What do you do when you receive a boatload of vegetables from a good friend’s garden but only cook whatitseems once a week….?

Why make ratatouille of course!!!

 All you need is a little bit of (unsupervised) stove time, a pile of veggies and a jar of marinara and you are good.to.go.


Oh yea. Plus some fun toppings & sidez for serving 😉

This is a dish that we had often growing up, so it’s sort of a comfort food for me.

Fanatic mom made many variations on this, which is the beauty of it, you can make it just like you like it with whatever you have on hand!

While it may not be traditional, today’s version went a lil’ something like this:

Lil’ onion, garlic, zucchini, summer squash…

Green pepper, eggplant, tomato…


Tomato sauce, salt, pepper, dried oregano and basil…

Simmered away while spending a lazy sunday on the couch.

And before you know it, a hearty healthy summerfied meal is on the table!

This time around I topped with some freshly shredded cheese (highly recommend!) and some Italian chicken sausage, which I simply sliced and browned in a skillet.

I also served with a new food obsession of mine courtesy of Trader Joes:  Garlic bread w/ Parmesan, Asiago and Monterey Jack cheeses.

Allz I’m sayin’ is TRY IT. Seriously y’all, this bread is ridiculous 😛

 Healthy. Easy. Delicious. And you know how I feel about THAT 😉


Well well… look who finally got back into the kitchen 😉 

And I’ll tell ya. I’m sure glad I did!

This simple summer recipe combines flavors that you probably never thought would go hand in hand…

And until tasting for myself I’m not sure I thought they would either!

But let me tell y’all. This.Just.WORKED.

What’s great about this dish too is that it’s best served at room temperature.

So it’s no big deal to leave out for a little while on a hot day like today (near 100 degrees whaaa?!)…

No mayo. No meat. No problem?

A simple toast of the pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

Which you can find in the bulk bins at any grocery store that has them (I got these from Kroger).

A quick sizzle of tangy red onion and spicy jalapeno.

Combined with warm, cooked whole wheat pasta and fresh spinach…

Until just slightly wilted.

Seasoned with salt and pepper and cooled for a few minutes.

Then layered with bright ripe tomatoes and sweet juicy oranges.

Plus a handful of fresh cilantro.

A drizzle of sweet white balsamic vinegar & a splash of olive oil to finish.

Followed by a quick toss.

Then topped with a perfectly ripe slice of avocado.

And served!

Perfect summer time meal for dining al fresco… 

Or at the kitchen table if dinner outside in 90+ just isn’t your thing 😉

Either way.  You’ll more than enjoy what this unique pasta dish has to offer!!

Such a surprise in each bite with the sweet bursts of orange, creamy melt in your mouth avocado, juicy ripe tomatoes and toasty pumpkin seeds.

And the simple, slightly sweet dressing really brings out all the flavors.

By the way, white balsamic vinegar is a bit sweeter than your usual balsamic and can be found at most grocery stores. It’s a kitchen staple of mine!

I’ll bet that you’ve never had anything like it. But will go back for seconds… maybe even thirds 😀

Oh yea. And if you’re feelin’ crazy. Top it with some grilled chicken, shrimp or scallops. I think they’d all go wonderfully!

If there’s one thing I know it’s that Fanatic Mom makes some of THE best crab cakes around…

Her go-to recipe based on this Phillips original is seriously a no fail ridiculously delicious dinner option y’all 🙂

She’s used both Panko breadcrumbs as well as saltines in lieu of the Ritz crackers/breadcrumb suggestion too and both work wonderfully.

Oh yea, she also uses Old Bay for the seasoning but just goes a little lighter than the called-for amount. No need to overpower the taste of that delicious crab meat, ya know 😉

We really like the Phillips jumbo lump crab (unless using fresh) too. It may be a bit pricier but seriously worth the end result! 

These are best when prepared ahead of time and chilled in the fridge to firm up before cooking.

Then just a quick pan-fry in a bit of olive oil to get a nice brown crust and cook the crab cakes through is all you need.  Just be gentle when ya flip these suckers, they need a lil’ TLC too 😛

To go with the crab cakes, a medley of corn, zucchini, sweet red bell pepper and onion will do just fine.

With just a touch of olive oil, sea salt and black pepper to season.

It’s really just that good without anything else. Simplicity, so underrated 🙂

And make sure to chop the veggies really small, everything being close to the size of the corn. For some reason that just makes this side dish even better?

 To finish out the meal, a box of simply seasoned cous cous.

Love this stuff.  Not only is it tasty but it cooks up in seriously no time.

Doesn’t get much prettier than that now does it folks 😀

Check out all those lump pieces of delicious crab in there!

So yea. This was the Fanatic Fam Easter dinner 😀

Which was no where near the conventional ham, casserole & deviled egg fare that graces many a table. And which we also ate a day early…

Pretty typical. Because, ya know, that’s just how we roll 😉

Do you love crab cakes as much as we do?