posted by on cooking, Grilling, healthy, quick, side dish, vegetable

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Zucchini is everywhere this time of year & I love it! It’s pretty versatile (banana bread, soufflés, cake mixes…) but I prefer it one of two ways: raw or grilled with a marinade.

Here’s a simple marinade that’s great for grilling up zucchini (also, works well in the oven at about 450 degrees if you don’t have a grill/grill plate).

What you’ll need:

  • 4 zucchini’s (I try to get organic), washed well and ends chopped off (leave the skin on!)
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • Basil
  1. Slice the zuc’s in half, then each half into thirds, longways.
  2. Place in any kind of container (I use a bread baking pan) and be generous with the olive oil and seasonings (get creative! a pinch of cayenne, oregano, Greek’s…).
  3. Let marinade before grilling for a few minutes.
  4. Grill skin side down until you see grill marks and zuc’s are softened.
  5. *if you’re baking, bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes on a cookie sheet or until light brown and crispy on the outside. You may have to use your broiler.*

posted by on baking, Colorado, Denver, high altitude, Holidays, Phoenix

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I hate making things from a box. Cake mixes, cookies, brownies – they will never compare to baking them from scratch. The one exception? Angel food cake. I refuse to attempt this from scratch when the boxed version reminds me of so many good things from my childhood.

When I lived in Denver angel food cake was the one baked good I really missed. I could never get the cake to cooperate with the high altitude even after making the suggested adjustments. (If any of you out there can help out with this or have some tricks of your own, let me know!) 

This was our first 4th of July in Phoenix so I ran to the store and picked up a box of angel food cake mix and was ready to go! Here’s my version:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 angel food cake mix
  • fresh or frozen strawberries
  • sugar
  • cornstarch
  • vanilla
  • whipped cream (made from scratch or not – it’s a holiday for crying out loud!) 
  1. Follow instructions on the box to make the angel food cake, letting cool upside down on a bottle as shown.
  2. In a small sauce pan add strawberries, sugar (I don’t really measure this, just sprinkle a good amount on) and heat until bubbly.
  3. Stir in vanilla extract and 1-2 spoonfuls of cornstarch and mix well. Simmer for a bit then remove from heat and let cool until thickened.
  4. Cut the cake very carefully in half, letting the sawing of the knife do the work for you. Spread the bottom half with whipped cream, top with strawberry sauce & put the top of the cake back on!
  5. Finish off with whipped cream on top and around edges and remainder of the strawberry sauce.

Don’t worry about it being messy – it’ll be gone quick!


posted by on Grilling, guilty pleasure, Hors d'oeuvre, Kansas

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A few years ago in Kansas, my good friends Tim & Tyra taught me how to make these little gems! My tastebuds at the time were unsure if I’d like the jalapeño and the combination of ingredients seemed weird to me but, luckily, they proved me wrong!

The boyfriend and I grilled out with our friends last night and I decided I’d whip these up. Not really sure there’s ever been a name for them, but the boyfriend’s seems to do just fine. photography by Brandon Quester

What you’ll need:

  • 12 jalapeños, sliced in half, seeded, and rinsed
  • 1 block of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (approx.) apricot (jam, jelly, preserves… whatever you like)
  • 1 package bacon (I use the center cut)
  • toothpicks
  1. Clean and prep the jalapeños. Rinse well and set aside. (plastic gloves are handy with this, especially if you plan on doing more than a dozen)
  2. Mix together the cream cheese and apricot jelly (I used to heaping spoonfuls).
  3. Fill one half of a jalapeño with the cream cheese mix and put the other half on top.
  4. Wrap one slice of bacon all the way around.
  5. Poke a toothpick to hold it all together.
  6. Place on a cookie sheet and do the remainder of the jalapeños.
  7. Grill on the top rack over medium heat until the bacon is cooked to a crisp and the cheese mix has set up!

These go quick but a dozen seemed to be the right amount for the four of us.

Breakfast burrito


posted by on cooking for 2, healthy, leftovers, portions, quick

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Won’t say too much about this one except it goes back to my thoughts on using what you already have in your refrigerator to come up with a quick and delicious dish!

What you’ll need – makes 2 burritos:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Splash of milk
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese (whatever you have)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • Green onion, cleaned and chopped
  • Meat (optional – I used leftover slices of smoked turkey I had in the fridge – left over ground beef or sausage would be great too!)
  • Frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • Paprika
  • Garlic
  • Onion powder
  • Lemon pepper
  • Salt & Pepper

**if you decide to use harder veggies like onions or green peppers, sprinkle with salt & saute them until soft first)**

  1. Beat the eggs and milk together. Add the green onion and seasonings. Set aside.
  2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until warm.
  3. Add the spinach and chopped up turkey and cook until hot.
  4. Pour the egg mix in and let sit until the egg starts to cook up around the edges.
  5. Start scrambling/mixing everything together and leave it alone for 2 or 3 min.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese on top and mix until the eggs are fully cooked.
  7. Serve on warmed up whole wheat tortillas.  

