Disappearing Zucchini Orzo with Grilled Shrimp

This is an oldie but a goodie that I found years ago when I read one of my now favorite books Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a super simple, healthy and delicious dinner.  Perfect for a warm summer night…particularly late summer when you're just starting to get sick of zucchini.  If you eat seasonally like we do, in the early summer it's hard to imagine you'll ever get sick of zucchini since it's been so long since you've had it…but it can happen!

So if it happens to you whip up this dish,  because as the name of it suggests, the zucchini kind of disappears within the orzo and it helps you use up lots of zucchini if you're lucky enough to have one of those neighbors who keeps bringing you baskets- full!  It's also a great dish if you're trying to sneak some veggies into the kids as I know you parents often need to do.

The original recipe can be found here, but I've also copied it below with a few very minor adjustments (including the addition of grilled shrimp).
Roasting Red Peppers at Home

Roasted red peppers are one of those ingredients that immediately elevate a dish to gourmet. So sweet, so smoky and so amazingly delicious. The problem is, however, that we like to eat them quite often and the store bought roasted red peppers are quite expensive and usually soaking in oil. So a few years ago we tried our hand at making them at home and haven't turned back since. If you have a gas stove they're incredibly easy to make, much healthier, less expensive, and...bonus...make your house smell incredible.

So let's get started! Place a clean red pepper directly on the flame of a gas stove set to medium-high. Using heat-proof tongs, turn pepper as each side begins to burn and blister until entire pepper is blackened and crisp. Usually about 1-2 minutes per side or about 5-7 minutes in total.  Sometimes you need to use the tongs and hold the pepper over the flame at an angle to get in the crooks if it's a bit more more misshapen.

Once the majority of the pepper is blackened, take the blackened red pepper off the flame and immediately place into  a tightly covered dish (plastic wrap will do if the dish doesn't have a proper lid) or you can simply place the pepper back into your plastic produce bag and tie it closed. This latter option is good for less clean up if you're just doing one pepper.
Vegetarian Eats for the Big Game!

Ok...so I'm not super excited about the Superbowl this year. I mean my Pats were only one game away from making it in, and let's be honest, it wasn't a very respectable loss. So while I certainly go big for the Superbowl when the Pats are in it, this year I'm trying my best to keep it a bit simpler and healthier. My Pats are worth the calories and effort...the Niners and the Ravens, not so much. So I thought I'd include a few more veggies in our spread this year. Yes, some will be smothered with cheese, but hey, it's a start.

So first up...those delicious looking Spicy Broccoli Rabe & Provolone Grinders above. Yes, Grinders. I'm from MA, after all...no Subs or Hoagies here!. I made these for the first time this year and while they may slightly disappoint that guest who sees them and excitedly asks if they're Cheesesteaks, they are pretty fabulous.

The soft french rolls are slathered with a homemade spicy white bean spread (store-bought spicy hummus will do in a pinch), piled high with crispy oven roasted broccoli rabe, smothered in melty provolone and sprinkled with red jalapenos. Yum.  I know I certainly didn't miss the meat. The original recipe can be found here...but, like I said you can simplify buy using store-bought spicy hummus instead of making your own spread (although the homemade stuff is yummy). I also simplified by oven roasting the rapini rather than cooking it the way they suggested.  I think it works even better (adds some crisp!) and dirties way fewer dishes, which I always like. C'mon...you know you want to grab one!

Next up...some snack-y finger food without all the calories of nuts. Pan fried shishito peppers!  These little peppers are relatively easy to find these days since they've really grown in popularity.  They're not spicy peppers, but slightly sweet and so delicious when cooked up this way. So simple and easy...they're best warm, but they go fast so cook up a big batch!

My Favorite Shakshuka Recipe

Shakshuka. Not only is it fun to say, but it is delicious! What is it, you ask?  It's eggs poached in a chunky, spicy tomato sauce and it's so popular that many different countries claim it as their own. Tunisia, Morocco, Israel...wherever it originated, I'm pretty thankful! Since I've been making it for a while now I've made it my own, so I wouldn't necessarily say this is a traditional shakshuka recipe but I love it.

So what's not traditional about my recipe?  Mostly the addition of olives, substitution of goat cheese for feta cheese, and sprinkling Italian gremolata on top instead of parsley alone. I also make it a bit spicier than most so if you're not a huge fan of spice dial back the jalapeños some.  Shakshuka is traditionally served with pita bread, but I like it with grilled rustic whole grain bread. Sometimes I even push my Italian influence on the dish a little further and serve it over polenta, yum.

So whether you go the more traditional route or try this SavoryGirl twist to Shakshuka I promise it will become a favorite in your household as well.  Enjoy!
SavoryGirl’s Childhood Button Sandwich

This is a really fun post for me...why? Well because this honestly might be the very first SavoryGirl original recipe that I ever created! I was about 6 years old and home with my dad and best friend, Aimee, while my mom was out grocery shopping. We were hungry and after surveying the ingredients that were available in the cupboards I created this sandwich...which I promptly named "The Button Sandwich" because of the way the perfectly lined up marshmallows reminded me of buttons. I have to say 25+ years later and it's still a winner in my household, and we don't even have kids yet!

