Summer Zucchini Minestrone


This easy soup recipe is the perfect way to incorporate fresh local veggies during the summer season.
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Ingredients:

  • 28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 4-5 small zucchinis, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 large vidalia onion
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 3 fresh cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups of organic spinach
  • 1.5 teaspoons of organic chicken soup base
  • 3-4 cups of filtered water
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans of organic cannellini beans

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Steps:

  1. Start by taking a medium sized sauce pan and coat the bottom with olive oil, turn heat on medium and add the onions, basil and parsley stirring frequently for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes (if they are whole cut them into bite sized pieces first), beans, water, salt and pepper and the soup base.
  3. Cover the pan and let simmer over medium to low heat for 30-35 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with parmesan and red chili flakes.

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Avocado Toast


My husband always orders this at a local breakfast place we go to and I decided to replicate it at home. What I love about the flavors in this dish is the sea salt and fresh lemon. It’s so simple to make and keeps you full for so long. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 eggs over easy or poached
  • Olive oil spray (to coat the pan)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small lemon
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of your favorite oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 slice of your favorite multi grain bread
  • 1 small tomato sliced (optional)

Steps:

  1. Start by dicing the avocado and place into a bowl, add the oil, sea salt (to taste) and a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon and mash until you have received guacamole like texture.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. Take a medium sized skillet and coat with olive oil spray. Cook the eggs to your liking.
  4. Smear the avocado onto the bread, place the tomatoes (if you’re using) on top of the avocado and finally the eggs. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with fresh lemon. NOM! IMG_0962

My first week with Blue Apron


I’ve been curious about Blue Apron for a while now and my friend Elisa sent me a free week of meals so I finally tried it out! My menu for the week (I opted for the vegetarian recipes) consisted of three meals; three cheese calzones, winter squash and baby kale quesadillas and curried cauliflower steaks. First off I was really impressed with the packaging. A box arrives right to your doorstep filled with food and it has really pretty 8×10 menu cards (see below) that I plan on hole punching and putting in my recipe binder! I was shocked at how fresh the ingredients looked. The kale was so green and beautiful. Each recipe comes with a little knickknack bag filled with perfectly proportioned  seasonings, sauces and what not. I really love this concept because so many times you have to go and buy full sized items that a recipe calls for and then you end up wasting it.

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Now for the actual recipes I really only liked 2 out of 3. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the three cheese calzones, mainly because I like to cook healthy during the work week and I thought the dough was hard to manipulate. Basically if I’m going to indulge I would rather have pizza or parm and order out, but that’s just my personal feelings, and obviously doesn’t apply to everyone.  I also felt like the recipes were a bit long and that it stifled my creativity in the kitchen.

However I absolutely loved not having to worry about what I was going to prepare for dinner that night and knowing that I didn’t have to go to the grocery store. I also tried recipes that I probably wouldn’t have thought of on my own, which keeps it interesting. Blue Apron definitely  has pro’s has con’s depending on how you feel about cooking. I am going to try it out for another week, and report back. The price is really affordable $60.00 for three meals which serves two, so $9.99 per serving.  Have any of you tried Blue Apron? Would love to hear your experience with it!

Sunny side eggs over arugula


I really like incorporating greens into my breakfast. This dish is so simple but there’s something that feels really gourmet about it. The flavors are fresh and distinguished and it’s  just delicious! This would also be great for lunch and a light dinner too.

Ingredients:

  • Farm fresh organic eggs (however many you want)
  • Avocado oil (to drizzle)
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I like pink Himalayan salt)
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese (to sprinkle)
  • Olive oil spray (to coat the pan)
  • Arugula (desired amount)
  • Grape tomatoes (desired amount)
  • Green onions (desired amount)
  • 1 tsp pesto

Steps:

  1. Start by taking a medium sized pan and coat with olive oil spray over medium heat. After the pan has warmed up add the eggs.
  2. While the eggs are cooking take the desired amount of arugula onto a plate. Drizzle with avocado oil, lemon and parmesan cheese.
  3. In the same pan the eggs are cooking add the green onions and tomatoes and let cook for 3-5 minutes to bring out their flavor. Cook your eggs to your desired consistency and place over the arugula.
  4. Top with the tomatoes, green onions, salt and pepper and pesto. I happened to have homemade pesto in my fridge but you can buy any store brand for this. Enjoy! image

Panko crusted halibut


When I was home over the holidays I wanted to treat my family to a yummy home cooked meal. Naturally I went to Wegman’s because I miss not having one nearby now that I live in Florida. The halibut that I got there was literally out of this world. My mom even said it was the best fish she had ever tasted! I don’t normally cook with butter, but I felt like since I was splurging on a beautiful piece of fish I had to indulge a little. I used Wegman’s lemon butter sauce, and it was so delicious. If you can’t find this product or something similar then just make your own by melting some butter, lemon, garlic powder and salt and pepper.

