Sunday, May 20, 2018

White Pizza Topped w/ Spicy Chicken, Spinach, Roasted Tomatoes & Crispy Vidalia Onion Rings

This evening I made the best pizza ever using my Cheese Head Pizza Crust. After baking the crust, I topped it with Paesana's White NY Style Pizza Sauce, sautéed diced boneless chicken breast (seasoned with salt, black pepper and a bit of cayenne), wilted baby spinach, roasted halved grape tomatoes and thinly sliced Vidalia onion tossed in olive oil, spread out on a baking sheet and roasted until caramelized and crispy. The combination was amazing. Even hubby said he thought it was the best pizza he ever ate in his life. The combination of flavors was delicious. Roasting the tomatoes intensified their flavor, roasting the Vidalia onions intensified their sweetness and the spiced chicken breast and spinach along with the white cheese sauce gave it a chicken alfredo like flavor. I snapped a number of photos and included the recipe for the crust below. I roasted the tomatoes and the onions at 400-425 degrees after tossing them with olive oil and cooking them (stirring a couple times) until they were the consistency I wanted. I used my large USA Pizza Pan for tonight's pizza, but a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper works fine as well. Enjoy!













CHEESE HEAD PIZZA 

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella (whole milk or part skim)
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional
Dash garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil (to press out dough with hands or rubber spatula)
Desired toppings (pizza sauce, pepperoni, cooked peppers, onions, mushrooms, additional cheese, etc.)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.

Place mozzarella and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until a hot melty mass of cheese is formed.

While cheese is melting in microwave, stir almond flour, Parmesan, salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and egg to bowl of hot melted cheese. Working quickly, fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed (make sure cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg).   

Place ball of dough in center of parchment lined baking sheet. Press dough out with oiled hands or pour the 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of dough to help press and smooth dough out using the rubber spatula into the desired shape (round, oval or rectangular) until about ¼-inch thick. Prick holes all over crust surface with a fork to prevent crust from bubbling up. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden (be careful not to overbake so it doesn't burn when returning to oven to bake with toppings). Remove crust and top with pizza sauce, additional cheese, and any desired toppings. Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees F and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted and heated through. 

          

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Easy Pan Seared Copper River Wild Salmon & Bubbies Tartar Sauce

This evening I made one of my favorite things for dinner...Pan Seared Copper River Salmon. I took 5 fillets out of the freezer before going to bed last night and placed them in the fridge. Three of my pieces were Coho and the two larger pieces were Sockeye. I spent extra time wrapping them before freezing them last year and after wrapping them I placed them in freezer Ziploc bags and removed almost all of the air. They looked just the same as the day I froze them and not a speck of freezer burn or ice crystals. I kept it super simple. I had about 1/2 of a stick left of Kerrygold's Garlic & Herb Butter and used that to cook the salmon with in my large 12" nonstick GreenPan that has a glass lid which I really like because you can keep an eye on what's going on in the pan without opening it. It only took about 10 to 12 minutes to cook (it was still very slightly frozen/icy). I only used 3 ingredients; salmon, butter and pink sea salt. The salmon takes on a beautiful color as it begins its cooking flesh side down; the butter begins to brown and gives it a gorgeous color.

To go with our salmon, I decided to make a small batch of homemade tartar sauce (it's one of hubby's favorites). I typically don't use tartar sauce with salmon because I want to taste the salmon, but I must say...I added about 2 tablespoons to my plate and it was absolutely delicious with the salmon and did not take away from it at all. Hubby thoroughly enjoyed it. I keep Bubbies Dill Pickles, Bread & Butter Pickles and their Sauerkraut in my fridge at all times. Hubby had a piece of the Coho and I had a piece of the Coho and a small piece of the Sockeye so I could try them side by side. The Coho was slightly more mild than the Sockeye but both were delicious. Spike enjoyed a large chunk of the Sockeye broken up and mixed in with his grain free dog food; he absolutely LOVES Copper River Salmon! We usually add chopped boiled chicken breast to his food (Blue Buffalo's Freedom Grain Free) but he was so excited to find salmon in his bowl tonight instead. I've added a few photos of both our salmon and Spike's salmon dinner below as well as included the super easy peasy recipe for both the Pan Seared Salmon and the Bubbies Tartar Sauce. Enjoy!

