Zucchini Noodles With A Simple Meat Sauce

I’m eating clean according to the rules laid out in Whole 30, which means no grain, no dairy, no soy, no legumes etc. The think I knew I was going to miss the most was pasta. It’s my favorite type of food and I knew I needed to find some substitutes. I tried various miracle noddles, but to be honest, I’m not a big fan.

I remembered seeing some things online about zucchini noodles, but thought I needed a fancy vegetable spiral cutter to make it work. While I was pinning some Whole 30 recipes to get ideas, I came across someone using a julienne peeler. Since zucchini and squash are in season (and growing in my garden), I thought it was the perfect time to give this a try.

I went off to one of my local grocery stores that supposedly carried these types of peelers. Sadly, none cut be found. But I was determined to make “pasta” and decided to give it a go with just a regular plain veggie peeler.

It worked out great. The end result was wide “fettuchini-like” ribbons of yellow squash and zucchini. I started out peeling the zucchini and just kept going around until I hit the core with the seeds. I saved those to use in soup later this week and ended up with a big pile of veggie noodles from just one small zucchini and squash.

Zucchini and Squash "Noodles"

What you see on the plate above is the huge serving I ended up eating for lunch. If you’re cooking for more people, you obviously want to shave a few more veggies.

Next I made up a simple meat sauce from scratch. I’ve been reading labels of packaged foods religiously for the past few days and there were just too many additives (mostly sugar) in prepared pasta sauces. I got a small packet of lean ground beef (it was just over 1lb) and browned it up with a little onion, some salt and pepper.

I took half that mixture out once it was cooked to use in a different meal later on in the week. You can refrigerate the cooked ground beef for a few days, or freeze it for longer storage.

Next I added some garlic and cooked it until the garlic was fragrant. I added a can of diced tomatoes and seasoned the cooking sauce with Italian spices. You can use a seasoning mix, or just add a little basil, oregano, rosemary etc. I let the sauce simmer while I cooked my veggie noodles.

This was surprisingly simple and quicker than boiling pasta. I took out a large non-stick skillet and heated it over medium high heat. I added the zucchini strips without any oil or seasonings and just moved them around the pan until they started to get floppy and noodle like. That’s it.

I put the finished noodles on my plate and topped them with some of my sauce. I ended up with about 3 servings of sauce. Here’s what it looks like.

Zucchini and Squash Noodles with Sauce

Zucchini Noodles With A Simple Meat Sauce
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 to 3 medium zucchini
  • 2 to 3 medium squash
  • ½ lb to 1 lb of lean ground beef
  • ½ onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (for more sauce, use a large can)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • italian seasoning to taste
Instructions
  1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel around the veggies until you reach the seedy core. Set the vegetable "noodles" aside while you make the sauce.
  2. Brown the ground beef with salt, pepper and onion.
  3. Chop the garlic finely or use a garlic press and add to the meat mixture. Continue cooking until the garlic becomes fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and season to taste.
  5. Allow the sauce to simmer while you prepare the vegetable noodles.
  6. Get out a non-stick skilled and heat it over medium to medium high heat. Add the vegetable shavings (no oil or seasonings) and move them around while they cook. Once they become floppy like noodles and are done to your taste, move them to plates and top with the finished sauce.

 

 

Old Fashioned Vanilla Custard Ice Cream

Is there anything better than a bowl of rich vanilla ice cream, freshly churned? While it takes a little time to make a custard style ice cream, it’s well worth the effort.

If the recipe below sounds like a little much, cut it in half for a smaller portion of ice cream. But really, who are we kidding. It won’t take long for your loved ones to gobble up this yummy vanilla custard ice cream. And if there are leftovers, they’ll store in the freezer for a week or two.

