Money Matters: Grilled Corn Summer (Breakfast) Hash + Weekly Menu

I’m very familiar with the word hash when used as a verb. But as a noun, I wasn’t so sure.

hash [hash]; noun
1. a dish of diced or chopped meat and often vegetables, as of leftover corned beef or veal and potatoes, sauteed in a frying pan or of meat, potatoes, and carrots cooked together in gravy.
2. a mess, jumble, or muddle
3. a reworking of old and familiar material

This meal contains meat (bacon!), but it doesn’t have to. It certainly contains vegetables in the way of all things in-season: zucchini, corn, bell pepper, onion, eggplant…and potatoes. But I think potatoes are nearly always in season (they’re troopers through the cold weather).

Anyways, this summer hash is certainly a jumble of ingredients, and you can feel free to use just about anything and everything. I could even see this dish being turned into a fall hash with sweet potato, root vegetables, and may even…pumpkin!

Plus, this meal doesn’t have to be a breakfast dish. I served it as dinner and ate it for lunch throughout the week. It’s hearty, filling, stick-to-your-ribs food that is good any time of day.

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Grilled Corn Summer Breakfast Hash adapted from How Sweet It Is

4 slices of bacon, chopped 4 medium yukon gold potatoes, chopped into cubes 1/2 red onion, chopped 1 medium zucchini squash, chopped into half-moons 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 red bell pepper, chopped 2 ears grilled corn on the cob, cut off the cob 1 cup eggplant, diced 1 Tbsp olive oil 4 large eggs sea salt + pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat a large skillet or 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add chopped bacon and cook until crispy and fat is rendered – about 4-5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Add potatoes with a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the bacon fat and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring and tossing every few minutes.

Add all the remaining ingredients and cook 5-10 additional minutes or until cooked to desired doneness. While vegetables cook, heat another skillet on medium high and cook your eggs as desired, then set aside over low heat. Yield: 4 servings (~1 1/2 cups veggies with one egg)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 354 calories; 13.3 g. fat; 226 mg. cholesterol; 498 mg. sodium; 51.3 g. carbohydrate; 6 g. fiber; 16.5 g. protein

Result: Lots of summer’s best produce, with classic potatoes, topped with an egg to complete a meal…what’s not to love? With all the low-calorie, nutrient and fiber-packed vegetables this meal is health-conscious and very, very filling. There’s a great balance of complex carbohydrate, protein, and fat. It reheated really well for lunch throughout the week, too. Note: If you would like to make this a vegetarian meal, swap out the bacon for about 3 tablespoons of olive oil! Enjoy!

Money Matters: The red bell pepper ($1) and nitrate-free bacon ($0.38/slice) were the most expensive ingredients. The eggplant ($1.99/lb normally, though mine was “free” from the garden) came in at $0.75 as one of the more expensive ingredients, as well. Zucchinis are cheap at about $0.50 a piece. For organic potatoes, I paid $4.50/5 lbs, bringing the cost of the potatoes to $1.35 for 4 potatoes. The cheap protein source, eggs, is what really helps to keep the cost of this meal to a mere $6.77 total and the cost per serving at $1.69!

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Last week’s menu was all about corn after I got 13 ears from the farmer’s market. This week, the theme is eggplant. This time of year, eggplant is everywhere and it’s at its best! Plus, my garden has several ready to harvest ;)

Weekly Menu: August 28th-September 1st

Tonight is the championship game for my hockey team! I am hoping celebratory beers with the guys afterwards will be in order. Better stretch out my legs from yesterday’s grueling 5 mile run/walk. It’s a shame when one of the prettiest days of summer comes with one of the toughest runs in a while!

Question: Have you ever made a hash at home?

P.S. Check out my guest post over at Pursuing Balance on Dietary Compliance!

Be well,

Peaches and Cream Breakfast Quinoa + Garden Update

When I asked you, dear readers, what you wanted to see more of on my blog, Stacey spoke up and requested higher protein breakfasts. I find breakfast the most challenging meal of the day to keep “balanced” – I’m always looking for something on-the-go, that I can make over the weekend and eat throughout the week and keeps me full for hours.

One of my favorite breakfasts from childhood was Quaker oatmeal, but the pre-portioned, flavored packets. I always chose Peaches and Cream. This recipe was inspired by that childhood favorite.

