Zucchini and Olive Pasta Bake

It’s SUMMA TIME and there’s an abundance of zucchini! Zucchini is delicious fried, roasted, in a fritter, and in salad, but today we’re using it in a Pasta Bake. Our guest star is the olive, which adds so much dang flavour into the sauce. If you’re not a fan of olives you can leave them out, but you don’t know what you’re missing. Don’t be a party pooper and just throw them in there!

We’re using my fave kitchen tool again- the amazing veggie peeler- to create little zucchini rolls for the bake.

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The pasta that I used was Go Go Quinoa brand macaroni, and it usually takes about 4 minutes on the stove top to cook. I baked it in the oven for 10 minutes, and it was just slightly past al dente. So if you’re using just regular wheat macaroni or small shells (you don’t want to go any bigger with your pasta selection) that normally take 7-9 minutes to cook in boiling water, I bake them for 10-15 minutes for an al dente texture. My recipe below doesn’t account for that, so just keep in mind what kind of pasta you’re using when baking this bake.

And that concludes my Ted Talk about how great this pasta bake is! DEFINITELY try it out and let me know what you think because it is now officially one of my favourite recipes. Here it is!

Zucchini and Olive Pasta Bake

Serves: 3-4

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 200 ml can of sliced black olives, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup Go Go Quinoa Macaroni **see note above if using a different pasta**
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the sliced onions and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, then add the beans, olives, tomatoes, basil, oregano, balsamic vinegar, chilli flakes, and some salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and then turn the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes.
  2. While the sauce is simmering, use the veggie peeler to create as many zucchini ribbons as you can. The centre part of the zucchini, where the seeds are, won’t make nice ribbons, so you can dice it up at toss it in the sauce, making sure it has at least 10 minutes to cook in there.
  3. Add the macaroni into a small glass loaf pan or baking dish. Roll up each zucchini ribbon into a little rosette and place evenly spaced out in the pasta, like this:
  4. Once the sauce is done simmering, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Add the 1/2 cup of water to the sauce and bring it to a hard simmer before removing it from the heat. Scoop enough of it into the baking dish so that the pasta and zucchini are fully covered, about 2-3 cups of sauce. You may have some sauce leftover that you can eat with the pasta after it’s baked or save for later.
  5. Cover the glass dish with foil (shiny side down) and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Hope you like this pasta dish! See you Wednesday;))

Yours Truly,

Olivia;)

Creamy Avocado Balsamic Dressing

Hi there! Today I have a delicious and creamy dressing recipe for you guys. It may not be a looker but it’s sure packed with flavour and goes great with any salad combo! I used some delicious fresh basil from my plant (throwback to last year when I did Herb Month) and it adds so much!

This dressing takes five minutes to whip up, and has all of the taste of a balsamic dressing, but is much creamier and has that extra basil in there. It’s the consistency of a good ranch dressing. I like it because oftentimes I’ll make vinaigrettes, and it’s nice to have something more unctuous. Isn’t that a great word? When something is unctuous you know you want to eat it.

For lunch lately I’ve just been roasting a bunch of veggies (including sweet potatoes, of course) and tossing them with some lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and a sick dressing like this one. It just ties everything together and still tastes so light and fresh! Some other things you could slap this on would be sandwiches, wraps, and bowls. It’s so good! Here’s the recipe;))

Creamy Avocado and Balsamic Dressing

Serves: 4

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 small leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mash the avocado very well in a small bowl. You want as few lumps as possible.
  2. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients, then serves in salads, wraps, bowls or sandwiches.

Hope you like this dressing! It’s great for summer;))

Yours Truly,

MyDayIsBooked

2 Summer Smoothie Bowls

Smoothie bowls are my ABSOLUTE favourite breakfast! They’re so refreshing, and make me feel like I’m having a treat on vacation somewhere. You can pack a bunch of veggies in there without even noticing, and the topping combos are endless. ENDLESS!

It took me a while to get the perfect smoothie bowl thickness, but I think I’ve finally cracked the code. You want to have the ingredients as cold as possible, and limit the amount of watery fruits that you put in your smoothie. The base of all of my smoothies is a frozen banana, because that’s what makes them thick and creamy. If you don’t like banana you can try using mango, because I’ve found it has a similar effect. The ingredients might take a little while to come together in the blender, but eventually they’ll form a mixture that’s almost like soft serve in texture. Using a tamper is critical here, because you can continually push the ingredients towards the blender blades.

In this post, I’ve included two different recipes for summer smoothie bowls, because I couldn’t decide which one to pick! One has banana, berries, and spinach, and the other has banana, spinach, kale, and watermelon. Yum! My watermelon didn’t get completely frozen, and so the result was a slightly more watery smoothie bowl. Make sure that you leave it in the freezer at least overnight! These recipes are definitely some of my favourites though, because they TASTE LIKE SUMMER and allow you to get some greens in!

Lets talk toppings. Really anything goes when you’re topping your smoothie bowl, but some ideas are more fruit, granola, dates, nut, seeds, and nut butters. I like a few different toppings on my bowl because it keeps things interesting. Some granola recipes that go GREAT on smoothie bowls are my Nutty Granola and Chocolate Coconut Granola. I’ve also been known to top my bowls with a Seedy Energy Square or two….. it’s so good!

I hope that these recipes get you hooked on smoothie bowls!

