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Meatball Pizza

4 Sep

Meatball Pizza 1
So remember when I made spaghetti and meatballs for you last week? A big ‘ole delicious batch. But have I ever told you how much I dislike leftovers? They are ok for a day but after that no bueno. I just hate eating the same thing over and over. And Joel now has lunch provided for him at work so that means there are even more leftovers for me to eat. The smart thing here would have been to freeze half the batch for another time but alas, that didn’t happen so I got creative instead.
Meatball Pizza 4
I always have pizza dough in my freezer for quick weeknight meals. Lately I have been creating lots of delicious and non-traditional pizza’s so why not make one with leftovers for the ultimate quick and easy meal?
Meatball Pizza 3
And that’s exactly what I did after 2 days of spaghetti and meatballs for lunch and dinner. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I was thankful for leftovers because it turned out so tasty. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making extra meatballs from now on just so I can make this pizza.

Meatball Pizza

2 disks whole wheat pizza dough
Leftover meatballs and sauce
2-4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Preheat pizza stone for 30 minutes.

2. Roll pizza dough disks together into a 12-inch round then place on preheated pizza stone. Slather desired amount of pizza sauce over crust and top with cheeses. Thinly slice 4-5 meatballs and layer on top of cheese.

3. Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

27 Aug

Spaghetti and Meatballs 4
Noah had his first day of preschool a couple weeks ago and we did lots to celebrate the big day. It mostly revolved around food because that’s how we roll around here. Big, fancy breakfast, out to his choice of restaurant for lunch (HuHot of course) and his request of spaghetti and meatballs with bell peppers for dinner.
Spaghetti and Meatballs 1
I have a meatball recipe I usually go to for spaghetti but I thought I would switch it up and try something different. I’ve always wanted to try the combination of beef and pork for meatballs so I went on the search and decided on an Ina Garten recipe since you can’t really go wrong with anything she makes. I did adapt the recipe to make them clean by switching white bread for whole grain and using only olive oil to cook them in. Still super delicious and I couldn’t tell the difference. I also opted to make my favorite spaghetti sauce rather than the recipe she included.
Spaghetti and Meatballs 5
This recipe makes a lot so you can cook them through step 2 then cool and freeze them. Or just wait until next week for a delicious way to use the leftovers.

Ina Garten’s Meatballs
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup fresh whole grain bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry whole grain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Olive oil
Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce (prepared without the ground meat)*
Hot cooked whole wheat noodles

1. Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. You will have30 to 32 meatballs.

2. Pour  olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.

3. Place meatballs in spaghetti sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, or until co0ked through.

*I subbed 3 tablespoons organic cane juice for the 1/4 cup sugar in the sauce to keep it clean.

Thai Chicken Pizza

9 Apr

Thai Chicken Pizza 5
A whole wheat crust is slathered with a slightly spicy peanut sauce then topped with shredded chicken, a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese and baked to golden perfection. When it’s removed from the oven it’s topped with fresh cilantro, thinly slice carrot (I used a peeler) and peanuts for a little crunch. Are you drooling yet?
Thai Chicken Pizza 4
So I don’t mean to brag, but this pizza is totally restaurant quality. I love making homemade pizza and always enjoy them but this was the first time I really thought I could see it on a menu somewhere.
Thai Chicken Pizza 6
It is a bit fancier and more exotic than our normal pizzas but it was so so good. I know, I know, we live on the edge but we are pretty traditional when it comes to our precious pizza.
Thai Chicken Pizza 1
Plus, it is clean! I love when that happens. This is officially my new favorite. Thai chicken pizza for life.

Thai Chicken Pizza

1/2 recipe whole wheat pizza crust
1 batch Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
3-4 ounces mozzarella, shredded
Roughly chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced carrot
Roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

2. Roll out dough thinly and place on a pizza stone. Spread 1/4 cup of the peanut sauce over the crust. Toss remaining sauce with the shredded chicken and spread evenly over the crust. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

3. Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cilantro, carrot and peanuts. Slice and enjoy!

