CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER DRIP CAKE

CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER DRIP CAKE

This Chocolate and Peanut Butter Drip Cake is completely sinful. With smooth peanut butter buttercream and a moist, rich chocolate cake topped with MORE chocolate AND peanut butter cups, it’s hard to say no to a slice of this!

One of life’s simplest pleasures is a good ol’ chocolate cake. Towering rounds of decadent chocolate fudge layered with smooth sweet cocoa buttercream… I can’t think if anything else I’d rather have as a birthday cake. Oh wait. Yes I can. Add peanut butter to it! And chocolate ganache! And then take it five miles over the top with chocolate and peanut butter candy because that’s how I roll. Culminating in the blissful result that is this Chocolate and Peanut Butter Drip Cake.

Clearly I’ve been drooling over too many Katherine Sabbath drip cakes and they’ve taken over my brain. That lady is FOR REAL. I’ve lost hours of my life to watching How to Cake It videos on Youtube (but not wasted! Yolanda Gampp is brilliant!). It was time to put everything I’ve learned into practice with my sister’s birthday cake!

Betty Crocker’s Cocoa Fudge Cake can’t be beat (even though my mother’s handwriting is all over our recipe – that’s what cookbooks are for! Like me she tends to fiddle with recipes until they’re just how she likes them!), dark and rich and perfectly moist, it’s a chocolate cake classic.

If you don’t have buttercream, start with cup on the side to mix milk and vinegar, and let sit for a couple minutes until it gets nice and chunky (EW – or just go buy buttermilk). Mix all of your dry ingredients in a bowl. Cocoa is so darn pretty – that colour is just soooo rich.

Then add the milk and the rest of your wet ingredients. Beat them all together, scraping down the sides of your bowl every once in a while so everything gets mixed together. Then turn that sucker up and beat the mixture on high for about 3 minutes.

Set those to bake in the oven. You’ll want your cake to be completely cold (like sitting in the pan for 45 mins to an hour) before you attempt to level and frost it, to keep the structural integrity!

Now for the frosting! This buttercream recipe from Sweet Savory Life is hands down, THE most delicious frosting of all time. It tends to have air bubbles, but that flavour cannot be beat! It’s rich but not too sweet, very adaptable, and easy to make harder or softer as necessary.

I wanted the inside of the cake to be like a peanut butter cup, so I made some extra cocoa frosting to alternate layers. Mix all those ingredients in a bowl, you really can’t go wrong here. It needs to be easily spreadable, so if you need to add a little more cream, go ahead. One layer at a time, carefully assemble your cake. Again, make sure that cake is COLD, for stability.

Crumb coat! This I didn’t know was a thing until I started taking decorating classes, but just put a thin layer of icing over the cake, enough to trap all the crumbs, and pop in the fridge or freezer for at least 30 minutes to really solidify that barrier before you frost the rest of the cake.

CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER DRIP CAKE
CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER DRIP CAKE

INGREDIENTS :

Cocoa Fudge Cake  (The recipe below will make two 81/2 inch pans, so I doubled it for a four-tier cake)

  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour or 2 cups cake flour
  • 1½ cups white sugar
  • ⅔ cups cocoa
  • ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups buttermilk (OR 2 Tbsp vinegar in 1½ cups milk)
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
    Peanut Butter Buttercream (The recipe below will only be enough to cover a 2-layer cake, so I doubled it for a four-tier cake)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbsp milk or heavy cream (I always use cream with this recipe!)
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
    Chocolate Ganache (As long as your cake is 8-10″ round, this should be all you need no matter the height!)
  • ½ cup melted semi-sweet chocolate
  • ½ cup cream
    Optional Toppings: Mini Reeses’ Pieces, Mini Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups, and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, crushed.

INSTRUCTIONS :

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°, and grease and flour four 8½ inch round pans (or two pans twice!)
  2. Mix all of the cake ingredients together in the order they’re listed on medium first, scraping the sides occasionally.
  3. Then turn it up to high and let it go for 3 minutes, scraping occasionally.
  4. Pour into your pans, and pop in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  5. LET COOL COMPLETELY AND I MEAN COMPLETELY BEFORE YOU TAKE THE CAKE OUT OF THE PANS.
  6. I’m serious here. It should take about 45mins to an hour.

For the Buttercream

  1. Mix all ingredients together, scraping the sides occasionally.
  2. The peanut butter will make the buttercream stickier, so you may have to add a little more powdered sugar.
  3. This needs to be very easy to spread, so make sure the frosting isn’t stiff at all.
  4. Add a little more cream if necessary.

