Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had to buy a bag of shelled pistachios for dinner, and because they were kind of pricey I wanted to find a way to use up the rest. I LOVE pistachios, but had never used them in cooking or baking before, but now I may have to find more ways to use them. I normally despise nuts in my chocolate chip cookies, but pistachios have more of a 'smooth' crunch than the typical crunch of other nuts, so they are a lovely addition that I will totally allow in my cookies in the future.

The original recipe calls for white chocolate, but since I didn't have any on hand I used a mix of bittersweet and semi-sweet chips. I think the white chocolate would be great though, possibly reminiscent of a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie?

Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Adapted slightly from Simply Recipes

1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of dark brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt (regular salt will suffice)
1 cup of rolled oats
1 1/2 cups of coarsely chopped pistachios, raw and unsalted
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter and sugars together on high speed for three minutes.

2. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat for 3 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and rolled oats. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture slowly, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice to ensure even mixing.

4. Fold in the pistachios and white chocolate chips. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets, add an extra pistachio or two on top of each bit of dough for decoration if desired.

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to set up on the cookie sheets before moving to a baking rack to cool completely.

Makes 6 dozen.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan

Another win for orzo! And this orzo can double as your vegetable if you so wish, which is even better. Peas are not something I would eat plain, but when mixed in with the toasted orzo and parmesan cheese they add a sweet flavor and crunch to every bite.

We served this with Pistachio Crusted Tilapia and it was a great accompaniment. I halved this recipe, and it still made about 4 servings. I left out the nutmeg since I'm not really a fan, and I think next time I may use half an onion instead of the whole thing.

Toasted Orzo with Peas & Parmesan
Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventures, adapted from Cook's Illustrated

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 pound orzo
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
10 oz frozen peas
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper to taste

In 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. It will start to foam around the edges and when foaming subsides, add onion and 3/4-teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened and starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add orzo and cook, stirring frequently until the orzo starts to toast and is lightly browned and golden, 5 to 6 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the chicken broth. Turn on the flame to a medium-high heat and bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has been absorbed and orzo is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

With rubber spatula, stir in peas, Parmesan, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Let stand off heat until peas are heated through, about 2 minutes; adjust seasoning with salt and serve.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lemon-Herb Butter Roasted Chicken

For a long time I have been intimidated by whole chickens. There is always a fear that I will not know how long to cook it and it will come out dry and tough, or certain parts will cook faster than others, resulting in a baking catastrophe. I finally decided to just go for it, and each time my chicken has come out great.

I knew I had to try this recipe the moment I read it, and I was not disappointed. This resulted in a very tender, moist and flavorful bird that I can't wait to make again. This would also be a great meal to impress your dinner guests with:)
Lemon-Herb Butter Roasted Chicken
Source: The Southern Gourmand
1 4lb whole chicken
2 garlic cloves, smashed
4 garlic cloves, whole
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
Half stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 whole lemon, halved
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken in a roasting dish with the breasts facing up. Remove gizzards. Make a small incision under the skin at the neck and burrow with the knife to create room under the skin.

In a food processor or blender, combine butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, 2 rosemary sprigs and smashed garlic. Pulse until well blended.

Season chicken with salt and pepper both inside and out. Rub butter mixture over skin and inside the cavity and the burrow created earlier by the knife.

Place whole lemon, 2 rosemary sprigs and 4 whole garlic cloves in cavity. Cook chicken 15 minutes for each pound plus 15 minutes (ex: 4 lb chicken will cook for an hour and 15 minutes). Chicken is thoroughly cooked when juices run clear when pricked with fork.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Herb-Rubbed Grilled Chicken with Creamy Orzo

I'm sorry for the lack of picture here, but it was dark by the time we ate and none of my pictures came out well enough to post, but you can check out Annie's picture to see the deliciousness.This is such an easy weeknight meal, and what makes it even better is it's delicious, and only takes two pans so clean up is easy! This meal can come together in less than 30 minutes, and it is a complete meal in one. This will become one of my go-to meals when I'm short for time or lacking dinner inspiration.

