Bourbon Chicken | The Strawberry Blondes | Boston Food Blogger and Her Rescue Pup

I found this meal on Pinterest from the blog Pinch of Yum and knew I had to try it. Sticky bourbon chicken and delicious white rice? What a great combo. Jon and I are definitely not bourbon drinkers but we had a nip of Jim Beam laying around which was just enough to make dinner. One of the things I liked so much about this dish is that it only requires ingredients right out of the pantry to make.

I adapted the recipe a bit to fit our taste. For the chicken you need 3 or 4 boneless chicken breasts. In a bowl, combine about 3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup grape seed oil (or any oil), 1/2 cup rice vinegar, about a nip of bourbon (1/4-1/2 cup depending on your taste buds), a teaspoon of minced garlic, teaspoon of freshly chopped ginger, and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Mix the ingredients in the bowl together and add a little black pepper. Lay the chicken in a baking dish and then pour the mixture over the chicken. Next dice up a couple scallions and sprinkle on the chicken. Cover in plastic wrap and let it marinate for at least 4 hours. I made it the night before.

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Bake the chicken uncovered on 350 for about 45 minutes, basting the chicken with the juices every 10 or 15 minutes. For the last 5 minutes of cooking turn the oven on broil to get the chicken golden brown. Serve over white or jasmine rice with extra chopped scallions on top!

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Hope anyone in the Boston area is staying dry from all of the rain. Tobes is definitely a big grump when it comes to the rain and doesn’t want to get up out of bed.

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Eggplant And Chicken Parm | Boston Food Blogger and Her Rescue Pup Tobesmcgobes in the Kitchen

We are huge fans of any Italian meal in our house. There is nothing like a good tomato sauce baked with chicken, pasta and cheese. In an attempt to switch up my normal chicken parmesan I also made eggplant parmesan and it was really delicious – almost good enough that we didn’t miss the chicken.

Chicken Parm:
I breaded the chicken with egg, flour, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. I used plain panko breadcrumbs and mixed them with a little Italian seasoning. For my chicken breasts I actually just used a little parmesan cheese instead of the full breading routine I used for Jon’s because that’s the way I like it. I cooked the chicken in a skillet for a few minutes on each side and then baked in the oven for another 15 minutes until cooked through.

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About 2 minutes before I take the chicken out of the oven I topped it with some mozzarella cheese and turned the oven to broil. This makes the breadcrumbs crispy and the cheese melt. Top with pasta and sauce and you’re all set!

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Eggplant Parm:

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Slice the eggplant and dust the slices with salt on either side. Let the eggplant drain in a colander for about 30 minutes until most of the bitter juices are released. Wipe the eggplant with a paper towel to remove any excess salt because you don’t want it to end up too salty.

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I like to make a panko breadcrumb and parmesan cheese mixture for the breading of the eggplant. First dunk the eggplant into an egg/milk mix and then coat with breadcrumbs and cheese. You can add a little chopped parsley or dried Italian seasoning to the crumbs for extra flavor. Cook the slices on either side for 2-3 in a medium heat skillet until the breadcrumbs are browned. Transfer the eggplant to a paper towel to remove any excess oil then move to a baking dish, cover with a little marinara and top with mozzarella. Bake the eggplant for about 30 minutes.

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Today I am including a few of my favorite puppy pictures from the day we got the peanut. Tomorrow is the 4th anniversary of the day we picked him up from the rescue league. He traveled all the way from Tennessee overnight in a van marked “Pooches On the Move”. When we picked him up he was shaky and nervous but we scooped him up and told him not to worry because his life was about to drastically improve. Little did we know what a truly loveable, hilarious and adorable dog he would become.

Tobes meets his Dad

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First snuggles with his Mom

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First look at Boston

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Riding home in the car

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Meeting his Aunt

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First drink of water at home (only the size of a flip flop!)

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And check out Tobes on Instagram! His alias is Poochonthemove 😄.

