Skinnytaste Meal Plan (May 20-May 26)

A free 7-day flexible weight loss meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All recipes include calories and WW SmartPoints®.

A free 7-day flexible weight loss meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All recipes include calories and WW SmartPoints®.

Hi all! I am away in Italy this week, can’t wait to share my trip with you when I return but I didn’t forget you! On this plan there are options for BBQ/Potlucks on Saturday and Sunday, you may have to adjust the servings accordingly based on your needs with backyard parties and gatherings.

If you’re new to my meal plans, I’ve been sharing these free, 7-day flexible healthy meal plans (you can see my previous meal plans here) that are meant as a guide, with plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food, coffee, beverages, fruits, snacks, dessert, wine, etc or swap recipes out for meals you prefer, you can search for recipes by course in the index. You should aim for around 1500 calories* per day.

There’s also a precise, organized grocery list that will make grocery shopping so much easier and much less stressful. Save you money and time. You’ll dine out less often, waste less food and you’ll have everything you need on hand to help keep you on track.

Lastly, if you’re on Facebook join my Skinnytaste Facebook Community where everyone’s sharing photos of recipes they are making, you can join here. I’m loving all the ideas everyone’s sharing! If you wish to get on the email list, you can subscribe here so you never miss a meal plan!

Also, if you don’t have the Skinnytaste Meal Planner, now would be a great time to get one to get organized for 2019! There was a print error last year, but it’s perfect now! You can order it here!

THE DETAILS:

Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, are designed to serve 1 while dinners and all meals on Saturday and Sunday are designed to serve a family of 4. Some recipes make enough leftovers for two nights or lunch the next day. While we truly believe there is no one size fits all meal plan, we did our best to come up with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. Everything is Weight Watchers friendly, I included the updated Weight Watcher Freestyle Points for your convenience, feel free to swap out any recipes you wish or just use this for inspiration!

The grocery list is comprehensive and includes everything you need to make all meals on the plan. I’ve even included brand recommendations of products I love and use often. Cross check your cabinets because many condiments you’ll notice I use often, so you may already have a lot of them.

And last, but certainly not least, this meal plan is flexible and realistic. There’s plenty of wiggle room for cocktails, healthy snacks, dessert and dinner out. And if necessary, you can move some things around to make it work with your schedule. Please let me know if you’re using these plans, this will help me decide if I should continue sharing them!

MONDAY (5/20)
B: Loaded Baked Omelet Muffins (2) with 1 cup strawberries (0)
L: Spiralized Greek Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Feta (7)
D: Skinny Baked Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese (8) with a green salad (2)*
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 19, Calories 868**

TUESDAY (5/21)
B: Loaded Baked Omelet Muffins (2) with an orange (0)
L: LEFTOVER Skinny Baked Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese (8) with 8 carrot sticks (0)
D: Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Roll Ups (5) with Warm Mexican Corn Salad (4)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 19, Calories 940**

WEDNESDAY (5/22)
B: Loaded Baked Omelet Muffins (2) with 1 cup strawberries (0)
L: LEFTOVER Skinny Baked Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese (8) with 8 carrot sticks (0)
D: Grilled Balsamic Steak with Tomatoes and Arugula (5)*** with Potato and Green Bean Salad (5)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 20, Calories 914**

THURSDAY (5/23)
B: Loaded Baked Omelet Muffins (2) with an orange (0)
L: LEFTOVER Grilled Balsamic Steak with Tomatoes and Arugula (5) with Potato and Green Bean Salad (5)
D: Grilled Cumin Spiced Pork Tenderloin (3) with Fiesta Bean Salad (4)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 19, Calories 1,092**

FRIDAY (5/24)
B: 6 ounces Greek yogurt (0) with ½ cup mixed berries (0) 1 tablespoon chopped pecans (2)
L: LEFTOVER Grilled Balsamic Steak with Tomatoes and Arugula (5)* with Potato and Green Bean Salad (5)
D: Basil-Parmesan Salmon (3) with ¾ cup brown rice (5) and Roasted Asparagus (0)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 20, Calories 1,035**

SATURDAY (5/25)
B: Whole Wheat Pancakes (5) with 1 tablespoon maple syrup (3) and 1 cup mixed berries (0)
L: Naked Greek Feta-Zucchini Turkey Burgers (5) and Grilled Rainbow Peppers with Herb Cream Cheese (3)
D: DINNER OUT!