Best Wild Salmon Ever (Copper River Wild Alaskan)


Best Tartar Sauce Ever

Spike's Salmon Dinner

Easy Pan Seared Copper River Wild Salmon w/ Bubbies Tartar Sauce

Ingredients:


For the Salmon

Four 4-ounce pieces of wild salmon (preferably Alaskan), patted dry
4 to 6 tablespoons butter (I used Kerrygold's Garlic & Herb Butter, but plain is fine)
Sea salt, to taste

For the Tartar Sauce
2/3 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
Approximately 1/3 cup diced bread & butter or dill pickles (I used Bubbies Bread & Butter)
1 to 2 tablespoons pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (or regular yellow mustard)

Directions:

To prepare salmon:  Heat a large nonstick skillet (or cast iron, if preferred) over medium-high heat. Add 4 tablespoons butter to skillet. When butter begins to sizzle, swirl the skillet around to evenly coat the bottom. Place salmon fillets flesh side down and cook partially covered for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness (add a couple minutes if partially frozen). When salmon begins to brown, flip fillets over and continue cooking covered over low-medium heat for an additional 4 to 6 minutes (you may need to reduce heat to low if butter begins browning too quickly). During the last couple minutes of cooking, top each fillet with a small pat of butter and season to taste with salt. Salmon is done when it flakes or separates when pressed. If desired, serve with tartar sauce on the side (recipe below).

To prepare tartar sauce:  Combine all tartar sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust to your own taste. Tartar sauce is best if made ahead of time and allowed to sit in the refrigerator for an hour or more to allow flavors to blend. 


        

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Burger Parmigiana over Non-Watery Zoodles

This evening I didn't have any meat thawed for dinner so I grabbed a bag of burgers that I had made several months ago, double wrapped and froze (raw). I added them to a skillet with some olive oil, covered the pan and cooked over medium heat until they thawed and cooked (it took about 15-20 minutes). I flipped them a couple times. I moved the burgers aside to a plate and added 1/2 of a diced Vidalia onion to the pan and cooked for about 5 to 7 minutes until translucent and caramelized. I returned the 3 burgers to the pan with the onions and poured a jar of Classico's Riserva Arrabbiata sauce over top of the burgers. I wanted a spicy sauce to contrast the sweetness from the Vidalia onions. I covered the pan and simmered the burgers on low for about 20 minutes. While I was cooking the burgers, I pulled out my Paderno Spiralizer and quickly made a huge pile of zoodles using 5 medium-large zucchinis. It took about 3 to 4 minutes. They are so much fresher than those you purchase pre-spiralized in the store and when you realize how quickly you can make a bunch at a fraction of the cost, it will easily justify purchasing this spiralizer. Plus, I think there is something fun about using it. It cleans up so easily by simply rinsing with water and lightly wiping with a paper towel with a drop of dish soap. Just shake it off and place on the counter or in a dish rack and allow it to dry naturally overnight. One of the things many don't like about using zoodles is they can be so watery. I found a way to take care of that by layering the raw zoodles between paper towels (lightly salting to help draw out excess liquid), rolling them up and allowing to wick out the excess liquid. I actually dedicated an entire blog post on "How to Make Non-Watery Zoodles" that you can find by clicking the bolded blog title with that name on the line above.