The sides are self explanatory I steamed some asparagus (I like to keep them crunchy) and drizzled some olive oil, lemon and fresh Parmesan cheese over it. For the mushrooms I used a tiny it of butter, pan seared some shallots and garlic and let them cook for about 5-7 minutes. This dish turned out amazing, restaurant quality for sure. It all came back to the quality of the fish, you’ll definitely want to make sure you find fresh fish for this recipe to turn out right.  If you can’t find halibut I just recently made this same recipe with Cobia and it was very similar to Halibut- white and flaky.  Ask your grocery store what they have available, here is a list on seafood that you may find helpful.

Ingredients:

  • Halibut (however much you need)
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggwhites
  • Lemon (as needed)
  • Lemon butter sauce (drizzle as needed)
  • 1 tsp butter

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Take the fish out and rinse, pat dry and set aside.
  3. In a non-stick skillet warm up the butter over medium heat.
  4. While the butter is melting, dip the fish in the egg whites first and panko breadcrumbs second.
  5. Carefully place the fish on the skillet and let cook on each side for 3-5 minutes or until its golden. You can add more butter to the pan if necessary.
  6. Take a baking sheet and wrap with aluminum foil and smear some butter on it. Place the fish on the pan and take the lemon butter sauce and drizzle it on both sides. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Do not walk away from the fish keep your eye on it, when the color is a bright white it’s done. Serve with a fresh lemon wedge. fish

One Pot Veggie Penne Pasta


I have seen these one pot veggie pasta dishes on Pinterest for a while now and have been dying to try it out.  Most of them are inspired by Martha Stewart’s One Pot Meals cookbook. I was a little skeptical at first because I love sautéing my veggies, but I figured I would give this method a try. I just used the vegetables I had in my fridge. This recipe turned out delicious, my husband said it taste like a vodka penne which is good considering I didn’t use any cream- just cheese. I prefer my normal method of making veggie pasta, but this one pot pasta dish is tasty and easy so I would still recommend it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet onion diced
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 organic zucchini -quartered
  • 12 oz grape tomatoes -quartered
  • 4 large basil leaves torn
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon -squeezed
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (I was out so I used a few cubes of this)
  • 12 oz of whole wheat penne
  • 4 cups of veggie broth (I had to drain a little out at the end)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red chili flakes to taste (if desired)

Steps:

1.) Add the penne, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, Parmesan cheese, veggie broth, onion, salt and pepper, chili flakes, garlic and lemon.

2.) Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat stirring frequently. Let cook for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender. If all of the broth hasn’t evaporated then strain out the remainder.

3.) Add the mozzarella cheese and stir until melted, serve and enjoy! image

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Eggplant Parmesan


Eggplant Parmesan is hands down my favorite meal of all time. I love everything about it. I’m always hesitant to order it at a restaurant because it takes a lot of time and effort and you can definitely tell when people take shortcuts. For me it’s all about consistency. This recipe is a lot of work, about two hours in the kitchen, but the result is mouthwatering and totally worth it. I’ve seen recipes where people just bake it and skip the frying part, but I promise you it’s worth it to take the extra time to make this dish the right way. Eggplant is a very watery vegetable so it’s essential to get some of the water out, otherwise you end up with a yucky texture. I cut the eggplant and then dust it with ground sea salt, as you’ll see in the picture below the salt sucks the water out of the eggplant. imageAnother way to make your life easier while making this recipe is to set up a nice prep station. Get all of your ingredients out and ready to go and make sure you clean up after yourself as you go, otherwise it can be overwhelming. You will be multitasking, so establishing a clean functional prep space is clutch. I was thoroughly ecstatic about the way that this eggplant parm turned out and if you’re in the mood to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty (with breadcrumbs) I promise you it will be so worth it!

Ingredients:

Steps:

1.) Start by cutting the eggplant, lay the pieces out on and dust with sea salt- let them sit for at least 30 minutes or until you see the water come out.image2.) If you’re going to make homemade marinara follow this step, if not please skip to step 3. Drizzle some olive oil on a large skillet and turn the heat to medium. Add the halved onion, celery, bay leaves and garlic, fresh basil and parsley, dried Italian herbs and let cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and simmer for at least an hour and half. When pouring the sauce on the eggplant just use the red sauce, avoid the onion, garlic, celery and bay leaves.image3.) Once the eggplant has been sitting for at least 30 minutes pat eggplant with paper towels to absorb the water. Set yourself up with a nice work area, take 5-6 eggs and whisk in a bowl. Take the Italian breadcrumbs, Italian panko breadcrumbs and flour all equal parts and mix together (you can use just breadcrumbs- I just find this mixture to result in the perfect consistency.) image4.) Dip the eggplant in the eggs and then coat in breadcrumbs (*Tip- after a while the breadcrumbs can get clumpy- I dump them out and make a new mixture about halfway through to ensure a nice even coat. It’s also helpful to do this right near the sink so you can rinse your hands off when you need to.) Spray the breaded eggplant with a light coat of olive oil spray on both sides.

