The Pumpkin Banana Bread You Have To Try

Pumpkin Banana bread_main

Last week was a whirlwind. I drove to Chicago (only 2.5 hours away) and was in my first ever real photoshoot. All the anticipation, drinking water non-stop to help my complexion, cutting down on the carbs, trying to get to bed earlier, practicing my smile craziness is over! Hallelujah!

And how did I celebrate? I went to town at a fabulous restaurant in Chicago and stuffed my face.

This was, of course, also the same week I baked like five different desserts and other things for the blog and could only take small pieces and bites here and there ..  but there was one baked treat I could not resist.

This Pumpkin Banana Bread.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Oh my gawd you guys. I could not stop eating this bread. Have you guys had Pumpkin Banana Bread before? Here I was thinking I was creating something new that no one had ever tried before. It’s been done before. I know. I’m just glad I discovered this and created my own recipe in time for Fall baking and the holidays.

Freaking amazing and so delicious.

Pumpkin is one of my favorite things for Fall and I love banana bread so why not combine the two?

Pumpkin Banana Bread by Hip Foodie Mom

So what if I ate half of this loaf myself and made another one to take to my family over the weekend? This bread is definitely going to be a Choi family favorite this Fall. .  you guys have to try this.

I hope you enjoy!

The Pumpkin Banana Bread You Have To Try
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Recipe type: Breakfast or Snack

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 4 to 5 large very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ heaping cup walnuts and pecans, coarsely chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease (or spray) your (8×4-inch) loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Using your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping the bowl as needed. Add the pumpkin, bananas and vanilla extract and mix well at medium speed. In a separate medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and the ground cloves. Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients over low speed until well combined. Add in the walnut/pecans and mix well.
  3. Pour the mixture evenly into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before removing from loaf pan and slicing.

Adapted from


Kimchi Deviled Eggs

Kimchi Deviled Eggs_main

I recently watched the movie Chef and loved it. This is the first movie I think where the term, “food blogger” has been used. Am I right or am I forgetting another movie? Anyway, in Chef, the food blogger is also a food critic and has a huge following on Twitter. .  anyway, I loved the movie so much for so many reasons.

(If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t read the next paragraph. I don’t want to upset anyone by giving away something.)

The cooking scenes. Damn. I want Chef Carl Casper to make me a grilled cheese sandwich. OH MY GAWD. The father/son relationship, the road trip home in the food truck. The stop in New Orleans. The video clip his son makes for him. The relationship he has with his cooking staff.

And most of all, I loved Chef Carl’s passion. His desire to make good food. His desire to be creative, inventive, different and brave.

Kimchi Deviled Eggs_closeup

I might post some weird looking things on my blog. Foods you might never want to eat. .  but what I hope I do is bring a little creativity. .  a little adventure. . a little Korean-ness.

Kimchi Deviled Eggs by Hip Foodie Mom

These are like the BEST deviled eggs I’ve ever had. Ever. I seriously could have eaten 10 of these. So good. Three very unique Korean ingredients bring this recipe to life. So, you’ve got to head on over to The Kitchn for this recipe to find out what they are! And if this is something you’d try or like or think is awesome, please leave me a comment. .  either here or at my post on The Kitchn.

Thanks. .  I hope you enjoy!

Kimchi Deviled Eggs

The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich + A Giveaway from Maille

The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich with Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar by Hip Foodie Mom

Sometimes you just need a sandwich. A big sandwich. Or a chicken burger. One that drips when you take a bite and is juicy and full of flavor. This is for the days when a salad won’t cut it. When you just need more.

The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich by Hip Foodie Mom

I could have grilled a big, juicy ground beef patty but I had lovely chicken thigh meat in my fridge and couldn’t let those babies go to waste. Grilled to perfection and the grill marks get me every time. Oh baby.

This chicken sandwich rocks on so many levels. .  the bacon, the chicken thigh meat, the perfectly toasted bun, and fresh, crisp green leaf lettuce and the big, luscious slices of fresh tomatoes.

But you wanna know what the kicker is?

Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar with sandwich

Maille’s new Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar. Now, I’m a HUGE lover of honey dijon mustard (or any kind of dijon mustard; love the stuff) and balsamic vinegar.  . so combining the two?!

This is perfection.

And should be spread on every burger, sandwich, wrap, whatever . .  out there. You guys need to try this.

