Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic and Gouda

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic and Cheese

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic and Gouda

After maybe the third or fourth faceplant into my cheesy skillet seafood dip. realization hit. Mushrooms: this must be stuffed into mushrooms! I simplified the recipe a bit, gleaned a little inspiration from the over-the-top seafood stuffed mushrooms from Red Lobster [holy butter bomb batman!] and promptly got to work.

The result? They are hands-down the best seafood stuffed mushrooms ever to be introduced to my face! Things got scary for a second after they hit the table… I was convinced someone was going to get forked fighting over the biggest mushrooms on the plate. When P gets back I’m clearly going to have to make him his own plate, because one of us is bound to get stabbed over these mushrooms.

What?! I’m protective over my food! It’s absolutely the result of growing up with three hungry siblings. Food was scarce between the four of us and if you wanted a second helping of my mom’s to die for mashed potatoes, you pretty much had to dive for it.

I always won. Always.

And that concludes today’s confession of why I’m a crazy food blogger. Let’s get back to these melt-in-your-mouth mushrooms, shall we?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic and Gouda
 
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Author:
Recipe type: appetizer, snack
Serves: 25 stuffed shrooms
Ingredients
  • 25-30 button mushrooms [I used three 8 oz containers]
  • ¼ cup diced red pepper [green works too!]
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 3 button mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, mined [around 2 TBSP]
  • ½ TBSP butter
  • ½ tsp old bay seasoning blend
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp paprika, plus extra for topping
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz lump crab meat [found in the refrigerated seafood section]
  • ½ cup gouda cheese, plus extra for topping
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Drizzle foil with a little olive oil or spritz with your favorite cooking spray.
  3. Remove the stems from your mushrooms and arrange them on the baking sheet.
  4. Finely dice your veggies and, with a ½ TBSP of butter, saute the celery, onion, and red pepper.
  5. Towards the end, add your chopped mushrooms and garlic, continue to saute until onions and celery are translucent and tender and mushrooms are fully cooked.
  6. Season with old bay, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper, stir, and pour into a mixing bowl.
  7. Add your crab, panko breadcrumbs, and cheese, then mix.
  8. Spoon mixture into mushroom caps and top with a little extra gouda and paprika.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and stuffing is golden.
  10. Grab a fork and attack!

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic and Gouda

On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t serve these with forks at all. Fingers are far less stabby.

Dig in!

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

Since boycotting pumpkin this year, I stepped up my squash game. Er… let me rephrase that so I sound less moronic, since pumpkin is technically a squash too! I benched pumpkin and brought my favorite over-looked and under-loved squash all-stars out to play the field. They’re seriously rocking my plate and I’m certain you’re going to love them too! It’s safe to say that I’m one proud couch. I mean cook! I mean… Oy, just eat your veggies will ya?

In other news, I think my brain is broken.

I’ve never been a huge fan of squash [Though I said the same for sweet potatoes a few years back and look at me now! Hah!] mainly because any time I tried it, that poor veggie had been manhandled and mistreated into a mushy, soggy, and/or sweetened state. With the right cooking techniques and the right add-ons, it’s downright delicious! A little roasting and some savory side-kicks can take squash from meh to MEEEEEE-OWW!

And with that, my brain finally broke.

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash


Since Winter squash finally hit the shelves, I’ve been hoarding dumpling squash. Have you had it before? It’s actually the perfect squash for people who don’t like squash! It has the buttery texture and facade of an acorn squash but the mild, easy to compliment flavor of yellow squash and spaghetti squash. It’s not too sweet or too strong or too anything, as Goldilocks would say, this one is juuuuust right!

Can you tell I’ve been reading more baby books than big girl books as of lately? Yeah. Sorry about that.

Let’s get squashed! [again!]

