Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese.

I bought a few zucchini recently itching to use my Spiralizer again, and I created this super easy, wicked fast, uber healthy, gloriously delicious lunch that came together in 10 minutes.   Seriously!

I spiralized two small/medium zucchini to create the “pasta” and tossed them in a skilled with some minced garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes sizzling in olive oil.  After just a few minutes. I tossed in some chopped fresh basil, chopped campari tomatoes, and some grated Parmesan cheese.

After I poured it from the skillet to my bowl, I sprinkled it with some fresh black pepper and flaked sea salt.    That’s it!

And it was absolutely amazing!  You will seriously question if you are eating fresh pasta!   I can’t wait to make it again and again this summer when I am able to pick the fresh produce right from my yard.

Here’s the simple recipe I came up with:

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese

  • Servings: 1 as main course, 2 as side dish
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 small/medium zucchini, spriral sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 Campari tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Spiralize zucchini.

Heat olive oil in stir fry skillet.  Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes.  After about a minute when oil begins to sizzle around garlic, add zucchini.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing every minute or so.  Add chopped tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan.  Cook and toss for about 2 more minutes.

Pour into bowl or on plate.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Lemon Butter Scallops

Sizzling Lemon Butter Scallops in Skillet

Sizzling Lemon Butter Scallops in Skillet

Lemon Butter Scallops.

If you are looking for a super quick and easy and even more super delicious scallop recipe, I’ve got a winner for you!

I picked up a 12oz bag of “Specially Selected Premium Jumbo Scallops” at Aldi the other day to make something a little different for dinner for hubby and me.

As a quick side note – I am such a super fan of Aldi.  I am a bit late to the game and was really not sure about it at first, but now…. every time I go, I love it more!  I swear it costs half of what I pay at our other local supermarkets. I am always astonished when I walk out with a cart full of food for $100 or so.  And not only is it so greatly priced, but the quality is amazing.  The produce is fresh, the selection is nice, and I feel like I am being environmentally conscientious when I pack my own bags instead of coming home with 20 more plastic bags.

These scallops were absolutely delicious, and if I recall correctly, they were less than $10.  I didn’t realize what a great source of protein they are.  A 4-ounce serving has 19 grams of protein, 100 calories and 1 gram of fat (0 saturated fat).

So here is the way I made them.  (Enough rambling – right??!!) Simple yet delectable.  We had them with some butternut squash risotto (which I also picked up at Aldi) and a fresh green salad.  (And no I am not being paid by Aldi – though I should inquire! wink!)

Lemon Butter Scallops

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. Jumbo Scallops
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly minced rosemary

Directions:

Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a 12-inch skillet, add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add scallops in a single layer to hot oil in skillet.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Brown 1-2 minutes and then turn.  Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.  Add butter and allow to melt.  Add lemon juice, and flip scallops again to coat with lemon, butter, and garlic.  Sprinkle with freshly minced rosemary, and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Honey Sriracha Lime Salmon

Honey Sriracha Lime Salmon

Honey Sriracha Lime Salmon.

My sweet friend, Janet, visited this past week after coming to town for the wedding, and she made this amazing salmon recipe for us one night.

Hubby is not a salmon fan, but I ADORE it!  Add Sriracha, honey, lime, soy sauce, garlic, and cilantro, and I am in heaven!  So one evening when he had a late meeting, Janet and I feasted on this with some roasted veggies and brown rice.  It was awesome!

You can adjust the amount of heat or sweet to your liking.  We did from the original recipe at Creme de la Crumb.

Here is how we made it!  Let me know if you try and enjoy as much as we did.

Honey Sriracha Lime Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 1 large salmon or 4-6 individual (4-6 oz.) fillets
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup Sriracha Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp low sodium Soy Sauce (I always use low sodium soy sauce – and I am a salt lover!)
  • 2 limes (one juiced and zested, the other sliced thinly)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp freshly chopped cilantro

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Grease lightly, and lay salmon on top.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place sliced limes under the edges of the salmon.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter, stir in honey, Sriracha, soy sauce, lime juice, and garlic.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the salmon – covering completely to avoid dry spots.  Fold the edges of the foil up around the salmon so the sauce doesn’t spill out.

