Category Archives: Recipes

Zucchini Cobbler, it’s What’s for Dessert.

Zucchini Cobbler, it’s What’s for Dessert.

Zucchini Cobbler??? Yes, I know, I was skeptical as well.  But when you are inundated with over-grown, giant, seedy zucchinis you get creative.  This time it paid off.

giant zucchini plants

I swear, I only planted 3 plants.

There is no off-switch on our garden this year.  Everyday we haul out more vegetables than a family of 10 could consume, let alone our little trio.  Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, but the vegetable in particular that has been very productive, zucchini.  So much so that I have had to get creative with the recipes.  That lead to this revelation, you can substitute zucchini for apples, this brings us to my latest discovery, Zucchini Cobbler.

zucchini pile

The Daily Haul


Desperate times have called for desperate measures around here.  We have eaten grilled zucchini, zucchini pancakes, zucchini bread, zucchini pesto pasta and zoodles until I frankly can’t stand to look a zucchini in the stem anymore.  So, I dug around in some old recipe books (yes, the paper kind, remember those?) and found a recipe that uses zucchini like apples.

I know, this sounds completely crazy, but you are going to have to trust me.  It tastes just like apple cobber!! Don’t believe me, grab yourself a whaler (that’s what we call them) and give it a try.

zucchini cobbler ice cream

Zucchini Cobbler a la mode

Zucchini Cobbler Recipe

5 cups peeled, seeded chopped zucchini

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups butter chilled

1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375.Grease 9×13 baking dish.

Place zucchini and lemon juice in saucepan, cover and cook on med-low heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg. Simmer 1 more minute and remove from heat.

In large bowl combine flour and 1 1/2 cup sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/2 cup of this mixture to the zucchini mix.

Press 1/2 of remaining crumb mixture into baking dish.  Spread zucchini evenly over crust. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over top and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.





When Life Hands You Basil, Make Pesto

When Life Hands You Basil, Make Pesto

Because it has been ruthlessly hot and humid in Ohio this summer my basil plants are hulking out in the garden. With this abundance of basil, I have no other choice than to make pesto.

An Abundance of Basil

Pesto, that green, garlicky paste that makes pasta and bread sing with joy.  I love it, but not that store bought crap, I have no idea how they keep that stuff green because real pesto will turn on you faster than an avocado on a hot day. If your pesto doesn’t turn dark, almost black, green on the top once you open the lid, you need to question your sources.

As you might have guessed, my cooking style is a little more freestyle than some may like, but you can’t argue with my results.  Here is a short tutorial on how we make Pesto, Mayhem style.

First, you have to prep that basil.  Pick the leaves off, put them in a bowl and rinse them off.  Then, give them a ride in the salad spinner and lay them out on a towel.  If necessary, gently roll the towel to get any excess water off.

Basil pesto

Once that little task is complete, it is time to get out the ingredients and equipment.  I find it best to have it all ready up front because once you get started it goes pretty fast, unless of course you have skipped this step and find yourself rummaging around for garlic, or realizing you never toasted the nuts.

Basil Pesto ingredients equipment

For those of you who are not “visual learners” here is a list of the ingredients

Basil- lots of it- about 5-6 cups once the leaves are stripped

Nuts- about 1/4-1/3 cup I used pine nuts here, that’s pretty old school, but almonds and pistachios work too.  Toast them lightly in a pan and let them cool.

Garlic- as much as you can take, I use 5-6 cloves depending on the size of the clove which can range from tiny pebble-to “as big as a human nose”

Parmesan Cheese- grated works best, about a cup

Salt & Pepper- to taste, I use about a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper.

Lemon-  I use half a lemon, unless it’s little or dry, then use the whole thing, or get a better lemon.

Olive oil- quite a bit, have 2 cups ready, you probably won’t need it all, but better safe than sorry.

OK, ready people, let’s get our food processors or blenders out and let the mayhem commence.

basil pesto add lemon

Put your basil, garlic, nuts, lemon juice, salt and pepper in and pulse until the paste begins to form. Then scrape down the sides of the bowl.

basil pesto scrape bowl

After the initial pulse, you can start adding the olive oil, a little at a time until the paste starts to loosen up, then stop and add the cheese.


basil pesto add cheese

Lock it all down again and run the food processor again adding more oil until the consistency seems about right.  Then stop. Now this is a crucial, you must test it on a cracker, or at least that’s how it goes down in our kitchen. There are people who will have the audacity to suggest this step is not necessary, these particular people are not your friends, ignore them. Later, you will need to find better friends.

basil pesto cracker test

Once you have enjoyed yourself a cracker, or possibly a sleeve of crackers, adjust your seasonings.  Another squeeze of lemon or a pinch more salt may be in order, it’s totally up to you cause you are the boss here, take orders from no-one.  Once it meets with your approval, jar that green gold up and pop it in the fridge if you plan to use it in the next week or so.  Alternatively, you can freeze it and pull it out on a dreary cold day and remember all the fun we had today making pesto together.

basil pesto jar

Got any pesto tips or stories to share?  I would love to hear from you in the comments below.


