Creole Pizza

15 Aug Cajun Pizza 003

Lately, I’ve been in the mood for a shrimp boil. Jumbo gulf shrimp, corn on the cob, sausage, new potatoes, Old Bay… Get out! That sounds good, doesn’t it? However, with school starting back, I haven’t had time! Tonight’s dinner took literally 15 minutes to make so it was a big winner in my house, especially with the first day of school looming overhead.

My inspiration for this pizza came from that craving and spun off into a delicious direction. I didn’t have shrimp but it sure would have been good as an additional topping so feel free to play around if you make it.

Creole Pizza

Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Level: Easy

1 pre-made whole wheat pizza crust (I never use these but what a time saver!!!!)
1/4 block of cream cheese
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1/3 c. corn, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. smoked turkey sausage, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c. cheese, shredded
hot sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 450°. Spread cream cheese over crust and sprinkle with Old Bay. Top pizza with remaining ingredients, except for hot sauce. Reduce oven temperature to 425°. Bake pizza, either directly on oven rack or on cookie sheet, for 7-10 minutes. Top with hot sauce, as desired. Yum!

Tips
-Add shrimp during the last 3 minutes of baking.
-You can use various cream cheeses with different fat contents. I used fat-free and it was still just as creamy.
-Try using different colored bell peppers.
-Add red onion if you want.

Chicken and Chiles Stuffed Potatoes

23 Apr 1 061

This recipe is such an easy one. If you microwave your potatoes, you can have dinner on the table in under 20 minutes. That’s a keeper in my book! The chicken was delicious in the potatoes but I think I want to try using shrimp next time. Shrimp only takes 2-4 minutes to cook and the potato would support the delicate flavor of the shrimp.

But that’s for another day. Last night, I used chicken and it was great!

Chicken and Chiles Stuffed Potatoes

Time: 15 minutes
Level: Easy
Servings: 2

2 large potatoes (I used 1 large and 3 small ones and adjusted the microwave time accordingly)
1 chicken breast, thawed and chopped into small bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small can chopped green chiles
1/3 c. sour cream
1/3 c. shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 425°. Wash and dry potatoes. Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork. Place potatoes in the microwave for 6 minutes.  Check to see if they are tender. If they are still very hard, microwave in 1 minute increments until soft. Meanwhile, season chicken with chili powder and salt. In a greased pan over medium high heat, cook chicken until no longer pink, about 7-10 minutes. Cut cooked potatoes in half and hull out the soft insides, leaving the potato jacket intact.

In a bowl, mix potato insides, chopped chiles, and sour cream together. Fold in cooked chicken. Spoon mixture back into potato jackets. Top with shredded cheese.On a baking sheet, bake stuffed potatoes until cheese is melted and stuffing is heated through, about 5-7 minutes. Yum!

Tips
-Use shrimp instead of chicken.
-Use low fat or fat free sour cream.

Cake Mix Cookies… Perfect for Summer and only 4 ingredients!

29 Mar Lemon Cookies 039

These cookies have been around my family for ages. They are easy to make, they look great, and they taste fantastic. You can choose to make lemon, strawberry, or orange cookies and all you have to change is the cake mix! I’ve tried this recipe with a chocolate cake mix and was not impressed with the results so I’d stick to more fruit flavors if I were you.

I decided to make lemon cookies this go around because we were eating BBQ for dinner and I thought lemon would compliment the tangy BBQ sauce perfectly. Delicious as always!

Cake Mix Cookies

Servings: 45ish cookies
Level: EASY!
Time: 20 minutes

1 box cake mix (lemon, strawberry, or orange)
1 8 oz. tub of cool whip
1 egg
powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix first 3 ingredients.

Dough will be sticky. Refrigerate for a few minutes if it is too sticky to work with. Roll spoonfuls of dough into 1/2 inch balls and roll balls in powdered sugar to coat.

Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, or until barely browned along the edges.

Cool on a wire cooling rack. Yum!

Tips
– I put misshapen blobs of dough into powdered sugar and roll them into a ball while rolling them in the sugar. This sometimes helps tame the stickiness.

Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes

19 Mar Pasta Shells 028

Ahhh…. it’s good to be back in Memphis! Spring Break was a blast but there’s nothing like coming home again. As a tribute to my homecoming I decided to make something fit for a king… Elvis, that is!

