Quick Italian-Style Squash & Zucchini

It’s Monday again.  The weekend flew by, and now you’re staring into your refrigerator, wondering what happened to all the food.  And you SO don’t feel like cooking.  Well, fear not.  You can still eat a good meal without having to convince your legs to hold you upright for too much longer today.


Quick Italian-Style Squash and Zucchini

  • 1 medium Summer squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 10 (or so) cherry tomatoes
  • 5 (or so) basil leaves
  • 3-4 tablespoons of butter
  • salt, pepper, onion & garlic powders
  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Dice up your squash, zucchini, and tomatoes into small pieces.  Combine in a microwave-safe bowl.  Add butter and seasoning.  How much and which kinds of seasoning is up to you, really.  I like the ones I listed, but you can do your own thing, too.  Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, or until all veggies are soft.  Meanwhile, finely chop your basil leaves.  Once the veggies are done, toss in the basil and stir in Parmesan to taste.

Boom.  Grill up whatever protein you have on hand, nuke some corn for 5-7 minutes in the husk, serve on a paper plate.  You are D-O-N-E done.  Here’s to Friday….

Quick Italian Style Squash Zucchini

Low-Country Shrimp & Grits

Banana Fritter Queen
Mmm…banana fritters.  #mercy

When my husband and I honeymooned in Jamaica, we immediately felt a connection with the people, the island, and the culture.  Oh, and the food!  Ox tail, ackee and saltfish, curried goat, fresh caught lobsters, banana fritters.  A Foodie’s paradise.

It was bliss.  We loved it so much that we returned to the same place every year we could, creating connections, forming friendships, and making irreplaceable memories.  We met so many amazing people, including a couple of families from the UK.  They became fast friends and remain a beautiful part of our lives to this day.  For our ten-year anniversary, we returned once again.  Joined by our UK friends, we renewed our vows to love each other despite all of life’s challenges and we danced to Underneath the Mango Tree every chance we got.

10 Year Vow Renewal
💙 10 Years!  Ray, Marnie, Ley, Bella, Mike, me, Jackson, Dad, Ellen, and Ja! 💙

Knowing how much I cherished “our” beloved island, my friend Ley suggested I read the book An Embarrassment of Mangoes.  I did and loved it.  It emoted a truly visceral sense of the islands.  And even better, there were recipes!  The dish below came from Chapter 3(ish).  I spotlighted some silky smooth grits and meaty Shiitake mushrooms and it was an instant hit.  Mmm, I might just have to read that book again…


Low-Country Shrimp & Grits

For the Shrimp

  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ¼ pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-1½ pounds shrimp, shelled & deveined
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • hot sauce, optional

Variations

  • Add a few crumbled slices of bacon to the cooked shrimp mixture.
  • ½ green pepper instead of red pepper and add 2-3 cups fresh tomatoes when you sauté the veggies.  Cook for 5 minutes or so to thicken the sauce before adding the shrimp.

For the Grits

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • salt

Sauté onion and garlic in butter or oil until soft.  Add mushrooms and red pepper and sauté until mushrooms sweat out.  Add shrimp and sauté 2-5 minutes, until just done, turning just opaque inside.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley and season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce as desired.

In the meantime, cook the grits.  Bring milk and water to a boil, then slowly add grits and salt, whisking constantly.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until grits are thickened, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat, stir in cheese and a few dashes of hot sauce (if desired), then season to taste.  Spoon shrimp over grits and serve.

Low-Country Shrimp and Grits

Sweet Potato Hash

There are a few rules in my house that I believe should not be broken.  Be respectful.  Try to find balance.  And Mommy doesn’t get up on Saturdays until the coffee is made.  Haha.  But fair’s fair – I make it every other day of the week.  So on Saturdays, when I get a chance to sleep in, my husband makes me coffee and breakfast.  Okay, brunch.  Whatever.

One of my favorite things for him to make is a sweet potato hash.  Sweet potatoes are thought of in such a streamlined way that most people would not think to combine their flavor with green peppers, onions, sausage, and eggs.  But I promise, it won’t disappoint.


Sweet Potato Hash

  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 large green pepper, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • cayenne & nutmeg, optional
  • turkey kielbasa, optional

If adding the kielbasa, cut link into portions, then half length-wise.  Sear in just a little of the olive oil until crispy on outside.  This works absolutely the best if you have a cast iron skillet, but a regular pan will also work.  Remove kielbasa from pan and set aside.

Sweet Potato Hash 1

On low heat, add remaining olive oil and sweet potatoes in pan.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes.  Then add the peppers for 5-7 minutes, followed by the onions for 5-7 minutes.  By this time, your potatoes should be nearly cooked through, if not already done.  Continue cooking until they are soft.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Not too much because there should remain an essence of sweetness from the potatoes.  For added flavor, add a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of nutmeg.

Now, rise and shine!  Coffee’s ready!

Sweet Potato Hash 2

Summer Fruit Salad

Nothing says Summer quite like the Fourth of July!  Barbecues, pool parties, fireworks, and all the good fruit that’s in season.  Mmmm…  Enough talk, let’s eat!


Summer Fruit Salad

  • 1 watermelon
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 1-2 pints blueberries
  • fresh mint leaves (at least 10)
  • lemon juice
  • agave (optional)

Using a melon baller, carve up your watermelon and cantaloupe and put in a large serving bowl.  If you don’t have a melon baller, try using your measuring spoons!  I’d recommend the tablespoon size.   Brilliant, right??  Look at you, getting a recipe and a TIPsy Tuesday tip all in one!  😉  If all else fails, you can just dice the fruit with a knife.  Next, add your blueberries.  Finely chop your mint leaves and sprinkle into the mix.  How much is up to you, depending on how strong you want the flavor and how big your salad is.  Add a splash of lemon juice.  If you like your salad with a little added sweetness, add a swirl of agave.  Stir ingredients gently so as not to bruise the fruit.  Now get out there and start celebrating!  Happy 4th to you and yours! 🎆

Summer Fruit Salad