Eat. Drink. Love.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Ohmagahhhhhhhhhhh.

These muffins.

They could pass as cupcakes in all honesty. Muffins that could be a cupcake? Um, yeah, sign me up!

My grandma used to make this amazing chocolate zucchini cake studded with gooey chocolate chips. It was so insanely good and then I went and grew up and moved far away and kind of forgot about that amazing cake until about a month ago when I was going over in my head all of the recipes I need to get from her for my personal recipe book.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

But then I started thinking about making that cake, but making it a little healthier and in muffin form. And it works. It totally works. These muffins might be my favorite muffin recipe I’ve made. My banana chocolate chip muffins have been sitting on top of my list for a long time, but these chocolate zucchini muffins might have just knocked them down a peg. The muffins are super…ok, I’m going to say the word that might make you cringe…moist. I said it, but that’s really the best word to describe these. They are also perfectly rich and chocolatey, which makes them seem more like they should be a dessert and not a muffin.

So what else is good about these muffins? There is no butter, just a bit of oil and unsweetened applesauce. They do contain sugar so I would consider them a splurge for breakfast, but I also have been eating them for dessert!

Flashback Friday: Homemade Manicotti

Homemade Manicotti

No matter where they are from, every family has a handful of meals that are considered a tradition and that they always make for special occasions. On they Italian side of my family, manicotti is one of those dishes.

My husband and I are currently working on a special video project for my grandparent’s upcoming 60th wedding anniversary. We’ve been looking at hundreds and hundreds of pictures and I swear, at least 70% of them involve everyone sitting around the table eating homemade Italian food. It’s like, “Oh look, there we all are eating again!” Looking at these pictures has reminded me how much I miss those family dinners. So many of us have moved all over the country now. I miss those big, loud, and obnoxious dinners. Although we may not all live near each other anymore, I am thankful that I have these special recipes to continue making with my own little family!

Homemade Manicotti

We typically reserve homemade manicotti or pasta for holidays or other special occasions since they can be a bit time consuming to make. If you have never tried making homemade manicotti, I have to tell you that you are seriously missing out! The shells are essentially a thin crepe. There is no comparison to the boxed shells. Making your own shells is worth every second because you end up with perfectly delicate and soft shells stuffed with cheesy goodness!

Here’s a shell in the making!

Nibblies

1. It’s been about 10 years since my last Nibblies post. Please forgive me.

Plateau Edge

2. The photo above was my view the entire last weekend. I had the pleasure of attending The Big Traveling Potluck with some really amazing and inspiring bloggers in Temecula, CA. I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers in person and of course, we were well fed :) I’m going to do a whole post on everything this weekend so stay tuned!

3. The Following finale was…just okay? I thought it was sort of boring and predictable. My prediction for next season? Joe Carroll will be asked to be a consultant for future cult investigations and he and Kevin Bacon are going to be “forced” to team up and work together. Mark my word, friends, this is going to happen.

4. My husband and I have been working on a special video project for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary coming up next month and are having to pick music for each decade of the video. I just want to say, the 90′s were the best. I mean, I already knew this, but I busted out my old CDs and it made me so happy. Alanis, Sugar Ray, Barenaked Ladies, Third Eye Blind, Gangsta’s Paradise. Ugh, SO much good.

5. The temperatures are creeping up here in Phoenix. It’s going to be 100 this weekend. This is the time of the year where I really REALLY hate living here.

6. 24 comes back this Monday. I don’t think one person has ever been so excited about a television show ever. I really just can’t wait. We are going to make Superbowl-type food to celebrate. For real. It’s the little things.

7. I need to start reading books again. What do you guys recommend?

8. It’s entirely possible that I pre-ordered the new Mario Kart game for Wii U coming out at the end of May. It’s possible that we don’t yet even own a Wii U. It’s also entirely possible that we will be buying a Wii U for the sole purpose of playing Mario Kart.

Easy Edamame Dip

Easy Edamame Dip

If I had to pick my favorite type of appetizer, I would say it’s definitely dips. Dips of any and all kinds. Cheese dip? Yes please. Spinach Artichoke dip? Gimme. Onion dip? Heck yes. Fruit dip? Duh. Guacamole? Oh goodness, yes, yes, and yes.

Get my point? I like the dips. All of the dips.

The problem with dips is that because I love them oh so much, I can eat an embarrassing amount of them. Dips are most often packed with delicious fat and calories which is not such a bad thing some of the time, but for someone like myself who likes to eat them often, I need some lower calorie alternatives!