The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich_main by Hip Foodie Mom

The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich
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The “prep time” is the refrigeration time for the chicken thigh meat with the dry rub. And the cook time is an estimate. Chicken is done when cooked through to an internal temperature of at least 165°F.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4

For the dry chicken rub:
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon ancho chili pepper powder, you can add more if you want more heat
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon coriander
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon star anise powder
For the chicken sandwich:
  • 4 big chicken thigh pieces, boneless and skinless
  • 4 buns, toasted
  • mayonnaise
  • honey dijon mustard with balsamic vinegar
  • dijon mustard, optional
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • cooked thick, crispy bacon strips
  • green leaf lettuce
  • tomato slices

For the dry rub:
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until well blended. Taste and adjust any seasonings as needed. Sprinkle dry rub onto each chicken thigh piece, on both sides, and gently rub in. Cover and place into the refrigerator for at least an hour.
For the sandwich:
  1. Fire up the grill. Remove chicken thighs from the fridge and place into the hot grill and let cook undisturbed until browned, for about 3 minutes. Flip the chicken thighs and repeat. Continue this until the thigh meat is nicely charred and cooked through to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Remove from the grill and let rest for a few minutes before assembling your sandwich.
  2. To assemble: generously slather on the mayonnaise and dijon mustard on the bottom piece of the bun and slather on Maille’s honey dijon mustard with balsamic vinegar on the top side of the bun. Place the slice of cheddar cheese on the bottom bun, add the chicken thigh meat (which should still be hot), layer on the tomatoes, lettuce and thick, crispy bacon. Top with the top bun and devour immediately.

Dry rub inspired directly from Tom Douglas’ Chicken Rub, Rub With Love. I figured out the proportions on my own.

And just to make sure someone gets to try this fabulous Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar. .  We’re giving away the entire product line of Maille’s dijon mustards and cornichons. One reader will win everything featured below.

Maille Product Giveaway hosted by Hip Foodie Mom

You guys have to try each and every product shown above. These are the best. Enter the giveaway below and GOOD LUCK!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was provided with all of the products featured above to sample. I wanted to host a giveaway because I truly love these products. 


Healthy Whole Grain Pasta with Vegetable Pesto for Pompeian #PantryInsiders

Healthy Whole Grain Pasta with Vegetable Pesto

Ever since our vacation last summer, my family has been addicted to Butter Noodles. And I’m not talking about light butter. I’m talking full fat salted butter, full taste, slab on a ton of butter, mixed with some garlic, Butter Noodles. This has been my quick go-to dinner when the pantry is bare and I don’t have a lot of time to cook dinner.

Healthy Whole Grain Pasta with Vegetable Pesto by Hip Foodie Mom

Since August is National Olive Oil Month, I decided to see if I could come up with a healthier version of a pasta dish that the entire family would enjoy. When I cook, I hate wasting vegetables and fresh greens so I tend to throw everything I have into a dish (or will make pesto) and just cook it up. .  this is sort of how this recipe came to life. My husband and I are also trying to get healthier and wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds. So, since I was making healthy pasta, I grabbed the whole grain pasta at the store and went for it.

Whole Grain Pasta by Hip Foodie Mom

Healthy Whole Grain Pasta with Vegetable Pesto_vertical

Healthy Whole Grain Pasta with Vegetable Pesto_bite

This pasta was so delicious. I love lighter, colder pastas in the summer and loved the extra virgin olive oil + a splash of balsamic for more flavor. For even more bite, heartiness and fun, feel free to mix in some seasoned breadcrumbs and if the raw vegetable pesto doesn’t do it for you, you can lightly sauté everything to warm it up before mixing in with your pasta.

Truth be told, my kids didn’t love this pasta as much as my husband and I did but you can bet I’m going to be making this again and will keep throwing vegetables into their dishes whether they like it or not.

Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Hip Foodie Mom

The key to this pasta, aside from the actual whole grain noodles and seasonal summer vegetables I used, is the extra virgin olive oil. I used Pompeian. In honor of National Olive Oil Month, Pompeian is encouraging people to take the Pompeian Pledge and swap butter for olive oil in everyday recipes. To learn more, click here and the next time you’re at the grocery store, check out Pompeian’s line of olive oils and vinegars. You can also visit Pompeian’s Facebook page to find out how you can pledge to switch from butter to olive oil in your recipes during the month of August for National Olive Oil month. 1,000 people who take the pledge will be randomly selected to win a coupon for a free bottle of Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, along with movie prize packs, so check it out!

