Healthy Quinoa and Zucchini Fritters

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” – Barbara Johnson

This is a perfect finger food for foodie babies using leftover quinoa! Each fritter with packed with the wholesome goodness of quinoa and zucchini, and the parmesan cheese gives it a tasty bite! Alternatively, you can serve this fritter as an appetizer with a dollop of crème fraiche.

Adapted from The Scrumptious Pumpkin

Make about 12 fritters

2 zucchini, grated
1 tsp salt
1 cup quinoa, cooked
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp garlic, minced
4 green onions, fine chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a small mixing bowl, sprinkle salt over the grated zucchini. Let this sit for a few minutes and then transfer to a strainer. The salt will help extract the liquid from the zucchini. After 15 minutes, give the zucchini a squeeze to remove all the moisture and transfer to a medium-sized bowl.

Combine all the remaining ingredients with the zucchini. Form into ¼-in thick patties. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook fritters on a single layer for 4-6 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing

“It’s never been an issue for me – I don’t want to go on a diet, I don’t want to eat a Caesar salad with no dressing, why would I do that? I ain’t got time for this, just be happy and don’t be stupid. If I’ve got a boyfriend and he loves my body then I’m not worried.” – Adele

Making your own Caesar salad dressing is really special.  Particularly on a busy weeknight when you are serving chicken strips over salad/wraps and you want to create at least ONE from scratch component in your meal. Kick aside your boxed kit and mix up this dressing in a matter of minutes.  Be proud of yourself – dinner will be fabulous tonight!

Adapted slightly from Canadian Living

Makes enough dressing for one head of romaine lettuce

1/4 cup (50 mL) extra virgin olive oil 
2 tbsp (25 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tsp (10 mL) anchovy paste 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper
1/2 tsp (2 mL) Worcestershire_sauce
3 tbsp (50 mL) light mayonnaise

In bowl, whisk together oil, cheese, lemon juice, mustard, anchovy paste, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk in mayonnaise until smooth. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Tear one head of romaine lettuce into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the dressing, croutons and parmesan cheese then toss to combine.

Tyler’s Fab Foccacia

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” -Thomas Keller

This fresh and delightful homemade focaccia is sprinkled with juicy kalamata olives and dressed with rosemary.  Caramelizing the onions is an added step but it really takes this bread to a whole new level.  Serve it as an appetizer for a party and your guests will talk of nothing else!

Taken from Tyler Florence’s Fabulous Focaccia

Makes 1 loaf

2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until form appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it don’t form a skin. Cover with plastic rap or damp towel and let rise over a gas pilot light on the stovetop or other warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/2 -inch thick. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, coat a small saute pan with olive oil, add the onion, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until the onions caramelize. Preheat oven to 400°F. Uncover the dough and dimple with your fingertips. Brush the surface with more olive oil and then add caramelized onions, garlic, olives, cheese, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

The Vitamix is the Only Blender You Will Ever Need – A Kitchen Tool Review

Kitchen Tool Review - the Vitamix

Scratch is Better is always getting asked the question: “Is the Vitamix really worth it?” While it is one of the more expensive machines we have in our Test Kitchens, we can confidently attest it to be worth every single penny.  We’ve never come across a machine so powerful, so versatile, and so easy to clean. Let’s start with the obvious: This baby pulverizes foods to a pulp, whether it’s leafy spinach, crowns of broccoli or even the stone hard purple beet.  Not to mention, with the right selection of ingredients, the Vitamix creates healthy drinks that can be equivalent to meals and snacks. Within minutes, you can take a bunch of whole vegetables and fruits and turn them into a tasty smoothie for your entire family.

We’ve made everything from hot soups, delicious smoothies to velvety sorbet.  Over time, we’ve also learned that you can’t just throw in whatever you want into this blender and expect the pulverized goodness to be delicious – quantity and type of ingredients matter.  Clean up is as simple as blending a smidge of dish soap and a lot of water for less than 30 seconds and then rinsing the blender. That’s it.

As with any super kitchen machine, the Vitamix has its downfalls.  Yes, clean up is a breeze, but you must do it immediately after using it, otherwise the gunk in the bottom of the blender becomes hard to remove.   Additionally, the Vitamix is extremely noisy.  So making that 6 am morning shake without waking up the entire household is a bit impossible.

In the end, we love this high quality performance blender.  The Vitamix is slender, sleek and easy to store away or even display out on the counter.  The price tag is hefty, but as you can tell, the health benefits, versatility and its long-term use make it one our proudest purchases.

Here is an easy recipe we’ve included below using your Vitamix:

Broccoli Cheese Soup

“You can’t eat this soup standing up, your knees buckle” – Jerry Seinfeld in “The Soup Nazi”

brocolli chedar soup pic-2
Simply delicious soup…

This is a soulful, rich and creamy soup without all the added calories.  It’s not only low-carb and paleo, it’ll also help start off the New Year just the way you intended – healthful and stress free.  We give you the option of using either broccoli or cauliflower to change it up, either is delicious. There are no messy pots or pans required, all you need is your handy Vitamix!

Taken from Vitamix

Makes 2 cups

1 cup skim or low fat milk
1/2 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups broccoli or cauliflower, fresh or frozen, steamed
1 teaspoon diced onion
1/2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid. Select Variable 1. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High. Blend for 5-6 minutes or until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid.