First Week of School Fajitas

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Congratulations! You did it! You just survived the first week of school. Getting back into that routine is tough and everyone in the family could use a special meal. You’ve been in charge of keeping them fed well all week long, though, and you could use a break. These easy, slow-cooked fajitas are just the ticket. It will take you 15 minutes, tops, to prep a meal that will help your family celebrate the new school year…without breaking the bank or anyone’s diet.

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A Squash and a Grain

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If you find yourself looking for something fresh, fabulous and nutritious to do with zucchini, it’s time to think outside the stir-fry. Zucchini makes a marvelous partner for quinoa in this zippy, whole-grain pilaf that will fill your family up and make them look forward to the leftovers. Serve with your favorite lean meat off the grill for a complete dinner that will delight your senses.

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A Loaf to be Desired

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As much as we all adore zucchini bread, it’s impossible to escape the fact that even a quick bread stuffed chalk full of vegetables is still essentially a cake. Most recipes are bursting with sugar, saturated fat and overly processed flours. Made with whole-wheat flour, egg whites and applesauce, this is a recipe you can rely on to let your family enjoy the late summer decadence of moist zucchini bread.

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A New Fried Family Favorite

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For a lot of us, the end of summer means cravings for fried food when the fair comes to town. We can’t do anything to make those decadent fair treats healthier, but we can recommend a three-star, oven-fried side dish that will not only satiate some of those fried food cravings, but will also put your garden’s overabundance of zucchini to good use. Egg white alone works to bind a breading of whole-grains to your veggies for a treat no one in your family will turn up their noses at.

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Keeping It Fresh

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Brace yourselves, folks: it’s zucchini time. and as tasty as these little summer squashes can be, it’s not carefully guarded secret that they’re just too darn prolific. How many of us have been the recipients of an anonymously abandoned box of the things on our porches? Before you start despairing of how to use them all before they go by, however, you should really stop to take joy in their simple flavors while they’re as fresh as they get, and the best way to do that is to pair them with some equally fresh flavors. The Kitchn’s recipe for Zucchini Boats with Mozzarella and Olives does just that, and we’ve tweaked it just a tad to make sure you can prepare it with the confidence of serving up Guiding Stars to your family.

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Recipe Review: Not Your Gran’s Pea Soup

Pea soup: love it, or hate it? What might not realize is that there is a world of taste and flavor in lentils and split peas that goes far beyond the ham-infused green paste that not everyone adores. If you’ve never picked up the bag of red lentils sitting next to those beloved or dreaded split peas, this Lentil & Chestnut Soup from Serious Eats is a seriously delicious lentil-starter recipe. If you can’t find chestnuts, almonds make a decent substitution. To put this recipe into 3 Guiding Star territory, all we had to do was sub in low-sodium broth, and believe me, with all the flavor the vegetables bring to the stock pot, you won’t miss the salt.

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Recipe Review: Bring on the Soy

April is National Soy Foods Month, and let me tell you, it is a food worth celebrating. Soy is one of the most versatile sources of food. Tofu sometimes gets a bad rap for being bland or mushy, but as with many mildly flavored foods, what looks like bland is just blank canvas for the flavors of your choosing. In the case of Spicy Stir-Fried Tofu with Kale and Red Peppers, Serious Eats author Blake Royer knows what he’s about: the smoky hot one-two punch of dark sesame oil and hot pepper will have you craving another helping of tofu and kale. The recipe needed little to earn a star: we simply subbed in low-sodium broth for the full salt variety.

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