Broccoli and Feta Pizza

My mom started the tradition of making homemade pizzas every weekend back when I was in high school. Instead of eating at the dinner table, we put a big tablecloth on the coffee table in the family room and eat in there while watching a movie together. Now as an adult, I still enjoy making homemade pizzas on the weekend. This broccoli and feta pizza is one of my favorites! My husband and I very rarely order pizza because we much prefer the taste of our own pizzas compared to the popular pizza chains out there and because we can control the ingredients (and the grease!)!

When it comes to the dough, I don’t usually make my own. My grocery store (Publix) carries raw pizza dough in their bakery and it is much easier (especially on a Friday night!) to just buy it ready-made. It tastes the same as if I would have made it myself without all the fuss! But, if you want to make your own, I love the Olive Oil Pizza Dough recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I originally found it through another food blog that I like to read, My Baking Addiction. You can get the recipe here.

Broccoli and Feta Pizza

Ingredients:

Serves 4

– 1 lb. chilled pizza dough
– 1 1/2 cups cooked broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
– 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
– 1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese (crumbled)
– 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. Brush garlic evenly over the pizza. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly. Spread cheese evenly over the pizza. Sprinkle broccoli* and feta cheese.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on the crust and the bottom . Once the top is a light golden brown, I like to slide the pizza off the stone or pan directly onto the oven grate so that the bottom of the pizza can get nice and brown.

5. Remove pizza from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Cut it up, pour yourself a glass of wine, pop in a movie, and you have yourself a perfect Friday night!

*Notes: In order to cook my broccoli, I usually steam it over the stove or in the microwave in a bowl of water. Before you put the broccoli onto your pizza, make sure that it has been drained, otherwise your pizza might be watery. I like to squeeze out the water by putting the broccoli onto a paper towel.

Pasta Aglio e Olio

I know what some of you are thinking, “What the heck is Pasta Aglio e Olio?!”. Pasta Aglio e Olio is a traditional Italian dish that means pasta with garlic and olive oil (two of an Italian’s favorite things!). My Grandma taught me this recipe many years ago. On its own, it can be kind of plain, so I typically make it as a side dish with chicken or fish. I like this pasta dish because it is simple and not too heavy. To give it extra flavor, I sometimes add lemon juice and/or a splash of white wine!

Pasta Aglio e Olio

Ingredients:

Serves 4

– 1 lb. pasta (I recommend using spaghetti, angel hair, or linguine for this. Also, if you can get fresh pasta, this will taste even better!)
– 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 1 Tbs. salted butter
– 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
– 2 1/2 Tbs. garlic, minced
– 1 Tbs. salt
– 1/2 tsp. black pepper
– 1/4 c. chopped parsley
– Parmesan cheese
– salt and pepper to taste
– Optional: 1/4 c. white wine

Directions:

1. Bring about 4-5 quarts of water to a boil. Add in 1 tbs. of salt. Add pasta. Cook until tender (approximately 10-15 minutes) and drain pasta.

2. Heat non-stick pan to medium heat. Add butter, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice (and wine, if using it) and simmer. Gradually add in pasta, making sure to coat all of it in the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Remove pasta from pan into a serving bowl. Toss parsley and Parmesan cheese into pasta.

4. Manga! (Eat!) :).

Chicken Piccata

I’m excited to finally get an Italian dish posted! Since I am Italian, you can all expect a number of Italian recipes on my blog. Many of these recipes have been passed down through my family for many years! Most of my Italian dishes have been taught to me by my grandma and mother. This Chicken Piccata is a recipe my mom taught me to make a few years back. I love this recipe because of the amazing lemon, wine, and butter sauce that covers the chicken. It gives it such a bold flavor (and in case you haven’t noticed, anything covered in lemon makes me a happy girl!) I often make a little extra of the sauce so that I can drizzle it over whatever side dishes I make along with it.

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients:

Serves 2-3*

– 1 lb. chicken breast, cut in half and butterflied
– 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 3 Tbs. salted butter
– 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
– 1 c. all-purpose flour
– 1/4 c. white wine
– 3 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 1/4 tsp. black pepper
– 1 Tbs. capers

Directions:

1. In a medium-sized bowl, add flour, salt and pepper and mix well.

2. Heat non-stick pan to medium heat. Add 2 Tbs. of the butter. Once butter is melted, dredge chicken in the flour mixture and put into pan. Cook for 3 minutes on one side, then turn over and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

3. While chicken is cooking, mince garlic and measure wine and lemon juice. Set aside until chicken is done.

4. Once chicken is done, place each piece onto a serving dish and set aside. Without cleaning the pan (you want the pan drippings!), add remaining tbs. of butter, garlic, wine and lemon juice. Let sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes.

5. Remove sauce from heat and carefully drizzle over chicken until each piece is covered in the sauce. Set any remaining sauce aside. Top chicken with capers and serve!

