Cinnamon Sugar Apple Zucchini Cake

So this is one of the desserts I made for Friday night’s Carroll Cafe.  I had made a Cinnamon Sugar Zucchini Cake, and as I was slicing it to serve I sampled a piece and was HORRIFIED by how it turned out!  It was gummy and weird and totally not cake-like.  I’m not sure what went wrong, but I had about 2 hours to come up with a different zucchini cake.  So of course, it was trusty Grandma Helland’s recipe that saved the day.  I adapted Grandma’s Apple Cake recipe and it was a crowd pleaser, as always.

This is a tender, moist flavorful cake that’s prefect for fall.  It’s a nice treat but isn’t too sweet, so it’s perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.  It’s great for a fall treat and is definitely a last minute crowd pleaser.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Zucchini CakeCinnamon Sugar Apple Zucchini Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-16

  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 small zucchini, grated (can sub two more apples)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 9×13″ pan with nonstick foil or grease with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix ingredients in order given.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  At about 30 minutes you may need to cover with foil to keep top from browning too quickly.    When cake is done sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (a mix of about 1/4 cup sugar with 3/4 tsp cinnamon works well, sprinkle to taste).  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Egg and Veggie Scramble

We all know we should eat more veggies, so here’s an easy way to start the day’s veggie count early.  This is also a great way to use up some of the veggies in your crisper.  Since this was served for breakfast on the last day at the beach house, we were eager to use up some of the leftover veggies and eggs.  Served with Easy Homefries and a fruit salad, this was the perfect last meal at the beach.

Egg and Veggie ScrambleEgg and Veggie Scramble (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 5

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • dill, to taste

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften.  Add zucchini and bell pepper, cook for a few minutes until beginning to brown (try not to stir it too frequently so it has a chance to crisp up on the bottom).  Add spinach (in batches if necessary), and carefully fold in with veggies until beginning to wilt.  Pour in the eggs and stir together until eggs are no longer runny, season with salt, pepper and dill.  Serve immediately.


Morning Glory Muffins (Paleo)

I saw this recipe ages ago, and while I was intrigued, I was also totally skeptical…a delicious baked good without butter or oil or flour???  So when I was doing some cooking for a paleo-eating friend of mine, it was the perfect excuse to try out these muffins, and holy delicious, Batman!  These are awesome!  They’re moist and tender and slightly sweet and nutty and kind of taste like carrot cake with little bursts of tart cranberry!  I think I’m going to have to make another batch since I gave all the first batch away.  So if you’re skeptical about the whole paleo thing, or you’re following a paleo and/or gluten-free diet, or just looking for something delicious and little different, I highly recommend trying these muffins!!

These muffins use sweet potato.  Since I was lazy, I microwaved mine (stab with a fork all over, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 5 minutes, or until tender.  If you’ve got time to spend anyway, roasting them in the oven would work too (make extra and stuff them with deliciousness for your dinner!).  I’ve never used canned sweet potato but that might work as well, or substitute pumpkin if you’re feeling pumpkin-y.

Morning Glory Muffins (Paleo)Morning Glory Muffins (Paleo)

Makes about 14 (I filled a dozen muffins all the way to the top and put the remaining batter in a mini-loaf pan)

Adapted from Carrots ‘n’ Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal/flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 2 medium sized)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened because that’s what I have on hand)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot (one large carrot)
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini (1/2 large zucchini), squeeze out excess liquid
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease very well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling all the way to the top since they don’t rise much.  Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a few crumbs clinging on is fine).  Serve warm or room temperature, but store in an airtight container in the fridge (with the high moisture content, these probably won’t last very long at room temperature).  Enjoy!

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

I’m a big fan of eggs. I think they’re great for any meal.  I recently whipped up this frittata for my dad’s retreat.  It’s easy to make ahead and is easy to customize for whatever your dietary needs might be.

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

Serves 6

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 9 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9″ pie pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large skillet, fry bacon.  When crispy, set aside on a paper towel to removed excess grease.  Carefully wipe off most of the grease from the pan, then sauté zucchini and tomatoes until tender.  Spread vegetables out in greased pie pan.  Top with crumbled bacon.  In a large measuring cup whisk together eggs, salt and pepper.  When vegetables and bacon are cool, poor egg mixture over the top.  Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden on top and eggs have set in the center.

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

This recipe caught my eye for many reasons.  1) zucchini bread is delicious 2) Smitten Kitchen recipes never lead me astray 3) sneaking veggies into breakfast is hard, but hiding them in sweet pancakes is brilliant 4) zucchini bread in pancake form?!

These pancakes come out kind of thick, so I’d recommend spreading them around to get a thinner pancake.  Also keeping them in the oven while you finish cooking them will help make sure they cook all the way through.  I topped these with some toasted walnuts, which add a delicious nutty crunch with these soft, pillowy cakes.