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 dumpling squash
  • ½-1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast [1-2 cups cooked]
  • ½ cup salsa verde [I'm obsessed with Target's brand]
  • ⅛ tsp garlic powder
  • a pinch of cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp butter or oil for sauteing
  • ½-1 cup diced tri-colored bell peppers
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2-4 oz freshly grated cheese

  • tower of toppings:
  • plain greek yogurt or sour cream
  • chopped green onion
  • am optional pinch of red pepper flakes for added heat
  • diced jalapenos for even more heat! [also yummy; also optional]
  • fresh cilantro

  • note: Any cheese that rocks your tastebuds will rock this dish! My favorites lately have been gouda [the un-smoked variety!] and pepper jack yogurt cheese. The yogurt cheese is usually in the fancy cheese section and goes on sale often! It's delicious!

  • Have some of your favorite enchilada sauce handy? Go ahead and add it to the mix!
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mental prep: though this dish has a few components that are all cooked differently, don't fret! You can cook the chicken while the squash roasts and the veggies while the chicken poaches and, before you know it, the kitchen will be clean and you'll have food in your face. Ready? Let's do this!
  3. Slice your squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  4. To prevent sticking, rub the rim of the squash's flesh with a teeny bit of olive oil or simply place a little water inside your baking dish. Both work great!
  5. Place inside a baking dish or atop rimmed, lined baking sheet [some liquid will escape] and roast face-down for approx 40 minutes.
  6. While the squash roasts, cook your chicken and saute your veggies.
  7. You can cook the chicken any which way you prefer but to save on time I typically crock-pot it ahead of time [see notes in the post below] or throw it together on the stove top while the squash bakes away.
  8. Bring a medium pot of water or your favorite broth [hello flavor!] to boil and add your boneless, skinless chicken breasts to the water.
  9. Cover your pot with it's lid and remove from heat.
  10. Allow the chicken to poach for approx 25 minutes.
  11. Remove from liquid, chop with the grain into small pieces and combine with salsa verde.
  12. Season with salt and pepper [cayenne pepper if you're feeling spicy!] as well as your garlic powder and cumin.
  13. Stir and set aside.
  14. As mentioned earlier, while the chicken cooks, saute those veggies!
  15. Simply bring a little bit of butter or oil to heat, add your peppers and onion and saute until tender.
  16. By now you should have a kitchen full of yum!
  17. Rake a fork across the bottom of the squash and stir in your salsa chicken, peppers, and onion.
  18. Top with a mountain of freshly grated cheese and pop squash back in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
  19. Serve bubbly and hot with all your favorite toppings!

chopped bell pepper and onionfreshly grated pepper jack yogurt cheese

shortcut shenanigans: If your kitchen happens to be overrun leftovers from a festive Taco Tuesday the night before, or any night of the week really, then you can whip this dish up with little to no effort! That’s actually how I created this baby in the first place! Of course other ways to shave time off this recipe would be to bake your squash ahead of time, when you know you’ll be around to yank it from the oven when the timer goes off. It’ll stay fresh in your fridge for a few days awaiting this delish dish. You can also cook the chicken in advance on the stove top, in the oven, or using your slow cooker! I love making a huge batch of salsa shredded chicken over the weekend to toss into meals all week long. It’s easy and requires so little effort that it’s become a go-to these past few months. Simply season the chicken with a little salt, cumin, and garlic powder, pour over your favorite salsa verde, and let your crock-pot do the work! It can be ready in 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low; choose what works for you!

update: squash can also be microwaved for 5 minutes, halved, and then roasted at 400 F for 15-20 minutes! I tried this method the other day and it worked great! xo

so… how was it?

Despite the fact that it I over-explained the crap out of this recipe, it’s so ridiculously easy and awesome and, well, you’ve got to try it! It’s a fiesta in a [squash] bowl!

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

I think I have a cheese problem.

case in point:

Savory Sweet Potato NachosPanera Broccoli and Cheese SoupCreamy Tomato Soup with Baked Mozzarella Balls

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!
 
