The Chef Next Door

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

This simple but elegant Shrimp Scampi with Linguine is perfect for a special occasion, 
but it also makes a great quick weeknight meal!
Shrimp Scampi with Linguine | The Chef Next Door
I love seafood, but I don't cook with it nearly enough. {Other than a box of fish fillets...I know, don't judge!!} Cooking with fresh seafood is something I really want to get better at this year. Scallops, shrimp, fish, I enjoy it all! Lucky for me, my kids like it too. 

I decided I wanted to make a really nice {OK, fancy!} dinner for my boys on Valentine's Day. After all, they are my favorite Valentines ever! I wanted this dish to be simple to make, and something that we could have often, not just on special occasions. This Shrimp Scampi with Linguine was the winner, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out!

Raspberry Swirl Brownies

These fluffy, chocolaty, delicious brownies are swirled with raspberries and have a secret ingredient inside. Can you guess what it is? It's Greek yogurt! The yogurt keeps the brownies incredibly light and tender, and saves us a few calories, too!
Raspberry Swirl Brownies | The Chef Next Door
Everyone should know by now how much I love yogurt. Whether I'm putting it in my smoothies, eating it for breakfast with granola, or just snacking on a cup, I go through a lot of yogurt in my house! What most people might now know is how much I love to bake with yogurt, too. Adding yogurt to cakes, breads and other baked goods gives them a light, airy texture, and makes them a bit more friendly on the waistline.

I wanted to make a special dessert for my boys for the holiday because, you know, they have my heart and are my true Valentine's. Always. Since they both love chocolate (and so do I!), I decided to make brownies. Not just any brownies, I might add. These brownies are tender and fluffy and swirled with raspberry preserves. To give them even more raspberry flavor, I used a Divine Dark Chocolate with Raspberries bar in the batter, then topped them with a couple of fresh raspberries. It's raspberry love!

Brownie Batter Overnight Oats

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. #CarnationSweepstakes #BetterBreakfast #CollectiveBias

This easy make-ahead breakfast recipe is chocolaty, delicious, and tastes just like a brownie. 
Plus, it's nutritious! Sounds perfect, right?
Brownie Batter Overnight Oats | The Chef Next Door
The first month of 2016 is already behind us and I can confidently say that I'm doing great on my goals for the year. I've been working hard to implement small changes in my life to make a healthier me, and so far so good. One of the biggest challenges for me has been eating breakfast during the week. I used to only have coffee and call it good, and my first true meal of the day was lunch. We all know that's not good for our bodies, as we need nourishment to get our day off to a great start.

You've heard me talk about the importance of breakfast several times already over the past few weeks (sorry for the repetition!), but it is something that I feel really strongly about. With two teenage boys, I have to practice what I preach so that they'll follow in my footsteps, and I'm hoping you'll see the importance and do the same. That's why I'm taking the 7-Day Breakfast Challenge! Starting today, I'm focusing on my first meal of the day and planning to enjoy a nutritious breakfast for 7 days straight. Want to join me?

Minestrone Soup with Kale

Loaded with vegetables, herbs, and crispy pancetta, this flavorful and delicious minestrone 
soup is homemade comfort food at its best!
I love soup, especially during the winter. There isn't anything quite as comforting as a big bowl of hot soup on a cold day. We've had plenty of those cold days lately, so there have been many pots of soup on my stove. Homemade soup is easy to make and most recipes can be ready quickly, so it's a great choice for busy weeknights.

This super flavorful minestrone is packed with fresh veggies, canned tomatoes, crispy pancetta, and herbs. Pair it with your favorite grilled cheese sandwich for an easy dinner that the whole family will love, especially the kids!

Apple Coconut Breakfast Cake

This sweet and delicious coffee cake is loaded with apples and coconut and is perfect for breakfast!
Apple Coconut Breakfast Cake | The Chef Next Door
I love cake. Pretty much any kind of cake. But I really love a cake that is made for breakfast. I'll admit, I've had a piece of chocolate cake or birthday cake on an occasional morning with a cup of coffee. Admit it, I know you have too! But make a cake specifically for breakfast and I'm ALL over it.

Recently I received a box of gorgeous Stemilt Pinata apples and although they taste amazing as is, I couldn't wait to put them in a few recipes. This Apple Coconut Breakfast Cake was the very first thing I made and man was that a good idea! Pinata apples are crisp and juicy and have a tropical taste, which pairs perfectly with the coconut in this cake.

Five Simple Steps to a Healthier You!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. #TryALittleGoodness #CollectiveBias
I've been talking a lot about my goals for 2016 lately, and being healthier overall is at the top of that list. Like many of you, I'm busy with work, kids, laundry, cleaning house, etc., and I don't often take care of myself like I should. This is the year where I will focus on myself more and make my health a priority, too!

There are a few things I've jotted down in my journal that I am concentrating on so far. Small, simple things that I feel will make a big impact on my goals. I decided if I started with small changes, things I know I can achieve, then I would get the boost I'm needing. And by sharing the 5 simple steps with you, I will definitely feel more accountable! 

Creamy Cilantro Yogurt Dressing

This Creamy Cilantro Yogurt Dressing is fresh and delicious and is perfect on your favorite salad, 
or as a dip for fresh veggies!
Can you believe the first month of 2016 is just about over? Where in the world did January go?! I swear the older I get, the faster time goes. And with teenagers at home, I don't like it one bit! I need to keep them small , ya' know what I mean? Anyway, I digress.

Remember how I told you at the beginning of the month that I was striving to be healthier this year? Well, I'm still working at that, little by little, and things are going well. I'm trying to squeeze a bit more exercise in, and I've been upping the fruit and veggie intake for the whole family. We eat salads with dinner several times a week, but I had always purchased store bought dressings, never made my own at home. Well, up until now.