And speaking of movie prize packs, another recipe, if you can call it that, that we make all the time and especially on Friday nights for family movie night is popcorn with olive oil and salt. We’ve literally been making our popcorn like this for over 2-3 years. I hope you enjoy and take the pledge!

Healthy Whole Grain Spaghetti with Vegetable Pesto by Hip Foodie Mom

Healthy Whole Grain Pasta with Vegetable Pesto
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The only thing you are cooking here is the pasta. If the raw vegetable pesto doesn’t do it for you, you can lightly sauté the mixture with some extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4 to 6

  • ½ lb. whole grain spaghetti pasta
  • ½ head of cauliflower, cut into big chunks
  • ½ medium to large sized zucchini, cut into big chunks
  • ½ yellow summer squash, cut into big chunks
  • 1 heaping cup green olives
  • 2-3 sun dried tomatoes (I used the kind that is jarred with olive oil)
  • 1 to 2 cups fresh arugula (use however much you want)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more when serving if desired
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes for some heat, optional
  • balsamic vinegar; optional

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions; cook to al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  2. As the pasta is cooking, place all of the vegetable chunks into a large food processor and pulse until the cauliflower, zucchini and summer squash resemble a couscous like texture. Remove from the food processor and place into a large mixing bowl. Add in the green olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh arugula, pine nuts and parmesan cheese and pulse until everything is blended and chopped very fine (you still want texture; do not over process/pulse). Remove from the food processor and add into the same mixing bowl with the vegetables. Mix well using a rubber spatula.
  3. Add the whole grain pasta to the mixing bowl, along with the extra virgin olive oil. Mix well, coating the pasta with the vegetable pesto. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes if desired and enjoy immediately. When serving, feel free to add a splash of balsamic vinegar (or white wine or red wine vinegar) for a kick and more freshly grated parmesan cheese over the pasta if desired.

Recipe adapted from Deb Perelman’s cauliflower pesto from The Smitten Kitchen cookbook.

If you’re interested in more recipes using olive oil, click here to try my Olive Oil and Thyme mini bundt cakes. This recipe is one of my favorites.


Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Pompeian’s Blogger Ambassador Program and Pompeian Pantry Insiders. I was compensated for this post and as always, all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for allowing me to work with brands that I love, use and support.


The Best Toast You’ll Ever Have

Toast with Honey Mascarpone and Nutella by Hip Foodie Mom

Do you have a favorite snack that you make all the time? Or something sweet that you like to indulge in every once in a while? Well, I’m here today with mine. I’ve posted this before but because fresh strawberries are in abundance right now, I had to share this recipe again.

Toast with Honey Mascarpone and Nutella_drizzle

We have two weeks until school starts again. By the way, it’s so weird for me to see photos of kids already going back in mid-August but back-to-school start dates are different across the country. So, this means we have two more weeks of relaxing, prepping and getting ready for that first day back. One of the things I love about summer and the kids being out of school is actually sitting down to a bigger (a little bit heartier) breakfast in the morning. During the school year it’s waffles, fruit, cereal, maybe a bagel and yogurt and when we’re really pressed for time, a granola bar and a glass of milk.

So, I have two more weeks where I can make a breakfast like this.

Toast with Honey Mascarpone and Nutella

Or snack. Or, hey, after school snack? Snack for yourself?

And the best part? This is like the easiest recipe ever. Feel free to mix it up. Use a bagel or puff pastry or brioche or a croissant. Mix up the toppings. It can only get better. The ingredient that makes this toast for me is the honey + mascarpone. Oh my gawd. LOVE. If you’ve never tried mixing these two things together, stop now and run to the grocery store.

This will change the way you eat toast. Period.

I hope you enjoy!

The Best Toast You’ll Ever Have
If you want to make more, simply double the ingredients below. For every ½ cup of mascarpone, you will need to add 1 heaping tablespoon of honey.
Recipe type: Breakfast or Snack

  • ½ cup mascarpone
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey
  • 6 slices of your favorite bread, toasted
  • fresh strawberries, sliced
  • slightly heated Nutella (easier to drizzle); 20-30 sec in the microwave
  • sliced almonds and hazelnuts

  1. Mix together the mascarpone and honey in a small bowl. Spread the honey mascarpone mixture on the toasted bread and arrange some strawberries on top. Drizzle on some melted Nutella and sprinkle on the sliced almonds and hazelnuts. Enjoy immediately.



