Zucchini boats make an excellent vegetable side dish and can be cooked on the BBQ or in the oven. Super easy to make and a great use of the endless supply of this summer Squash.😀🤪😋
PREP TIME: 10 min
BBQ TIME: 20 min
- 3 small Zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tsp Balsamic Reduction
- 1 Tsp Basil Pesto
- Black Pepper, Basil, Oregano, to taste
- Cut Zucchini in half. Scoop out some of the membrane, carving out space for the filling.
- In a separate bowl, mix together Cheese, Spices, Pesto, Garlic, Balsamic Reduction and Oil.
- Add mixture to carved out Zucchini shells.
- Barbeque stuffed Zucchini for approximately 20 min to soften outer shell.
- Just before serving, drizzle Balsamic Reduction on top for garnish (optional).
🍐 MANGIA! (serves 3-4)
This recipe is dedicated to all those things in life that just seem to go together. Like ice cream on a warm summer night or chocolate and caramel. Of course biscotti and coffee is certainly one of my favourites, having that perfect blend of sweetness and crunch. There are many biscotti variations but the classic biscotti with almonds is timeless.
PREP TIME: 15 min
BAKING TIME: 40 min @ 350 degrees F
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup of almonds, unblanched and chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg white, whisked
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted & cooled
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 Tsp almond extract
- rind of one large orange, grated
- In a mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder and stir together.
- Add almonds to food processor and use pulsating feature to coarsely chop up nuts.
- Add nuts to flour mixture, coat with flour and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add 2 eggs, sugar, melted butter, vanilla, almond extract, orange rind and mix together.
- Slowly add liquid mixture to flour and incorporate until a dough forms.
- Lightly flour your working area. Divide dough into two even pieces. Then form each portion into two long logs, ensuring that it is consistently a good 2 inches in width. Flatten out the top of the log a little with your fingers.
- Place both logs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and make sure the logs don’t touch each other.
- Brush top of logs with egg white and then bake in oven for approx. 20 min, rotating baking sheet.
- After first bake, remove baking sheets from oven and let sit on countertop for a few minutes so they will be easier to cut. Then use a serrated knife to cut biscotti pieces on a diagonal. You can vary your cuts depending on the thickness and length of biscotti you want.
- Return cut biscotti pieces to cookie sheet, but make sure the biscotti pieces are upright and apart from one another.
- Bake again* for another 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
*Did you know that biscotti means ‘twice cooked’ ?
Store in an airtight container and they should keep for a couple of weeks or so.
This is a twist on the classic meat lasagna recipe. Summer lasagna is perfect for the warm weather when you may want to keep meals light. I’ve included a fool proof recipe for white sauce which always ensures the lasagna will turn out creamy and flavourful. You can double the bechemel sauce recipe if you please. One of the reasons I love making lasagna for dinner events is because you can make it well in advance. You can refrigerate your assembled, uncooked lasagna for a good day or two— just make sure to keep it covered.
🍐 PREP TIME: 45 min- 1 hour
🍐 COOK TIME: 45 min @ 375 degrees F
- 1 box lasagna noodles, use 9-12 sheets
- Cooking oil/butter, to prepare pan
- 2 Tbsp extra Virgin Olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 bunch fresh spinach or 1 pkg frozen (drained)
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 small bunch asparagus spears, chopped
- 1 small jar basil pesto
- 1 container of ricotta cheese, 500 g
- Fresh or dried basil, oregano, parsley, salt to taste
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 large pkg or 1 large block Mozzarella cheese, grated (for cheese mixture & topping)
Bechamel (white) sauce
- 1 cup milk
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted
- 3 Tbsp flour, all purpose
- In a large frying pan, lightly saute chopped garlic and onion in oil. Add fresh spinach leaves and stir for a few minutes. Add chopped vegetables and cook until softened. Pour into bowl and set aside.
- In same pan, add milk with melted butter and mix together. Slowly incorporate flour while vigorously mixing. The mixture will begin to thicken gradually and when it boils take off heat, pour into a bowl and set aside.
- In a bowl, combine and mix together ricotta cheese, parmesan, mozzarella cheese, pepper, salt and other spices. Make sure to set aside some mozzarella cheese for topping.
- When building your lasagna, start by very lightly buttering the bottom of the pan, or use cooking oil spray. Prepare noodles by following box directions which normally involves boiling pasta in salted water for approximately 8-10 minutes.
- Lay 3-4 cooked noodles across to cover bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Spread a thin layer of pesto onto pasta, followed by a layer of spinach mixture. Then drizzle on third of white sauce, followed by cheese mixture. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times and end with a generous sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until top is lightly browned and contents is bubbly from sides.
Tip: If you want to create a ‘melt in your mouth’ lasagna, try making your own pasta dough. The extra effort is really worth it, especially for a special event. 🌟 💫
Strawberries are nothing but mouthwatering delicious. As the first summer fruit to tantalize our taste buds, strawberries remind us why we long for the warm weather all year round. Whether you freeze them or use strawberries for a special dessert, this summer fruit will rarely disappoint. Try making jam as it is a very easy process with rewarding results in an hour (not to mention how pretty jam jars will look in your pantry or as gifts).
- 8 cups of fresh strawberries 🍓 prior to preparing fruit
- 1 box of pectin
- sugar— follow pectin box instructions
- 8 jam jars with lids
- Wash and hull strawberries, then put aside.
- Wash jam jars and place them upside down in oven preheated to 250 degrees F. Heat jars for 10 min. Then turn heat off and leave jars in oven until ready to use.
- In a clean sink, submerge lids in hot water and leave them there until needed.
