Creamy Mushroom and Brie White Bean Soup

Hoooooomygosh! So! I’m even more hopelessly tech challenged than I originally thought because I’m having permalink problems with a few of my favorite posts. I’ve been troubleshooting for a few weeks and totally utterly give up. I’m sucking it up and re-posting the recipe so it doesn’t vanish into some weird cyber black hole never to return again. The post itself is gloriously out of context but the soup? The soup is gooooood!

Creamy Mushroom Brie Soup

Oh hi!  I’m afraid I have ANOTHER soup recipe.  Please don’t throw things.  I promise this is the last one for a while.  Though my fingers may or may not be crossed behind my back right now because I have one more soup recipe in my draft folder.  Lo siento.  I cant help what happens when inspiration strikes.  I also can’t help the obnoxious happy dance I do around the kitchen when inspiration turns into deliciousness.  This particular recipe resulted in a happy dance, bowl lickage [by P -- I'm far too classy for that!  Hah!] and a few texts informing the bestie of my intentions to wed this soup.

Today’s recipe remix is a thicker, creamier, protein-packed version of the Mushroom Brie Soup I posted last month.  I think the pilot and the amazon both scoffed when they learned that I’d be adding beans to the soup.  You might be scoffing too!  I, however, am smiling because not only did it work, its freaking delicious too!  *cue yet another obnoxious happy dance* 

Creamy Mushroom Brie and White Bean Soup

Creamy Mushroom and Brie White Bean Soup

[yields two large bowls or four smaller ones]

Creamy Mushroom Brie White Bean Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 2-4
  • 1 pkg [8oz] button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pkg [8oz] baby bella portobella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 [15oz] can of cannellini beans [or whip them up from scratch!]
  • 4-8oz of brie cheese, rind removed
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup of dairy [heavy cream, half and half, evap. milk, coconut or almond milk]
  • 1-2 TBSP your favorite healthy oil
  • 2 TBSP cream cheese, room temperature or melted
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp basil
  • 2 cranks of black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • a pinch of parsley and red pepper flakes, to taste
  1. Drizzle a little olive/avocado/coconut oil at the bottom of a large pot/pan and saute mushrooms until tender, adding the minced garlic towards the end.
  2. While that's cooking, add your white beans and onion to a pot with veggie stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce to medium-low heat and add a bay leaf, ¼ tsp of salt, a crank or two of black pepper, ¼ tsp of basil and a pinch of red pepper flakes [optional] and simmer for around 15-20 minutes.
  4. Once the flavors have had some time to mingle, remove the bay leaf and puree the beans/broth [in batches if needed!] with an immersion blender [or a vitamix-type blender] until the beans are creamy and perfectly smooth.
  5. Return to the pot and add your sauteed mushrooms and garlic along with the basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to simmer along with your soup.
  6. Next grab your dairy.
  7. All I had on hand was some coconut milk creamer [thickened, unsweetened coconut cream] so I added a little cream cheese to add extra creaminess to the broth. If you're using half and half or heavy cream you can skip the cream cheese. [or go nuts and add both - up to you!]
  8. Reduce heat so it's at the lowest setting and stir in your dairy of choice. I added the thickened coconut milk and cream cheese this time.
  9. Remove pot from heat entirely and stir in your cubed brie, stirring constantly as it melts.
  10. Taste test, adjust brie and seasonings as desired and serve alongside some crusty garlic bread for a filling and flavorful lunch or dinner! It also makes a great starter to any meal; simply serve up smaller bowls!

vegansarus chefs skip and/or sub the dairy and add wilted kale or spinach
brontosaurus chefs make as written above or add kale/spinach too
t-rex chefs feel free to use chicken broth or stock if desired – resist urge to add bacon

Gouda makes an excellent sub for the brie if needed!  

Serving Suggestion: whip up some crusty garlic bread or toasts to go alongside the soup!

Creamy Mushroom Brie Soup
Creamy Mushroom Brie and White Bean Soup

so… how was it?

If you’ve been reading, you know it’s definitely happy-dance worthy.  If you haven’t been reading you should probably go sit in the corner =)  I’ll be in the other corner continuing my happy dance.  Love.  This.  Soup!  Though by normal standards it may make 4 servings… P and I split the pot and called it a day.  The funny part was that I was in utter denial over finishing the soup in a sitting.  Surely there were leftovers!  I must have dreamt of them because when I raided the fridge the following day looking for leftovers, I came up empty handed.  I need to buy more mushrooms.  And Brie.  Oh brie!

