I’m back with Part II of my cooking adventure with Maria Menounos‘ “Every Girl’s Guide to Cooking” book!

As you saw in Part I, I give my comments, rating and the total number of times I swore. I am still having fun with cooking, although I must admit that chopping vegetables and fruit isn’t really my thing. I actually went and got myself a new chef’s knife.

Yogurt Cup Crunch

Serves 1



1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

2 Tablespoons sugar-free syrup or jam

1 small apple, diced

2 Tablespoons unsalted chopped cashews or other nut

2 Tablespoons granola or other high-fiber cereal


1.  In a small cup, blend the yogurt and syrup.

2.  Mix in the apple, cashews and granola.

Comments: I am not a fan of Greek yogurt whatsoever, I don’t like the taste or texture. Even though it is higher in protein, I use plain, nonfat yogurt instead. There’s also a lot of her yogurt recipes that use sugar-free jam or syrup and I’m not a fan of combining either, so I added more nuts and granola. This makes a great breakfast or even dessert!

Rating: 9/10

Total times I swore: 0


Farmer’s Market Pasta

Serves 4

pasta wine


1/2 pound penne or ziti pasta (regular, whole-wheat or gluten-free)

3/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 yellow squash, diced

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 medium tomatoes, diced

Salt and black pepper


1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

2. Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes, stirring.

3. Add all the vegetables and cook for 10 minutes, stirring.

4. Transfer to a large serving bowl; toss with the pasta and pasta cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Comments: It took me longer to chop up all of the vegetables than it did to actually cook this, but it tasted so fresh by the time it was done! I also topped it with some grated parmesan cheese, I really can’t eat pasta without it. I had so much left over that I stored it in the fridge for lunches later that week.

Rating: 9/10

Total times I swore: 7


Apple-Peanut Butter Bites

Serves 1

pb apples


1 large apple, sliced

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (feel free to replace with almond butter, and for that crunch, add some chopped almonds to the mix).


1. In a shallow bowl, toss the apple slices with the cinnamon. Arrange slices around the edges of the bowl.

2. Scoop the peanut butter into the center of the bowl.

3. When ready to eat, just dip the slices into the peanut butter.

Comments: Obviously I didn’t do step one, I just cored and sliced the apple and sprinkled some cinnamon on it. I am absolutely in love with this crunchy almond butter I found by MaraNatha, I don’t even eat peanut butter anymore! This dish also makes a great midday or midnight snack, it’s my go to these days!

Rating: 10/10

Total times I swore: 0


Chicken with Peppers and Onions

Serves 4

chix potatoes


1/4 cup olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thick slices

Salt and black pepper

3 small red potatoes, diced

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup diced celery

1 1/2 red bell peppers, diced

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 Tablespoons dried parsley


1. Warm the oil in a large cast-iron or heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken, potatoes, onions, celery and red peppers until the chicken is lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the tomato sauce, garlic and parsley. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the potatoes are cooked through.

Comments: Again, more chopping of the vegetables and seasoning dead meat isn’t really my thing, but once I got everything in the skillet, I was good to go! I get super paranoid about chicken not cooking all the way through and the potatoes, but it did! I think the total cooking time was maybe 20 – 25 minutes if I remember. I really like my flavor so I also added more salt and pepper to the mix as I stirred/tasted. The dish was a great mix of protein and vegetables but honestly I liked this more as a vegetarian dish than a chicken one.

Rating: 8/10

Total times I swore: 6


Banana-Ricotta Mash

Serves 1



1/2 cup part-skim ricotta

2 Tablespoons sugar-free jam or honey

1/2 banana, sliced

4 strawberries, sliced


1. In a bowl, stir the ricotta and jam until blended.

2. Top with the banana slices and strawberries.

Comments: The only time I’ve had ricotta cheese was in a cheesecake. I never thought I’d like it plain with fruit (Maria says somewhat of the same in her book)! I like using the part skim or even the fat free ricotta. I also don’t add jam or honey like the recipe says, I just add more strawberries, banana or even raspberries to the mix – I basically OD. This makes a great breakfast or dessert!

Rating: 10/10

Total times I swore: 0


Cranberry Chicken Salad

Serves 3 to 4



1/4 cup fresh raspberries

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tablespoons apple-cider vinegar

Salt and black pepper

2 cups diced cooked white-meat chicken

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/2 cup salted sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons diced red onion, as desired


1. In a medium bowl, mash the raspberries with a fork. Whisk in the oil and vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

2. Add the diced chicken, celery, red bell pepper, cranberries, sunflower seeds and onion. Toss to coat.

Comments: Remember how much I was in love with Litsa’s Potato Salad? This chicken salad is now my go to salad, I love making it to take to work for lunch! I don’t add sunflower seeds and instead substitute it with chopped almonds. I also am not a fan of celery unless it is cooked, so I left it out. For the chicken, I just buy myself a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and use the breast meat. It’s so tasty!

Rating: 10/10

Total times I swore: 3

Linguine with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

Serves 4

linguine shrimp


12 ounces linguine (regular, whole-wheat or rice)

3 Tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, as desired

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 lemon, zested and juiced


3 Tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley


1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain.

2. Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for 20 seconds, stirring.

3. Add the shrimp in an even layer; sprinkle with the lemon zest and salt and cook for 1 minute. Turn the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.

4. Remove the skillet from the heat; stir in the butter, lemon juice and parsley. Toss in the hot pasta until coated.

Comments: This is a great dinner dish and the lemon-garlic shrimp is so yummy! The only thing I didn’t do is zest the lemon or juice it, I used lemon juice instead. I have no patience for zesting! I also added more pepper flakes and some grated parmesan cheese on top because again, I like my flavor.

Rating: 9/10

Total times I swore: 4

Enjoy! 🙂


Photo Credit: Eat This