Category Archives: Waste Not Want Not

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Loaf, Domesticity, & Why I Freeze My Zucchini

Still life in loaf.  Note the still melty chocolate chips!

Still life in loaf. Note the still melty chocolate chips!

I’ve been planning to make a post about pumpkin pie, as a way to use up the canned pumpkin that I previously posted about, but I couldn’t resist the call of the frozen zucchini in my freezer. So naturally I had to make a chocolate chip zucchini loaf!

Why do I have frozen zucchini in my freezer? Well, the DH bought some a few weeks ago and I hadn’t had a chance to cook it before it was losing optimal freshness. And since we all know that I hate wasting food, obviously I had to do something with it. So I grated it, placed 1/2 c. mounds of the grated zucchini on a cookie tray, stuck it in the freezer until semi-solid, and popped the resultant 1/2 c. servings of zucchini into a freezer bag. Bam! Pre-grated, pre-portioned servings of vegetables for whenever I need them!

Key ingredients.

Key ingredients.

Of course, now I need to actually see how the frozen veggies hold up in the baking. The Chocolate Chip Zucchini Loaves (two) are currently in the oven, and I’m resisting the temptation to peep and see how they’re doing. Watched loaves never bake, amirite?

What recipe did I use? This one! Naturally, I made some modifications:

  • I added a half cup of water, because while the recipe said that the dough would be thick, it didn’t say that it would be the consistency of thick cookie dough and unable to be stirred.
  • I cut out 1/2 c. of the chocolate chips, because the recipe calls for 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips. Cutting out the half cup is my attempt to make it healthier. Ish.
  • I also added in a half cup of chopped walnuts because I have a container of walnuts in my baking supplies cupboard that I want to use up. The DH went shopping at Bulk Barn a while ago, and came home with so. many. nuts. He was so enthusiastic over his purchases; it was so cute! Of course, we have now have large containers of walnuts, cashews, and I believe almonds too. So I’ve been looking for ways to use them up.) And healthy fats are always good.

Speaking of the DH, he¬†was doing some work while I was baking the loaves, and when the lovely fragrance of baking sweets started drifting from the kitchen, he popped his head around the corner and was all, ooooh, you’re baking! So now not only do I need to stop myself from looking in the oven, I need to stop him from checking if it’s done too. *shakes head and smiles fondly* I do love my domestic little moments, can you tell? ūüôā

Nutty, chocolate-y yumminess!

Nutty, chocolate-y yumminess!

The result? Yum-city! (Oooh, speaking of which, I was in New York last week for a long weekend, hence the time lapse between my last post and this one. I was too busy eating New York bagels with cream cheese, street pretzels, Brooklyn-style oven-fired pizza, and various other delights. I also did the touristy visiting places things. But come on, the food!)

I would totally freeze other grated veggies like I did with this zucchini. The loaf turned out great! I’d likely decrease the cinnamon a bit next time, and perhaps reduce the water to a 1/4 c., as the loaf took about 1.5 times as long to bake as the recipe said. But regardless, it’s yummy!¬†Time for a midnight snack, I think!

Next Post: Likely the pumpkin pie I was talking about. Or the homemade peanut butter cups I was talking about. Or the genuine Indian¬†spice I was talking about. Or reviewing a book that the sister of a friend of mine wrote. So much food — so little time to post! ūüôā Any preferences?

Making the Most of Leftovers: Easy Pickled Vegetables

Pickled veggies displayed prior to consumption.

Pickled veggies displayed prior to consumption.

Given that I’m not a morning person, I usually prepare the day’s lunches the night before. Tonight I was making Thai spring rolls, and had some sliced green peppers left over. And given that I have a waste not, want not philosophy when it comes to food, you know I had to use them up somehow. So I made some pickled vegetables!

Want to make some too? They’re the work of a few minutes only!

Easy Pickled Vegetables

  • 3 small carrots, sliced thinly
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, cut in thin strips length-wise
  • pinch mustard powder
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. white vinegear
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of hot pepper flakes

Mix vinegars, water, and all spices (so everything but the veggies) in a bowl and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. The pickling brine should be nice and hot when¬†you pour it over the chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Make sure to press down the veggies so that they all get bathed in the brine; I stirred and pressed down gently with a potato masher, repeatedly for about 5 minutes. Then I scooped the veggies¬†into sterilized jars, making sure to top up with brine to cover all the veggies in the jar. Let them sit for at least overnight. And then voila — condiment time!

Stirring the veggies with the pickling juice.

Stirring the veggies with the pickling juice.