So I think after I get one last soup recipe out of my system I’m going to return to my adventures in baking!  You can expect lots of breads and muffins with a few cookies and scones sprinkled in for good measure.  I also have a few healthy veggie side dishes and entrees that I’ve been recipe testing and I may or may not a bit of good news that I will reveal the second it’s unjinxable.  Let’s pretend that’s a real word.  Along with fanfreakingtastic…. As in, I hope you had a fanfreakingtasting weekend and are ready to kick this week’s butt!  And eat your veggies.  Always.

OoOh! and in case you actually *do* want more soup in your face, try these:
Creamy Tomato Soup with Baked Mozzarella BallsPanera Broccoli and Cheese Soup
Has anyone else gone soup-nanas? I can’t be the only nutjob dreaming of the stuff!

Crock-pot Mexican Baked Potato Soup

Hookay soo… if everyone else is allowed to peddle pumpkin and squash like it isn’t still hot as Hades outside, then I’m allowed to make soup. [Mmmm soup!] Of course it is very much still face-meltingly hot outside [at least here in Florida it is!] so I’m doing the right thing and not touching my oven whatsoever. Heck no; we’re doing this slow cooker style baby!

Did you just do a little dance? Crock-pooooooot: I love you!

This soup is the cousin from another oven of my Veggie Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Same concept, different genre. Or something like that. I really shouldn’t be allowed to write blog posts on post-op pain meds. It doesn’t bode well for my cool, calm, intellectual demeanor.

Stop laughing, we have soup to make!

Crock-pot Mexican Baked Potato Soup

Crock-Pot Mexican Baked Potato Soup

5.0 from 2 reviews
Crock-pot Mexican Baked Potato Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 3 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 large jalapenos, diced + seeds removed
  • 2 cups diced yellow onon
  • ⅓ cup choped green onion
  • ½ cup salsa verde
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 3 heads of roasted garlic
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • white or black pepper, to taste

  • extras: a little butter or olive oil can help round out the creaminess of the soup if you'd like, totally optional and yummy both ways!

  • tasty toppings:
  • greek yogurt or sour cream
  • freshly chopped cilantro
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • chopped green onion
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes [optional]
  1. Peel your potatoes and give them a rough chop [nothing fancy!]
  2. Next chop your veggies and toss em in the pot along with your potatoes.
  3. Add veggie broth, salsa verde, cumin salt, oregano and garlic powder.
  4. If you're a pepper fiend, some black or white pepper would be a great addition.
  5. Set your slow cooker to HIGH and cook for 4-5 hours, or, if you're gone for the day, set it to LOW for 8 hours.
  6. You can roast your garlic while the soup cooks by setting your oven to 400F, chopping the tippity top off each garlic head, drizzling with olive oil, and sealing in a foil pouch. Roast for about an hour and then squeeze each head of garlic to release the yummy roasted garlic "butter" from the bulbs and spoon into the soup when it's done! You can also roast a huge batch of garlic earlier in the week to use in recipes [like this one] all week long! In a rush? Saute a few cloves [I would say maybe 4-5 cloves max] of garlic and toss it in the slow cooker with your veggies!
  7. After returning to your slow cooker, you have a very important [ok not that important] decision to make. Do you want your soup chunky or smooth?
  8. For smooth soup, use a potato masher or even an immersion blender to creamify the soup.
  9. For chunky potato soup, grab a wooden spoon and mash the potatoes partially. I went the fabulously chunky route and it came out deliciously thick and hearty.
  10. Ready to eat? Simply mix in your cheese and garnish with all your favorites!
  11. I add extra cheese to mine; like you hadn't guessed already =) Yum!

Crock-pot Mexican Baked Potato Soup

 so… how was it!?

Like Fall in a bowl! Well, I suppose Fall in a bowl would technically be something of the squash or pumpkin variety so… it’s like Cinco de Mayo in a bowl! Bam! Even better! The jalapeno added amazing flavor without making the soup too spicy. I really wouldn’t call it spicy at all… more zesty. Though you could amp up the heat by adding in some of the jalapeno seeds and using a spicy salsa verde. A little hot sauce or cayenne pepper could also do the trick quite nicely! But as is, it’s full of flavor and oh-so-comforting. I’ll turn the other way if you decide to speckle it in crispy chopped bacon. My family did because I made the mistake of leaving the baby’s bacon out next to the soup [girl can get down on some bacon!] and who can help themselves around bacon? It’s great with. Great without. And… why are you still sitting here? Go make some soup!

It’s great the first day, even better the next [soup for breakfast? anyone? It's tradition around here!] and even freezer friendly. Have at it!

Psst! If you’re looking for the classic version of Loaded Baked Potato Soup, don’t fret, I’ve got you covered!

Peanut Butter and Cherry Energy Bites

Peanut Butter and Cherry Energy Bites

 Let’s see if I can make it through this entire post without cracking a single ball joke.