Elvis LOVED fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches so why not turn his obsession into a quick and easy breakfast?! I hope you enjoy.

Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes

Servings: 4
Level: Easy
Time: 20 minutes

1 c. white flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. peanut butter
1 c. milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 small banana, chopped into small pieces

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and peanut butter in a large bowl. Add milk and vanilla. Stir until  blended.

Over medium heat, grease a pan or griddle. Spoon 2 tbsp. of batter onto pan.  Sprinkle  with banana pieces. Repeat with additional batter.

Cook until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with butter and syrup.

Tips
-Instead of syrup, try spreading each pancake with your favorite jelly or jam. Instant PBB and Js for breakfast!

Baked, Not Fried, Ravioli

26 Feb Baked Ravioli 003

I had 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese left over from making lasagna. What am I going to do with just 2 tablespoons? I almost threw it away. But then I remembered I had a few wonton wrappers leftover. Why not make a few baked raviolis as an appetizer?

I LOVE fried ravioli dipped in marinara sauce but I hate the fact that it’s fried. After trying baked mozzarella sticks made with wonton wrappers, I figured I couldn’t lose. The results were really yummy. I could see myself making these again and substituting the roasted red peppers for other fillers like spinach or even Italian sausage.

Baked Ravioli

Servings: 2 people, 2 ravioli each but you can adjust the recipe accordingly
Time: 15 minutes
Level: Medium

2 tbsp. ricotta cheese
1 sprinkle garlic powder
1 sprinkle salt
1 sprinkle Italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp. roasted red peppers, finely chopped
4 wonton wrappers
2 tsp. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix first 5 ingredients together. Spoon a little of the ricotta mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper.

With finger, moisten the edges of the wrappers with water. Fold wrappers over and press edges together to seal.

Sprinkle wontons with Parmesan cheese. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping. Yum!

Red and Yellow Pizza

18 Feb Red and Yellow Pizza 007

As you know, pizza is my favorite food. You can do ANYTHING with pizza so the versatility really draws me in. This recipe came to me out of pure necessity. I had literally nothing in the pantry except for a few cans of tuna, cream of whatever soups, and a can each of corn and fire roasted tomatoes. What to do? What to do?

Make pizza, of course!

I simmered the drained tomatoes and corn with a few other ingredients until all of the juices were gone and I had a  nice thick stew-ish consistency. Threw it on partially baked pizza dough with a little spaghetti sauce and cooked chicken and voila! A vegged out dinner in 20 minutes. Lovely.

Red and Yellow Pizza

Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Level: Easy

pizza dough
1 can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 tbsp. jalapeño, chopped
1/4 c. roasted red peppers, chopped, optional
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried onion flakes
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. spaghetti sauce
1/2 c. chicken, cooked and shredded
1/2-3/4 c. cheddar, American,  or Edam cheese

Pre-heat oven to 425°. Roll out dough on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, simmer next 10 ingredients until juices are gone, about 12 minutes.

Remove pizza dough from oven when done. Top with spaghetti sauce, cooked tomato and corn mixture, chicken, and cheese.

Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes. Yum!

Tips
-Add bell peppers  and onions to the mixture.
-Mozzarella would probably work, too.
-Omit the chicken for a vegetarian dish.

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce… A Simple Version of Shakshuka

9 Feb Cabbage Soup 018

Shakshukra is an Israeli dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce. It is seasoned with garlic, paprika, and cumin and is topped with a creamy feta crumble. It can be served for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Well, this morning, I was in the mood for shakshukra but didn’t really have the time to put it all together. I came up with this version to suffice my craving.

I wouldn’t dare compare this version to the amazing traditional version but it will certainly do in a pinch. We ate every last bite and wiped our bowls clean with a toasted piece of whole wheat bread. Yum! I will definitely make this again.

As you read the recipe, you’ll notice that I was totally improvising and using up leftovers from the fridge. You can omit the spaghetti sauce and add more tomatoes, of any variety, and spice it up with seasonings if you wanted. This was one of those quick thrown together type dishes that simply turned out perfect. Don’t you love it when that happens?