Herb-Rubbed Grilled Chicken with Creamy Orzo
Source: Annie's Eats, adapted from Smells Like Home

8 oz. orzo pasta, uncooked
2 chicken breasts, butterflied into halves (4 pieces total)
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices
2 cups broccoli florets
½ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.

Season both sides of the chicken breast halves with salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly with the Herbes de Provence. Heat the olive oil in a 12- or 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breast halves to the pan and cook about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallot to the pan and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute, until fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes with juices and the broccoli florets to the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer over medium-low. Cover and let cook until the broccoli florets are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked orzo, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Mix until well blended and the cheese has melted. If necessary, add some of the reserved pasta water to smooth out the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pizza Bites

Judging by the picture above, can you tell these pizza bites were a hit? I forgot to take a picture before people dug in, but you get the picture. A little ball of dough, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese-what's not to love?! This dish is actually easier to prepare than it looks, especially when using already prepared dough. I would like to try my hand at making my own pizza dough, but for now I'm okay with sticking with the convenience of having it done for me.

I recently discovered Trader Joe's fresh pizza dough, which is what I used to make these. I used whole wheat, but they also have white and (I've heard) some kind of herb dough. And better yet, the dough was only about 99 cents!

Next time I make these I will definitely use more pepperoni (only used one slice per dough ball), and maybe a bigger cube of cheese. I was kind of hesitant about how much filling could fit in each dough ball, and as it turns out they fit more than I expected. The hubby enjoyed these, but he thought they had too much dough and not enough filling. These could also be made with a variety of toppings, so experiment with your favorites and if you come up with a good one let me know:)

Pizza Bites
Source: Annie's Eats, inspired by Chaos in the Kitchen

Homemade, frozen or refridgerated pizza dough (enough for one pizza)
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed (about 20-24 pieces)
Sliced pepperoni

For topping:
Olive oil
Italian seasoning
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan. Divide the pizza dough into 20-24 roughly equal sized pieces. Take one of the dough pieces, top with a cube of cheese and a slice or two of pepperoni. Pull the edges of the dough around the fillings and pinch closed. Place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.

Lightly brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm, with dipping sauce as desired.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Roll-Ups

Will someone have a party please so I have an excuse to make these again? Or just invite me over and I'll bring you a snack? Normally I'm not a fan of the traditional roll-ups that people make, but these, oh these roll-ups are FANTASTIC! The original recipe was for a dip, with the roll-ups as an alternative way to serve it, and I think the dip would be great as well.

I used jalepeno-cilantro wraps I found in the grocery store, and the green color really complimented the filling. The hubby said these tasted more like salsa than enchiladas, which I could kind of agree with, but I could also really see the filling being used in traditional enchiladas. Either way, this recipe is a winner in my book.

Chicken Enchilada Roll-Ups
Source: Annie's Eats, adapted from Sing for Your Supper, originally from Come On Over Cookbook from Gooseberry Patch

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, pepper jack, etc.)
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
Handful of cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained well
4-6 8-inch tortillas

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook in a skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and let cool. (I baked the chicken rather than using a skillet)

In the meantime, combine all of the remaining ingredients except tortillas in a large mixing bowl. Mix until well blended. Once the chicken is cool, transfer to a cutting board and chop or shred into small pieces. Add the chicken to the filling mixture and stir well to incorporate.

Spread a thin layer of the filling mixture over a tortilla, leaving a small border clear around the edge. Roll the tortilla up tightly into a spiral. Place the rolled up tortilla on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut into 1- to 1½-inch thick segments. Transfer to a serving platter and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Ah Valentine's Day. It's fair to say this is a holiday that is not really that important to either of us. However, it is one of the few days out of the year where the man is okay with going out for a nice dinner, so I jump all over that opportunity! To save some money and have an excuse to bake, this year I wanted to make a fancy dessert to enjoy at home, and nothing seemed more festive than red velvet.

Cheesecake has always intimidated me, but it turns out it is fairly simple. It is a bit time consuming, with the baking, cooling, chilling etc but I am proud to say that this turned out really well for me. This cheesecake is very rich, and a little piece goes a long way. Because there are so many other cheesecake flavors I want to try now, I'm not sure if I will make this again, but it's worth it at least once!