I think I can. I think I can. I probably can’t.

I have a thing for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If I have a fresh loaf of bread in the house, I’ll eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until we finally run out of bread. Well, at least until we get to the bread butts, because as much as I love a good PB+J, there’s no way I’m touching a bread’s hiney. Not happening.

Of course my peanut butter and jelly craving always seems to strike hardest when there isn’t a crumb of bread in sight; so I improvised.

 Peanut Butter and Cherry Energy Bites

5.0 from 1 reviews
Peanut Butter and Cherry Energy Bites
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: snack, dessert
Serves: 15-20 bite sized balls
  • 16 juicy dried dates
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup almonds [I used blanched + toasted almonds]
  • ½-1 TBSP juice [cranberry, cherry, or simply use water]
  • a pinch of salt
  • ¼-1/3 cup of all-natural peanut butter chips, chopped
  • 1-2 TBSP slightly warm peanut butter, for drizzling
  1. Toss your almonds and walnuts into a food processor and pulse until they appear finely chopped.
  2. Next add dates, dried cherries, juice and salt.
  3. Pulse your heart out with the food processor until the mixture is well-incorporated and a bit sticky.
  4. Remove the mixture from the processor and spread onto a piece of wax/parchment paper or cutting board.
  5. Next you'll want to add the luscious peanut butter chips. Since they're sized a bit awkwardly for folding into the energy bite mixture, use your food processor or a sharp knife to give the PB chips a rough chop so they resemble peanut butter chunks.
  6. Incorporate the two and then roll into bite-sized balls.
  7. Scarf some as a snack right away, and store extras in an air-tight container.

Peanut Buttery and Cherry Energy Bites

Big thanks to my lovely assistant for providing optimal lighting and a visual scale.

so… how was it? 

Like biting into a fresh PB+J sandwich! I absolutely love them! I’ve been positively cuckoo for peanut butter lately and having this bread-free alternative to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my arsenal makes me giddy. Since the peanut butter and cherry bits remain separate in the recipe, you can taste them both with similar intensity. It was love at first bite!

Ahhh I did it! There isn’t a single stray ball joke in this entire post. I don’t know about this… it just doesn’t feel right without one… Leave me a comment and tell me how much you love these balls =)

Confetti Quinoa Salad with Barbecue Ranch

Confetti Veggie Quinoa Salad with Barbecue Ranch

Continuing on with yesterday’s barbecue ranch theme, I had to take the combo a little bit further. Inspired by a salad blend I scored while grocery shopping famished [when will I ever learn!?] this dish is light, healthy, and full of flavor! It makes a fantastic vegetarian lunch or a sassy side that will try to show up the main course at dinner. Hope you love it as much as I do!

On my first attempt, I took the easy way out: I found a bag of chopped veggie salad at the grocery store, fluffed up a pot of quinoa, and combined! Done! The downside? The salad blend I used is nearly impossible hunt down and I haven’t been able to find it again since. Ummm… Let’s try this again! Skip the bag, chop the vegetables, then measure out said veggies so everyone can partake in a bowl of confetti quinoa deliciousess. Actually screw that. It’s essentially a salad; we can skip measuring altogether if you’d like. Anything goes!

Have at it!

Confetti Quinoa Salad

Confetti Quinoa Salad with Barbecue Ranch
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1.5 cups dry quinoa
  • 2 + ¾ cups broth or water
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced [red/yellow/orange]
  • ½-1 cup finely chopped cabbage [green/purple]
  • 1-2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • ½-1 cup finely chopped kale
  • 2-3 stalks chopped green onion
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • toppings:
  • crunchy seasoned tortilla strips
  • bbq ranch

  • To make your own snazzy shaker of barbecue ranch, simply grab your favorite ranch dressing [or use this recipe] and mix 1 cup of ranch with ¼ cup of your favorite smoky BBQ sauce. Taste, then add up to an additional ¼ cup of b.sauce to the dressing. Want it super smoky? Add a little smoked paprika into the mix too! Done deal!
  1. First, rinse your quinoa. Always. Never skip this step.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil with either 2 +3/4 cups water or broth.
  3. Add quinoa and reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar and cook for 12-14 minutes until fluffy perfection is reached.
  5. While your grains simmer, chop the veggies and pile them into a large bowl.
  6. Whisk together your dressing and set aside.
  7. Once the quinoa is good to go, mix it into the veggies because, duh, salad.
  8. Drizzle with dressing and top with tortilla strips!

so… how was it?! In a nut shell? It was the foodie highlight of my week!  Now I know what you’re thinking: I thought it too! Why on earth would you put creamy, barbecue-y deliciousness on such a light and delicate salad? It’s too heavy! In theory this would be true. However inn actuality, its phenomenal. My friend Shauna and I stared long and hard at this one before we decided I needed to be the guinea pig and just take a bite already. I’m guessing I must have made a pretty dramatic “MmMmm!” sound because before I could blink she had the bowl in her face. Well played barbecue ranch.  Well played.  We salute you.

