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!



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.)


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


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 


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 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!


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter - Chicken Divan: Wheat, Grain & Gluten Free

I hope you had a Happy Easter today. It was a busy weekend. Yesterday I did all of my Easter dinner shopping and started the prep for my Chicken Divan which is what we typically have for Easter; it's a family favorite. Several years ago, I made a grain and gluten free version of the traditional recipe that we have eaten since I was a child and that my kids grew up enjoying. I created a wheat free version of cream of chicken soup years back and then substitute almond flour and butter and sometimes some finely grated Parmesan in place of the buttered bread crumb topping. Yesterday afternoon I cooked lots of chicken breast and steamed lots of fresh broccoli and prepared the cream of chicken soup. I actually made 2 large casseroles and one smaller one so that everyone could take home leftovers to eat for a few days. I assembled the casseroles today. My family likes to eat theirs over rice. I had my first big flop this afternoon when cooking the jasmine rice of all things! I don't make rice that often any more but you'd think it's 2 ingredients...rice and water so how could anyone screw it up, right? Well, trust me when I tell you that when you add 12 cups of water when you should have only added 6 cups to the rice is one of the best ways to insure a total fail. Yup...a big pot of paste. Luckily we have a Chinese restaurant nearby that I sent hubby to so he could pick up a few cartons of steamed rice. I don't think I've ever messed up rice before...but there's a first time for everything! LOL I snapped a few photos of our meal below. If Chicken Divan is one of your old favorites and you want to enjoy it...try my version. It's delicious. I snapped a few photos below. You can get to the recipe here:  Chicken Divan - Wheat, Grain & Gluten Free. Enjoy!