I’m sitting here in disbelief that today is the unofficial first day of autumn. It’s a bittersweet feeling really. With autumn comes many things that I love. In no particular order:
Although when these things start to happen, that means the end of summer is near.
This Labor Day weekend, I did a lot of Netflixing, sleeping in and of course, gorged on many delicious meals – including this bad boy: Deep-Dish Pizza!
Originally I intended to make this for dinner, but after we received pound after pound of leftover brisket and pulled pork from a friend’s BBQ (YUMMM!!!) breakfast seemed like a suitable replacement.
This crust is awesome. Chewy and crunchy in all of the right places. Toppings are up to you, but there’s something about the combination of ricotta and fontina that made my tastebuds sing with every bite.
La la la la!
Happy end of summer and happy days of autumn to you! Bring on soup season 🙂
1 lb. store-bought pizza dough, at room temperature
6 ounces Fontina cheese, grated
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 fresh large eggs
Heat oven to 450 degrees F with the rack in the lowest position. Heat 1 Tbl oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add spinach, red pepper flakes, and garlic and cook until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
Stir together ricotta, parmesan, salt and pepper. Pour remaining oil in a 10-inch spinboard pan or cast iron skillet and spray the sides with cooking spray for extra protection. Stretch dough into the bottom of the round. Carefully press dough into the bottom and up the sides of the skillet (as best as possible - mine slumped down quite a bit but it didn't really matter). Bake in oven for 10 minutes.
Top dough with ricotta mixture, fontina, spinach, bacon, and tomatoes. Carefully crack the eggs and gently place on top of the pizza, yolks intact. Bake until the crust is golden brown and egg is cooked over easy to medium, 12-14 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut around edges of crust with a knife and remove from pan with a spatula (or two).
This time of year is always busy. So many weddings, BBQs, birthday parties, and of course, work (work, work, work, work). Come the weekend, all I want to do is sleep in, wake up to birds chirping and a strong cup of coffee, and shop locally at our farmer’s market. In Wisconsin, we currently have a plethora of carrots, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, potatoes, and of course, green beans.
Green beans and wax beans as far as the eye can see. $3 for how many beans? Um, done. Goodness, I love summer.
Minus the mosquitos.
Anywho, beans don’t always have to mean a casserole. Honestly, on hot summer days casserole is the last thing on my mind. So a green bean salad it is!
The fresh beans are amazing, but the real star of this dish is the vinaigrette. It’s extremely flavorful and makes the vegetables shine. Perfect for these hot, lazy, summer daze.
Combine minced shallot, oil, vinegar and salt in a mason jar and set aside.
Bring several inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add beans. Boil until the beans are bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the beans from the saucepan and submerge in an ice bath. Shake dry and place on a platter.
Spread the corn on top of the beans. Shake the dressing to blend and drizzle it over the vegetables. Top with fresh basil and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cold.
Recipe adapted from http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/
During hot summer months, I try not to spend too much time cooking over a frying pan or near a hot oven. My body craves meals that can be served at room temperature or cold. So even though there is some “hot” work involved with pasta salad, this is perfect to whip up and enjoy later in the day after it has had time to chill.
It’s also time for the corn and zucchini harvest, so this pasta salad is light, fresh, and in-season. All good things in my book!
This recipe is very easy to throw together. It’s great as a meatless meal, a side dish, or served with rotisserie chicken for a more robust entree. This keeps well at room temperature so you can bring this to BBQs as well, especially if you use vegan mayonnaise, like we did.
Note, we are not vegans we but prefer the taste of vegenaise.
In a large bowl, toss the corn and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute for four to five minutes, until the zucchini browns slightly. Add shallot and cook for another minute. Pour vegetable mixture back into your large bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well and pour into same large bowl.
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk the mayonnaise with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the lime juice, chile powder; season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta, corn, zucchini, tomatoes and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls. Using a vegetable peeler or carefully with a knife, shave the frozen goat cheese all over the top and enjoy at room temperature or chilled.
It’s a show on the Food Network where esteemed chefs are given a basket of ingredients. The goal is to transform the ingredients into an unforgettable dish. The ingredients range anywhere from oysters to peanut butter.
I feel like I play this game often. Granted, not for a grand prize of $10,000, but still… I play the “What’s in the pantry?” game.
Tonight the ingredients included chicken breast, cheese, and broccoli. I noticed I had breadcrumbs as well (I had panko but regular breadcrumbs work better for this recipe if you can help it) so I opted to make stuffed chicken breasts. If I didn’t have breadcrumbs, I would have went the chicken, broccoli, rice casserole path.
But this way, everything’s all wrapped up into a deliciously golden package. Yes please.
Anywho, make this some time. This recipe is super easy and rather versatile. You roll things into a slab of chicken, bake, and bam – tasty dinner! It’s almost magic. Almost.
3 large chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise (you'll have 6 thin cutlets total)
1 large egg
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 (10 ounce) bag frozen broccoli florets
6 slices cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cook broccoli according to package directions.
Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a separate shallow bowl.