That was way too easy to call it a recipe, eh? Let’s dub this one salad-spiration, since you can essentially whip it up with any and all veggies in your crisper! Quinoa is delightful, and I hope you’ll give it a chance soon if you haven’t yet! To get you started, here are a few more quinoa-riffic recipes [yes, these are actual recipes this time! hehe] to get you started:

quinoa fried ricevegan vegetable sushi with quinoa sticky riceBLT quinoa salad with creamy honey mustard

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame

Today’s recipe is one of those token “why didn’t I think of this sooner!?” moments brought to life. I easily can eat plain old sea salted edamame until I’m green in the face, but sometimes a special occasion [or a monster craving] calls for a little extra oomph. It seemed only fitting to bring a little buttah in on the fun! After all, edamame is as addictive as buttered popcorn so, total no brainer. The addition of roasted garlic though? You’re going to die over it. Or swoon. Or do some sort of happy irish jig. Laugh now, but I’ll be the one laughing when you break into dance at first bite. Enjoy!

Don’t let the hour long cook time below scare you off, you’ll simply be popping a bulb or two of garlic in the oven and walking away. No effort or stirring required! The garlic can even be roasted ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to four days. I’ll make multiple bulbs at once and stir that golden goodness into everything from dips to soups to mashed potatoes. It’s divine.

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame

5.0 from 1 reviews
Garlic Butter Edamame
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 large head of garlic, roasted
  • 2 [10 oz] bags of whole edamame
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

  • optional: toasted sesame seeds for a crunchy topping
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Grab an entire bulb of garlic and slice a little less than ¼ of the top off, just enough to expose the cloves.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and seal into a pinched pouch of aluminum foil.
  4. Roast anywhere from 40-60 minutes, depending on your oven and patience.
  5. Once the house starts to smell like heaven, resist the urge to dive straight in to the oven and spread the entire thing on toast. Better yet, roast a second bulb so you can do exactly that! The garlic can be roasted ahead of time and stored in the fridge if you'd like to have it on hand for easy additions to meals.
  6. Next bring a medium to large pot of water [approx 4-6 cups] to boil on the stove top.
  7. Boil the edamame until tender, but still firm, approx 3 minutes or so.
  8. Test a pod for desired tenderness and drain liquid from the pot.
  9. Grab a warm head of garlic and squeeze out the bulbs into a bowl. After roasting it basically turns into buttery, garlic paste and will leave your house smelling amazing all day long. The only thing better than the smell is the taste! I die.
  10. Whisk together melted butter, roasted garlic, garlic powder, and salt and pour over edamame.
  11. Toss to coat.
  12. Add your cayenne pepper and any additional sea salt to taste and dig in!

Feel like getting butter wasted? Ill totally look the other way while you pour an extra tablespoon over. Want a bit of fire in your face? Up that cayenne and feel the burn!

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame

And while we’re at it, let’s talk about these bowls! This set of ridiculously gorgeous emerald dipped acacia wooden bowls rock my kitchen! Red Envelope was sweet enough to gift me a set of bowls, just because, and I loved them so much I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! Talk about getting bowled over! I literally tore through their site to order the matching set of plates and a few early birthday presents for the pilot. Thank you so much Red Envelope for the super sweet gift! All meals shall be eaten out of these bowls forevahh!

Let’s get back to that gorgeous green edamame eh!?

This buttery roasted garlic edamame was fan-freaking-tastic! I don’t think I’ve ever inhaled edamame so fast in my life! I’ve always slacked off in my seasoning routine and gone with just plain garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and sea salt but the addition of butter and creamy roasted garlic took this dish to a whole new level of yum! I dare you not to lick your fingers. And the bowl. And the other bowl you mixed the garlic in. Enjoy!

green your snacking routine!

Creamy Cilantro SpreadAvocado Topped Sushi Recipe and Instructions Healthy White Bean Dip with Avocado and Cilantro Spicy Cayenne Kale Chips + tips on how to make the crispiest oven-baked kale chips ever! Bell Pepper Pizzas Easy Broccoli Cheese Pizza

Veggie Burger Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I’m convinced these veggie burger stuffed sweet potatoes could easily be a wordless recipe. Combine a little simple addition, [this] amazingly versatile mexican veggie burger recipe, and the following three photos and you’ve got a deliciously an easy lunch that’s fun, filling, and fast!

Cat got me hooked on these a while back and I’m here to offer the same addition up to my blog buddies. It’s only fitting!

