Zucchini Pecan Muffins

Zucchini is so versatile and using it in baked goods is just one way I like to cook with this beloved summer vegetable. Pecans add a nutty flavor, crunch and protein to this grab-and-go-breakfast. An ice cream scooper with a release lever works wonders to fill the cups without making a mess. When I have extra zucchini on hand, I like to double the batch and freeze these tasty treats for a quick reheat breakfast on a busy morning.

Ingredients:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 cups grated zucchini (1 large or 2 small)
½ cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with oven-safe paper cups or coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil and eggs until the mixture turns light yellow and slightly frothy. Stir in the applesauce and yogurt. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in small batches until combined.
  4. Fold in the zucchini and pecans. Spoon mixture into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When done, tops will be golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean when inserted in the center.

Servings: 12

Scrambled Eggs and Vegetable Panini

Eggs and vegetables are two of my favorite pairings and breakfast is one of my favorite meals, but this sandwich is not only delicious in the morning. It is also perfect for an easy weekend brunch with a Bloody Mary or for a quick dinner on a night when you would rather read a book than spend time in the kitchen. Spinach and swiss chard make great alternatives to kale and shiitake or white button mushrooms work well in place of the portabella. Enjoy your panini however you choose to make it and whatever time of day you decide to savor this meal.

Ingredients:
8 slices whole wheat bread
2 ounces herbed goat cheese
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 medium bunch kale, stems removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
4 eggs
2 teaspoons butter

Directions:

  1. Heat panini press to medium-high heat. Spread 4 slices of bread with equal amounts of goat cheese and set aside.
  2. Roughly chop kale leaves. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, until brown and tender. Add kale and water to the skillet and sauté for a couple of minutes, until greens are wilted. Add balsamic vinegar to the sautéed vegetables and cook for another minute. Season with half of the salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  3. Place eggs and remaining salt and pepper in a medium bowl and lightly beat. Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and scramble.
  4. Place ¼ of scrambled eggs on top of the bread slice with goat cheese. Add ¼ of the kale and mushroom mixture on top of the eggs and top with a slice of bread. Working in batches, place two sandwiches on the panini press and heat for about 5 minutes, until cheese has melted and light brown grill marks appear on the sandwiches. Repeat and serve.

Servings: 4

SAVORY SWEET POTATO MUFFINS WITH SAUSAGE

Not your traditional muffin, this savory version is packed with mashed sweet potatoes, hearty oats and maple breakfast sausage. Enjoy these warm muffins with a cup of coffee or hot tea to fuel up on a chilly winter morning. Getting an early start to your day? Pair a muffin with a boiled egg for a packable, on-the-go breakfast. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freeze for up to three months and reheat when ready to serve.

Ingredients:
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1½ cups mashed sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ pound maple breakfast sausage, cooked and drained

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, oats, baking powder, mustard, salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, milk and maple syrup. Gradually add dry ingredients to the bowl of sweet potato mixture, stirring to combine. Fold in sausage.
  4. Fill muffin cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Servings: 12

Fall Harvest Pancakes

Start your Thanksgiving morning off with these scrumptious Fall Harvest Pancakes made with pureed butternut squash and pumpkin pie spice. Whether you are refueling after running a turkey trot race or kicking back and watching the Macy’s parade, this breakfast dish will satisfy your morning appetite and give you a new appreciation for fall squash. If you are eating light to save room for all the carbs to come, extra pancakes will freeze well for a quick reheat another day.

I am thankful for my blog readers today and every day. I hope you all have hearts full of gratitude and plates full of delicious food. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups milk
1½ cups pureed butternut squash
1 tablespoon sorghum
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for greasing the griddle or skillet

Optional Toppings:
freshly grated whole nutmeg or ground nutmeg
walnut pieces, toasted
maple syrup for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat a griddle or large skillet to medium heat. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add milk, squash, sorghum and canola oil and mix to combine.
  2. Working in batches, pour around ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle or into the skillet to create pancakes, keeping them evenly spaced apart. Cook until bubbles start to form on one side and the bottoms turn golden brown. Flip to cook the other side and repeat until you have 18 to 20 pancakes.
  3. If desired, sprinkle pancakes with a dash of nutmeg and top with walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Servings: 9 to 10

Fall Muffins with Pecan Sorghum Granola

Topped with crunchy granola, these pumpkin-like, mini-muffins make the perfect addition to a brunch spread and are also a great grab-and-go breakfast option for busy mornings. Pureed butternut squash and pumpkin pie spice deliver flavors of fall in a moist muffin that is not overly sweetened. If you manage not to eat them all within a few days, extras freeze well for a quick and delicious breakfast that is safely stored away for another day.

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup low-fat milk
1 cup pureed butternut squash
¾ cup Pecan Sorghum Granola

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with oven-safe paper cups or coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt together.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil and eggs until the mixture turns light yellow and slightly frothy. Stir in the applesauce, milk and butternut squash. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in small batches until combined.
  4. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle tops of batter with granola. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. When done, muffin tops will be golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean when inserted in the center.

Servings: 12

Pecan Sorghum Granola

Fresh fall pecans were the inspiration for my nutty and slightly sweetened granola. This protein-packed snack is made with only five ingredients and is so simple to prepare. In around 30 minutes, you can have a homemade treat that far exceeds the quality of the boxed varieties you’ll find on grocery store shelves. Enjoy straight off the baking sheet or make a parfait with Greek yogurt, diced apple or pear and granola. For some unique was to eat my Pecan Sorghum Granola, add as a crunchy topping for a fall salad or sprinkle on top of pumpkin muffins just before baking.

