Sep 092014
 

More zucchini…zucchini…zucchini! Everywhere! Recently Michael and I received a wedding gift from a very lovely friend who sadly can’t make it to the wedding. One of the items was a mini muffin baking pan. I was really excited to use it (and I was also doing some research on making some “dog” muffins that Bella can eat). But I had so much zucchini I decided to make some human muffins first and use up some zucchini. Here is the recipe:

Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins (vegan)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Adapted From: http://www.averiecooks.com/2014/07/banana-zucchini-chocolate-chip-muffins.html

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (vegetable or canola oil may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk (coconut, soy, rice, cow's milk may be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup ripe mashed bananas (about 2 small/medium bananas)
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded zucchini, measured loosely laid in cup (not packed in or squeezed; about 1 medium zucchini, I didn't peel it)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • about 11 teaspoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips divided, about 1 teaspoon for each muffin (regular-sized chips may be substituted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a Non-Stick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan very well with floured cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the bananas and whisk to combine.
  4. Before adding the zucchini, put it in a paper towel and squeeze tightly for about 10 seconds to remove some moisture. After squeezing, you should have about 3/4 cup of compacted shreds. Add zucchini to bowl and stir.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, optional salt and stir until just combined; don't overmix.
  6. Using a large cookie scoop turn batter out into prepared pan. Each cavity should be filled to about 3/4 full, but not exceeding or batter could overflow.
  7. Sprinkle the top of each muffin generously with mini chocolate chips, about 1 teaspoon each.
  8. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes (for mini muffins) or until muffins are set, domed, golden, and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
  9. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until they've firmed up and are cool enough to handle. It's normal for muffin tops to be flatten as they cool.
  10. Muffins will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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I used the recipe as a base and adapted it. So the changes I made…

I used real milk (1%) instead of almond. I also used the Trader Joe’s gluten free flour. To make this a little healthier and reduce the amount of sugar,  I made another substitute. When you bake with Splenda it’s a 50-50 mix. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you use 1/2 cup of Splenda instead. For this recipe I halved the sugar and used splenda and I also included 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce. I probably could have skipped the Splenda/Sugar altogether honestly.

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I wanted to use the mini muffin tray, which was 24 mini muffins but I had a ton of extra batter after filling those so I did a few regular sized muffins as well. Because of that it kind of made the calorie count impossible to calculate but I’d say that the mini muffins are probably around 75 calories each and the regular muffins are around 100 calories, maybe a little less.

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These muffins were awesome! And addicting! And because they are so tiny, bitesize really, it’s easy to just keep popping them in your mouth. The muffins were definitely DIFFERENT than any I’ve ever done. They were very moist and gooey which I attribute to the addition of the applesauce. I think maybe using the melted coconut oil also did that. I’ve never baked with coconut oil before. It gave it a richer flavor I think. Each muffin had maybe 2-3 chocolate chips in it and so the chocolate flavor wasn’t overpowering at all. Just the perfect amount of sweetness.

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I would say that these tasted more like banana muffins than zucchini. Every once in awhile I’d get a bite of zucchini and really taste it but the most dominant flavor was the banana. These were great and I will make them again for parties. I ended up taking a bunch to my book club group and then I took some to a friend’s house the next day when Michael and I went over for dinner.

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The muffins were a hit at the book club. I really, really liked them, too. They had such a different texture than I’m used to with muffins but it was pleasant. I think this is a great “base” muffin recipe. You could make some really interesting alterations…like maybe shredded carrots instead of zucchini or maybe dried cranberries instead of chocolate chips. I think the mini muffins were too small for nuts, but maybe with bigger muffins it would work well. Depending on how you end up changing the ingredients in the recipe, these muffins could be dessert or could easily be a breakfast treat.

I’ve never baked with coconut oil before and I have to say, I kind of love it! Will definitely be using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil in more future baking experiments.

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Aug 202014
 


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Seriously, it’s coming out of our ears. SO MUCH ZUCCHINI. The plant has taken over the raised bed and every day there is more zucchini. I guess the heat wave we had recently made our plant flourish. I needed some creative ways to eat the zucchini. With so much, just having it as a side dish with every dinner gets old quick. By the end of summer I plan on shredding a bunch of zucchini and freezing it like I did two summers ago. It was nice being able to make zucchini bread in the winter.

Zucchini Boats

This was the first recipe I tried. I went off this recipe from Skinny Taste, Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats, but really just used it as cooking instructions. At some point I will try the actual recipe because it sounds delicious. But I had some leftover cooked ground beef and onions and homemade spaghetti sauce that I just mixed together and used for this recipe. It made it a quick and easy meal.

I cut the zucchini and used a spoon to scoop out some of the seeds and innards. Then I boiled the zucchini for about 2 minutes.

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In a bowl I mixed together the spaghetti sauce, beef and onions. I added a little bit of salt and pepper to it and then put the meat in the zucchini “boat.” I topped the meat with shredded Colby Jack cheese (it was all we had). I baked them at about 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Michael and I split one large zucchini for dinner and it was plenty of food. It was so filling and I love that it was low in carbs. We both agreed that it definitely needed some spice to it. Next time I’ll add some red pepper flakes or maybe use spicy ground sausage instead of beef.

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Yum! Yum! Love the concept of this recipe and will definitely try it again.

I’ve done a couple other dishes using zucchini, but not really using a recipe. One of my favorites was gnocchi topped with homemade spaghetti sauce and sauteed zucchini. I love the combination and it was really delicious and filling!

Low Sugar Zucchini Bread

I used this recipe for zucchini bread. Even though it was low in sugar, it was still a little high for my liking. I reduced the amount by using 1/2 a cup of Splenda and 1/2 a cup of unsweetened applesauce. By doing that I reduced the calories per serving by over 100 calories. I also used Trader Joe’s Gluten Free flour.

Zucchini Bread
 
From: http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Low-sugar-and-whole-wheat-chocolate-zucchini-bread-309432
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Stevia In the Raw Granulated Sweetener, Splenda, or other sweetener
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (or use 1/3 cup more sweetener, but I like a small amount of brown sugar in this)
  • 6 T grapeseed oil or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. (I used a toaster oven so it didn't heat up the house.) Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, sweetener of your choice, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk. Stir in the grated zucchini.
  3. In a slightly larger bowl, mix together the white whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir just enough to combine. Then fold in chopped walnuts or pecans. Scrape the batter into loaf pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. (I also used the rubber scraper to spread the batter to make the top of the loaf even.)
  5. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let bread cool in the pan, then slice and serve.

 

The batter was a little on the soupy side and I was a little worried but it turned out great! I baked them in my mini loaf pan (which I absolutely love) for about 35 minutes and pulled them out. I was really surprised at how light and fluffy the loaves were considering they were gluten free. Usually gluten free baking is really dense and just not great…

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This recipe was great! Michael had it for breakfast a few times, it worked great for that because it wasn’t overly sweet. I had skipped the nuts and I think next time I will add some. The bread needed a little bit of texture to it.

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I was impressed with the subtle flavor and the airy texture. I would definitely make this recipe again and it was a great use of zucchini! I might even add a little more zucchini than the recipe calls for. With my alterations and using the mini loaf pan, I estimated about 18 servings…so that makes the calories around 129 per serving.

Do you have a tried and true recipe to use up zucchini? Pass it on to me!

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