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 16, Calories 623**

SUNDAY (5/26)
B: Roasted Strawberry Banana Bread (3) and 1 cup cantaloupe (0)
L: Chilled Italian Shrimp Tortellini Pasta Salad (6)
D: Buffalo Turkey Cheeseburger with Blue Cheese Broccoli Slaw (8) with Low Carb Potato Salad (4)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 21, Calories 1,087**

*This is just a guide, women should aim for around 1500 calories per day. Here’s a helpful calculator to estimate
your calorie needs. I’ve left plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food such as coffee, beverages, fruits,
snacks, dessert, wine, etc.
**Green salad includes 4 cups mixed greens, 2 scallions, ½ cup each: tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, chickpeas and
½ cup light vinaigrette.
***Leave 2 servings of salad undressed (and put on the side) for leftovers Thurs/Fri.

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Turkey Burgers

turkey burgers on a bun

These Turkey Burgers are loaded with flavor and perfect for summer grilling! Easy to prep ahead and freeze to enjoy all summer long.

Summer is on its way and we are all about the grilling these days! These Turkey Burgers are some of our favorite to whip up for a healthier twist on burgers. If you love grilling as much as we do, check out these Asian Barbecue Burgers, this Awesome Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa or these Grilled BBQ Chicken Tacos!

turkey burgers overhead

Turkey Burgers

We love swapping ground turkey for beef to make our favorite recipes a little lighter but they are still big on flavor!

These turkey burgers are seasoned with onion, garlic, and lots of herbs and seasoning (and just the right amount of spice!). I like to add a bit of barbecue sauce right to my turkey burger mix to give them even more barbecue flavor!

How to make turkey burgers:

  1. Throw your ground turkey, seasonings, barbecue sauce, egg and bread crumbs into a big bowl and mix it up just until combined — you don’t want to overmix!
  2. Shape your burgers — be sure to make your patties a little larger than your buns because they will shrink up on the grill as they cook.
  3. Place your patties on a parchment lined plate or baking sheet and pop in the freezer for 20-40 minutes — I find this helps them to keep their shape and not fall apart on the grill. It’s not totally necessary, but you’ll have to be a little more careful with the flipper if you don’t give them a bit of a chill.
  4. Grill for 5-6 minutes per side, until browned and the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F.
  5. Serve!

turkey burgers plain

How to prep turkey burgers in advance:

Burger patties, beef or turkey, are great for making ahead in the summer as they can easily be refrigerated or frozen.

Simply prepare the patties as the recipe instructs, then place in a single layer or stack with wax paper in between layers. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

To freeze, place patties in a single layer on a baking sheet on parchment paper. Freeze for 2 hours or until firm. Remove from the baking sheet and place in a large freezer bag or air tight freezer container and freeze for up to 3 months. You can grill right from frozen!

turkey burgers on a bun

Looking for more summer grilling recipes?

Turkey Burgers

These Turkey Burgers are loaded with flavor and perfect for summer grilling! Easy to prep ahead and freeze to enjoy all summer long. 

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a large bowl, combine turkey, barbecue sauce, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, seasoning salt and pepper just until combined.
  2. Form into 4 large patties (they will shrink as they cook so you want to make them slightly larger than your buns), and place on a plate or baking sheet in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or in the freezer for 30-60 minutes — this will help them not to firm up slightly.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high, or about 400 degrees F.
  4. Grill burgers on each side for 5-6 minutes until an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached.
  5. Brush with additional barbecue sauce and serve as desired.

 

Feel Like Pizza? Try Stromboli!

stromboli overhead with tomato sauce

This easy Stromboli recipe starts with refrigerated pizza dough, and is loaded with all your favorite pizza toppings! Salami, pepperoni, ham and lots of cheese are the key ingredients in this easy stromboli recipe! And, it’s ready in about 30 minutes!

