Two Amazing Tropical Smoothies

We just returned from the El Dorado Royale Resort in Tulum, Mexico where one of their featured lunch restaurants, Health Bar, had an out-of-this-world smoothie bar.  Here are two of my favorites that I will be trying to recreate at home.  Now, where can I find some cactus?

Tropical Shakes @2CookinMamasTropical Protein Shake:

Strawberry, Banana, Mango, Pina Colada & Protein Powder

Fiji Tropical Smoothie:

Jugo de Toronja, Nopal, Apio y Perejila or Grapefruit, Cactus, Celery, & Parsley

Salud!

Christina Russell @2CookinMamas

Zucchini – Whatever Floats Your Boat!

Margherita Zucchini BoatsI have developed a taste for zucchini lately and have been looking for new ways to fix this nutritious and delicious veggie. Did you know it was a member of the summer squash family and delivers loads of Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6 and potassium? It even delivers smaller amounts of Vitamin A, magnesium, calcium and iron and all for only 33 calories for the entire zucchini!

Of course, now that I told you how low in calories this vegetable is, I am going to up the count by adding some delicious cheese but still keep it on the healthy side with the addition of tomatoes and fresh basil. You will find it quite similar to a margherita pizza but with a lot less calories!

Margherita Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchini
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, or to taste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1/8-1/4 cup Panko or breadcrumbs
  • 1/4-1/2 lb. sliced fresh mozzarella
  • 2-4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or line with aluminum foil.

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and, using a teaspoon, scoop out seeds and just a little extra so that it can hold the other ingredients. Place on prepared cookie sheet. If you need to, cut a little off the bottom of each zucchini half so that it sits flat.

In a small bowl, mix 3 Tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic, salt & pepper. Brush over the top of each zucchini. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top of the garlic spread then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Zucchini BoatsRemove from oven and place slices of mozzarella around tomatoes and sprinkle with a little of the chopped basil and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the top and place under broiler until cheese has melted and browned. To serve, top with remaining basil and Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6.

Note: The amount of ingredients you use is up to you and your family’s tastes. I like to use quite a bit of garlic and fresh basil when I prepare this dish and sometimes add some red pepper flakes to the olive oil-garlic mixture for a little extra kick. Enjoy!

Linda's Signature

Meatless Monday – Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

Parmesan Spaghetti SquashA delicious addition to any meal, spaghetti squash can be fixed many different ways but it is the fact that this vegetable can look like spaghetti that creates the many variations. In this recipe I am using the squash in place of pasta, similar to an Italian macaroni and cheese, and dressing it up a little with some fresh garlic. I served it as a side for grilled fish but it could just as easily be a side dish for meat of any kind.

Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 3-4 lb. squash
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1-1/4 cups Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic, chopped fine
  • Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with aluminum foil.

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Season with 1 Tablespoons olive oil, salt & fresh ground black pepper. Place, cut side down, on prepared cookie sheet and cook for 25-35 minutes depending on size of squash.

Remove from oven when tender and wait for it to cool slightly. Taking a fork, shred the squash into what looks like spaghetti noodles. Place in a large bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil, roasted garlic, Parmesan cheese and additional salt and quite a bit of freshly ground pepper. Stir and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Note: In place of roasted garlic you can saute 1 teaspoon of minced garlic in a skillet for 1-2 minutes or until browned.

Linda's Signature

Don’t Toss Those Scraps!

Did you know you that you can regrow some fruits, veggies & herbs from their scraps?  When I learned about this – it changed my world.  I don’t think I’ve bought green onions & basil in almost 6 months!  Here’s a list of my favorite foods – just click on each one to find directions.  Happy growing!

celery

Regrow celery!

  1. Green Onions
  2. Celery
  3. Avocado
  4. Pumpkin
  5. Garlic
  6. Ginger
  7. Basil
  8. Pineapple

There are plenty more out there, but this should give you a great start!

Christina signature 3

Resources: 17apart.com, thehungrymouse.com, growinginprek.com, prettykittenskitchen.com, yougrowgirl.com, mscouponista.com, and stackingthecool.wordpress.com

What’s Cookin’ for Meatless Monday?

Zucchini Ribbons with Tomato Basil Sauce

There are great benefits from cutting a little meat out of our diet. These include less fat intake, fewer calories and a lower risk of heart disease and when we substitute lots of fresh leafy vegetables and whole grains we enrich our diet with vitamins, fiber and many other important nutrients that can lead to a healthier, longer life.

Try this fantastic recipe made with zucchini instead of pasta and a wonderful tomato-basil pasta sauce. I also included a link to a Bolognese meat sauce for those that just can’t give up  meat.

Zucchini Ribbons with Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 zucchini, washed
  • 4 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped (or 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes & 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Zucchini:

Using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini into thin ribbons. You could also use a slicer that comes on the side of most cheese graters. Blanch the zucchini in salted water by bringing a large pot of water to a boil, dropping in the ribbons, and letting it cook for 1 minute. When time is up immediately drop into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and leave for 1 minute. Drain then toss with preferred sauce such as this tomato-basil or primavera sauce and serve with a side of grated cheese.

Sauce:

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic until golden, about 5 minutes. Add in chopped tomatoes (if you like smoother sauces they can be pureed in blender), basil, bell pepper and salt & pepper to taste. Simmer for 30-45 minutes then serve over zucchini ribbons or whole wheat pasta with a side of grated Parmesan cheese.

For all you meat lovers, here is a link to a delicious bolognese sauce from food.com  http://www.food.com/recipe/real-italian-bolognese-sauce-83950

Enjoy!

Linda's Signature

It’s National Empanada Day!

Empanadas originated in Galicia, Portugal but have become popular throughout Spain, Brazil, Indonesia, The Philippines and North America.  Here in the states, we usually consider empanadas as tapas, but they are often served as main meals stuffed with seafood, pork, or meat & vegetables, and are served hot or cold.  The name, empanada, comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.

Here’s a great recipe to try – courtesy of La Tienda & Spain GourmeTour magazine.  Photo courtesy of Simply Recipes.

curry-pork-empanada-bEmpanada

Empanadas are standard fare in most bars and restaurants, served as delicious tapas with a copa de cerveza or as the main meal. This is a wonderful recipe from the north-west of Spain.
Makes 6 servings.

Prep Time: 1 hr.

Cook Time: 1 hr.

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Ingredients:

1 egg, beaten
3/4 lb of pork loin, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp bittersweet smoked paprika (Pimentón de la Vera)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup piquillo peppers, sliced
3 onions, chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
1 lb yeast pastry or bread dough
1 large red pepper, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs

Preparation:

Put the sliced pork in a dish with paprika, 1 tbsp of the chopped garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and let sit for 30 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the pork very quickly, removing slices as they are browned. In the same oil, saute the chopped peppers, onions and remaining garlic until softened. Add the prepared tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper and cook until the tomatoes are reduced and the sauce is very thick.

Divide the dough in half. On a floured board, roll out to a thickness of 1/4 – 1/2 inch. Line a cake tin with dough. Spread this with half the prepared sauce. Arrange the slices of pork loin on top and add a layer of piquillo pimentos above that. Slice the boiled eggs and layer above other ingredients. Spoon on the remaining sauce.

Roll out the rest of the dough and cover the pie. Crimp the edges together and trim the excess. Make a hole in the center for a steam vent. Put in a medium hot oven for 30 minutes. Brush the top with beaten egg and bake another 15-20 minutes.

The crust should be golden and crispy. Can be served hot or cool.

Enjoy!  Christina signature 3