Smoky White Cheddar Zucchini Bread

Smokey White Cheddar Zucchini Bread – Candy Coated Culinista

Another year and I am the recipient of a baby sized zucchini from a friends garden; this time around 4 month sized. I had the opportunity to make zucchini bread many years ago for a cooking club; but the idea of zucchini bread never appealed to be. I still feel the same way; but I am willing to give it a try now. Who knows I may just like it right.

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 medium zucchini, grated
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp nutmeg
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 2 cups smoky white cheddar cheese, grated
• 2 eggs
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray mini loaf pan with a non-stick spray.
3. Grate unpeeled zucchini, squeeze out any excess water with your hands, and then pat dry using a clean kitchen towel. Zucchini should come to about 1 cup.
4. In a large bowl, pour flour, baking powder, sea salt, baking soda and nutmeg and combine with a whisk.
5. Add in the sugar, zucchini and 1 ½ cups of the cheese.
6. In a small bowl whisk eggs and oil together and then pour over flour mixture and combine until mixed.
7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth down the tops and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheese.
8. Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
9. Let loafs remain in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The one thing I like about this recipe is I don’t have to be pre-planning getting butter to room temperature. This tasted much better than I expected and this vegetable loaf was loved by my taste testers.

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Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce – Candy Coated Culinista

My love of Greek food never fades and yet I have never made chicken souvlaki at home.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Tzatziki Sauce

• 1 cup Greek Yoghurt
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 clove garlic
• ¼ of English Cucumber
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
Chicken Souvlaki
• 3 chicken breasts
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp sea salt
• Black pepper, to taste
• Tomatoes
• English cucumber
• Red onion
• Kalamata olives
• Romaine lettuce
• Mozzarella cheese
• 6 Greek pitas

Assembly
Tzatziki Sauce

1. In a food processor add yoghurt, lemon, garlic, cucumber, sea salt, dill and pepper and blend.
2. Pour into a container and let chill.
Chicken Souvlaki
1. Make marinade of lemon juice, garlic, oregano, sea salt and black pepper.
2. Cut chicken breasts into cubes and pour marinade over top and place in fridge for 3 hours to marinate.
3. Using a cast iron skillet pour extra virgin olive oil into pan and cook chicken cubes, 3 minutes per side or until cooked through thoroughly.
4. Serve pitas warmed and add toppings along with tzatziki and mozzarella.

Tips
• Tzatziki can keep for a few days.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was a messy but delicious meal and I’ve never had a chicken souvlaki that wasn’t messy so I know I did this right. I especially loved the sauce that was extra garlicky and had a wonderful kick. The chicken was moist and succulent.

Creamy Blue Cheesey Potatoes with Chives & Haricots Warm Salad

Creamy Blue Cheesey Potatoes with Chives & Haricots warm salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Nothing beats a warm salad and this recipe will not disappoint and if your reading this hating Blue Cheese I urge you to give this a try.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 pound baby yellow skinned potatoes, halved & boiled
• 1 pound green haricots, ends trimmed
• Blue cheese, small wedge crumbled
• Chives, finely chopped
• Thyme, 6 sprigs

Assembly
1. In a large pot over high heat salted boil potatoes until tender; then drain and set aside.
2. Prepare haricots and steam until just cooked.
3. Place haricots in an ice bath to shock them and stop the cooking process.
4. Drain haricots and add to a platter along with the potatoes and crumble blue cheese over top.
5. Sprinkle chives and thyme and serve.

Tips
• If you must, you can swap out to another crumbly cheese if desired.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is a beautiful way to enjoy some in season haricots. I remember a time I hated blue cheese and just like olives, anchovies and sushi I became a fan once I became an adult and my palette matured. The salty creaminess with that slight medicinal taste makes the perfect coating for the vegetables. One can’t eat loads of blue cheese in one sitting; but this recipe gives the perfect balance that I craved again the next day. I wish I had made more.

Asparagus Stuffed Chicken

C.C.’s Savoury Stuffed Chicken – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 3
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• 3 chicken breasts, sliced halfway through breast but not to the end of the breast
• Sea salt
• Black pepper
• Season salt
• Dried basil
• Dried oregano
• Garlic powder
• Onion powder
• Greek spices
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 3 button mushrooms, sliced
• 12 asparagus, bottoms cut off
• 6 grape tomatoes, cut lengthwise
• 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Slice into chicken breast lengthwise down the middle; but not all the way through.
3. Season chicken breasts with spices.
4. Place asparagus, grape tomato, mushroom and sprinkle some mozzarella cheese inside the chicken breast.
5. Heat large frying pan over medium-high heat and pour olive oil in.
6. Once oil is hot sear top and bottom of the chicken breast.
7. Place chicken into a roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes.
8. Serve and enjoy

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have always wanted to make a stuffed chicken and I’m happy I finally have. I have learned that I was too generous with the filling and next time I will scale back a touch. Other than that this was beyond delicious and fresh.