Red Velvet Cheesecake
Source: Annie's Eats, adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp. sugar

For the cheesecake:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
2 (1 oz.) bottles red food coloring

For the topping:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. To make the crust, combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and sugar in a small bowl. Mix together with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. To make the filling, beat together the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium-low speed for 1 minute. Add eggs, unsweetened cocoa powder, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla extract, vinegar and food coloring. Mix on low speed just until fully combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 300 degrees F, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the center is firm. Turn off the oven, prop the door open slightly, and let the cheesecake stand 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven; cool in the pan on a wire rack for 3o minutes. Run a thin knife around the outside edge of the cake to separate from the pan. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.

To make the topping, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and spread the topping evenly over the cheesecake. Remove sides of springform. Garnish if desired.

Monday, February 15, 2010

S'more Cupcakes

If you are on a diet, watching your weight or a chocolate hater, please leave this entry. If you are still reading, then you must promise to make these at some point. These cupcakes are heavenly, or in the words of my mother-in-law, "to die for." Seriously though, these cupcakes are amazing. The combination of graham cracker batter with the chocolate batter, and the gooey marshallow melted inside is so good. These are very rich, and actually almost forced me to drink a glass of milk (which I would never actually do, but it means something for me to even think about drinking milk!) Sadly, the hubby and I only got one each as I gave the rest to my coworkers and in-laws. So far, this was one of the best received treats I have brought to work, with exception of the Tiramisu Bundt Cake, which I never blogged about so I should probably make it again!

These cupcakes are actually pretty simple to put together, although they may take a little extra time than normal because there are a couple steps involved. These would also be really fun to make with kids, as they could take care of the marshmallow and crumb topping parts. So Abby, if you are reading and have all these ingredients in Dubai, I would love to make these with my little man when we come visit:)

S'more Cupcakes
Source: Bakerella
Makes 14-16 cupcakes


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup oil
6 jumbo marshmallows cut in half, plus more for decorating

Graham Cracker Crumb topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together with a wire whisk.
Separate the mixture in half into two bowls.

Stir cocoa into one bowl and the graham cracker crumbs into the other.

Add 1/2 cup milk, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup oil to the cocoa mixture and beat on medium until combined.

Repeat adding the same ingredients to the graham cracker crumb flour mixture.

Prepare the graham cracker crumb topping.
Add the brown sugar and crumbs in a small bowl and pour on the melted butter. Stir until combined.

Pour a little graham cracker cake batter into the bottom of your baking cups and then sprinkle the topping mixture lightly on the surface. Place a marshmallow half on top and then cover the marshmallow with the chocolate cake batter until it is about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with more topping mixture.

Bake cupcakes for about 15 minutes. Place a cookie sheet underneath when you bake just in case. I had a little bit ooze over into the oven. Oops.

This recipe will make at least 12 cupcakes. I had a some batter from each left over so you can probably get more like 14-16.

Let cool and top with ganache.
Heat the butter and cream on the stove. Heat until just before it boils. Remove and pour over chocolate. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Pour over cupcakes and add more marshmallows if you desire.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

(sorry, no picture of the finished product this time, just the ingredients)

Where should I begin with this dish? How simple it is to throw together? How it has a sweet taste with a fiery kick? How there are multiple uses for leftovers? Or how delicious it is?

This pulled chicken really has it all. I've never been a fan of pulled pork or anything with barbeque sauce, but this chicken is a winner. The chipotle chilies give it a smokey flavor, while everything else meshes together wonderfully without tasting too much like barbeque.

This makes a lot of food, and you can get creative with the leftovers. Mix up some chicken with black beans and cheese and you have an awesome quesadilla; heat up and serve over rice; whip up a small batch of enchiladas; and obviously, serve on a bun.

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken
Source: Apple a Day, adapted from

1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce
2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely minced
1/4 c. cider vinegar
3 TBSP honey
1 TBSP plus 2 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
3 tsp. dry mustard
1 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp. salt
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts, trimmed of fat (I used 1 1/2 lbs. of each)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced


1. Stir tomato sauce, chiles, vinegar, honey, paprika, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, chili powder and salt in a 6-quart slow cooker until smooth. Add chicken, onion and garlic; stir to combine.

