Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes

While I am known to pop a bunch of cherry and grape tomatoes in my mouth before I ever make it inside the house from the garden, this is my second favorite way to prepare those little tomatoes. This is simple enough for a quick and healthy snack or a nice side dish during the summer.

Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 10 cherry, grape, or small heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

Halve tomatoes and toss with oregano, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Let sit for a few minutes and enjoy!

Source: South Beach Diet

 

Key Lime Ice

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I had a few key limes leftover after making the Key Lime Cupcakes and I was looking for something to do with them. I didn’t want to waste their goodness by using their juice in drinks or in a marinade and I knew I couldn’t have another cake in my house “just because.” I happened upon this recipe and it was perfect. It’s light, healthy, and tastes great! Sometimes, during Summer you want something that will cool you off, but isn’t heavy like ice cream and this fits the bill perfectly. Frozen citrus? Sign me up! Yes, it’s a dessert, but it doesn’t count when it barely has any calories at all!

Key Lime Ice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp key lime zest
  • 1/3 cup key lime juice
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt

Combine sugar, lime zest, and lime juice in a heatproof bowl. Add boiling water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour or overnight.

Add the yogurt to the lime mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Alternatively, you can freeze the mixture in a shallow metal pan until solid, about 6 hours. Break into chunks and process in a food processor until smooth.

Serve immediately or transfer to a storage container and let harden in the freezer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve in chilled dishes.

*You can cover and freeze for up to 2 days. Let soften in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour before serving.

Makes 8 servings, at 1/2 cup each.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 117 calories, 0 g fat ( 0 g sat , 0 g mono ), 1 mg cholesterol, 28 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 0 g fiber, 19 mg sodium, 13 mg potassium.

Source: Eating Well

Hamburger Buns

I think most people would agree that there is nothing better than fresh baked bread. Now, think about the best burger or grilled sandwich you’ve had and then think about adding a nice, fresh bun to top it off. Sounds great, right? If you are used to baking your own bread, then this will be easy for you, if you aren’t go ahead and give it a try. While I still grab the occasional hamburger buns from the grocery store, nothing can really beat making them yourself. The best part is they can be frozen for a month so you can make a batch or two and have them at the ready. What I really love about these is that I can make a few small buns for my daughter. That way she gets her own little slider that is perfect for her little hands!

You know this looks tasty :)

Hamburger Buns

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105-115F)
  • 2 (1/4 oz) pkg active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tsp sugar, divided
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into Tbsp pieces and softened
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 large egg mixed with 1 Tbsp water for egg wash
  • poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or anything other topping (optional)

Bring milk to a slight simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool to 105-115 F.

Stir together warm water, yeast, and 1/2 tsp of sugar in your mixer bowl until the yeast has dissolved. Let stand until it has bloomed, about 5 minutes. If the mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast!

Add butter, warm milk, and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar to yeast mixture and mix with the paddle attachment at a low speed until the butter has melted. Then, mix in eggs until well combined. Add salt and 4 cups of flour and mix, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, until flour is incorporated. Beat at medium speed for 1 minute.

Switch to the dough hook and beat in remaining 2 cups of flour at medium speed until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes. If necessary, add more flour, 1 Tbsp at a time. Beat 5 more minutes. The dough will be sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm, draft-free place until it has doubled, about 2 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough, then toll out on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 14-inch round, about 1.2 inch thick. Cut out as many rounds as possible with a floured 3-inch round cookie cutter. Place the cut dough onto a buttered baking sheet or use a silpat. Arrange the rounds 3-inches apart. Gather and re-roll scraps, then cut out more rounds.

Loosely cover the buns with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until they hold a fingerprint mark when gently poked, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 375 F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Brush the buns with the egg wash and add any toppings you would like and bake, switching position of the sheets halfway through baking, until the tops are golden and the undersides are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 14 to 20 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

*If you do not have a stand mixer, stir ingredients together in same sequence with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead dough on a floured surface, incorporating just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 7 to 8 minutes.

**Buns can be frozen, wrapped well, up to 1 month. This makes approximately 16 buns.

Source: Gourmet, June 2008

Zucchini Lemon Cookies

While everyone knows I’m a huge fan of chocolate, I was happy to find a baked good that used zucchini that didn’t involve chocolate. The freshness of the lemon really brings out the zucchini and makes you feel like you are eating something light and good for you! Plus, you can see the beautiful bits of yellow and green throughout the cookie. These cookies were so good, that we ate a good portion of them before I could even put the glaze on! Another great thing about these cookies is they are egg free. As a mom of a child with a minor egg allergy, it’s nice to find recipes for baked goods that don’t include them!

Zucchini Lemon Cookies

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp 1% milk

For the glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp 1% milk
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest

Place the shredded zucchini in a colander lined with a kitchen cloth and let it sit for about 30 minutes. This will allow some of the moisture of the zucchini to drain.

Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter for about a minute. Add the sugar and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and milk and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in batches and mix until combined. Fold in the zucchini.

Using a tablespoon, scoop balls of the cookie dough on to the baking sheet. Flatten the cookie slightly with your finger. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes, or until just barely golden brown. The cookies won’t appear done, but they’ll set as they cool.

For the glaze, which together the powdered sugar, milk, and lemon zest until combined. Using a knife or pastry brush, glaze the tops of the cooled cookies. Allow to set for 5 minutes.

As always with zucchini baked goods, keep these in the refrigerator!

Makes 24 cookies.

Nutritional Information per cookie: calories 110, fat 4g, protein 1g, carbohydrates 18g, dietary fiber 1g.

Adapted from Kiwi Mazagine