Tag Archives: food

Sausage, Manchego, and Pepper Pizza

My pizza obsession is getting out of control. I’ve been making my own pizza for a while but lately I’ve taken to eating box after box of frozen pizza. Um, I can’t help it. Don’t judge. It’s easy, inexpensive and it tastes so good with beer on a Friday night. Hey – I don’t have a sophisticated palate. My only saving grace is that I’ve kept myself from picking up the phone and having pizza delivered. So, while I’m fooling myself into thinking that eating frozen pizza is better on my waistline (it is to a degree), I know I’m even better off making my own pizza at home where I can control the ingredients. So, here we are with this Sausage, Manchego, and Pepper Pizza I made recently.

Refrigerated pizza dough is glazed with a tasty topping of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and oregano and then topped with chicken sausage, manchego cheese, and fresh yellow bell peppers. A little sprinkling of red pepper flake adds a kick at the end. I was able to portion out this pizza and save some for the next couple days rather than eating the whole thing in one sitting (not that I ever do that – ha!). The balsamic vinegar adds enough flavor to keep this pizza from being bland which sometimes can happen with tomato-less pizzas. The sausage was hearty and the yellow pepper adds a bright, slightly sweet burst. I loved this pizza but that is no surprise. I think I love all pizza. Even the pizza I don’t eat. I heart it.

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Place the dough in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; pierce liberally with a fork. Microwave at HIGH 10 seconds. Discard plastic wrap. Combine garlic, 2 teaspoons oregano, oil, and vinegar in a small bowl.

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Roll pizza dough on a lightly floured surface.

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Carefully remove pizza stone or baking sheet from oven. Sprinkle cornmeal over pizza stone; arrange dough on stone. Brush dough evenly with oil mixture; top with sausage, bell pepper, and cheese.

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Bake at 450°F for 13 minutes or until edges are browned. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon oregano and crushed red pepper.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Basil

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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Chicken Cutlets with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa

Yes, I’m here! It’s been way, way too long since I’ve posted anything but I’ve been traveling for the past four weeks (first London, then Chicago) and now is the first time I’ve had a chance to sit down and get it done. It was nice to be back in my kitchen over the weekend, making some food. I feel like my diet and exercise has taken a nosedive over the past month so it’s time to get it together again. I came across this recipe for Chicken Cutlets with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa on the flight to Chicago and ended up buying the ingredients to make it when I landed. But then…I ate the avocado with eggs, the chicken with adobo seasoning, and the strawberries with ice cream. My plan failed. So, I tried it again over the weekend and actually got this dish made. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Chicken cutlets are given a boost of flavor from a vibrant salsa made with strawberries, avocado, lime, cilantro, and jalapeño. The sweet strawberries, creamy avocado, and spicy jalapeño are all perfect complements to each other and then the fresh cilantro and citrusy lime really round everything out. This is such a perfect summertime dinner, especially if you are watching your waistline, and this salsa is good enough to eat with nothing but a fork. If only I’d made this recipe last weekend, maybe I wouldn’t be so worried about my waistline now.

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Combine strawberries, avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; toss to combine.

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Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.

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Divide chicken among 4 serving plates, and spoon salsa evenly over each serving. Garnish each serving with a lime wedge.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Egg Salad Sandwiches with Bacon and Sriracha

Got some hard-boiled eggs leftover from Easter and are kind of sick of deviled eggs? Is that even possible? To be sick of deviled eggs? Not in my world. Deviled eggs, egg salad, or hard-boiled eggs simply sliced over some avocado toast – I don’t care. I’ll take them hard-boiled any which way. I eat deviled eggs so often throughout the year but I rarely think to make egg salad anymore. Probably because I can eat an entire bowl of egg salad with a spoon. Portion control? Ha! But I couldn’t resist trying these Egg Salad Sandwiches with Bacon and Sriracha.

Hard-boiled eggs are mixed with a combination of a little mayonnaise, plain non-fat Greek yogurt, bacon (I used turkey bacon), scallions, and Sriracha. The mixture is plopped on top of some arugula which adds yet another layer of vibrant flavor. (Don’t like arugula? Use spinach). I’m not typically a big fan of using yogurt in place of mayonnaise in most cases but here, it works. With the Sriracha and light oniony bite of the scallions, you can’t even tell the yogurt is in there. And bacon? Who doesn’t love bacon? This egg salad is insane. Sriracha and eggs work so well together that it doesn’t even seem right to not put them together. I ate my egg salad on seeded Jewish rye bread which packs yet another punch so I was in heaven. Thank goodness for Easter. It’s just another reason to make hard-boiled eggs. As if we need a reason.

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 Cook bacon in a medium pan over medium-high heat 3 minutes, until crisp or microwave per package directions. Remove bacon from pan or microwave; crumble. Place bacon in a large bowl. Stir in onions, mayonnaise, yogurt, Sriracha, salt and pepper.

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Gently stir in eggs.

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Arrange 1/2 cup arugula on each of 4 bread slices. Top each serving with 1/3 cup egg mixture and 1 bread slice.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Turkey bacon

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Blush Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes

Pasta? What’s pasta? I haven’t had it in so long, I think I’ve almost forgot. How crazy it is to me that I eat so little pasta these days when it was my dinner EVERYDAY when I was a vegetarian ten years ago. When people would ask what my favorite meal was? The answer was easily pasta. Now? I don’t even consider it. How did this happen? I don’t even recognize myself anymore. It’s amazing how when you are careful with what you eat, your tastes can change when you aren’t looking. I’ve dabbled in low-carb diets for years. Initially, they were impossibly hard. But now, I’ve found that I feel better and have fewer cravings so it’s easier. I still eat carbs, clearly, but now I can have pasta once in a while and truly enjoy it. This Blush Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes is a fun way to make an old classic pasta dish new again.