I don’t know anything that will bring the family to the table faster than the smell of pizza baking in the oven. Stromboli pizza is that magical combination of dough, meat and cheese with Italian seasoning that gets them every time, and I can’t say I’m complaining.

close up of 3 stromboli recipe slices with ham, pepperoni and salami with cheese

This stromboli recipe is quick and easy enough for making appies, and also for a weeknight dinner. I often make two (switch up the flavours for variety!) because the leftovers are perfect for school or work lunches the next day! That is definitely a win around here.

For a really hungry crowd, I add a side of Easy Italian Salad or Italian Wedding Soup (or both sometimes!).

stromboli recipe sliced on white plate wit marinara sauce in a small bowl and a towel on the side

One of the best things about this stromboli recipe is how easy it is to prep. If you have kids who like to help in the kitchen, they can probably prepare almost the entire recipe without help!

What’s in a Stromboli?

Stromboli ingredients are very simple:

  • The pizza crust – I’ve used refrigerated pizza dough here to make this an easy weeknight meal that is ready in 30 minutes, but feel free to make your own pizza dough if you prefer!
  • The sauce – choose a good one that you like, and be sure to serve extra on the side for dunking! I prefer to use my homemade easy marinara sauce, but I often use store bought for this recipe.
  • Toppings – I keep these basic (and family-friendly) using salami, pepperoni and ham as well as a good covering of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan. You can really do anything you want for stromboli filling ideas! Mix things up and go Hawaiian, BBQ Chicken or Chicken Alfredo if you’re feeling adventurous.

How to Make Stromboli

This stromboli recipe is super easy to make. Simply:

  1. Roll out pizza dough
  2. Add cheese and toppings
  3. Roll stromboli into a log
  4. Brush with egg wash
  5. Bake
  6. Presto!

More Pizza Inspired Recipes You’ll Love!

What is The Difference Between a Calzone and a Stromboli? What is Stromboli?

You won’t find a lot of difference between stromboli vs calzone. The main difference is the size and shape.

A calzone is essentially a pizza folded in half, and is usually in a semi-circle shape. A stromboli is a pizza that is rolled and baked, then sliced. Either way, they’re both delicious and use many of the same ingredients!

overhead shot of 5 stromboli slices on a white plate, with marinara sauce in a bowl and a towel on background

Can You Make Stromboli the Night Before?

Stromboli is perfect for prepping ahead and either refrigerating or freezing!

Prepare fully, then cover with plastic wrap on the baking sheet and refrigerate up to 12 hours before baking.

Or prepare, bake, cool, wrap tightly and freeze. To serve, thaw for 5-6 hours at room temperature, then heat at 350 degrees for 10-20 minutes until heated through.

Stromboli Recipe

This easy Stromboli recipe starts with refrigerated pizza dough, and is loaded with all your favorite pizza toppings! Salami, pepperoni, ham and lots of cheese are the key ingredients in this easy stromboli recipe!

  • 1 can refrigerated pizza dough (enough for 1 pizza)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup cooked ham (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup salami (slices)
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni (slices)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Roll pizza dough out on a lightly floured surface into a roughly 12″ x 16″ rectangle (it doesn’t have to be perfect).
  3. Spread marinara sauce over pizza dough, but leave one inch all the way around and 2-3″ at the long side furthest from you.
  4. Top with 1 cup of the shredded cheese, then ham, salami and pepperoni. Finish with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
  5. Roll up as tightly as possible, doing your best not to push out the toppings as you do so. Stop just before you reach the end.
  6. Whisk together egg, water, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Brush over pizza dough where the edges will meet, then pinch together.
  7. Place on prepared baking sheet with the seal down and brush with the egg wash.

  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

REPIN this Easy Recipe

Slices from this simple Stromboli Recipe sitting on a white plate and surrounding a clear bowl of salsa

 

 

This easy Stromboli recipe starts with refrigerated pizza dough, and is loaded with all your favorite pizza toppings! Salami, pepperoni, ham and lots of cheese are the key ingredients in this delicious recipe! #spendwithpennies #stromboli #easyrecipe #kidfriendly #strombolirecipe #weeknightmeal #lunch #easylunch #pizza #pizzaroll
This easy Stromboli recipe starts with refrigerated pizza dough, and is loaded with all your favorite pizza toppings! Salami, pepperoni, ham and lots of cheese are the key ingredients in this delicious recipe! #spendwithpennies #stromboli #easyrecipe #kidfriendly #strombolirecipe #weeknightmeal #lunch #easylunch #pizza #pizzaroll

Mouthwatering Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad is a perfect combination of fresh spinach, juicy strawberries, crunchy onions and soft feta cheese all tossed together with a creamy poppyseed dressing! All the flavor, texture and deliciousness in one bowl!