Quick and Easy Vegetable Lo Mein

Quick and Easy Vegetable Lo Mein

Noodles are definitely a staple at my house. My kids love pasta and Asian noodles are one of their favorites. Because of this, Lo Mein was one of the first dishes I learned how to make. I would play around with sauce ingredients and vary what I put inside. Sometimes with beef or chicken and sometimes keeping it all vegetables.

Chinese stir fry, fried rice, beef with broccoli, shrimp with white sauce and, of course, lo mein are some of our favorites. If you haven’t tried making Chinese food at home, you really need to! You’re going to be amazed at how easy it really is. I believe the key to great Chinese food at home is using fresh, quality ingredients and making sure you have the right cooking essentials.

So, head on over to The Kitchenthusiast to read this post and to get this fabulous recipe. You don’t want to miss this one! And if you like it, please leave me a comment down below or over at KitchenAid’s blog.

MAKE-AHEAD Cook the pasta noodles and chop up all of the veggies the night before and keep in the refrigerator. This way, everything will be prepped and ready to go for dinner after a busy day!

I hope you enjoy it!

Vegetable Lo Mein by Hip Foodie Mom

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and is in conjunction with my partnership with KitchenAid and The Kitchenthusiast. All opinions expressed here, as always, are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting me in partnering with the brands that I love. 



Kimchi Bruschetta

Kimchi Bruschetta by Hip Foodie Mom

If you know me well, you know I’m kind of obsessed (ok, maybe obsessed is the wrong word here) about fresh breath. And it’s hard when you’re a Korean food lover like me and love kimchi. I always have gum (at least 2 different kinds) and breath mints and ice breakers in my purse. I always travel with gum so if you ever need a mint or piece of gum, ask me for one. It’s my thing.

True story: when Paul (my husband) tried to kiss me for the first time  ..  we had sushi that night and for whatever reason I didn’t have gum or breath mints in my purse. Maybe I switched purses that night and forgot. Who knows what happened. All I remember is that he came in for the kiss and I gave him the cheek. I thought my breath stunk and didn’t want our first kiss to be a terrible one. So, he left that night, feeling deflated and wondering what had gone wrong. .  I think we even talked on the phone really late that night because one of us called the other. So, I came clean and told him why and the next time I saw him, we made up for that awkward first attempt of a kiss.

And, well I guess the rest is history. He’s my husband now and no breath mints are required before smootching.

Kimchi Bruschetta

Well, all that talk about fresh breath goes out the window with this Kimchi Bruschetta. And it’s damn well worth it my friends. If you like and eat kimchi (or really any garlic heavy ethnic food), you will LOVE this bruschetta. I’m pretty adventurous with my food and love trying new things. I will pretty much try anything at least once (beef tongue. oh yes I did).

When I showed this recipe to my brother and sister, they both were a little confused. For my sister, the ricotta was weird. For my brother, he said he’d try it if the kimchi was sautéed (which it is!).

So, I’m sharing this with you today because it was freaking delicious. Delicious. So, get over the ricotta if it’s weird for you. .  it adds a lovely creaminess here and because ricotta has a mild taste, it pairs delightfully with the garlic, tomatoes, kimchi and sesame oil. So, here’s to a little adventure and throwing caution to the wind. And let me just say this one more time. This kimchi bruschetta is absolutely delicious.

I hope you enjoy!

Kimchi Bruschetta_up close by Hip Foodie Mom

Kimchi Bruschetta
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The recipe yields about 8 to 10 pieces of Kimchi Bruschetta.
Recipe type: Appetizers
Serves: 4

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ french baguette, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1½ heaping cups kimchi, chopped
  • 1 medium to large sized tomato, diced with the seeds removed
  • fresh ricotta cheese
  • fresh green onions, diced for garnish

  1. Using a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the baguette slices and cook until well toasted on each side; for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, rub one side of all the baguette slices with the garlic and set aside.
  2. Using a medium to large sized nonstick skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the kimchi and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Combine the fresh diced tomatoes and sautéed kimchi and mix well.
  3. To assemble: spread the ricotta cheese on each baguette and top with the tomato/kimchi mixture. Garnish with the diced green onions and serve immediately.


Kimchi Bruschetta from Hip Foodie Mom

Kimchi Bruschetta_upclose


If you don’t have an Asian or Korean market close to you and want to pick up some kimchi, try looking at your neighborhood Costco!! Good luck and I hope you give this recipe a try!