Then I was chatting with Donna, my business partner, about quinoa. She said she makes breakfast quinoa. I got to thinking about how I could make quinoa into a tasty, on-the-go breakfast. While not low-carb by any means, this recipe packs in lots of fiber and a respectable 10.7 grams of protein.

The next time I make this recipe, I will add 2 tablespoons of pecans (or nut of choice) to each serving bringing to totals to: 451 calories, 17.7 g. fat, 63 g. carbohydrate, 7 g. fiber, and 12 g. protein. The nuts add additional heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids and more satiety.

A new and improved peaches and cream breakfast…

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Peaches and Cream Breakfast Quinoa, a Prevention RD original

1 cup quinoa, rinsed 2 cups vanilla coconut milk (90 calories/cup) 12 liquid stevia drops, or calorie-free sweetener of choice, to taste 1 tsp vanilla 2 peaches, diced 6 Tbsp fat-free half-and-half, divided

Directions:

Bring coconut milk to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add quinoa and stir. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until milk is absorbed.

Stir in vanilla and stevia (or sweetener of choice). Divide quinoa into 3 servings (about 3/4 cup each) and top each serving with 1/3 of the peaches and 2 tablespoons of half-and-half. Yield: 3 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 353 calories; 7.3 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 41 mg. sodium; 61 g. carbohydrate; 5.7 g. fiber; 10.7 g. protein

Result: A just-sweet flavor with the creaminess from absorbed coconut milk and fat-free half-and-half to finish. Quinoa has a tender, but stable texture. Unlike oats, the grain maintains shape while absorbing the flavors its being cooked in. Simple and reheats like a charm! Enjoy!

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I haven’t given a garden update in…far too long.

There have been a few visitors…do you see him? ;)

Lots has been harvested…

Question: What was your favorite childhood breakfast?

P.S. I heard one rave from our debate over Summer Sweet Corn Fettucine…did anyone else try it?? :)

Almost the weekend!

Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread

Zucchini and banana bread…with chocolate chips? Are you sold at that? Because I was.

Some form of carb with Greek yogurt and/or fresh fruit is my go-to on-the-go breakfast. Therefore, breads, muffins and things of that nature are great for a busy week of work.

Luckily, zucchini has one of the longer seasons as far as fresh summer veggies are concerned, making them relatively cheap year-round. On a side note, zucchini are one of the easier veggies to grow. They’re very tolerant to both heat, cold, and water variations and tend to produce more than plants of equal size.

Now might be a good time to mention that bugs ate my zucchini plant this year…but not before I harvested nearly 10 zucchini or so! :-D I was committed to organic gardening.

If sneaking veggies into recipes were a hobby, it would be one of mine. Or maybe it is? I don’t know, but I enjoy it regardless. Finding ways to disguise veggies in various recipes not only adds nutrition, but it bulks up portion while decreasing caloric content. All good things.

After halving the number of chocolate chips in this recipe (1/2 cup is PLENTY, I assure you), this bread was a decent nutritional start to my every morning last week. As for taste, well…no complaints here. It was good til the last crumb.

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Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice and Eats Well with Others

2 eggs 1/4 cup honey 1 cup mashed banana, about 3 small bananas 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 medium zucchini, grated 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a standard-sized loaf pan.

Beat together the eggs, honey, banana, brown sugar, and vanilla until well-combined.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix into the egg/banana mixture just until combined.

Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips, just until combined.

Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let rest for 20 minutes before removing from the loaf pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Yield: 10 slices.

Nutrition Information (per slice): 226 calories; 3.9 g. fat; 43 mg. cholesterol; 353 mg. sodium; 46.1 g. carbohydrate; 3.0 g. fiber; 3.4 g. protein

Result: It’s a blend of every good thing about baked breakfast items. The zucchini is less prominent in this bread vs. a zucchini bread which may appeal to most people. I think the brown sugar could be reduced to just 1/4 cup as the bread is plenty sweet (I also cut back to 1/2 cup chocolate chips from 1 cup as the recipe suggested). Simple to make and is the perfect sweet treat to start, or finish, a day. Enjoy!

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TGIF!

I am actually “off” today and my business partner and I are going to get get our suits on and go around to LOTS of internists offices in the area to drum up new business. It should be a productive day, let’s hope!

Question: What are you looking forward to this weekend?

P.S. If you didn’t weigh in yesterday (where was everyone?!) on what you would like to see more of on Prevention RD, please do so! :-D Thanks in advance!

