Sunday, July 5, 2015

Grilled Pesto Pizza

I don't know why I've never tried grilled pizza before! It's so easy and tastes like you slaved all day in the kitchen! If you need a quick meal for entertaining, I definitely recommend this. You can make the dough ahead of time and then just throw everything together on the grill when the guests are there.

I used Emeril's pizza dough recipe below. It was easy and simple. I wasn't sure how long to keep the mixer going, but it took about 10 mins for the dough to ball up the hook and allow me to transport it into a bowl. 

Then I added the topping of my choosing. My basil has been thriving in my garden. So you know pesto was in the future! I paired it with some steak and peppadew peppers. If you're not sure where to find peppadew, check the salad bar area at your grocery store like Kroger. It's not really spicy, has a bit of sweetness to it. It was a great pairing with the basil pesto and steak. 

Grilled Pesto Pizza


2 c basil
1 clove garlic
1/2 - 3/4 c olive oil 
Salt and pepper to taste

5 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
5 oz smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb Sirloin steak
1 c Peppadew pepper, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for drizzling

Make the pizza dough ahead of time (see recipe at the end).

To make the pesto, combine the basil and garlic in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Then season with salt and pepper. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use. (Pesto is usually made with pine nuts. I usually add any nuts I have in the pantry but I didn't have any this time. Also usually like to add lime juice.  It still worked out well for this. But feel free to use any pesto you like.)

Next, season the steak with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Grill until it's done to your liking. Let it rest for a few mins, then slice into strips. 

To assemble the pizza:
Take your prepared rolled out pizza dough, brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
Grill over medium heat for about 3 mins until you get nice chargrilled marks. Then flip the dough over. Layer with pesto, arugula, cheese, steak and peppadew. Grill until the cheese had melted, about 3 mins. If your dough is cooking too fast and your cheese hasn't melted, turn the heat to low and close the grill lid. Monitor your pizza though. Enjoy!

Pizza Dough Recipe:


1 cup warm water, about 110 degrees F
1 packet dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/4 cups flour (may use a little more or less)
1/2 teaspoon salt


To the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm water and yeast and sugar and stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the olive oil, flour, and salt. Mix with the dough hook until the dough comes together and climbs up the dough hook. Remove the dough from the mixer and, on a floured surface, form into a smooth ball shape. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a clean towel. Place in a warm, draft free place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll to desired size.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Bistro quality burger

A burger topped with caramelized onion and blue cheese spread. Yum...

For the caramelized onions:
4 large onions, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil

For the burger patties:
3 lb ground chuck
1 lb ground sirloin
Garlic salt
Onion powder
Smoked paprika
Chili powder
Dried parsley
Cayenne pepper

For the blue cheese sauce:
1/4 c mayo
1/4 c fat free sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped chives
.3 lb crumbled blue cheese
Salt and pepper to your liking 

For the burgers:
12 Kaiser Buns
Arugula for topping

To caramelize onions:
Heat butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and generous pinch of salt. Occasionally stir and cook for about an hour until the onions are caramelized. 

To prepare the burger:
Mix both ground meat together and portion out the meat to 1/3 lb each. You should get 12 patties after portioning them out. Shape them into parties. Next season the parties with the garlic salt and next 7 spices. Grill the burger patties to your liking. 

To prepare the blue cheese sauce:
Mix all the blue cheese sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. 

To serve:
Toast the buns with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Place one cooked burger patty on a bun, top with caramelized onions, arugula, and the blue cheese sauce. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Artichoke Bacon Ravioli

When I worked at Comcast, one of my good friends would often eat Trader Joe's pasta. She loved Trader Joe's and so did many others. Unfortunately there isn't one too close to me so I never got to experience this "great" place. 

Until this weekend...we were in the area and in need of groceries. Trader Joe's had a lot more prepared items then raw ingredients. It was kinda difficult for me because I wanted to buy everything. And I ended up just picking up anything that caught my eye. Artichoke ravioli, pesto tortellini, truffled ravioli, bacon cheddar cheese, pesto cheese, curry marinated chicken, you name it!

When I got home though, I realized I didn't plan out my meals well. What was I to pair together? And I had a lot of carbs here! I decided to try the artichoke ravioli with the bacon cheddar cheese. Why not?

You can't really taste the artichoke in the ravioli. I get more of the olive flavor than artichoke. The bacon cheddar sauce was what made this dish. Its smoky flavor really was the star. They say everything is better with bacon, right?

Artichoke Bacon Ravioli

9 oz pkg Trader Joe's Artichoke Ravioli
1 tbsp unsalted butter 
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 c 2% reduced fat milk
1 c Trader Joe's bacon cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
Chopped chives

Cook the ravioli according to the package's instructions. 

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for about a minute to cook out the raw flour. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a gentle boil then slowly stir in the cheese. Bring to a gentle simmer then reduce the heat to medium low. Cook until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the cooked ravioli and top with chives. Enjoy!