Our Summer and Fruttare Frozen Fruit Bars

Fruttare Mango Frozen Fruit Bars_main

I can’t believe it’s already August and we only have one more month of summer. I don’t know about you, but June and July flew by so I’m trying to make time stand still for a while so we can enjoy August for a little longer. Wouldn’t that be nice? This summer has been relaxing, fun, busy and memorable. I love being at home with the kids and being able to stay up late, have family movie night on a weeknight, playing, cooking and baking together and just having fun.

Hermosa Beach

I love summer time because our schedules are a little more relaxed and some days we can just wing it. We obviously manage to keep ourselves busy and plan more family outings and trips. Like trips to the Madison Zoo, where the admission is free! Crazy. What zoo out there is still free?!

Madison Zoo

Our summer was filled with regular trips to our community garden where the girls play in the neighboring field, run around and pick flowers. I kind of love this about our community garden and where we live in Wisconsin. While my husband is watering the garden and the kids are running around, I often just look around and try to soak it all in.

Community Garden

Picking Flowers

I love the sweet moments I get to capture with my camera and often find myself reminiscing and looking back on old photos. I love all the little things. The special moments. They don’t happen everyday but when they do, I remember them and hold on to them. Because sure enough, the following day is filled with fights, whining and pulling hair (my kids) so I’m playing referee and sometimes am on the verge of wanting to pull my own hair out.

So, is the life with children and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

CA Adventure

Tomorrow is a new day and I will continue to celebrate the little things, hold on to those special moments and break out the sweet treats in between.

Fruttare Mango Frozen Fruit Bars

As a mother and lover of all things sweet, cold and delicious, I always keep my freezer fully stocked with treats for me, my husband and the kids. We recently tried these Mango Fruttare frozen fruit bars and they were so good! They literally tasted like we were eating delicious, frozen mango bars. Nothing artificial, nothing overly sweet. Just perfection. In fact, my kids wanted to eat a second bar immediately after they were finished with their first one.

Fruttare Mango Frozen Fruit Bars_packaging

Fruttare Mango Frozen Fruit Bars_on plate

My kids always seem to be on their best behavior after they have a treat. I don’t know what it is. Maybe they want to keep up the “we are always good listeners” facade so they can get more?

We purchased two more boxes of Fruttare Frozen Fruit Bars the following week.

Fruttare Fruit and Milk Bars are made with creamy milk and real fruit. For more information on Fruttare Fruit Bars, you can visit

Fruttare Mango Frozen Fruit Bars_bite2

So, tell me how your summer’s been going! I’d love to hear from you!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Zucchini and Mushroom Stuffed Pasta Shells

Zucchini and Mushroom Stuffed Pasta Shells by Hip Foodie Mom

It’s Monday you guys and I’m here with something fabulous.

It took me a week to get back into the swing of things and to recover from my vacation. Why is it that we always need a vacation after a vacation?! Anyway, after adjusting back to my correct time zone and feeling at home in my kitchen again, I dove in over the weekend and cooked and photographed 6 dishes for the blog. Crazy town USA.

As a food blogger, it’s important to stay informed of new products, food trends, food news etc. .  and I’m here today to tell you about Le Creuset’s new line of Stainless Steel cookware.

Le Creuset Stainless Steel Saucepan

We all use and love their enameled cast iron cookware and bakeware, casserole dishes, skillets, grill pans and griddles, roasters and more. And we all know Le Creuset is a quality product so I knew their Stainless Steel saucepan was going to rock.

Homemade Marinara by Hip Foodie Mom

I made my favorite homemade marinara sauce and loved it! This stainless steel saucepan heats up tremendously fast and evenly and has a self-sealing lid that locks in moisture, while a relief vent releases steam to prevent boil-over. The inside layer is made of surgical-grade stainless steel for a safe and stable cooking surface and also has laser-etched interior capacity markings on the inside to make measuring easy. I also used this saucepan last weekend to make hot cocoa just to test how quickly this baby can heat up. I love it. Now, I just need the rest of the new stainless steel line! To learn more, click here.

Now let’s get to this recipe!

Zucchini and Mushroom Stuffed Pasta Shells3

It’s Monday so I wanted to make something vegetarian and I don’t know about you but I can’t get enough zucchini in my life right now. Question for you: when making stuffed pasta shells, do you bake and serve them shell opening side up or down? For this recipe, I liked baking and serving them up so you can see the lovely julienned strips of zucchini.