TGIF,

Grilled Zucchini & Goat Cheese Rollatini with Raisins & Pistachios

My zucchini plant WAS pumping out the zucchini factory-style until some creatures (I won’t even say what they were because…well, I don’t want to spoil your appetite) decided to invade and make my zucchini plant a home. Prior to buggies taking over, my zucchini plant yielded about 6 or 7 good-sized zucchini.

…at least my eggplant is taking off??? :)

Thus far this zucchini season I have made Penne and Zucchini Carbonara, Low Fat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins, and Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad. When I saw Cara’s recipe for Grilled Zucchini & Goat Cheese Rollatini with Raisins & Pistachios, I knew I had to make them, too. An entree, a brekfast/snack, a side…and now an appetizer course.

My zucchini utilization is being maximized.

Plus I love any excuse to use my mandoline or grill…and to eat pistachios. I seriously love pistachios…

While these look really impressive (they are!), they’re not difficult to make…at all. Though guests are sure to think these are a work of art and how ever did you find the time to make these?! For those that love both sweet and savory together, these will be all the more a hit. The hearty zucchini and the creamy cream cheese offer the savory while the raisins and lemon shoot back with a sweet side. The perfect balancing act in one little, cutesy rollatini. :)

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Grilled Zucchini & Goat Cheese Rollatini with Raisins & Pistachios slightly adapted from Cara’s Cravings

1/4 cup raisins 1 large zucchini, sliced 1/8th inch thick lengthwise Olive oil cooking spray 4 oz goat cheese, softened 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 tsp lemon zest 1/2 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a small bowl, add raisins and cover with warm water. Set aside.

Preheat grill to medium. Lightly mist both sides of zucchini slices with cooking spray. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, until softened and lightly charred. Remove and let cool.

Drain raisins and roughly chop. Add raisins to a medium bowl with goat cheese, pistachios, lemon juice and zest and mint. Stir and season with pepper.

Place 1 slice zucchini on a work surface. Spread about 2 teaspoons goat cheese mixture onto zucchini, then roll up and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining zucchini and goat cheese mixture. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Do not chill for more than a couple of hours. Yield: ~13 rollatini.

Nutrition Information (per rollatini): 52 calories; 2.8 g. fat; 5 mg. cholesterol; 53 mg. sodium; 3.8 g. carbohydrate; 0.6 g. fiber; 1.9 g. protein

Result: A great sweet -and- savory appetizer that comes in one perfect bite-sized piece! These come together quickly — about 20-25 minutes from start to finish. The ingredient list is simple and the nutrition stats are impressive! A great starter for entertaining or your next backyard get together! Note: these did not keep well – eat the day they’re prepared! Enjoy!

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Question: What is currently your favorite summer veggie?

Eat your F&V’s!

Low Fat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins + Weekly Menu

My garden is pumping out zucchini. The humid weather coupled with frequent storms makes a garden (and gardener) very, very happy.

After several savory zucchini dishes, I wanted something sweet. But not sinful.

The original recipe made a zucchini bread loaf, but of course, I opted for the ever so classic muffin that could travel to work and serve as a snack without any slicing. Muffin “format” vs. loaf also helps with portion control. Somehow, my slices from loafs seem to get bigger and bigger over time…

If you’re not sure how zucchini-y you would like your muffins, consider making these with 1 cup of shredded zucchini. You can definitely taste the zucchini (yum!) in these! I also used mini chocolate chips in an attempt to get a bit of chocolate in every bite. Mission accomplished!

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Low Fat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins very slightly adapted from Skinny Taste

1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed) 1 1/8 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp vanilla 1/3 cup (mini) chocolate chips 1 large egg, beaten 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 1 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 medium) zucchini, shredded

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Add chocolate chips and gently mix to combine.

In a medium bowl, mix egg, vanilla, melted butter, apple sauce and zucchini. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Spoon batter into a muffin tin filled with muffin liners; fill to the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes. Yield: a baker’s dozen (13 muffins).

Nutrition Information (per muffin): 157 calories; 3.9 g. fat; 17 mg. cholesterol; 203 mg. sodium; 27.8 g. carbohydrate; 1.8 g. fiber; 2.1 g. protein

Enjoy!

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Weekly Menu: July 24th-28th

Yesterday was a lazy day, but I did heed Mr. P’s advice to run indoors and pounded out an effortless 5 mile run. That almost never happens…loved it! Today is hockey :-D Hope you, too, have been able to stay active through this heat wave!

Question: Do you like zucchini or summer squash better?

Be well,