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Brussels Sprout & Bacon Pizza

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OK, stay with me.  I know it might seem a bit strange to combine Brussels sprouts and pizza.  But there's bacon, so everything will be alright.

Speaking of being alright.  It's SPRING!  Granted, we're only on Day 2 of Spring, and tomorrow we're reverting back to winter....but we're living for the here and now, right?  I went out last night for a late dinner with a friend and we celebrated by walking over to the restaurant without the painful feeling of a brutal wind on our face.  Then we had pineapple jalapeno mojitos and Cuban food, which was divine!

Today I'm actually going to workout for a bit indoors.  I'm not super happy about it, but the tostones and yellow rice and peas from last night are not going to work themselves off.  Until my class starts, I plan to don my athleisure-wear, walk around in the sun with an iced coffee and try to be as basic as possible.

What's not basic is this pizza.  It's a combination of my recent obsession with Brussels sprouts and my ongoing obsession with bacon.  And of course we can't forget that this is fundamentally a pizza!  This is not necessarily a MUCH healthier version of a pizza, but it does put an interesting spin on a dish that we can overlook sometimes when it comes to homemade meals.  And you can't deny that you will also be eating your greens.  Even though they're covered in cheese and served on bread....

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Brussels Sprouts & Bacon Pizza
makes 4 servings

Print Recipe

  • 10 oz bag shaved Brussels Sprouts (from Trader Joe's) or 1/2 lb Brussels Sprouts, shredded
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper (about 1/4 - 1/8 tsp of each)
  • 1 lb store bought pizza dough (one 16 ounce package)
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup manchego cheese, shredded
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • cooking spray

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2) Spray a lined baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place the Brussels sprouts on a pan in a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste.

3) On another lined baking sheet, spread out the bacon slices.

3) Place both baking sheets in the oven.  Roast the Brussels sprouts for 10 minutes.  The bacon should be done after 10 minutes, but if you like really crispy bacon, allow them to bake for a few more minutes.

4) Remove the bacon from the oven and chop into bite-sized pieces.  Set aside.

5) Roll out the pizza dough and stretch it to fit on a sheet pan.

6) Top the pizza dough with the Brussels sprouts, then the crumbled bacon, and then the manchego cheese.  Sprinkle the herbs and spices on top.

7) Bake the pizza for 10-13 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the dough has taken on a golden brown color.

8) Slice and serve immediately.

--recipe adapted from Abra's Kitchen

 

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White Spinach Pizza

I feel as if this pizza is a great segway into summer.  We're now starting to relax a bit more and throw together recipes that don't take a lot of time.  Who wants to be in the kitchen making food when it's nice outside?  Not me!  Unfortunately this recipe does require you to turn on the oven, but it's only for a short while, so we can handle that.  I mean, this pizza has spinach on it, so it's truly the epitome of health, right?  Let's not think about the cheese and the carbs.  Just let me live!

Speaking of living, I'm visiting the American Museum of Natural History today.  In spite of living so so sp close to NYC and being in the city practically every day, I'm the absolute worst at making sure I take advantage of everything offered.  So today I am heading back to see the dinosaurs and the mummies and of course, the Hayden Planetarium.  If I'm super lucky, maybe I'll also see Neil deGrasse Tyson (!!!).  Life goals!

But first, let's eat pizza!

 

White Spinach Pizza

Print Recipe

  • 1 package prepared pizza dough, brought to room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 8 ounces frozen spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/8 medium red onion
  • 2 ounces goat cheese


1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2) Place the frozen spinach in the microwave.  Heat until warmed through.  Squeeze to remove excess water.

3) Add the garlic powder, salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Stir through to incorporate.

4) Sprinkle in the mozzarella and stir once again.  Set aside.

5) Stretch the pizza dough over the prepared baking sheet until it forms a 12" circle.

6) Drizzle the olive oil over the pizza and brush to spread evenly.  Add the pesto and use a brush to also spread this in an even layer.

7) Top with the spinach and cheese mix.  Add the onion slices, and then sprinkle the goat cheese on top.

8) Bake the pizza for 10-13 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your pizza.

9) Once out of the oven, sprinkle with more freshly cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.  Allow the pizza to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

--slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I was sort of surprised that, with all the hummus recipes I've posted over the years, I've never delved into a roasted red pepper version.  I think it due to two things -

1. I used to dislike red peppers.  I've really only started to love red peppers in the past year or two.  Once I realized this was a vegetable for me, I have been roasting and sauteing it like it's my job.  Not all of these ventures have made it to the blog, but a decent amount of it has. 

2. I've also been skeptical about roasting my own peppers at home.  This is my first foray into doing this and it was unbelievably simple!  No more skepticism here!

So let's get into it and make sure we jump on that roasted red pepper hummus train.  No excuses!
 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 2 medium-to-large red peppers
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
     

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2) Slice red peppers in half and remove the seeds.  Place the peppers sliced side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

3) Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.  Do not move the peppers during this time.

4) Remove the peppers from the oven.  Place on a cutting board and cover with a large bowl to steam them for 15 minutes.

