Favorite Spring Recipes

Happy second day of spring! All I have been thinking about is flowers, hiking, kayaking and yummy summer food. These past few weeks have been super busy but I finally see a light at the end of the long tunnel. I feel like we have been going non stop since before the Christmas season and spring is going to be a time to veg and relax… well a little bit.

This past weekend we finally got to get out of the house and be outdoors. Saturday night we spent at Disneyland where they are right in the middle of featuring the Main Street Electrical Parade. If you live local, go check it out before it’s gone this June. It was a big throw back to my childhood. I remember seeing it in Disney World when I was a kid, and seeing the same parade, and floats as an adult was really cool and definitely gave me a whole other appreciation for this piece of Disney magic.

Sunday morning we woke up early and headed down to Newport Beach to do a little whale watching. More on that later but the being out on the water was definitely what the doctor ordered. And we even got to hang out with some grey whales and dolphins.

Now that spring is here, I’ve been craving lighter meals. There’s something about the nice weather that makes me want to eat lighter and healthier. So today I put together a list of my favorite food I have featured on my blog that remind me of summer. Enjoy! 

Cabbage, Spinach, Mozzarella Salad  Chicken Picatta

Grilled Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

Mediterranean Spaghetti

Homemade Bruschetta 

This weekend I’m working both days, but Sunday morning we are doing something that I have been looking forward to for a long time. Hints: we will be on the water and it involves an extremely oversized animal. Keep an eye out on Instastory to see what we are up to.


Meatball Sub

This past week or so I have been getting a huge urge to wanderlust. Literally my favorite thing is to see the world & experience this planet & all the cultures to their fullest. This past year we went to Portland & it was long overdue & absolutely amazing. Now all I can think of doing is traveling, seeing new things & tasting new flavors.

We are planning on taking a little road trip in March for Spring Training in Arizona. Now I know, it’s not the Yankees, which I can’t wait to go to see in the Grapefruit League one day, but Scottsdale is a little easier to get to then Tampa is. We are hoping to hop on the 10 Freeway here in Orange County & just head west until we see a sign. I can’t wait & already want to plan all of our food stops. What are some great places to eat in the Scottsdale area? What are some fun hikes?

Before we head to Scottsdale though, we are planning a very belated trip to Connecticut. This has been the longest since I have been home since I moved to the west coast. Chris & I haven’t been to the east coast since my cousin got married last August. Before I was coming home every 8-10 months but now it will be almost a year & a half & my heart breaks when I think about it.

I miss my friends, my family, the food, & even the weather. Okay, I only miss the weather sometimes.

I am definitely hoping the winter weather holds up while we are there so Chris & I can explore a little. One place I have never been that I definitely want to discover is Arthur Ave in the Bronx. I know I know, an Italian that hasn’t been to Arthur Ave!! It’s terrible. My parents will take day trips with their friends or my aunts & uncles to pick up meats & cheeses but I haven’t even been able to hop onto any of those day trips. This January I definitely plan on making my own trip though.

To get myself in the mood I made my own meatball sub. I love anything in the form of a sandwich but the rolls & breads out here just aren’t the same. So to make due I over compensate on the meats & toppings to cover up the lack of flavor in the bread. For my meatball sub I like to use Trader Joe’s Half Baked Rolls. If you’re back eat, grab a Portuguese roll & try it out. However you have it, enjoy!



1 lb ground beef
1 roll or 2 slice of left over bread
1 egg
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
18 cup bread crumbs
6 half-baked rolls
1 cup mozzarella cheese

1. Empty ground beef into large mixing bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 400⁰.
2. Place bread under low running sink to moisten bread. Allow bread to become lightly wet and remove any crust.
3. Work into meat with your hands kneading out any clumps of bread. Make sure the bread and meat are blended to the same consistency.
4. Add egg, mix with hands until fulling mixed together.
5. Add salt, pepper garlic powder, parsley. Knead together with hands.
6. Add bread crumbs as needed.
7. Roll into 1 inch balls. If meat sticks to your hands, add in more bread crumbs in small amounts.
8. Bake meatballs 20-25 minutes.
9. Mix in with tomato sauce.
10. Build sandwich. Cut 1 meatball in half and place on open roll. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for 5 minutes.