I used these quantities and ended up with just the right amount to fill three half pint jars. Given that I fully expect to eat these pickled veggies within a few weeks, I only¬†sterilized the jars in the microwave. I’ll keep the jars in the fridge until used, but had I done a quick water bath, they would be properly canned and could stay on my cupboard shelves for several months. But they’re too tasty to last that long!

Now, what shall I use these pickled recipes on? I shall probably use it as a topping for veggie burgers, sandwiches, and salads. I’ve used previous batches on pizza, which was surprisingly delicious with crumbled feta. Mmm…now I want to eat! Maybe I’ll just eat one of the Thai spring rolls that I had leftover from tomorrow’s lunch prep. Yes, that’s what I’ll do!

Next Post: Cherry Pie, a la Francais! Followed by homemade copycat oreos. Chocolate-dipped copycat oreos. So. Good!

Post-Pub Edit: Do link-ups work? Bloggers say that they increase blog traffic, and hey, I’m all for that! So this is now my contribution to Christy Jordan’s latest link-up.

Waste Not, Want Not: Schoolhouse-Style Dinner Rolls

Yummy in my tummy! Easy-peasy dinner rolls.

Yummy in my tummy! Easy-peasy dinner rolls.

I’m currently in the middle of making a three-layer brownie and ice cream dessert (post to come!) but had to take some time out to talk about my new favourite dinner roll recipe. Have you heard of Schoolhouse Rolls? Or Schoolroom Buns? Until recently, I hadn’t. But I was googling ways to use up milk powder, and¬† came across very similar recipes for said rolls/buns.

Apparently in the U.S. a few decades ago (readers of a certain age will remember, I’m sure), school cafeterias used to make fresh rolls for the school lunches. There are many recipes out there claiming to be the one definitive schoolhouse roll recipe, but what they have in common is the use of milk powder as an ingredient.

Roll 'em up and set 'em to rise!

Roll ’em up and set ’em to rise!

And milk powder is something I have lots of! My mother-in-law made some delicious hand-made milk candies for our wedding a year and a half ago (Time! It doth fly!), and we still have TONS of milk powder leftover. I never use milk powder, but I hate wasting food, so I had to find a way to use it all up. And this recipe is the best way ever!

I started out with some of the recipes found online but modified them to what I had in the house. I ran out of white sugar and shortening, so I subbed in icing sugar and butter. And while the buns were great, it made for a verrrry light and squooshy dough, so I added in an additional cup of flour.

I made them and told the DH that I had made some changes. His reaction, verbatim: “I don’t know what you did, but they are SOOOOO good!” Further evidence of deliciousness. I had made a pan of these and left them out one evening to cool. The next morning I got up and half the pan had disappeared.

Pan o' freshly baked buns!

Pan o’ freshly baked buns!

Want to make some easy rolls yourself? Let’s!

Schoolhouse-Style Dinner Rolls (makes one dozen buns)

  • 2 1/2 tsp. (traditional) yeast
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 2 tbsp. icing sugar
  • 1/4 c. milk powder
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 3 c. flour
  • 3/4¬† tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt

Butter pan. Mix yeast with warm water and wait 10 minutes until foamy. Mix in rest of ingredients with a dough hook (because it’s easier than by hand). Form into 12 equal rounds. Place in buttered pan and let rise in warm place until double in size. Bake in a 425 degree oven until tops are golden and crusty (about 20 min, give or take). Enjoy!

Served for lunch with homemade strawberry rhubarb jam!

Served for lunch with homemade strawberry rhubarb jam!

The buns freeze and defrost well, and have a lovely light crumb despite being nice and dense. You can do an egg wash on top, although usually I don’t bother. If you modify the recipe, let me know what you come up with!

Next Post: More French Foodie Fun with Fruits!

Crunchy, tasty, and Low-Fat: Baked Zucchini Coins

Low in fat, high in flavour and crunch!

Low in fat, high in flavour and crunch!

A few weeks ago, I made zucchini coins for dinner. I had some sliced zucchini in the fridge, leftover from when I made my Four-Layer White Lasagna with Oven-Roasted Vegetables. Incidentally, that’s how I make a lot of kitchen decisions: what’s in the fridge? What will go bad if I don’t use it soon?

The DH does the food shopping in our family, and while I can and often do make lists for him, I also find unexpected things in the grocery bags. Which makes cooking an adventure! Like the container of what I think is guava paste, that we have in our fridge. Or the giant rock-hard circle of what I assume is brown sugar, that is in our cupboard. And various jars of things that struck his fancy. Given that I have a waste not, want not philosophy, I will eventually get to using them. But today’s recipe is about using (up) zucchini! (Anyone who’s ever had a bumper zucchini crop, take note!)