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Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 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.
Instructions
  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!

cookies

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

Easy Blanched Asparagus with Cayenne, Lemon, and Garlic

My go-to technique for perfect asparagus, every time!
Easy Blanched Asparagus with Cayenne, Lemon, and Garlic... my go-to technique for perfect asparagus, every time!

 Easy Blanched Asparagus with Cayenne, Lemon, and Garlic

Easy Blanched Asparagus with Cayenne, Lemon, and Garlic
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 2-4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1-2 TBSP butter
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ⅛-1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛-1/4 tsp salt
  • a few wedges of fresh lemon
Instructions
  1. Excuse me while I get overly descriptive here. I always get a ton of questions on my blanching technique and I wanted to get super detailed with a super-short recipe. Mwah!
  2. First prep your ice bath. Though it seems silly, this is a fabulous step to include when you're blanching vegetables. Fill a medium-large bowl with ice and water and set aside. This will serve as a speedy method to shock the green beans and prevent them from continuing to cook. There's few things worse than mushy vegetables and this ice bath will prevent you from having sad, limp asparagus with dinner.
  3. Blanch the asparagus spears by bringing a shallow pan or skillet of water to boil, you'll want just enough water to cover the asparagus but not so much that they're swimming in it. Once you've reached a rolling boil, add the asparagus. They'll almost immediately turn bright green and start to tenderize. Give them just a few minutes [I'd say maybe 2-4] in the water before removing from heat. To test, spear one with a fork to ensure they meet your standards of al-dente. Some prefer a bit softer, I like mine a bit crisper. Immediately drain all liquid and submerge in your ice bath. Drain liquid once asparagus spears have cooled.
  4. Now you can go ahead and season the entire bunch [as I'll indicate below] or grab a handful of spears and store in your fridge for salad toppers or to use in your favorite pasta dish. Up to you! The full bunch of asparagus will make enough asparagus as a large side dish for two or a smaller side for four.
  5. To season the spears, melt your butter in the same skillet you used earlier on medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, toss your asparagus in along with it and season with the above measurements, or adjust to taste. I make this so often that measuring goes out the window and I simply sprinkle and stir until it smells heavenly, then give it a quick taste to see if I want more of a certain spice. Start small and work your way up, you can always add more later! If you have fresh garlic on hand, it makes a great addition. I'm so garlic obsessed that even if I mince a clove or two into the pan with the asparagus I'll still use garlic powder for extra oomph! It's standard operating procedure around here.
  6. Since the asparagus are already technically cooked, you'll simply be warming them up with the butter and spices, in just a few minutes they'll be ready to scarf alongside your favorite dish. If you're planning out a big meal, you can save the butter/seasoning step for last and leave your blanched asparagus off to the side until your main course is ready. I love it when all my food is ready and piping hot at the same time!
  7. Squirt asparagus with lemon just before serving or allow everyone to add their own!
And of course if you have leftovers, the options for revival are endless!
Here are a few of my favorite uses for leftover asparagus:
Cauliflower Soup with PestoSpinacha and Feta Quiche with Asparagus PestoAsparagus QuicheHomemade Vegetarian Sushi Veggies and Gruyere Grits Summer Veggie Flatbread with Asparagus and Eggplant

Beetza! Garlicky Flatbread Pizza with Beets, Balsamic and Feta

Beetza!!! Garlicky Flatbread Pizza with Beets, Balsamic and Feta
Alright kids, forgive me while talk down to you for a second here. I know a few of you are the type to run streaking through my blog with some anti-beet campaign of yours or carry on like my husband who dramatically flails and shrieks: “They taste like dirt, Jenny, NO!” [pilots are tres dramatic] None of that, children! Behave yourselves! 
 
After all, beets have feelings too! They were once a living, breathing entity. That is, of course, until I tossed mine in the oven and roasted it into submission.
 
Bad rap aside, beets are fabulous for you and this beetza is legendary: the sweetness from the tomatoes and balsamic glaze, the creaminess from the salty feta and the peppery bite of baby arugula will make you forget your’re scarfing a pizza covered in beets. Factor in the fragrant herbed garlic and the underlying sweetness of those earthy beets and well… yum. There. I said it. YUM! So stick that on your fork and eat it!
 
