Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I've got yet ANOTHER quick & easy summer recipe for you.  This time it's a side dish...

This summer, I planted all types of herbs & veggies.  As you can probably tell from my recent recipes, I've ended up with more basil and tomatoes than I could possibly use!  Good thing I love both.  And because of that, these Stuffed Zucchini Boats have a start similar to that of the Rustic Pasta from last week.


*  2 medium zucchini
*  1-2 medium tomatoes, diced
*  handful of fresh basil, chopped
*  1 clove garlic, minced
*  1 Tbsp. EVOO + more for brushing zucchini
*  2-3 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into pieces
*  salt & pepper


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a bowl, combine diced tomatoes, basil, 1 Tbsp EVOO & minced garlic.  Season with salt & pepper. 

2.  Slice zucchini in half longways. Use a spoon to scoop out inside flesh, leaving 1/2 inch around the outside, to form a boat.  Brush with EVOO and season very generously with salt & pepper.

3.  Fill each zucchini boat with tomato basil mixture and place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

4.  Remove zucchini from oven and top with pieces of fresh mozzarella.  Return to oven for another 3-5 minutes, until mozzarella is melted & bubbling.

5.  Serve warm alongside your favorite summer dishes.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rustic Pasta with Grilled Chicken

Want another easy & quick summer recipe? Good, because I've got one.

It's no secret that I love basil. Basil & cilantro run neck & neck for the herb most used in our home. I use one or the other (or both) almost daily.

This Rustic Pasta with Grilled Chicken can be made in literally about 20 minutes from start to finish.


* 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* Italian seasoning
* penne pasta (or whatever you have on hand)
* 3-4 medium tomatoes, diced
* 1 cup lightly packed basil leaves, chopped or torn
* 3 Tbsp EVOO
* 2 cloves garlic
* salt & pepper


1. Season chicken breasts generously with Italian season. Grill over medium-high heat until cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

3. In a bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, basil, EVOO & garlic. Season generously with salt & pepper.

4. Combine the cooked pasta with the tomato mixture.

5. Serve with sliced grilled chicken.

Ta-da! I told you it was easy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

29 Years 365 Days - and an amazing cake to celebrate

Yesterday, I celebrated the 1st Anniversary of my 29th Birthday. That's right. I refuse to be the Big 3-0 and I've decided to stay 29.

And because it was my birthday, my wonderfully amazing mother came to see me and made a birthday cake. I may be biased, but my mom makes the BEST birthday cakes. You may recall that last year she made me this delicious Hazelnut Raspberry cake. Well, she one-upped it this year with a Mixed-Berry Chiffon Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting.

As beautiful as the cake was, it was even more delicious!

The recipe was from epicurious.com and you can find the recipe here. Mom changed a few things (like omitting the lemon zest, which would have ruined the whole thing).

Thank you to my mom for helping with dinner & making the wonderful cake. And thank you to my sweet friends for making the day extra special.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grilled Portabellos with Steak & Carmelized Onions

When I was a kid, I detested mushrooms. All of them. They were slimy and spongy and had an odd flavor. I would always try them, thinking maybe one day I'd like them, but to no avail.

And then I met portabello mushrooms. They were different. Portabellos had a different taste & texture and I liked them. Since then, I've come to like all kinds of mushrooms, but portabellos are still my favorite. They can be used in all types of dishes or can stand on their own.

A couple of weeks back, The Hubs wanted steak for dinner, so I decided to grab a couple of portabellos to throw on the grill alongside the steak. And for good measure, I caramelized some onions to go with them. Everything turned out wonderfully delicious!


* Portabello mushrooms, large
* Steak of your choice
* Caramelized onions
* Extra virgin olive oil
* Italian seasoning


1. Prep the mushrooms by chopping off the stem of the mushroom at the base...

And wiping the cap off with a damp cloth to get off as much dirt as possible. DO NOT RUN IT UNDER WATER. (As we used to say when we were little, "God made dirt. Dirt don't hurt.")

Whether or not you scoop out the gills is up to you.

2. Lightly brush both sides with EVOO.

3. Season with Italian Seasoning.

4. Throw on the grill with your steak, cooking the mushrooms about 5 minutes per side.

5. Slice and serve with your grilled steak & caramelized onion.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chicken & Corn Succotash

There are several foods that just say "summer" to me: watermelon, ice cream, peaches and corn, to name a few. The Hubs would eat corn every day if I'd fix it for him. Yes, I know. People say it has very little nutritional value...blah, blah, blah. It tastes good & I like it, so I use it often.

I recently saw a recipe for Chicken Succotash in a Martha Stewart magazine and, as usual, made my own version of the dish. It's perfect for a hot summer night.


* 1 large zucchini, quartered & sliced
* 2 ears of corn
* 1 cup frozen lima beans, defrosted
* 1 tsp. garlic powder
* 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
* 2 Tbsp. EVOO, divided
* 1/2 of a rotisserie chicken, shredded
* 1/2 an avocado, diced
* 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
* salt & pepper


1. Using a sharp knife, remove corn kernels from ears of corn.

2. Combine halved tomatoes with 1 Tbsp. EVOO and season with salt & pepper.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp. EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the zucchini with salt & pepper and add to pan. Saute 3 minutes.

4. Add corn...

And lima beans and cook until lima beans are softened. Season with salt, pepper & garlic powder.

5. Add the chicken and cook just until heated through.

6. Stir in the cilantro, tomatoes and avocado and serve!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Old Bay Steamed Shrimp

Time to play catch up. I have lots of new recipes to share with you all & I'm going to do my best to get them all blogged in the next week or so. (If this tells you how behind I am...I made these Old Bay Steamed Shrimp for Memorial Day weekend). So here we go...

In case you haven't noticed, I love simple meals that are tasty. Old Bay Steamed Shrimp fits in that category. If you can set a time for 6-7 minutes, you can't screw these up.


* 1.5 - 2 lbs. shrimp, shell on (deveined, if you'd like)
* 3 cups of water
* 1.5 cups beer (something good - with flavor)
* 1 cup plain vinegar
* a lot of Old Bay Seasoning
* cocktail sauce


1. Pour water, beer & vinegar into a large pot over high heat. Cover with lid.

2. Coat the shrimp in Old Bay Seasoning. Use a lot. Then use some more.

3. Dump the shrimp into the steamer basket, place the basket in the pot & recover. Steam for 6 to 7 minutes or until shrimp are done.

4. Remove from heat and pour shrimp onto a platter. Serve with cocktail sauce & lots of napkins.