2. Put the lid on and cook on low until the chicken can be pulled apart, about 5-6 hours.

3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Return the chicken to the sauce, stir well and serve. Serves 8-10.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti

Sometimes there's nothing better than a hot cup of coffee in the morning. Add in one of these crunchy biscotti and you have the perfect breakfast. I've never made biscotti before, but it was surprisingly simple, and tasted as good as I imagined.

Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti
Source: Joy the Baker
makes about 24 cookies

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla

For Topping:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 beaten egg (for brushing biscotti before baking)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and arrange two baking racks in the upper portion of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Also whisk together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the down and beat in the egg followed by the egg yolk. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter all at once. With the mixer or just with a spatula, bring all of the ingredients together until a somewhat stiff dough is formed.

Divide the dough in two on the two baking sheets. Shape each half of dough into a 9-inch long and 1 1/2-inch wide log. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle very generously with cinnamon sugar. Bake the two sheets on two different racks in the oven for 20 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheets for even baking and bake for 20-25 more minutes until golden and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven but keep the oven on. Let biscotti cool until able to handle. Using a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch wide diagonal slices. Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar. Bake again until pale golden, about 10-15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hoisin Chicken Stir-fry

Stir-fry holds a fond place in my heart. My mom makes awesome stir-fry. Of course, growing up I wouldn't eat any of the 'gross stuff' she put in it. She would also make it with chicken and beef, but being that beef used to be a choking hazard for me, I would stand at the stove and pick out only chicken, making sure to keep all the icky stuff off my plate.

But I am a grown up now, which means cooking with and eating vegetables, which is a good thing because vegetables are the bulk of what makes up stir-fry. This recipe is so easy, and has great flavor. However, I'm still craving my mom's, so next time around I'll be making her's!

Hoisin Chicken Stir-Fry
Source: Adapted from Cooking Light
(I heavily adapted this recipe for ease and what I had on hand)


white or brown rice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and thinly sliced
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon honey
4 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
1 bag frozen stir-fry vegetables
1 tsp ground ginger
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped green onions


Prepare rice as directed on package.

Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce and chicken, tossing to coat. Set aside.
Combine remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, broth, hoisin, cornstarch, and honey in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil to pan. Stir in vegetables, ginger, and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Return chicken mixture to pan; stir in broth mixture. Simmer 2 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in green onions. Serve chicken mixture over the rice.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Healthy and Hearty Chicken and Quinoa Stew

Last week I got pretty sick and all I wanted was some good chicken noodle soup. I got sent home from my internship on Tuesday and I stopped at Rainbow on my way to pick up some soup....I was less than impressed. I waited all week to have some time and energy to make this, and it was well worth the wait.

A slight twist on traditional chicken soup, but the combination of flavors from the veggies, dijon and hot sauce are pretty delicious. And if you've never heard of or tasted quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), this is an awesome use for it. It was actually my first time having it, but it is a great source of protein, essential amino acids and fiber. It can usually be found in the organic section by the rice/couscous/pasta, but I bought mine from the bulk section at Whole Foods.

This stew takes a bit of time to prep as there is a lot of chopping involved, but once everything is prepped the work is basically done. This makes a ton of soup, so we had leftovers and were able to freeze a bunch in case one of us gets sick again!

Healthy and Hearty Chicken Quinoa Stew
Source: Picky Palate

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 Cups sweet pepper, chopped
1 large zucchini, quartered and sliced (I omitted, and just used a little extra celery and carrot)
64 oz chicken broth
15 oz can diced tomatoes
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cubed into 1 inch pieces
3 Cups cooked quinoa
4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked, shredded and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce
Kosher Salt, fresh cracked black pepper and Lawry’s Garlic Salt with Parsley to taste
1 1/2 Cups fresh parsley, chopped

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion, celery, carrots, peppers and zucchini until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and tomatoes and potatoes. Increase heat to high just until broth starts to boil. Reduce to medium high and cook potatoes for 10 minutes or until fork tender. Reduce heat to low and stir in quinoa, chicken, dijon mustard, hot sauce and season to taste w/ salt, pepper and Lawry’s. Stir in fresh parsley and simmer until ready to serve.

