Baked Zucchini and Squash


I have been in a side dish rut lately. I feel like I always make the same side dishes and I have been wanting to try some different veggie side dishes aside from my typical steamed broccoli, asparagus, and salads. I saw a big display of zucchini and squash last weekend at my grocery store and decided to try to come up with a simple and yummy recipe for them! This recipe is super easy to make and the Parmesan cheese gives the zucchini and squash a nice crisp!

Baked Zucchini and Squash

Ingredients:

Serves 4

– 2 medium zucchini and 2 medium squash, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
– 1 1/2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, combine zucchini, squash, cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread onto greased baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown*. Flip halfway through so that the veggies can brown on both sides.

*Notes: The Parmesan cheese can burn if you don’t keep an eye on the veggies, so be careful!

Baked Shrimp Scampi


I’m typically not a big fan of shrimp, but this shrimp scampi recipe meets my approval! My grandma used to make this shrimp scampi all of the time when she used to be a cook in a restaurant with my great-grandmother. While many scampi recipes are cooked on the stove, I like to bake mine in the oven with some breadcrumbs! I recommend serving the shrimp with my pasta aglio e olio, roasted potatoes, or steamed veggies!

Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients:

Serves 4

– 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (I also like to cut the tails off, but you can certainly leave them on if you want!)
– 1 tsp. salt
– 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
– 1 1/2 Tbs. white wine
– 2 Tbs. butter
– 1 1/2 Tbs. bread crumbs
– salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a pie dish or small baking dish, arrange shrimp in a single layer.

2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and white wine. Whisk together and drizzle evenly over the shrimp. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the shrimp.

3. Cut butter into small cubes and place a cube of the butter over each piece of the shrimp.

4. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate and peanut butter. Peanut butter and chocolate. Two of the greatest foods on earth and when combined together, it’s pure bliss! This pie is awesome not just because it includes two of my favorite ingredients, but also because it’s low-fat and low-sugar, AND it’s so easy to make, a caveman could do it (no offense to any cavemen reading this…). By using low-fat and sugar-free ingredients, this pie is guilt-free and totally bangarang! (yes, I was watching Hook while I made this…)

I wish I could have made this completely sugar-free, but my grocery store doesn’t carry sugar-free crust. For the peanut butter, I used the all-natural kind which is much lower in sugar compared to the regular kind. If you aren’t worried about calories or sugar, feel free to swap these ingredients for the regular kind. If you do want to make this completely sugar-free, I do know you can get sugar-free crust and sugar-free peanut butter at health food stores or online.

Now, since this is a pudding pie, it is not very easy to serve. If you want a good presentation and be able to have neat and clean slices, I recommend freezing the pie for an hour or two before serving it. Just make sure it doesn’t freeze all the way through or it will be icy and you’ll have to wait for it to defrost a bit.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients:

Makes 1 Pie

– 1 8 oz. container sugar-free Cool Whip, defrosted
– 1 1.4 oz. box instant chocolate sugar-free fat-free pudding
– 2 cups skim milk
– 1/4-1/3 cup all-natural peanut butter (add more if you want more peanut butter flavor)
– 1 reduced-fat graham cracker crust
– Optional (for garnish): chocolate bar (for shaving), chocolate sprinkles, cocoa powder

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix pudding and skim milk together. Pudding should set in about 5 minutes.

2. Melt peanut butter in microwave for approximately 20 seconds. Mix into pudding mixture.

3. Add half of the container of Cool Whip and mix well. Pour pudding mixture into pie crust.

4. Use the remaining Cool Whip to spread over the top of the pie. You can garnish the pie with shaved chocolate, sprinkles, cocoa powder, whatever you like! Refrigerate pie for 1 hour before serving.

My Dad’s Potato Salad

When it comes to potato salads, I am extremely picky. This potato salad is the main reason I am so picky. My Dad has been making this potato salad for years and my whole family loves it. He always makes a big batch when we visit and we will eat it with dinners and lunches for days after (though, it usually doesn’t last for too long in our house :)). I think the reason I like my Dad’s potato salad so much is because it has big chunks of potatoes and not a ton of mayonnaise. I really hate it when potato salads have tiny pieces of potatoes that are drowning in mayo! This potato salad is very easy to make and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients. The celery and green pepper add color and a nice crunch. You can use regular mayo, reduced fat mayo, and even the reduced fat made with olive oil kind and it still tastes great!