Think of them as healthy fries, but low-fat and with nutrition. Definitely tasty, and healthy too — this is how to eat your fries and still feel energized after!

Baked Zucchini Coins

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3¬†c. breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

 Slice zucchini into rounds. Beat egg in a bowl and set aside. Mix breadcrumbs and spices in another bowl. Dip each piece of zucchini into the beaten egg, and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a cookie tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and then flip over and bake until golden on both sides. Serve warm with ketchup and enjoy!

Pro-Tip: Make these super-duper low-fat by only using egg whites. Seriously low-fat, while not losing any of the taste.

Tasty, yes? The flavouring is totally up to you. Add more spice, add in parmesan cheese…whatever strikes your fancy! And then post your flavouring in the comments so we can ooh and ahh, and try your version! *grin*

Next Post: Lemon Meringue Tartlets, baby! Easier than you think.

Post-Pub Edit: A modern version of the¬†Que Sera Sera question: “Will I ever go viral?” I’m doing my bit by joining in a recipe link-up, up at Christy Jordan’s site over here. I do love that site!

Tasty Tapas: Veggie Croquetas

Warm and crunchy and lightly seasoned!

Warm and crunchy and lightly seasoned!

Ok, finally I have a chance to post that last tapas recipe I’ve been writing about, my yummy Veggie Croquetas! I actually grew up thinking that croquettes were Dutch, as I had only eaten them in Holland, when I went there on a trip with my family. Apparently, though, a number of different cultures have their own version, and the Spanish version uses b√©chamel sauce (white sauce) as a base. So that’s what I did!

Croquetas seem to me to be basically a way to use up leftovers, so I tossed in some taco-seasoned soy meat (the same seasoned meat that I used for the Easy Empanadillas) with some mashed potatoes, béchamel sauce, and green beans from my freezer, shaped them into log shapes, and rolled them in bread crumbs, before frying them up in a frying pan of oil. Low-calorie, these are not! But they are tasty! Want to make some?

Let’s get frying!

Caveat Eat-or {sic}:¬†I realized when writing this recipe that I have somehow misplaced the quantities that I used when making up this recipe. So I’m going to give you the basics for the b√©chamel sauce, and then leave you to add in¬†enough of the remaining filling¬†ingredients to your taste. Feel free to substitute in what you want — use up those leftovers! As long as the filling is¬†firm enough to hold its shape when cooking, it’s all good.

Veggie Croquetas

Béchamel Sauce

  • ¬†2 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2¬†c. milk

Filling

  • seasoned ground meat (soy, baby!)
  • green beans, finely chopped
  • mashed potato

Coating

  • bread crumbs
  • enough oil to fill a frying pan an inch deep

Melt butter in pot, and add in flour, stirring to cook the flour. Slowly whisk in milk. Voila, you’ve got a b√©chamel sauce going on!

Making the croquetas: it's really not that hard.

Making the croquetas: it’s really not that hard.

Mix béchamel sauce with the seasoned meat, the chopped green beans, and the mashed potato, to form the filling. Heat oil. While oil is heating, form filling into small logs (or whatever shape you want!) with your hands and set aside. Roll each croqueta in the bread crumbs, making sure to coat thoroughly. Fry in the oil-filled frying pan until golden brown on each side. To cool and drain off any excess oil, set on a cookie cooling rack covered with a paper towel. Serve warm, or cold, and feel very Spanish and cultured!

Cooling them slightly on a cookie rack. The one on the right is shaped the best.

Cooling them slightly on a cookie rack. The ones on the left and the right are shaped the best.

And that’s the last of my tapas party recipes! To recap, I made Super-Fruity Sangria; Easy Empanadillas; today’s recipe, Veggie Croquetas; and my Caramel Toffee Flan. Was a fun and tasty time — I do love a good themed dinner!

Next¬†Post: Hmm. Not sure! I have a¬†Brandy¬†Ball recipe that someone gave to me that I want to try out; two different fruitcake (what? I love fruitcake!) recipes that I might turn into a¬†Christmas Fruitcake Smackdown;¬†a recipe for chocolate-mint homemade oreos that I want to¬†try¬†out; and then I want to make a batch of cookies for the DH’s work. I have some bok choy that is starting to wilt in my fridge, but I’m kind of miserable with a cold right now, and craving comfort food, so the chocolate-mint oreos are winning! I’m thinking of dipping them in chocolate for that extra yumminess! What do you think? Let me know in the comments! ¬†