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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Baked Crab Mac-n-Cheese With Peas

18 02 2015

I love the decadence of crab mac-n-cheese! This recipe offers that rich, comforting flavor, but with a few healthier ingredients. In a meal like this, you can easily swap things like coconut oil in place of butter and whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour, as well as sneak in a veggie like peas. And if you’re an observer of Lent, this is a great dinner to dig into on Fridays!

Baked Crab Mac-n-Cheese With Peas

The following serves 3-4 (adapted from Will Cook For Smiles):

  • 2 cups dry whole wheat penne
  • 1 cup (8 oz) crab meat
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 – 1 cup white sharp cheddar cheese, grated from the block
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • Chopped parsley

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

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions. Cook to al dente, then drain well and add back to pot. Add the crab meat and frozen peas to the pasta and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat and add shallot. Saute a minute or two until beginning to soften. Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Slowly pour in the milk and constantly whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the grated cheddar and salt and pepper to taste. Keep whisking, slowly, until the cheese is melted. Off heat, stir in half of the parmesan.

Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta, crab and peas and stir well to combine. Transfer to prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with the panko and the rest of the parmesan.

Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove cover and finish baking another 5-10 minutes to help brown the top (you may want to up the heat or turn on the broiler). Allow to rest a few minutes before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley.





Granola Cookies

10 12 2014

I like making my own granola, and the recipe I follow makes a lot! After awhile I’m usually ready to turn it into something even better…enter, these cookies! I found a simple recipe that let’s your homemade granola be the delicious star!

Granola Cookies

The following makes 24 cookies (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker):

  • 14 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (you could use AP flour as well)
  • 3 cups granola (I make my own with whatever dried fruit, nuts and seeds I have around)

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with silpats or wax paper.

With electric mixer, beat butter at medium speed until smooth, 2 mins. Add the sugars and beat for another 3 mins, or until creamy. Add the egg and salt and beat until well blended.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour, mixing only until Incorporated. Then slowly add the granola. Stop mixer when it’s mostly blended and finish by hand if needed, making sure to get up any of the dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl.

Scoop out 2 Tbsp of dough and arrange mounds on the prepared baking sheets, leaving room in between the cookies. Flatten the mounds lightly with your finger tips.

Bake 10-12 mins. The cookies should be golden brown but not too firm. All to rest on the sheets 2 mins before transferring to cooling racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.





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.





Whole Wheat Oatmeal-Banana Bread

3 07 2014

I make a lot of banana bread, mostly because I always end up with one or two extremely ripe nanas at the end of the week. I liked the addition of old-fashioned oats in this recipe, which also helps cut down on the flour. Speaking of flour, the organic flour I used came from our CSA Fresh Fork Market share. Yummy!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal-Banana Bread

The following makes 1 loaf (adapted from greatist.com):

  • 2 whole, peeled ripe bananas
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Flaxseed

Preheat oven to 350.

Mash the bananas in a medium bowl. Stir in egg, milk, honey and vanilla.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Mix the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.

Lightly spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray. Pour batter into the loaf pan, then top with more walnuts and flaxseed.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Bread will be done when you insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.

Slice and enjoy with a butter of your choice!





Grilled Veggie Naan Pizza With Cauliflower-White Bean Spread and Balsamic Glaze

1 07 2014

I love making pizza out of Naan, healthy and still delicious! Last week’s CSA grab bag from Fresh Fork Market brought us beautiful green cauliflower and squash, which I knew would be tasty grilled and on a pizza. I turned half the grilled cauliflower along with beans into the spread to create the “sauce” for this pizza, then put the rest on top. Prep and grill your veggies over the weekend to save time during the week, say, for meatless Monday!

Grilled Veggie Naan Pizza With Cauliflower-White Bean Spread and Balsamic Glaze

The following makes 2 pizzas (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat, with inspiration from Martha Stewart and Better Homes and Gardens):

  • 2 whole wheat naan
  • 2 small yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 small head green cauliflower (or any color you like), cut in half down the center
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat grill to medium. Drizzle squash and cauliflower with a little olive oil and salt to taste. Grill, flipping occasionally, until beginning to char. Remove from the grill and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, grill the red pepper whole until charred well all over. Remove from the grill to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. This will trap the steam and help to peel the skin. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skin and remove the seeds from the pepper – do not run under water. Slice into bite-size strips.

Place half of the grilled cauliflower in a food processor along with the beans, garlic, chicken broth, lemon zest and juice.  Pulse to combine. Stream in 1 Tbsp of oil or so. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add additional oil if needed.

Preheat oven to 425.

Place naan on a pizza stone. Spread some the cauliflower-bean dip on the naan, as if it were a sauce. Top with the remaining grilled cauliflower, squash and red pepper (if you have leftover veggies that won’t fit, no worries, enjoy on a salad for lunch the next day!). Top with cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

While the pizza bakes, heat balsamic vinegar over low heat in a small saute pan, stirring often, until reduced by half. Remove from heat and allow to cool, it will turn into a syrupy consistency.

Remove pizza from the oven and garnish with red pepper flakes and the balsamic glaze.

Store leftover cauliflower-bean dip in a covered container in the fridge. Enjoy as a snack with veggies, whole grain chips or use as a sandwich spread.





Chicken Cacciatore With Lemon-Herb Pasta

19 05 2014

Cacciatore refers to the way this chicken dish is prepared, which is typically braised in tomatoes, onions, peppers, spices and wine. In Italy, the wine used depends on the Region you’re in. The south uses red wine while the North tends to use white, making this versatile…and of course, tasty! Use the crockpot to help make Sunday supper or your weeknight dinners much easier.

Chicken Cacciatore With Lemon-Herb Pasta

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Cuisine Slow Cooker Menus):

  • 2 whole pieces of quartered, bone-in chicken (leg/thigh), skin removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • Whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for pasta
  • 3/4 cup dry wine, either red or white will work
  • 1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • Handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 package (8 oz) sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • Half a pound of whole wheat wide egg noodles
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or butter substitute
  • Fresh herbs, such as parsley or oregano
  • Parmesan, grated

After removing the skin, season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Brown chicken on both sides in 2 Tbsp hot oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a slow cooker.

Deglaze pan with wine, cooking until liquid is reduced by half. Transfer wine to the slow cooker.

Add tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, garlic, Italian seasoning and bay leaf to the slow cooker. Cover cacciatore, cook until chicken is tender 3 and 1/2 hours. During the last 30 minutes, add bell pepper, season with a little salt to taste and cover. Cook until pepper is tender.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add noodles and cook to al dente, according to package instructions. Drain pasta, add back to the hot pot and toss with 1 – 2 Tbsp of lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes, the butter, a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and chopped parsley.

Serve up the pasta with the chicken cacciatore and sauce on top. Garnish with more fresh herbs and parmesan.