Another Weird Pizza

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What can I say, I’m a sucker for a weird pizza. Pizza day, which also happened to be sandwich day, was one of my favorite days of culinary school. Did you know pizza is a sandwich? I didn’t. I suppose it makes total sense really, as a pizza is nothing more than an open-faced sandwich. Interesting, huh? A little pizza/sandwich trivia for your Sunday. Anyway back to weird pizzas…

I believe this will be the fourth pizza to make the blog. I must REALLY like pizza. This is actually kind of news to me, I wouldn’t have pegged myself as a such a pizza-lover. Then again, maybe it’s not the pizza as much as it is all of the fun things you can do with it. Topping options are endless and I always have a lot of fun coming up with new combinations. In the past I’ve raved about my Brussels Sprouts Pita Pizzas and my Meyer Lemon Pizza, and both are out of this world! Save the Brussels until next winter, but definitely put the Meyer Lemon Pizza on your to-eat list ASAP. It’s fun. Add this one to the list as well…Roasted Broccoli and Red Grape Pizza with Ricotta and Pine Nuts. Whoa that’s a lot going on. Too much? No, I don’t think so. Is there ever too much of a good thing?

Roasted Broccoli? Good.

Roasted Grapes? Gooooood. (I can hear you doubting this, but I promise, it is!)

Ricotta cheese and pine nuts? Double good.

Put it all together on a store-bought crust and call it a pizza. I did, and it was yummy! Actually, I made mini pizzas which was even better because everything mini is more fun. Kellan loved it! Truthfully, he just pulled off all of the “broccoli trees” and ate them, but I still consider that a win.

This pizza is a really great meatless meal that will still leave the family feeling satisfied and full. It would also make a fancy little appetizer for your next dinner party or get together…your friends and family will be so impressed, as it’s just as pretty as it is tasty. I hope you’ll try it soon!

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Roasted Broccoli and Red Grape Pizza with Ricotta and Pine Nuts

1 bag broccoli florets
2 cups red seedless grapes
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, to taste
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
16 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
3 mini Boboli pizza crusts or 2 regular size

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. On one sheet pan, drizzle broccoli florets with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. On another sheet pan, drizzle the grapes with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  3. Add the broccoli to the oven and roast until it starts to char, 20-25 minutes. When there are approximately 10 minutes left for the broccoli, add the sheet pan of grapes to the oven and roast until they start to wither and burst.
  4. Meanwhile, spread the ricotta over the pizza crust(s) in an even layer, leaving a 1/2 inch around the border.
  5. Remove broccoli and grapes from the oven. Toss broccoli with the lemon zest. Top pizzas evenly with the broccoli, grapes and pine nuts. Bake for approximately 5 minutes to warm cheese and crust.
  6. Slice and serve.

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I hate chicken.

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I wish I liked chicken. People who like chicken have an easier life. Their restaurant orders are easier, the bill is cheaper, and they’re eating healthier than me by default. I’m never going to go for the chicken on the menu, (unless of course I’m at Chick-Fil-A or Zaxby’s, that’s a whole different kind of chicken). I’m going for the steak, the king crab legs or the pasta. In my humble opinion, ordering chicken at a restaurant is giving up on the meal before it has even begun. Ick. Chicken is boring. Bland. Dry. And there’s always a fear of landing the mysterious chewy piece that you have to spit out into your napkin and hope no one saw. Gross. Nope, no chicken for me please. I do, however, make it for my family all the time, and I always put a chicken dish or two on each week’s meal plan since most people do, in fact, like it. I also ALWAYS try the dishes that I’m asking others to eat so I run into a chicken preparation that I actually like every now and then. What kind of cook would I be if I didn’t? This recipe is one such preparation.

Maybe it’s the Italian inspiration behind this Chicken Marsala with Pan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes that makes my tastebuds sing, or perhaps it’s simply the umami-richness of the mushrooms and marsala wine sauce. Whatever it is, this dish is a winner. It will please the chicken-eaters and the chicken-haters in your life, although it’s quite possible that of the latter I am the only one. It’s quick, easy and tasty…perfect for a weeknight dinner. I served this chicken alongside parmesan smashed red potatoes that were par-boiled, smashed down onto a baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted in the oven. YUM!