Fresh Creamed Corn

Creamed corn. You might think of the canned stuff that is all milky, and think it has some cream in it based on the name.  What if I told you you can make creamed corn in 30 mins from just fresh corn? No cream. And to make it even more special, let's throw in some bacon. Everything is better with bacon right??

Fresh Creamed Corn

3 ears corn
4 slices bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig lemon thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper
Chopped chives for topping

In a deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, until crisp. (I used center cut bacon which is less in fat, but gives enough fat to coat the corn and still crisped up like I needed.) When the bacon is cooked and crispy, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside for later. 

To prepare the corn, first shuck the corn. Using a large shallow dish as your working bowl, use a chef's knife to cut half the corn kernel off the cob. (The working bowl should catch the cut kernels.) Then with the back of the knife, carefully scrape off the remaining kernel on the cob. You'll notice that this method will extract the corn juice from the kernel and cob. This is the natural cream you're looking for. You should have about equal parts kernel and liquid. 

Turn the skillet you cooked the bacon in to low heat. Add the corn kernel and liquid to the bacon fat. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally for 30 mins. 

Then transfer to a bowl. Chop the cooked bacon from earlier. Mix in the chopped bacon and top with chives. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Creamy Polenta

Needed a side with our Valentine's Day steak dinner. It was last minute so I turned to the pantry. We had some yellow corn meal in the pantry. In just 20 mins we had some creamy polenta with our steak! 

Bring 2 tsp kosher salt and 4 c water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Whisk in 1 c of yellow corn meal, and cook, whisking constantly, 45 seconds. By whisking the grits into the boiling water, it'll encourage even, lump-free cooking. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. Return to a boil; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Covering the  meal while they simmer in a pot reduces the cook time by more than half. It also allows the polenta to retain their flavor and texture as they cook to a velvety consistency. Cook 20-25 mins or until tender. For a looser consistency, whisk in 2-4 tbsp water halfway through cooking. Stir in 2 1/2 - 4 tbsp butter until melted. I also added in some cheese. I had feta around, but any other would work. Adding fat is the final ingredient to add that natural creaminess. Season with salt and enjoy!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Herbed Spaghetti Squash

I've never had spaghetti squash before. It  was actually pretty good! I tossed it in a homemade pesto made of parsley. It was a great way to eat a new veggie, and was flavorful and healthy! You know it's January and most are watching their weight. So I encourage you to give this recipe a try!

Note: be careful cutting the squash. It's pretty tough cutting down the middle from the top. I found it easier to stab it in the middle of the squash and try cutting it in half that way. Also helps to call over your strong husband to help cut it ��

Herbed Spaghetti Squash

1 med spaghetti squash
1 lg garlic clove
1/4 c pecan
1/2 bunch parsley
1/4 c olive oil, plus more for drizzling 
1/4 c San Pietro-Honeywax cheese, grated (or Asiago)
1 1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
Salt and pepper for seasoning 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Drizzle the cut sides of the squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then place the spaghetti squash cut side down on the baking sheet. 
Cut the top off of the garlic clove. Place the clove in aluminum foil. Drizzle the cut clove with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Gather the foil together and place on the baking sheet with the squash. Bake for about 35-40 mins until tender. Let it cool enough until ready to handle. Taking a fork, scoop out the flesh of the squash into a bowl. It should resemble spaghetti strands. 
To make the pesto: In a food processor, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the bowl. Add the pecan, parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt. Process until chopped, then slowly add the 1/4 c olive oil. Mix in the cheese and lime juice. Toss the pesto with the spaghetti squash. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Potato Pinchos

I discovered pinchos reading through the Food Network Magazine. It's basically a Spanish appetizer served on a toothpick. This is a really easy and great idea from the Food Network Magazine. You can also customize it to your liking. 

The first time I made it I used Manchego cheese as the recipe indicated. 

The second time I made it, I used Chile Jack with Hatch Pepper cheese made by Great Midwest that I found at Sam's Club. It's a Monterary Jack cheese with Habanero, Hatch, and Chipotle Peppers with added smoke flavor. I loved it and so did the party guests. The cheese added more flavor and a slight kick to these easy appetizers. 

Unfortunately Food Network Magazine didn't list out ratios for this recipe. Below is approximately the ratio I used so hopefully you will give these a shot as well! 

Potato Pinchos

In a pot, add a couple of Yukon potatoes, cover with water, and salt the water with some kosher salt. Bring to a boil until fork tender. Not too tender. You do not want it where it’s too soft. You want it to be able to pick them up and eat.

When cooked, drain the boiled potatoes and let cool enough to handle. Peel the potato skin. Then slice into about ¼  inch thick rounds. Then slice each round in half (it makes it easier to eat, otherwise it’d be too big).

In a small mixing bowl, mix together about ¼ cup of mayo, 1 tablespoon chopped capers, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, salt and pepper to your liking. Spread some of the mayo sauce on each sliced potato round. Then top each with a slice of the Chile Jack with Hatch Pepper cheese, slice of dried chorizo, and a piece of sliced green olive with pimento. Skewer with toothpicks and enjoy!