Zucchini & Fennel Spinach Pesto Salad

Zucchini Fennel & Spinach Pesto Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

I was given the hugest Zucchini I have ever seen from a co-workers garden and now. I could cradle the thing like a new born baby if that give you any indication of size. Since I clearly have zucchini for the week and for weeknight dinner with friends I figured a new recipe was in order.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Pesto

• 1/2 cup fresh basil
• 1 cup fresh spinach packed
• 2 tbsp pine nuts
• 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
• 2 clove garlic, rough chop
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Salad
• ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
• ½ small fennel, thinly sliced
• 4 medium sized zucchini, trimmed and sliced into ribbons
• ½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• ¼ Yellow bell pepper, diced
• ¼ Orange bell pepper, diced

Tips
• Serve with grilled chicken breast for added protein and pour leftover pesto sauce over top of the chicken breast.

Assembly
Pesto

1. In a food processor place basil, spinach, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, sea salt, black pepper and blend until finely chopped.
2. With the machine running pour in the extra virgin olive oil until pesto is uniform and set aside.
3. Squeeze lemon juice at the end and stir in with a spoon.
Salad
1. Slice red onion..
2. Using a mandolin slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons and fennel thinly into strips.
3. Halve the grape tomatoes and dice yellow and orange bell pepper.
4. Place all ingredients into a bowl add pesto and incorporate.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This salad was delicious and flavourful. I was surprised how tasty the spinach pesto was considering I couldn’t find arugula at the supermarket. I even went to the expensive fancy grocer to collect it and there was no arugula to be found. Considering the ingredients for this recipe aren’t the cheapest and I got the zucchini for free this would be perfect for a dinner party or with guests and these are some quality ingredients being used; don’t save it just for yourself.

Garden Zucchini – Candy Coated Culinista

Zucchini Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Zucchini Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs - Candy Coated Culinista

Zucchini Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs – Candy Coated Culinista

My love of photography and Toronto has rewarded me. I love my city and I am constantly exploring it no matter the time or weather conditions. One very early morning on the way to work it must have been -27 this December morning and I saw a gingerbread “Toronto scape” presented by KitchenAid Canada. It was gingerbread pieces made by local bakery The Rolling Pin to resemble Toronto buildings. I took the picture, because that’s what I do and I used the hashtag made from gingerbread not knowing I had entered myself into a contest of sorts. Cut to me receiving a DM that I won a Professional 5 Series Mixer & Spiralizer and after answer a skill-testing question correctly these babies where shipped to me. I can’t wait to give my new mixer a try as this one is bigger than my other KitchenAid Custom series mixer and I will not have to bake in batches anymore; which will save me time or I can start making multi flavoured layered cakes and mix at the same time. I was over the moon with excitement when I found out I won this awesome prize and I have many more recipes in mind for my new toys and also a request for apple pie using my gadgets.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: about 15 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Inspired from Williams & Sonoma

Ingredients
Tomato Sauce

• 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1 red onion, diced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp fresh thyme
• 1 tsp fresh parsley
• 1 tsp fresh dill
• 1 tsp fresh oregano
• 1 tsp fresh rosemary
• ¼ green pepper, finely diced
• ¼ red pepper, finely diced
• 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
• 2 cups tomato sauce
Meatballs
• 500g ground turkey
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tsp fresh thyme
• 1 tsp fresh parsley
• 1 tsp fresh dill
• 1 tsp fresh oregano
• 1 tsp fresh rosemary
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ½ tsp paprika
• ½ tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ small red onion, diced
• 1 cup panko bread crumbs
• 2 eggs
• 1 large zucchini, trimmed and spiralized
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Eggplant Ragu
• 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1 red onion, diced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp fresh thyme
• 1 tsp fresh parsley
• 1 tsp fresh dill
• 1 tsp fresh oregano
• 1 tsp fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp dried basil
• ¼ green pepper, finely diced
• ¼ red pepper, finely diced
• 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
• 2 cups tomato sauce
• 1 eggplant, cut into cubes

Assembly
Tomato Sauce

1. In a medium size saucepan over medium heat warm olive oil.
2. Add onion and cloves and sauté until translucent.
3. Season with herbs and spices.
4. Add green, red peppers, balsamic vinegar and add tomato sauce.
5. Let flavours merry and turn temperature to low heat to simmer.
Meatballs
1. Place ground turkey in a large bowl and add garlic, herbs, spices, Worcestershire sauce, red onion, bread crumbs, eggs and spiralized zucchini.
2. Combined and form into meatballs.
3. In a frying pan over medium-high heat warm extra virgin olive oil.
4. Sear meatballs on all sides in batches; about 1 minute per side.
5. Transfer meatballs to tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add zucchini to pan and cook for no more than 4 minutes.
7. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.
Eggplant Ragu (Vegan Option)
1. In a medium size saucepan over medium heat warm extra virgin olive oil.
2. Add onion and cloves and sauté until translucent.
3. Season with herbs and spices.
4. Add green, red peppers, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce and eggplant.
5. Let flavours merry and turn temperature to low heat.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I was beyond excited to use my spiralizer and it couldn’t be any easier to use. The zucchini was spiraled and crunchy and it makes a wonderful substitute if you don’t want to have carbohydrates. The turkey zucchini meatballs were so lovely that I think this will be a new way for me to enjoy meatballs. I will still make my Italian style meatballs; but this is now a healthier alternative for me. The eggplant ragu came about when I thought to take this recipe one step further and make a meatless vegan recipe. I have always been of the mindset that if I could prepare tasty and flavourful vegetarian and vegan recipes I could increase my meatless days to about three days a week and if I can make recipes like this it would be a no brainer. Also if you have an audience that you think would question the whole zucchini spaghetti, then serve the turkey meatballs with spaghetti pasta instead. These few recipes can be combined in different ways and it’s still just as memorable.