You can’t go wrong with a delicious, filling salad that is prepared in your home! Strawberry, Apple and Pear Salad with an Apple Cider Poppyseed Dressing, Triple Berry Kale Salad with Creamy Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing or Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing need to be added to your lunchtime routine.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

I love spinach!  I really don’t like iceburg lettuce, so I make all of my salads with spinach.  The hubby bought me a giant box of real North Carolina strawberries.  So I always am making this salad.  My two favorite things, spinach and strawberries! You can’t go wrong with this salad combination. It is bursting with flavor and loads of texture and delicious ingredients.

It is time to have a mom date with your friends and enjoy this salad that is filling with all things healthy and rich in flavor. Impress your friends with this beautiful salad. There will only be empty bowls at your table. I love how easy this salad is to make yet and doesn’t take long at all. I love all the vibrant colors and how it looks when all combined.

This is a go-to salad for me and so simple to make! I like to throw in chopped up, cooked chicken into my salad to add that extra protein.

How Do You Make Strawberry Spinach Salad?

  • In a large bowl combine spinach, strawberries, sliced almonds, red onion, feta cheese, and craisins and toss.
  • To make the creamy poppyseed dressing:  In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, milk, sugar, cider vinegar, and poppyseeds.  Pour over the salad and use as desired.  

Can You Make the Poppyseed Dressing Ahead of Time?

Yes! This is great to make ahead and will last in the refrigerator 3 to 5 days.

How Many Calories are in Poppyseed Dressing?

There are 65 calories in 1 tablespoon of Poppy Seed Dressing. Calorie breakdown: 81% fat, 18% carbs, 0% protein

Can I substitute the 2% Milk?

  • Soy Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Hemp Milk
  • Cashew Milk

Can You Meal Prep this Salad?

This is a great salad to meal prep with! Leave the dressing off and you have a great lunch each day!

What Other Toppings Can You Add?

  • Chicken
  • Goat Cheese
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Candied Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Pecans

Are you Looking for More Tasty Salads? Here are some!

 

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • 1 (6 ounce) package spinach
  • 1 (16 ounce) package strawberries
  • 1/2 C sliced almonds
  • 1/2 red onion (sliced)
  • 1 C feta cheese
  • 1 C craisins
  • creamy poppyseed dressing:
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  1. In a large bowl combine spinach, strawberries, sliced almonds, red onion, feta cheese, and craisins and toss.

  2. To make the creamy poppyseed dressing: In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, milk, sugar, cider vinegar, and poppyseeds. Pour over the salad and use as desired.

Originally published May 2012 

 

Thousand Island Dressing

The best thousand island dressing has a few basic ingredients like mayonnaise, ketchup, and sweet pickle relish. Not only does it make for a great dressing on tossed salad, but also an amazing condiment for burgers and even a dip for French fries!

Just like Blue Cheese Dressing, it is fairly basic but packs a powerful flavor that goes great on nearly any kind of salad, burger or sandwich!

Why buy store bought when you can make your own? You probably already have all the thousand island dressing ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry, so let’s get started!

A jar full of thousand island dressing with fresh veggies behind it.

I love a good creamy dressing not only for salads but for dipping veggies too! Thousand Island has always topped my list… but exactly What is Thousand Island Dressing? It can be made with a variety of different ingredients to punch up the flavors! The base always starts with mayonnaise (I add sour cream & vinegar for tang). Ketchup (or tomato paste) adds zest and color. For sweetness a spoonful of sugar and some sweet pickle relish! So good!

Of course you can add in some of your other favorite flavors too:

  • Lemon juice
  • Chili paste
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Diced black olives

What is the Difference Between Russian Dressing and Thousand Island Dressing?