Homemade Mexican Veggie Burgers with Taco Aioli
Crumbled Mexican Veggie Burgers
Cheesy Veggie Burger Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

See? It totally works.

In case you  need me to fill in the blanks a little, you’ll simply want to grab a leftover veggie burger… though while we’re at it, literally any burger will do! So uh, yeah, grab one and bake at 350 F until warm and crumbly. While it’s baking, either bake or microwave your sweet potato. Ready? Slice the spud, stuff with your veg burger and cheese and pop it back in the oven until hot and melty and then top with all your favorites! You can add fresh cilantro, salsa, greek yogurt, sour cream, guacamole, or even a squirt of fresh lime juice! The possibilities are endless.

And don’t fret, I’ll be back with an actual recipe as soon. WordPress makes me dizzy. Or maybe that’s tequilla. I shouldn’t mix the two.

Hummus Remix: Perfect Party Hummus… in a Hurry!

Sometimes I start playing around with the text function on Photoshop and I get a little carried away. Forgive me.
Perfect Party Hummus... in a Hurry!

Putting my mortifying level of cheesiness aside, I had to go there! This has been my hands-down favorite snack/appetizer/snacketizer/whatevertizer to whip up when I have last minute company. Though lezzbehonest, most of the time I have enough notice but wind up reading blogs, snuggling chickpeas, washing sippy cups, attempting to tame my frizz-bomb of a mane, finding yogurt or avocado or some unacceptable substance in the aforementioned mane and playing the do I really have to wash my hair? game while attempting to clothe myself and OMG-WHAT-AM-I-GOING-TO-FEED-THESE-PEOPLE!?

Of course it doesn’t always go down quite like that. Sometimes I make this with nothing more than the intent to shovel it into my face. There may only be 2.5 of us living in this house, but a tub of hummus is a one day affair over here. The second it’s opened, it’s a mere hour or so from utter annihilation. Fancifying it simply slows us down a little.Why yes, I do use toppings as obstacles to slow me down. Why no, it doesn’t work one bit. I still eat faster than the Cookie Monster.mmm… cookies. I should make us some… Until then, we hummus!

Hummus Remix: Perfect Party Hummus... in a Hurry!

Hummus Remix: Perfect Party Hummus… in a Hurry!

Hummus Remix: Perfect Party Hummus... in a Hurry!
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1 tub of your favorite hummus
  • 2-3 TBSP diced cucumber
  • 2-3 TBSP diced tomato
  • 2-3 TBSP crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 TBSP minced red onion
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped parsley
  • a hearty drizzle of balsamic reduction or glaze
  • sliced cucumber, carrots, bell pepper slices, + pita chips for dipping

  • Of course if you're chilling at home with some chickpeas [yours, not mine] then feel free to whip up a bowl of yummy homemade hummus! Same goes for the glaze, you can purchase a bottle at your favorite grocery store or simply reduce your favorite balsamic vinegar over medium heat in a saucepan , stirring occasionally, until it thickens into a yummy reduction.
  1. Get ready to tackle that party prep to-do list because your easy appetizer pretty much just walked into the kitchen and made itself!
  2. Chop the veggies and herbs and pile onto hummus.
  3. Crumble your feta on top and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  4. Surround with an array of crunchy pita chips and veggies. Because, duh.
Hummus Remix: Perfect Party Hummus... in a Hurry!

And in case you’re wondering, I made us cookies too!


I promise to save you a few crumbs.


Recipe coming soon, ’cause I’m a total tease and like to leave at least one of you licking your screen.

“The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!”

planning a party?
Savory Sweet Potato NachosVeggie Spinach DipPesto Veggie DipCreamy Cilantro SpreadCheesy Skillet Seafood Dip Healthy White Bean Dip with Avocado and Cilantro

Zucchini Au Gratin

It’s already mid-summer and if I see one more spiral zucchini recipe I’m going to go berzerk! Granted, I’ve bust out a few each year for… oh gosh however freaking long I’ve been humoring my blogging addiction, but it doesn’t mean I can’t get sick of them. I get it; zoodles are fun to say, fun to eat, and they’re trendy as all get out, but they’re are basically assaulting me via Pinterest at this point and I’m contemplating a restraining order. Now do me a favor and slice your gosh darn zukes to make this dish?

You’ll be glad you did. I’ll be glad you did.

Oh look food! 