Zucchini Spaghetti and Eggplant Ragu - Candy Coated Culinista

Zucchini Spaghetti and Eggplant Ragu – Candy Coated Culinista

KitchenAid Gingerbread Scape - Candy Coated Culinista

KitchenAid Gingerbread Scape – Candy Coated Culinista

Mixer & Spiralizer - Candy Coated Culinista

Mixer & Spiralizer – Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day Dinner à la Chuck

Chuck's Chicken Dinner - Candy Coated Culinista

Chuck’s Chicken Dinner – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s no mystery by me having this blog that I absolutely love to cook and some days I can be in the kitchen for hours on end on my feet. To past the time I bring in my IPad to watch some TV shows and while watching a few shows the commercial breaks were filled with ads for LG presents Chuck Hughes with little snippets of recipes. Well since Chuck’s in my top two favourite chefs of all time it was obvious I was going to try some dishes from these mini ads and since the timing was right Valentine’s Day would be a great day to make this simple and succulent dinner.

From Chuck Hughes

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour & 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Roasted Chicken
Ingredients

• 1 whole organic chicken
• Handful of oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley, finely chopped
• ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 lemon, zested and sliced
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• ½ head of garlic
• 1 small white onion
• 1 medium white onion, sliced
• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ chicken broth
• ¼ cup white wine (I skipped this)

Assembly
1. Pre heat oven to 425°F.
2. Rinse chicken on cool water and pat dry inside and out.
3. Finely chop the herbs and mix into softened butter and add lemon zest in a small bowl.
4. Rub herbed butter under the skin and on top of the chicken and inside.
5. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
6. Fill chicken cavity with lemon, garlic and onion.
7. Tie the legs with kitchen twine.
8. Place sliced onion in the centre of a cast iron skillet.
9. Rest chicken on top of onions breast side on top of the onions.
10. Roast for 30 minutes at 425°F and then reduce heat to 350°F and continue to cook for 1 hour.
11. Baste chicken every 15 minutes to brown the skin.

Gravy
Assembly

1. Soften the onions from the cast iron skillet skimming off any fat.
2. Place skillet on the stove over medium-high heat and using a wooden spoon scrape the flavour from the bottom on the skillet.
3. Stir in the flour to make a roux.
4. Slowly add in the chicken broth letting the flour dissolve.
5. Add wine if desired.
6. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes and season with salt & pepper if desired.

Potato Smash with Olive Oil

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 yukon potatoes
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 4 sprigs of thyme, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, finley chopped
• Chopped dill, to taste
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Boil potatoes in a large pot until tender and drain.
2. Crush potatoes with a wooden spoon just enough. Leave some potato pieces chunky.
3. Stir in the olive oil and the remaining ingredients.

Zucchini Wedges

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• ½ tsp dried thyme
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ¼ tsp garlic powder
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Assembly
1. Pre heat oven to 400°F.
2. Coat baking sheet with non-stick spray.
3. On a plate combine all of the herbs, spices and cheese.
4. Coat zucchini with olive oil and then coat in mixture.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This couldn’t have turned out any better; well if I had finely chopped my herbs. My idea of finely chop versus the recipe was different and I recognized that upon its completion but it didn’t deter from the recipe in any way. It was just a visual thing for me. The chicken was moist and scrumptious and perfectly coloured and for the first time I had a gravy from scratch that actually tasted and turned out excellent; even with my omission of the white wine. The review was great as I tested this out in advance and at work when I was eating it for lunch I got many compliments on the smell and a co-worker was trying to track down where that smell was coming from; which made me chuckle. The addition of dill to the mashed potatoes and the zucchini was a delicious. I decided to not serve the zucchini with the Spicy Aioli recommended though and I was already in the kitchen for a long time at this point. I can’t wait to make this again. This recipe is so simple you could make it the first time on a special day and not worry about something going awry.

Gluten-free Minestrone

Gluten-free Minestrone - Candy Coated Culinista

Gluten-free Minestrone – Candy Coated Culinista

A cold weekend is ahead and I have been craving soup in a bad way.

Yield/Serving: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: (beginning to end) 1 ½ hour
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Red onion, half diced
• 3 carrots, peeled & chopped
• 2 zucchini, cut into half circles
• 1 pound button mushrooms, quartered
• 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 small red bell pepper, diced
• 1 small green bell pepper, diced
• 3 tbsp tomato paste
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 2 litres vegetable stock, reduced sodium
• 1 can red kidney beans
• 2 tomatoes, cut into pieces
• 2 cups gluten-free farfalle pasta
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• 2 handfuls of parsley, chopped

Assembly
1. In a large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat, pour extra virgin olive oil and brown onions, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, red pepper and green pepper and let brown slightly, 5 minutes.
2. Stir in tomato paste, oregano, vegetable stock, kidney beans and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
3. Add in the gluten-free pasta and let simmer until pasta is aldente.
4. Continue to let simmer and add in parmesan cheese and parsley.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Such a great fall soup. Zucchini is a summer vegetable but in Ontario it can be readily found up until October and I fully took advantage of that. I have always wanted to make a minestone and this was so delicious I didn’t even miss the protein. The carrots and zucchini were still crunchy and this recipe is perfect for freezing.

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