While both dressings have distinctive flavor profiles, thousand island dressing is far more versatile because it can be used for more than a salad dressing. Russian dressing is more tomato based and has a thinner, smooth consistency. It is also a little bit spicier because it calls for horseradish and paprika. Russian dressing is great on tossed salads (and perfect on my Dorito Taco Salad), but not as popular as the sweeter thousand island dressing for burgers or Reuben sandwiches.

 

A white bowl with thousand island dressing ingredients like mayonnaise, ketchup, and relish.

How to Make Thousand Island Dressing

In a bowl, gently combine all the ingredients until smooth and fully incorporated. Homemade thousand island dressing will keep up to ten days in a container with a tightly fitted lid or a jar (I keep it in a mason jar).

Shake or stir before using as a salad dressing or a condiment for burgers, sandwiches, or fries! Easy to make and yummy to use!

A white mixing bowl with thousand island dressing being stirred with a wooden spoon.

More Delicious Homemade Dressings

Thousand Island Dressing

The best thousand island dressing has a few basic ingredients like mayonnaise, ketchup, and sweet pickle relish. 

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

  2. Whisk until smooth.

  3. Refrigerate up to 10 days.

Nutrition information is based on 1 tablespoon of dressing. 

REPIN this Easy Recipe

Dressing in a clear cup with a dark wooden spoon stirring it

We love making this homemade thousand island dressing recipe for reubens and salads! It's an easy classic dressing recipe that couldn't be more flavorful! #spendwithpennies #thousandislanddressing #dressing #homemadedressing #thousandisland
We love making this homemade thousand island dressing recipe for reubens and salads! It's an easy classic dressing recipe that couldn't be more flavorful! #spendwithpennies #thousandislanddressing #dressing #homemadedressing #thousandisland

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Nothing is more comforting than a hot, melty grilled cheese sandwich. Grilled cheese and tomato soup are a combo made in heaven. It’s the perfect easy lunch recipe and great for even the pickiest of eaters.

The best grilled cheese always starts with a sturdy bread, lots of cheese and a smear of … butter mayonnaise on the outside!

Grilled cheese sandwich halves stacked on top of one another

The Best Grilled Cheese

Friends, there are NO wrong answers for making this lunchtime classic. As long as you’ve got bread and a generous amount of cheese, you’ve got the basis for the best grilled cheese sandwich.

Best Bread for Grilled Cheese:

This is what making grilled cheese is all about!

  • Use whatever bread you love, but make sure it is sturdy enough to hold the cheese in.
  • White bread and sourdough are the most popular, but even a thickly sliced boule will make a perfect grilled cheese!
  • Dark rye and pumpernickel pair well with lighter cheeses like Gouda or Havarti (add a slice of pear or apple between the slices for a sweet crunch!)

What is the Best Cheese for Grilled Cheese?

Grilled cheese sandwiches are not the place for cheese judgement. Anything goes!

  • A classic grilled cheese is made with American cheese and white bread (but I love sneaking in sharp cheddar too)!
  • Real cheddar, a bit of provolone, creamy processed cheese, leftover brie from last night’s party. Any and all varieties work!
  • Pick your favorite or all of them! Smooth, creamy and oh so dreamy!

ingredients for a classic grilled cheese sandwich on a cutting board

How to Make Grilled Cheese

Most of us know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, but do you know how to make an amazing grilled cheese? Here are my tips to make the best grilled cheese:

  1. Low Heat: Low heat allows the bread to get a golden crust while the cheese has a chance to melt.
  2. Open faced: If you’re filling it really full with cheese and other goodies, start by cooking it without a top slice of bread and covered for a couple of minutes. It won’t get soggy but the little bit of steam helps melt the cheese. Once the cheese starts to melt, add the top slice of bread.
  3. Get Cheesy: It really doesn’t matter what cheese you use as long as its one you love and don’t skimp on it! I cover every corner of the bread, nobody wants a grilled cheese without loads of cheese.

The BEST Tip for a Perfect Grilled Cheese

My friends, this is a must. I make grilled cheese without butter! Swap out the butter on the outside of the sandwich for mayonnaise. Cook mayonnaise side down in the pan.

Your grilled cheese will come out perfectly golden with a crust that doesn’t get soggy and is not greasy!