Meat Muffins (a working title)

pretty, no but very very tasty!

pretty, no but very very tasty!

Meatloaf, beatloaf, double bubble beatloaf, unlike Randy in A Christmas Story, we love meatloaf. In my effort to cut down on calories and meat in my diet, meatloaf has gone by the wayside, which is sad because there is little else that satisfies like it during an Ohio winter.

I have researched my light recipe resources and come up with this amalgam of several diet meatloaf recipes. This one makes individual “loafs” in a jumbo cupcake/muffin pan. If you don’t have one, and don’t want to commit the dinero in purchasing one, I bought the disposable version in the tin foil aisle at the grocery store. You know, the place you visit once a year for the disposable turkey roaster. It’s amazing what they have done with disposable bake wear, it’s not just for Thanksgiving anymore.

Anyways, I call them meat muffins, which I am told “just sounds wrong.”  Whatever you want to call them they go great with Crashed Potatoes which is more a technique rather than a recipe.  I have seen them in a lot of books, but I tend to follow the version in the Pioneer Woman’s second cookbook.  I love her recipes they are delicious an easy to follow, but I spend my day working clients instead of cattle, so they don’t really match my life’s daily caloric expenditure.

The nutrition information is an estimate, averaged from the ingredients used.  It should be pretty close, but when in doubt add 20 calories just to be safe.

Meat Muffins

Makes 6- takes about 50 minutes start to finish

1 pkg. ground turkey (19 oz) 93% lean

½ medium onion (chopped fine)

½ red bell pepper (chopped fine)

1 cup old fashion oats

3/4 cup shredded carrots (chopped)

2 eggs (beaten)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp cumin

2 tbsp chili sauce (or substitute 1 ½  tbsp of ketchup & ½ tbsp hot sauce)

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsps ketchup

6 slices turkey bacon

Preheat oven to 350.        Mix all ingredients except ketchup and bacon in large bowl until combined. Spray jumbo cupcake/muffin tin with cooking spray, line 6 muffin holes with bacon slices.  Spoon 3/4 cup of meat mixture in holes, press lightly.  Brush ketchup sparingly over meat mixture.  Bake for 40 minutes.

Nutrition information: 235 calories each, 9 grams fat, 17 carbohydrates and 20 grams protein.


Crashed Potatoes

1 1/2 pound small red or fingerling potatoes

olive oil

4 cloves garlic chopped fine

3 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped fine

Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in large saucepan covered in 3 inches of salted water bring to a boil and continue to cook 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain potatoes and place on baking sheet. Gently smash potatoes (I use a tiny saucepan) until the skins break and the potatoes flatten slightly.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle garlic and rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, then bake for 20 minutes until crispy.

Nutrition information: 94 calories, 4 grams fat, 14 carbohydrates and 2 grams protein

Ummm…. Chili & Cornbread what’s not to love


In my ongoing weight loss quest I have scoured books, magazines and websites for recipes that are healthy and the family will eat without that wilting look of disappointment on their faces. Here is one I ran across from the fine folks at Taste of Home, I have adjusted it slightly but nothing that would upset the nutritional facts substantially. The recipe calls for an 11×7 pan but a 13×9 works fine, just know the topping will not go to the edges.

Coming in at 340 calories per serving, you can afford to add toppings likes shredded cheese, chopped scallions and greek yogurt (or reduced fat sour cream) for an extra flourish just remember to be cool and don’t overdo it.

Chili Cornbread Casserole
Serves 6 takes approximately 40-45 minutes start to finish

I pound lean (90/10) ground round or sirloin
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 small red or green pepper (chopped)
1 15 oz Chili Beans in sauce (like Ranch Style or Bush’s) (undrained)
1 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes w/ peppers & onions (like Del Monte) (undrained)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg (beaten)
1/2 cup skim or fat-free milk
1 tablespoon canola oil

Preheat oven to 425. Coat 11 x 7 pan with cooking spray.

In large skillet, cook beef until just pink and drain off any extra fat, add onions and peppers and cook a few minutes until softened and beef is no longer pink. Add beans, tomatoes, chili powder, Worcestershire and cumin and simmer uncovered for about 5 mins.

While chili is simmering, mix together all the other ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, egg, milk and oil) until just moist.

Transfer chili to 11×7 pan and spread to level. Spoon cornmeal mixture over chili and gently level (do not spread too thin).

Bake (uncovered) for 15-18 minutes or until filling is set and toothpick comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts: I serving= 340 calories, 10g fat (3 saturated), 38g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 22 g protein.