Thai Peanut Sauce
recipe adapted from

2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated with microplane
5 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
1 tsp. Sriracha

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until the peanut butter is just melted (it only took 30 seconds for me). Whisk until smooth.
Thai Chicken Pizza 3

Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls

21 Mar

Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
Remember that fun dinner I talked about on Wednesday using whole wheat pizza dough? Well, here it is. Pizza rolls baked in a muffin tin.

Noah had a lot of fun helping me roll out the dough and spread the toppings. He’s been really into helping me in the kitchen again which means he’s super proud and is a lot more likely to eat what we are having. Not that it’s ever a problem when it’s pizza. But when he gets to help cut up the broccoli or cauliflower (with his kid knives) then he won’t complain as much when it comes to eating it. Sometimes the “help” isn’t all that helpful but we both enjoy it so much and sometimes the fun messy chaos is much more important than getting things done. I know these memories will be cherished for a long time to come.
Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
But back to the recipe at hand. These rolls are fun and kid friendly. I mean, who doesn’t love to eat with their hands. If you’re all fancy pants, you can cut them up with a knife but Noah and I preferred grabbing them with our hands and dunking them in the sauce. Dipping totally makes things more fun for kids too (and maybe adults).
Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
If you have the dough and sauce made up in the freezer, this would be an incredibly easy weeknight meal to whip up. I always make a big batch of both those things and freeze the leftovers for this very reason. Then all you have to do is thaw everything and grate some cheese.

Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
recipe from Foodie Crush

Olive oil
Pizza sauce (make it clean by replacing brown sugar with honey)
1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
Any other toppings, I put pepperoni in half of them (for the boys)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a muffin tin with olive oil.
2. Roll out dough into a 10×20 inch rectangle. Spread a light layer of sauce over the dough then sprinkle with cheese and additional toppings of choice.
3. Roll lengthwise (like cinnamon rolls) to make a 20-inch log and pinch edges to seal. Slice into 2-inch sections then place them in the muffin cups, pressing down slightly.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and dough in the center is fully cooked. Serve with additional pizza sauce on the side.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

19 Mar

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Whether we are eating clean or not, something Joel just can’t live without is pizza. So I knew I would have to find a whole wheat pizza crust so we could splurge a little. And turns out, it’s pretty darn good. He asked me why I was able to eat it…he couldn’t even tell it was whole wheat.

I made a fun dinner with these using a cleaned up version of our favorite pizza sauce (just replace the brown sugar with the same amount of honey and make sure there isn’t any added ingredients in the tomato puree). I know some people who eat clean don’t eat cheese but that’s just a bit too extreme for me! I always buy blocks of cheese and shred them myself that way it doesn’t have any extra junk and it tastes so much better. I have also only been eating it in moderation.

So clean pizza it is! Using white whole wheat flour makes for a milder wheat flavor so you can totally trick any non-believers you are feeding. The dough was light, chewy and had the slightest bit of nutty flavor…just perfect in my opinion.
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
The recipe makes enough dough for 4 9-inch pizzas and includes instructions for freezing any extra so you can do the work now and have an extra dinner waiting for you in the freezer on a busy night.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
recipe from Weelicious

2 1/4 tsp. rapid rise yeast (or one 1/4 oz. packet)
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
3-4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing bowl and brushing on pizza crust
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1. Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of your mixer and allow to sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the olive oil and honey to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.

3. Stir together 3 cups flour and salt then dump into the yeast mixture. Mix on low for about 3 minutes until smooth. Crank speed up to medium and let it run for 5-6 minutes until it springs back when pushed. If dough is wet or sticky, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time.

4. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead for 15 seconds then divide into four equal parts. Form each ball into a disk and allow to rest for 5 minutes. At this point, you can freeze the dough for future use. Stack the disks on a baking sheet with parchment paper in between each then put in the freezer for an hour. After the hour is up, put the disks in a labeled freezer bag.

6. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Take a disk and holding the dough at the edges, pinch and pull the dough to 9 inches across. Periodically switch from pulling and pinching the dough to stretching it out using your knuckles.