Lay the chicken cutlets out on a flat surface. Salt and pepper each side of the cutlets. Add one slice of cheese over the chicken and top cheese with 4-5 broccoli florets. Wrap up the sides of the chicken over the filling and secure with toothpicks.
Dip the chicken rolls in the egg. Let excess drip off. Then dip in the breadcrumbs and roll to coat entirely. Place coated chicken on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165. Remove the toothpicks and serve.
Classic beef tacos are a staple of any Taco Tuesday. Taking a little extra time to add peppers and spices to your meat will make all the difference in your homemade tacos. Your tastebuds will thank you later.
Mushrooms add texture and they act like a sponge and absorb the cilantro, onion, and lime so they pack a delicious punch too. They also make the meat mixture more robust and filling.
The chiles used in this recipe add a bit of heat and flavor as well. I highly recommend keeping them in the recipe. Makes things sexy, like a pair of tango dancers on your tongue.
We used flour tortillas because we prefer those when we eat tacos at home. Definitely customize your tortillas and toppings to your family’s liking – salsa, lettuce, onion, cilantro, bacon, french fries, deep-fried Twinkies, etc.
1 or 2 fresh green chiles (roughly 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 small lime, juiced
1 tablespoon cilantro, washed and chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
15-ounce can whole tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
Place the beef in a medium-size saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the beef is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of liquid. Add the mushrooms, onion, chile, lime juice, cilantro, and spices.
While the mushroom mixture is cooking, puree the tomato with the garlic in a blender or food processor. Add the tomato mixture to the pan and cook until the liquid has reduced and the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Season with salt if necessary and scrap into a serving bowl. Serve with tortillas and your favorite taco toppings.
I bet you’re here because you saw one of those food videos online. Maybe the one that takes balls of meat, stuffs them full of cheese, and ends with an, “Oooh yeah?”
Well you’re in luck. This is that recipe – with a few minor adjustments to suit my personal tastes.
You can use any type or any combination of ground meat that tickles your fancy. The fattier your meat, the more tender your meatballs will be. I chose to use turkey because I enjoy leaner meals. If you use turkey like I did in this recipe, your meatballs will cook a bit quicker. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook.
When I followed the recipe in the Tasty video, I found that my meatballs were very wet. I recommend dialing down the whole milk amount by 1/4-cup (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup of liquid). You can always add more if your mixture seems too dry. However, be mindful not to overwork your mixture.
A very important part of making a good meatball is to treat your meat gently. Man, that sounds weird, but believe me, it makes a difference. If you cook like I cook, once you get in that bowl with your bare hands, you want to keep mixing until the end of time. Be mindful – you want your mixture combined but if you mix for too long, your meatballs will be tough.
So try to show some restraint, will ya?
We gobbled these up for National Meatball Day. What a wonderful, glorious (random) holiday. Don’t wait until any sort of national day to make these. They’re awesome and you should make these immediately! This recipe makes about a couple dozen meatballs and fed us for multiple nights.
Slow Cooker Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs and Spaghetti
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 lb Italian Sausage
8-ounces Fresh Mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 cup Italian-Flavored Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Parsley
64-ounces Tomato Sauce
Cut Mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.
Using your hands (this is a requirement!, mix all ingredients together except for the Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, and Pasta.
Line the bottom of your slow cooker with a layer of tomato sauce.
Form meat mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs. Stuff each meatball with a cube of mozzarella, reform into a ball, then place in the slow cooker. After you have made a layer of meatballs in your slow cooker, top with tomato sauce and repeat until all meatballs are formed and tomato sauce is used up.
Cook on high for 2 hours. Check meatballs for doneness. Continue cooking for up to 30 more minutes until cooked.
I don’t often eat vegan, but when I do I’m usually very happy with that decision. My brain and my body feel good. But once in awhile I have to eat something that satisfies that craving for comfort food. I admit, I feel less guilty for eating such a comforting dish when it is vegan. Does that make me a terrible person? I could eat a pound of deep-fried tofu and probably feel okay with that.
Oh, so you’re one of THOSE foodies.
Don’t judge me.
I tried some new products today.
Go Veggie! Mozzarella Flavor Shreds
Yves Veggie Pepperoni
Let’s start with the mozzarella cheese shreds. The flavor was surprisingly good and the “cheese” melts like normal cheese! I was able to create a successful cheese sauce with this. Highly recommended. I’ll buy this again. I’m especially excited to try to make a vegan pizza with these shreds. Gonna shred on some shreds, yo.
What am I talking about? Who knows.
On to the co-star of the show: The pepperoni. By itself, the flavor of this pepperoni is not my favorite. I realize this is fake meat, but I was hoping this would taste a little closer to pepperoni. But who eats pepperoni by itself? When you use this in combination with the Go Veggie! cheese, brown rice pasta, and sauce, it’s pretty darn good! Each bite of this dish had a great cheesy, mouth feel. Plus you got a nice bit of spice from the pepperoni.
This is something I will definitely make again and again.
1 cup grated vegan cheese (I used mozzarella but I like a blend of mozz and cheddar)
1/4 cup vegan pepperoni, chopped
Salt and pepper
Boil the macaroni according to the package instructions while you make the sauce.
Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium low heat. Add the flour and whisk, constantly stirring for 1-2 minutes. Your roux should resemble a thick paste. Add the milk in 1/2 cup increments, whisking well after each addition to form a thick but smooth sauce. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, onion, mustard, paprika, tomato paste, and vegan cheese and whisk until everything is melted together and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more milk if the sauce becomes too thick.
Drain the pasta and return it to its pot. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta. Fold the sauce into the pasta until each piece is coated and then fold in the pepperoni. Serve hot.
I have a confession to make. I don’t really like baking. I know, I know. Here I am with a food blog and I really can’t say with confidence that I enjoy baking. The main reason being that the act of baking is so precise. I like to add dashes of this and that into whatever I am making. With baking, I don’t know what to add if something is too dry, or if my cookies are too flat after they’ve baked, or what is okay to change in a recipe and what isn’t.
It’s just never been my thing. I will bake from time to time but I have to follow a recipe with exact precision, which, drives me crazy.
When it comes to healthier baking, like this recipe for Monster Cookies that I found online, it’s almost cheating. I mean, I bake casseroles, and roast chickens, and this, seems close to that somehow.
Allow me to explain.
The reason this recipe feels like I’m cheating the Baking Gods is because there is so much oatmeal, peanut butter, etc. that you actually shape the cookies with your hands and cook them in the oven until they aren’t raw anymore. There’s very little science involved. I can do that! Correction: I did that!
These cookies are chewy, peanutty, oatmealy, chocolately… and almost guilt-free! Definitely better for you than most cookies anyway. Why? Because the fat in these cookies comes mostly from the peanut butter. Take a guess as to how much butter is in this batter. Come on… guess.
A single tablespoon! Not one stick, like many other cookie recipes, but ONE TABLESPOON! So go ahead, indulge. Enjoy for breakfast. Eat three of these in one sitting. Because honey, in my book, these are pretty darn good for you!
To me these cookies could be cousins with a granola bar or oat bar. There’s enough sweetness that this could be a dessert but its not overpowering and could be eaten as a breakfast on the go too. I added M&Ms and Pecans to mine but customize these and make them your own. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
1 cup instant oats (or oatmeal that has been pulsed in a food processor 5-6 times)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg white, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup nonfat milk or almond milk
2 Tablespoon mini M&M candies, divided
2 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips, divided
2 Tablespoon chopped pecans (optional)
Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg white, and vanilla. Mix in the peanut butter until smooth. Stir in the brown sugar and milk. Mix completely. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in all of the pecans, most of the M&Ms, and most of the chocolate chips. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops onto the prepared sheet and flatten to the desired thickness and width. Cookies will not spread. Gently press the remaining M&Ms and chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies. Bake at 325°F for 10-13 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Keep in a sealed container.
Before I start confession my love for brown rice pasta, let me first admit something. I try my best to live a healthier lifestyle, so transitioning to brown rice pasta seemed natural to me. However, I do not like all healthy pastas. I will never get used to the taste of whole wheat pasta and quinoa pasta doesn’t have the same texture that I expect when I eat an al dente noodle. But brown rice pasta has changed my opinion about healthier pastas.
I first tried brown rice pasta over a year ago. Sodium-Free, Wheat-Free, Cholesterol-Free, Gluten-Free… sounds terrible doesn’t it? I was hesitant but my curiosity still got the best of me. I was completely surprised! I couldn’t believe how much this stuff tasted like normal pasta! Plus, it had the same CHEW as regular flour pasta. The best part? You can eat your fill, go back for seconds (or thirds), and feel way less guilty than if you had done that with normal pasta.
BRP also wins my vote when it comes to ingredients. I’m a strong advocate for being able to pronounce everything on the package of whatever I’m about to eat. Most brands of brown rice pasta have two ingredients listed on the package: brown rice and water. Amazing!
The only caveat I have is that you have to be careful not to overcook this pasta. Check the pasta multiple times when the cooking time is almost up. When it is ready, strain into a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Reheat the pasta by adding it directly into your pasta sauce and tossing everything together.
If you are afraid to try one many pasta inventions that are being created these days, trust me when I say that brown rice pasta is worth a try.
It’s apple season! There are bushels of apples on every corner at farmer stands. You can also pick your own at local orchards. As a senior in high school, my friends and I would leave the campus at lunch and go apple picking at least once or twice every fall. Apple picking is definitely a tradition I missed while I lived in Colorado. Bring on the apple harvest!
This is my favorite applesauce recipe. It’s so easy and simple. You can jar your homemade applesauce or this will keep in the fridge for five days or in the freezer for 3 months.
I usually leave my applesauce a bit chunky, but you can also blend this if you want a smoother applesauce.
And of course, I eat mine with grilled cheese. It’s weird but delicious. Weirdly delicious! This started when I was a kid. I would order grilled cheese and applesauce whenever my family brought me out to any restaurant and dip my sandwich into the applesauce. It’s something I’ve done every since. Try it, you might like it!
At the very least, make this crock pot applesauce. It’s so easy and so yummy!