5) Gently peel the skins off the peppers and place them in a food processor.

6) Add the chickpeas, peanut butter, garlic, lemon juice, and seasonings to the food processor as well.

7) Drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is running.  Add more oil or water to bring it to your desired consistency.  Taste and add more seasonings as necessary.

Zucchini Salami Pizza

I cannot claim credit for this pizza, as much as I would really love to.  This creation comes to you by way of Harry's Italian Pizza Bar (I did a review of Harry's a few years ago here).  I didn't order this pizza on that trip, but on another recent visit to Harry's, this pizza became known to me.  It was love at first bite.  I immediately knew I was going to recreate this at home because I wasn't waiting for another trip to the restaurant.  Plus, what else are food blogs for, if not to experiment at home!

Now, zucchini and salami are not at the forefront of my mind when I think of a perfect pizza topping combo, but I will say that they are amazing together.  The zucchini is crisp and fresh while the salami is salty and chewy.  These two textures and flavors combine to make a sensational pizza experience that I will be recreating every chance I get!
 

Zucchini Salami Pizza

Print Recipe

  • 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup diced salami
  • 2-4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds
  • 1 batch pizza dough (homemade or store-bought)

Prep the zucchini:

1) Cut the zucchini into rounds.  Stack the rounds, and then slice into matchsticks.  Spread the matchsticks out on a layer of paper towels and sprinkle the salt over the zucchini.  Set aside for 15-20 minutes.

2) After the time is up, use paper towels to blot the excess water that has extruded from the zucchini.


Assemble the pizza:

3) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

4) Spread the pizza dough over the prepared baking sheet until it is the desired size.

5) Spread the basil pesto over the dough, leaving about 1" border around the edges.

6) Place the mozzarella on top of the pesto.

7) Cover the mozzarella with the zucchini matchsticks and the salami.

8) Bake the pizza for 15 - 17 minutes, or until it reaches the desired level of done-ness.

9) Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  If desired, top with oregano, black pepper, and or basil before slicing and serving.

Pesto Goat Cheese Flatbread

Folks, I'd like to present to you...a GREEN PIE.

Yes, that's right.  We're covering both Pi Day and St. Patrick's Day in one blog post.  This was a happy accident.  I'm (once again!) cleaning out my refrigerator and freezer.  I found pizza dough, pesto, and goat cheese.  I love all of those things, so of course I'd love them together, right?

Being a self-proclaimed nerd, I knew that Pi Day - March 14th - was coming up, so I wanted to showcase a pie.  Pizza = pie!  Just so you know.  Also.  St. Patty's Day is March 17th.  If there is any holiday that we take seriously in Hoboken, it's St. Patty's Day.  In fact, we already celebrated last weekend, on March 4th. But don't you worry...we'll celebrate again on the 17th.  No missed opportunities over here!

I love how this flatbread turned out.  It's a quick and tasty snack.  It would pair well with a creamy soup, or it can be eaten on its own if desired.  I made mine ever-so-slightly more healthy with the addition of sprouts, but these are not necessary.  Any way you want you want to slice it (pun intended), this is a delicious choice.

 

Pesto Goat Cheese Flatbread

Print Recipe

  • 1 batch garlic herb or regular pizza dough (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 2 - 4 ounces goat cheese
  • freshly cracked black pepper (optional)
  • sprouts (optional)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) Use floured hands to spread the pizza dough over the baking sheet until it is the desired size.

3) Spread the pesto evenly over the dough.

4) Slice or crumble the goat cheese.  Place the cheese evenly on top of the pesto.

5) Bake until the pizza dough is as crispy as desired, about 10 - 15 minutes.

6) Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 5 minutes before slicing as desired.

7) Optional - Sprinkle the pizza with the black pepper, sprouts, and red pepper flakes before serving.

8) Serve warm!

Curry Fries

I cannot contain my excitement any longer.  I had another recipe planned to post today but it wasn't nearly as exciting as these curry fries are (in my opinion)!

Typically I wouldn't make a recipe like this because it's what I call a "two-parter".  I have to make the curry sauce and then I have to make the fries.  However, we are talking about fries, which are my spirit animal.  (Just go with this analogy please). 

When my mom and I traveled to Edinburgh last fall, we stopped at a cute restaurant for dinner after trekking up to the Edinburgh castle for a few hours.  We were famished and we ordered quite a few dishes.  Since we both love curry and I have an obsession with fries, we decided to order the curry fries.  It might have been the best food decision of the trip.  I knew I needed to recreate this once I returned to the States.

Of course it's taken my months to get around to it...but I've finally made it happen!  Can I also just give a shout out to Trader Joe's for their out-of-this-world frozen fries?  Seriously, I'm never making fries from scratch again when they can be this good with minimal effort.  Bravo Trader Joe's.  You're taking over the world with your Movie Popcorn and Frozen French Fries.  I can dig this.

I also really dig this curry sauce.  I had some left over after I drenched the fries in it, but that just means that I had some the next night as leftovers!  That's a win-win situation right there.
 