A creamy cheese sauce is made vibrant with additional flavors of tomato, shallot, garlic, thyme and spinach before being mixed with corkscrew pasta and topped with juicy, roasted grape tomatoes. The cheese sauce isn’t as cheesy as typical mac and cheese but the addition of the tomato paste and spinach make this feel more like a grown-up version of our childhood classic. I used quinoa pasta instead of regular pasta (but only because I couldn’t find whole-wheat) so my overall texture was a bit different than expected but still good nonetheless. The roasted grape tomatoes add a burst of sweetness and the spinach provides a nutritional boost. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider this mac and cheese, it didn’t disappoint.

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Preheat broiler to high. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. While pasta cooks, place tomatoes on a jelly-roll pan lined with foil. Broil 8 minutes or until tomatoes are beginning to blacken.

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While tomatoes cook, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add diced shallots, minced garlic, and thyme; sauté 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

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Add tomato paste; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, black pepper, and salt; bring to a boil. Cook 4 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

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Add spinach, stirring constantly until spinach starts to wilt.

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Add shredded cheddar cheese, and stir until smooth.

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Stir in cooked pasta.

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Top with the roasted tomatoes.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Quinoa pasta

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Peanut-Butter Banana Bread

Is February, and winter for that matter, over yet? Since it snowed all day on Saturday, I had no motivation to do anything but watch a Parks and Recreation marathon and bake. I’ve been on a random peanut butter kick lately and realized that I have four – yes, four – different kinds of nut butters in my cabinet. And that isn’t even counting the powdered peanut butter I put in my protein smoothies everyday. Since there were a couple of bananas hanging out on my counter and today is National Banana Bread Day, I pulled out one of those jars of peanut butter and decided since it was cold and snowy outside that I needed to bake this Peanut-Butter Banana Bread.

Peanut butter is not just mixed into the batter but it is also mixed into the sweet drizzle that coats the soft, warm banana bread. I mean, bananas and peanut butter isn’t just for Elvis. This banana bread was insane. And I say was because I may or may not have eaten the entire loaf over the coarse of the weekend. Good thing I’m hitting the gym today. But seriously, since most people have peanut butter hanging around, next time you make banana bread, give this a try. And just try to eat only one piece. Elvis knew what he was doing.

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Preheat oven to 350°F.To prepare bread, combine peanut butter, yogurt, bananas, butter and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until blended.

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Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt and spices in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts.

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Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.

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To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread.

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Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Flaxseed

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Pita Pizzas with Kale Pesto, Tomatoes, and Bacon

Pita pizzas…you are my savior. I’ve been trying so hard lately to track my food which means watching my calories and everything I eat. This can be tough when you have a food blog but the real key (as they always say) is portion control. I don’t know about you but it’s hard for my to control myself around pizza. There is a thin crust frozen pizza at my grocery store that I have eaten all by myself in one sitting before…more than once. Not good. My new obsession: pita pizzas. Specifically, these Pita Pizzas with Kale Pesto, Tomatoes, and Bacon.

Whole-wheat pitas are the base of these personal-sized pizzas which are topped with a bright kale and basil pesto, tomatoes, and bacon. With both Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and a light dusting of nuts, this pizza is packed with flavor and perfectly portion controlled. The pesto is the real star. Making pesto out of kale is a perfect way to get a ton of flavor into this nutrient-rich vegetable. I’ll admit, I made this pizza nearly everyday for lunch last week until I ran out of pitas. Any leftover pesto was eaten with eggs at breakfast and on top of roasted chicken at dinner. I couldn’t get enough of it. The pesto – and the pizza – is a real winner.

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Place a baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. (Keep baking sheet in oven as it preheats.) Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add kale; cook 1 minute. Drain and plunge kale into ice water. Drain; squeeze excess liquid from kale.

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Place kale, basil leaves, 2 tablespoons nuts, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor. Process until chopped. Add 1 tablespoon water, juice, and salt; pulse 5 times. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well blended.

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Spread about 2 tablespoons pesto over each pita. Top evenly with tomatoes and bacon. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses; top evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon nuts. Remove pan from oven; place pitas on pan.

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Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes or until crust is browned and crisp.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Slivered almonds
  • Turkey bacon

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

I’m really into going to the produce stand lately because the produce at my grocery store isn’t so great. I don’t like how the peppers, apples, and zucchini at the store are twice as big as the produce at the stand. What in the world are they putting in those fruits and veggies anyway? Well, the good part about getting produce at the stand is that it’s inexpensive, quality, and abundant. The problem? It’s abundant. What do I do with so much broccoli? It’s cold out who might as well make soup! This Broccoli-Cheese Soup is a perfect way for me to use up some leftover veggies while still eating healthy.

Broccoli, carrot, and onion are simmered in broth (substitute veggie broth for a vegetarian option) before being blended together and mixed with a little half-and-half and cheese. The result is a creamy, warm, and healthy soup that is cheesy enough to be satisfying but not enough to be unhealthy. I have to admit that at the end of blending this, I decided to throw in a handful of baby spinach just because. I mean, why not? The soup is already green and plenty healthy but because I throw spinach in my smoothies, it doesn’t seem natural for me to not add spinach to whatever is in the blender. You don’t have to add spinach, obvi. This soup is perfectly satisfying just the way it is.

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Combine stock, broccoli, onion, carrot, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

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Pour soup into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters).

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Blend until smooth.

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Return soup to pan. Stir in half-and-half and 2 ounces cheese. Top evenly with remaining cheese and parsley.

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Additions:

  • Handful of baby spinach

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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