If the pan is too hot, the cheese won’t melt before the outside is cooked. If you notice the cheese taking awhile, cover it with a lid. The steam will help melt the cheese so it cooks evenly!

stacked grilled cheese sandwiches with a sandwich pick in the middle

What Can I Add to My Grill Cheese?

Honestly, what can’t you add?  Caramelized onions, sliced apples. or pears, bacon, and even a smear of crunchy peanut butter can take your grilled cheese sandwich to a whole new level!

Add pepperoni for a pizza grilled cheese and of course my all time favorite Dill Pickle Bacon Grilled Cheese!

More Cheesy Recipes

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Nothing is more comforting than a hot, melty grilled cheese sandwich. Serve this lunch time favorite with a bowl of tomato soup for dipping!

  • 4 slices white bread (or sour dough)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese (or American cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar (optional)
  1. Preheat a small skillet over low heat.
  2. Spread mayonnaise over one side of each piece of bread and place mayonnaise side down in the skillet.

  3. Top with cheddar cheese slices, black pepper to taste and remaining slice of bread, mayonnaise side out.
  4. Grill until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and grill the other side until golden.

REPIN this Easy Recipe

Grilled cheese sandwiches piled on top of one another

Nothing is more comforting than a hot, melty grilled cheese sandwich. Serve it with a bowl of your favorite soup for a fast and easy lunch any day of the week! #spendwithpennies #grilledcheese #grilledcheesesandwich #perfectgrilledcheese #makinggrilledcheese #easylunch #soupandsandwich #bestgrilledcheese #easyrecipe
Nothing is more comforting than a hot, melty grilled cheese sandwich. Serve it with a bowl of your favorite soup for a fast and easy lunch any day of the week! #spendwithpennies #grilledcheese #grilledcheesesandwich #perfectgrilledcheese #makinggrilledcheese #easylunch #soupandsandwich #bestgrilledcheese #easyrecipe

California Grilled Chicken Avocado and Mango Salad

Grilled Chicken pairs beautifully with avocados and mangoes in this delicious salad, perfect for those warmer nights you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

Grilled Chicken pairs beautifully with avocados and mangoes in this delicious salad, perfect for those warmer nights you don't want to heat up the kitchen.

Tropical fruits like mangoes and avocados are my favorite fruits. Paired together in this salad with grilled chicken, it couldn’t be more delicious! More recipes I love with mango are this Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa, these Mango Coconut Ice Pops and this Mango Coconut Chia Pudding.

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German Chocolate Cake

Homemade German Chocolate Cake, with two layers of scratch made cake, a sticky coconut pecan topping, and fudge frosting is everyone’s favorite cake!

Everyone loves a good homemade cake. Some may consider it the best dessert there is. And if you’re as big of a fan of cake as I am, you’ll surely want to make a Perfect Tres Leches Cake or a Marble Bundt Cake.

German Chocolate Cake

I love homemade cake. I can always tell the difference between a homemade cake where everything was made from scratch. I grew up on boxed mixes and frosting from a tub, but once I realized how wonderful scratch baking was, I’ve never looked back.

I had some extra cake and asked my friends if they wanted any. I could not believe how many people said that German Chocolate was their absolute favorite! For many people, they said it’s been their favorite since they were a kid!

What is different about German Chocolate Cake?

There are actually quite a few differences between a German Chocolate Cake and traditional chocolate cake.

First of all, the chocolate in the cake portion was intended to come from a sweet chocolate. This is different than milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate. If you see any recipes that call for chocolate chips or cocoa powder, know that you’re not going to get a cake that tastes like authentic German Chocolate Cake. In my opinion, milk chocolate is the closest you can get, unless you did what I did and use a combination of semi-sweet and blonde chocolate (which I think is the perfect combination for this recipe). Do you see how light brown the cake color is? Buttermilk is also a common ingredient of German Chocolate Cake.

Second, German Chocolate Cake is known for the custard-like topping that is full of pecans and coconut. I am a huge fan of coconut, and also love making coconut ice cream and coconut pudding.