Bake for 15 minutes, then switch to broil and cook another 4-5 minutes.  Do not overcook.

Top salmon with reserved sauce, lime zest and chopped cilantro.

Enjoy!

Also, if you are not a salmon lover, this sauce and method would work great with chicken or pork also!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Miss you already Jan!  xo

Easter & Spring Carrot Vegetable Tray

Easter & Spring Carrot Vegetable Tray.

It’s not always that hard to be creative and fun with your food for holidays and special occasions.

For our Easter celebration this year, I made a veggie tray in the shape of a carrot with carrots and other vegetables.  A meat serving platter is a great shaped tray for creating this “design.”

We dipped our veggies in hummus.

You could also make a ranch or dill or spinach dip or whatever you like, but have fun with your food and make it a little festive with quick and easy simple touches like this!

My favorite is the sugar snap peas.  What is your favorite crudite?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes (with Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions)


Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes (with Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions).

Our family celebrated Easter a week early this year by getting together yesterday.  With the traditional ham, I made a kicked up version of scalloped potatoes.

Roasted tomatoes, sweet yellow, orange, and red peppers, and sweet onions….

layered in with creamy, cheesy potatoes

made for an amazing potato casserole!

To add a bit more “zip,” I kicked it up even more by using jalepeno havarti cheese instead of plain gruyere or havarti.

We loved it!

If you are looking for a new way with potatoes to go with your Easter ham or with roast beef or pork or chicken or even by itself for any other special occasion (like Monday night dinner), this scalloped potato recipe is worth the little bit of extra effort.

Hope you’ll give it a try.

Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions*

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs. yukon gold potatoes (or your favorite) sliced thinly
  • 2 cups jalepeno havarti cheese (or your favorite), grated
  • 8 campari tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange or combination), cut into strips
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut in half and sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tsp. herbes de Provence (sweet French herbs and flowery lavender with Italian herbs and fennel that includes: rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, French tarragon, dill weed, Turkish oregano, lavender, chervil and marjoram.
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Whisk egg yolks and 1 cup half and half in small bowl.  Set aside.  In large pot, combine 1 1/2 cups half and half, nutmeg, salt, pepper, garlic and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add the sliced potatoes.  Simmer until halfway cooked, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in egg-milk mixture and cheese.  Cover and keep warm.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Put the sliced tomatoes, peppers and onions on a baking sheet in separate piles.  Drizzle with olive oi and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbes de Provence.  Bake 10-15 minutes until tender and charred around edges.

Reduce oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray 9×13 baking dish with Pam cooking spray.  Sprinkle half the panko bread crumbs in bottom of the baking dish.  Spoon half of the potato mixture into the dish.  Top with half of the roasted vegetables.  Layer the remaining half of potatoes then remaining roasted vegetables.

Bake until potatoes are tender – 50-60 minutes.

Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup half and half.  Sprinkle with remaining panko bread crumbs and 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*slightly adapted from Food Network

Un Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Un-Stuffed Pepper Casserole.  It’s what’s for dinner…

I love stuffed peppers, but for some reason, I don’t make them very often.  Not sure why.  But on a recent visit to our local John’s Bar, the dinner special was stuffed pepper casserole.  I nabbed the last one – much to some of our friends at the bar’s dismay.

I really enjoyed it and thought it must be simple to make.  And it occurred to me that we usually end up chopping up our stuffed peppers on our plate to eat, so why not deconstruct them in a casserole?!

I did a bit of googling, and I took some ideas from some recipes I found, combined them with my stuffed pepper recipe and thoughts of what I would like, and I came up with this yummy quick and easy skillet supper.

It was windy and rainy off and  on yesterday, so it was a perfect evening for a comfort-type dish.  I served ours over mashed potatoes (mainly because that’s how we like to eat our stuffed peppers too), but it is totally not necessary.  You can sprinkle some shredded cheese on top – or not – again – up to you.  You can tweak it up even healthier if you like by using ground turkey instead of ground beef and brown rice or even quinoa or your favorite grain instead of the rice.

