Spinach Artichoke Chicken Pizza

Calling all of you spinach artichoke dip lovers!

Allow me to introduce you to one of my new favorites — Spinach Artichoke & Chicken Pizza! Actually, the chicken is optional, but the spinach and artichokes are a must. This one turned out to be fantastic!

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Minestrone Soup

When I was a kid, our extended family used to love meeting up for big dinners regularly at our neighborhood Italian restaurant, DeFazio’s. Everyone would order these huge steaming plates of delicious pastas, salads, sides and more. And Yours Truly would order…”plain spaghetti”. Oh yes. I was the token picky eater in the family. And no thank you, I did not want to “just try it”. ;)

Luckily, though, everyone at DeFazio’s always received a steaming bowl of minestrone soup as an appetizer. And over the years, I began to grow more and more fond of this yummy pasta soup, even though I would have had a small heart attack at age 10 if anyone had told me that there was zucchini snuck in there!

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Cajun Chicken Pasta

A few weeks ago on a rainy evening, I randomly bumped into an old roommate at Target. And, yes, pretty sure we were those people who stood there right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of carts catching up on our life stories for an hour. It was so great to see her! But sure enough, when there was still more to share and the store was nearing closing time, the conversation came to — “We should do dinner!”

So this week we did! I invited some of the old crew to also come along, and we all spent an evening together at my place sharing a wonderful meal together, some of our favorite nostalgic wines from back in the day, and hours upon hours of conversation about the joys and answered prayers from the past year, some tearful honest moments about the lows, hilarious dating stories for better and worse, cheers over a new engagement, and endless hilarity and laughs. I love these friends!

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Roasted Butternut & Bacon Pasta

‘Tis the season once again to make the transition from the yellow and zucchini squash of summer….to the rich, sweet squash of fall. Of course, my favorite of those is the beautiful butternut. They were in abundance this week at our market (see the photo below!), so I happily brought a few home. They look so cute sitting on the counter…and even more delicious cooked up!

Some of you may remember me posting (and raving) about my take on Whole Food’s “butternut crab bisque” last season. But instead of beginning the season with another soup, decided that my first butternut recipe this season would a recipe I had bookmarked to try — “roasted butternut and bacon pasta”. I mean, really, with a title like that — who can resist? Throw in some sage, pine nuts, fresh parmesan, and a little extra butter, and OH MY WORD.

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Flatbread Veggie-Lovers Pizza

Some weeks I do well with eating healthy. And then some weeks I seem to utterly and miserably fail…especially when I’m working long hours away from my kitchen, it’s too rainy to exercise outside, and there is a rum cake in the house. :) Excuses, excuses….

But tomorrow is the kickoff for one of our latest “health and wellness” challenges at work. (Yes, it’s true — every few months we have a new creatively-themed contest across our 200+ employees focused on various aspects of health.) And I am determined to get back on the ball and win this one!

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Bell Pepper Egg-In-A-Hole

Ok, this was one recipe I had to try… :)

Recently came across it in an issue of Martha Stewart Everyday, and was definitely intrigued. Seemed like my kind of a twist on eggs and toast — so cute! Since I’ve been stocking up on bell peppers this summer (both in my garden and at the farmers’ market – yum!), decided to give it a go!

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White Bean, Spinach & Pesto Soup

Here it is, friends — the best 8-minute soup I’ve ever made! :)

Made this for the first time a few weeks ago on a night when I was randomly craving soup (yes, in the middle of July!). I happened to be in a hurry that evening, but was craving something different from my usual go-to favorite for a quick soup dinner. So since I always make it a point to have pesto in my freezer (always freeze multiple batches each summer!), I decided to experiment with a recipe I vaguely remembered having seen online for pesto white bean soup. Began with simple chicken broth, beans and pesto. Then also tossed in some fresh spinach I had in the fridge, some extra fresh Parmesan, and voila!

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Sweet Pea & Ricotta Crostini

It’s spring! It’s spring! It’s spring!!!!!!!

Oh my word, after what seemed like the longest, grayest, snowy-est winter in history, spring has finally arrived! Oddly in Kansas City, we had 9″ of snow decide to fall on the official first day of the new season. (I know…ser-i-ous-ly.) But as of today, all of the white has melted away, and we were able to see the beautiful green crocuses and buds beginning to show, that promise such beauty to come. I love it!!!

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