Beetza! Garlicky Flatbread Pizza with Beets, Balsamic and Feta
Beetza!
Garlicky Flatbread Pizza with Beets, Balsamic & Feta
[serves one, because I didn't want to share]
Beetza! Garlicky Flatbread Pizza with Beets, Balsamic and Feta
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: entree,
Cuisine: pizza
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 large or 2 small beets, leaves and stem removed
  • 1 tsp minced + smashed garlic with a pinch of salt added
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅛-1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • a pinch of oregano
  • 1 garlic naan flatbread or your favorite pizza crust
  • ⅔ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • ½ cup baby arugula
  • 3 thin slices heirloom tomato, quartered
  • 1 TBSP balsamic reduction or glaze
Instructions
  1. Grab your beet [or beets if you're cooking a few to nosh on throughout the week!] and get cooking! I'll post my two favorite cooking methods and let you decide which you use! Roasting is great if you're head over heels for roasted veggies and boiling is perfect for a hot summer day where you don't want to heat the kitchen to sauna-like proportions. See post below for both techniques.
  2. While your beets are roasting in the oven or boiling away on the stove, make your garlic spread. Combine minced and smashed garlic with a pinch of salt, olive oil, oregano, and parsley. Whisk and let it sit so the herbs and garlic infuse into the olive oil. This also makes a stellar dip for crusty baguettes.
  3. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F and spread the garlicky herbed olive oil on your naan before you attempt to drink the entire bowl.
  4. Top with half the feta or goat cheese and add your beets and half of the sliced tomatoes.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, directly on the rack, until the crust is golden and crisp.
  6. Top with arugula and remaining tomato and feta and drizzle with a hearty tablespoon or so of sweet balsamic reduction.
  7. Dig in!
Notes
cook time includes the beet boiling/roasting times; but feel free to cook/prep your beets at the beginning of the week and enjoy them on super speedy flatbread pizzas and fresh salads all week long!
 
easy stove-top beets:
1. Place the beets in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook the beets until they are soft when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes for large beets.  Set a timer and catch up on some emails… or a book… or even that sink full of dishes, since there is no need to babysit the beets.
 
2. Drain and, while the beets are still warm, remove the ends and skin. They are so easy to peel that all you’ll need is a fork! Slide it over the curves of the beet to nix the skin.  This takes only a minute or two and requires so. little. effort. You can use a knife as well, if you prefer, just resist the urge to fling juice all over the place and analyze the splatter a la Dexter.
 
3. Slice into thin discs and then into quarters and set aside, or sweeten the deal by grabbing a cup of juice! Bring your favorite juice to a boil and add in the sliced beets until frothy and bubbly. Just a few minutes should do! Orange juice, cherry juice, and pomegranate juice will all infuse the beets with fruity sweetness. This is my favorite method in the history of ever.
 
oven-roasted beets:
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap each beet loosely in aluminum foil and drizzle with a little olive oil before closing it off. Depending on size, prepare to roast for 50-70 minutes. Check around the 40-50 minute mark, beets will be done once they’re easily pierced with a fork. Remove skin via the same method as the boiled beets and, if you’d like, you can use the fruit-bath technique on these as well! 
 
For either method, store any leftover beets in an airtight container for around 4-5 days.
 
Naan with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

You can find shelf-stable reduced balsamic glaze in your local grocery store next to the olive oils and vinegar or make your own with your favorite balsamic. I always have a bottle in my fridge and my pantry because I’m often pressed for time and there are great quality versions available! Hello convenience!

 

Where were we? Oh yes! The beetza! You may now introduce it to your face.