7. Spread with sauce and top with desired toppings. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Thanksgiving Roundup

25 Nov

Looking for some last minute additions or recipes for the big day? Here are some yummy breakfast, dessert and side dish recipes that would be perfect for Thanksgiving. I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. And who is going out Black Friday shopping? Some new outlets just opened last week about a half hour from our house so that’s what we are doing…wish us luck. Everyone I know that has gone so far has said it was nuts.

Perfect for starting off the day right, Pumpkin Granola. It’s light and healthy and won’t fill you up too much.
Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Pie Cashews would be the perfect thing to snack on throughout the day.
Pumpkin Pie Cashews

Share what you are thankful for with these Gratitude Rolls.

These slow cooker mashed potatoes free up that precious stovetop space and still create a creamy, decadent side to that juicy turkey.

Maple Glazed Carrots are a super simple yet delicious addition.
Maple Glazed Carrots

Creamy Cheesy Potatoes are so easy and amazingly delicious!
Creamy Cheesy Potatoes

Brined and Roasted Turkey results with the most juicy and succulent bird ever.

Mini Pecan Pies always grace our Thanksgiving table. They are the perfect little bite that leaves a little room for a second dessert!

Apple Streusel Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze is rustic but delicious.
Apple Streusel Cake

Looking for a rich, dense way to end Thanksgiving? Boom, French Silk Pie.
French Silk Pie

Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken

11 Sep

Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken 3
This is officially my new favorite dinner. I could literally eat it every week. That’s saying something since I usually make a new recipe then don’t make it again for months because I keep trying new things to share with you guys. But this…
Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken 2
This happens a lot around here. It’s easy, healthy and fills you up!

I have to admit that I have never been a huge fan of cilantro but it has slowly been growing on me and this recipe is one of the reasons. I still don’t love a ton of it as I find it overpowering but a little really brightens up any dish it is in.
Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken 4
And just an FYI, this is really yummy with steak too! It’s like making your own rice bowls at home but way cheaper and healthier!

Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken

For the Cilantro Lime Rice:
recipe from Sarah’s Cucina Bella

1 cup uncooked rice (I used brown rice)
1 lime, zested
1/3 cup cilantro, finely minced

For the Seasoned Black Beans:
recipe from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or use cooked dried beans)
2 teaspoons oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 chicken breasts
4 Tbsp. Mexican Spice Rub
1 Tbsp. olive oil

salsa/pico for garnish

1. Cook rice according to package directions. Preheat grill to medium high heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a pan cook onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add oregano and cumin, cooking over low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add black beans and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, to allow flavors to blend. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and 1 Tbsp. lime juice right before serving.

3. While beans are cooking, rub chicken with olive oil and Mexican spice rub. Grill until juices run clear. Once rice has cooked, stir in lime zest and 1/3 cup cilantro.

4. To serve, spoon rice on plate then top with seasoned black beans. Top with a few slices of chicken and enjoy!
Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken 1

Cobb Salad

26 Jun

Cobb Salad 2
Now that the summer heat has set in, I have been craving cool, crisp salad all the time. The only problem here is one of those boys I live with (the big one) doesn’t think salad is a meal.
Cobb Salad 3
In comes the Cobb Salad to prove him wrong because if you know me, you know I like to be right. I even have a magnet given to me by my mom’s best friend that states: “The Happy Couple: Mr. Right and Mrs. Always Right.” It’s a problem I have. But not really…life is just easier if things are done my way.
Cobb Salad 1
How could a salad covered in grilled corn, hard boiled eggs, bacon, chicken, avocado, cucumbers and cheese then drizzled with roasted garlic vinaigrette not be deemed a meal? Well, people…it was. I knew I would convince him (if he knew what was good for him). And there were no complaints from the dinner table. I call that a success!