Curry Fries
makes 4 servings

Print Recipe

For the curry sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced and seeded
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream

For the fries:

  • 2 lbs frozen fries
  • cooking spray
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red chili pepper
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese or paneer cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, for topping (optional)

Make the curry sauce:

1) Place a medium-sized pot over medium heat.  Add the oil and the butter.  Allow the butter to melt.

2) Add in the garlic, ginger powder, tomato paste, garam masala and curry powder.  Use a wooden spoon or spatula to toss the mixture together.  Allow the mixtures to cook for about 4 minutes, stirring every minute.

3) Toss in the tomatoes, water, and salt.  Allow the sauce to simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring periodically.

4) Remove the sauce from the heat.  Use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to puree the sauce to the desired texture. 

5) Add the sauce back to the pot and stir in the milk or cream until fully incorporated.  Cover the sauce with a lid and keep warm until time to serve.

Make the fries:

6) Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Add the frozen fries.  Toss the fries with all of the seasonings, reserving the cheese.

7) Bake according to the directions on the package.

8) Once the fries are done, add the desired serving amount to a plate or serving platter.  Drizzle with the warm curry sauce.  Top with the cheese if you are using it.  Serve immediately.

--recipe slightly adapted from Oven Baked Curry Fries

BBQ Chicken Nachos

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Are you ready for some football!

The New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons are playing this weekend in a little game called the Superbowl.  I'd like to point out that I'm not bitter AT ALL that my team, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost our game to the Patriots almost two weeks ago.  I'm not bitter.  Nope.

To bring me out of my funk (that was most definitely not caused by losing a kind of important game), I cooked.  More importantly, I baked.  Nachos.  This may be the easiest thing that I've ever thrown in the oven.  Despite the minimal effort, I was blown away by the amazing flavor that emerged.

Clearly I love nachos already.  Who doesn't?  But I ate almost half of this tray in one sitting.  Sometimes you just have to answer your calling.  Apparently my calling is to attempt to eat a bag of nachos all at once.  Who am I to say no to fate?

GO FALCONS!

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Edamame Avocado Hummus

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Happy New Year!!!

I'm super excited for a new start.  There's something about being forced to think about "starting over" that's a bit refreshing.  I guess it takes some of the pressure off having to declare it myself? Maybe...

You know what's also refreshing?  These Reese's Clusters chocolates which are chocolate-y and caramel-y and currently half price at CVS.  Calories don't count until next week, correct? I'm digressing...

OK, so let's get down with some real food.  Yum!  Did you know that I don't like most beans?  I'm partial only to garbanzo beans/chickpeas and soy beans/edamame.  All other beans can see their way out!

Today, we are making hummus with edamame and I'm super excited because it's healthy (to counteract the chocolate I'm eating) and it's tasty!  It's also so easy to make that you'll be whipping this up all the time.  I can use more easy peasy recipes in the new year, that's for sure.  If you don't have edamame at hand, I guarantee that the dash to your local grocery store will be worth it.  And think of all that cardio you can get in running there and back.  I'm already helping you work on your fitness in 2017.

Enjoy!!

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Minced Lamb with Rosemary Hummus

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It's vacation time!!! I'm hanging out in West Palm Beach this weekend with my old roommate and we are living it up!

By living it up, I mean we drank margaritas at midnight by ourselves on Thursday (midnight margs!).  Then we worked on Friday and that night, we sat on the couch, ordered Indian food and drank caramel apple mimosas.  So for the first 24 hours we went back to doing the same things we did when we lived together 3 years ago.  Same thing, different place.

Speaking of other things that are same, but still different, let's talk about this lamb and rosemary hummus!  I've been showering you with quite a few hummus recipes this year, but now I'd like to show you a different twist on this dish.  Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs so why not marry it with hummus? I'm also a huge fan of lamb, but I rarely make it, so I decided that these things should be brought together at the same time.

To be honest, I ate this as a meal.  As in, I sat down and ate this with pita bread and called it lunch and dinner.  No regrets!  If you want to live this kind of high life as well, I encourage you to make this!

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Chicken Pesto Pizza

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Remember how I was growing my own basil and how well it was going?  Well, friends, I'm sorry to say that my basil is definitely not looking its best.  In fact, some may say that it's mostly dead.  I'm holding out hope that it'll spring back.  I think it's been struggling due to the intense humidity we've faced for the past few weeks.  I also may have been over-watering it a tad.  I've cut back on my heavy-handedness with the H2O and the weather has been cooling down a bit so I'm seeing some promising signs that the basil may spring back to life.  Crossing my fingers and praying to the basil gods that the fight isn't over yet!

I wish I could have used my own home-grown basil to whip up a batch of pesto for this recipe, but it wasn't meant to be.  All the same, I have to say that this is one of my favorite pizzas ever.  I know that's a strong statement, but this combination of chicken, pesto, and corn, topped with an abundance of mozzarella cheese will not be ignored!  Can I eat this pizza for the rest of my life?  I dare you to not enjoy this!

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