Patriotic Cookies | Boston Food Blogger and Her Rescue Pup in the Kitchen

Since today is such an important day of remembrance in US history, I thought I would blog my red, white, and blue, double chocolate chip cookies. I actually made these earlier in the summer but I thought today was an appropriate day to show my pride for our great country and post them on the blog.

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I typically make chocolate chip cookies using the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip bag. Not original at all but they are SO good! It is also a great base for a cookie recipe that can be modified easily which I love about it. For my patriotic cookies I used red and blue m&ms and chocolate chips.

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Follow the recipe on the bag but instead of just chocolate chips, add m&ms along with about half a bag of the chocolate chips. Only bake the cookies for about 8 minutes if you want the cookies to be soft and chewy.

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Healthy Summer Breakfast and Lunch | Boston Food Blogger and Her Rescue Pup in the Kitchen

August is rapidly coming to an end but I am determined not to be depressed about it. Jon, Tobes and I have been soaking in the last days of summer. We have been sailing, swimming, paddle boarding, running all while trying not to notice it is getting dark outside earlier every day.

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We have been trying to eat healthy. Within this post I have a few of our favorite lighter breakfast and lunch ideas. The first is a Greek yogurt parfait. I have fallen in love with Fage Greek yogurt. The Fage website has a lot of interesting savory recipes I am dying to try. I eat the yogurt every day and most days mix it with fruit or a little bit of granola. Parfaits are a fun treat because they combine all the ingredients in a pretty bowl. For this parfait I used a fresh peach, mandarin oranges, Fage yogurt, a tablespoon of honey, and vanilla granola.

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I mixed the honey with the yogurt to add a little sweetness to the plain yogurt. Next layer all the ingredients and enjoy for a yummy breakfast!

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Next up, one of Jon and my favorite things. Mojo chicken! One of my Dad’s special cooking secrets is a marinade called Mojo. You can find it at most grocery stores. It is a delicious combination of garlic, onion, citrus fruits and spices.

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I marinate and cook chicken in the Mojo almost every week because it pairs well with a lot of different sides. Mojo chicken also is delicious in an arugula salad. All you have to do is marinate the chicken, saute the chicken in a heated skillet and serve over arugula, fresh cherry tomatoes and a little feta.

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Last but certainly not least is a summer favorite, iced tea. I made a raspberry iced tea and sweetened it with a bit of lemon. It is my Mom who gave me the idea to brew tea bags to make iced tea. I bought decaf so I can enjoy it at any time of the day. Brew the tea bags in boiling water and then add more water to dilute the mixture. Once chilled, add a few slices of fresh lemon and enjoy!

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I hope you are soaking up the last days of summer, wearing your white jeans and enjoying those last late summer sunsets!

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Bridesmaid Cookies! 👰 | Boston Food Blogger and Her Rescue Pup in the Kitchen

I bet there are not too many brides or brides-to-be out there who aren’t completely obsessed with Pinterest. Before I got engaged I barely knew what Pinterest was. But now? Every day I look forward to pulling out the iPad and scrolling through millions of wedding photos trying to find the perfect pair of wedding shoes or the most beautiful center pieces for our wedding. This has made Tobes and I realize that The Strawberry Blondes need a Pinterest page! This is something we have started working on so check Pinterest soon for The Strawberry Blondes latest pics and recipes!

I realized I wanted to bake something for my bridesmaids to formally “ask” all the girls if they would be a part of our wedding day. I began searching bridesmaid cookies on Pinterest. Holy cow there are a lot of options! And besides cookies you can order wine bottles with bridesmaid labels, bridesmaid nail polish, bridesmaid tote bags – the list goes on forever. I wanted to keep the cookies somewhat simple but also make sure the wedding theme came across.

I went to Michael’s and bought a wedding cookie cutter set. I also bought a few tubes of icing and some candy pearls to decorate. Michael’s has everything!

The recipe for the sugar cookies is fairly simply. You will need the following ingredients:

❤️ 1 cup butter
❤️ 2/3 cup sugar
❤️ 1 egg
❤️ 1 tsp vanilla
❤️ 2 1/2 cups sifted flour

Cream the butter and sugar together then beat in the egg. Add vanilla and flour and mix until all blended together. You need to chill this dough for 3-4 hours before rolling out for cookies. Once they have chilled, roll out the dough until it’s 1/4 inch thick and cut with the cute cookie cutters. Bake 8 minutes on 350 degrees on a non-stick cookie sheet.

