage. And yes baking kale gives off a strange green leaf vegetable aroma, but it is so worth it in the end!