Side dish · snack · zucchini

Crunchy Zucchini Chips

When you love the crunch and salt of chips, but you’re trying to eat healthy, is there anything aside from a bag of Lay’s that will satisfy that hunger? The answer is Yes! Zucchini Chips! If you own a garden, chances are you have an ABUNDANCE of them right now and are wondering how to use them up! If you don’t have a garden, you’re going to want to get the grocery store to purchase a zucchini or two to make this crunchy side dish!

Crispy, salty and the perfect accompaniment to sandwich!

The two most important ingredients for this yummy recipe are:

  1. Zucchini
  2. Time – These take 2 hours at a low heat, so start them early in the afternoon.

When I found this recipe I was a little skeptical, but because I had the two important ingredients, I decided to try them for myself! I am totally won over!

Here’s all you do ~

Zucchini Chips

  1. Slice the Zucchini to the thickness of about that of a quarter. (I used my food processor and used the blade with the thickest slice and they were just right.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Lay the slices in rows on the cookie sheet.
  4. Spray lightly with cooking spray and lightly salt. (They shrink while they dehydrate in the oven and the salt taste will intensify, so don’t use too much.)
  5. Place in a 250 degree oven for one hour. Flip the zucchini over. Rotate pans.
  6. Bake for up to another hour, or until they turn light brown and crispy.

These are best served right away. The recipe says they will turn chewy as after a while. We didn’t get to test that part because I baked up one zucchini and we ate every bite!

Some tips:

  • These shrivel up quite small, so make twice the amount you think you’ll need!
  • It’s probably better to go a little thicker with the slices than too thin. They just might need longer to bake.
  • Keep a watch on them after that first hour. Some of mine got a little too dark.
  • Eat them right away.

I’m not one who loves weird snacks. Don’t even think about giving me a rice cake! I tell you that to emphasize that I thought these were just delicious! I bet sprinkling them with some grated Parmesan cheese would be an extra layer of deliciousness!

I served these alongside a pork tenderloin sandwich and it made a great side dish! They’d also make a great snack. I’m thinking children would never know they’re getting a helping of vegetables! What they don’t know won’t hurt them!

What’s the strangest vegetable you eat or have eaten as a snack or side dish?

Happy crunching!

Lightened Up Recipe · Side dish

Fried Green Tomatoes

Does every part of the country enjoy Fried Green Tomatoes like southerners do? Down here they come on BLT sandwiches, under poached eggs and also deliciously just on their own. Their batter of cornmeal/flour preceded by their bath in buttermilk makes them crispy on the outside, and tangy and soft on the inside. You just can’t beat a fried green tomato fixed this way….or at least that’s what I thought!

Enter this lighter version of the recipe that is browned in a pan without any batter coating its exterior. What? Is this possible? Yep. It’s simply browned in teaspoons of Canola oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The little twist comes from the creamy Remoulade that is served with it. Oh my goodness! What a delicious combination the sauce and green tomato make! It was enough for me that I didn’t even miss the crispy batter, and I bet you won’t either! Neither did I miss the extra fat and calories! Here’s how to make them:

Pan-Fried Green Tomatoes with Cayenne Remoulade

2 Tbl. light mayo
2 Tbl. Plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Creole seasoning (I used a dash of Cayenne pepper)
4 medium green tomatoes, cut into 1/2 -inch slices
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 tsp Canola oil

Instructions:

  1. To make remoulade, stir together mayo, yogurt, mustard, and Creole seasoning in small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of tomatoes and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to platter and keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and tomatoes. Serve tomatoes topped with remoulade.

Slice tomatoes
Season and place in skillet with oil
Make remoulade and serve with tomatoes

I served them with grilled chicken and brown rice and it was a wonderful summer meal! If you love green tomatoes, but still want to eat healthy, I urge you to give this recipe a try and see if you’re not converted!

Mexican Food · Side dish

A New Side Dish for Delicious Variety!

