Monthly Archives: September 2014

Fresh Zucchini and Tomato Sauce Ricotta

Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta

Fall is around the corner. Summer is over pretty much for most of the country. But when you live in Florida, it’s still hot as ever with no real end in sight! September is just as hot as June, and just as humid! As much as I wish it was fall weather, it for sure, is not. So I’m not really ready to turn to hot stews and tall boots and jeans and the like. I might keel over with heat stroke! At Target, I don’t know who is ordering those giant, piping-hot pumpkin spice lattes! Its not me, for sure!

So the other night, I was wanting something fresh, light and easy (since it was just myself and the kids). Plus I wanted to use those few extra tomatoes left over from my neighbor. (So sweet of her!)

I got the idea of the fresh zucchini & tomato sauce with ricotta recipe from a skillet lasagna recipe where the sauce is made in the pan similar to this. I loved the fresh taste of the tomato and the creamy ricotta on top. The sauce has a little more texture than a typical jarred sauce but its delicious and super easy! We had some extra cooked chicken so I chopped that up, threw it in the bowl and dinner was ready!

Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-7 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Large or 2 medium zucchini, diced small
  • 2 T each basil, parsley, chopped (plus 1 T more for finishing)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped basil and/or parsley to finish

Directions:

Warm the oil in a medium pan on medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, zucchini and herbs (not including the reserved ones for afterwards). Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to medium and cook until starting to break down, 6-7 minutes. Remove half of the sauce to a separate bowl. Using an immersion blender or just a masher, puree/mash the mixture a few times so it starts to become smooth. Add it back to the pan and stir in 1 T the parmesan.

Now, technically the sauce could be done but the ricotta topping just make its so much scrumptious! Mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and the remaining 1 T of parmesan and a dash of salt and pepper. I put a big spoonful of the ricotta on top of this (or any tomato sauce!). Scatter the chopped basil and parsley to finish!

Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta
Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta

My little people finished their plates as well!

Fresh Zucchini and Tomato Sauce and Ricotta
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
This vegetarian, garden fresh sauce pairs with any pasta for a quick easy meal.
Ingredients
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-7 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Large or 2 medium zucchini, diced small
  • 2 T each basil, parsley, chopped (plus 1 T more for finishing)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Warm the oil in a medium pan on medium high heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, zucchini and herbs (not including the reserved ones for afterwards). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and cook until starting to break down, 6-7 minutes. Remove half of the sauce to a separate bowl.
  5. Using an immersion blender or just a masher, puree/mash the mixture a few times so it starts to become smooth. Add it back to the pan and stir in 1 T the parmesan. Spoon over cooked pasta.
  6. While cooking the sauce, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and the remaining 1 T of parmesan and a dash of salt and pepper.
  7. Spoon the ricotta on top of this (or any tomato sauce!). Scatter the chopped basil and parsley to finish!

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta! I would love to hear from you!

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Banana Chocolate-Chip Bread- Revisited

Today was my daughter’s 4th birthday! It was such a fun day since I asked her what she wanted to do and then we tried to fit it all in! We went to IHOP in our pajamas, ate lunch at the pool (picnic lunch!) and then out to dinner at her favorite restaurant. Oh we also made a cake too. I was really loving all the ideas she came up with this year.  I couldn’t help but think how different this year was than all the birthdays past since this year she really had an opinion about it. Happy birthday my sweet baby girl!

banana-chocolate-chip-bread-birthdaybanana-chololate-chip-bread-beach

However, I made this recipe below a few days ago. (It’s all gone now; it doesn’t ever last long!) But I made it into a bread loaf instead. We went over to my cousin’s house and brought this as a dessert… it did not disappoint! I made a few changes to my original banana chocolate chip muffin recipe based on what I had and what I thought sounded good. Here are my changes in the revisited version:

Banana Chocolate-Chip Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt, honey flavored
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana (usually 2 meduim size)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp vanilla

*Revisited! I used a honey-sweetened yogurt so I lessened the amount of sugar and just replaced it instead of the sour cream in the original recipe. Also, dark chocolate morsels instead of semi-sweet chips were used. (I had a friend so ingeniously suggest m&m’s as well! Gotta try that next!)

** Note about the bananas, I like the kind that are a day or two overripe. So lots of brown spots! Not like the perfect, pretty yellow ones in the background.

*** Another note! (Last one, I promise!) The butter softens so much faster (less than 20 minutes) when left out all cut up like that. I usually warm up the plate with water in the microwave and then cut it up on the plate and leave it out. So much easier than remember an hour before I want to bake with it!

best-banana-chocolate-chip-bread

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir yogurt and soda together in a small bowl and set aside. (I had my special helper do that, so helpful!)

banana-bread-special-helper

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Make sure butter is really soft and room temperature when doing this step. * See above note!

butter-sugar-banana-bread

Add egg, beating well.

add-egg-banana-bread

Beat in sour cream yogurt mixture.

beat-mixture-banana-bread

Stir in remaining ingredients. (Trust me, they are all in there, my helper just dumped them all in.) Don’t over mix it!

chocolate-chip-banana-bread

Eat a few extras.

eating-chololate-chips

Spoon into greased muffin pans loaf pan. (I used the butter wrapper with my pan, I love that thing!)

banana-bread-loaf-pan

Bake for 18-22 44-48 minutes. It will be down when golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes or so before removing from pan. Slice when just warm to the touch.

banana-bread-clean-toothpickbanana-bread-cutie

Banana Chocolate-Chip Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
 
An update from my delicious banana chocolate chip muffins! Trust me, they do not disappoint!
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup greek yogurt, honey flavored
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup flaxseed meal
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana (usually 2 meduim size)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir yogurt and soda together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Make sure butter is soft and room temperature.
  3. Add egg, beating well.
  4. Beat in yogurt mixture.
  5. Stir in remaining ingredients. Do not overmix.
  6. Pour into greased loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 44-48 minutes. It will be done when golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan.
  9. Slice and enjoy!

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Banana Chocolate-Chip Bread! I would love to hear from you! These little people enjoyed it alright!

banana-bread-little-people

Also, it cracks me up the difference between Harper in the original post, and the older Harper! Thankfully, she still loves to help me bake!