 

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Servings: 2
Time: 15 minutes
Level: Easy

1/2 can  roasted tomatoes, drained
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 c. spaghetti sauce
crushed red pepper flakes
salt
pepper
Glug of red wine (optional but awesome)
2 large eggs
2 slices toasted bread
Parmesan cheese, grated

In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Brown for about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and spaghetti sauce and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Around the 8 or 9 minute mark, add the glug of wine if you choose. Gently crack each egg on top of tomato mixture.

Cover and let cook 5 minutes. Let the dish sit for 2-3 minutes before serving. Serve with toast and a touch of Parmesan cheese. Yum!

Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup – Vegan Awesomeness!

6 Feb Cabbage Soup 015

Just warning ya’, this soup is really spicy. It will open up your stuffy nose in one bite! However, we loved it. It was quick, easy, and chocked full of veggies. We are trying to eat healthier these days which has included eating a vegetarian or vegan dinner at least 2 night a week. I’m eating vegan everyday for lunch but it seems so much harder to do at night, especially in the winter. Vegetarians can eat cheese, which is the ultimate comfort food! I could be a full time vegetarian tomorrow but going all out vegan would be incredibly difficult for me. No cheese or eggs? Seriously, those are my two favorite foods in the entire world. Hands down.

But having said that, this soup was perfectly satisfying. If I could find/make up vegan recipes that were as filling and delicious as this one, I’d have such an easier time! If you have any vegan recipes or suggestions, please post them below. I’d love to try some of them.

Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup

Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Level: Easy

1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 onion, chopped finely
1/2 head of cabbage
1 carrot, chopped
8 oz. can of tomatoes (I used 1/2 of a 15 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes but regular tomatoes will do)
4 c. water
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. Seasoned Rice or Salad Vinegar
1 tsp. red chili flakes, but be careful if you don’t like spicy dishes!
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Over medium heat, add oil and onion to a large soup pot. Saute until golden brown. Blend tomatoes in a blender until smooth. Remove cabbage core and chop into bite sized slices and pieces. Add blended tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover, then turn heat down to medium low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until cabbage and carrots are tender. Yum!

Tips
-You could add some pressed cubed tofu if you’re a fan… I’m not… I want to be, but I’m not.

Pizza a la Lasagna

25 Jan Pasta Shells 029

Lasagna is a great comfort food on a cold night. However, with just the two of us in the house, the leftover ingredients can easily go to waste before the craving strikes again. So what to do with leftover ricotta, tomato sauce, and browned beef? Consult my solution for just about everything having to do with leftovers:

Make Pizza!

Ahh, don’t you love it? Let’s get started…

Pizza a la Lasagna

Servings: 4-6
Level: Easy
Time: 20 minutes

Pizza dough
1/4 lb. ground beef (guestimate… use what you have…)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced onion
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/3 c. ricotta cheese
1/3 c. spinach, frozen, thawed, and drained
1/4 c. spaghetti sauce

Roll out pizza dough and bake, according to packed directions temperature, for 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, brown ground beef with garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes. Top pizza dough with an even layer of ricotta cheese, ground beef, and spinach. Dot pizza with spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Yum!

Tips
-Try using a mix of different meats. round beef, pork, sausage, or chicken would all work!
-Top with mozzarella if you want a cheesier consistency.

Pizza Grilled Cheese Dippers

15 Jan Pizza Dipper 001

I got a griddle for Christmas and I’m slightly obsessed. It takes 2 seconds to heat up and you can grill more than one thing at a time!

Today I wanted to make ooey gooey grilled cheese but I thought that might be boring so I added a twist. Pepperoni! Not only that but I cut the sandwiches into 4 equal slices. Perfect for dipping in pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce.  These would be perfect for kids… they love to dunk and dip their food. You could add traditional pizza topping veggies to the sandwich if you wanted. Yum!

Pizza Grilled Cheese Dippers

Time: 10 minutes, max
Level: Easy
Servings: 1

2 slices whole wheat bread
3-4 pepperonis, chopped
1 slice mozzarella or cheddar cheese
1 tsp. butter
1/4 c. pizza or spaghetti sauce

Top one slice of bread with pepperonis and cheese. Top with second slice of bread. Butter the outsides of the bread. Grill in a pan over medium heat or on a griddle at 350° for 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Cut grilled sandwich into 4 slices. Heat pizza or spaghetti sauce and serve along side sandwich slices. Yum!

 

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