Beetza!!! Garlicky Flatbread Pizza with Beets, Balsamic and Feta
Garlicky Veggie Flatbread Pizza with Balsamic and Feta

so… how was it? Quick, easy and delicious! Haha well, there’s nothing quick about the actual beet cooking process itself but roasting or boiling your bunch-o-beets the day you bring them home will give you instant access to yummy sliced beets for the next few days to add to salads, puree into soup, slap on sandwiches, and to veg up your pizza! Plus they basically cook themselves so you have the glorious option to set a timer and peace out.

I went a little photo crazy with this one, didn’t I? Lo siento. It was just so flipping pretty! Let me make it up to you by offering you a slice:

Beetza!!! Garlicky Flatbread Pizza with Beets, Balsamic and Feta

Yum!

still hungry?
Quinoa Bruschetta SaladSweet Potato and Spinach Skillet FrittataCheesy Skillet Seafood Dip Bell Pepper Pizzas Easy Broccoli Cheese Pizza Summer Squash Pizza

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
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Author:
Recipe type: side dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 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]
Instructions
  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

 

Summer Squash Pizza

Summer Squash Pizza
Can pizza Thursday be a thing? We should make it a thing! Though, confession, I’ve totally already had pizza twice this week. It’s a post-vacation ritual of sorts. Upon returning, the first week is all about stocking the fridge with the freshest, healthiest meal ingredients we can get our hands on. We blend up smoothies and make huge salads and grill up the most amazing salmon sandwiches of life. The week after? We get super busy jumping back into our normal routine, then subsequently lazy, then skip the grocery store in favor of raiding the freezer for my hidden frozen pizza dough stash.
This time around our laziness was rewarded with a stash of garlic naan that basically screamed “EAT ME!” from the bottom of the freezer drawer. [There are worse things it could have screamed] I kindly obliged and topped the buttery garlic crust with melted garlic and herb cheddar and mozzarella, piled on perfectly seasoned summer squash and added a small tower of arugula and onion for good measure.
You’ll want to lick the pizza slicer.
You’ll also want to refrain from licking the pizza slicer because, ow. 
Summer Squash Pizza
Summer Squash Pizza
ingredients:
1 yellow summer squash, sliced
salt, paprika, and garlic powder, to taste
a drizzle of olive/coconut oil for sauteing
1 fluffy garlic naan flatbread
1-2 ounces Cabot garlic and herb cheddar [or equivalent!]
1/2-1 ounce grated/sliced mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh baby arugula
1-2 TBSP minced red onion
t-rex chefs prosciutto: add it.
vegansaurus chefs chop up your favorite vegan cheese, mix in some fresh herbs and roasted garlic and have at it! 
instructions:
Pre-heat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a small pan to medium-high heat with a drizzle of your favorite healthy oil. Add squash and saute until tender, seasoning with a sprinkle of salt, paprika, and garlic powder. Grate your cheeses over the flatbread and add the squash. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted. For extra-bubbly cheese you can set the oven to broil for the last minute, but keep an eye on it to prevent charring. Top with a heaping up of fresh arugula and chopped red onion.
Commence pizza party in your mouth.
Summer Squash Pizza
 
so… how was it!? 
Helloooo garlic! This pizza had just enough garlic to high-five my taste buds, but not so much that I felt like I had to chug a bottle of mouthwash. The crisp garlicky crust with hot melted cheese was a perfect match for the refreshing, peppery arugula and zesty red onion. Sometimes you just need comfort food… with salad on top. Much like pizza Thursday, it’s a thing!Happy almost-Friday!
up for a pizza party?

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Grilled Salmon Ciabatta Sandwiches

