Easy Shrimp Salad Bites | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

Creamy shrimp salad. Crunchy mini fillo shells. Five ingredients. BOOM. That’s what I’ve got for ya today.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk real quick about the weather here in Minnesota because, well, that’s what we Midwestern folk do — we talk about the brutal winters and the sweltering summers, and how we are just about ready to move out of here to somewhere warmer where we don’t have to dig our cars out of piles of snow and ice or crank up the air conditioning when the sun is ablaze. But most of us never do. We stay put, right in our beloved, weather-crazy land.

Since I’ve been born and raised in the Midwest, I know a thing or two about how to cope with the seasons, especially when it comes to food (as most things do in my life). In the winter, I keep myself warm with big bowls of soup and mugs of strong coffee and hot cocoa. In the summer, I keep myself cool with big fresh salads and plates piled high with chopped fruit. Yet no matter the season, I want it all to be easy and stress-free. Wherever you’re from, I’m sure you agree.

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Big Italian Salad | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

According to my Myers-Briggs personality type (ISFJ, dat’s me!), my kitchen style is farmhouse. That is SPOT ON, you guys, as I have been dreaming of a farmhouse sink and butcher block counters in my kitchen for ages.

And now I know you’re curious, too, what your personality’s kitchen style is so you can find out here but only if you promise to come back and read more about this big Italian salad, OK? Because as is indicative of my personality/kitchen style, I just want all of us to be gathered together over food around my imaginary giant farmhouse table.

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Cheesy Polenta Bites with Blueberry Corn Relish | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

Spring officially has sprung here! It’s all sunshine and 75 degrees one day and 45 degrees and rainy the next — a classic Minnesota spring season. Way to be your unpredictable self, Minnesota.

That being said, the grass is green, the flowers are blooming and even when it looks like the pits outside, it’s springtime in my kitchen with these cheesy polenta bites with blueberry corn relish. Every bite is brimming with fresh flavors and I LIKE IT. I like it a lot.

But flowers aren’t the only thing popping up everywhere lately. There are babies, too. So many adorable, chubby, happy babies! I feel like, lately, everyone around me is either expecting or has a new baby (not me, NOT ME. I’m drinking wine as I type this). And that’s also cause for celebration.

So gather ’round, friends! We are here today to celebrate new babies, springtime and cheesy bites topped with fresh and fruity deliciousness.

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Greens and Goat Cheese Bisque | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

Happy almost weekend, friends! Or, in our case, happy almost birthday to me tomorrow, birthday to Avery Saturday and Mother’s Day on Sunday. Oy.

Right about now I’m elbow-deep in streamers, balloons and cake ingredients in preparation for the festivities (and in about 12 hours, I might even be neck-deep. I went a little overboard). You already know how I feel about the whole thing — excited? Yes. Anxious? YES. Have I been looking at old Instagram photos of newborn Avery all week long with heart pangs of nostalgia? I admit to nothing.

In any case, to keep myself fueled for the week, I’ve been slurping (ew — I mean, politely sipping) this delish greens and goat cheese bisque for lunch and sometimes dinner with a gooey, melty grilled cheese on the side. It’s been just the boost I needed.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan -- Tender, flavorful chicken topped with tomato sauce and melty cheese, all prepped in the slow cooker! girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough #girlversusdough #crockpot #chickendinner

This is a big week ahead. My mom is coming to town this weekend, my birthday is next week, my baby’s ONE YEAR birthday (!) is the day after that, I’m going to see Death Cab for Cutie in concert for the first time ever, which is a total bucket list thing for me, AND I’ll be diving into this slow cooker chicken parmesan for dinner probably no less than three nights in a row, which is also a total bucket list thing for me. I am so excited about all of it.

What, you don’t have this slow cooker chicken parmesan on your bucket list, too? Well, you should. Because it’s so easy and so tasty and so cheesy and so flavorful and actually, make that four nights in a row that I’ll be having this for dinner. With leftovers for lunch the next day.

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Spiced Lentils with Poached Eggs | girlversusdough.com @girlversusdough

I was vegetarian for a while. Did you know that? I feel like almost everyone who was vegetarian and now isn’t has had a similar experience: He couldn’t live without bacon. She couldn’t pass up any opportunity for a burger. For me, it was neither — it was simply that I had one too many bad experiences with bland, boring, uninspired vegetarian dishes, and I didn’t know how to cook any good meat-free dishes in my own home (besides a mean grilled cheese, that is. Perhaps I’ll share that recipe another day).

And so, since man and woman cannot live on grilled cheese alone (or at least I couldn’t, though I tried), I started incorporating meat back into my diet. And now, years later, I often find myself enjoying vegetarian dishes more than anything with meat. Funny how that works.

Of course, having bloggers like Erin of Naturally Ella to go to for veggie-filled inspiration helps. That girl knows her way around a vegetable, let me tell you. She’s also a cookbook author twice over. When I met her in person last summer, I quickly realized, too, that she’s a true gem of a lady. And she’s also about to become a mom to a baby boy. So what better way to celebrate her and her upcoming bundle of baby joy than with a super-quick, super-easy vegetarian recipe of celebratory proportions? ← That would be this lentil dish, FYI. Believe it.

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