Old Fashioned Vanilla Custard Ice Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 2 quarts half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 24 large egg yolks
Instructions
  1. Run the tip of a sharp knife lengthwise down the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out into a small cup.
  2. In a large saucepan, put the half-and-half, sugar, vanilla seeds, and vanilla extract; stir together; put saucepan over medium high heat and bring just to a boil, then immediately remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, put the egg yolks and whisk until smooth.
  4. Remove 1 cup of the cream/vanilla mixture and very slowly start drizzling a steady, but slow, stream into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.
  5. Continue whisking, and add another 1 cup of cream/vanilla mixture, drizzling a steady stream into the egg yolks, then add another 1 cup in the same way, then 1 more cup - for a total of 4 cups. Add egg mixture to saucepan, whisking well.
  6. Now,take the bowl of eggs and pour into the saucepan with the remaining cream/vanilla.
  7. Put saucepan back over medium high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Test with a wooden spoon; when the mixture coats the wooden spoon and sticks well, it's thick enough. You can test with a candy thermometer; it should read 170 degrees. BE SURE not to let it boil. This is your 'custard' to make the ice cream.
  8. Pour custard through a fine sieve (or line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth) into a stainless-steel bowl which is sitting in a larger bowl filled with ice and a little water.
  9. Let the custard cool in the bowl/ice bath, stirring several times until cooled completely.
  10. Remove stainless-steel bowl with cool custard, cover well with plastic wrap (pressed on the surface of the custard) and put in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. (Stir a few times to help prevent skin from forming.
  11. Remove from refrigerator and uncover; peel off any skin that may have formed.
  12. Fill your ice cream maker with cold custard and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.
  13. Store in freezer in covered freezer container.

 

Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

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You’ll find instructions for making ice cream with and without an ice cream maker and 100 recipes for ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, sherbet and popsicles.

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Pork Cordon Bleu Recipe

On our last evening in Germany, my mom made pork Cordon Bleu for all of us. It was a delicious meal and a perfect ending to a busy but fun trip and a great time visiting with my German relatives. I thought I’d share her recipe with you today. There are a few minor tweaks I had to make because the smoked ham and cheese she uses are a little harder to get here (and when you can get them, they are quite pricey). 

If you’d like to make this exactly as my mom makes it, look for mild or young Gouda cheese and smoked ham called “Schinken Speck”. I find it tastes just as well with sliced ham and I often use mild cheddar cheese instead of the more expensive Gouda.

We do not add any sauce to our cordon blue, but a slice of cut lemon is a nice touch for a special dinner. With a fresh salad and a side of potatoes, this is one of my favorite meals.

Pork Cordon Bleu
 
Ingredients
  • 6 pork thick pork chops (without bone)
  • 6 slices of gouda or mild cheddar
  • 6 slices of ham
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ cup butter
Instructions
  1. Start by butterflying the pork chops. Use a sharp knife and slice down the length of the chop. Here is a simple video from the National Pork Board.
  2. Don't cut all the way through the meat and pound it out just a bit. Place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese on the inside of the pork chop. Fold the chop together and secure the open side with a toothpick. Repeat with the other chops and set them aside.
  3. Crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and beat them with a fork. Pour the bread crumbs into a second bowl and season them with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat.
  5. Dip each stuffed pork chop into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumb mixture, coating all sides. Gently place the meat into the frying pan. Cook them for for 5 minutes on each side or until the meat is cooked through and the cheese in the center is melted. Lower the heat as needed to keep the breadcrumb coating from burning as the chops cook.
  6. Remove the finished Cordon Bleu from the pan and set them on a cloth or paper towel to remove any excess grease before serving.

 

My Mom's Pork Cordon Blue Recipe

German-Style Iced Coffee or “Eiskaffee”

On a hot afternoon like today, I wish I could head back to my German hometown and stop by the local ice cream place for an “Eiskaffee”. It’s a sweet, delicious take on iced coffee. It’s quick and easy to make and the end result is more of a sweet treat than a beverage. Perfect for a hot summer afternoon.

You can just as easily turn this into a treat for the kids by making an “Eisschokolade”. Just replace the coffee in the recipe below with chocolate milk.