If you’ve been hanging around here for any amount of time, you know I’m the queen of improvising on recipes.  I rarely measure, and I love experimenting.  If it calls for “this,” why not try “that.”  And cooking is really not brain surgery or rocket science, so if you add a smidge instead of a dash – who cares!  The palm of my hand is my measuring spoon.  Sometimes it works good – sometimes it’s just so-so, but as long as I am having fun creating – whether it’s food or photography or art – it’s all good.

Yep – that’s what it’s about here – being creative “in between” the times when we have to do the routine.

Hope you’ll give this yummy dish a try.  Do it my way – or do it your way.  Just have fun creating it!.

Un-Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Ingredients:

  • I Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped (I used one red, one orange, and one yellow)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. ground beef (my package had 1 3/4 lb. in it)
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika (oh how I adore the SMOKED paprika!)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste ( I used about 1 tsp of each)
  • 1 cup cooked rice (I used Jasmine – I love Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice – it’s NO FAIL and so easily ready in 90 seconds)
  • 1  10 3/4 oz. can condensed tomato soup & 1 can water
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions for garnish, optional

Directions:

In a large skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil.  Add chopped onions and peppers and salt to taste.  Once limp and onions are translucent after a few minutes, add ground beef and brown until no longer pink.  Add smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Stir in cooked rice, soup, water, and diced tomatoes.  Cook for additional 10-15 minutes.

Sprinkle with cheese (if desired) and garnish with chopped green onions.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies

Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies.

I tried a new cookie recipe this weekend to add to the wedding cookie table.

And OMG – if you ever dreamed you could have your cake and eat it in a cookie too – well – your dream has come true with this recipe.  Seriously… carrot cake delightfulness in a cookie!

The frosting filling alone…… well…. all I can say is it makes me think of what a cloud might taste like in heaven….  sweet creamy, buttery, cream cheesey delight with a swirl of apricot.  Can you even imagine?!

A nutty, crunchy, shortbread-like cookie with a delightful apricot cream cheese filling.  If you are looking for a beautiful, sweet treat for a special occasion like perhaps – a wedding cookie table – these lovely little morsels are just the ticket!

Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 sticks butter, melted, plus 2 sticks, room temperature, for frosting
  • 1 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots or golden raisins
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 6 tsp. apricot jam

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat melted butter, sugars, and egg yolks until light and creamy.  Blend in ginger, cinnamon, and salt.  gradually beat in flour.  Mix in oats, carrots, and chopped apricots or raisins.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls.  Roll into chopped nuts.  Place on baking stone or cookie sheet, and bake for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven, and quickly press an indentation into center of each cookie ball.  Return to oven and bake for 8 more minutes until lightly golden brown.

Transfer to a cooking rack and cool completely.

In a mixing bowl, beat remaining 2 sticks of softened butter and confectioner’s sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in cream cheese.  Gently swirl in apricot jam.

Place frosting in large Ziploc bag.  Snip corner and pipe into each cooled cookie.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Adapted from Martha Stewart

 

Jodi’s Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jodi’s Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Wedding cookie baking continues; and I think if my son Nick had his way, the wedding cookie table would be completely covered with chocolate chip cookies.

I often vary this basic chocolate chip cookie recipe up by substituting a portion of the chocolate chips with dried tart cherries (Nick’s current fave) or half the chocolate chips with peanut butter chips, or making them with white chocolate chips and dried blueberries, or half chocolate chips and half chopped Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, but this is my classic, stand-by best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I made three batches for the upcoming wedding.

A couple tips for those that ask how I make these: always refrigerate the dough for at least a few hours before baking, roll dough into large balls, bake on baking stones (no greater investment for baking!), electric convection ovens are the best for baking cookies.