My Dad’s Potato Salad

Ingredients:

Serves 8-10

– 3 1/2 lbs. peeled Idaho potatoes
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. black pepper
– 1 cup diced green pepper
– 1 cup diced celery
– 1/2 cup mayonnaise
– 4 hard-boiled eggs
– 1/2 tsp. paprika

Directions:

1. Dice peeled potatoes into bite-sized cubes. Put into large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes* on medium heat. Drain cooked potatoes in a colander and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, add potatoes, celery, green pepper, salt and pepper, and mayonnaise. Mix together.

3. Slice hard-boiled eggs and place over the top of salad. Sprinkle with paprika. (This is really for presentation-sake. You can mix the eggs and paprika in with the rest of the potato salad if you would rather! That is usually what happens once we all dig in anyway!).

4. Refrigerate potato salad for at least 2 hours before serving.

*Notes: To this day, I still have a hard time with over-cooking my potatoes. You want them to be fork tender, but you don’t want to overcook them to the point where they fall apart when you put a fork in them.

Beer Burgers


Well, the air conditioner in our apartment is broke AGAIN! So grilling these beer burgers last night was a little difficult :). The picture does not do these beer burgers justice. I don’t make burgers very often because they never come out right, but my brother gave me this recipe so I thought I would give it a try since we were in the mood for some BBQ for Memorial Day. My brother recommends using an ale or lager beer for this recipe so I used Sam Adams Summer Ale (also his recommendation) and the burgers had great flavor! The only thing my husband didn’t like was the diced onion, so the next time I make these, I am going to try adding onion powder instead.

Beer Burgers

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

Serves 4

– 1 lb. ground round
– 1 tsp. salt
– 1/4 tsp. black pepper
– 1/2 c. diced onion (or 2 tsp. onion powder)
– 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– *1/2 cup beer
– 4 slices of cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine meat, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onions, and beer. Combine and form into 4 patties.

2. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat (Brush pan with olive oil to prevent sticking). Once grill is hot, cook burgers for approximately 3-4 minutes and turn over. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add cheese and cook until melted or until meat is cooked to your desired taste.

Notes: The original recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of beer, however, my brother recommended using 1/2 cup to get more flavor. If you use 1/2 cup, the meat mixture will seem a little watery, but most of it will cook off on the grill!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

My husband loves buffalo chicken and this is his favorite pizza that I make. I am not usually a fan of buffalo sauce, but I will say that this buffalo chicken pizza is pretty tasty and very easy to make. Unless I already have cooked chicken handy in my fridge, I like to buy a rotisserie chicken from our grocery store so that I can just shred up the meat. I make my own buffalo sauce for this one, but you can certainly just use a bottled buffalo sauce. The trick with this pizza is that since you are already using cooked chicken and you want to avoid drying it out, you have to cook the dough about halfway on its own before adding chicken and the cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:

Serves 4

– 1 lb. chilled pizza dough
– 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
– 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
– 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
– 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. Tabasco sauce
– 1 Tbs. garlic, minced
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. black pepper
– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pizza stone or pizza pan by brushing a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil onto the stone or pan.

2. Coat dough and hands in the flour so that the dough does not stick to your hands. Roll out the dough until it is approximately 1/2 inch thick.

3. Using a pastry brush, brush the extra virgin olive oil all over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for approximately 5-7 minutes or until a very light golden brown. Remove dough from oven.

4. While dough is baking, melt butter in a bowl and mix in Tabasco sauce (by the way, if you don’t like a lot of hot flavor, you might want to do less of the Tabasco sauce), reserve 2 tablespoons of the sauce, toss chicken into the bowl and coat chicken evenly with remaining buffalo sauce.

5. Brush the 2 tbs. of buffalo sauce onto the precooked dough, spread cheese and chicken mixture evenly and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese is fully melted.