Friday, August 28, 2015

Garlicky Mushroom Ricotta Pizza with Wild Arugula + Aged Balsamic

This Garlicky Mushroom Ricotta Pizza with Wild Arugula + Aged Balsamic pizza
fantastic pretty much makes itself. It's so flavorful and healthy. Sauté the mushrooms with garlic, shallots and top with ricotta and parmesan and baked ontop naan bread or a store-bought pizza crust for an easy weeknight meal!

Garlicky Mushroom Ricotta Pizza with Wild Arugula + Aged Balsamic 

Makes 6-8 Slices of Pizza


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
8 ounces sliced mushrooms (I used shiitake and baby bella)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ready-made pizza crust (I used a 7 ounce Stonefire Artisan Flatbread)
6 tablespoons part-skim ricotta
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced or snipped with scissors
1-2 handfuls wild or baby arugula
2-3 tablespoons aged balsamic
2-3 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 425°F with a pizza stone on the bottom rack if you have one (you want the pizza stone to heat up with the oven).
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.Add shallot, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallot begins to soften. Add mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are well browned, about 7-10 minutes.
Place pizza crust on top of a pizza peel or wooden cutting board. Top crust with mushroom mixture and spread evenly, leaving a 1-inch border around the outer edges. Dot with ricotta and sprinkle Parmesan and chives over top.
Transfer pizza to the preheated pizza stone (or a baking sheet, if you're using that instead) and bake for 5-6 minutes (8-9 minutes without the pizza stone).
Remove pizza from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Scatter wild arugula over top and drizzle with aged balsamic and olive oil. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Please don't be scared off by the steps for roasted vegetables with broccoli puree. It was super easy to make and oh so delicious. I only added garlic to the broccoli puree to make it a bit more flavorful. And I love garlic., This makes a great side dish or even a main dish. My meat loving hubby even really liked it.



Broccoli Puree

3 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon lemon zest
pinch of kosher salt
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese {optional - omit if you want dairy free or paleo recipe}

Roasted Vegetables

16 ounces fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
10 asparagus spears, cut into 1” pieces
4 ounces mushroom blend {crimini, shiitake & oyster} sliced thin
4 tablespoons of olive oil. divided
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


Roasted Vegetables:

Preheat oven 400°
Line baking sheets with foil.
In a large bowl combine mushrooms and asparagus plus 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to coat and pour out onto one end of baking sheet.
In another bowl combine brussels sprouts and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat and pour onto opposite side of baking sheet
Sprinkle vegetables with salt and pepper and give the pan a shake to wiggle your vegetables and settle the salt and pepper.
Roast mushrooms and asparagus for 20 minutes, remove pan and scoop into a large bowl. Return brussels sprouts for an additional 10 minutes until browning, a total of 30 minutes.
Remove and toss in bowl with mushrooms and asparagus.

Broccoli Puree:

Meanwhile in a stock pot bring 1” of water to boil. Add broccoli spears and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add ½ of the broccoli to processor, process till smooth. While running add ¼ cup of olive oil, lemon zest, salt and parmesan cheese {optional}.
Toss remaining broccoli spears with brussels sprout mix and set aside.
When ready to serve spoon broccoli puree into bowl and top with a large serving of roasted vegetable mix. Serve and enjoy.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Korean Barbecued Beef

I love Korean BBQ like so much. I can't even tell you. I could eat Korean cuisine every night for diner I would be so happy. I made this Korean dish as it originally calls grilled but I also put it in the crockpot and let it cook on high for 2.5 hours and it was awesome too.  The meat fell apart. Serve it with rice and your stomach is in yummy town. Give this Slower Cooker Korean BBQ a try.

Korean Barbecued Beef

Makes 2 generous servings
For the marinade:
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 green onions, white and light green parts only, minced (reserve ends for garnish)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 pound flank steak, cut into 1/8-inch slices against the grain

For the finished dish:
Neutral cooking oil, such as canola, for grilling
Cooked white rice, to serve (see Recipe Note)

Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a mixing bowl and transfer to a sealable plastic bag. Add the beef slices, press any excess air out of the bag, and seal. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or overnight.