After the burgers simmered in the sauce, I removed the pot from the heat and topped each with a slice of Bel Gioioso fresh mozzarella cheese and topped with a pinch of dried basil and gave the cheese a few minutes to melt. After my zoodles had sat for a while (at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better...you can make them the night before, roll-up and place in the fridge overnight), I did a quick saute in a bit of olive oil in a nonstick pan (just a couple of minutes on medium high while tossing frequently). I cooked half of the zoodles I made and did it in 2 separate batches. I rolled up the other half of uncooked zoodles and placed on a plate in the fridge to use in the next day or two. I transferred the cooked zoodles to a mesh strainer over a bowl to allow any juices from cooking to drain off. To store leftover cooked zoodles, I line a bowl with a white paper towel and place the zoodles on that and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. I served the Burger Parmigiana over zoodles and we added finely grated Parmesan cheese to our burgers at the table before eating. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!










               

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cheese Head Pizza Night - To Each His Own

This evening we were in the mood for pizza. I usually make one large rectangular pizza using my Cheese Head Pizza Crust recipe. If hubby and I are in the mood for different toppings, I usually just make a half and half pizza with "his and hers" toppings. This evening I decided to cut the ball of dough in half and make us totally separate pizzas. I made a rectangular one for me and a round one for him. They turned out great and both of us have plenty left over for a couple of meals. Mine was topped with thinly sliced Boars Head sandwich style pepperoni, sautéed fresh baby spinach, red bell pepper rings and thinly sliced Vidalia onions (along with the usual pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella base). Hubby had the same thinly sliced pepperoni, sautéed baby spinach and chopped Kalamata black olives. I cooked the 2 pizzas side by side on the same large sheet pan. I snapped a few photos below. You can find the recipe for this crust here:  Cheese Head Pizza Crust. Enjoy!








CHEESE HEAD PIZZA 

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella (whole milk or part skim)
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional
Dash garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil (to press out dough with hands or rubber spatula)
Desired toppings (pizza sauce, pepperoni, cooked peppers, onions, mushrooms, additional cheese, etc.)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.

Place mozzarella and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until a hot melty mass of cheese is formed.

While cheese is melting in microwave, stir almond flour, Parmesan, salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and egg to bowl of hot melted cheese. Working quickly, fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed (make sure cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg).   

Place ball of dough in center of parchment lined baking sheet. Press dough out with oiled hands or pour the 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of dough to help press and smooth dough out using the rubber spatula into the desired shape (round, oval or rectangular) until about ¼-inch thick. Prick holes all over crust surface with a fork to prevent crust from bubbling up. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden (be careful not to overbake so it doesn't burn when returning to oven to bake with toppings). Remove crust and top with pizza sauce, additional cheese, and any desired toppings. Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees F and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted and heated through. 

          

Monday, April 23, 2018

Roasting Pan Mediterranean Chicken - Easy Low Carb

This evening I made a quick and simple meal. It was another unseasonably cool day here today, not to mention a day filled with monsoon-like rain. We actually still have our heat on at the end of April believe it or not. I may have run the air conditioner for 2 days when we had a few warm days in a row a month or more ago. So, it was a good day to have the oven running for dinner. I picked up a package of boneless skinless chicken thighs and trimmed them and cut them into nice big chunks. I also picked up a Vidalia onion. I already had fresh broccoli and red bell peppers in the fridge so I used what I had on hand to add to my roasting pan dinner. It turned out so delicious and everything cooks together and the flavors meld and juices mingle as the meat and veggies roast together. I served it in shallow bowls and topped it with crumbled feta cheese. The flavor of roasted chicken, herbs, olive oil, sweet onions and sweet bell peppers topped with tangy salty feta cheese was a perfect meld of flavors. I snapped a couple photos below and included my easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!





Easy Roasting Pan Mediterranean Chicken

Ingredients:

2 to 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into large chunks
1 pound fresh broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, sliced into rings
1 medium sweet onion (preferably Vidalia), sliced into thin rings
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, drizzle broccoli with 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread in a single layer in bottom of nonstick roasting pan. In the same bowl, toss red pepper rings with another 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Scatter red bell pepper rings over top of broccoli in roasting pan. Using the same bowl, toss sliced onion rings with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt; set aside.