Zucchini and Mushroom Stuffed Pasta Shells5

Zucchini and Mushroom Stuffed Pasta Shells_closeup

Don’t you want to just dive in?!

Zucchini and Mushroom Stuffed Pasta Shells_bite

You’ve got to try this recipe! I hope you can enjoy this one for an upcoming Meatless Monday. .  or maybe even tonight?!!

Zucchini and Mushroom Stuffed Pasta Shells_bite_small2

Zucchini and Mushroom Stuffed Pasta Shells
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Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4 to 6

For the marinara sauce:
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2-3 fresh sprigs oregano
  • 1-2 fresh sprigs of thyme
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomato sauce
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the stuffed pasta shells:
  • ½ lb. jumbo sized pasta shells (for stuffing)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, unpeeled and julienned
  • 2 to 3 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped finely or diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the marinara sauce:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium to large sized saucepan or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the garlic, oregano and thyme sprigs and allow everything to cook in the olive oil for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Pour in the crushed tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and mix well. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  3. Season with the red chili pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Mix well and let cook for an additional 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside. Remove the oregano and thyme sprigs and discard.
For the stuffed pasta shells:
  1. Cook the jumbo sized pasta shells according to package instructions; cook to al dente only. Remove from heat, drain, rinse and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a medium to large sized nonstick skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil for about a minute. Add the garlic and onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook about 4-5 minutes, until soft and tender. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Remove from heat and set side.
  3. Using a large mixing bowl, combine the slightly cooled zucchini and mushroom mixture (discarding any liquid) with the ricotta cheese. Mix well. Using a 9×13 casserole baking dish, pour in about 1 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom, covering the dish.
  4. Stuff the pasta shells with the zucchini, mushroom and ricotta mixture and place open side up or down (your preference) into the baking dish on top of the marinara sauce. Continue until the baking dish is full.
  5. Ladle another 1 to 2 cups of the marinara sauce over the pasta shells and sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the top. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the inside is heated through. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted nicely. Serve immediately.

Inspired by Skinny Taste’s Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. The stainless steel saucepan featured above was sent to me to test. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.


Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Scones

Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Scones by Hip Foodie Mom

I’ve written about my love for scones before. Scones were always the treat I would buy for myself when going to Starbucks but now that I know how to make these at home (and the homemade ones taste so much better) I’m never buying scones again!


A huge box of cherries were sent to me by Stemilt Growers in Washington and I immediately knew I wanted to bake a big batch of scones. I think there’s something beautiful and magical about seasonal fruit. The fact that you can only get certain types of fruit at their best just a few months out of the year .. makes you appreciate them more when you have them. The bonus here was that Stemilt sent me a huge box so I was able to enjoy these delicious cherries with my kids, bake these scones and bake some brownies too. And because this was my first time baking scones with hazelnut flour, I had to bake these twice to get the right consistency.

Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Scones_aerial by Hip Foodie Mom

Baking these scones twice, even if the consistency wasn’t right the first time and they were kinda mushy, was the best. I still ate the first batch with a happy full face. Hazelnut flour, big chunks of delicious cherries and big gobs of melted chocolate baked into a scone was soooooo good. So be sure to pick up some cherries before summer’s end and make these scones!! I hope you enjoy!

Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Scones

Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Scones
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Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert or Snack

  • 1 heaping cup hazelnut meal/flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons very cold, unsalted butter; cut into cubes
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and chopped
  • ½ to 1 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chunks or morsels
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg + ½ teaspoon water, slightly beaten (for egg wash); alternatively, you can brush on heavy cream instead
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
  • Special tools suggested: pastry blender, rubber spatula, rolling pin, dough cutter and parchment paper

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine the hazelnut flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large sized mixing bowl. Quickly add the cubed butter and using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the cherries and chocolate chunks and mix together one more time.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the heavy cream until the dough begins to form, only for about 30 seconds to one minute. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough by hand just until it comes together into a slightly sticky ball, for about 5-10 seconds.
  4. Using a rolling pin (with parchment paper covering the dough), gently roll out. Using the parchment paper helps for a cleaner process. Do not roll the dough out too flat. Using your dough cutter, butter knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges (like you are cutting a pizza) and place the wedges on a lined baking sheet (parchment paper or your Silpat non-stick baking mat).
  5. Brush each wedge with the egg wash and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. Bake for about 20-22 minutes, (rotating the baking sheet halfway through), or when the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp.

Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Scones_upclose

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