Heat a large griddle or grill pan over medium-high heat. Using a silicone brush, generously brush oil on the pan and wait until it is sizzling. Working in batches if necessary, sear the meat until deep-brown grill marks form on one side. Flip and continue cooking until caramelized and cooked through, 30 seconds to a minute. Garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds and serve with cooked white rice.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Skillet Tater Tot Casserole (No Condensed Soup!)

I made my fair share of Tater Tot Casserole. My husband is a meat and potatoes guy. These days we eat more veggies, less meat and carbs. But if I let us indulge this is a fave. So I was happy to find this Skillet Tater Tot Casserole from Iowa Girl eats. The recipe is very adaptable. So one can make this dish with all veggies, or ground turkey, or you can make the tater tots from cauliflower or another veg. Omit the cheese or a use a vegan cheese. It's all tasty.

Skillet Tater Tot Casserole

serves 4-5


1lb ground beef
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons gluten-free or all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk (I used skim)
2 Tablespoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2lb bag tater tots (not extra crispy)


Preheat oven according to tater tot bag instructions. Brown ground beef in a very large, oven-proof skillet (at least 10" - cast iron works great) seasoning with salt and pepper over medium-high heat. Drain then set aside.
Turn heat down to medium, melt butter in skillet, and then add mushrooms and shallots. Season with salt and pepper then saute until mushrooms start to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic then saute for 1 more minute. Sprinkle in flour then whisk to combine and cook for 1 minute. Slowly stream in chicken broth and milk a splash at a time, whisking to avoid lumps. Add tamari/soy sauce, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, and smoked paprika, turn heat up slightly to bring mixture to a bubble, then turn heat back down to medium and simmer until just slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat then stir in ground beef and arrange tater tots on top. Place skillet on top of a baking sheet (or place one on the rack below) then bake according to tater tot bag instructions. Let sit and thicken for 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Homemade Cheeseburger Helper

For a while when I was newly married, my husband and I really enjoyed Hamburger Helper. It didn't matter if it was the national or store brand. We enjoyed all the varieties of it.  So I was please to find a Homemade Cheeseburger Helper from Iowa Girl Eats. This recipe is so delicious and easy to make. A real find!

Homemade Cheeseburger Helper


1lb lean ground beef
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup hot water
2 cups skim milk
1-1/2 cups dry gluten-free or regular elbow macaroni (or other small pasta)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Brown ground beef in a large skillet or pot. Drain and return to pan.
Add in cornstarch, seasonings, hot water, skim milk and pasta. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, place a lid on top, and simmer until pasta is al dente, stirring a couple of times.
Turn off the heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until sauce is thickened.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Chicken Roll Ups

I made chicken roll ups ages ago. And I wasn't happy with how it turned out. I've found success in recipes from Plain Chicken. And her Chicken Roll Ups recipe did not disappoint. It was so very good and easy to prepare.

Chicken Roll Ups
6 oz cooked chicken breast, chopped
Salt & Pepper to Taste(I added the purple sazon cubes)
1 can crescent rolls
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cheese

Mix together milk, soup and cheese - set aside.  Separate crescent rolls into 8 triangles.  Top the large part of the crescent triangle with the chopped chicken.  Top each crescent roll with 1 tsp of soup mixture.  Roll crescent rolls up.  Spread approximately 1/3 cup of soup mixture in bottom of 9x13 dish.  Place crescent rolls in dish.  Pour remaining soup mixture over crescent rolls.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup

This Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup is a super easy soup recipe and I had all the ingredients on hand. Sometimes the meals can really cook themselves. Perfect for summer rainy days when you just don't have the energy to make anything and don't want to turn on the stove. Enjoy with crusty bread.

Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup


Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups soup, 4 meatballs, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese)

Total time: 8 Hours, 45 Minutes

Recipe Time

Hands-on: 15 Minutes
Total:8 Hours, 45 Minutes

Nutritional Information


6 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
5 garlic cloves, chopped
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
12 ounces dried Great Northern beans
3 cups kale, stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound hot Italian sausage links, casings removed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)
See a Collection of Classic Appetizers


1. Place first 8 ingredients in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours. Discard thyme and bay leaf.

2. Stir kale, tomato paste, and salt into bean mixture. Shape sausage into 32 meatballs; arrange on top of bean mixture. Cover and cook on HIGH 30 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked. Stir in juice. Divide soup among 8 bowls; top with cheese.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ricotta-Spinach Dumplings


