Bruschetta Recipe

My sister and I have started a new Thursday night tradition. We have each other and our hubs over at each other’s homes, alternating weeks. It’s become a coveted time of laughter and good food! The perfect way to break up the week.

When they came over to our place, I made bruschetta as an appetizer and they enjoyed it so immensely! What I love about bruschetta is it’s delightfully light, looks impressive, but is deceptively easy to make! So I thought I’d share my recipe with you all–because that’s what friends are for!

Speaking of bruschetta, I must confess a pet peeve of mine—when people call it “broo-shetta.” Being the little Italian girl that I am, hearing bruschetta mispronounced is like nails on a chalkboard for me. Haha. “Broo-sketta” sounds far more beautiful, don’t you agree?

Bruschetta

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 tomatoes, petite diced and seeded
  • 1/2 onion, petite diced
  • A few leaves of basil, chopped
  • A sprinkle of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A dash of garlic powder
  • 1 to 2 TB of olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Baguette

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, basil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil.
  2. Refrigerator mixture until ready to serve.
  3. Slice baguette into 1/2 inch pieces.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and garlic powder and toast in even for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. (Or until desired crispiness.)
  5. In a small pan, simmer balsamic vinegar until it bubbles and reduces in volume. It will continue to thicken as it cools and will form a glaze. Set aside.
  6. Spoon tomato mixture on each slice of bread and drizzle the balsamic glaze on top.
  7. Enjoy!

-From the kitchen of Julia Brown

http://www.theyouthful.me

I love how light and refreshing this appetizer is! The perfect cheese board pairing! May this recipe delight your tummy and wow your guests.

Ciao!

Grilled Zucchini Open Faced Sandwich Recipe

I’ve heard it said before, “Food is memories.”

Isn’t that so true? We remember meals we’ve shared with people. We remember that amazing entree we had on a vacation. We remember when someone cooks for you. I think that’s one of my favorite things about food. One bite can take you back to another time and place.

The recipe I am sharing today has a memory. It’s a small memory. It wasn’t from a holiday or big party. This memory is a simple one. One that always stuck with me.

Growing up, I went to my Nonna and Nonno’s house a lot. I remember going there one afternoon, and they were in the kitchen. Of course. This time, they were grilling zucchini on the stove together.

“Julia, you need to try this,” my Nonno said as he drizzled some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the grilled zucchini. He toasted some crusty, Italian bread for me and put the zucchini on top. As I bit into, I’ll never forget the burst of flavor in my mouth. But the best part was the memory of my Nonno excitedly preparing this snack for me. It was special. There was love in it. He loved good food and he loved me.

So today, I’m sharing with you this easy grilled zucchini open faced sandwich recipe. Maybe one day you’ll make it for someone, and they’ll never forget it. Isn’t it neat how we never know when we are going to impact someone? 💗

Grilled Zucchini Open Faced Sandwich

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut the zucchini in half. Then thinly slice the long way.
  2. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Grill the zucchini either on a grill, or a grill pan.
  4. When cooked through, remove from the grill. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Slice a baguette and toast it till crisp and brown on the edges.
  6. Serve the zucchini on top of the bread to create an open faced sandwich. Enjoy!

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Green Apple and Soy Sauce Recipe


“Just one. You have to eat one, Julia.” My parents spooned a brussel sprout on my plate.

8 year old me was the last one at the dinner table. I stared at the lonely brussel sprout on my plate. Oh the dilemma. Spinach I could spread around my plate to make it look like I finished. But that trick won’t work on a brussel sprout.

I sat there and slowly worked it down, for what felt like, 20 minutes. (It was probably only 5 or 10.)

This situation repeated itself through the years. Yet, my dislike for brussel sprouts never changed.

Then one day (recently) I tried roasted brussels sprouts. I’m not sure why roasting them makes them so much more appealing, but I’m not going to question it.

A few weeks ago, Billy and I were having dinner at Locale Market, here in St. Pete. As a side, Billy ordered roasted brussels sprouts with soy sauce and green apples. I tried them and was like, “Yes. Just yes.” They were absolutely delicious.

About a week later, the roasted brussel deliciousness was no longer available, as the market is constantly changing their menu. My mind was set on figuring out how to enjoy them at home.


I only recently started creating my own recipes. But by some miracle, I created this recipe on the first try. Crunchy and loaded with flavor, I am officially hooked.

When I purchased the bag of brussels sprouts from the grocery, I felt as though I am now officially doing this adulting thing. I mean, goodness me I’m buying brussels sprouts! Before we know it, I’ll be telling my kid to eat “just one.” Yikes! Time needs to slow down!

So there you have it. A story about a girl and a brussel sprout.

What makes this recipe extra special is the green apple! 🍏 With a hint of sweetness, and a bunch of crunch, I hope this recipe works its way into your recipe box!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Green Apple and Soy Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 16 oz. bags of brussels sprouts
  • 1 green apple, diced with skin
  • 4 TB of low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of honey
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Rinse the brussels sprouts and cut off the brown stem. Remove any discolored leaves.
  3. Halve the brussels sprouts and lay them on a baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with pepper. (Do NOT salt them, because the soy sauce is salty.)
  5. Toss the brussels sprouts to evenly coat them.
  6. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing them halfway through so they brown on all sides.
  7. While they are in the oven, heat a small skillet and add the soy sauce, apple, and honey. Allow apples to soften.
  8. When the brussels sprouts are done roasting, toss them with the cooked apples.

* If you are cooking for one or two, you can cut this recipe in half.

Let me know in the comments below how you liked it!

Happy cooking!

Minestrone Recipe


In pre-school, we were asked what our favorite food was. Amidst the screams for “ice cream!” and “pizza!”, I yelled out “minestrone!” True story, my friends.

Needless to say, minestrone has been one of my favorite recipes for my entire life. My family is Italian, so this recipe means a lot to me. I remember when I first got married, I made minestrone for Billy. It was such a cool moment, because there I was–all grown up, married, and making minestrone for my hubby. How special.

There’s something precious about handing down a recipe from generation to generation. I can’t wait to teach my kids (Lord willing) how to make this one day, just like my mom taught me. (Hi, mom!)

Not only is this recipe sentimental, but it is fully LOADED with vegetables and flavor. This recipe yields such a large batch, you can enjoy it all week long and serve it with different sides. Billy and I love “minestrone week.” Billy loves having a hefty soup for dinner each night, and I love only having to cook once that week. 😉

Now, being the busy girl that I am, I have created a couple changes to make this soup a little faster to make. For example, instead of purchasing a half of cabbage, I buy a bag of spinach and add that. (No chopping, and super yummy.) I also like to buy the snack bags of celery sticks. (Already washed, ready for me to chop.)

So here is the infamous minestrone recipe (with my minor tweaks). I hope it works its way into your heart, like it has mine. ❤️

Minestrone Recipe

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 glove of garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup of zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup of potatoes, chopped
  • A handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 15 oz. can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 TB of chicken bouillon
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

Sauté onion and garlic in some olive oil. Add chopped veggies. Add frozen veggies. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add sauce, water, bouillon, and beans. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add spinach. Serve over cooked rice or ditalini pasta. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty bread.

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