While a dip like guacamole contains good healthy fats, it can be excessive. Edamame is a surprisingly good and lower fat alternative. And I mean this aside from the lovely green color! Edamame beans are packed with fiber and protein! This edamame dip is really simple to make and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients. I like to add some olive oil, garlic, and some seasonings and that’s really all you need! I eat this dip with pita chips and/or fresh veggies like carrots and peppers. This is a dip you can feel good about eating!

Easy Edamame Dip

Flashback Friday: No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Happy Friday all! I want to take a quick second to mention that apparently my email got hacked yesterday. If you have ever emailed me, you may have gotten a spam link. I sincerely apologize for this and hope that it didn’t cause any problems for any of you! Hopefully the issue has been fixed!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Now that that part is out of the way, we can talk about this pie. Chocolate and peanut butter. Is there any better combo of flavors in this world? I think not. It’s a no-bake pie and it’s a favorite of ours in my house. I love no-bake pies, especially during the warmer months because you don’t have to crank up the oven and they are just so much easier to make. You don’t have to make crust either! Another great thing about this pie? You can keep it light and low on sugar if you prefer by using fat free and sugar free pudding and whipped topping!

I like to keep this pie in the freezer so it has more of an ice cream consistency, but you can also keep in the fridge if you want it to have a softer consistency like pudding. There is no right or wrong, whatever you want!

Rotisserie Chicken Recipe Roundup

The rotisserie chicken. It’s no secret I’m a fan. I work full-time and am always looking for shortcuts in the kitchen, especially during the week and rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (or homemade) is a definite staple in our fridge. Although roasting your own chicken is quite simple and tasty, I have no shame about picking up chickens from the grocery store. It’s just easier and they are still nice and juicy and delish! I use rotisserie chicken in so many recipes from appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, and main dishes. I’ve rounded up some of my faves and I hope these will give you guys some great recipe ideas using one of my favorite shortcuts in the kitchen!

Rotisserie Chicken Recipe Roundup

(from top, left to right)

Appetizers:

Rotisserie chicken is perfect for quick appetizers. I use it for dips, nachos, taquitos, and small bites!

- Baked Buffalo Chicken Bites – These guys are perfect for game day!
- Chicken Salad Wonton Cups – I love these wonton cups for light lunches or a bridal or baby shower.
- Baked Buffalo Chicken Taquitos – These are another fave of ours for game day!
- Skinny Taco Dip Cups- The original recipe doesn’t call for chicken, but you could easily add some for a heartier dip.
- Greek Nachos – I love these nachos! Rotisserie chicken would be a great addition!

Salads, Soups, and Sandwiches:

When it comes to soups, salads, and sandwiches, I almost always use rotisserie chicken because it’s fast, which is key for me when it comes to prepping lunches!

- Chicken Broccoli Slaw – Not a traditional salad, but a great alternative packed with protein!
- Southwest Chicken Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing – One of my favorite salads! And the dressing is nice and light making it perfect for lunch or a quick summer dinner!
- Avocado Mango Chicken Salad – Rotisserie chicken is perfect for a quick chicken salad!
- 30-Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup – My favorite soup ever. I also will sometimes use rotisserie chicken if I want to make a really quick chicken noodle soup when I don’t have time to make my own stock.
- Spicy Peanut Chicken Wrap – I love making this wrap for lunches. I make a double batch of the dressing so I have it handy and ready to go!
- Southwestern Chicken Sandwich – Rotisserie chicken works well for any sandwich, but we love using it for these Southwestern sandwiches.

Entrees:

I have found that rotisserie chicken works really well for Italian and Mexican dishes. I toss it in pasta dishes all of the time. Since rotisserie chicken shreds easily, it’s perfect for tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas!

- White Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas – I can’t even tell you how much I love these creamy enchiladas!
- Stovetop Chicken Enchiladas – It’s a tough call between these and my spinach enchiladas, we have both often.
- Cobb Salad Pizza – If you don’t have turkey handy, rotisserie chicken is a great substitute in my Cobb Salad Pizza. Heck, it works on any pizza! Try a BBQ chicken, buffalo chicken, or a Mexican style pizza!
- Creamy Chicken Lasagna Roll-Ups – These lasagna rolls are nice and quick to prepare thanks to rotisserie chicken!

Do you use rotisserie chicken as a shortcut in your kitchen? What are some of your favorite recipes?