Plantains Assados con Queso

Plantains Assados con Queso – Candy Coated Culnista

One of the few Caribbean foods I have always loved was plantain whether fried or boiled and put in a soup. Probably it was the sweetness of the plantain as is ripened that caught my attention as a child; but even today when I find plantain in the store I think back to my mom frying it when it was over ripped and ooey gooey to serve alongside my breakfast. I went to a food market at lunch, and I saw this wonderfully fried whole plantain just staring back at me and I just knew I had to try it and it didn’t disappoint.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 tbsp canola oil
• 1 plantain, peeled and sliced in the centre, but not all the way through
• 3 tbsp cream cheese
• Fresh rosemary, removed from sprig
• Pinch of sea salt

Assembly
1. Over medium-high, using a frying pan heat up canola oil.
2. Place plantain in and fry all sides until golden brown and the colour has changed.
3. Drain on a paper towel if necessary.
4. Using a small bowl mix cream cheese & rosemary and stuff into the plantain.
5. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Tips
• If you have time bake this bake at 400° for 30 minutes; instead of frying.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I did my own spin on this Ecuadorian dish as the way it was prepared had ricotta stuffed inside. I used cream cheese and added some fresh thyme because it just felt right to me. This is a new preparation for me that I never knew even existed. I am very happy to have stumbled upon this in the market. Plantains Assados con Queso means baked plantains with cheese; but I took a quicker approach and fried it. Try baking it as it would turn out just as well. I made this while preparing breakfast before work yesterday morning, so I had less time. The plantain was soft on the outside and firmer as you got further in. The filling was creamy with the punch of thyme. I’m not really a fan of cream cheese unless it’s on my bagel; but it works so well and I gave a piece to my testers and they loved the cream cheese and thyme combo.

P is for … Pea Risotto

P is for … Pea Risotto - Candy Coated Culinista

P is for … Pea Risotto – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20-22 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 900ml low sodium chicken stock
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 cup Arborio rice
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1/3 cup fresh peas
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter
• Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste
• Handful of parsley, finely diced

Assembly
1. Pour chicken stock into a large saucepan over high heat and boil.
2. Once the chicken stock has boiled, turn down to low heat to keep warm.
3. In a medium saucepan heat extra virgin olive oil and pour in the onion and cook for three minutes.
4. Add in the garlic and continue cooking for another 3 minutes until soft and translucent.
5. Stir in one cup of Arborio rice along with sea salt and black pepper stirring constantly for two minutes.
6. Ladle in a half cup of chicken stock to the rice until the liquid is absorbed.
7. Continue adding chicken stock a half cup at a time until rice is tender with a firm centre and the risotto is creamy, about 20 to 22 minutes.
8. Add in the peas and butter in the last 3 minutes of cooking.
9. Stir in the parsley and grate some Parmigiano Reggiano to taste.
10. Serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
A slow but well worth it process. Creamy and aldente with the fresh peas and parsley along with the Parmigiano Reggiano made this a rich dish.

M is for … Melon Cucumber Salad

M is for … Melon Cucumber Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 tbsp lemon juice
• 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp agave nectar
• 1/4 tsp sea salt
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1 small honeydew melon, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
• 1 golden kiwi, halved and sliced
• ½ English cucumber, cut into chunks
• 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
• 1/3 cup black olives, roughly chopped
• 3 tbsp finely chopped dill
• ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Assembly
1. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar, salt and pepper until emulsified.
2. In a large bowl add honey dew, golden kiwi, English cucumber, red onion, black olives and dill.
3. Drizzle dressing over salad and mix.
4. Finally top with crumbled feta cheese and give one last quick mix and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is one of my most creative salads to date. The combination of fruits and vegetables and it being both salty and sweet was very delicious. I would make this for a dinner party in a heartbeat.

Kale Caesar Salad

Kale Caesar Salad - Candy Coated Culinista

Kale Caesar Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

This twist on a Caesar salad is my new favourite way to enjoy Caesar salad. Robust and hearty kale being incorporated into this classic is delicious.