Iced Coffee Made With Ice Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz cold coffee
  • 1 to 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • sweetener of choice to taste
  • Optional: instant coffee of cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Scoop the ice cream into a tall glass. Pour the cold coffee in and top with whipped cream. Add a sweetener of your choice if needed. I find the vanilla ice cream sweetens up the coffee enough for me. If you prefer it sweeter, either use an artificial sweetener that dissolves well in cold liquids, or add a little sugar to your coffee while it's still hot, then allow it to cool and use the sweetened version in your iced coffee.
  2. If you're making this for company, consider adding a sprinkle of cocoa powder or instant coffee to the top of the whipped cream.

 

 

Eiskaffee - German Style Iced CoffeeVariation: Try making your german style “Eiskaffee” with chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla for a yummy Iced Mocha style drink.

Homemade Zucchini Bread Recipe

One of the kid-friendliest ways to use up a bunch of zucchini is to “hide” it in a yummy breakfast bread like the one below. If you don’t tell them, they’ll never know it’s got a nice serving of vegetables right inside the warm loaf of yummy breakfast bread. My husband even went so far as telling our daughter she could only have 1 slice for breakfast since it wasn’t all that good for you… she gobbled it up and declared it was the best banana bread I’ve ever made.

The recipe is from “The Zucchini Cookbook” available on Amazon Kindle.

Homemade Zucchini Bread Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 2 9x5-inch loaf pans.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. In another large bowl, beat eggs, canola oil, grated lemon rind, egg and vanilla extract until completely combined. Add zucchini, stir until well combined. Add flour mixture, stir just until well mixed. Fold in walnuts.
  4. Divide batter evenly two loaf pans and cook for about an hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack. Let cool completely on wire rack.

 

Sliced zucchini bread with walnuts

Zucchini and Ground Beef Stew

My neighbor down the road is a big gardener. He’s gotten a much earlier start this year than we did … Plus I guess it helps that he actually knows what he’s doing. We stopped by earlier today to talk about plants and how to best take care of our tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, zucchini and squash.  We walked out of there with 4 beautiful zucchini that I’m turning into a yummy zucchini and ground beef stew with tomatoes, onions and garlic. It’s one of my favorite summer meals. It’s great on its own topped with a little Parmesan cheese, or you can serve it over cooked rice or pasta.

Beef and Zucchini Stew
 
Ingredients
  • 3 to 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop your onion and garlic. Slice the zucchini.
  2. Brown the ground beef and add the onion. When the meat is almost done browning, add the garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the meat is done.
  3. Add the sliced zucchini and give it all a good stir. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the can of diced tomatoes (including the liquid).
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender to your liking.

This tastes just as good warmed up the next day, so don’t be afraid of leftovers.

Homemade Beef and Zucchini Stew made with zucchini fresh from the garden.

Cast Iron Skillet French Toast

You know that I love my cast iron skillets. I won’t bake up cornbread in anything else, but they are useful for so many other cooking jobs as well. Once you’ve built up a nice bit of coating on them, they cook better than any non-stick pan.

Today I’d like to share my recipe for Cast Iron French Toast with you. It’s from the Hillbilly Housewife’s Cast Iron Cookbook. If you have never made french toast in a cast iron skillet, please give it a try. The even temperature gives it a wonderful little crust that’s hard to replicate in any other way.

Cast Iron Skillet French Toast
 
Ingredients
  • 10-12 Slices Bread (French or Italian White Bread works best)
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Syrup
Instructions
  1. In a large, shallow bowl, mix together eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla until well combined.
  2. Warm cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Lightly grease with butter.
  3. Dip pieces of bread one at a time. Immerse and coat both sides. Don’t soak too long or it'll get soggy and fall apart. Just dip it briefly so it gets immersed. Soak only as many slices as you will be cooking at one time. Place the soaked bread in the greased skillet.
  4. Cook the bread on both sides until a light golden brown.
  5. Arrange the cooked French toast on plates and dust with powdered sugar. Add syrup to taste.