Assemblage:

  1. Level your cakes. There are many tutorials online, but you want to make sure they are FLAT.
  2. Using a spatula, distribute about ½ cup of frosting between each layer of cake.
  3. Make sure it’s level before adding the next level directly on top.
  4. Frost the outside of your cake with a very thin layer of buttercream to lock all those crumbs in!
  5. Pop it in the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes to harden the crumb coat and seal those in.
  6. We don’t want any crumbs on our final product!
  7. Bring it out of the fridge or freezer and frost the rest with a nice thick layer of buttercream.
  8. Pop back in the fridge or freezer for another 15-20 minutes.

For the Ganache

  1. In a pot on the stove, SLOWLY heat the chocolate and add the cream, stirring frequently.
  2. You don’t want it to boil at any point, or for the cream to curdle.
  3. If your ganache separates (like mine did),
  4. just add a tablespoon or two of warm milk, works like a dream! You’ll know it’s done when it is smooth and creamy!
  • NOTES
    If you wanted to have cocoa buttercream in place of, or in addition to the peanut butter buttercream (peanut buttercream?), just add ½ cup of cocoa instead of the peanut butter.

You can find complete recipes of this CHOCOLATE AND PEANUT BUTTER DRIP CAKE in halifaxbloggers.ca

One Pan Roasted Lemon Pepper Salmon and Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

One Pan Roasted Lemon Pepper Salmon and Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

Once you start making one pan meals on a sheet tray you’ll want to make them as often as possible. They are generally easy to make and they require less clean up. And when you can cook your veggie with your main dish, then why not?

This is a one pan dish that has the perfect combination of flavors! Lemon and parmesan were just made to go together, so I decided to go with a lemon pepper salmon and garlic parmesan asparagus – and indeed it made the perfect one pan dish. And prep couldn’t get any easier, this came together in no time! And I love how it also only takes 15 – 20 minutes to bake.

The other great thing about this is that my whole family loved it! Picky eating kids included. I’m so glad that both of my girls are finally starting to love salmon! It took a long time for me to love it as a kid. I remember the first time I finally I liked it was when my grandma breaded it and deep fried it like chicken nuggets.

Worked like a charm, key to getting a kid to like salmon. Smart grandma :). Now my thoughts on getting kids to like something – cover it with cheese, like so (as long as they don’t have a dairy allergy of course). When there’s cheese it’s got to be good!

One Pan Roasted Lemon Pepper Salmon and Garlic Parmesan Asparagus
One Pan Roasted Lemon Pepper Salmon and Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

INGREDIENTS :

  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon, skin on*
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and fresh cracked black pepper, plus more for asparagus
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs asparagus (medium or thin spears), tough ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS :

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed 17 by 12-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Place salmon in center of pan (or see note below). In a mixing bowl whisk together 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic, dijon, onion powder.
  3. Brush evenly over top of salmon then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  4. (add more pepper to taste if desired). Top with lemon slices.
  5. Toss asparagus with remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil, remaining 2 cloves garlic and season with salt,
  6. then place around salmon.
  7. Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, toss asparagus then sprinkle asparagus with parmesan.
  9. Return to oven and bake until salmon has cooked through, about 5 – 10 minutes longer.
  10. Cut salmon into portions. Serve warm.

You can find complete recipes of this One Pan Roasted Lemon Pepper Salmon and Garlic Parmesan Asparagus in cookingclassy.com

TERIYAKI CHICKEN CASSEROLE

TERIYAKI CHICKEN CASSEROLE

First off, I must say I have to give Carrian from the amazing food blog Oh Sweet Basil top notch credit for this fantastic recipe! If you are looking for an incredible, delicious and healthy meal to feed your family- this is it!
This Teriyaki Chicken Casserole is one you’ll love and even the kiddos too.

I think casseroles get a bad rap, and I can totally see why. Especially when they’re packed with a bunch of processed ingredients and cream-of-whatever soups everyone loves to hate. (I use them but not all the time.) For me though, I adore a good casserole. As a main or side dish. They’re comforting, yummy and usually pretty darn easy to whip up. I love that.

