Tag Archives: mozzarella

Meat-Free Fridays: Sounds-Fancy-But-Isn’t Seasonal Veggie Torte

23 Feb

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Hey, remember that time you wanted to cook a meatless entree, but weren’t sure what to serve? You poked around your pantry and fridge; found some veggies, some cheese, and not much else. What’s a hungry girl or guy to do?

Why, whip up an oven-baked veggie torte, of course.

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Meat-Free Fridays: 5 Vegetarian Pizza Pies

16 Feb

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A pizza, by any other name, would smell … just as delicious. 🙂

For this week’s Meat-Free Friday, I’m starting the series with an old Lenten stand-by: Pizza! Pizza can easily be meatless — contrary to what any fan of a “Meat-Lover’s” pizza pie will tell you. While meaty toppings are often quite tasty, vegetarian pies on Fridays are such a great Lenten meal. Here are 5 Vegetarian Pizzas to try on a Friday.

Fun Fact: I’ll also throw in a BONUS recipe for whole grain dough that you can make at home. If you’re pursuing healthy eats in general, why not go whole hog (er, whole … vegetarian hog?) and try your own dough? Happy eating!

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Viva Italia: Four Ingredient Baked Pasta

15 Dec

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What if I told you that a simple, hearty meal could be yours in 30-ish minutes and using only 4 ingredients? You’d be all over that bidness, right? What if I also told you that this dinner creation is as customizable as you can imagine, allowing for creativity, taste preferences, and inventive food adventures to your heart’s content?

If your response is a Howard Dean-style “Yeeeeah!” then you’ve come to the right blog.

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Easy Dinners: Tortilla Pizza

11 Dec

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Love pizza? (Who am I kidding? If you didn’t love pizza, I suspect you wouldn’t be on this pizza-loving woman’s blog.)

Don’t have the time to roll out fresh dough or whip up your own? (I.e. like every 20-something on a weeknight.)

Hunting through your fridge for some semblance of nutritious food, and coming up a bit short? (Again, like a lot of us. Unless you work at Whole foods. I bet their employee discount is ridiculous.)

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Pinterest Challenge: Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

27 Oct

It’s officially time for Sherry Petersik and Katie Bower’s Pinterest Challenge! While I’ve been soldiering on with recipes this year in the spirit of their challenges (such as this one, this one, and this one), I can now officially submit mine to the Petersik’s blog paradise. Hurrah! For the official Pinterest Challenge submission, I decided to tackle something that I’d seen repeatedly in the hallowed … pages (?) of the Pin: Flour-free Cauliflower Pizza Crust.

While I’m not vegan, nor am I gluten-free, I like exploring veggie-based meals for both environmental (fewer methane emissions? Woot.) and health (fewer calories + more nutrients? Dietary goodness FTW.) reasons. With more than a few friends and relatives with Celiac’s disease and other gluten struggles, I’ve explored gluten-free baking and cooking with mucho curiosity. And with pictures like this circulating on Pinterest, my interest was officially piqued:

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Viva Italia! Homemade Pesto & Tomato-Topped Pizza

17 Sep

“And they say pesto, pesto, pesto” — adapted from Michael Buble’s “Cuando, Cuando, Cuando.”

In the spirit of this post from the lovely Ree Drummond (a.k.a. the Pioneer Woman, whose show you should watch and blog you should read. ‘Nuff said), I’ve been on a basil and pesto kick lately. And how could I not be? My basil, shockingly for this whatever-the-opposite-of-a-green-thumb-is lady, is abundant and so, so fragrant. Mmmmm!

Pesto, for the non-Italians, actually comes from Northern Italy’s region of Liguria — specifically, the city of Genoa. Check out this sweet map. What up, MS Paint arrow:

It’s practically Switzerland! (Well, not quite. But hey, you get the idea.)

Its combination of basil, parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil, and seasoning makes pesto an easy and deeee-LICIOUS sauce with Mediterranean flair and earthy flavor. Killer combination of tastes = one of my favorite toppers for pasta, pizza or, um, pretty much anything. Here are some easy-peasy pesto directions if you’re making it at home (note: this is enough for 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup sauce:

The players — the walnuts added such a cool flavor to the mix.

  • Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup basil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts (though I used walnuts recently, and they were molto bene), and some salt & pepper (to taste) to a food processor or blender. Process / Blend at full blast. (WOOOOO! Listen to the whirring noises!)

  • Slowly add olive oil to the mixture as it blends, or add a splash or two of oil and pulse the sauce in your food processor until the pesto reaches a consistency that you like.

  • Eat. Ideally in something else, but I won’t judge you if you eat it with a spoon. Not one bit. 🙂

So how can you use this nectar of the Roman (Er … Ligurian?) Gods? Here are a few ideas that I love:

  • Mix your pesto with mayonnaise, then spread on a grilled cheese sandwich or panini.
  • Dress a pasta salad of whole wheat penne, peas, grape tomatoes and parmesan with pesto. Mix thoroughly for super-tastiness.
  • Stir a little pesto into your favorite tomato-based pasta sauces.
  • Try mixing pesto into unconventional combinations, like with scrambled eggs or as a garnish / topping on a grilled steak.
  • PIZZA! Pizza, pizza, pizza.

I love making pesto pizza — when I did a volunteer teaching program a few years ago, my housemates and I would often whip up this easy pesto pizza for Community dinner in 30 minutes flat. If you have homemade pesto or just bought a jar of the pre-made stuff (still delicious, by the way — no shame in a little convenience), here’s a vegetarian-friendly dinnertime treat for you.