8-10 servings

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Italian Sausage Calzones

A few months ago while strolling through the freezer section of the grocery store, a package of frozen bread dough popped into view and I just had to buy it. Now, weeks later, I got sick of seeing them in my freezer so I decided that attempting calzones would be a great chance to use up one of the loaves. These turned out incredibly well and were actually really easy. I can't wait to make them again and experiment with different ingredients.

Italian Sausage Calzones
Source: Kitchen Escapes original

1 lb. frozen bread dough, thawed according to package (I used Rhodes)
1 cup pizza sauce, plus more for dipping if you choose
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2-3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb italian sausage
10-15 pepperoni slices, cut in half
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbls olive oil
Italian Seasoning, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; lightly grease a baking sheet

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add italian sausage and cook until browned. Add 1 cup pizza sauce and pepperoni, heat through.

Meanwhile, combine ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, a few dashes of italian seasoning, and half of beaten egg. Mix well and set aside.

Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Roll one piece into a roughly 8" circle. Add 1/4 sauce mixture and 1/4 cheese mixture over one half of circle, spread to within 3/4" of edge. Fold dough over so it completely covers filling, and edges line up. Crimp edges tightly with a fork, transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough.

Combine remaining half of egg with a splash of water; brush top of each calzone with egg wash. Sprinkle more italian seasoning on top.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with extra sauce if you wish.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cauliflower Pie with Grated Potato Crust

Cauliflower pie...sounds intriguing doesn't it? This little side dish is really unlike anything I have had before. However, I realized once I started eating it that a couple things were off. First, I did not let the potatoes bake long enough, so I was expecting a nice crunchy bottom, but instead it was a bit mushy. Second, I think I would prefer this if the cauliflower was baked at a higher temperature, to make it have more of a 'roasted' flavor and texture, and less crunch. This could also be remedied by making sure all the cauliflower florets are very small. Last, I would add more cheese, because everything is better a bit cheesier:)

Cauliflower Pie with Grated Potato Crust
Source: Branny Boils Over, adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook

For the potato crust
2 cups packed grated raw potatoes (red potatoes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white, beaten
1/4 cup grated onion

For the Filling
1/2 cup packed grated strong cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup parmesean cheese (or more cheddar)
1 medium cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup chopped onion
1 dash thyme
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
black pepper

Combine grated potato with salt, onion, and beaten egg. Press into a 9″ pan (I used a 10″ springform) that has been brushed with oil. Bake in a preheated 400* oven for 30-40 minutes until it browns. Remove from oven and lower temperature to 350*.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese over pie crust.

Meanwhile, saute chopped onion in a nonstick pan with thyme, basil, and salt. Add garlic and cook lightly. Add pepper to taste. Break cauliflower up into small florets (I encourage you to just pulse in a food processor until chunky). Combine onion mixture with cauliflower and remaining cheddar cheese. Pour into prepared pie crust. Beat together milk with egg and pour over vegetable mixture. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Filling will appear dry.

Bake for 40 minutes until tender and delicious. Let set 5-10 minutes before unmolding (if using a springform pan).

5 servings

Calories 228.8
Total Fat 4.9 g
Saturated Fat 2.6 g
Protein 12.0 g

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Garlic Rice Pilaf

(photo source: Stephanie Cooks)

We were so hungry that I forgot to take a picture! This is a really light, quick side dish that would pair great with most proteins. The garlic and onion taste was very subtle, so maybe next time I'll actually measure out roughly 1/8 tsp. of each. I love that this uses a mix of rice and orzo, because rice can tend to get really boring, and orzo is awesome. I think this will be a great addition to our side dish repetoire.

Garlic Rice Pilaf
Source: Stephanie Cooks
Serves 2-3

1/4 cup white rice (not instant)
1/4 cup orzo
1-1.5 cups of chicken broth
Garlic powder to taste
Onion powder to taste
Cooking spray

Spray a small saucepan with cooking spray. Add the orzo and rice.

Allow the rice mixture to lightly brown. Pour in the chicken broth and seasonings. Turn the heat down low, cover the sauce pan. Allow it to cook until the liquid absorbs (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.

** 2 Weight Watchers points per 1/2 cup serving.