Gluten Free Zucchini Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

zucchini spice COVER

I discovered the magic of zucchinis awhile ago and made these Zucchini Chocolate Cups.  Since then I’ve been obsessed with zucchini everything.  I wanted to make a zucchini bread for Christmas but clearly zucchini bread < zucchini muffins < zucchini muffins anything with cream cheese frosting and there you have it… frosting won.

zucchini spice ingredientsZucchini Muffins Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup GF all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini

Frosting

  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • pumpkin pie spice

Whisk all dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  In a larger bowl, mix oil, syrup, egg, carrots and zucchini.

zucchini spice dry mix

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined.  Scoop into mini cupcake tins and fill 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  The batter is really gross so don’t eat it raw!  There are a few things where the batter is better  (funfetti cake mix, for example) but not this.  I love raw funfetti so much, I made a dip out of it… skinny funfetti dip 🙂

zucchini spice batter   zucchini spice zucchini

When done, let cool before adding frosting.  When I started this receipt I envisioned a zucchini bread recipe but these transformed into a dessert… at least it’s GF and has healthy healthier ingredients, right?

zucchini spice cakes

Frosting:  Mix cream cheese and agave nectar.  Spread on top of  cooled muffins and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. I found these tasted better when they were refrigerated.

Emmie joined me for the entire cooking session (right under my feet!) to catch any scraps!  I had to snap a picture of her in her favorite kitchen spot.

zucchini spice Emmie

Bon Appetite!

Thai Rice Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Thai Peanut COVERSpicy… Peanut Butter… Veggies… An interesting combo that yields a terrific result!  When I was in Colorado, Susan and I made a peanut sauce dish that was amazing.  When I got back to Jax, I wanted to try it again with a few changes.  The result?  Well I only have one picture of the final product so that should tell you something right there!

I really think the magic is in the sauce on this one.  If you nail the sauce, the dish will delight no matter what’s in it!  Whether you want to go with a vegetarian dish or add meat, like chicken, the magic is in the sauce!  So let’s start there!

Thai peanut sauce

Spicy Peanut Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger root
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh cilantro

Thai peanut sauce mix

In a food processor (or a blender or just a bowl, but I like how the food processor really combines all the ingredients), mix all ingredients.  Adjust as you need.  I threw in some cayenne pepper because I wanted more kick!  And that’s all there is to this sauce!  No heating.  No mess.  Just wonderful yumminess.

I much as I like sides and sauces and I even tried to make a sauce dish dinner once, I know you need more than just this flavor packed sauce…

So for those of you who want to eat a (complete) meal…

Thai Rice Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

The next step to this dish is to sauté the veggies.  Choose any veggies you want but the more veggies you have, the healthier and more colorful the dish becomes.  Just cut the veggies into a size that you would want to eat whole.  I used the following:

  • one handful of broccoliThai veggies
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 squash, chopped
  • a handful of baby carrots (had this in the fridge), chopped
  • half a red pepper, chopped
  • half a yellow pepper, chopped (only because I has some left over)

Let these sauté until they are a nice tenderness for you.  I’ve heard the longer you cook veggies the less nutritional value they have.  So be your own timer… I like soft veggies… don’t judge me! 😦

Thai veggie saute

While the veggies are cooking, it’s time to cook the onions, garlic and chicken.  In another saucepan, add 1 whole onion, 1 clove of garlic, minced and a little coconut oil.

Thai onions

Next, add the chopped chicken.  When I added the chicken, I threw in a little parsley too.  Add some peanut sauce – just enough to coat the chicken – and cook thoroughly.

Thai chicken cooking

Buy some Thai Rice Noodles and cook according to the package instructions.  I did this very last since the noodles cooked in less than 5 minutes.

Finally, combine it all together!  I suggest putting everything in a bowl in the following order….  Noodles, veggies, chicken, peanut sauce, cashews or peanuts and parsley.

This is seriously one of the best-gluten-free-healthiest-tastiest-filling-cuisines I’ve ever had!  It made great leftovers and I can’t wait to make it again! – after writing this post, I am getting a craving for some very soon!

Thai Chicken

Bon Appetite!!

What’s for Dinner: Spicy Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti squash plate

I love experimenting with new recipes and I especially love when it involves new foods I’m not used to cooking with (as opposed to sugar, butter, chocolate and vanilla!).  This recipe is sure to impress the taste buds!

I was looking for something healthy with a lot spice that looked, well, fun.  I think I found a winner when I came across Spaghetti Squash on Pinterest from Whole Foods.  I’ve changed up the recipe a little for my liking and you can do the same.  I didn’t add any meat to this but I bet grilled chicken strips on the top would make it even better!  Or maybe a grilled shrimp skewer!

What you will need: 1 small/medium spaghetti squash, olive oil, 1/2 cup onion, 1 small jalapeno chili (told you I wanted spicy!), 1/2 cup red pepper, 1 can black beans, 1 can sweet corn, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/3 cup cilantro, 1 tbsp lime juice and 1 tsp sea salt.

spaghetti squash cooking

Cook the spaghetti squash:  There are many ways to cook a spaghetti squash, but I found the easiest is the microwave.  Cut the squash lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  Cutting it was tough though – notice my uneven cutting job.  Then put open side down in a microwave safe bowl filled with 1/2 cup water.  Cover with plastic wrap and cook for 10 minutes.  Cook both halves.

spaghetti squash

Once cooled, use a fork to scrape out the flesh from the squash into noodle-like pieces (hence name “spaghetti” squash). 🙂

spaghetti squash fillingCook the filling: Chop up the onion and red pepper and mince the chili.  Saute all 3 in the oil for about 5 minutes until onions are tender.

Drain and rinse beans and corn.  Add both with chili powder (optional) and heat thoroughly.

Finally, add the squash noodles, cilantro (finely chopped), lime juice and salt and mix for about 1 minute.

Fill the halves of the shells with the mixture.

This is a low fat, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian dish!  Even though all that good stuff is omitted, the spaghetti squash tastes amazing and is very spicy.  If you don’t like spice, don’t add the chili powder or jalapeno chili.  To me, spaghetti squash doesn’t taste like anything when plain but it ends up tasting like whatever you cook it with.  It really added great texture to the veggie mix.  The lime juice also adds a hint of cool, sweetness that combines great with the spice!

spaghetti squash zucchini chipsContinuing with my healthy vegan dinner, I wanted to try Zucchini Chips.  I have recently discovered that I really like zucchini.  Zucchini boats are one of my favorites.   Let’s also not forget the chocolate zucchini cupcakes!  MMMM!

So for the Zucchini Chips, I took a fairly straight, level zucchini, washed it and cut into very, very small slices.  The slices should be less than a quarter in thickness.

Next lay on a single layer on parchment paper and spray with olive oil cooking spray.  Then season with your favorite seasoning.  I used sea salt and creole because I wanted a spicy chip flavor.  Don’t over do the seasoning because the chips will shrink.

Bake at 225 degrees for 45 minutes.  Rotate and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes until crispy.  I know this is a long time but make these first, then the spaghetti squash.

Next time, I will experiment with a higher temperature and less time because there were soo  good I kept taking samples to “test the done-ness.”  They definitely taste better when they were crispy!

Do you have any other favorite zucchini recipes worth sharing?

Bon Appetite!