Tag Archives: pesto

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

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Caprese Sliders

Yes, I know, caprese tends to be a little more July than December. After all, tomatoes are a little redder, a little plumper, and a little juicier in the summer. But if I only ate caprese during warm months, I think I’d die. Okay, so I’m dramatic. But I could easily eat it in some way every single day. Even if the tomatoes aren’t in season, caprese can still be good because fresh mozzarella and basil are always available. And if you add a little bit of balsamic vinegar or pesto, it can help you forget that tomatoes aren’t at their best. I needed a caprese fix now so that’s why I made these Caprese Sliders.

Slices of tomato are grilled on the stove (although I didn’t actually grill them) before being layered with avocado, basil, and fresh mozzarella onto warm, doughy rolls smeared with vibrant bold pesto. Really, you don’t need to grill or warm the tomatoes but if the tomatoes aren’t so great, what’s it hurt? In season, I would stick to raw tomatoes but since it’s not, warming them actually makes them a little juicier so I didn’t mind. These sandwiches didn’t stand a chance with me. So what if they fell apart a little bit? Scooping up pieces of a really good sandwich and having juices dripping down your wrists is a sign of a good sandwich. And this is a really good sandwich!

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Heat oven to 400 degrees . Place rolls on a baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes, following package directions. Allow to cool. Heat stovetop grill to medium-high. Brush tomato slices with olive oil and grill 2 minutes. Turn and grill 1 additional minute.

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Split rolls horizontally and spread bottom half of each with 1 tsp pesto. Layer each with 1 tomato slice, 2 basil leaves, 1 mozzarella slice and 2 avocado slices. Top with remaining roll halves.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Family Circle magazine

Pesto Tartlets

I told myself that as of this last birthday, I was going to start eating better and really focusing on healthier eating.  The reality is, when I eat healthier, I actually feel better (duh…who knew?!).  But I know this healthier lifestyle will take some time and let’s face it, when you have a food blog, it’s not really that easy sometimes. Well, I made these Pesto Tartlets last weekend and because they are made with puff pastry, they may not be the healthiest things in the world but they are not really the worst for you either.

Puff pastry is topped with bright grape tomatoes and baked before being topped with fresh burrata (or mozzarella) and an arugula pesto.  The pesto is made with arugula, parmesan, garlic, olive oil and vinegar and has different kick than regular basil pesto.  I used about half of the olive oil called for and my pesto was plenty flavorful with a perfect consistency so use your judgement with how much oil you use. The crust is buttery, the grapes are juicy, the pesto is vibrant and the cheese is creamy which makes this tartlet a little slice of heaven.  This pesto also tastes great with pasta or chicken so save any leftovers. Looks like I’m eating fruit the rest of this week.

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In food processor, puree arugula, Parmesan, olive oil, vinegar and garlic; season.

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Put puff pastry on parchment- lined baking sheet; pierce with fork. Top with tomatoes; season. Bake at 425 degrees until crisp, 15 minutes.

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Top with burrata and pesto.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Fresh mozzarella cheese

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

Green Pesto Sauce

I’m a real sucker for pesto but it’s one of those sauces that I don’t like to buy (I think it’s better when it’s fresh) yet I never make it at home, even when I have a bunch of basil.  Pesto is so full of flavor and so easy to make that it’s just silly that I don’t make it more. It’s good on any meat, pasta, veggie, pizza, sandwich or even eggs. When I came across this recipe for Green Pesto Sauce, I wasn’t sure what to think since it’s made with fruit juice but one day at the store, I found myself looking at bottles of Naked juice and decided to give this pesto a try.

Basic pesto ingredients of basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, and nuts (I used sliced almonds because I had them on hand) are combined with parsley, green fruit juice and lemon juice which add other layers of flavor. This isn’t your basic pesto so the hint of sweetness from the fruit juice may not be your cup of tea. And while I prefer regular pesto, I was pretty surprised with the interesting and unique flavor of this.

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In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients. Cover and process or blend until almost smooth.

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Serve at once atop steamed or roasted potatoes or vegetables or cover and chill up to 2 days. Stir in additional juice to desired consistency.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Sliced almonds
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Better Homes & Gardens magazine

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