Zucchini Au Gratin topped with a perfect blend of bubbly cheddar and fontina cheeses
Zucchini Au Gratin with Cheddar and Fontina
[yields 4 small side dish sized servings or 2 larger sides]
Zucchini Au Gratin
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: side dish
Serves: 4
  • 1 large or extra large zucchini squash
  • ½ cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, for sauteing
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ⅛ tsp paprika
  • ⅛ tsp garlic powder
  • a pinch of nutmeg [optional but delicious!]
  • a pinch of allspice
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup freshly grated fontina cheese
  • ¼ cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 TBSP fresh chopped spinach
  • ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 buttery crackers, crushed [I used honey cornbread crackers]
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and slice your zucchini into discs. No need to break out a mandolin to get them super thin, you'll want them sliced around the same thickness as you'd slice a cucumber for a salad.note: When working with squash as delicate as zucchini, it helps to take an extra step in the cooking process to remove the excess water that pours outta these green gems. The last thing we want to do is eat a mushy, supremely soggy casserole, so my favorite trick is to blanch the zucchini slices and follow it up with an ice bath and a light sprinkle of salt to draw out the moisture tucked away in the squash. It's a small step but made a huge difference in the texture of the casserole. Had I plopped the zucchini in raw, it would have given up all the moisture into the baking dish. The same also goes for overcooked zucchini. So blanch, ice bath, pat dry, and lightly salting is where it's at. Here's how:
  2. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and set aside. Bring a pot of water to boil with enough water to just cover the zucchini discs. Once the water hits a rolling boil, toss in the zucchini slices for one minute, remove with a slotted spoon or drain in a colander, and immediately plunge them into the ice bath to shock the vegetable and halt the cooking process. Next lay them flat on a layer of paper towels, pat the exposed side dry, and sprinkle with about ⅛ tsp of salt, evenly distributed, to draw out the moisture. Let the discs sit while you move on to the onions and cheese!
  3. Grab the now-empty pot you used to blanch your zucchini and bring to medium-high heat with a tsp of olive oil or butter. Saute the onion and garlic until tender and translucent. Add ½ cup of grated cheddar along with the chopped spinach, paprika, garlic powder, nutmeg, allspice, and a pinch of salt since you'll be patting some of the salt off the zucchini. Stir well and remove from heat. Stir in your egg and set aside.
  4. Next give your zucchini discs one last paper towel pat to remove any liquid the salt may have drawn out. Line a shallow baking dish [I used a pyrex pie pan] with the sliced zucchini and pour the cheddar-onion mixture over the center. Top with ½ cup of fontina and an extra ¼ cup of cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with a few red pepper flakes, to taste, along with some crushed cracker crumbs. Ritz crackers tend to work great as did the Milton Honey Cornbread crackers I used, anything crumbly and buttery! To keep gluten out of the equation, grab some GF crackers or breadcrumbs or simply skip 'em altogether.
  5. Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350F for around 15-18 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the foil and set the oven to broil on high for an additional 3-5 minutes to give the cheese that extra-golden crust to it, but be sure to keep an eye for it to prevent charring.
Zucchini Au Gratin

fun fact: if you only have Gouda or Gruyere cheese handy to pair with the cheddar, they’re fantastic and will just as easily make you want to bathe in them. 

Ready… Set… ATTACK!!!!!

Cheesy Zucchini Au Gratin

so… how was it!? Dare I say that I’ve never loved zucchini more? It was so stinkin’ good!

I’ve been craving macaroni and cheese a lot lately, but was utterly bored of making it. This? This made me forget all about the noodles! The zucchini hold their own fabulously contributing great taste and texture accented by the drizzle of creamy sauce and smothering of bubbly cheese. I cannot stand a soggy casserole and rely heavily on blanching to keep my veggies al-dente or within that perfect degree of tenderness. Oh and the melty fontina-cheddar combo with the kiss of buttery honey cornbread cracker crust? Hold me. Just… hold me! Ok fine, you can drop me and run into the kitchen to go make this.

Wanna squash it in the kitchen?
Here are a few more squash recipes to try out while they’re still in season!
Southwest SushiCranberry Cucumber Shredded Sprout SaladStuffed Zucchini CupsBanana Zucchini Bread and MuffinsFarmer's Market Chopped Salad with Creamy Avocado Dill Dressing Summer Squash Pizza


Homemade Mexican Veggie Burgers with Taco Aioli

Homemade Mexican Veggie Burgers with Taco Aioli

aka Taco Tuesday with a TWIST! Because a. alliteration and b. YUM! 

Recently I took a “How foodie are you?” quiz on the timesuck-formerly-known-as-Facebook and scored 100%. That means you have to listen to me when I tell you to make these immediately right? Right! These burgers are loaded with hearty beans and decked out with colorful veggies sprinkled with flavorful homemade taco seasoning. Make some for now, freeze some for later, and pass these along to friends and family if you’re feeling particularly charitable. Friends don’t let friends eat questionably processed veggie burgers. They just don’t.

