Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

Giada’s quick pasta is easy to make on weekdays, but impressively, some fans even serve it as a holiday dinner.


Level: Easy        Total: 15 min        Prep: 5 min        Cook: 10 min        Yield: 4 to 6 servings





1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

2. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus, season with the salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes until slightly soft. Add the cherry tomatoes and peas. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes start to burst and the stock is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

3. Transfer the asparagus mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the cooked pasta and 1/2 of the Parmesan. Toss well, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan and chopped basil.


Mediterranean Low Carb Broccoli Salad

Mediterranean Low Carb Broccoli Salad

If I had to pick a salad to define my life, it would be broccoli salad.

I’m not really sure what situation would require me to actually have to do that. But, HEY, everything is hypothetical.


Broccoli salad. Whether it’s an Asian healthy broccoli salad, a Greek healthy broccoli salad or even a healthy broccoli salad with cashew curry dressing, I will take a WHOLE BOWL PLEASE. Even if you add apples to make a Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad with Greek Yogurt I won’t be mad at you for adding fruit to my vegetables.

And this keto broccoli salad?


From the creamy swirls of muscle-buildin’ Greek yogurt goodness to the zesty lemon, tangy bursts of artichoke, the crunchy sunflower seeds, salty olives and those chewy sun-dried tomatoes, BURSTING with fresh, flavorful herbs, this little broccoli bowl is BANGIN’.

BANGIN’ for your taste buds, but also you’ll be BANGIN’ this recipe out of your kitchen in the sense that it’s SO quick and easy to make.

Bing-BANG-done, kinda thing.

You get it now.

It’s pretty much just a little chop, a little dice, a little stir-stir-stir, some good bonding time with the refrigerator to get the flavor action going and – WHAM- DONE.

Your ideal simple side dish? I’m gonna go with a HARD yes on that one. Especially if you serve it alongside Greek Healthy Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers!

Or, if quinoa isn’t you thing, maybe some Mediterranean grilled stuffed peppers?

It’s ALSO the kind of healthy broccoli salad recipe that turns you into the MVP of all potluck situations in your life AND all meal prep situations of your life because:

  1. You can EASILY double it to feed a crowd
  2. It tastes BETTER the next day, which makes it the ideal meal prep lunch scenario for the real-life-bored-of-eating-sandwiches-life that you live.

Internet friends. Letting this Mediterranean low carb broccoli salad sit is KEYKEYKEY to flavor development.

The broccoli florets sit back and SOAK IN all the creamy-dreamy lusciously-smooth Greek yogurt dressing, allowing all its zesty-herby-yummy flavor to seep into each and every nook and cranny of broccoli, instilling the most YUMMY Mediterranean flavors to this otherwise not-so-exciting vegetable.

It’s the kind of salad that you make with EVERY intention of being a super-awesome-prepared person and bringing it for lunch.

Then you try it and WHOA HOLD UP NOW. LIIKE, veggies so good it’s so UNEXPECTED.

So, you divide it up into fancy little meal-prep containers like the awesome-at-life person that I know you are. Only to go back and pick…pick…PICK at each little container until – WHOOPS – it’s all gone.

Alas. A sandwich again.




  • 5 Cups Broccoli,, cut into small florets (380g)
  • 1/2 Cup Artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil,, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, , roughly chopped (75g) (oil squeezed out)
  • 1/2 Cup Pitted Kalamata olives,, halved
  • 1/3 Cup Red onion,, diced
  • 1/4 Cup Roasted salted sunflower seeds


  • 2 Cups Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 4 1/2 tsp Monkfruit, (or granulated sweetener of choice)
  • 1 3/4 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fresh garlic,, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried ground basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried ground thyme
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes


  1. In a large bowl, mix together ALL of the salad ingredients.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together all of the dressing ingredients,
  3. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to overnight, so that broccoli can absorb the dressing and develop the flavor.
  4. DEVOUR!




Citrus Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Citrus Shrimp and Avocado Salad

This simple but absolutely delicious shrimp salad is the perfect prep meal for lunch or dinner, thanks to the crunch of citrus-flavored pan-fried shrimp, creamy avocado, and sliced ​​almonds.

I grew up with a mom who ordered two things 99% of the time when we ate at fancier restaurants. It’s like she doesn’t even have to look at the menu, even though she’s always been and still is. So when it was my mom’s turn to answer the usual “what would you eat?” question. Since we all want to be 100% sure we’re ordering what’s on the menu, my husband and I always smile when we hear her answer, “Oh, I think I’ll try shrimp. Or scallops. ” my mom. So she is predictable. To prove we share the same DNA, I share their propensity for menu choices without apology. Man, I love shrimp!

