Baked Zucchini Parmesan Fries with Mustard Basil Dip

Delicious serving of healthy baked zucchini parmesan fries with dipping sauce | jessicagavin.com

Aren’t french fries one of the most awesome foods created by man? I was just having a convo with my husband Jason about how happy I am when I eat those tantalizing spuds, but also how guilty and oily I feel after consuming one too many. It was time for a solution. Of course nothing can really trump a crispy golden potato, but I have an alternative that I think you will enjoy and feel much better woofing down!

Enter, the super zucchini! Baked zucchini Parmesan fries are crunchy and ready to be dipped and devoured in a mustard basil sauce. These oven baked zucchini fries are a healthy, family friendly alternative for a delicious appetizer or side dish, so crank those temperatures up to 425°F so we can pop them in the oven! I’m hungry now, whose ready to dig in?… 

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Chinese Lettuce Wraps With Ground Turkey

Chinese lettuce wraps with ground turkey | jessicagavin.com

I love a big one pot meal, especially when it calls for breaking out my wok ! These savory Asian lettuce wraps with ground turkey have been a weekday go-to recipe for us because it’s got everything you could want; healthy, quick, easy with a flavor kaboom that will make your taste buds rejoice, halle-food-ya!

So I’ve been attempting to keep my New Years resolution going by incorporating more nutritious meals that don’t make us feel like we need to hit the treadmill right after, but it’s still has to be satisfying right? After ordering these chicken lettuce wraps far too many time from Lazy Dog Cafe, I knew that I needed to recreate a similar flavorful recipe at home. So here it is, you’ve been warned that they are pretty darn addicting and in the best way possible…… 

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Hearty Chicken Ale Stew with Vegetables

Hearty Chicken Ale Stew with Vegetables | jessicagavin.com

Brrrr, oh it’s definitely time to make some stew to take the chill out of your bones! I may be experiencing “Cali winter”, aka I still occasionally wear shorts and flip flops on the weekend, but I still crave warm winter foods. To get started we are going to need some chicken (check!), vegetables (double check!), and some beer (check! Wait, whut?!?!).

Oh yes, some BEER. If you haven’t tried adding a little bit of bubbly fermented goodness to your soups and stews yet, then you have been missing out. Not to fret, I have a hot and delicious, bowl scraping, ask for seconds recipe for a hearty chicken ale soup with vegetables coming your way! Don’t worry, you don’t have to be born before 1993 to enjoy this savory dish (gosh I feel old!)…. 

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Wholesome White Bean and Chicken Chili

white bean and chicken chili recipe | jessicagavin.com

It’s football season everyone! I’m actually not that big of a fan, as in no specific team loyalties except the Niners and Raiders are near my hometown, ALAMEDA, whut!, whut! Gosh, do you remember when Joe Montana said he was “Going to Disneyland” after the 49ers won the Superbowl? Geez, a man of my heart.

I may not be a die hard pig skin fanatic (unless you mean the crispy stuff on the outside of a slow roasted porchetta), but I sure do LOVE some Sunday night football food! I definitely don’t mind stirring up a big pot of chili or noshing on fresh chips, salsa and guacamole while the hubs and babes enjoy the game on the lazy boy chair. And guess what, I’m making some soul soothing white bean and chicken chili soup for this Sundays match up, it’s got all the right heat to get you fired up for the game, who’s with me?… 

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Delicious Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Delicious Chicken Parmesan Recipe | jessicagavin.com

Nothing says I love you like a piping hot plate of pasta and layering on a crispy breaded chicken is the icing on the cake! My husband grew up eating homemade Italian food that his mom and grandma would prepare. The sauces were always made from scratch (lucky guy!) and the food carefully made with love. Jason’s mom Joan and grandma Rose are amazing cooks! Over the years they have taught me how to make meatballs, fresh rolled pasta, and chicken spadini to make sure Jason always gets to indulge in his favorite foods.

I never try to compete with mama, but I like to make some of Jason’s favorite comfort foods to remind him of home. Nothing puts a smile on my husbands face than a crunchy tender piece of Chicken Parmesan, topped with fresh tomato sauce and gooey melted cheese. Oh yes, I get major points when I make this which I redeem for trips to get  ice cream cones!… 

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Salmon En Papillote with Vegetables

Delicious Salmon En Papillote with Vegetables | jessicagavin.com

Do you find yourself having a Rachel Ray moment? You know, noodling around to figure out how you can make a quick meal in 30 minutes or less on any given weekday? Sunday mornings are typically when I navigate through the super market aisles in search for my weekday meal inspiration. I want to be able to make Jason and I something healthy, flavorful and fast. Sounds like a wish I would make with a magical genie!