Taco Tuesday with a Twist! // Homemade Mexican Veggie Burgers with Taco Aioli
Mexican Veggie Burgers
1/2 cup diced bell pepper, any color
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup corn, fresh of frozen
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil for sauteing
flax egg [1 TBSP ground flax + 3 TBSP water]
1/2 cup cooked lentils
1/2 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup refried beans
1 extra TBSP ground flax seed
1 cup ground old fashioned oats
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
fresh cilantro, to taste

buns or bibb lettuce wraps
fresh avocado or guacamole
spicy mustard

Taco Aioli:
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 TBSP all-natural mayo
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 TBSP fresh lime juice
cayenne pepper, to taste
a pinch of salt
or try it with my homemade chipotle aioli!
substitution shenanigans: you can use a chia egg in place of the flax egg or just go ahead and grab a regular egg if you have one handy! All three are marvelously interchangeable in this recipe. I love the lentils in these burgers, but chickpeas, white beans, kidney beans, and even extra black beans will work if you prefer! I made these bad boys a bit on the spicy side [not too spicy for moi but let's just say the chickpea's face after taking a bite was pah-riceless!] so feel free to skip the cayenne and use paprika instead.
t-rex chefs, brotosaurus chefs, + vegansaurus chefs: have at it! They’re also gloriously gluten-free as long as you use a GF bun or slap these babies on some bibb lettuce and make your burger into a lettuce wrap [it's phenomenal!] Those of you who aren’t dairy-free and need a slice or two of cheese in their life, go for it! I think we’ve got all the bases covered, eh? Let’s make some veggie burgers!
sauteed veggies
First order of business is to whisk together your flax egg [simply mix 1 TBSP ground flax with 3 TBSP water] in a small bowl and your aioli in another, and pop both in the fridge to set.
Next saute your vegetables. Pour a little oil in your favorite skillet and, on medium-high heat, saute onion, peppers, and corn until tender. Add the garlic towards the end to prevent burning. Next add in your canned or homemade beans [I usually soak and cook mine ahead of time, freeze them, and defrost as needed] and mix well, removing the skillet from heat and turning off your burner. Next add your spices, oats, extra TBSP of flax and flax egg. The best way to do this is to just dive in and get your hands dirty. I added an extra sprinkle of chili powder, paprika, and cayenne at this point to make the flavor even stronger, feel free to leave as is or follow suit! Mix and massage and set aside.

You can add the cilantro into the burgers, but I like it to stay as green as possible so I instead pile mine on top of the burgers. Either way works! The topping method is great if you’re serving these up to multiple people, because it’s possible one of your friends may think cilantro tastes like dish soap. Believe it or not it’s actually a thing and a portion of the population will attest to that. I happen to think it tastes positively amazing, but won’t be offended if you simply must skip it.

Next line a plate with parchment paper and dive back into the veggies. Divide the mixture into four patties and roll into balls. For optimal burger shape, cup each ball in your hands and squeeze tightly, rotating as you gently, but firmly, press it into a disc. I know all sorts of naughty thoughts must be going on through your mind right now so I’ll just leave you alone to snicker for a moment.
Homemade Mexican Veggie Burgers with Taco Aioli
Giggles aside, pop your burgers on your parchment paper plate, cover with foil or cling wrap and refrigerate as you prep your buns [or lettuce wraps!] and toppings. This will give them a little while to set. You can even leave them overnight and cook them up the following day.
Ready to eat?  Pour a teeny bit of oil in a skillet, heat to medium-high, and cook for a few minutes on each side until you’re left with a golden crust.  All that’s left is to pile them high with every veggie you can get your hands on, slather them in taco aioli, wrap them in leafy green lettuce or a fluffy bun, and commence face-plantage.  
To freeze, simply cook the burgers per instructions above, allow to cool a bit, and then freeze [spaced] on a plate or cookie sheet. Once they’ve had a chance to partially freeze you can wrap them individually and pile them in baggies or your favorite airtight container for fast food without the freaky ingredients. To re-heat, simply pop on a baking sheet in the oven for about 18-20 minutes at 400F.
Homemade Mexican Veggie Burgers with Taco Aioli
Homemade Mexican Veggie Burgers with Taco Aioli
Time to fiesta! Oh-freaking-le!

still hungry?

Sweet Potato Chickpea BurgersTriple Bean Veggie BurgersVegetarian Chili Burger  Grilled Salmon Ciabatta Sandwiches with Arugula Avocado and Pesto Pumpkin BurgersCranberry Croissant Sandwich

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Crab and Shrimp Zucchini Enchiladas w/ Mango-Jalapeno Salsa

Crab and Shrimp Zucchini Enchiladas with Mango-Jalapeno Salsa
It’s officially Summer! While I may not be able to spend the day on an actual boat, I’ll be spending it face-down in a platter of zucchini boats. Factor in some fresh mango salsa and an ice cold Dos XX and lime and we’re in for a season full of yummy produce and face-melting weather. Game on!

