Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Healthy Lunch Box Ideas: Paula Deen's Zucchini Custard Slices / Vegetable Pancakes

NOT the same thing to eat???

Since my son started schooling and school holiday programs, I have been packing lunches for him everyday. To do that, I have been constantly looking for lunch box ideas in order to give different nutritious and interesting food to eat... Food that my son will enjoy and wouldn't throw into the bins without telling me... Yes, I know that many kids do that!!!

I can't believe kids these days are always complaining about the food that they eat...

Too boring to eat
Too busy to eat
Too messy to eat
Too difficult to eat
Too cold to eat

Too many vege to eat
Too spicy to eat - always an exclusive remark from my son... hmmm...

I don't mean that my son is not appreciative to me and my cooking and think that he wouldn't say that the food that I have cooked is not delicious enough for him to eat. I guess that he knows that I will give him a deadly stare if he does this to me... LOL! All that he wants is food that is fast, neat, easy and interesting to eat. With no hot spicy spices, of course! No worries, son! Mum wouldn't make you suffer with numb tongue and teary eyes! And, most ideally with least vegetables?... You wish, son! You wish!!!

These zucchini custard slices and 
vegetable pancakes are recipes from Paula Deen. See! Not all Paula Deen's recipes are loaded with butter and sugar. Instead, these savoury slices and pancakes are fully loaded with vegetable. They are super easy to cook and doesn't require reheating for lunch boxes and consumption. Yes that these contain vegetable which are neutral tasting and perfect to function as grab-and-go food with no mess, fork and spoon to eat.

Mum with a "
deadly" stare: Sweetie, what is your excuse now for not eating?

zucchini custard slices Paula Deen
Zucchini Custard Slices
These slices and pancakes contains all of these vegetables.
This is how I cooked and baked the zucchini custard slices...

First, melt a reduced amount of butter. This is for Little Thumbs Up! Buttah! Buttah! Buttah!
Then, cook the onion and zucchini.
I used cream because I'm freezing my slices. Otherwise, I like to use evaporated milk for a healthier choice.
Assembling the dish is easy...
Then bake!
Cut them into slices and store them in freezer until required
This is how I cooked the vegetable pancakes...

Mix mix mix
fry tablespoonful of batter with minimal heated oil
Ta dah! Easy!
These pancakes are appetizing to eat with soft and moist texture. 

My son told me that these fast, easy and healthy food are good. Now, he has more time to play with his friends during his breaks and also won't go hungry.

Yup! ...after a yummy lunch :)

Here are the recipes from Food Network (with my modification in blue)

Makes 6-8 slices

4 tbsp (60g) butter, melted
(reduced to 25g)
2 pounds zucchini, cut into small pieces
(I used 1 large zucchini)
3 eggs
1/2 cup undiluted evaporated milk or light cream
(I used cream with 35% fat so that I can freeze these slices)
2 tbsp fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup onion, diced
(I used 1 small onion)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash hot pepper sauce
(for my son, I didn't add that)1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
(I used about 60g)

Preheat oven to 350°F or 160°C fan forced.

In a large saucepan, combine melted butter, onion and zucchini. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 to 7 mins. Remove from heat, set aside and let zucchini cool before adding eggs to avoid them becoming scrambled.

Note: I cooked the onion with zucchini before mixing it into the custard mixture.

Beat eggs with milk; add bread crumbs, onion, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce (I didn't add this), salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp of the Parmesan. Mix well. Combine mixture with zucchini, stirring until blended. Turn into a buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole (Mine is 16 x 26 cm). Sprinkle top with remaining Parmesan. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 mins. If the dish has been refrigerated, allow about 10 mins longer baking time.

Note: My slices made with cream is freezable and can be thawed in the fridge overnight.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup grated zucchini
2 green onions, sliced (replaced with chives)
2 tbsp oil plus 1 tbsp to cook the carrot and zucchini (I used rice bran oil)

Note: My son prefer vegetable that is pre-cooked before using them to cook the pancakes and so I did this... In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add zucchini and carrot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 to 7 mins.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, beat together the egg, milk, carrots, zucchini, and onions / chives. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Using a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Pour the batter by tablespoons into the pan, making a few pancakes at a time. Cook about 2 mins on each side and golden brown. Add the remaining oil to the pan as needed. Serve pancakes at once or store in the fridge for next day consumption.

Happy Cooking and Baking
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  1. Hahahahaha! The deadly stare was hilarious! You and your son just remind me for crayon shin chan and his mum!!

  2. Oh this recipe looks so yummy and nutritious! I'm a huge fan of zucchini, and savory egg dishes! I love quiche and I'm sure I'd love this dish too! Sounds and look absolutely delicious and healthy, a great way to get kids eating zucchinis!

  3. The zucchini pan cake looks tasty to me as well...this month is full with "Buttah"...I wish that I can still maintain my weight...heeheehee

  4. Hi Zoe! You have a killer stare? LOL! Kids these days are more sophisticated not like us in the old days. It is great that you prepare your son's lunchbox. It is so convenient that the zucchinni custard slice can be prepared in advance and frozen. The vegetable pancakes look really yummy too!

  5. Gosh this looks good!! I wish we had more of a packed lunch culture here. This is so much better than the stuff sold at school canteens!! I want to make this for myself!!

  6. Hi Zoe, I like the custard bake & veg pancakes ... so delicious.

  7. Yummy! I love vegetables.. sometimes all I need are such dishes :)

  8. I love that baked zucchini custard! thanks for the two lovely recipes!

  9. Hahaha, kids are so lucky & too spoiled sometimes, I mean to my own kids lah. My girl will sometimes said that the chicken that I cooked for her to school was too "yucky to eat, faint lah. This zucchini custard cake looks so good to me. Got cheese & my favourite zucchini inside. I read that zucchini is quite easy to grow, last time when I visited Bunnings, I nearly bought a pack of the seeds. I think may try to grow them in next spring.

  10. I quite often see western countries using zucchinis to make pancake. Just wonder hows the taste like ^^

  11. veggie pancakes are an excellent lunch idea. Most of my kid's lunch comes home, but that's because he's too busy talking with his friends to eat. He's 2.5! What do they have to talk about?

  12. This recipe looks so good.. I am very bad at turning zucchini into something interesting that my family can enjoy...this definitely looks so inviting...would give a try soon

  13. I can't believe I have never cooked with zucchini before! This looks SO GOOD!

  14. Hi Zoe,
    Lovely fritters! I, myself, would be all smiles if this is in my lunch box! I love fritters and zucchini fritters sounds good! And delicious pancake too! Yummilicious!

  15. My wedding anniversary is coming soon. I wanna make it memorable by preparing an anniversary dinner based on this month's Cook Like A Star theme! Thanks Zoe for organizing Cook Like A Star. You are a STAR!

  16. Hi Zoe, your son is so cute! Puts a smile on my face. I love this recipe. It looks really yummy ^.^

  17. Hi Zoe, These look so good and healthy. I can do one for a picnic:D

  18. This zucchini pancake looks simple enough for me to try. We call it courgette in Belgium. Btw, just to let you know my Alex Goh blog-hop is up and the inlinkz code too, the blog hop is till 31 July 2014. I haven't inserted any links yet, hope you will be the first one. :)

  19. Great recipe! I would have loved to have had these in my lunch when I was a kid. Or even today. ;-) Really nice -- thanks.

  20. This looks wonderful Zoe! Your son is so lucky that you pack such yummy and creative lunches for him. I love zucchini and that's such a great idea to make it into a pretty pancake. Great recipe, thanks for sharing :)