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

4 sticks (1 lb.) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
2 12-oz bags Nestle Chocolate Chunk Morsels (or your favorite)

Directions:

With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda and salt, and mix another minute. Gradually add flour and beat until well incorporated, but do not overbeat.

Fold in chocolate chunk morsels.  Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With your hands, form a cookie dough ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on baking stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on baking stone for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Happy Baking!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lemon Garlic Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Lemon Garlic Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin.

It’s what’s for dinner!

If you are a pork fan, like I am fast becoming, this marinated tenderloin is a MUST try!

It turns out tender and juicy with a fresh citrusy herb flavor that pairs great with potatoes and fresh vegetables for a delicious, easy weeknight dinner.

Prepare and marinade the meat the night before, then all you have to do is throw it on the grill for 10-15 minutes for dinner.

Leftovers are great sliced thinly for sandwiches or tossed in a stir-fry.  Such a bonus to get a couple completely different meals from one easy recipe.

Hope you will give it a try, and hope you enjoy as much as we did.

Lemon Garlic Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

  • 4 Fresh Ripe Lemons, Juiced and Zest from one
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 6 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Rosemary
  • 1  Tbsp chopped fresh Thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Pork Tenderloins (approx. 1 lb each)

Directions:

Make marinade by whisking together first 8 ingredients.  Pour into large Ziploc bag.  Add the pork tenderloins and coat.  Marinade overnight in refrigerator or at least 8 hours.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees F.   Place tenderloins on grill.  Discard excess marinade.  Grill 10-15 minutes or until meat reaches 135 degrees F.  Allow to rest 5-10 minutes.  Cut into thin slices to serve.

Enjoy with roasted new potatoes and steamed broccoli or your favorite vegetable.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

*Recipe slightly adapted from Ina Garten’s Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin

A Brunch & Bubbly Bridal Shower

I had the joy and privilege of hosting a Brunch & Bubbly Bridal Shower for my bright and bubbly daughter-in-law to be this past weekend.

I had fun decorating and preparing for our girly party!

Thanks to Matron of Honor and beautiful sister, Laura, and loving, gentle mom, Pat for co-hosting with me.

(And a super special thanks to my BFF Jill for taking all of these photos as well as helping with anything else needed while I was busy hosting.)

Liz was surrounded by the love of her Mom and three sisters…

and there is another beautiful girl on the way to add to this gang!

First things first – the Bubbly!

and a toast to the bride-to-be.

Friends and family attended.

Families mingled meeting and getting to know each other…

and several generations shared in the joy and love.

New moms and great grandmoms…

and moms with babies on the way,

and moms who get to share ❤ .

Then there was brunch.

Where we served a buffet of Chicken  Salad on Sliced Crostini, Crispy Veggies with Hummus, Fresh Fruit and Honey Walnut Brie, along with…

Mini BLTs served on Heart-shaped biscuits,

Loaded Deviled Eggs,

and a Strawberry Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Candied Pecans.

Aunt Kathy made the MOST amazing cupcakes I’ve every tasted!  Strawberry Lemon with Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting,

My friend, Pam who makes the most amazingly beautiful sugar cookiedoodles, made these gorgeous and delicious treats that we served along with my cookie pops.

The guests brought and shared amazing gifts for our newlyweds to be.

We played a few games.  Pretty simple ones really… Like guess the number of corks and gave away prizes when a timer went off during gift opening.

Some sweet and funny stories were shared when guests filled out a “Mad Lib” story…

and then chose to share with the group.

And then the groom-to-be (my son, Nick) arrived with flowers, smiles, and a tight hug.

Favors of Homemade Lavender Sugar Scrub were given to guests as a thank you before leaving.

A kiss and an “I love you” at the end of the day, but the beginning of a lifetime.  (with a little bit of sweet granddaughter drool on my shoulder)

It was a great day to celebrate a great young lady!

Love you Liz!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Thanks Jill!

Party Supplies:
Toasting Flutes for Mimosa Bar
Juice Carafes for Mimosa Bar
Tissue Paper Tassel Garland
Tissue Paper Pom Poms
Tissue Paper Honeycomb Balls