Grilled Salmon Ciabatta Sandwiches with Arugula, Avocado, and Pesto
I just found the best thing since sliced bread! Well it actually is bread, but you have to slice it yourself. Do I sound like a crazy person yet? I’ll clarify! My local grocery store started carrying frozen artisan take-and-bake breads. They’re under-baked and basically finish the baking process in your oven whenever your carb craving strikes! In about 5-8 minutes I can have perfectly portioned, hot, fluffy, crusty, chewy, amazing baguettes, buns, loaves or focaccia without the weird additives or preservatives that shelf-stable breads tend to be loaded with. No longer do I have to shy away from buying over-sized packages of rolls or buns, because I can now stash away a 4pk of fancy schmantzy ciabatta rolls in my freezer and only bake what I need, when I need it, fast! It sounds dumb to be this excited about bread but it literally took my frequently-single-gal dining game to the next level. This isn’t to say I can’t make my own bread at home, but sometimes a short cut is cause for a happy dance.
Ahh… carbs.
I’m terribly sorry you had to bear with me rambling about bread for however many minutes it took you to read that. Food excites me. Ready for a really stinkin’ good salmon sandwich? Let’s do this!
Grilled Salmon Ciabatta Sandwiches with Arugula, Avocado, and Pesto

Grilled Salmon Ciabatta Sandwiches with Arugula, Avocado, and Pesto

Grilled Salmon Ciabatta Sandwiches
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: entree, sandwich
Cuisine: seafood
Serves: 2 sandwiches
Ingredients
  • for the salmon:
  • 2 sandwich-sized salmon fillets or one large fillet, halved [skin on]
  • a drizzle of your favorite extra virgin olive oil
  • a hearty sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika

  • for the sandwich:
  • 2 fresh ciabatta rolls
  • 2-4 TBSP pesto [I used my asparagus-basil pesto]
  • 2 TBSP fresh mayo or aioli
  • 1 cup fresh baby arugula
  • ½ large avocado, sliced lengthwise
  • 6 slices tomato

  • recipe makes two summery sandwiches; adjusts easily to feed one or four!
Instructions
  1. Grab some wild Alaskan salmon from your local seafoodery and fire up the grill!
  2. Heat your grill to about 375 degrees F and prep your salmon by drizzling each fillet with olive oil and seasoning, to taste, with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.
  3. Secure your fish, skin-side down in a grill basket and grill for about 5 minutes.
  4. Flip the basket an grill skin-up for approx 8 minute until salmon is a bright pinkish-orange and completely opaque.
  5. No grill? No problem! You can bake your salmon in a foil pouch or try the sear-n-bake technique I use for my salmon tacos!
  6. Whichever technique you use for the salmon, be sure to gently remove the skin after cooking.
  7. It should slide off easily when you insert a knife between the salmon and the skin. Just gently swipe through and you're good to go.
  8. If you're using take-and-bake ciabatta like I am, pop two in the oven for five minutes until golden and crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Yum!
  9. Using bakery fresh rolls instead? Lightly toast them up on your grill with a little butter or oil if you'd like or enjoy them as is!
  10. Slather one side of the ciabatta with homemade or storebought mayo or aioli and spread your favorite pesto for the other. Add a small mountain of fresh arugula and your hot and ready salmon.
  11. Pile on the veggies and introduce it to your face. Enjoy!

Perfectly grilled salmon is a thing of beauty!

Perfectly Grilled Salmon

No grill? No problem! You can bake your salmon in a foil pouch or try the sear-n-bake technique I use for my salmon tacos!

Grilled Salmon Ciabatta Sandwiches with Arugula, Avocado, and Pesto

Pile on the rest of your veggies

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches with Avocado and Arugula

pause for a second to admire your handiwork, and…

Ready… Set… Attack!!!

The Best Salmon Sandwich

so… how was it!? Face-rocking! I forgot to breathe while eating it… seriously! Now I love a good salmon cake or crab cake sandwich, but this? This takes the cake. The white chocolate frosting-covered funfetti cake! Or whatever. It’s quick, easy, and the perfect summer salmon sammie. Try saying that 5 times fast. I dare you.

Crap. Now I want dessert.

 
still hungry?
Here are a few more yummy salmon recipes from the archives:
Chop Chop Style Salmon SaladSalmon Fish TacosHerb-Crusted Dijon SalmonPistachio Panko SalmonHomemade Sushi JB Roll Strawberry Fields Salmon Salad Wraps with Feta Dressing

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
ingredients:
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!
instructions:
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