Chicken Marsala with Pan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

16 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt (more to taste)
6 chicken cutlets
1 tablespoon olive oil
⅓ cup flour
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups cherry tomatoes
fresh parsley

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic and wine – let the mixture simmer gently to reduce the wine, stirring occasionally. After 15-20 minutes, add the cornstarch, cream, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the marsala mixture – it should start to thicken slightly
  3. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Toss the chicken in the flour mixture until coated. Shake off excess.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Pan-fry the coated chicken for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Add sauce and mushrooms to the skillet with the chicken. Top with tomatoes and simmer until the tomatoes are beginning to burst. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

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Chopped Thai Salad with Kale, Basil and Peppers

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It’s another pretty salad, and this time of year, you’ve got to love another pretty salad. It’s swimsuit season, people! Time to put the pasta away and focus on some veggies. At least for a week. A few days. Ok maybe just once. Well whatever you decide, it’s time for me to focus on veggies. Eight weeks ago I had a baby in my belly, and now that she’s outta there, I have to get healthy. Healthy is the key. I’m also extremely excited to start exercising again. Really exercising. I went back to yoga this weekend and went for my first run today. It was awesome…and embarrassing. I was feeling so good! My favorite song was playing, the air was crisp and the sun was shining. Perfect morning. I was feeling all, Look at me up and running before people are heading out to work. Look at me wearing my pre-preggo workout clothes. Look at me already a mile down while my kiddos are still fast asleep. Look at me…tripping and falling flat on my face. Yep, that happened. Flat. On my face. Pride comes before a fall? Consider me humbled.

So yes, time to get healthy. I’m not necessarily on a quest to get skinny, although shedding these last 10 lbs. will be a happy bonus. I’m on a quest to lay off the pizza, ice cream, and all of the other super unhealthy foods I craved during my pregnancy. See ya later bad stuff!

Yes, I realize I am quite possibly completely full of it, and a big fat chocolate cake will show up on the blog next week. That’s ok. What is that saying, “Eat a little of everything and a lot of nothing”? I can totally do that! Chocolate cake, here I come! Next week. Today we’re eating salad; and this salad is a good one. It almost makes you not miss cake. Almost.

This salad is seriously yummy. It has everything you need to feel full and satisfied without having any meat. I love that. Sometimes you don’t need meat. Am I right? If you’re a man you likely disagree, so feel free to add some diced grilled chicken. That would be ok. I won’t do that, but you totally can. Have fun chopping and shredding the veggies for this salad. I’m totally serious, isn’t it so much fun to chop and shred and dice? I love it…free therapy!

So here’s to another pretty salad! It tastes as good as it looks, and looks pretty darn awesome. Enjoy…happy swimsuit (salad) season!

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For the salad:

16 ounces shelled edamame, cooked
5-6 cups kale, shredded
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
3 large carrots, shredded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
¾ cup cashews, chopped

For the dressing:

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon- 1 tablespoon sriracha (to your taste)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Using a food processor, puree all of the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
  2. In the same food processor, pulse all but a 1/2 cup of the edamame until finely chopped.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients for the salad, except the cashews, in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing, top with chopped cashews and serve.

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It’s Thanksgiving in June!

turkeyburger Are we seriously already closer to THIS Thanksgiving than we are LAST Thanksgiving? That’s crazy to me! I swear the holidays just passed, didn’t they? Well apparently not because my calendar says June 3rd and everyone is talking about what to cook on the grill and what to drink on a hot summer day. I guess I’ll jump on board. BJ and I are still on our healthy-ish eating kick, so the other night when a burger craving hit we decided to only half way indulge by grilling up some turkey burgers. Turkey burgers are an awesome alternative to beef. Done correctly they can still be juicy and flavorful with much less fat. A friend of ours grills up the most delicious turkey burgers I’ve ever had, but they are HOT, HOT, HOT! He uses, chipotle peppers, pepper jack cheese and more chipotle peppers. They are super juicy and yummy but they will set you on fire! Since I’m breastfeeding and not hoping to set my six week old’s tummy on fire, I thought we should go a different route this time around. That’s when BJ suggested Thanksgiving turkey burgers. Intriguing. You could really go all out with this theme, but we just used what we already had on hand. The burger patties were mixed up with fresh parsley, thyme and caramelized shallots. They were topped with smoked provolone cheese, fresh arugula and a delicious pepper jelly-cranberry sauce spread. It was just enough kick to wake up your tastebuds balanced with the right amount of sweetness from the cranberry sauce and smokiness from the provolone cheese. Thanksgiving on a bun! If you’re feeling the need to channel Thanksgiving in June, give this one a shot!

Turkey Burgers with Cranberry-Pepper Relish

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
2 T olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup red pepper jelly
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
4 slices smoked provolone
2 cups baby arugula
4 Kings Hawaiian hamburger buns
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté shallot until softened and beginning to caramelize. Set aside.
  2. Combine ground turkey, parsley, thyme, shallots and salt and pepper, mix gently with your hands. Divide into four equal parts and form four patties.
  3. Heat a grill to high heat. Oil the grates to keep meat from sticking. Once grill is smoking hot, reduce heat to medium and put patties on. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes per side, flipping only once.
  4. Towards the end of cooking, top each patty with a slice of cheese and let melt.
  5. Meanwhile, combine pepper jelly and cranberry jelly. Set aside.
  6. To build burgers slather cranberry-pepper relish on bottom bun and top with turkey patty. Add another small amount of relish to the top of the patty and then top with arugula. Top with bun. Serve.

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