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For decorating the cookies, I made a super easy icing using just confectioners sugar and milk. Basically put sugar in a bowl and mix in milk until you reach the consistency you want. I learned a great tip from my co-worker to pipe icing around the edges of the cookie and then fill in the middle with thinner icing. It worked really well and I think they came out pretty cute! I made cards for each bridesmaid and attached them to the bags of cookies.

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I hope you enjoy my DIY Pinterest cookies. Check back soon for The Strawberry Blondes on Pinterest!

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The Strawberry Blondes Make Pies | Boston Food Blogger and Her Rescue Pup in the Kitchen

I hope I didn’t fake anyone out with the title of this post but I have not been baking apple pies in the middle of August. I have, however, been creating a few of my favorite things: chicken pot pie and quiche! A household favorite in our apartment is chicken pot pie. I make it probably once a month with whatever veggies I have on hand. Tobes especially loves when I make pies because he knows that I will inevitably spill flour on the floor when I am rolling out the dough. Tobesmcgobes vacuum service is always on hand to clean up!

Here is a perfect example of how he just sits and waits for me to spill.

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I always keep frozen dough in the freezer. No, I don’t mean dough I have made myself. 😃 I am referring to the roll-out store bought kind that tastes almost as good and no one notices the difference (especially not my fiancé who loves my chicken pot pie). It’s such an easy way to make a hearty meal in a short amount of time.

For this pot pie I used chicken breast that I boiled in chicken broth and then shredded. I didn’t have any fresh veggies in the fridge so I took out a bag of frozen corn, green beans and carrots from the freezer. I cooked the veggies in a saute pan with a tiny bit of olive oil to cook them then added them into the pie dish with the chicken.

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Now for the gravy. I melted one tablespoon of butter in a skillet then added about a teaspoon of flour. Next I whisked in chicken broth until all the lumps of flour were incorporated. A few pinches of dried thyme and a little black pepper adds just enough flavor to the gravy. Stir the gravy until it thickens and then pour it into the pie dish.

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I rolled out the crust and covered the pie. It typically takes about 40 minutes on 350 degrees but maybe a little less – keep an eye on the crust so it doesn’t burn.

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Eggs are another staple in our house. We eat a lot of eggs. Fried eggs, egg salad, bacon egg and cheeses, and my personal favorite – quiche! I love quiche. They’re quick, cheap, easy and delicious. All you need to make a quiche is eggs, pie crust, and some kind of filler. This week I made a ricotta, roasted tomato and caramelized onion quiche and it has been a real treat eating it for lunch.

You already know how I feel about dough so it’s the same process. Just roll it out and plop it into the bottom of the dish.

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Take an entire pint of cherry tomatoes and slice them in half. Place on a roasting pan with some fresh rosemary and some black pepper. I sprayed the tomatoes with a tiny bit of olive oil spray too. Roast on 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

While the tomatoes roast, dice up an entire yellow onion and place in a saute pan with olive oil until translucent. Next add a tablespoon of butter and cook on low heat for about 20-25 minutes until the onions are nice and caramelized.

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I used a tart dish for this quiche so it would be a bit bigger. Crack about 9 eggs and whisk together with half a cup of ricotta cheese. Pour the cheese and eggs into the tart dish.

Once the tomatoes and onions are done take them out of the oven and spread evening into the tart dish. Bake the whole thing on 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the eggs are solid.

