Crowd Pleasin’ Cheesy Bruschetta

Around the holiday season, I find that short-notice entertaining of friends happens more often than the rest of the year. And trust me when I tell you, I have absolutely no complaints. There truly are few things I love more than preparing food and feeding people. But when I’m in a time crunch, Bruschetta is one of my go-to appetizers.

I’ve already shared with you all how to turn the bold flavors of basil, garlic, and tomato into a main dish by pouring it over chicken. But how could I forget to talk about the simple appetizer version of these favorite ingredients of mine?

Ingredients

3 large, ripe tomatoes

1 clove garlic, chopped

4 fresh basil leaves, chopped or shredded

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2  tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Pepper to taste

1 long baguette

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Chop tomatoes, and place them in a large bowl with garlic, balsamic vinegar, pepper and basil leaves. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Cut baguette into circular rounds, about 1-inch in thickness. Drizzle rounds with olive oil. Top rounds with tomato mixture and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and return to oven for 2 minutes. Serve hot 🙂

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I love serving dishes that seem fancier and more difficult to prepare than they actually were. This bruschetta dish fits that description! These ingredients serve 3-6 people as an appetizer, so make sure to double it if you have a bigger crowd to feed.

If you give this recipe a try, enjoy!

Zucchini Bites + My Tasty Week

Happy Hump Day, friends! I hope you are all having a great week thus far. I’m enjoying my time + food here in Atlanta (you’d think I came here just for the food with all I talk about it), but I’m looking forward to get home to my loved ones and Louie this weekend.

On Monday I took a break from working out – it was one of those days where I needed the break both mentally and physically. You ever feel that way? Anyways, to treat myself on this lovely rest day, I went to Tin Lizzy’s in Atlanta with three girlfriends from work, and it was delicious. I had an awesome salad topped with grilled shrimp, and loads of chips and guacamole. This made for one happy gal.
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I got back to the gym on Tuesday, and got a 4 mile interval run in, which coincided with our half marathon training plan! The run on Tuesday felt as good as the rest day on Monday did – funny how that happens, huh? Tuesday evening some friends and I went to eat at a seafood restaurant and all ordered the same seafood chopped salad and shrimp and grits. IT. WAS. DIVINE. We left feeling happy and full 🙂

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Now on to a recipe I promised you all! When I made this for my family last week, it was devoured in seconds. And the best part: this zucchini appetizer was as quick as it is healthy and tasty!

Ingredients

2 large zucchini

1/3 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 tbsp panko bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°and prepare a baking pan. Slice the zucchini into thin circular rounds. Place on baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and top each round with tomato sauce, panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Return to oven and bake for 15 more minutes. Serve hot! (Makes about 30 pieces)

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Zucchini are one of my favorite vegetables to cook with, and pack some great nutrients. They are a good source of Vitamin C, folate and potassium – this recipe is a great dish to make when entertaining guests, and they won’t even know they’re eating healthy!

Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes and Asparagus + A Super Sweaty Circuit Workout

Well HELLO there! I woke up yesterday morning to the funniest hand-written notes on the kitchen island. My nephews wrote these after I went to bed on Sunday night:

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How could I decline such polite requests? We didn’t have any waffle mix, but I found a suitable replacement: Van’s Pancakes.

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The breakfast was well received! Post breakfast, I made time for a quick work out before heading to work. I wasn’t feeling a run, and thought it was time to change my routine up a bit. After a 7 minute jogging warm up, I completed the following workout by performing each exercise for 1 minute with a 20 second break between each exercise. I followed it up with a 7 minute jogging cool down.

1 minute madness

 

The workout was no-nonsense and took about 25 minutes from start to finish! Since I had school until 10pm last night, I wasn’t able to cook dinner. But I did cook for my family on Sunday night, and wanted to share the recipe with you all:

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Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes and Asparagus

1 1/2 lb shrimp

1 box high fiber linguine or angel hair

2  14oz. cans of diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bunch asparagus, tough ends removed

1/4 cup white wine

1/3 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Remove tails and devein shrimp. Season with salt, pepper and oregano and set aside for 10 minutes.  After removing the tough ends of the asparagus, cut the asparagus into quarters. In a large and deep saucepan (or a shallow pot, if you don’t have the saucepan) over medium-high heat, pour olive oil and add shrimp. If shrimp are cooked, only leave in pan for 2 minutes. If shrimp are uncooked, cook until pink, about 5 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add chopped garlic to pan and cook until golden. Add in tomatoes, asparagus and white wine and simmer. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions (I prefer an al dente noodle). Add shrimp back to tomato and asparagus sauce for 2 more minutes, and then remove both pasta and sauce from heat. Drain pasta and serve on a plate. Top with sauce, shrimp, and parmigiano-reggiano

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Hope y’all enjoy it if you try it! Have a happy and healthy Tuesday, everyone!

Homemade Basil Pesto

I just wanted to pop on in to share with you an integral recipe-within-a-recipe from a dish I posted last week!

Last week I shared with you all a recipe for a basil pesto and mozzarella chicken dish that I adapted from Skinny Taste. The recipe required homemade basil pesto sauce ( a skinny version, of course ) and I was so excited to make my own basil pesto for the first time! The Skinny Taste recipe was almost identical to a traditional basil pesto (only thing it lacked was pine nuts). I was so surprised at how easy it was to make, and was knocked off my feet by the way it tasted. Here is how it went down:

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cup basil
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 5 tbsp olive oil

Add basil, garlic, grated parmesan, salt and pepper to a food processor and pulse. After about 30 seconds of pulsing, begin to slowly add the olive oil. Continue to pulse until everything is incorporated. Scoop out of food processor, and serve over your meal or store in air tight container (it’s freezable)!

Makes a little over 1/2 cup of basil pesto.

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photo-99I served this basil pesto sauce atop a chicken dish last week and the basil pesto seriously stole the show!

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You have to make this or you won’t truly experience all the joys that life can bring you. I swear.