Third, chocolate frosting is often seen on German Chocolate cake, however it is totally optional. I’ve seen cakes that are smothered in the coconut pecan topping without any frosting, and for me, that’s just too much. I also think a super creamy shortening frosting (like what you might get from a grocery store bakery) is a really bad choice for this cake. No. The only way to go is with a dark, rich, fudge like chocolate frosting like the one I’ve used. It’s the perfect compliment to the subtle chocolate flavor in the cake.

Why is it called German Chocolate Cake?

Think this cake originated in Germany, and that’s why it’s called German Chocolate Cake? Nope.

This cake was originally called German’s Chocolate Cake, after an American baker named Samuel German.

Does German Chocolate Cake need to be refrigerated?

This cake is most definitely best enjoyed right away, but I was surprised at how well it kept. I stored my cake in an air tight container at room temperature, and we were enjoying it for days.

If it makes you feel better to refrigerate the cake, you can certainly do so, but I kept it at room temperature and it was fine.

Love homemade chocolate desserts? Try these:

German Chocolate Cake

Homemade German Chocolate Cake, with two layers of scratch made cake, a sticky coconut pecan topping, and fudge frosting is everyone’s favorite cake!

Cake

  • Cooking spray to grease pans
  • 4 oz milk chocolate (alternatively, I used a combination of semi sweet chocolate and 32% blonde chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 4 large eggs (yolks and whites separated)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Coconut-Pecan Filling and Topping

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut (flaked and unsweetened)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cakes:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with the cooking spray. Cut rounds of cooking parchment paper to fit each pan and then line bottoms of pans with the paper.

  2. Coarsely chop the chocolate. Gently heat the heavy cream on the stove over medium heat or in the microwave on 50% power until almost boiling. Pour over chopped chocolate and allow to sit, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes. Stir to combine (chocolate should be fully melted by the time you stir. If not, you can heat in microwave on 50% power in 30 second increments). Allow mixture to cool.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt until mixed. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugar and butter with paddle attachment on medium to high speed until light and fluffy; set aside. Note – you can’t overmix the butter and sugar, so be sure to keep mixing until it is very light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed to ensure it is fully mixed.

  5. Reduce speed to medium and add 1 egg yolk at a time into the sugar mixture until mixed. Reduce speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla. With speed still on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk until fully incorporated. Once all ingredients are mixed in, increase speed to high for just a few seconds to really whip it together. Transfer this batter to a large clean bowl and wash stand mixer bowl you were using.

  6. Add the egg whites to the stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Do not overmix. You basically want the whites to be light and fluffy so that when you stop mixing and pull the whisk out, the peak that it pulls on it’s way out holds it’s shape. If you over mix, the whites will break.

  7. Add egg whites to the batter and genltly fold in using a rubber spatula to turn the batter over the egg whites, continuing until all of the egg whites are fully mixed in. Be sure to be as gentle as possible using the least amount of mixing required to fully incorporate.

  8. Pour batter into pans, using a rubber spatula to scrape the batter from bowl. Spread batter evenly in pans and smooth top of batter.

  9. Ensure oven racks are adjusted so that cakes bake in center of oven and bake in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cakes should also start pulling away from sides of pan once cooked.

  10. Cool cakes in pans on cooling rack. When pans and cake are still hot but cool enough to touch, flip cakes out of pan by placing your hand on the cake, inverting pan to release, then set back down on cooling rack with parchment round side down. Allow to fully cool on cooling rack.

To make the coconut topping:

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, stir the egg yolks, sugars, butter, evaporated milk and vanilla until well mixed. Cook over medium heat about 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently, until thick and bubbly. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Cool about 30 minutes, beating occasionally with a spoon, until mixture is spreadable.

To make the frosting:

  1. Add butter to bowl of stand mixer. Using paddle or whisk attachment, beat until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Mix on low speed to combine. With the mixer running, add the evaporated milk and the vanilla. Once combined, increase speed to high and blend until fully mixed and smooth. Frosting will be thick.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Remove parchment rounds from cakes. Place 1 cake layer, rounded side down, on a cake plate. To keep plate clean, you can slide strips of parchment paper under the edges of the cake while you frost and then remove once the cake has been decorated.