 

French Toast Cooked in a Cast Iron Skillet

Cheesy Crockpot Chicken

This recipe recipe is always a crowd-pleaser and very kid-friendly as well. I serve it with the delicious sauce over rice or noodles. Just add a side salad or steam up some broccoli and dinner is done.

This is a recipe from my new Kindle cookbook - 35 Simple and Tasty Chicken Crockpot Recipes

Instead of using store-bought condensed soup, use this recipe to make your own. Add 1/2 cup of grated cheese to turn it into cheese soup and a little chicken bullion powder to taste for the cream of chicken soup.

Cheesy Crockpot Chicken
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 10.5oz Can Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • 2 10.5oz. Cans Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • ¼ Tsp. Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place chicken breasts in the crock pot. Mix the undiluted soups together, add garlic powder, salt and pepper and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours, until chicken is tender.

 

crockpot-recipes-embedded-cover

Happy Mother’s Day Strawberry French Toast

Some days it’s harder than others to live on a different continent than my mom. She’s taught me so much of what I’m sharing with you here on the HBHW website. She’s always been very frugal and great at planning meals, making something delicious out of (almost) nothing and pinching pennies everywhere.

She’s also a wonderful mother who raised my sister and I into strong women and wonderful mothers of our own. In celebration of my mother, my grandmother and my sister, I thought I’d share one of my favorite special occasion breakfasts with you – Strawberry French Toast. Down here in the south, strawberries are now in season and they are perfect for this dish. I’m looking forward to this Sunday morning.

Easy Strawberry French Toast
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 slices bread, white or whole wheat
  • 3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoon milk
  • 4 Tablespoon butter, optional
  • 2 Tablespoon powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix the cream cheese, ½ cup powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until you have a smooth mixture. Spread some of this on one side of the bread. Top with sliced strawberries, covering the spread completely.
  2. Spread more of the mixture on another piece of bread and place on top. Press sandwich together gently to enclose strawberries inside. Repeat for all remaining slices of bread.
  3. Mix eggs and milk together and set aside. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place in oven. Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a skillet.
  4. Take sandwiches and place in egg and milk mixture covering both sides. Lay sandwich in the skillet and cook until the first side is lightly brown. Flip sandwich and cook the other side.
  5. Once both sides have browned, place it on the baking sheet in warm oven. Before serving, top French toast with remaining strawberries and powdered sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup or Strawberry topping.

 

French toast topped with strawberries, maple syrup and powdered sugar.

Strawberry French Toast or Pancake Topping

This is such a simple little strawberry topping recipe. I love making it to top pancakes, french toast, waffles or even ice cream. It goes together quickly. You can use either fresh or frozen (an thawed) strawberries.

Give it a try when you’re in the mood for a little something special for breakfast. Perfect when you have overnight guests and of course a must-have for Mother’s Day.

Strawberry Topping
 
Ingredients
  • ½ C. maple syrup
  • 2 T. orange juice or Grand Marnier
  • ¾ C. pureed strawberries
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small pan. Stirring constantly, heat mixture over medium heat until it begins to thicken (approximately 5 minutes). While still warm, pour over French toast or pancakes and serve immediately.

 

Pancake with strawberry syrup

 

Homemade Creole Seasoning

I love making my own seasoning mixes. Not only do they allow me to tweak things to my family’s liking, I can also make sure all ingredients are fresh and of course it’s a lot cheaper to mix your own than to buy prepared mixes.

This creole seasoning mix couldn’t be simpler. It’s great for seasoning rice, soups,stews and meat dishes. My husband also loves to use it on chicken and pork when he’s grilling.

Creole Seasoning Mix
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons salt
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients and store them in an airtight container. Use them to season your dishes to taste.

