not always as planned


Saturday I had this great idea to make these mini pizzas. It didn’t work the way I wanted and was totally discouraged. I’m going to share what I did anyways, just to show you dinner doesn’t always have to follow your plan for it to be balanced and delicious.

Here’s where I went wrong: I didn’t look up the recipe. Because I didn’t look it up, my measurements were off. I used 2 pounds of dough, with the intention of freezing at least half of my yield for the week after the wedding. I knew I wouldn’t be up for cooking the first couple days we were home – actually I probably won’t be up for grocery shopping, the cooking is easy. I have the hardest time with pizza dough. I canNOT get it to stretch out and form a nice thin crust. Never have been. I have found ways to make it work like par baking the crust so it doesn’t rise so much and won’t be gooey after we add toppings. So Saturday I knew the general idea of the recipe, put dough in muffin pans, top with goodies and bake. But my normal issue arose and I couldn’t get them flat. So I decided to just cut up the dough in 14 standard muffins and 10 mini muffins. I poked them with a fork so they wouldn’t puff too much and baked them for 10 minutes at 350. Meanwhile I chopped up some turkey meatballs. When the muffins were nearly finished (still a little doughy in the middle) I put them on a rack to cool.

Then a few hours later when it was time for dinner I preheat the oven to 350 and sliced the pizza dough muffins in half like a hamburger. Next was the assembly line. The muffin halves were lined up on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Each half got a dollop of tomato sauce, a sprinkling of meatball and then fresh grated parmesan and pecorino. They went back in the oven for 10 minutes until crispy and warmed through. We served it with a large salad. Not as intended, but still delicious.

We have the muffins left over and so when I am ready to use again I will defrost the night before then when it’s time for dinner I can get these guys ready in about 15 minutes.

Oh and we have a dog now… Unless his owner claims him before the wedding.
20120416-075612.jpg20120416-075622.jpg20120416-075633.jpg20120416-075649.jpg


Spicy Breakfast for dinner


The other day I mentioned a frittata I made. It was one of those fantastic things that you create with the random ingredients you have on hand. A few weeks ago I picked up my Bountiful Basket and also got a guacamole pack. There was so much food I was running out of inspiration to use everything before it went bad. I had this genius idea to make a Mexican-inspired frittata. You know, eggs, jalapeno, avocado, salsa, cheese, etc. I have only made a few frittatas in my day and only one of them has turned out well. Oddly enough it was the first one I ever made and I have not been able to duplicate the results until this Mexican frittata. Do you have some goodies laying around? Or feel like going out of your way to try my concoction? Here’s what you will need…

Mexican Frittata

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons shredded reduced fat cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In an oven-safe medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and stir to coat pan evenly. Meanwhile whisk together eggs, egg beaters, pico, milk and jalapeno until well-combined. Add mix to skillet slowly. You want to work the egg mixture gently in the pan but keep the liquid moving so all portions get heated. This is just to start the process of cooking before placing pan in the oven. See this video for a visual (Giada). Next, I bake it for 7-10 minutes. You want the eggs to be set and the top to be a light golden brown.

You will get four servings out of this. I served ours with roasted potatoes and onions (1/2 pound potatoes, 1/2 medium yellow onion, 1/2 jalapeno diced; roasted at 400 for 35 minutes with oil, salt, and pepper) but you could also add a side salad and or some crusty bread.


Taco Salad – dinner and lunch


Taco salad is one of Carver’s favorites and one that I haven’t tried previously with any success. The recipe came to us from Donna. I made up the proportions and they seemed to work well. This recipe yielded four servings- two for lunch and two for dinner. The salad is so hearty that it held very well from the evening to lunch the next day. The only thing I would recommend is to keep the chips and dressing separate (from the other ingredients and each other) and add on right before eating. No one likes a soggy salad or chip!

Taco Salad

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped and divided
1 pound ground beef (96/4)
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ounces doritos, crumbled and divided
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 ounces low-fat cheese, cubed
1/2 cup light French dressing, divided

Cook beef in large skillet over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain off any excess fat and add in taco seasoning and 1/2 cup warm water; stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until sauce is thickened.
While sauce thickens prepare salad. Combine romaine, beans, avocado and tomatoes in a large bowl. Mix well and then divide up. Half of this will be for your lunches. Once the beef has cooked, give it a good stir and put half of the beef towards the dinner salad and the remainder for the lunch salads. Now to add in the chips, cheese and dressing. Mix away. *note: remember the dressing and chips shouldn’t go right in with the lunch salads yet.
That’s all. Yep. That wasn’t so bad, right? In about twenty minutes you have managed to get a healthy and balanced dinner on the table and tomorrow’s lunch in the fridge.
This is also a great option for last-minute guests. Super easy and tasty.