  2. Spread half of the coconut mixture over the top of the cake. Add second layer and spoon the rest of the coconut mixture on top. I left about an inch of space around the edge of the cake for the frosting.

  3. Add the chocolate frosting to a pastry back with a star tip. Pipe stars around the top edge of the cake. Pipe remaining frosting around the sides to coat and then use a spatula to smooth, taking care not to touch the stars on the top.

  4. Store cake in airtight container.

Zucchini Pancakes – Deliciously Different!

Zucchini Pancakes are the perfect way to enjoy the perfect vegetable, zucchini! Shredded zucchini is tossed with parmesan cheese, flour, and spices then fried into perfectly delicious bites.

Serve the these veggie pancakes with a dollop of sour cream or marinara sauce for the perfect healthy appetizer or side dish!

Moist zucchini pancakes topped with salsa and fresh parsley.

Zucchini Pancakes or Fritters

I love making all types of fritters and pancakes  from Salmon cakes to mashed potato cakes. These zucchini fritters have officially joined the team.

I usually think of fritters as a crisp deep fried item, almost like hush puppies. Zucchini has a lot of moisture giving these zucchini pancakes are a texture that is a cross between a pancake and a fritter; golden and crisp on the outside and soft and tender in the middle.

Zucchini is over 90% water so in these pancakes, I pre-cook the zucchini to remove the moisture and squeeze out any remaining moisture.  Many people salt the zucchini but I prefer the method of cooking the zucchini first (along with the white onion).

Delicious zucchini fritters covered in parsley.

How To Shred Zucchini

When you make zucchini pancakes, shredding the zucchini helps to keep it thin enough to shape them. I use the large side of a standard box cheese grater to shred zucchini.

You don’t need to worry about peeling zucchini before you shred it as the peel softens a ton when it is cooked. You will hardly notice it in your dish.

A stack of delicious zucchini pancakes topped with parsley.

How To Make Zucchini Pancakes

When we make zucchini pancakes, cook the shredded zucchini first to eliminate some of the water. This keeps the pancakes from becoming soggy and helps to hold them together while they cook.

Mix your ingredients and drop about 1 ½ tablespoons into the hot pan. Cook ‘em for about 5 minutes on each side or until you see a beautiful crispy and caramelized exterior!

Serve zucchini pancakes with an array of dipping sauces like pico de gallo, sour cream, hot sauce… there’s no wrong answer here!

More Zucchini Faves

Zucchini Pancakes

These zucchini pancakes are the perfect way to enjoy this colorful vegetable! Shredded zucchini is tossed with parmesan cheese, flour, and spices then fried into perfect zucchini pancakes. 

  • 2 large zucchini (or 3 small)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  1. Cook shredded zucchini in a non-stick pan until tender, about 5 minutes.  Cool and using cheesecloth or a tea towel, squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, seasonings, cheeses and bread crumbs. Add zucchini and egg.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over medium high. Drop zucchini mixture by large tablespoons into hot oil. Spread to 3″ circles.

  4. Fry about 3-4 minutes on each side flipping as needed.

  5. Serve warm with sour cream or tomato sauce.

REPIN this Delicious Recipe

Zucchini pancakes piled up on each other and topped with tomato sauce

 

These zucchini pancakes are one of my favorite snacks without all of the guilt! #spendwithpennies #zucchini #keto #snacks #zucchinipancakes #appetizer #easyappetizer #easyrecipe #easysnack
These zucchini pancakes are one of my favorite snacks without all of the guilt! #spendwithpennies #zucchini #keto #snacks #zucchinipancakes #appetizer #easyappetizer #easyrecipe #easysnack

Basil-Parmesan Salmon (Air Fryer or Oven)

I’m obsessed with this Basil-Parmesan Crusted Salmon recipe! I make this in the air fryer, it’s quick and easy, and the fish comes out so juicy inside.

I'm obsessed with this Basil-Parmesan Crusted Salmon recipe! I make this in the air fryer, it's quick and easy, and the fish comes out so juicy inside.
Parmesan Salmon

I love this simple way to make salmon in the air fryer, combining a little mayonnaise, basil and Parmesan creates a delicious crust even the kids can’t resist! Of course, if you don’t have an air fryer you can make this in the oven.

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