Berry and Spinach Smoothie Bowl

Serves: 1

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Bowl:

  • 1 frozen banana (sliced)
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup spinach (not packed)
  • 2 tbsp water

For the Toppings:

Directions:

  1. Add all of the smoothie ingredients to a powerful blender and blend on low, using the tamper to push the ingredients down.
  2. Once the ingredients are starting to come together, turn the speed to medium and continue using the tamper. It may seem like you need to add more water, but continue until a thick, soft-serve like mixture forms. This can take a few minutes.
  3. Scoop the smoothie into a bowl and top with the strawberries, granola, and peanut butter.
  4. Enjoy!

Greens and Watermelon Smoothie Bowl

Serves: 1

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Bowl:

  • 1 frozen banana (sliced)
  • 3/4 cup frozen water melon chunks
  • 1/2 cup kale leaves (loosely packed)
  • 1/2 cup spinach (loosely packed)
  • 1 tbsp water

For the Toppings:

Directions:

  1. Add all of the smoothie ingredients to a powerful blender and blend on low, using the tamper to push the ingredients down.
  2. Once the ingredients are starting to come together, turn the speed to medium and continue using the tamper. It may seem like you need to add more water, but continue until a thick, soft-serve like mixture forms. This can take a few minutes.
  3. Scoop the smoothie into a bowl and top with the chopped dates, granola, and peanut butter.
  4. Enjoy!

I know I’ll be enjoying these bowls all summer long! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you Wednesday:))

Yours Truly,

Olivia

Tuna and Avocado Poke Bowls

I’m so excited about this recipe! You don’t even know. Obviously with the pandemic going on I haven’t been eating out as much, and yesterday I was just craving something different. Something that made me feel like I’m at a restaurant somewhere. The ingredients that I had on hand didn’t seem very restaurant-quality (canned tuna isn’t exactly a star protein), but I came up with something that HIT. THE. SPOT.

I love tuna poke- I love raw fish of any kind, really, but getting a big chunk of tuna steak is kind of expensive and it’s not the kind of thing that I just have lying around in my fridge. HOWEVER, I do have a large quantity of canned tuna. I mixed it with mashed avocado, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and ginger to make an amazing mixture that definitely reminds me of delicious poke! Plus I formed it into little balls to serve, which really brought the restaurant vibe!

For the other components of this bowl, I tried to get creative and really have fun. We have some HOMEMADE pickled veggies people! Homemade!! They’re so simple to make and sooooooo tasty! Plus you have some wild rice, which contains tons of good-for-you vitamins, spinach, thinly sliced cucumbers, and a sprinkle of hemp hearts. Delish!

I really hope you give this bowl a try! It’s so fun to make and eat, and makes for a slightly-fancy at home dinner for when you can’t go out. Enjoy!

Tuna and Avocado Poke Bowls

Serves: 2

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Tuna:

  • 1 can of light chunk tuna, drained (I used yellowfin)
  • 1/2 a ripe avocado
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

For the Pickled Veggies:

  • 1/2 a large carrot, cut in half width-wise and shaved into thin strips with a veggie peeler (see Thai Ribbon Salad)
  • 1/4 of a red onion, sliced very thinly
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

For the Bowl:

  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • A couple of handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 a cucumber, sliced thinly
  • Hemp hearts or sesame seeds for topping

Directions:

  1. Combine the wild rice with 1 cup of water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, until all of the water has evaporated. Then remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
  2. After the rice starts cooking, mix the vinegar, garlic, and chilli flakes in a small bowl. Add in the shaved carrot and thinly sliced red onion, trying to make sure that most of the veggies are covered by the pickling liquid. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a least 35 minutes to pickle.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mash the half avocado and stir in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil and tuna.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the rice vinegar. Split the rice up into two serving bowls, and top with the pickled veggies, cucumber, a handful of spinach, half of the tuna mixture each, and some hemp hearts or sesame seeds.
  5. Enjoy!

Hope you’re all having a great week! See you Friday;))

Yours Truly,

Olivia

Thai Ribbon Salad

Hey there! Today I have a quick and easy recipe for you guys that you can just throw together and top with whichever protein you’d like! This Thai Ribbon Salad looks super fancy, but all you need is a veggie peeler and some veggies and you can whip it up in a snap!

In this salad I used zucchini, which is one of my favourite summer vegetables, along with cucumber, carrots, and bell peppers. Top it all of with some spinach, crispy quinoa, sunflower seeds and a protein of your choice (salmon goes amazing in this salad), and you’ve got a perfect summer salad!

Did I not mention the dressing yet? Because it’s AWESOME. I used the peanut dressing from my Asian Kale and Quinoa Salad with Peanut Dressing. I had to put the dressing in the name because THAT’S HOW GOOD IT IS. I’ll link to the recipe in the ingredients down below. In the meantime, lets get to the salad!

Thai Ribbon Salad

Serves: 2

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp quinoa (optional)
  • 1 batch of Peanut Dressing
  • Protein of your choice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Using a veggie peeler or mandolin, slice the zucchini, cucumber, and carrots into thin strips. Start by dragging the peeler down the outside of one side of the veggies so that you don’t get a piece of all skin in your salad. Then continue to drag the peeler down lengthwise to create thin pieces. Once you’ve reached the middle of the vegetable, you can turn it around and repeat on the other side. It might be hard to get all the way through the middle of the veggies, so you can save that part for a lil snack later;)
  2. Toss the veg with the peppers, spinach, sunflower seeds, quinoa, and dressing. Top with a protein of your choice (or leave as is) and enjoy!

Hope you like this simple summer salad!

Yours Truly,

Olivia