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
• 6 kale leaves, de-stemmed & chopped
• Spinach, big handful chopped
• 4 slices of bacon, cooked crispy & crumbled
• 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
• 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
• Caesar salad dressing
• 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
• ¼ cup parmesan cheese
• 1 cup croutons

Assembly
1. Chop romaine, kale and spinach leaves and put into a bowl.
2. Using a frying pan, fry bacon until crispy and then crumble.
3. Using the same oil from the bacon, quickly fry the minced garlic and add to another bowl.
4. Finely chop the anchovies and add to the small bowl along with salad dressing and mix.
5. Shred mozzarella cheese and add to the bowl of lettuce along with parmesan cheese and croutons.
6. Mix well and serve.

Tips
• Make the dressing by hand if you like; but I decided not to as I had time restraints.
• Make into a chicken Caesar salad by adding grilled chicken breast into the salad.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This salad was enjoyed by my taste testers. I managed to turn people who claim to hate anchovy’s and kale into a lover. Granted the moment I mentioned there were whole anchovy fillets in the salad some stopped. My point was still proven and I arrested my case. I have made this salad three times already in 2 weeks; even once as a chicken Caesar salad.

BBQ Chicken, Apple, Bacon & Mushroom Quesadillas

BBQ Chicken Apple & Bacon Quesdaillas - Candy Coated Culinista

BBQ Chicken Apple & Bacon Quesdaillas – Candy Coated Culinista

I knew I wanted to make quesadillas for dinner this past weekend having a huge craving for it. I knew that even though this recipe was going to be familiar I planned on throwing a wrench into the classic quesadillas with some granny smith apples.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 5 chicken thighs, cut into pieces
• Vegetable oil
• Sea salt, to taste
• Ground cumin, to taste
• Garlic powder, to taste
• Onion powder, to taste
• Red pepper flakes, to taste
• Paprika, to taste
• 4 slices of bacon, cut into pieces
• 8 button mushroom, sliced
• ½ granny smith apple, cut into matchsticks skin on
• 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 2 tbsp garlic BBQ sauce
• 4 tortillas
• Guacamole, optional using fresh avocado’s
• Sour cream, optional

Assembly
1. Using a frying pan over medium heat fry and season chicken thighs with a little vegetable oil until cooked thoroughly.
2. In another frying pan over medium heat fry bacon until crispy.
3. In another frying pan over medium high heat sauté the mushrooms in a little vegetable oil.
4. Cut the granny smith apple and red onion and set aside in a bowl.
5. Shred cheddar cheese and set aside.
6. Once chicken and bacon are finished cooking, cut into pieces and add BBQ sauce to the chicken pieces and coat.
7. Using a clean frying pan the size of the tortilla, start toasting tortillas.
8. Add in a mixture of chicken, bacon, mushrooms, cheese, red onion and apple and let melt.
9. Place the second tortilla on top and flip at least once until tortilla is crispy and cheese is melted.
10. Cut into quarters and serve with guacamole and sour cream on the side.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This dish was an absolute hit! I even had a request to make another portion as it was so well received and of course I had to oblige. I even stole a bite for myself even though I was beyond full at this point I just couldn’t resist. The granny smiths added a tartness and crunch that was enjoyable and balanced well with the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.

Buttery Balsamic Green Beans

Buttery Balsamic Green Beans - Candy Coated Culinista

Buttery Balsamic Green Beans – Candy Coated Culinista

Sweet, buttery, tart and salty and on a beautiful vegetable… this can’t get any better.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Green beans, 2 handfuls
• 2 tbsp Vegetarian margarine
• 1 tbsp Agave Nectar
• 1 tbsp Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar
• 1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
• Feta Cheese, to taste

Assembly
1. Using a saucepan; bring water to a boil.
2. Add green beans into a steamer basket cover and reduce to medium heat and steam until just cooked.
3. Place steamed green beans in a bowl and add margarine, agave nectar and raspberry balsamic vinegar and coat.
4. Add dried cranberries and mix.
5. Plate and sprinkle feta cheese on top and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I made this recipe with what was in my panty and fridge and this turned out amazing. I love how some of my best recipes come from just what is on hand at the time. I have already made this simple recipe twice already and I will continue to make this time and time again. The dressing is a great way to get that picky eater to at least take a few bites of a not so favorite vegetable. I did however have to take their portion; because I just knew it all wouldn’t be eaten. A valiant effort was made and it was appreciated.

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