Chorizo and Ramp Pizza

27 04 2015

I recently enjoyed a tasty chorizo and ramp pizza at Michael Symon’s Lolita restaurant. When I received ramps in our CSA grab bag this past week I knew instantly I’d be recreating that Lolita pizza! Thanks for the idea, Michael!

Chorizo and Ramp Pizza

The following makes one pizza (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • Ground chorizo
  • Whole wheat pizza dough
  • Cornmeal
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Ricotta
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • Ramps
  • Sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Eggs
  • Hot sauce for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 450.

Brown the chorizo in a skillet until just cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

With some cornmeal on your counter, roll out the pizza dough to your desired thickness.

Put a little cornmeal on a pizza stone, then carefully transfer the rolled out dough onto the pizza stone and brush with olive oil. Bake the crust for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven to add your toppings.

Mix a little ricotta with olive oil and chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Eyeball it, you just need enough ricotta to spread on the pizza to create a sauce.

Spread the ricotta evenly on the pizza dough. Top with cooked chorizo and the sliced shallots. Use as much of each ingredient as you like.

Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or so. Remove and add the ramps and shredded cheese, again as much as you like of each. Return to the oven to finish baking, another 5 minutes or so. Just keep an eye on the oven to make sure everything is cooked through, hot and the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven.

Fry up some eggs to your desired likeness, I recommend one egg per slice of pizza and making sure to leave it runny to help create a sauce.

Slice pizza and serve each slice with a fried egg on top and hot sauce if desired.

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Sweet and Spicy Chorizo Chili

26 01 2015

Tonight’s dinner paired zesty chorizo with sweeter veggies like carrots and corn, along with ginger beer, creating a unique chili recipe that offers a sweet beginning with a spicy finish. I’m betting this will be equally delicious, if not better tomorrow after it’s had time to sit!

Sweet and Spicy Chorizo Chili

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lb bulk chorizo
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) ginger beer (I used a low-calorie option)
  • 1 pint chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • Lime wedges
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend

Rinse the beans well, then add to a large bowl with 3 cups of water. Let the beans soak for 6-8 hours, or overnight. Drain the beans, rinse and add to a medium saucepan with 3 cups of water and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally. Strain the beans and discard the bay leaf, and set the beans aside until later.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Season lightly with salt. Then add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook for another minute, stirring to toast the spices. Deglaze the pan with a little of the ginger beer, one good turn of the pan, and cook for a minute or two. Reserve the rest of the beer for later. Next, add the chorizo and brown, breaking up with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Once the chorizo is cooked through, add the tomatoes, cooked beans, the rest of the beer and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and cover. Cook chili for 1 to 1 and a half hours, stirring occasionally. During the last 20 minutes, add the corn and remove the lid. Let the chili stand for 5 minutes or so off the heat before serving.

Garnish with lime wedges, sour cream and cheese. If you like it spicier, just serve with some hot sauce as well.





Sausage and Lentil Soup

17 01 2015

This hearty Italian soup, packed with protein, is a great addition to your winter recipe lineup! I didn’t grow up with lentils like a lot of Italians, but my Mom did….eating them all the time. Which is likely why she left them out of her meal plans, she was over them.

But I’m a lentil convert now, thanks to this soup (and maybe my Ma will be again when she sees this)! Don’t be intimidated by the amount of ingredients. They basically all go into a large pot and time will do the rest. I recommend making this over the weekend so you can enjoy it throughout the week – the longer it sits the better it gets.

Sausage and Lentil Soup

The following serves 6 (adapted from Food.com and The Italian Table):

  • 1 lb bulk mild chicken sausage – if using sausage that’s in a casing, just remove the casing first
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 pint fresh, diced tomatoes or a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups of water or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (optional)
  • Grated parmesan cheese for serving

In a large dutch oven, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until the veggies begin to softened, 3-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Next, add the sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through and broken up in little pieces.

Next, add all the spices (parsley, oregano, basil, salt, thyme, pepper flakes and pepper) – stir to combine well and toast for a minute until the spices become fragrant. Add the dried lentils, stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until the lentils are lightly toasted.

Add the tomatoes and all their juices, mix well and scrape up any bits that formed on the bottom of the pan. Finally, add the water or stock, stir to combine and bring to a slow boil. If using water, you can also add a few chicken bouillon cubes for extra flavor (1 cube for each cup of water).

Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 – 1 and 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you let it cook, the thicker the soup will become on its own.

Turn off heat, stir in vinegar if desired and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Allow the soup to sit for 5 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese.





Cauliflower and BBQ Pulled Pork Shepherd’s Pie

24 11 2014

The next time you make BBQ pulled pork, do yourself a favor and make extra and freeze it to use later in this deliciously healthy casserole! Seriously, this is divine…giving you all the comfort and none of the guilt! Topped with a creamy mashed cauliflower, you’ll think you’re indulging in an over-the-top potato Shepherd’s pie, when you’ll really be devouring a meal loaded with veggies.

Cauliflower and BBQ Pulled Pork Shepherd's Pie

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Half a small-medium onion, diced
  • 4 small-medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 heaping cup shredded cabbage
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • BBQ sauce
  • 3-4 cups worth of leftover pulled pork that has been tossed in BBQ sauce (if you have some frozen, just defrost it first)
  • Low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Splash of milk, I use almond milk, but use whatever you have
  • 1 heaping cup reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add cauliflower florets and boil for 8-10 minutes, until softened, but not mushy. Drain cauliflower in a mesh strainer, shaking out excess water. Return drained cauliflower to the hot pot and allow to sit for a few minutes, so that any remaining water evaporates.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add onions and carrots and cook for a few minutes until beginning to soften. Next add cabbage and stir to combine. Season with salt and for an extra kick, a pinch of red pepper flakes and even some of your favorite hot sauce if desired. Stir in BBQ sauce, either homemade or store-bought, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup (use less sauce if you have a smaller amount of pork, or more sauce if you have a larger amount – you just want the mixture to be heavily coated so it stays moist while it bakes). Add leftover pulled pork and toss until everything is combined. Add a splash or so of chicken stock to thin the sauce slightly, and cook for just a few minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt. Remove from heat.

Add cooked cauliflower florets to a food processor, along with sour cream, milk and salt to taste. Process until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the cheese and process again. Taste and season with additional salt if needed. If you don’t have a food processor, you can easily mash by hand – it might not be as smooth, but you’ll still get the job done! 🙂

Add the pulled pork mixture to the prepared casserole dish, spreading out in an even layer. Top with the mashed cauliflower, spreading in an even layer over the pulled pork mixture. Top cauliflower with remaining cheese, you can even add more if you’d like.

Bake casserole, uncovered, until bubbling hot, 45 minutes to an hour. The cheese will be melted and starting to brown and the cauliflower with set like mashed potatoes. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes or so before plating. Serve garnished with chopped parsley or cilantro.





Seared Pork and Apples With Chipotle and Caramelized Onion Squash and Brussels Sprouts

10 11 2014

Here’s a hearty and healthy fall dinner loaded with flavor. The smokey chipotle and caramelized onions add a unique flavor to butternut squash, which pairs well with sweet apples and seared pork. To make this on a weeknight, roast the squash over the weekend and store covered in the fridge until ready to use.

Seared Pork and Apples With Chipotle Squash

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 double-cut boneless pork chops
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • Smoked paprika
  • 2 small apples, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Baby Brussels sprouts, rough end trimmed
  • Low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 chipotle in adobo
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

To save yourself time, roast the squash in advance and store covered in the fridge. To roast, preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringing flesh with a spoon. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt to taste. Roast on a baking sheet for 45-60 minutes, until you’re able to easily scoop out the flesh to turn into a puree. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin, and either store covered in the fridge, or move onto the next steps.

Preheat, or turn oven up to 400 degrees.

Heat a Tbsp or so of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and cook, untouched, until they start to brown on the bottom. Stir, and lower heat to medium-low and continue to cook and brown. After about 10 minutes, season with salt to taste and lower heat to low. Continue to cook until dark brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, toss baby Brussels sprouts with a little olive oil and salt to taste on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, or until well browned.

Meanwhile, season pork with salt, granulated garlic and smoked paprika to taste on both sides. Heat some olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot. Add pork and sear until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and brown the other side another 2-3 minutes. Remove pork to a plate. Lower heat to medium-low, make sure to give the pan time to lower temp. Add apples and diced onions and cook for a minute or so, scrapping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Deglaze pan with apple cider and cook for a minute. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and bring to a bubble, stirring to combine. Nestle the pork back in the pan, cover with a lid and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking the pork. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the squash to a food processor along with 1/2 cup chicken stock, the chipotle in adobo, half of the caramelized onions and salt to taste. Puree until smooth. Add the pureed squash to the pan with the rest of the caramelized onions, stir to combine and heat through over medium-low heat. Add a little apple cider until you reach your desired consistency. Mix well, taste and adjust salt if needed.