Roasted Butternut Squash Pumpkin Soup

Happy first day of Fall ya’ll! Only it’s still in the 90s here in SoCal I am sure the rest of you throughout the country aren’t over heating but these temperatures don’t seem like they are every going away here.

Fall is a super nostalgic time for me & since moving to California I haven’t really been able to get a grasp of the new normal I have out here.

IMG_1134As some of you may know I coached high school cheerleading for 8 years, 4 in Connecticut & 4 in California. Fall to me is football games on Friday nights, cozy sweaters, pumpkins in pumpkin patches, & piles of leaves lining the streets. Here it is football games where I need to apply enough sun block that I don’t burn, pumpkins sitting outside grocery stores while you wear a tank top & shorts, & the palm trees being trimmed around town. Not really the quintessential New England fall that I grew up with.

So with all that is in me trying to bring New England fall to sunny So Cal I am going to be dedicating my fall season to all that is pumpkin, orange, & cozy. Today’s recipe is actually a mess up that I made while I was trying to make a simple butternut squash soup. I through a little too much pumpkin and cinnamon flavor in & Chris ended up loving it. It’s not my favorite, because ironically, I am not a huge pumpkin flavor person but if you love pumpkin this is the soup for you.



1 large butternut squash
1 sweet onion
2 celery stalks
3 carrots
1 medium apple, peeled and cored
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup water
½ tsp pumpkin flavoring
1.2 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper

1. Cut butternut squash in half long ways and place on cookie tray. Season with 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 60-75 minutes, until top is lightly browned.
2. Remove squash from oven and allow to cool to touch. Peel carrots and chop carrots and celery to 1 inch pieces.
3. Add remaining oil and chopped vegetables to a pot and allow vegetables to cook until tender. 5-8 minutes on medium heat. Stir regularly not allowing the vegetables to burn
4. Remove squash from the skin and discard the skin. Add squash and apples to pot.
5. Add broth, water and spice.
6. With an immersion blender puree all ingredients together until desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend ingredients in a blender in small batches and return to pot when completed.
7. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer, covered for 45 minutes.

Meat Lasagna

I am sitting here at 11 o’clock at night, having a little glass of wine & eating as much cheese as I can find. I just went to the grocery store & I still feel like the only thing I have in the house is cheese, salad, & Captain Crunch cereal. I mean, I’m not complaining, I’m just making a statement.

I’ve been trying to be good the past few months & not binge eat a block of cheese in one sitting, because trust me, it’s one of my biggest weaknesses. So now if I need cheese for a recipe I find the smallest block of cheese, or find ways to use it up so it isn’t staring at me every time I open the drawer telling me to eat the entire block. But then I found these single serving pre-wrapped goat cheese discs from Trader Joes & I mean is there anything better in the world? No, the answer is no.

In my defense I am eating a few berries also! See healthy!

Anyway I digress.


Today for lunch I stuck on the same cheese path, maybe that was my gateway drug. I pulled out a lasagna that I made a few weeks ago from the freezer because I knew I wouldn’t have time to cook dinner tonight since I was closing the store. So I left some home for Chris & I took a portion to work to eat during my lunch break.

It was a hearty, meat packed lasagna that Chris had loved when I first made it. Growing up my mom always seemed to find ways to throw veggies into…. well anything she was cooking. So lasagnas always had spinach in them at the very least. Now I get to make meat filled pastas & she will never know… it’s like drinking soda behind her back! =]

Try it out, the best part about any lasagna, you can freeze it! Any if you have been around this blog a time or two, you know I love anything you can freeze & eat later. Because there is just two of us at home, I usually make a full lasagna but break it into two 9×9 pans instead of a 9×13. It’s a little fatter but we don’t end up wasting the majority of it, which is always nice. You can make it whichever way works better for your family. Enjoy!