- Place strawberries in a food processor and use pulsating feature to create desired texture (I like leaving a few larger pieces in my jam). A potato masher also works in a pinch with a bit more elbow grease.
- In saucepan, combine crushed fruit with your favorite pectin and carefully follow directions on pectin package for cooked jam. Pay attention to the sugar and boiling directions as this is key to the science of jam making.
- Always check that the jam has thickened before canning by placing a drop of jam onto a plate. After 5 minutes, check to see that the jam has set (it should not be runny if you tilt the plate).
- Pull jars out of oven (careful they will be hot!) and pour in jam. You can add half of a strawberry on top for a nice presentation. Immediately after, screw lids on tightly and set aside. Wait for a ‘popping’ sound to come from the jars once they start to cool down and this will tell you that the lids have sealed properly.
🍐 TIP: If you like your jam to be have more of a tart flavour, reduce the 8 cups of strawberries to half the amount and add 4 cups of rhubarb.
🍐 MANGIA! Makes 8 jam jars that will store nicely for a year or so.
The saying “anything wrapped in bacon is good” was never more true than with this side dish/appetizer. This is a great way to BBQ asparagus and make something so simple look elegant. Pairs nicely with fish or meat. Wrap one asparagus spear with a prosciutto slice or wrap 2-3 thin spears together.
Prep: 5 min
BBQ: 10 min
- Prosciutto (Italian ham), several slices
- Asparagus bunch
- Wash and prepare asparagus. Hold both ends of an asparagus spear and gently bend until it snaps into two. Discard the woody bottom end.
- Loosely wrap asparagus with prosciutto so that stem is mostly covered.
- Place on bbq and cook until vegetable is tender and prosciutto is crispy.
I used my indoor grill and it worked beautifully.
This post is for all those amazing mothers out there—we should love and cherish them always. If you are still looking for that special gift, I suggest you consider making these equally amazing lavender scones for breakfast or brunch. Many of the traditional scone recipes tend to incorporate lemon flavours but I thought I would try something new. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY 💐 🌺 🌸
PREP: 30 min
BAKE: 5 min at 425 degrees, approx. 15 min. @ 350.
- 3 cups flour, sifted
- 2 Tbsp *culinary lavender
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 Tsp orange rind
- pinch salt to enhance flavours
- 3 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 Tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (save 1/4 cup for glaze)
- 1/4 Tsp peppermint extract
- 1 Tbsp crystallized sugar for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven, prepare baking sheet (I use parchment paper) and set aside.
- Measure out all your ingredients before you begin. This will also ensure you are not running out for ingredients in the middle of baking 😬.
- In large bowl, sift flour. Add dried lavender flowers but first crush them with your fingers to release the scent.
- Mix together sugar and orange rind and then add to flour mixture, along with salt, baking powder and baking soda.
- Incorporate butter (preferably cold) into the flour by using a pastry blender to cut in.
- In a glass measuring cup add 1 cup buttermilk, peppermint extract and stir.
- Add liquids to flour and gradually combine by mixing and turning, but do not over mix or scones will come out dense.
- On flat surface, gently mold dough into a 7 inch round disc shape, approximately one inch thick.
- Divide and cut disc into 8 equal parts so that sections will cook evenly. It helps to start by marking the dough disc into quarters with a pastry scraper and then in eighths.
- Cut out the triangle sections and place on lined cookie sheet with small spatula.
- With brush, cover top of scone with thin layer of buttermilk and top with sprinkles of crystallized sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven and take out when scones are light golden brown in color. Cool on rack. The aroma will be divine.
*TIP: Make sure you use culinary lavender. You might have some luck finding it in local organic/herbal stores, but it is readily available on the internet. I bought 1/2 lb and it’s lasted over a year!
MANGIA! (8 scones)
I hope you believe me when I tell you that these muffins are really, really good. No need for a big cake muffin when you have one of these apple and cinnamon treats. Add a cup of coffee ☕️ and you are ready to start your day. If your household is like mine (where anything good doesn’t last the day), be quick to grab or hide one.
PREP: 50 min
BAKE: 5 min @ 450 degrees, 12 min at 400.
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1/4 cup golden yellow Brown Sugar
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp Walnuts, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp unsalted Butter, melted
- 3 Apples, peeled, chopped & 🍎 *precooked
- 2 cups Flour
- 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
- 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
- pinch of Salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 1/4 Walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Buttermilk
- Preheat oven, prepare muffin tins with wrappers, chop your apples and cook in saucepan for 12 min (see below) 🍎.
- In a small bowl, mix together your streudel topping which includes your flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and walnuts. Add melted butter and form crumb like mixture.
- In a separate bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. Add butter to flour mixture and blend it in with your thumb and fingers until mixture has course texture. Toss in Apple and walnut pieces.
- Mix together eggs and buttermilk and then gradually add to flour mixture. DO NOT OVER MIX.
- Add batter (heaping 1/4 cup) to muffin tin.
- Top with streusel mixture, generously covering tops and then bake in oven till lightly browned.
TIP: 🍎 An extra step worth completing is to cook your chopped apple pieces in 1 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp brown sugar on medium heat for about 12 min or until Apples are soft.
🍐 MANGIA! (12 muffins)
Homemade croutons made from leftover bread are a great way to elevate a simple Caesar salad.
PREP TIME: 10 min
COOK TIME: 10 min
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Baguette (or any left over bread)
- Cut up Bread into cubes and then place in a large ziplock bag.
- Add Oil and Spices to bag and shake , allowing bread to be coated evenly.
- Spread onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until bread is golden brown.
- Add to favourite salad as topping.
Sometimes even small changes can have a big impact.