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Since the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness for ALS has completely taken over the world side web in the last few weeks, I thought I would do a throwback of Toby doing his own version of the ice bucket challenge. Here he is back in June swimming in the ocean before the water went above 60 degrees. WAY too cold for most normal humans to go swimming but that didn’t stop Tobes. He didn’t voluntarily jump in but fell off the dock while trying to lick some algae floating by. Luckily he was attached to his leash so Jon jumped in the row boat to steer him back to shore. Pure comedy. Graceful like his Mom. 😃

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The Summer Adventures of the Strawberry Blondes | Boston Food Blogger and Her Rescue Pup in the Kitchen

It has been a crazy busy summer! I have to admit that wedding venue hunting and Pinterest have been distracting me from blogging. Wedding planning is so much fun! Jon and I have been all over Massachusetts researching and viewing venues. I have been finding time to cook here and there but we have also had a few really amazing meals in Boston over the last few weeks.

We went to a delicious Peruvian and Southern Italian restaurant with Jon’s Grandmother last week called Taranta. It is in the North End of Boston and has a great view of the city skyline. I had a really tasty pan roasted chicken breast stuffed with fontina cheese and spinach with olive compound butter, crispy smooth polenta and roasted tomatoes. I am definitely going to make the olive compound butter – so tasty.

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Macaroni and cheese is one of my all time favorite meals. I definitely made the right decision in ordering the house specialty at the Yard House. This plate of mac and cheese was one of the best I have ever had. The dish was made with campanelle pasta, mushrooms, chicken, bacon, cheddar and parmesan cheese and of course, truffle oil. Wash the meal down with a pint of grey lady brewed by Cisco Brewery on Nantucket and YUM!

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Jon and I also had dinner with one of my bridesmaids and her boyfriend last week at the new restaurant that opened in Charlestown, Legal Oysteria. An Italian seafood inspired menu, the atmosphere, service, food and cocktails were all fabulous. I am so happy to have a new place to eat in our neighborhood. I had steak pizziaola with a delicious and spicy garlic tomato sauce over crispy rosemary potatoes. Mmm makes me hungry just thinking about it.

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It has been a very busy few weeks but The Strawberry Blondes are back in the kitchen and cooking up a storm! Tobes has been sleeping soundly every night because his weekends have been so jam packed with fun. I thought I would share a few hilarious pictures of his snuggles over the last few weeks.

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Check back in later this week for our latest adventures in the kitchen!

Light Summer Suppers with The Strawberry Blondes

Without any outdoor space to grill in the summer, I will admit that I have a bit of “grill envy” when I hear people talk about going home to cook on the grill for dinner. Finding light summer suppers with seasonal and fresh ingredients is a challenge without a grill but I am always up for a challenge!

Tobesmcgobes loves all the action outside of our apartment in the summer. He sits with his chin on the windowsill and just stares out at all the dogs running around, boats going by and people laying on the dock outside of our window. The other night after dinner Jon let him up on the new couch for the first time. We agreed this would not become routine but he was SO excited to sit on Jon’s lap and be able to look right out the window. Can’t get enough of the cuteness.

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Anywho – back to my summer suppers. The first meal I cooked when I got back home after my fabulous engagement weekend was chicken fajitas. One of our favorite restaurants is Papagayo. They make the most amazing fajitas but sometimes we just like to make them at home. I cooked brown rice and added about a half teaspoon of taco seasoning to make it Mexican. I sliced half of a yellow onion and cooked until soft.

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I bought delicious fresh mango salsa from Whole Foods and a nice block of cheddar cheese. I also cheated and bought a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. For anyone who doesn’t know – rotisserie chickens are buy one for $9 and get the second one for half price. And they are delish!

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Tobes likes fajita night too.

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And check out the new bling serving up the fajitas!

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Another easy summer dinner is stir fry. Sirloin was on sale so I bought peppers, broccoli and onion to make a stir fry. I marinated the steak in a soy ginger sauce.

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I cooked the steak in the marinade and added a little hot sauce and about half a teaspoon of garlic.

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I removed the steak from the pan and then added in the peppers, onion and broccoli. I let the vegetables simmer for a few minutes then added a bit more soy ginger sauce and the juice from half of a lime.

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I cooked some brown rice noodles and added to the stir fry. Tobes was a big help with the noodles.

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The last quick side dish I made was peanut roasted broccoli with sunflower and sesame seeds. I roasted sprayed a tiny bit of olive oil on the broccoli and roasted it on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes on 350 degrees, turning the broccoli a few times so it browned evenly. When it came out of the oven I mixed it with a bit of peanut sauce.

