Zero Calorie Cake

LOL, jk. But there is zucchini in it!

So more like Zucchini Chocolate Cake…at least the acronym is still accurate!

I always told myself I would never be one of those weirdos who adds things like black beans or avocados, or other non-desserty items to sweets. But, given a recent trip to the Farmer’s Market that left me in a zucchini surplus I had to give this Zucchini Chocolate Cake recipe a try. At least zucchini doesn’t have an incredibly distinctive taste like black beans, so any alterations in cake taste were bound  to be minimal.

Plus, there’s no better  way to counteract any guilt associated with chocolate cake than reminding yourself that THERE’S ZUCCHINI IN IT. It’s basically zero calories at that point, right?

….We’ll go with that.

The most aggravating part about cooking with zucchini is that many recipes involving this vegetable require a food grater. If you have  a grater, you’re in the clear. If you’re a college  student whose kitchen tools are a hodgepodge of things acquired for free and bought basics – you will have to meticulously mince this stupid vegetable by hand like I did.

But no worries, just start the latest episode of The Colbert Report and by the time Stephen’s finished covering Anthony Weiner’s latest junk shot scandal, you’ll have a perfectly minced zucchini at your plate.

I cut this recipe in half and eliminated the walnuts to make the cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/8 cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray pan with cooking spray.
2. Grate the zucchini, or mince into  very small pieces.
3. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, then mix in eggs and oil. Finally, add zucchini.
4. Bake for about 50 minutes.

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If you’re as clueless as me about this mystery vegetable, check out Holly’s 5 Things to do with Zucchini for more recipes!

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Lazy Lasagna

This is my first foray into the world of lasagna. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made pasta with marinara sauce a million times. But there’s something about the multi-layered lasagna that really takes things up in a notch (in my mind, at least). I got this recipe from Stefano Faita over at In The Kitchen.



Ingredients:

• 2 heaping cups of cooked penne pasta
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• 4 cups baby spinach
• 8 ounce (250 gram) container ricotta
• 1 egg, beaten
• Pinch nutmeg, freshly ground
• Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
• About 1 1/4 cup to 1 1/2 cup marinara sauce
• 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and then saute garlic. Stir and cook for about 1 – 2 minutes and then add spinach. Add salt and pepper.
3. Remove from pan and mix with ricotta, parmesan, beaten egg, and nutmeg.
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4. Layer in the baking dish: 1/4 cup marinara, 1 cup pasta, 1/2 cup marinara, 1/2 cup mozzarella, all of the spinach and ricotta filling, the rest of the pasta, and 1/2 cup more marinara, and then mozzarella and parmesan on top.

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5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes until top cheese is golden brown. It was actually kind of fun to layer all the pieces together! If you a lasagna recipe you swear by, I’d love to try it out!