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

Makes about 12 pancakes

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large zucchini, shredded and squeezed out (about 1 1/2 packed cups)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth.  Stir in zucchini.  Sift in the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir dry ingredients into the wet until just combined.

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Once hot grease lightly, then scoop a scant 1/4 cup of batter.  Spread batter out a bit in the pan and when bubbles begin to form, flip the pancake.  Cook for about 1 minute, until browned on both sides, then remove to a pan and place in the oven while you finish cooking the rest.

Serve with toasted walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Zucchini and Basil Lasagna

This lasagna was amazing!  The recipe comes from a family from my church who sends a favorite recipe in their Christmas letter each year.  While this recipe is from their 2007 letter, better late than never!  I don’t recommend waiting 5 years before you try it though!  It’s perfect for this time of year where the zucchini and basil are still easy to find, yet the call of comforting warm dishes sounds better and better.

Zucchini and Basil Lasagna

Serves 8-10

  • 2 cups fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 large egg
  • cooking spray
  • 4 cups chopped zucchini (about 2 large zucchini)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cups tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 9-12 oven ready lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups (8oz) shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Add zucchini and onion; sauté until tender and just beginning to brown.  Stir in sauce and remove from heat.

Spread one third of the zucchini mixture in the bottom of a 9″x13″ baking dish.  Arrange 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce, top with one third of the cottage cheese mixture, one third zucchini mixture, and one third cheese.  Repeat until the pan is full.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Savory Zucchini Cakes

We bought a bunch of big, beautiful zucchini and summer squash the other day on the way home from the beach.  We didn’t really have a plan for them, but I stumbled upon this simple recipe for savory zucchini cakes.  I liked that the ingredient list is short and it comes together really quickly.  I’ll definitely be making these again and again.

Zucchini Cakes

Makes about 8 patties

Adapted from Just Putzing Around the Kitchen

  • 1 large zucchini, grated and drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup panko
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red curry powder
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)

Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Grate the zucchini and squeeze out the excess liquid.  Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.  Form into about 8 patties and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Broil on low for about 5-10 minutes, flip and broil for an additional 2-4 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Turkey Meatballs

I was trying to decide what to make for my cousins who were coming over the other night.  The three of them are 8, 4 and 2 years old, and I was trying to think of something easy that would go well with the leftover Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Pasta Salad and Roasted Green Bean, Mushroom and Barley Salad.  So I settled on Turkey Meatballs.  These were delicious!  The addition of zucchini keeps these really moist and with the garlic and seasonings they’re definitely not a bland boring meatball.  Two out of three youngsters loved them.  I put out BBQ sauce and ketchup, but I didn’t think these needed any sauce.

Turkey Meatballs

Makes about 25 (I forgot to count!)

Adapted from Iowa Girls Eat

  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pkg ground turkey breast (I used 1.3lbs)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top, grease well with cooking spray.  Grate the zucchini, dice the shallot and mince the garlic.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands.  Roll the mixture into balls, about 1 Tbsp each.  Line the meatballs on the wire rack and bake for 12-14 minutes, cut one in half to make sure all the pink is gone before serving.

Zucchini Nut Sandwich Cookies

Since no meal is complete without a little something sweet (life lessons from my Grandma!), we had Zucchini Nut (open face) Sandwich Cookies for dessert at the Women’s Retreat on Saturday.

I’m a big fan of these cookies.  They’re kind of like an oatmeal cookie, with cinnamon and oats.  They’re chewy, nutty and delicious.  Then you top them with a cream cheese frosting and it’s like magic.  Super delicious.  They’re called sandwich cookies because you’re supposed to put the frosting in between two cookies, but that can be a lot of cookie (which isn’t a problem in my opinion).  Since we were focusing on “Women’s Body Wisdom” at the retreat and we had a visit from a personal trainer, we decided to keep the cookies “open-face” so they could have a taste but didn’t have to commit to two cookies.

This is also my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe, I experimented until I got the cream cheese to butter to sugar proportion just right.  It’s just sweet enough and still has that delicious slightly tangy flavor from the cream cheese.  I use this for any recipe that calls for cream cheese frosting.  Sometimes I might add a little lemon zest instead of cinnamon.

However you want to eat them, they sure are tasty!

Zucchini Nut Sandwich Cookies

Makes 12 sandwiches (24 cookies)

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 scant cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini, squeeze extra liquid out (1 medium size zucchini)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat butter and sugars until pale and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.

Mix in flour mixture into the butter until just combined.  Stir in zucchini, oats and walnuts.  Refrigerate dough until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Scoop dough onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake until edges are golden, about 15 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.

While the cookies cool make the cream cheese frosting.

Lauren’s Favorite Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Cream the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Slowly add sugar until well blended, then beat in the vanilla and cinnamon, if using.

Scoop frosting into a ziploc bag (or piping bag) and cut the tip off to “pipe” the frosting onto your cookies.