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Creole Pizza

15 Aug

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

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.

Red and Yellow Pizza

18 Feb

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

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

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

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.

Quick and Easy Cream of Spinach Soup

12 Jan

Frozen spinach has become one of my favorite ingredients. It thaws quickly and can be thrown into all sort of dishes to give them a bit more nutrients and a pop of color.

This recipe is a quick and easy go to dinner option when you haven’t got a lot of time. I added a little mustard to mimic the comforting flavor of macaroni and cheese, without the cheesy guilt. It is totally optional. If you wanted to use spicy brown mustard, that would work, too.

Enjoy!

Cream of Spinach Soup

Time: 15 minutes
Level: Easy
Servings: 6

3/4 c. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 cans cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
2-3 c. milk
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. mustard (a squirt or so…)

In a soup pot, combine all ingredients. Heat on medium-low for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and let soup sit for a minute or two to thicken. Yum!

Tips
-Using low fat milk instead of cream is a healthier option. Allowing the soup to sit and thicken helps regain the fullness that is lost.
-Add a handful of shredded cheese for added flavor.
-Add crumbled bacon pieces for a smoky flavor. (so good!)
-Serve with crusty bread or cornbread.

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

5 Jan

Stuffed shells are so easy and super fun to make! I recently made a more traditional version of this dish with a group of children and they had a blast mixing and filing the shells. Not to mention, they ate every bite… spinach included! If you want to get your kids to eat their veggies, get them in kitchen. It truly makes a difference.

I liked this recipe because I love vegetable lasagna but I can’t afford the time it takes to make and bake in the oven. As you know if you follow my blog, when it’s dinner time, I’m hungry, and it better not take me long to make anything or else I’m out, down for the count, and wasting precious calories on anything I can get my hands on from the pantry. (aka: Wheat Thins and peanut butter)

Stuffing jumbo pasta shells with lasagna ingredients not only cuts down on time but it also helps you with portion control. Sneaking an extra bite of lasagna is easy but grabbing another shell can make you think twice!

Also, I added chicken for the hubs. He’s a meat-a-holic. Not really… he can enjoy a good hearty… key word hearty… vegetarian meal every once in a while but he’d simply rather not. I can’t really blame him but you wouldn’t have to use chicken if you didn’t want to.

Enjoy!

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Time: 45 minutes
Level: Easy
Servings: 4, 3 shells each

1 chicken boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and chopped into bite sized cubes
15 jumbo pasta shells, in case a few break
1 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 c. onion, chopped
1/3 c. carrots, sliced thin
1/3 c. frozen corn
1/3 c. frozen bell peppers
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 c. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1 egg
1 c. spaghetti sauce
1/4 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

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15 Minute Dinner… Smoked Sausage and Vegetable Stew Over Brown Rice

13 Dec

15 minute dinner ideas are must to keep sane during the holiday season. Smoked sausage, canned tomatoes, frozen veggies, and minute rice help make this flavorful dish quick and easy to throw together on a busy night.

You can make it as mild or as spicy as you’d like… We like it HOT around our house!

Smoked Sausage and Vegetable Stew Over Brown Rice

Servings: 2-4
Level: Easy
Time: 15 minutes

1 tsp. canola oil
1/3 c. corn, frozen
1/3 c. bell peppers and onions, frozen
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tbsp. sweet and spicy jalapeños, diced
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. crushed red pepper, optional
1/2 c. smoked sausage, cut into slices, then halved
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
brown rice, cooked

In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add corn, peppers and onions, and garlic. Sauté  until thawed. Add remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomato juice thickens to desired thickness.

Serve over brown rice. Yum!

Tips
– Use instant brown rice!
– Make extra rice or add another can of tomatoes to make the dish go further.

Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew

5 Dec

Winter is upon us. No offense to Mother Nature, but UGH! I seriously hate cold weather. However, I do seriously love soups and stews. Cold weather is the perfect opportunity to fire up the crock pot and make something truly comforting for dinner.

A friend of mine at work suggested I take a look at the Skinny Crock Pot blog. The site is full of delicious and healthy ideas to make in your crock pot. I’ll definitely be back to check out more of her recipes. One recipe I found particularly interesting was her sweet potato and lentil stew. I changed it up a bit but if you would like to see the original recipe, which is vegetarian, click here.

Yum! This stew is delicious with herbed corn muffins!

Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew

Servings: 8
Level: Easy
Time: 8 hours

1 tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 sweet potato, cubed
1/3 c. carrots, chopped
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. cayenne
1 1/2 c. dried green lentils
6 c. chicken stock
3  chicken tenderloins, frozen or 1 large chicken breast, frozen

Add all ingredients to crock pot and stir well. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours, or until lentils and potatoes soften. Shred chicken with a fork. Yum!

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