Suggested sides: I typically make this dish with rosemary roasted potatoes or with my Pasta Aglio e Olio. I love to drizzle any remaining sauce onto these great sides!

*Note: I used this exact recipe tonight for my just my husband and I and we had plenty of leftovers. It definitely could have served a 3rd person, but a 4th might be questionable. If you want to make this for 4 people, I would use 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken breast.

Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa

I eat a lot of salmon and this salmon with peach salsa is so so yummy! The peach salsa is so flavorful and the best part of it is how healthy it is. Fish with any combination of citrus and fruit is always a good thing in my book! While I wish I could take full credit for the salsa, I have to give props to the people at Cooking Light magazine for this one. Over the years, they have featured multiple recipes for peach salsa so my recipe is combination of two of their recipes.

Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa

Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

Serves 4

Salmon:
– 2 lbs. salmon
– 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 2 tsp. Chef Paul Seafood Magic seasoning
– 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Salsa:
– 3 c. of chopped peaches
– 1/4 c. chopped red onion
– 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
– 1 1/2 tbs. rice vinegar
– 3/4 c. finely chopped red pepper
– 1 garlic clove, minced

Directions:

1. In a medium-sized bowl, chop all ingredients for the salsa and put into bowl. Add vinegar and mix well. Set bowl aside.

2. Heat grill or grill pan to medium high heat (if using a grill pan, spray with non-stick cooking spray). In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and seafood seasoning. Mix well. Using a pastry brush, brush about half the marinade over the top of the salmon.
3. Once pan is heated, place fish skin- side down onto the grill pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes and gently turn fish over. Using a fork or knife, gently scrape skin off the fish (if the skin does not come off easily, then continue to cook fish skin-side down for another minute). Once skin is removed, brush the remainder of the marinade onto the fish. Cook for another 5 minutes or until fish is cooked to your preference.

4. Once fish is finished cooking, move it onto a serving dish or onto individual plates. Top fish with salsa and serve!

Notes: If you have a hard time finding good fresh peaches, then you can also use frozen peaches. Just be sure to defrost the peaches first, otherwise the salsa will become watery.

Low-Fat Strawberry and Blueberry Smoothie


This healthy smoothie is the perfect snack for the summertime! It’s refreshing and good for you! If you have a hard time eating enough fruit everyday, then I recommend you try this smoothie as it will give you a serving (or two!) of fruit and blueberries are loaded with anti-oxidants that will boost your immune system! While many smoothie recipes use fruit juices, I use skim milk in mine because I don’t want all that sugar in my smoothie, but if you prefer a sweeter taste, go ahead and swap fruit juice for the milk or add a couple of teaspoons of sugar.

Low-Fat Strawberry and Blueberry Smoothie

Ingredients:

Serves 1

-1/2 cup frozen strawberries (about 4-5 strawberries)

-1/2 cup frozen blueberries

-1 cup skim milk

-1/2 cup fat free or sugar-free vanilla yogurt

Directions:

1. Add strawberries and blueberries into blender.

2. Add milk and blend until smooth.

3. Add yogurt and blend until the yogurt is completely mixed into the smoothie.

4. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy! :)

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad

I love salad. I could eat it every day. I call this my “Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad” because I throw so many different ingredients into it depending on what I have in the fridge and pantry. I’m going to give you a pretty standard ingredient list that I use for this salad, but there are so many other ingredients you could add to it, hence the name “Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad”! I love salads loaded with all kinds of goodness whether it’s other veggies, beans, avocado, cheese, corn, and nuts. The more the merrier, I say!

I make this salad quite frequently for lunches and dinners. For the chicken, I use whatever I have on hand: grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, or deli sliced chicken breast. You could also use turkey or whatever other deli meats you have on hand.When it comes to salad dressings, I prefer to make my own. Most bottled salad dressings just don’t do it for me so I often just make my own vinaigrettes fresh and in small amounts. I keep my pantry well-stocked with a variety of different types of olive oils and vinegars so I can always change things up when I want to do so!

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 2 1/2 c. rinsed and chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 tbs. diced red onion
  • 1 tbs. chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 c. canned and drained sweet corn
  • 1/4 c. diced or shredded monterey jack cheese (mozzarella would also work!)
  • 1/4 c. raw almonds (whole or sliced)
  • 1 c. cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 c. diced tomatoes
  • Other ingredients you can add: chick peas, hard-boiled egg, olives, etc.!

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbs. red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (I like to change it up!)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Rinse and chop lettuce and put in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Chop onions, tomatoes, cilantro,  and toss into bowl.
  3. Add cheese, almonds, and corn.
  4. In a separate small bowl, add extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. Whisk together until well-blended.
  5. Drizzle dressing over salad, toss, and enjoy!
All images and text ©