So when I made my friend Robin’s Citrus Grilled Shrimp, I was super happy to have leftovers, because it meant that these two recipes would be the perfect weeknight meal planning solution that turned into a weeknight salad.

So we can thank my leftovers for inspiring this ridiculously easy and delicious citrus shrimp and avocado salad that my mom would totally approve of.

What’s in This Shrimp Avocado Salad?

The ingredients list for this shrimp salad is short and sweet. Here’s what you’ll need to make this salad with shrimp:

  • Pan-seared citrus shrimp
  • Greens
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Avocado
  • Shallot
  • Sliced almonds
  • Kosher salt and pepper

How to Make Shrimp Salad

This citrus shrimp recipe can be made in under 30 minutes so if you haven’t made it for meal planning, or have leftovers in the fridge, it really doesn’t take much doing to cook up a fresh batch — a quickly-prepared protein is one of the essential parts of composing a salad like this.

I had plenty of sauce left over after making the shrimp and because there’s no butter or cream in the sauce, it doesn’t coagulate into a gooey goop, but instead stays rather liquified when refrigerated, making it a perfect solution for creating a shrimp salad dressing. I drizzled a bit of olive oil on the greens and then mostly used the dressing I had to finish off my salads.

For a salad as simple as thism a little onion is always a favorite addition of mine. I used minced shallots this time around but you could always use red onion or even green onion if that’s what you have on hand.

I typically toast my almond slices to give them a little more oomph in flavor, but I was lazy so I just tossed them on naked. Guess what? They still tasted great.

What Type of Greens Should I Use in This Shrimp Salad?

The greens in this shrimp and avocado salad could very well vary on your tastes and what you have available, including:

  • Spring mix salad greens — if you’re looking for a neutral flavored bite
  • Spicy arugula — which is what I used and was so good
  • Baby spinach leaves — I always prefer the bagged version, it’s just so much easier
  • Romaine lettuce — for a more substantial crunch

Tips for Making Shrimp Avocado Salad

If you don’t have enough leftover citrus sauce, use a quality olive oil and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon or orange to finish off this simple salad. There will be plenty of gusto from the shrimp to carry it through.

Note that to determine if an avocado is ripe, flick the brown nub of the stem. Then:

  • If the avocado stem comes off clean and is green underneath, your avocado is ripe.
  • If the avocado stem comes off and you see brown underneath, your avocado is over ripe and will likely have brown spots.
  • If the avocado stem doesn’t release, it’s not ready yet.

What to Serve With This Shrimp Salad

This shrimp salad could easily be served all on its own because it really does make a meal. But sometimes a little extra something is nice to nibble or slurp alongside. Here are a few suggestions to consider:

  • Classic Tomato Gazpacho
  • Mango Gazpacho
  • Cucumber Delight Cocktail
  • Grilled Artichokes with Garlic Butter
  • Zucchini and Chorizo Cheese Toasts

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #savvynana123




Lemony Brussels Sprouts & Breadcrumb Spaghetti

Lemony Brussels Sprouts & Breadcrumb Spaghetti

A fridge full of Thanksgiving leftovers might bring joy to anyone who loves turkey sandwiches, but I’m not one of them. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, I’ll be ready to move on — but I also hate wasting food. The solution to my year-over-year dilemma is to turn all cooked food into delicious dishes that don’t taste like Thanksgiving at all.

This easy pasta dish makes use of leftover Brussels sprouts, bread or buns, or even what’s left over from a bottle of Turkish Day White.


Easy Pasta, Brightened with Lemon

This pasta starts by toasting fresh breadcrumbs on the stovetop with a little olive oil while the water for the pasta boils. Use the leftover bread you have here – even buns will work. Mix the toasted bread crumbs with plenty of lemon zest and finish the pasta in the same pan.

Reheat your leftover roasted or cooked Brussels sprouts (even glazed Brussels sprouts will work here) and add a little white wine, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice to make the sauce. The pasta is loaded with more lemon zest to brighten up the earthy flavor of the Brussels sprouts, before being coated in crunchy breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. This light yet filling pasta dish is the perfect antidote to another turkey sandwich possibility.



  • tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs (from about 4 ounces crusty bread)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Finely grated zest of 2 medium lemons, divided
  • pound dry spaghetti
  • cups cooked or roasted Brussels sprouts, coarsely chopped if large
  • clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving



1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, toast the breadcrumbs.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the breadcrumbs and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and season with pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown and toasted, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the lemon zest. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a medium bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pan with paper towels if needed.

3. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the Brussels sprouts, garlic, and red pepper flakes, if using, and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and season with pepper. Cook until the wine is reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. If the pasta is not ready yet, remove the pan from the heat.

4. When the pasta is ready, return the frying pan to medium heat. Using tongs, transfer the pasta directly from the cooking water to the pan. Add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and cook, tossing constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Add more pasta water a tablespoon at a time as needed if the pasta is dry.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining lemon zest. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed. Sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.



Make ahead: The breadcrumbs can be toasted, cooled completely, and stored at room temperature up to 2 days ahead.

Storage: Leftover pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.



Red Beet Cupcakes

Red Beet Cupcakes

We have an awesome cupcake store in our neighborhood and every now and then we take the kids by to enjoy a special treat. Without fail, their eyes are always drawn to the most colorful cupcakes in the display case. My kids may have no idea how a red velvet cupcake made with crimson food dye actually tastes, but put something like it in front of them and their immediate response is, “that one”.

Red Beet Cupcakes from

My take on these cupcakes have a rich flavor, and while they aren’t as artificially red as the red velvet cupcakes which use chemical food dyes (and of course chocolate which this one doesn’t include), they (and their icing) get their bright, reddish-pink color from a surprising, delicious and 100% natural guest, roasted beets. Especially given the never-ending speculation about the connection between food dyes and hyperactivity in children, having smart alternatives for the artificially colored food that kids crave means I don’t have to deprive my little ones.

This doesn’t mean we’re not frequenting our local cupcake store any less often, but I always like reminding myself that whenever there’s something out there I may not be thrilled about my kids eating, figuring out how to make a healthier version is not at all impossible.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large beet, roasted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Beet Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup beet puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Sift the first 4 ingredients into a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet and combine.

5. Pour about 1/3 cup into lined muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

6. Cool completely before frosting.

Beet Cream Cheese Frosting (Make 2 Cups)

1. Place all the ingredients in a mixer and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy. 2. Spread on cupcakes.



Red Beet Pancakes

Red Beet Pancakes

Red Beet Pancakes came to me courtesy of my husband.

My better half has discovered a passion for cooking. For me, this newfound culinary obsession of his is both a blessing and a curse. While on one hand it’s a huge relief because I don’t have to cook, it can also be a total pain in my tush (and not just because of the potential mess I likely find afterwards) because while he is completely focused on his latest creation, I am left in charge of two cranky, hungry kids.

It’s hard for me to get upset though. Hubby gets so excited about the whole process and the two hour mental voyages he takes while focussed on a new dish are kinda hilarious to watch. It’s like witnessing a 4 year old trying to finish a 50 piece jigsaw puzzle for the first time. Plus, I love watching how jazzed the kids get seeing Daddy work in what they consider to be Mommy’s turf.

One recent Saturday morning, Daddy decided to make a beet pancake recipe he had seen in Good to the Grain, a fabulously gorgeous book by Kim Boyce. As soon as Kenya heard the words “beet” and “pancakes” he said, “no way, that’s gross”. It didn’t take long for Chloe to jump on the “yucky” bandwagon. It seemed like this experiment was going to leave two out of four of us with empty tummies, but as soon as the kids got into helping Daddy stir, mash and measure, they apparently forgot all about their initial aversion. By the time the beautiful ruby discs finally came off of the griddle and onto everyone’s plates, the kids downed about five a piece.

My favorite part of this story though, came later on when my husband asked Kenya why he was so resistant at first to the beet pancakes. Kenya just looked at him and said, completely matter of fact, “who knew they were going to be that good!”

I’ve simplified Boyce’s recipe here, adding some whole wheat flour, more pureed beets to further brighten the color and some Greek yogurt too, making these red beet pancakes a breakfast that will make everyone’s eyes as big as their stomachs when you set them on the table.

He may make a bit of a mess and take a while finding his way around the kitchen, but I have to say it’s unbelievably charming watching hubby take over what I usually think of as my kitchen….and make it more of ours!



  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher salt
  • 2 medium beets, roasted and pureed (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/4 Cup milk
  • 1/3 Cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract


1. Sift the first 5 ingredients into a bowl.

2. Place the rest of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine.

3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined (you don’t want to overstir the batter — some lumps are good).

4. Drop about 2 tbsp of the pancake mixture onto a greased griddle or pan over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes on each side.

5. Serve with desired accompaniments.

* To freeze: Place the pancakes in labeled zipper bags and freeze for up to 3 months