I am always looking for recipes to consume less meat and fat. This Ricotta-Spinach Dumplings dish was great. Though the recipes has ricotta cheese in it, I purchased ricotta made with skim milk. It was quite delicious and I didn't miss the pasta. I only omitted the step of boiling the pasta as the first batch of veggie and cheese dumplings fell apart. So I just cooked the second batch in the sauce and they were delicious.
Ricotta-Spinach Dumplings
Serves 6 (serving size: 6 dumplings and about 1/4 cup sauce)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
1.5 ounces (about 1/3 cup) plus 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese (such as Calabro or Polly-O)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2.25 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce
Total: 50 Minutes
1. Cook spinach in microwave according to package directions; cool slightly. Place spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze until very dry.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon 1.5 ounces flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, spinach, ricotta, and next 6 ingredients (through 1 egg) in a medium bowl. Stir gently just until combined.
3. Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour on a baking sheet. Drop ricotta mixture by tablespoonfuls onto floured pan to make about 36 dumplings. Sprinkle dumplings with remaining 1 tablespoon flour, and very gently shape each flour. (Dumplings can be shaped ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)
4. Place marinara in a large skillet over medium heat; cover and keep warm.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 9 dumplings to water; cook 5 to 6 minutes (do not boil). Remove dumplings from pan with a slotted spoon, and place in marinara; keep warm. Repeat procedure 3 times with remaining dumplings.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Saucy Hungarian Red Potato Goulash with Smoked Sausage and Savory Caramelized Onions

This was a dish truly for my husband. He loves meat and potatoes so I was pleased to find this recipe for Saucy Hungarian Red Potato Goulash with Smoked Sausage and Savory Caramelized Onions
which incorporated his love of Kielbasa and potatoes. It literally was chopping, searing and slow cooking on a stove top. I served it with roasted Brussel sprouts and sauerkraut.

Saucy Hungarian Red Potato Goulash with Smoked Sausage and Savory Caramelized Onions


1 (14 ounce) smoked sausage, sliced on the bias into thin medallions
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, pressed through garlic press
• Salt
¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
10 medium-size red skin potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½” thick circles (about 2 ¾ lbs)
1 ½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• Olive oil
-Place a large, deep, non-stick pan (or even medium non-stick pot) over medium-high heat, and add in about 1 tablespoon of oil; once the oil is hot, add in the smoked sausage medallions, and caramelize them for a few minutes until they become a deep brown color; remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
-To the same pan or pot, add in the butter, and allow it to melt; add in the sliced onions, and caramelize those in the butter and sausage drippings until a rich, golden-brown, about 5-7 minutes; next, add in the garlic, plus a couple of pinches of salt, the freshly cracked black pepper and the paprika, and stir to combine with the onions; saute just until the garlic becomes aromatic.
-Next, add in the sliced potatoes, and fold them into the caramelized onions/garlic to coat them well; add in the chicken stock and stir to combine, then push the sliced potatoes down into the stock/onion mixture as much as possible to allow them to cook evenly; cover the pan/pot with a lid that is askew to allow some steam to escape, and simmer on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring gently once or twice during this time; then, uncover the pan/pot and allow the potatoes to continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until they are tender and the sauce a bit thickened, stirring once or twice during that time. (It’s perfectly fine for some of the potatoes to break up in the sauce as it helps to thicken it, just take care not to break them too much.)
-Finish the Goulash by adding the caramelized smoked sausage back into the pan/pot, as well as the parsley, and gently fold those in to incorporate; add a little drizzle of olive oil in, and add a couple more pinches of salt and pepper, if necessary; serve hot with bread, if desired.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Spinach Artichoke and Pesto Naan with Feta

This Spinach Artichoke and Pesto Naan with Feta was so delicious and easy to make. I highly recommend it! 