Ingredients:
2½ cups pecans
1½ cups old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons sorghum
1 tablespoon butter, melted
½ cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil or cover a medium baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine pecans and oats. In a small bowl, whisk together sorghum and butter and drizzle over pecan mixture. Stir until worked through.
  3. Place granola on the baking sheet, spreading it out and gently pressing into an even layer with your hands. Bake until golden brown and crunchy, for about 15 minutes. Use a spatula to flip pieces of granola over and continue cooking for 5 to 10 more minutes.
  4. Let cool completely. Then, break granola into small chunks. Add cranberries and toss to combine.

Fall Harvest Overnight Oats

I enjoy a healthy and hearty breakfast every morning, but busy mornings leave me with little time for food prep. Overnight oats are one of my favorite go-to meals for hurried weekdays. They are almost effortless to assemble the night before and in the morning you have a delicious breakfast just waiting for you to open and enjoy. Preparing this recipe in a mason jar makes it a great portable breakfast option.

Pureed butternut squash is a fresh alternative to cooking with canned pumpkin, and it is extremely easy to make. After roasting the squash, simply puree in a food processor. If you have extra on hand it freezes well for future use, saving even more time when making these nutritious Fall Harvest Overnight Oats.

Ingredients:
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup pureed butternut squash
½ cup skim milk or non-dairy milk of choice
¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt of choice
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. In a pint-sized mason jar, add all ingredients and gently stir to combine. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy as a cold cereal for breakfast in the morning.

Servings: 1

Berry Breakfast Quinoa

Hearty quinoa with its nutty flavor compliments sweet berries and crunchy almonds in this breakfast bowl that will keep you satisfied all morning. Substitute the blackberries and blueberries for any seasonal berry in your region of the world. Quinoa is a complete protein, offering all of the essential amino acids, making it a great choice for vegetarians. It’s also an excellent whole grain option for those with celiac or gluten sensitivities since it’s naturally gluten-free.

I love to make a big batch of Berry Breakfast Quinoa on the weekend for a fast reheat and eat breakfast on busy morning. A nutritious and delicious breakfast doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water, plus more for rinsing
⅓ cup dried cranberries
6 ounces blackberries
6 ounces blueberries
⅓ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons sorghum or honey

Directions:

  1. Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse quinoa with water.
  2. Combine quinoa, water and cranberries in a rice cooker and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Add berries, almonds and sorghum. Stir to combine and serve warm or chill and enjoy cold.

Servings: 4

Pasta with Sausage and Butternut Squash Sauce

This velvety, butternut squash sauce is nutritious with a taste of decadence. Enjoy this guilt-free, creamy sauce topped with a little sausage or substitute toasted pecans for a vegetarian meal. Roasting the squash in advance makes this a quick meal to throw together for family or friends. When I have a lot of butternut squash in my CSA share, I like to roast up several batches to freeze for later use. Simply follow step one below and scoop the inside flesh from the squash. Store squash in zip-top bags and freeze until ready for use. Defrost squash in the refrigerator the day before preparing this recipe and you’ll have a homemade meal with farm-fresh ingredients on your table in less than 15 minutes.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter
8 ounces any short whole grain pasta noodle, cooked according to package directions
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup skim or low-fat milk
½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ pound mild ground sausage
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a medium baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
  2. Scoop inside flesh of squash from skin and place in a food processor or blender. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant, and combine with squash. Set skillet aside for later use.
  3. Add milk to food processor or blender and puree to create a smooth and creamy consistency. Pour butternut squash sauce into a medium sauce pan and warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally and careful not to boil. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low to keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until browned and crumbly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the fat and set aside.
  5. Divide pasta on four plates and cover with equal amounts of sauce. Top with sausage and Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 4

Pork and Cashew Stir Fry with Root Vegetables

Stir-fry dishes are great for introducing family and friends to vegetables they may not have tried before, like daikon radishes. This winter root vegetable, which is much larger than the red radish and shaped similarly to a carrot, is frequently used in Asian dishes. When cooked, radishes gain a sweetness that mellows out their peppery spice. This veggie pairs well with sweet carrots and mandarin oranges in my quick stir fry.

Stir-fry recipes are excellent choices for nights when you want a homemade meal without spending too much time in the kitchen. If you prep the ingredients and cook the rice the night before, this meal can be made in less than 15 minutes.
 
Ingredients
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 (6 ounce) center cut pork chop, cut into bite sized cubes
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large daikon radish, peeled and sliced
4 large celery ribs, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 small seedless mandarin oranges
½ cup unsalted cashews
Prepared brown rice
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped


Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Add garlic and ginger and heat for one minute, until fragrant, about a minute. Add pork and cook for around 4 minutes, flipping with a spatula to evenly brown all sides. Transfer pork to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  2. Add carrots, radishes, celery and soy sauce to the wok or skillet and sauté until tender but slightly crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Peel and separate mandarin oranges and slice each section in half to make sure there are no seeds. Add oranges, cashews and pork to the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine and cook another minute or 2.
  4. Check seasoning and add a splash of extra soy sauce if needed. Serve with brown rice and top with fresh cilantro.

Servings: 2