TERIYAKI CHICKEN CASSEROLE
TERIYAKI CHICKEN CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS :

  • 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (12 oz.) bag stir-fry vegetables (Can be found in the produce section)
  • 3 cups cooked brown or white rice

INSTRUCTIONS :

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine soy sauce, ½ cup water, brown sugar, ginger and garlic in a small saucepan and cover.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove lid and cook for one minute once boiling.
  4. Meanwhile, stir together the corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water in a separate dish until smooth.
  5. Once sauce is boiling, add mixture to the saucepan and stir to combine.
  6. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken then remove from heat.
  7. Place the chicken breasts in the prepared pan.
  8. Pour one cup of the sauce over top of chicken.
  9. Place chicken in oven and bake 35 minutes or until cooked through.
  10. Remove from oven and shred chicken in the dish using two forks.
  11. *Meanwhile, steam or cook the vegetables according to package directions.
  12. Add the cooked vegetables and rice to the casserole dish with the chicken.
  13. Add most of the remaining sauce, reserving a bit to drizzle over the top when serving.
  14. Gently toss everything together in the casserole dish until combined.
  15. Return to oven and cook 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  16. Drizzle each serving with remaining sauce. Enjoy!

You can find complete recipes of this TERIYAKI CHICKEN CASSEROLE in life-in-the-lofthouse.com

THAI CHICKEN SALAD WITH GINGER LIME DRESSING

THAI CHICKEN SALAD WITH GINGER LIME DRESSING

Today, I’ve got a Thai Chicken Salad with amazing texture and flavors, but first, let’s talk about Mommy Guilt.
Now that the craziness from back to school had faded into the new normal, one of my big goals is to start working out again.

I’ve mentioned many times that since becoming a Mom more than ten years ago, I struggle with keeping any consistency with working out. I start programs with great enthusiasm. (Usually, it is something meant for someone in better shape.) A few weeks into working out, I become stressed for time, and my workout is the first thing to go.
And as terrible as it sounds, I feel guilty when I work out because I always feel like I should be doing something else. Cleaning the house, playing with the kids, making a homemade meal, or working.

The other thing I have going on is that I have the attention span of a toddler. I don’t mind working out; I just get bored quickly. Even changing routines once a month has been a problem for me. But yet, I KNOW I have to do something. With my crazy thyroid and a stressful summer, I’ve managed to put on more weight than I’d like to admit. And, sadly, I can no longer blame it on “Baby Weight”. Is there such a thing as Toddler Weight?

While I get mentally geared up, let’s share a salad that is perfect fuel for an intense workout. And speaking of intense, this Thai Chicken Salad is packed with flavor. I adore the color and texture.

THAI CHICKEN SALAD WITH GINGER LIME DRESSING
THAI CHICKEN SALAD WITH GINGER LIME DRESSING

INGREDIENTS :

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (get a freecoconut oil with a Thrive Market Membership)*
  • 1 small red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (Red Boat brand)
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or 2 drops Ginger Essential Oil)
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • Honey, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup raw cashews, toasted and chopped

INSTRUCTIONS :

  1. Heat coconut oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook for two minutes.
  3. Add chicken and saute until browned and the chicken is fully cooked. Allow to cool and shred chicken
  4. Make dressing by whisking together lime juice, fish sauce, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
  5. Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Add honey to taste.
  6. In a large bowl combine cabbage, red pepper, carrots, scallions, basil, cilantro and chicken.
  7. Toss with dressing. Top with cashews and serve.

You can find complete recipes of this THAI CHICKEN SALAD WITH GINGER LIME DRESSING in wendypolisi.com

REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES

REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES

Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and a Reese’s chocolate baked in the center.
It’s been really difficult writing this post. Editing the pictures. Getting it ready to share with you guys. It’s been a constant reminder that ALL I WANT is another one of these cupcakes. Or two. Or three.

I’ve been dreaming of them ever since I made them. Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting and a mini Reese’s chocolate baked in the center. BEST CUPCAKES Ever. You can never, ever go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter.

*Disclaimer….these cupcakes are made using a cake mix (gasp!). Here’s the honest truth. As much as I totally believe in cooking everything from scratch (here’s my favorite homemade chocolate cupcakes recipe) I believe there is a time and a place for boxed cake mixes.

I “doctor” cake mixes all the time–I change the add-in’s so that the end result tastes like they’re from scratch! Sometimes you only have 5 minutes to throw together a treat, and the batter for these cupcakes only takes that long! And the best part is no one will ever guess (or care) that you used a cake mix!

REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES
REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES

INGREDIENTS :

For the Chocolate Cupcakes* :

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 heaping Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 30 mini Reese’s cups, divided

For the Peanut Butter Frosting :

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk or cream

INSTRUCTIONS :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 regular muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Mix together the cake mix, milk, eggs, oil and Greek yogurt until smooth.
  3. Spoon batter into cupcake pans, filling the liners 1/2 full.
  4. Place a Reese’s PB cup into the center of the batter in each cup and gently press it down a little (the tops of the Reese’s can still be showing, like photo above).
  5. Bake cupcakes for 16-20 minutes or until done. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the Peanut Butter Frosting

  1. Beat together butter, and peanut butter until smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat again until combined.
  3. Add cream or milk, beating well until light and fluffy.
  4. (Add more milk or powdered sugar if needed to make the frosting thicker or thinner).
  5. Frost cupcakes (I used a wilton 1M tip in the photos above).
  6. Chop up the remaining pieces of Reese’s and sprinkle on top of the frosting.

You can find complete recipes of this REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES in tastesbetterfromscratch.com

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE BROWNIES

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE BROWNIES

I love brownies. I love peanut butter cookies. I LOVE Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies!!! AKA Polka Dot Brownies
We’ve got an easy homemade brownie batter studded with globs of peanut butter cookie dough for a chocolate peanut butter lovers dream come true.

These little squares did NOT last long my friends. My husband barely even got to taste them because the boys and I scarfed them up so fast. He’s learning that he has to be quick if he wants to get in on the good stuff. Otherwise it’s like, “Um, didn’t I see a pan of brownies on the counter a few days ago?” Sure did buddy, you snooze you loose around here!

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE BROWNIES
PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS :

FOR THE BROWNIES :

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

FOR THE COOKIE :

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9 by 9 inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper, leaving excess hanging over the sides for easy removal later.

BROWNIE BATTER

  1. In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in sugar.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.
  4. Stir the butter, sugar and eggs into the dry ingredients until just mixed. A few lumps are okay.
  5. Pour the brownie batter into the pan and set aside.

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE DOUGH

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together vegetable oil and sugar.
  2. Then add the egg, vanilla extract, and peanut butter and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt and then
  4. add to the wet ingredients to form a dough.
  5. Drop tablespoon sized scoops of peanut butter cookie dough onto the brownie batter.
  6. Bake for 27-30 minutes, then cool completely before cutting into bars.

You can find complete recipes of this PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE BROWNIES in lovelylittlekitchen.com

Broccoli Crust Pizza {Low-carb, Gluten free}

Broccoli Crust Pizza {Low-carb, Gluten free}

Healthy homemade broccoli crust pizza is gluten-free and low-carb and comes together in under 30 minutes.  It’s all about the broccoli today! If you’ve been following the blog, then you might have noticed how obsessed I am with these healthy pizza crusts. A few years ago I shared the best cauliflower crust pizza and then the popular rainbow cauliflower crust a few weeks ago.

Today I present the broccoli crust pizza. It’s very similar to the cauliflower crust pizza expect this pizza contains no gluten at all. The crust is made with riced broccoli, eggs, parmesan, and mozzarella. The broccoli can be riced in the food processor or with a cheese grater. After that, you simply combine the riced broccoli with eggs, cheese and salt + pepper until a soft dough forms then shape into a pizza crust.

One thing I want to mention is that if you have parchment paper, I highly suggest you use it so the pizza does not stick to the pan. I had parchment paper on hand when I made the pizza, but I guess drizzling oil always gets to me!

Now keep in mind, There are 2 steps to baking the broccoli crust. If will first be baked without cheese or toppings on it until the crust is crispy (about 10-12 minutes) then it will be removed from the oven, the toppings added, and baked again for another 10-12 minutes. This will insure the crust is crispy and hold up.

Broccoli Crust Pizza {Low-carb, Gluten free}
Broccoli Crust Pizza {Low-carb, Gluten free}

INGREDIENTS :

Broccoli Crust

  • 1 small head of broccoli (about 2-3 cups riced)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon italian seasoning (optional)

Toppings

  • ¼ cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup cheese
  • veggies (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS :

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (highly recommend) or grease with oil; set aside.
  2. Process the broccoli in a food processor or shred with a cheese grater until the broccoli is the same consistency as rice.
  3. Place broccoli in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and micorwave for 1-2 minute or until it is steamed.
  4. Cool for at least one minute then pour broccoli on a clean washcloth and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the broccoli until you are left with a dry ball of broccoli.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, eggs, cheeses, and seasoning with a spoon until fully combined.
  6. Pour mixture into the pre-lined baking sheet and shape into a pizza crust, ½ inch thick.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.
  8. Remove from the oven and add the pizza sauce and cheese. At this point feel free to add desired toppings (veggies or meat).
  9. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted. Cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

You can find complete recipes of this Broccoli Crust Pizza {Low-carb, Gluten free} in gimmedelicious.com

Zucchini Pasta Lasagna

Zucchini Pasta Lasagna

Another fantastic pasta substitute! All of these low carb pasta ideas are making my new year’s resolutions a lot easier. Thank you, Skinny Taste for this awesome low carb and gluten free lasagna recipe. Gina made this lasagna with beef, but you could easily leave it out for a vegetarian option. You could also use eggplant in place of zucchini.

By replacing the lasagna noodles with thin sliced zucchini you can create a delicious, lower carb (gluten-free) lasagna that’s loaded with vegetables, and you won’t miss the pasta!

I’ve made this a gazillion times and even shared it in my first cookbook. Since zucchini tends to be very watery, grilling it first is a must (I use my grill pan). After it’s grilled, I leave it on paper towels to soak up extra water while I make the sauce.

Zucchini Pasta Lasagna
Zucchini Pasta Lasagna

INGREDIENTS :

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz can) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 3 medium (8 ounces each) zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg
  • 16 oz (4 cups) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

INSTRUCTIONS :

  1. In a medium sauce pan, brown meat and season with salt.
  2. When cooked drain in colander to remove any fat.
  3. Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan,
  4. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30-40minutes, covered.
  5. Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.
  6. Meanwhile, slice zucchini into 1/8″ thick slices, add lightly salt and set aside or 10 minutes.
  7. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture.
  8. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel.
  9. Preheat a gas grill to medium high, and grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, until slightly browned.
  10. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.
  11. Preheat oven to 375°.
  12. In a medium bowl mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and egg. Stir well.
  13. In a 9×12 casserole spread 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover.
  14. Spread 1/2 cup of the ricotta cheese mixture, then top with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up.
  15. The last layer top with remaining zucchini and sauce, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.
  16. Uncover the foil and bake 20 minutes (to dry up the sauce) then place the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and bake until melted, 10 minutes.
  17. Let stand about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

You can find complete recipes of this Zucchini Pasta Lasagna in recipebyphoto.com

TERIYAKI VEGGIE SPRING ROLLS

TERIYAKI VEGGIE SPRING ROLLS

These teriyaki veggie spring rolls are light and tasty and surprisingly filling. Made with simple, healthy ingredients, they are quick and easy to assemble.

I love spring rolls but I always imagined they were a lot of work and difficult to assemble. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I whipped these up in less than half an hour the other night when my daughter had a hankering for sushi and the sushi guy at the health food store near my husband’s office was disappointingly absent.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I grabbed some ingredients I had on hand and mixed them together to see if I could make something to satisfy her craving – she’s been working hard in school and I thought she deserved a treat.

I had purchased some brown rice spring roll wrappers the last time I went shopping with the idea that I would attempt making my own. Since my daughter has to follow a gluten-free diet I try to come up with creative ways to keep her meals – especially the lunches I pack her – interesting. However, I tend to procrastinate when it comes to trying something new, so the spring roll wrappers had been sitting in the cabinet.

TERIYAKI VEGGIE SPRING ROLLS
TERIYAKI VEGGIE SPRING ROLLS

INGREDIENTS :

  • 8 brown rice spring roll wrappers
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 avocado pitted and peeled
  • 1/2 cucumber medium, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce (try my homemade recipe)

INSTRUCTIONS :

Filling

  1. Pulse onion in a food processor fitted with an S blade until it is chopped finely.
  2. Scrape chopped onion into a large mixing bowl and repeat the chopping process separately with the carrots,
  3. celery and spinach until all are finely chopped and added to the mixing bowl.
  4. For best results, chop spinach 2 cups at a time.
  5. Add almonds and teriyaki sauce to the chopped vegetables, stir to mix well and set aside.
  6. Slice cucumber and avocado into long thin strips and set aside.