 

Creole Seasoning being sprinkled into a chicken dish

Ham and Leek Pie

Each Easter, I buy and bake a big ham. We eat part of it during our Holiday Meal, but the part I get excited about is all the leftovers. The ham bones is of course reserved to make a big pot of pinto beans down the road, but it doesn’t end there. You can add bits of chopped ham into all sorts of dishes. This morning I got a little creative and came up with a new twist on Ham pie or quiche. I added some sliced leaks which gave it a wonderful flavor. I also added a bit of mayonaise for extra richness (and because I didn’t have any sour cream on hand). Add some eggs and cheese and you have a delicious and filling breakfast dish that’s pretty enough for company.

Ham and Leek Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  • 1 tbsp butter (or margarine)
  • 2 leeks
  • ½ a cup of chopped ham
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • ½ cup of grated cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium sized pan, melt the butter over medium high heat.
  3. Slice and wash the leeks, using only the white and light green parts. Add them to the melted butter and saute.
  4. Chop the ham. Feel free to use up to 1 cup of chopped ham, but ½ a cup will do nicely to flavor the pie. Add the chopped ham to the leeks and continue cooking until the veggies are tender (about 5 minutes). Reduce the heat if it starts to brown or cooks too quickly.
  5. Pour the mixture into your pie crust.
  6. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add the mayonnaise along with salt and pepper. Whisk everything really well and pour the mixture over the ham and leeks.
  7. Top with cheese.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese melted and browned and the eggs set.

I use grated cheddar cheese for this recipe, but any mixture of cheese would work. Use what you have on hand. Please note that if you use my pie crust recipe, you’ll only need have the dough. Make an extra quiche for the freezer or use the other pie crust for dessert.

A simple quiche made with ham, leek, eggs and cheese

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix

I love Chai Tea and used to spend a small fortune at my local coffee shop. Next I found some premade mix at the grocery store, but it got quite pricey as well.

After some experimentation, I came up with this mix that tastes even better than the store bought stuff. Adjust the sugar to your liking.

From “Homemade Mixes” (Kindle Cookbook)

Vanilla Chai Tea Mix Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups white sugar
  • 1½ cups unsweetened instant tea
  • 1 cup French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
Instructions
Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a fine powder.
To use:
  1. Boil 1 cup of water or milk and add 3 tablespoons of mix, stir well.

 

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix

Scrambled Tofu on Toast

Scrambled eggs are a staple at my house, but every once in a while I’m ready to mix things up, particularly when I have vegan friends staying over. Tofu is a great alternative and makes for a yummy scramble.

My favorite part is that this dish is so versatile. You can serve it on toasted bread, a bagel, a tortilla or even some toasted french bread. Vary the spices, top it with some fresh herbs or cook it along with your favorite veggies (onions and mushrooms would be yummy). Add a few tomatoes for color and you have a breakfast dish that’s sure to impress and fill you up.

Scrambled Tofu on Toast
 
Ingredients
  • 5 oz firm tofu
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Toast
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Drain the tofu and mash it with a fork until smooth. In a frying pan, heat the vegetable oil and add the tofu. Season with salt, pepper and turmeric and – stirring constantly - fry until hot and lightly brown.
  2. Serve immediately on toast together with fried tomatoes.

 

Scrambled Tofu on Toast for Breakfast

Blueberry French Toast Bake with Maple Syrup

This is one of my favorite french toast recipes. I love how the blueberries and the cream cheese give this version a totally different take on your traditional french toast.

It goes together quickly and can be ready for breakfast in under an hour. If that sounds like too much work early in the morning, make everything head of time the night before, cover and store in the fridge. Then just preheat your oven and bake it up in the morning.

Blueberry Bake with Syrup
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries (or mixed frozen berries)
  • 1 cup cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ¼ cup margarine, melted
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 loaf white bread, cubed
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9 inch square baking dish.
  2. Arrange half of the bread cubes in the baking dish, then add the cubed cream cheese and half of the blueberries. Top with another layer of bread and the remaining blueberries.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup and milk and melted margarine. Add the cinnamon and stir well. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and blueberries and place into the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes or until cooked through.

Recipe

Blueberry French Toast Bake