Spinach Artichoke and Pesto Naan with Feta

Serving Size: makes 2 naan pizzas


2 pieces Naan bread
1/2 cup of your favorite pesto
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts, jarred or canned, drained
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Nikos Tomato-Basil Feta cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Spread each naan evenly with pesto. Top with chopped spinach, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, and Nikos cheese.
Place flatbread on a baking sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted. Allow to cool before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Eggplant Balls

These eggplant balls were so flavorful and easy to make I would totally use them as an alternate to meatballs. Packed with flavor. Plus for extra health I baked mine at 350 till brown instead of frying them. It would go great with the Zoodles recipe I made in the spring. 
Eggplant Balls

1 large eggplant, unpeeled
salt, to taste
1 cup + ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs, divided
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
extra virgin olive oil, for frying

Monday, August 03, 2015

Italian Wedding Soup with Veggie Balls

This was such a delicious soup. It took a while to make but anything difficult in cooking is usually worth the effort. Perfect for when the weather gets a bit warmer, but light enough with the eggplant balls(not sure why they are called veggie balls) instead of meatballs. And you could even omit the pasta if you wanted to.

Italian Wedding Soup with Veggie Balls

1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 small carrot, cut into chunks
4 clove garlic, peeled
2 oz fresh basil
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
3½ quarts cold water
1 head escarole, cut into ½-inch shred
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut into ½-inch shreds
1 lb zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 parmesan rinds
2 tbsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1½ lb cheese tortellini

1 large eggplant, unpeeled
salt, to taste
1 cup + ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs, divided
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
extra virgin olive oil, for frying(I baked mine)

First, start the soup. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and basil. Pulse until it forms a smooth paste, called a pestata.
Heat the olive oil in the soup pot over high heat and scrape the pestata into the pot. Cook, stirring until the pestata has released liquid and started to dry out a bit, about 5 minutes. Pour the cold water into the pot, scraping up the pestata from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the broth, covered, for about 15 minutes. Stir in the greens, zucchini, parmesan rinds, and salt. Return to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 minutes, and uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the tortellini in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
While the soup simmers, prepare the veggie balls. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Bring 2 quarts of water with 1 tbsp of salt mixed in to a boil over high heat. Add the eggplant and boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until eggplant is cooked, pressing them down into the water regularly. Drain in a colander and push out as much water from them as you can using the back of a spoon. Finely chop eggplant.
In a bowl, combine the eggplant, 1 cup of panko, cheese, parsley, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Mix in the egg.
Roll the eggplant mixture into small balls that are about 1-inch in diameter and set them on a platter. Put the remaining panko in a small bowl and roll each ball in the breadcrumbs to coat evenly. Set the coatedballs on a clean tray.
Pour the olive oil into a 10-inch skillet to a depth of ½ inch. Turn the heat to medium and when the oil begins to shimmer, put a test ball in the skillet. If it sizzles immediately, then the oil is hot enough. When the oil is ready, carefully put the balls in the skillet in a single layer.
Fry, turning gently with a spoon, until browned all over, about 3 minutes total. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining balls until all of them have been cooked.
Divide the soup evenly among 8-10 bowls and serve topped with the veggie balls.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Cheesy Cauliflower Biscuits

I felt like this was a good starter recipe but I think next time I would add more cheese or even corn in there, or spinach. It just felt like it needed a bit more. But I wouldn't toss it out at all.

Cheesy Cauliflower Biscuits

1 cauliflower head, leaves removed
Step 1: Make Mashed Cauliflower
Step 2: Mix
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Then, slowly fold the egg whites into the cauliflower mixture.
Step 3: Bake
Remove from the pan, and set on a cooling rack.

3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Steam cauliflower for about 10-12 minutes or until very tender, then transfer to a food processor. Add minced garlic and pulse several times until smooth and creamy.

Transfer mashed cauliflower into a large mixing bowl. Add in two whole eggs, cheddar cheese, Nonfat Greek yogurt, salt and pepper and mix together.

Coat a mini muffin pan with cooking spray of your choice. Then fill the cups to the top with the cauliflower mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Roasted portabello, artichoke marinated in olive oil infused with pesto and garlic with burrata

I can't find the link to this recipe but it was fantastic.

I marinated the portabello in garlic, olive oil and pesto for a bit before I added jarred artichokes(drain the water), roasted them in the oven for twenty five minutes at 375 and then added burrata cheese. This makes a fabulous appetizer.

Monday, July 27, 2015

There are a variety of toppings I like to add on toast. Try it instead of adding just adding butter, peanut butter or jam to your toast.

Toast with feta and scallion.

Toast with butter and olives. Any olives.

Toast with feta and tarragon. Or butter and tarragon.

Toast with Sardines

Toast with Anchovies

Toast with feta and tomatoes.