How to Assemble

  1. Fill a large bowl with warm water and set it next to a large plate.
  2. Submerge one spring roll wrapper in the warm water for about 20 seconds and then place the wrapper on the large plate.
  3. Place 2-3 tbs of the chopped vegetables in the center of the wrapper.
  4. Add 2 slices of cucumber and 1-2 slices of avocado
  5. Carefully fold front of wrapper over the veggies and then fold the sides over and
  6. roll forward to wrap the back and seal the roll.

You can find complete recipes of this TERIYAKI VEGGIE SPRING ROLLS in veggieprimer.com

EASY QUINOA PIZZA BOWLS

EASY QUINOA PIZZA BOWLS

Ten days until Barclay and I leave for New Zealand!!! And I can’t WAIT!

I can’t wait to meet all of B’s Kiwi relatives who are coming together for a big reunion at a beautiful National Park campground (complete with a family jam sesh, since apparently everyone’s musical). I can’t wait to take our time (nearly 4 weeks) adventuring all over both islands, visiting the long list of towns and hikes and restaurants and coffee shops that some dear friends have recommended.

I can’t wait to soak up lots of quality downtime with this cute guy, especially after some extra busy schedules we’ve had these past few months. And — I must admit — after a brutal winter week here in Kansas City, I can’t WAIT to cross the equator and have it be summer down there!!!

My swimsuit and flip flops are already packed. 🙂

Still, I’ve been working hard to get ahead and create a bunch of winter-friendly recipes to share here on the blog while I’m gone. And oh my goodness — I had initially scheduled this one to be posted in mid-February, but I couldn’t wait another second to share it with you. Because I’m convinced I have stumbled upon a winner here.

They’re everything we all love about a good slice of pizza. They’re made healthier (and also gluten-free) with lots of protein-packed quinoa. They’re 100% easy to customize with all of your favorite pizza ingredients. They’re quick and easy and actually really fun to make. And oh my goodness — THEY ARE GOOD.

Meet my new favorite Easy Quinoa Pizza Bowls! Everyone seems to be obsessed with anything that’s served in a bowl lately, and I’ll admit I’m no exception. There’s something about digging a spoon into a big bowl of deliciousness that is oh-so-comforting. (And as a food stylist, I’ll also add in that bowls are oh-so-pretty!)

So when I was craving pizza the other day, I randomly decided to try tossing all of my favorite pizza ingredients into a new set of ramekins I just bought. (<–That’s an affiliate link, for anyone in the ramekin market.

I totally recommend them!) I’m a big fan of pepperoni (always), green pepers, red onions, mushrooms, mozz, and Parm. In lieu of crust, though, I just cooked up a quick batch of quinoa, stirred it together with my favorite pizza sauce, and then added that to the mix.

EASY QUINOA PIZZA BOWLS
EASY QUINOA PIZZA BOWLS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (dry) quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 (14-ounce) jars pizza sauce
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2-3 cups of your favorite pizza toppings (I used pepperonis, diced green peppers, diced button mushrooms,
  • and thinly-sliced red onions, but see other ideas below*)
  • optional toppings: grated Parmesan cheese, crushed red peppers

INSTRUCTIONS :

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
    Cook quinoa in the chicken or vegetable stock according to package instructions. (Or you can use this tutorial for how to cook quinoa.)
  2. When the quinoa has finished cooking, fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  3. Then stir about 1/2 cup pizza sauce into the quinoa until evenly combined. Set aside.
  4. Lightly spray 6 large (10-ounce) oven-safe ramekins with cooking spray.
  5. Place the ramekins on a large baking tray.
  6. Spread about 2 Tablespoons of pizza sauce evenly over the bottom of each ramekin.
  7. Layer each with about 1/4 cup of quinoa, and spread with a spoon to flatten.
  8. Layer each evenly with pinch of shredded Mozzarella.
  9. Layer each with a single layer of pizza toppings.
  10. Repeat by layering each with another layer of sauce, quinoa, Mozzarella, pizza toppings, followed by a final layer of Mozzarella.
  11. The ramekins should be full but not overflowing.
  12. Transfer the baking sheet full of ramekins to the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are heated through.
  13. At this point, you can either remove the pizza bowls from the oven.
  14. Or if you’d like to get the cheese extra golden on top, you can turn the oven to “broil”.
  15. Then — keeping a close eye on the cheese so that it does not burn — broil the pizza bowls until the cheese is golden on top.
  16. Remove and sprinkle each pizza bowl with a pinch of Parmesan cheese and crushed red peppers, if desired. Serve immediately.

You can find complete recipes of this EASY QUINOA PIZZA BOWLS in gimmesomeoven.com