So what makes it so special? Well honestly it's the simplicity but complementary nature of the ingredients. Who doesn't love apples with peanut butter? Who doesn't love a fluffer-nutter sandwich? Well this beauty combines the best of both worlds! Creamy peanut butter (on both slices of bread please!), applesauce and marshmallows...delicious.

Brown Rice Salad with Crunchy Sprouts and Seeds

This is the food version of don't judge a book by it's cover...when I told Christian I was adding this to one of our weekly menus he gave me that look that says, "please don't make me eat rabbit food." You see, SavoryGirl isn't always popular but I have to say that more often than not I am indeed a good judge of a recipe just by reading it...and this time was no different. Ha, ha, I win!  Seriously though, bear with me on this one and try it out...it is absolutely delicious.  So much so that we made a second batch the very next week, and it was Christian's suggestion!

As usual, I didn't follow the recipe exactly as written...but we did follow it pretty closely.  The main changes were that we ommitted the sprouted mung beans (we couldn't find nearby and we just didn't have time to go searching), sprouted our own lentils instead of using dried sprouted lentils (which we also couldn't find), and toasted/salted our own raw pumpkin seeds since we already had some in the house.

Sprouting your own lentils is super easy and kind of fun...you just need to plan in advance since it takes a few days. If you've never done this, here's the process:

Nectarine & Blue Cheese Salad with Plum Vinaigrette

This is a super simple recipe...one that you may have even come up with on your own in the past, but it's so yummy that I wanted to share it just to ensure it makes it into your summer repertoire.  The original recipe is from this month's Bon Appétit and can be found here but I've revised it slightly based on our preferences and ingredients.  I found that the vinaigrette as specified in the original recipe wasn't quite "plum-y" enough for me so most of my slight adjustments are focused there.  Otherwise this is a super flavorful and satisfying salad to serve alongside just about anything or enjoy on it's own.  Perfect way to enjoy the amazing nectarines in season right now!
Corn Pudding with Mushrooms

Whenever I think of savory puddings I immediately think of the Brits.  I'm not 100% sure that's historically accurate but since the London Olympics are in full swing I'm going with it!  It also doesn't hurt that the corn in season right now is so ridiculously sweet and tender that I'm trying to figure out ways to work it into all three meals a day.  So when I saw this recipe in my current issue of Bon Appétit it simply felt like all the stars had aligned and I needed to make it right away...and wow am I glad that I did!

In terms of the recipe itself, you all know by now that I'm not a huge fan of typing recipes up if I don't have to...so you can find the original Bon Appétit recipe here. I chose to omit the ham since we were serving it as a side dish alongside pork (Tenderloin with Plum Chutney if you're curious). I would also suggest using 6-7 ears of corn vs. the 4-5 they recommend.  I used white corn since that's what they had at my farmer's market and you can see my pudding still came out pretty and bright but yellow corn would likely make the dish even more striking visually.

Other than that I followed the recipe exactly.  It's pretty straightforward, but one technique that may be a bit new to some is using a box grater to grate corn kernels directly off the cob. It's a pretty genius technique, both removing the kernels from the cob quickly and "milking" the corn all at the same time so you get a nice wet mushy pile of grated corn as the base for your pudding.  The only watch-out is that it splatters like crazy, so I would suggest draping a clean towel over your grater and work station to contain the mess.  But be careful if you do this since you won't be able to see what you're doing as well...keep those fingers away from the grater and go slow!  Another option is to put your bowl down in a clean sink and do all of your work there with an apron on (although my face still got quite a splattering when I tried this approach!)

Guest Post: Quinoa Soup Family Recipe

After returning from my trip to the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu I was determined to find an authentic recipe for the quinoa soup that I enjoyed so many times during my travels.  It's one of those dishes that is both light and comforting all at the same time.  Full of flavor and healthy, wholesome ingredients. So where to find my authentic recipe?  Enter my Ecuadorian friend from business school, Juan Delgado!  Not only did he offer to share his family recipe for Quinoa soup but he was also critical in helping me develop my foodie itinerary for the Ecuadorian part of my trip before I left.  Pretty good friend to have if you ask me...and as you'll see in his guest post below, he's pretty passionate about his food as well!
Chickpea Obsession…

We have recently become obsessed with chickpeas.  I'm not sure exactly when or why it happened, but somehow I keep finding recipes with chickpeas on my weekly menus.  Not only are these chickpea dishes making their way on my menus like some sneaky guest you don't remember inviting, but they're becoming the star of the party!  Week after week these seemingly simple dishes have blown both Christian and I away, becoming our favorite dinner of the week.  You know, the kind where you're excitedly awaiting the leftovers.  Don't get me wrong...we've always liked chickpeas, but all of a sudden we love chickpeas!

Since they've been such a welcome part of our dinners lately I thought I'd share a few of our favorite dishes that feature chickpeas. The name of each dish is linked to the recipe so you can make them yourself.  Besides all having chickpeas, the other commonality that these dishes have is that they are all super simple as well.  What could be better than simple and delicious?!  Oh....healthy.  Yup, these dinners fit that bill as well!