5.) Get two skillets out and coat with vegetable over medium to high heat. Once the oil is warm add the eggplant. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the eggplant is golden brown and then flip and cook on the other side. Set the fried eggplant off to the side and repeat this step until all the eggplant has been fried. (*Tip- you will have to reuse the skillets since there will be a lot of eggplant. Run some water in on the skillet in between rounds and add new oil to keep the oil fresh.)imageimage6.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take your favorite pan and spray with olive oil, take the fried eggplant and put on the bottom of the pan. Add sauce (just enough on each layer to cover the eggplant,)  cheese (desired amount,) fresh basil and repeat until you get to the top of the pan! I had about 4-5 extra fried eggplants that I just set aside. imageimage7.) Cover the eggplant with aluminum foil and place in the lower rack and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover let rest for about 5 minutes and ENJOY the fruits of your labor.image image

Angel Hair Pesto Pasta with Sauteed Vegetables


I was craving a yummy pesto and started flipping through some of my favorite cookbooks. I was inspired by Vitamix kale and basil pesto recipe and the Oh She Glow’s avocado creamy pasta. I handed a bowl of this to my husband while he was on work phonecall and he blurted out “oh my god this is outstanding,” haha so I think it’s safe to say this dish was a home run! If you wanted to simplify this dish you could leave out the sauteed onions, squash and tomatoes, but I just love the color they add. Either way it will be delicious!

Ingredients:image

  • For the pesto: 1 avocado, 2 cups of spinach, 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 lemon squeezed, 1 tsp. sea salt, 3 cloves of fresh garlic, 3/4 cup of organic extra virgin olive oil, 2 cups of fresh basil, 3 tablespoons of pine nuts.
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 cup of organic grape tomatoes diced (sun-dried tomatoes would be a great alternative)
  • 1 organic medium yellow squash
  • 1 box of your favorite angel hair pasta (I tried this kind for the first time and absolutely LOVED it!)

Steps:

1.) Start by adding all of the ingredients for the pesto into a Vitamix or food processor. Blend for 30 seconds or until you’ve achieved desired consistency.

2.) Cook the pasta according to the package directions. It’s best to cook it al dente since you will be mixing it back into warm ingredients.

3.) Add a little bit of olive oil to a medium pan and turn on medium to high heat-add the diced onions and let caramelize for 5 minutes or so. Add the squash and tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

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4.) Add the pasta (do not rinse with cold water, just strain) to the pan with the sauteed veggies. Add the pesto…you will not need all of it just pour and mix until achieve desired amount and save the rest for leftovers!imageimage

Breakfast Smoothie- Trader Joe’s Fan


So if you haven’t already noticed by now I am a BIG FAN of Trader Joe’s. All of the ingredients (except the protein powder) in this smoothie are from Trader Joe’s.  I have been making this for a little over a week now and I am seriously obsessed!! I have never been a big eater in the morning, but I know how important it is to eat a nourishing breakfast so that’s why I love this smoothie.  After playing around with some different ingredients I came up with this recipe, it taste delicious and it’s really good for your digestive system. It’s jam packed with fiber and nutrients and keeps you full well into lunch time! Sometimes I struggle drinking it all and have to take breaks. I have a Vitamix blender- you’ll need a strong blender for the oats and the apple to avoid getting a gritty taste.

Serving Size: This could easily be 2 smaller easily, I just make a large amount and sip on it to keep full for a late lunch.21

Ingredients:

**Place it all in a blender and turn on, pour into your favorite cup and enjoy!!

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Veggie Garden Salad


On Saturday I went to a local farmer’s market to get my weekly produce. Farmer’s markets are just starting to come back  after taking a break during the hot summer months in Florida. I absolutely love starting my Saturday with a coffee in my hand and the sun shining while looking at beautiful food.  There are so many beneficial reasons to go to your local farmers markets; support your local farmers, know where your food comes from, connect with your community, save $$ (my total bill was $29 for A LOT of fresh fruit and veggies) and to protect the environment (just to name a few.) If you live in a colder climate most states have indoor farmer’s markets, you just have to do your research! Stocking up on local produce help make weeknight dinners easier. I never really plan my meals out ahead of time, but I always have certain ingredients in my kitchen so that I can whip together a yummy recipe. Besides having fresh produce in my home at all times I always make sure to have organic brown rice, organic quinoa, protein plus pasta and tons of beans and lentils.  I also love fresh herbs, but they go bad so easily so I keep these pastes in my fridge. This salad was refreshing and yummy, and remember to really scrub your fruits and veggies before eating!5 4 6 7 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium cucumbers diced- I like to keep the skin on
  • 2 red peppers diced
  • 5 radishes diced
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes (about 15 small tomatoes)
  • 1 can of rinsed organic great northern beans
  • 1/2 white diced onion
  • 2 heaping tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 2 heaping tablespoons white balsamic vinaigrette (I like to use both but you could do 1/4 cup of either)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4  cup Parmesan cheese (if you aren’t going to eat in one sitting then sprinkle cheese on each individual bowl)
  • 1/2 of a fresh lemon squeezed
  • 3 celery stalks

Steps:

  1. Dice all the vegetables up and place into a large bowl.
  2. Take the balsamic vinaigrette, cheese, salt and pepper, garlic powder, lemon and olive oil and whisk in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour over the vegetables and mix well. Place in refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes or so. 23