20120109-190834.jpg

20120109-190846.jpg


Quality time with mom


So a few weeks ago my mom came to visit. It was a whirlwind weekend, but we got a lot done and it was nice to spend some quality time with her. The majority of our work was for the wedding but we did some serious eating while she was here to. There were 3 places I had to introduce her to. Pita Jungle, Sprinkles, and Seasons 52. Yummy… Such a yummy weekend. Falafel, hummus, cupcakes and salads… Especially because she brough cake pops! oh my… I must make these once I have guaranteed someone to help me eat them (Jen, Gina… ahem).

I did so well taking photos early in the day… But by the time we scarfed down cupcakes I was almost comatose and thus there are no dinner photos. Please forgive me. I promise to return to Seasons 52 to get you photos… Maybe a lunch shot would be more successful.

20111031-111256.jpg

20111031-111320.jpg

20111031-111350.jpg

20111031-111403.jpg

20111031-111413.jpg


Tomato-Beet Salad


I believe my taste is fairly simple. I like things clean and classic and well executed. I like foods the way they were intended. Tomatoes for example – a good tomato with a drizzle of oil and S&P is a delight. Equally delicious is  a perfectly cooked or served crimson beet. I found two recipes for tomato salads that just screamed of summer. I liked them so much individually I was convinced they must be joined. I plan on eating this for lunch this week along side a chunk of artisan whole wheat bread. YUMM

Tomato Beet Salad

  • 2 medium beets, cleaned and peeled
  • 1 pound fresh tomato, variety of sizes/colors
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bag arugula, rinsed and drained

 

Preheat oven to 425. Place beets on piece of foil on baking sheet. Spray with non-stick spray and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Fold foil around beets and roast for 45 minutes. (If you buy the beets that are already cooked, like Trader Joe’s in the packaged produce section, use the whole package and rinse them then roast them as instructed but for only 7 minutes.)

 

Let beets cool for approximately 10 minutes. Rinse tomatoes… now it is time to cut your produce. You can cut these however you would like, though I would suggest dicing the tomatoes and beets or slicing them in to ½” thick coins.

 

In a large bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, shallot and oregano. Add in the beets, tomatoes and arugula. Toss to coat.

 

Serves 4. 3 Points Plus per serving. If you would like, you can also crumble in 1 ounce semi-soft goat cheese before serving which increases the points by 1.


Pizza and beer?


Saturday morning! But not just any Saturday, this Saturday started with Jen!! We have a fun afternoon planned- lunch, shopping, maybe a cupcake or two to go with our coffee.
Last night was date night for Carver and I, and we had a great time. We drove to downtown Phoenix and had dinner at Pizzeria Bianco. This restaurant was featured on Food Network and it is one of Carver’s favorite pizza places.
The room was tiny but smelled amazing, but we were told there was an hour-long wait. So we went to their bar and had a beer and a ham-cheese panino. Super greasy but very good, and it was served with a warm stony grain mustard and homemade bread and butter pickles which made me want pickles at the reception.
After a quick 25 minutes we were seated and I let Carver do all the ordering: caprese salad, farmhouse salad, and a wiseguys pizza. The caprese salad was very good, and the tomatoes had formed a tasty sauce at the bottom of the plate which was great for dipping the ciabatta in. The farmhouse salad was very nice: arugula and watercress in a lemony vinaigrette with goat cheese and fresh figs. And the pizza you ask? Well it had caramelized onions, Italian sausage and a creamy cheese blend. The crust was light and crispy and full of flavor.
All in all a delicious date night and we will certainly be back.

20110709-064439.jpg

20110709-064455.jpg

20110709-064507.jpg

20110709-064521.jpg

20110709-064532.jpg


Cat is out of the box


Last night was rough. I couldn’t fall asleep and when I did I tossed and turned all night. I also had my first wedding nightmare- glad that’s over with. So today got going a little later than I had intended, what with my mandatory catch-up nap and all.
I realized last night amid the tossing and turning that I promised some earth shattering news yesterday and never delivered – will you ever forgive me? Hopefully yes. So anyways this news that has me all riled up is about lunches. Mainly Carver’s lunches this week- no sandwiches, all salads! Amazing!! And what’s even better is he enjoyed them! Basically I made homemade chipotle ingredients and the couscous salad along with some sautéed and broiled protein and just assembled each morning. It was great, because he really enjoyed it, it kept him full, and it is really good for him.
The couscous salad recipe can be found on the recipes page. The chipotle recipes I got from http://www.chipotlefan.com and honestly I wasn’t thrilled with the amount of effort they required given the end product. So check it out if you would like, I plan on doing more research to find a better, easier option- which I will share once I find it.
Today I was planning on studying for my boards, cleaning and doing more work on this website, but those plans have changed. Instead I will be working on par sheets and trying to set up a meal plan for 2.5 people on a budget. The other challenge is that next week I start my (awesome, amazing, exciting) new job and thus will not be home all day to slave over the stove. Ahhh challenges.
I think I need a cup of coffee before I take this one head-on.

Happy Friday all!!