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!

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Where I’ve Been Lately + Holy Guacamole

Hi, friends! I apologize for my absence lately – work life has been keeping me busy (and cold). I had a last minute trip to Iowa fall in my lap, and I am currently trying to keep warm in some 11° weather. My eats have been nothing special, a little bit of Panera bread mixed in with some Longhorn Steakhouse( if you find yourself at Longhorn, the Rainbow Trout is delish). I haven’t had an opportunity to exercise since my 10 mile run on Saturday morning, but hope to make it to the hotel gym before I head back to Florida late this week. In the mean time, I have a tasty party recipe to share with you all!

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my absolute favorite party appetizers is definitely a large bowl of fresh, homemade guacamole. And although I typically prefer to cook with avocado in the summer time, I think it’s fair game to eat guacamole all the way through football season. Avocado, the main ingredient in guacamole, happens to have some serious nutritional value too – packing in 30 grams of heart healthy unsaturated fats, as well as some serious fiber and Vitamin C. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and make this delicious and healthy appetizer!

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Ingredients

3 Haas Avocados, peeled, seeded, and diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 red onion, diced

2 roma tomatoes or 1 large tomato, diced

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

juice from 1 lime

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Directions

In a large bowl, combine lime juice, avocado, salt, cumin, garlic and cayenne and mash together. Add in onion, tomatoes, and cilantro, and fold in until thoroughly combined. Let sit for 30 minutes, and serve with chips, pepper strips, or carrots.

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This recipe is pretty quick and hits the spot every time. In addition to a fun party dish to share, it also goes great with fajitas on Mexican Monday or Taco Tuesday!

As always, I hope you enjoy!

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!