We are all strapped for time during the week, speeding through dinner so we can spend those extra minutes relaxing, or for me, snuggling with baby James. So I dug deep into those foggy memory banks from culinary school and had an Aha moment… salmon en papillote! Huh? What the heck is papillote? That’s just a fancy way to say “in parchment” in French, but it sounds much more impressive and romantic in the language of love, so why not! So lets get going, we only have 30 minutes remember?… 

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Moroccan Lamb Stew with Couscous

Moroccan lamb stew recipe with couscous | jessicagavin.com

I’m a huge SPICE girl fan, and I don’t mean the ones from Britain! I mean the savory, sweet, spicy, earthy, pungent Kung pow kick spices that take your taste buds for a roller coaster ride. That’s why it’s hard not to crave a flavorful and hearty Moroccan lamb stew, especially as the weather starts to cool down and I can finally wear my boots and scarves without looking too silly in California. Stews are pretty awesome because you can use more affordable and less tender cuts of meat and transform them into a glorious, tender and rich meaty feast all in one pot. Cha Ching!… 

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Chicken Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Chicken butternut squash soup recipe | jessicagavin.com

I’m really bumming out… Today is my official first day back at work from maternity leave, I sure hope I can make it at work without crying, yikes! It’s been the most amazing and challenging 4 months since the arrival of baby James. I can’t believe how much he has grown and taking on his own jubilant personality! It’s been a blessing that I’ve been able to indulge in each tender moment. I’ve learned how to navigate through epic diaper blow outs in public, the ninja creep out of the nursery after putting him to sleep, getting my zombie wake up calls during those late night feedings, and I’m a whiz at cooking and eating with one hand, haha.

Spending each day with my adorable buddy has given me the chance to see him grow into a strong and healthy boy, hear his first full bellied blissful laugh, knowing that he recognizes us, and that we can make each other smile. My favorite times are our mornings when Jason brings our little early bird into our room and we get some family cuddle time before we start the day. It’s so cute how he likes to watch The Chew and Ellen, by the way I need to start recording my favorite day time TV shows!

Sorry for all the sappy puppy dog lovey mommy stuff, it’s mostly for James to know someday if he ever reads this, just how much he is loved and that he has made me a better person.

Now that it’s back to reality! That means back to work and being more efficient with my time at home. What I needed was some quick, easy and hearty meals that I could prepare as soon as I walked through the door so we could maximize our time with the little guy. A big pot of chicken butternut squash soup is one of the answers., Who doesn’t love a steamy wholesome bowl of chicken soup?… 

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Sausage Pear Pecan Stuffing

Sausage Pear Pecan Stuffing recipe | jessicagavin.com #thanksgiving

Turkey’s get the star treatment as they are prepared to be the centerpiece of each thanksgiving meal. However you can’t have a holiday meal without turkeys’ tasty side kick, stuffing! Sometimes stuffing is cooked directly inside the bird to soak up all of the delicious roasted juices while there is usually an extra casserole dish filled to the brim with more. Does your family have a traditional stuffing recipe? The best part about stuffing is that there are endless combos and they are all so festive and flavorful.

Being that Jason’s mom’s side of the family is Italian (from Malta), she makes her stuffing with traditional flavors. Mama Joan’s recipe typically has Italian sausage, Stouffers bread crumbs, apples, onions, celery and cream of mushroom soup. It’s so delicious! I wanted to still have an Italian inspiration in this year’s stuffing, however add some seasonal flavors and more crunch. I’m a big challah bread fan and like to make my own, it’s easier than you think! So this year I took the slightly sweet egg bread to use as bread crumbs for an Italian sausage pear pecan stuffing recipe. I can’t wait to see if mama approves!… 

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Citrus Green Beans with Almonds

A healthy serving of Citrus Green Beans with crunchy almonds | jessicgavin.com #greenbeans #recipe

Have you ever had really mushy and overlooked green beans that seem more like a punishment than a delight to eat? I’ve never had a bad relationship with green beans unless you try and give them to me from a can, yuck! I wanted to keep this citrus green bean with almonds recipe really easy and flavorful. It will take under 20 minutes to prepare, no lie! This is the perfect holiday or weekday side because it can be the last thing you cook before serving, and it’s so simple! No need to make meal time any more difficult, this dish is operator friendly…. 

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