1 lb ground beef (90% lean)
2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
8-10 basil leafs
¼ cup dried parsley
Salt and pepper
2 gloves garlic
½ medium brown onion, chopped fine
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Cheese Mixture:
16 oz Ricotta cheese with whole milk
1 lb mozzarella
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Salt and oil pasta water. Cook pasta to directions on box. When pasta is cooked, drain and separate noodles so they do not stick together.
** I lay them over the side of the pasta strainer and pot that I cooked them in.
2. Brown beef in frying pan. When done, use a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the grease. Place on a dish lined with a paper towel.
3. Heat olive oil in a deep sauce pan. Sautee onions for a minute or two and then add garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add tomatoes.
4. Add meat, basil, parsley, salt and pepper and allow to cook 30 minutes.
5. While sauce is cooking mix an egg into the ricotta cheese. Mix well so ricotta is fluffy and smooth. 6. Add salt and pepper and set aside until ready to assemble lasagna.
7. Cut mozzarella into 1 inch cubes.
8. When sauce is cooked, remove from heat and add the first layer of sauce to a 9×13 baking dish.
9. Place noodles down to cover the entire bottom of the dish. Top with ricotta cheese mixture and sprinkle mozzarella throughout. Add sauce on top and top with a noodle.
10. Repeat until there is about ½ inch to the top of the baking dish. The last layers should be noodle, sauce, and sprinkle the top with grated parmesan cheese.

Vegetable Crustless Quiche

Labor Day is the last true hoorah of summer. Whether you are going back to school or not, there is something about September that screams you need to get back on a schedule & focus. For me, in retail, it is a reminder that I have two months to get my team ready & prepared for the holiday season… aka two months of straight hell in November & December.

When I was coaching cheerleading a few years ago September meant practices got more intense, every Friday I had two football games I had to sit through & working two jobs during the busiest season for both, would be craziness.

Getting out of the door in the morning can really be a struggle sometimes, but I am not the type of person that can skip breakfast & be happy & perky until lunch time. No mam, this girl needs a little something to get her morning going. Granola bars can get old, & a few years back I totally did it in on hard boiled eggs. If I don’t have another for another year it’ll be too soon. So I am always looking for something easy to grab on my way out the door.


My mom obsesses over crustless quiches. I honestly don’t think she makes them that often, but whenever I say I am having people over for the weekend, or need something easy for the morning, she always suggests, “you know, I make this crustless quiche…” So I thought I’d finally try it. Honestly one of the easiest things I have thrown together.

One Sunday I was doing a bunch of cooking for the week & I threw this together pretty quickly, & even better… cheaply. You can really grab whatever veggies you have in the fridge, & it is really good for those weeks that you over buy in veggies & you know you’re going to end up throwing some stuff away.

I had kale, broccoli and bell peppers in my fridge and just a little extra mozzarella cheese leftover from a lasagna I made. With my aunt talking me through how she makes her quiche, ironically she had made one for brunch that day, I made a few tweaks to her directions & there I had it, breakfast for the entire week.

Since my boyfriend is one of those weird people that don’t like cheese, I was able to enjoy this all to myself. Next time you are thinking, how am I going to eat all of these veggies before they go bad tomorrow, grab a carton of eggs & bake them together. Enjoy!



3 eggs
½ Tbsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 ½ cup cream
2 broccoli heads
2 cups kale
1 bell pepper, chopped
¾ cup mozzarella cheese
1 oz goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350⁰ and spray pie dish with vegetable cooking spray.
2. Sauté cleaned broccoli and kale in a dry pan. Do not add any oil, you are simply trying to remove any excess water from the veggies so the quiche doesn’t get watery.F
3. Layer in kale and broccoli along the bottom of the pie dish. Top with an even layer of bell peppers.
4. Layer the mozzarella cheese evenly over the vegetables and then crumble the goat cheese evenly throughout.
5. Crack eggs into a separate bowl and beat. Add salt, pepper and cream to mixture and continue to beat allowing the eggs to aerate.
6. Pour egg mixture into pie plate and bake for 45-60 minutes or until cooked through the middle.