Crab and Shrimp Zucchini Enchiladas with Mango-Jalapeno Salsa
Crab and Shrimp Zucchini Enchiladas w/ Mango-Jalapeno Salsa
4 zucchini squash
3/4 pound shrimp [cleaned, peeled, + defrosted]
4 ounces jumbo lump crab meat, shredded
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
1/4 cup jalapeno
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP butter or a drizzle of olive oil, for sauteing
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cumin
1 cup enchilade verde sauce [I adore this one]
1 TBSP fresh, chopped cilantro, plus extra to garnish
1-2 TBSP chopped green onion
1 cup grated/shredded mexican cheese blend
fresh lime juice, to taste
inspired by Skinnytaste
jalapeno-mango salsa:

1 cup chopped ripe mango
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
1/2 a medium jalapeno, seeds/stem/veins removed
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
1/2 TBSP fresh cilantro, plus extra to garnish
salt, to taste
To make the salsa: chop, juice, and combine. Leave out some of the seeds and veins of the jalapeno to reduce the heat.
t-rex chefs: not a fan of seafood? Try it with shredded chicken!
brontosaurus chefs: skip the crab and shrimp and stuff the boats with your favorite veggies!
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice off the stem of each zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook zucchini for 1-2 minutes. Remove from water and set aside to cool, then scoop out a small portion seeds/flesh with a melon baller, small spoon, or a knife, just enough to make a zucchini “boat.” Set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat your choice of butter or oil [I vote butter since, after all, we're using seafood here! yum!] and add onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic. Cook on medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until the onions start to turn translucent and peppers are tender. Next add the shrimp and crab and cook for an additional minute or two until the shrimp are slightly cooked but not fully since they’ll continue to cook in the oven. Season with paprika, chili powder, salt cumin, and cilantro.  Remove from heat.

Place 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish, and place zucchini halves cut side up. Using a spoon, fill each hollowed zucchini with approx 1/3 cup of your seafood mixture, adding any leftover goodness to the top of the zukes.
Crab and Shrimp Zucchini Enchiladas with Mango-Jalapeno Salsa


Crab and Shrimp Zucchini Enchiladas with Mango-Jalapeno Salsa
Drizzle the zucchini-ladas with the remaining half cup of green chile enchilada sauce and top with your favorite mexican blend of cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes until the cheese is melted and the zucchini are tender. Top with chopped green onion and cilantro and serve with a big scoop of jalapeno-mango salsa.
Fresh Mango Jalapeno Salsa
Crab and Shrimp Zucchini Enchiladas with Mango-Jalapeno Salsa
The result? Tender zucchini boats stuffed with  fresh seafood & piled high with veggies, cheese, cilantro, and  a zesty mango jalapeno salsa that’s sure to rock your taste buds!
so… how was it!?
Phenomenal! I’m a creature of habit, and stuck to my favorite tradition of making letting Paul help me in the kitchen. He made a rockin’ pico de gallo for my pastified enchiladas and was once again put on salsa duty. After seeing Bev’s avocado-mango relish I ran out and bought a bajillion mangos [or two; whatever]. I handed one to the pilot and told him to work his magic. Cue fireworks.

Actually, cue FIRE! We must have bought the world’s spiciest jalapenos because this salsa starts out sweet and fruity and then kicks you in the tongue. You can lessen the heat to suit your tastes by using more bell pepper and less jalapeno, so no worries if you’re scared by the sheer drama of my description. I have to make sure those angry little peppers are taken seriously; especially when you poke yourself in the eye after slicing one.
It’s all fun and games until someone has to rinse their eyeballs with milk.
All jokes aside, the salsa is a fantastic compliment to the zukechiladas, which, by the way were seriously amazing too. There’s something about fresh, flavorful seafood with zesty cilantro and lime and a boatload of toppings that sends me into swoonsville. Stuff those ingredients into zucchini instead of tortillas and you’ve basically turned me to into a lovestruck fangirl. It’s a total upgrade from the standard enchilada. Soggy tortillas? No thank you! Seriously, restaurants need to get on the ball and start stuffing some zukes. It’s not only a ridiculously healthy swap, but it’s really freaking tasty. Do it.

of course once all plates, pans and silverware have been licked clean, 
make these:
Black Bean and Sweet Potato FlautasBruschetta Stuffed Sweet Potato Salmon Fish TacosCheesy Skillet Seafood Dip Bell Pepper Pizzas Enchilada Pasta Casserole