Broccoli & Cheese Soup

A good recipe for a soup that doesn’t take all day to make is a real lifesaver. Especially one as hearty and filling as this broccoli & cheese version. It takes only a few short minutes to throw together, and the flavors are just out of this world.

It’s rich and hearty, but still doesn’t weigh you down the way many dairy-based soups do. The addition of fresh broccoli really adds a freshness to the flavor, and you can never go wrong adding plenty of cheddar cheese to anything in my book.

My girlfriend came over for lunch about a month ago or so, and I made this served with some crusty bread and a salad. We both loved it, and I’ve been thinking about making it again ever since. It reheats great as well, which is always a plus. Would also be great for a last minute, easy dinner!

Source: slightly adapted from Yammie’s Noshery

Shrimp Alfredo

This has long been one of my favorite dinners. Especially in the summertime, when the shrimp are fresh and cheaper than chicken here on the Eastern Shore. It comes together quickly, taking more time to prep the shrimp than to put the dinner together – and the results are so delicious and satisfying.

I used to make this dish with lemon pepper seasoning – but, I’ve found that the use of fresh lemon, garlic, and black pepper lends such a burst of fresh flavor that I like to use that combo provided I have all the ingredients handy. Which, I almost always do…

It’s simple enough for a family dinner after a long day at the beach, but also impressive enough to be served to guests at a dinner party. I’ll usually pair with a salad or a steamed veggie like broccoli to round out the meal.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

As the third-trimester winds down, and we get closer and closer to the due date – I’m getting tireder and tireder of just about everything, cooking included. So, a go-to easy meal like this one is a lifesaver on those nights when I’m just exhausted.

I’ve always secretly loved a bowl of Hamburger Helper, but hated the fact that I couldn’t pronounce half of the things on the ingredients label. Not to mention the astronomical sodium content…and, the fact that you feel like you have a lead pellet sitting in your stomach for hours afterwards. I knew I could do better at home!

So I set out to make a homemade version, and I tried a few before I finally settled on one that I really loved. It takes the same amount of time to bring together as the box you buy in the store, and is about a million times better – both on the health front as well as taste. Ingredients like basic spices in your pantry, milk, pasta, and lots of freshly shredded cheddar cheese are the only things on my ingredient list.

You could easily pre-mix a few batches of the spices and pasta together and store them in a resealable bag to have them ready to go – making this dinner even quicker and easier. It always feels great to kick yet another boxed processed mix to the curb!

Source: adapted from Food.com via Iowa Girl Eats

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Growing up, Brussels sprouts were always one of those things that I thought I didn’t like – probably because they were usually frozen and then steamed. All in all, mushy and flavorless. A few years ago I took a recommendation I’d seen somewhere and tried roasting them. Mind blown. Wonderful rich flavor, tender yet with some bite left, not to mention they were absolutely beautiful when cooked.

At first I roasted them simply with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. But somewhere along the line I started adding a little balsamic vinegar into the mix before roasting, and I haven’t looked back since. It adds a depth of flavor and a slight tangy note that pairs so perfectly well with the veggie. Some people add it after the roasting process, but I like to add it before as the heat really mellows the flavor of the vinegar as well – mingling all those flavors together.

They’re great served with just about anything, and I’ve even been known to save leftovers to toss with a little bit of pasta with olive oil and garlic the next day. Makes a delicious and easy lunch!

So if you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, definitely give this recipe a try. I promise it will be eye opening and life changing! People are always shocked when I tell them that they’re one of my little ones favorite vegetables, but when they’re this good – there is no excuse for anyone not to love them. Give them a try!