“Community Living” Pesto Pizza — serves 4. Easily doubled or tripled!

Awwww yeaaaah.

You’ll need:

  • 1 batch pizza dough, or 1 store-bought pizza dough (wheat dough is especially good here)
  • 1 jar pesto sauce, or 1 batch homemade pesto
  • 1 small bag shredded mozzarella cheese, or 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella
  • 1-2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Basil and parmesan for garnishing

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If you like to use a pizza stone, allow the stone to heat in the oven as well.
  • Roll out your dough to the desired size, and place on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel. (A cutting board works just as well!)

Aaand, glamor shot! Thanks, flash button …

  • Spread the dough with pesto sauce, in an amount that you prefer. Top with mozzarella cheese, sliced tomato, parmesan and torn basil leaves / up to 1 tsp dried basil.

  • “Shimmy” the dough onto the stone by shaking it off of your peel / cutting board. Quickly close the oven and allow the pizza to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has bubbled and browned to your liking.

  • Eat. A lot. I also wouldn’t judge you if you ate the entire pizza yourself. Have I done that before? Um …. [she said, glancing awkwardly around the room.]

Not the greatest picture, but still. Now I’m hungry again. As usual. 🙂

  • Note: This pizza can easily be vegan with an alternative crust (cauliflower is popular right now), a cheese-free pesto (use a little Bragg’s nutritional yeast to add salt & flavor), and dairy-free cheese. To add a meat-lover’s twist, try adding grilled chicken or even sauteed shrimp to a smidgen of pesto sauce, then spread on TOP of the tomatoes before baking.

Are you guys and gals “pesto people?” How do you like to use pesto sauce? Do you make your own, or prefer jarred sauces? What else might you add to a pesto pizza?

Slow-Roasted Tomato Frittata: Nothing, What’s-a-Frittata With You?

15 Sep

This post’s punny title was brought to you by The Lion King. Thank you, Nathan Lane’s Timon, for filling my childhood with wit and grub-eating. And fart jokes. “Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!” “Oh, sorry.” ba-DA!

As you lovely readers have probably gathered from this recipe and other mentions, I’m kind of a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook My Father’s Daughter. In hindsight, I think this comes from her approach to food and the kitchen — meals are, in their own way, the heart of a home, and the food you make can and should reflect that special, homey, come-together quality. Use good ingredients, be healthful (and let yourself indulge), and have fun. If you do, you’re usually left with something pretty darn tasty.

Which is what I found when I adapted Gwyneth’s Slow-Roasted Tomato Frittata for dinner last week. Oh my heavens, this was one tasty meal. And so, so simple — it’s perfect for a weeknight supper, and a great way, if you’re cooking for one, to make enough food to portion out and eat for several meals.

The basic principles of frittata are, as outlined so cutely by Harrison Ford in the final scene of “Morning Glory,” pretty simple, as all beautiful Italian dishes should be:

  1. Get your pan really, really hot.
  2. Add butter.
  3. Add eggs and other fixins.
  4. Bake until the frittata becomes a fully set, crust-free quiche-esque pillow of tasty eggness.

Gwyneth adds another ingredient to the mix — her slow-roasted tomatoes, a staple in her recipe book. To slow-roast your tomatoes, follow these easy steps:

  • Slice tomatoes in half and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper

  • Roast for 3-5 hours in a 275 degree oven, or until the tomatoes are caramelized, almost free from moisture, and a deep red color.

Oh yeah. Need some ice for that burn … BURNING AWESOME.

The frittata uses slow-roasted tomatoes (which you could easily subsitute for sun-dried or just thinly7 sliced fresh tomatoes), mozzarella cheese (Gwyneth uses smoked; I used the shredded cheese I had on hand), and fresh basil. The basic recipe is easy to tweak, easy to cook, and easy to enjoy. Try it for brunch with friends, or just a simple Tuesday supper. Happy eating!

Slow-Roasted Tomato Frittata, adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter — serves 4-6, or 2 with leftovers!

You’ll need:

  • 1-2 shallots or 1/2 white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (or 1/2 cup unflavored soymilk)
  • 2-6 slow-roasted tomato halves — adjust to taste — or 2 medium raw tomatoes, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 3/4 cup (ish) shredded mozzarella cheese, or 6-8 oz. sliced mozzarella
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat in a 10-inch oven-safe skillet. (I used cast-iron, which is probably your best bet.) Saute the onions until soft and slightly brown, about 6 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

“Hissssssss.” — The Onions

  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs & milk until well-combined. Pour over the onions in the hot pan. Add tomatoes, cheese and basil to your liking. (The eggs will definitely still be funny in the middle!)

Ready to bake! Mmmmm.

  • Let the frittata cook for about 5 minutes, until the edges are set (ish). Move the pan to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until fully set.

Are you folks fans of eggs for dinner? Do you prefer a crusty quiche to a lighter frittata? What else might you add to the inside? Get creative!

PS: To easily make this a vegan recipe, omit the butter before frying up your onions; use soymilk and egg subsitute; and indulge in some delicious soy cheese, rather than traditional mozzarella. To add a carnivore’s twist, add pan-cooked and crumbled pancetta, cubes of cooked chicken, or even slices of ham. Mmm! Love breakfast like whoa.