In a separate bowl, toss chicken chunks with remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt, pepper and dried basil. Scatter chicken chunks evenly around the broccoli and red pepper rings in roasting pan. Top with sliced onions and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until chicken is cooked and vegetables are done. Serve in shallow bowls topped with crumbled feta cheese, if desired.

     


Friday, April 6, 2018

Chicken & Cauliflower Veggie Stir-Fry

Last night I didn't really have a plan for dinner so I sort of pulled something together based on what was in my fridge that needed to be used. I had a couple packages of Perdue boneless chicken breasts, a bag of Cauliflower Pearls (essentially small diced fresh cauliflower), a small head of fresh broccoli, a bag of carrots, a few green spring onions, and a few very ripe Campari tomatoes sitting on the counter. That became the basis of our meal. I pulled out both of my woks and had them going at the same time to hasten meal prep time.

I diced 2 boneless chicken breasts and sliced 3 green spring onions and tossed them into my nonstick wok after heating a bit of olive oil in it over medium-high heat. While that was cooking, I cut the broccoli up into florets (about 1-1/2 cups). I diced one medium carrot and then diced 3 small Campari tomatoes. I kept stirring the chicken as it was cooking, and then set it aside when done. In my regular wok, I placed the broccoli and diced carrot along with about 1/4 cup of water, covered it and steamed the veggies over medium-high heat for a few minutes.

I moved the veggies over to a plate and wiped the wok dry and then added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to it and placed it over medium-high heat. I poured the entire 2-lb bag of Taylor Farms Cauliflower Pearls into the wok, seasoned with salt and covered to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring it a few times. I uncovered the wok and turned the heat up to high while stir-frying the cooked cauliflower pearls to let them dry out a bit. I added the chicken, broccoli and carrots to the cauliflower and tossed in the diced tomato, then seasoned with salt and pepper, to taste. Before serving I added crumbled feta cheese because everything is "betta with feta", right? It just added a nice salty little kick. I topped our meal with a few roasted salted almonds to add a bit of crunch. Even though it seems like a mish-mosh of ingredients...and it was, it was really good! We have plenty left for another meal as well. It was an interesting way to combine a lot of veggies and chicken into a meal that was tasty by using what I had on hand. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!






       

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Greek Style Roasting Pan Chicken

This evening I made a delicious and easy "mostly roasting pan" meal. While the chicken was roasting, I prepared a quick stove-top spinach feta topping to top the chicken with near the last part of roasting. It was so flavorful and simple to make. I had a 2-pound package of boneless skinless chicken thighs. I spritzed them on both sides with olive oil and seasoned both sides with Penzey's Greek Seasoning. I placed them top side down on what used to be the skin side so they would begin browning and caramelizing a bit for flavor. I topped each thigh with a slice of lemon and baked them for 20 minutes. I removed them and flipped them over, placing the lemon slice back on top to flavor the chicken and help keep it moist, and roasted for an additional 15-20 minutes. While the chicken was roasting, I quickly wilted 8 ounces of fresh organic baby spinach in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on the stove, then set it aside to cool off. I then cooked 3 sliced green spring onions and sautéed them in another tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet until tender. I pressed the excess liquid out of the cooked spinach and then coarsely chopped it. I mixed the chopped spinach, cooked green onions, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, generous grind of black pepper and 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill together in the same skillet I sautéed the spinach and onions in. I added another 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then stirred in 2 small diced Campari tomatoes to the spinach mixture. I removed the chicken from the oven and then divided the topping among the 5 pieces of chicken and put a generous scoop of the spinach-feta mixture on top of each piece of chicken and then placed the slice of lemon back on top of each. I roasted everything together for another 5-7 minutes. It was so delicious and roasting the chicken with the sliced lemon on top gave a strong punch of lemony flavor to the chicken...so if you are not a lemon lover, you may not want to use the sliced lemon on top while roasting. We loved it. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!