To serve, dish out the Brussels sprouts and pureed squash, top with pork. Add a layer of apples and sauce over the pork and garnish with chopped parsley.





Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

6 10 2014

I can’t help but feel like I knocked dinner out of the park tonight with this luscious, Alfredo-like pasta dish that’s healthy to boot! I didn’t use cream, butter or flour – but still achieved the rich and silky consistency we’ve all come to love from Alfredo, thanks to roasted butternut squash puree. I recommend making the puree over the weekend (it’s super easy, just will take an hour or so)…this way you can whip this meal faster during a busy weeknight.

Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • Olive oil
  • 8 strips of bacon, diced
  • Chopped broccoli greens from 1-2 heads of broccoli (alternatively, you could also use kale, about 1.5 cups worth or so)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 13 oz whole wheat penne or fettuccine pasta
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut off the cobs
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry Marsala
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim, while the original recipe called for heavy cream – use what you have)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts
  • Grated parmesan
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet or casserole dish with foil. Lightly coat the squash halves with olive oil on both sides. Place squash, flesh side down on pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan. Bake squash until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scoop flesh from the squash and puree in a Vitamix or blender, discard the skin. At this point you can cover and store the puree in the fridge until you’re ready to make this meal.

In a large non-stick skillet, cook bacon until crisp and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Discard most of the bacon grease, but leave a little in your skillet. Add the broccoli greens or kale and saute until wilted a few minutes. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Remove to paper towel lined plate.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season liberally with salt. Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions, cooking to al dente. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the corn kernels. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then strain pasta and corn.

To the skillet you used to cook the bacon and greens in, add a Tbsp or so of olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add shallots and cool until soft, a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze skillet with Marsala and cook until nearly evaporated.

Stir in squash puree (about 2 cups worth, but no worries if you have a little less – the sauce will still be great). Next add the milk and broth, stir to combine and season with salt to taste.

Stir in the pasta and corn, along with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add a little at first, then more as needed to reach your desired sauce consistency. Toss the pasta and corn with the sauce over heat for a minute or two. Add sautéed greens and most of the bacon, reserving a little for garnish, and toss well. If your sauce seems a little loose, remove from the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes which will thicken it up.

To serve, dish out the pasta and garnish with toasted nuts, parmesan, parsley and black pepper to taste.





Bacon, Onion and Apple Pizza

27 09 2014

This easy bacon pie came about after I saw an idea in Food Network Magazine for ham and apple pizza, as I desperate continue to try to use up all the apples from our CSA share. I used the bacon grease to help cook some of the ingredients, which imparted extra flavor as well. Not something I typically do. But my grandma used to save and use bacon grease to cook nearly everything, so I thought, why not be like her! Of course I used a paper-towel lined plate to soak up some of the drippings after the fact, helping the pizza be not too greasy in the end.

Bacon, Onion and Apple Pizza

The following serves 2-3 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat with inspiration from Food Network Magazine):

  • 1 package refrigerated whole wheat pizza dough
  • 4-6 slices thick-cut smoked pork bacon, diced
  • Half an onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • Grated cheese – use whatever you like, I used a combo of mozzarella and cheddar
  • Green onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large saute pan, cook diced bacon over medium-high heat until crispy (or done to your liking). Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

Roll out refrigerated dough onto a pizza stone in a thin layer either in the shape of a circle or rectangle. Brush a little of the bacon grease onto the rolled out pizza dough using a pastry brush. Bake pizza crust for about 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile to the bacon grease, add the sliced onion and cook over medium a few minutes until the onion softens. Using tongs, remove to paper-towel lined plate. Finally, add the apple to the warm bacon grease and toss quickly. Using tongs and remove to paper-towel lined plate.

Once the crust has cooked through a little, remove the pizza dough from the oven. Top with some cheese (I did mozzarella first), then add your bacon, onion and apple slices – spreading out evenly on the pizza. Top with more cheese – I used sharp cheddar for the top. Return pizza to the oven and bake another 15 minutes or so, until the pizza is cooked through and the top is golden.

Remove the pizza from the oven and garnish with chopped green onions before serving.