Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

I was so excited to try this recipe from Martha Stewart Living because it’s such a fun and convenient way to combine protein and veggies in one dish! You don’t even need to make any side dishes with this sausage stuffed zucchini because it’s surprisingly satisfying. There are so many wonderful flavors already mixed into the Italian sausage. Plus, the fresh lemon zest and juice add such a nice brightness to the dish.

I’ve already made this dish several times because Michael loves it so much. I used sweet Italian sausage the first time, spicy Italian sausage the second time, and a mixture of the two the third time. If you can handle a little spiciness, I would definitely recommend mixing the sweet and spicy. I find it to be the perfect balance of flavors. (If you’re planning to serve this dish to kids, definitely stick with just sweet Italian sausage!)

Be sure to give this sausage stuffed zucchini a try the next time you make dinner! This recipe yields about 4 portions if served with side dishes and 2 portions if served without.

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Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

I discovered this recipe during my quest to find a baked pasta dish that wasn’t lasagna or baked ziti. No offense to either of those dishes (I love them both), but I wanted to make a pasta dish that didn’t include any meat or tons of ricotta cheese. I was watching the Food Network Channel one day and saw an episode of Everyday Italian with Giada. She made it look super easy to prepare and so yummy! So I decided to give it a try.

Michael was a little skeptical the first time I made this dish because there wasn’t any meat in it; however, he was pleasantly surprised after taking a few bites. There are just so many different flavors in the dish, ranging from the herbs de Provence in the roasted vegetables to the melted smoked mozzarella, that your taste buds are surprisingly satisfied. After playing around with the recipe a few times, I made a few tweaks to make it even more perfect for my own taste buds :). I portioned the recipe to make about four “normal” servings; however, Michael and I nearly finished the dish after one sitting ;). The leftovers taste even better the next day, but you can definitely separate the pasta into two portions before baking. Simply put one portion in a baking dish for today and freeze the other portion in an airtight container to bake another day. Continue reading

Grilled Summer Vegetables

One of my favorite side dishes to serve in the summer is grilled peppers and zucchini. They are so fresh and sweet during the summer months, and I love how they get that nice smoky charred taste from the grill. I make these veggies almost every week in the summer and we can’t seem to get enough of them! The best part about this dish is that it’s SO easy to make. You could use any type of summer squash you like – zucchini, yellow straightneck squash, or yellow crookneck squash. And the different kinds of peppers available in the summer are endless! I prefer to use red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, and poblano peppers. Poblano peppers have a deep, yet still mild, flavor and are best in the summer.

So make sure to add these grilled vegetables to your next summer barbecue! No outdoor space or grill? No worries! You could also cook them over a stove top grill pan 😉 Continue reading