Turkey Sliders


posted by on cooking for 2, portions, quick, vegetable

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I love sliders! I use this recipe as an opportunity to try different ingredients and use up whatever I have in my fridge/freezer. Also, another great recipe when you’re cooking for 2! Feel free to experiment and see what combos you can come up with on your own. (makes 4 sliders)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ lb. ground meat (I used turkey this time)
  • frozen spinach, thawed & drained
  • italian bread crumbs
  • seasonings like basil, garlic, onion, paprika, cumin, salt & pepper, lemon pepper (to your taste and liking)
  • provolone cheese
  • mini buns (I cheated & bought mini rolls from the freezer section)
  • mixed greens
  1. Mix up the ground meat, spinach & seasonings lightly with your hands until well mixed. Add the thawed spinach and combine until incorporated with the meat.
  2. Sprinkle the meat with bread crumbs (I add just enough to make sure the meat holds together).
  3. I place them in the freezer on a plastic cutting board until a bit firm (this is totally optional – I find that the sliders cook up better if they have a chill on them).
  4. Heat a tablespoon into a pan, add the sliders and leave alone until well browned.
  5. Flip over, let them brown up on the other side, add your cheese and let it melt.
  6. Top with mixed greens, serve & enjoy!

Cooking for 2


posted by on cooking, cooking for 2, healthy, leftovers, portions, vegetable

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When I first started this blog I mentioned cooking for 1 or 2 people and how my favorite cookbook is based around that idea (remember?). At this point, cooking for 2 people comes naturally to me. It’s hard for me to actually think “normal” and cook for 5 or 6 people because I’ve adapted to shopping, prepping and cooking for me and the boyfriend.

This all ties in with portion control and waste too. I hear friends tell me that they’ll go ahead and cook a full recipe fully knowing most of it will go to waste, even after eating leftovers. I would love to try and convince everyone that this doesn’t have to be the case if you’re cooking for yourself or you and a significant other. Hopefully I can touch on this subject every once in a while to help you guys out – along the way, let me know if you have questions or any ideas to add!

I still really struggle with cutting down when it comes to baking & probably because I know baked goods will be gone before I can even get them off a hot baking sheet! For this post I’ll focus on cooking and start of with some tips. We’ll go into more detail later!

Meat & Poultry:
Buy meat/poultry when it’s on sale and in family sizes – when you bring it home divide it into 1/2 lbs., put in freezer bags and store for later. I generally use 1/2 pound of any kind of meat when I cook for the boyfriend and I.  Really a 1/4 lb. of meat is a little bit more than a portion so this will be plenty. Trust this Nebraska girl – I know it sounds like not enough, but it will be.

When I buy chicken breast I’ll clean them up, cut them in half and freeze them separately. When it’s time to use them, thaw them out, place between two pieces of saran wrap or place in a baggie and pound with a rolling pin until about 1″ thick. You’ll have plenty for one serving and cut down on your cooking time significantly.

Visit your local farmer’s market (if you’re fortunate enough to have one around) and buy what’s in season. This one is hard for me sometimes when I see Brussels sprouts or asparagus and have to hold back because they’re not in season and are so expensive. You’ll help out your wallet if you pay attention to this. Google your local growing seasons and see what’s in now. www.cuesa.org has a good one…

Frozen vegetables are something my freezer is always stocked with. I use them in everything and love having the different options when it comes time to throw a quick 15-minute dinner together or when there’s no meat in the house, I can easily put together an awesome vegetarian meal (think stir fry with rice or noodles).

posted by on Phoenix, social media

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Would you have dinner with the people you’ve met on social media? Or maybe you just want to find some new people in your area that are passionate about food and similar interests to yours. Either way, Grubwithus seems like the place to start! When I read about this website on GOOD I decided to see what it was all about.

From the GOOD article:
‘Here’s how it works: users (referred to as grubbers) can visit their city’s Grubwithus page to check out the meals on offer. In Los Angeles, a city with an active user base, the possibilities range from meeting young people new to L.A., to networking with entrepreneurs, to talking shop with restaurant industry leaders, to mingling with singles. If none of those options sounds appealing, users can opt for the “Create Your Own” feature to set up their own meal in a neighborhood of their choice.’

I went to the website, clicked “Start Grubbing!” and logged in with my Facebook info (signing up via email is also an option if you don’t want to use/don’t have Facebook). Since I logged in with Facebook it knew I was currently in Phoenix and gave me a list to select 5 interests from. I chose healthy, young professionals, networking, pizza, and sushi. A window then popped up and shows groups in my area that I will get the must grubbing experience from.

I made sure and only selected the ones that are in Phoenix, not other metro cities (no offense meant, but it already takes 20 minutes to get everywhere in this city, why push that?). There were no meals set up yet, but I can totally see the potential to this. I’m sure it’s booming in other cities like L.A. too. If you don’t see something you like, you can always start up and organize your own meal and let others join!

Check the site out for yourself and just maybe we’ll see each other at dinner sometime soon! Ciao!
*screen shot taken from www.grubwithus.com

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