Cobb Salad

1 romaine heart, chopped
1 head of butter lettuce, chopped
2 ears grilled corn
2 hard boiled eggs
1 avocado, sliced
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbles
1 grilled chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 english cucumber, sliced into half moons
1/4 cup bleu cheese, feta or gorgonzola
Roasted garlic vinaigrette

Mix together the romaine and butter lettuce. Place chicken down the middle. In a line layer the avocado on one side and the cucumber on the other. Continue with the remaining items (except dressing). Serve individual portions being sure to get all the toppings. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Pepperoni Sauce

14 Jun

Pepperoni Sauce 2
Have you ever done something that you immediately regret? I am usually a pretty cautious person and think things through but lately I’ve been having some blonde moments. I call pregnancy brain. It’s not been anything major but just enough to make me slap my head and think “well that was dumb.”

I totally had one of those moments when making this sauce. Who in the world thinks wearing a white shirt while making a tomato sauce is a good idea? Apparently me. And it will surely end in tragedy. I even thought as I was pouring the sauce into my food processor “I better be careful otherwise I am going to splat…” and it was done….all over my shirt. The pasta needed to be drained and the sauce smooth-ified so I kept on working. What are you gonna do? And just and fyi, Oxyclean gets this out of clothing. Ya know, in case you may possibly encounter the same problem.
Pepperoni Sauce 5
Moral of the story, wear an apron. And make this sauce, because it’s worth any stain you may encounter.
Pepperoni Sauce 3
I would have never thought of adding pepperoni to a tomato sauce and pureeing it but I am so glad I stumbled upon the idea. The recipe is from the Bravo show Top Chef and it’s definitely worthy.

I love the spiciness that the pepperoni lends to the sauce and the addition of fennel really puts it over the top. I love fennel so I doubled the amount and it was just perfect. I also bumped down the red pepper flakes since, as you know, I live with a big wimp (who I love dearly) who can’t handle the heat. Noah even likes things spicier…that’s my boy. So, adjust the spices as you prefer.
Pepperoni Sauce 7
If this was healthier, I would eat it once a week. So unique and delish!

Pepperoni Sauce
recipe adapted from Cassie Craves

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. pepperoni, cut into thin slices
2 tsp. fennel seed, toasted
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
14 oz. canned Italian tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 fresh bay leaf
Parmesan, for topping, optional

1. In a dry skillet heated to medium, toast the fennel seed making sure to constantly move them around. Once they slightly darken and become fragrant they are ready. Remove from the pan.

2. In a large, heavy bottomed skillet (I used the same as the one used to toast the fennel), heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until softened and caramelization begins, 5-10 minutes.

3. Stir in the pepperoni and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in fennel and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.

4. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth and bay leaf to the pepperoni mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. Stir the sauce occasionally.

5. Remove the skillet from heat and fish out the bay leaf. Place sauce, you may need to do this in batches, into your food processor or blender and process until smooth. Serve over hot cooked pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan if you wish.

Memorial Day Roundup

24 May

First I want to start off by saying thank you to each and every person, past and present, that has served this country and especially those that have sacrificed their lives to protect our freedom. I’ve mentioned before that my dad served in the Air Force for 20 years and I will be forever grateful for that choice that my parents made. I had the privilege to live in some amazing places and meet and become friends with people from all over the world. Through those experiences, I learned to be accepting of all people, to be adaptable, to know that life is much bigger than just me so the world shouldn’t revolve around just me and to always respect men and women in uniform.

I know there is so much I am missing but at the end of the day all I’m trying to say is that my dad’s service and sacrifice sculpted me into a better person than I could ever have been without it. So I hope on Memorial Day (and every day), you can all remember everyone that serves or has served and be thankful for all they do for us. It’s a huge undertaking and deserves the utmost respect.

Here is a list of some great sides, main dishes and desserts that would be perfect for your Memorial Day celebration. Enjoy!
Spring Sangria 3
Spring Sangria
Cucumber Tomato Salad 1
Cucumber Tomato Salad
Smoked Corn on the Cob
Smoked Corn on the Cobb

Juicy Lucy’s (Cheese Stuffed Burgers)
Coca Cola BBQ Chicken Skewers
Coca-Cola BBQ Chicken Skewers

Cheesecake Filled Strawberries
4th of July Funfetti Whoopie Pies
Patriotic Funfetti Whoopie Pies

Red, White and Blue Tie-Dyed Cupcakes


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