If there’s an area of meal planning where I find it hard to come up with new ideas, it’s the category of side dishes! It’s so easy to get into a rut of green beans, corn and baked potatoes. We like each of those things and they’re easy. They take no thought, but they get really boring after a while!

Recently when looking for something to add to my meal of Tandoori Shrimp, I came across a Brown Rice Salad and Black Beans and Corn recipe. I had all the ingredients on hand, so I went for it! Were we very happy I did! My husband raved about it the first night and when leftovers were served the next day, he exclaimed again how good this was! I heartily agree! You could serve this warm or cold and it would be perfect.

It’s hard to get a pretty picture of brown rice, so you have to trust me on this one. The flavor combinations are just so good!

Brown Rice Salad with Black Beans and Corn

1 Cup instant uncooked Brown Rice
15 oz. Black Beans, drained
1 Cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 Cup diced scallions
2 Tbl cilantro
2 tsp pickled Jalapeno peppers – I left this out
1 Tbl lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions:
Cook rice according to directions on package.
While rice is warm, add all other ingredients. Serve with lime wedges.

This couldn’t be easier! It would be a great accompaniment to Mexican meals, chicken or fish.

Get out of your side dish rut and try this. You may be a long time before you look at baked potatoes again!


dinner in 30 minutes · Fish · Mexican Food · Side dish · Tacos

A New Twist On Taco Tuesday

If you grimace at the thought of Fish Tacos, it’s probably because you’ve never had a really tasty one! We are HUGE taco fans in any shape or fashion, so I am always willing to try a new recipe for our favorite fare because they come together in under 30 minutes, they’re healthy when broiled, and they’re so yummy!

Smoky Tilapia Tacos

I recently came across a new recipe for Fish Tacos in my favorite source – a Cooking Light Magazine. If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know I adore their recipes. They did not disappoint! This has become my new favorite Fish taco recipe! Their recipe has a little kick added, which I have found the fish really needs in order to be exceptional. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the seasonings, just wing it and enjoy! I’ll share my substitutions and omissions in the following recipe.

Smoky Tilapia Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika –I used regular paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander – I left this out
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets – I used frozen Polluck
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro – I’m not a huge fan, so I omitted this
  • 2 teaspoons canned chopped green chilies
  • 1 diced peeled avocado
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas – I used my homemade flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 lime wedges

How to Make It

Preheat broiler to high.

Combine first 4 ingredients and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Brush fillets with oil, and sprinkle with spice mixture. Place fillets on a baking sheet. Broil 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, cilantro, chilies, and avocado in a bowl; lightly mash with a fork.

Heat tortillas on a grill pan coated with cooking spray 20 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Divide avocado mixture and fish among tortillas. Serve with lime wedges.

To accompany the tacos, Cooking Light suggested a recipe for Pinto beans which are canned, and are cooked very similarly to the way I share here. Then they are topped with the best cream! I added this cream to the tacos, too, which gave them such a full flavor! These take only Minutes to put together!

My husband declared he’d rather I never fix refried Beans again, and only serve these with Mexican food. I heartily agree! I bet you will, too!

Simmered Pinto Beans with Chipotle Sour Cream

Simmered Pinto Beans with Chipotle Sour Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce

How to Make It

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion, bell pepper, cumin, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add stock, salt, black pepper, and beans; simmer 7 minutes. Stir in juice and parsley.

Combine remaining ingredients; serve with beans.

Pure heaven!

Refresh your Taco Tuesday by fixing a fishy version with a side of the BEST beans you’ve ever eaten!

Brunch · Side dish

Two Southern Dishes for Christmas

Today we’ll be celebrating an early Christmas with one of our daughters, her husband and my GRANDSONS!  I decided  it would be fun to have brunch together.  I had taken a Bacon and Cheddar Grits Quiche to our recent Church ladies’ fellowship, and after making it again, I was reminded that it was something my family loves.  The quiche will be the main star of our meal!  It’s pictured below.   

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This recipe is amazingly delicious!  The crust is not pastry, but cheddar cheese grits.  Continue reading “Two Southern Dishes for Christmas”