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I mixed in a few sunflower seeds and topped it off with a few sesame seeds before serving.

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This is a quick and easy side dish that can go with any meal! Happy summer!

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The Strawberry Blondes get Engaged (celebratory Pina Colada Jell-O Shots)!

In case you missed the title of this post…I am engaged to be married! I apologize for the hiatus for the last few weeks but I have been out celebrating instead of at home coooking. What an amazing few weeks it has been.

It all started with the Figawi Race. The Figawi is a sailing race from Hyannis, on Cape Cod, to the island of Nantucket. This was our first year sailing in the race so we were nervous (well I was nervous) and excited. We rounded up a crew for the race of siblings and friends, packed up the coolers with food and lots of beer and set out for Nantucket on Saturday morning.

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There were over 200 sailboats sailing in the race. We placed 10th out of 15 boats in our division which was totally awesome for our first race. Little did I know the excitement had already just begun!

We partied all weekend on Nantucket. Sunday was Jon’s birthday so that morning we decided to take a walk out to Brant Point and have a nice little stroll with our coffees. Brant Point is one of the most beautiful spots on the island. It has a lighthouse on the tip of the point that you can see as you enter Nantucket Harbor.

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We were walking along the beach and sipping coffee when Jon suddenly put down his coffee and bent down on one knee. To say that I was surprised would be a huge understatement! I said “yes”. We strolled back to the boat and I got to announce the news to all my family and friends. Pretty much the best day of my life so far.

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Which brings me to the celebratory Jell-O shots! When I made the Jell-O shots pre-Figawi I figured we would be eating them to toast an awesome race but little did I know I would be celebrating an engagement!

We always have Jell-O shots at Figawi so I decided to make pina colada Jell-O shots – pineapple jello shots with coconut rum. YUM!

I used two boxes of pineapple Jell-O, Malibu rum and little plastic cups with lids. Mix Jell-O according to the package directions except for omit the cold water and replace with rum. The shots should have one part water and one part rum so that they aren't too strong.

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If you are looking for a great treat to bring to a party this summer try these pina colada Jell-O shots. You won’t be disappointed!

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Cheers!

The Strawberry Blondes make Zucchini Boats

Boating season is finally here! After a long, cold winter of dreaming about being back on the boat soaking up the sun – it is time to put the boat in the water. Jon and I have a 30 foot Catalina sailboat named Destiny. Last year was our first year with the boat so I am very excited for her second season.

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Destiny needed a lot of TLC this year. For the past month we have been working to get her ready to be put in the water. We scraped the bottom paint and repainted, worked on the engine (well…Jon did), and waxed the hull. She shined up like a new penny!

Tobes was very willing to help prepare Destiny for the 2014 season. He loves the boat. He has his own little Tobesmcgobes life jacket but on this particular day was feeling more like a human. Cannot stop laughing at these pictures.

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In celebration of the launch of Destiny, The Strawberry Blondes decided to cook zucchini boats. This is a simple and healthy way to have an Italian meal without all the carbs. It is delicious!

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All you need to make the boats is zucchini, marinara sauce, diced onion and ground turkey. Slice the zucchini in half and scoop out the seeds. Boil the zucchini for about 3 minutes to soften.

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I made a simple marinara sauce with the ingredients I had on hand:

Diced tomatoes in sauce (2 cans)
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
Fresh copped parsley
Dried Italian seasoning
Black pepper
I had a leftover Parmesan rind that I threw in for extra flavor

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Once the sauce was cooked I used a hand blender to purée it.

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Next saute half of a diced onion in olive oil and then add in the ground turkey. Now to create the boats! Line a baking pan with foil and then lay the zucchini in the pan. Cover the zucchini with the ground turkey and then top with sauce. I sprinkled Parmesan on the top too. Bake on 350 for 40 minutes.

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This is a simple and healthy recipe. It is also great for lunch the next day.

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Destiny is on her way. The Strawberry Blondes are ready for summer!

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