Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sausage Spinach Calzones

While looking through my stack of magazines I've been saving, I saw this recipe for calzones. I knew it was something I wanted to make and I'm so glad I did! It was a HUGE hit with everyone and they were gone in no time...Madeline ate two of them!

They're super easy to make on a weeknight especially when you're using premade pizza dough. I think the next time I make them, I'll make a double batch and freeze the leftovers so they can be reheated in the oven when we need a quick dinner.

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 ozs sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 lb prepared whole wheat pizza dough

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the sausage, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks until it is no longer pink. Once the sausage is cooked, add in the baby spinach, stir until it's wilted and cooked. Remove from the pan and place into a bowl.Stir in both cheeses and seasonings until well combined. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into 6 inch long and divide into five equal sized pieces. Roll out each piece into a small circle. Place 1/2 cup of the filling on a half of the dough circle and then fold over the other side. Crimp the edges with a fork and place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue this process until all five calzones have been made. Cut two or three slits into the top of the dough to allow steam to escape and brush the top of each one with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. 

Bake the calzones for 15 minutes until the dough turns golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before eating. 

Source: Eating Well Magazine

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mini Pretzel Dogs - The Secret Recipe Club

I always love when it's reveal day for The Secret Recipe Club! It's so fun to go through all the other recipes and find out who had you. This month, my assignment was Rebekah of Family, Food and Fun. I was Rebekah's assignment in February! I looked through so many of Rebekah's recipes and had a hard time selecting's that always the problem with SRC!? I finally settled on a recipe for mini pretzel dogs!

I haven't made pretzels in so long, so I knew it was able time. This was a great recipe to make for dinner, plus I had leftovers and they're great to heat up for an after-school snack for Madeline. I knew these would be time consuming to make and with our crazy schedule lately, I knew I would have to make these on the weekend. The pretzels were the perfect texture and were even better dipped in spicy brown mustard..YUM!

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
8 hot dogs, cut in half

In the bowl of stand mixer, combine the water and sugar. Sprinkle the packet of yeast on tops of the water and allow to feed for 5 minutes. You'll begin to smell the yeast and see a foam starting to form. Once the yeast is frothy, add the flour, salt and melted butter. Knead using a dough hook on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly coat the bowl with oil. Add the dough back into the oiled bowl, sprinkle with flour and cover with plastic wrap to rise in a warm place. 

When the dough has doubled in size (about an hour), line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush the paper will oil to keep the pretzels from sticking, Place the oven racks in the center and top third and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly beat an egg in a small bowl and set aside. 

In a large stock pot, combine 10 cups of water with 2/3 cup baking soda and bring to a boil. As the water comes to a boil, remove the dough from the bowl onto on a clean work surface. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each piece of dough until its a foot long. Wrap the dough around the hot dog and seal the ends.  

Once the salted water is boiling, gently place the pretzel dogs into the water. Boil for 30 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the boiled pretzels with the beaten egg and then season with salt, pepper or other spices. 

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes and serve warm. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pasta Pie

I've seen pasta pies all over Pinterest and I thought it was about time that I try one out. My husband is not a fan of spaghetti, so I hoped he would like this. I'm a pasta lover and could eat spaghetti several times a week, but we rarely have it because he complains about it every time.

This recipe is time consuming but it's worth it! While doing this, I found several things that would help the next time I make it.

1. Find the largest rigatoni you can find. It will be easier to fill.
2. Make sure you really crumble the meat.
3. Fill the rigatoni with as much sauce as you can, use a straw to push it all the way to the bottom.

I'm looking forward to making this again now that I have one under my belt.

1 lb Rigatoni
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef and ground pork mix
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
8 oz grated mozzarella cheese

In a large stockpot, slightly undercook the pasta in salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and then rinse with cold water. Place back into the pot and toss with one tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish. 

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the beef and pork mixture and cook until brown. Add in the minced garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional two minutes to cook the garlic. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 

Butter a 9 inch springform and set aside. Take the cooled pasta and toss in the Parmesan cheese until the pasta is well coated. Tightly pack the pasta into the pan. Fill the rigatoni with the meat sauce, pushing down the sauce all the way to the bottom of the pasta. While you're filling the pasta, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the top of the pie with the grated mozzarella cheese. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. To loosen the pan, run a knife along the edge and then unhook the latch to remove the ring. Cut into wedges to serve with any remaining sauce. 

Source: Noble Pig

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Carrot Cake Cookies #FilltheCookieJar

Welcome to April's Fill the Cookie Jar - the group of us bloggers who share cookie recipes monthly based on different themes. This month, we were given the theme, Easter/Spring. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Easter and spring is carrot cake. I's random, but once spring hits, it's time to start thinking about what's going in the garden and the beginning of new things. I searched for several recipes and finally settled on the one below. I liked it because it was paleo and took me outside of my baking comfort zone.I had all the ingredients in my pantry except for almond meal, but I knew the nut stand at the local farmer's market would have it.

These cookies are really good, even Cooper gobbled them up! I made them smaller than the original recipe suggested but it was the perfect size for the kids to eat one and be done. The original recipe also recommended them to be topped with coconut butter, but I thought they were perfect as is and decided to skip that step.

2 cups almond meal
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup very finely shredded carrots (I used a microplane grater)
1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. In a small bowl, heat the maple syrup on high in a microwave for 10 minutes. Add in the melted coconut oil and vanilla extract and whisk together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the shredded carrot and coconut. Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, scoop out the cookie dough and place on the prepared baking sheet leaving 2 inches apart. Using the back of the spoon, press down slightly on the balls to form a disc.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the cookies are cooked through and starting to turn golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to completely cook. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Source: Healthy Food for Living 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Quick Risotto with Shrimp, Corn and Edamame

Who else is glad this winter is over? Whew, it felt like it would never end! Storm after storm and bitter cold. I'm just glad all the snow is melted, the birds are chirping and the grass is getting green again! With this winter, I haven't been cooking new recipes like I had previously done, but I'm trying to get back into a good groove and hoping with the access to fresh veggies soon, it will be easier!

I loved this recipe! I'm a fan of risotto but my husband could leave it. I was hoping this recipe would change his mind, and I think it did! The original recipe says it serves 4, but I found it was more closer to 6-7 servings. Neither of my kids like it, but that was fine since I enjoyed it for lunch. The risotto is made with instant brown rice and was so easy to make! The addition of cream cheese made it super creamy without a lot of extra calories (especially great since I gained a little weight over the winter).

1 Tbsp EVOO
1 bunch of scallions, sliced - green and white parts separated
2 cups instant brown rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 lb peeled and deveined raw shrimp
1 cup frozen edamame, shelled
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp ground pepper

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add in the white part of the scallion and rice, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add in the wine and cook until the majority of the wine has evaporated. Add the chicken stock and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Place the raw shrimp on the rice and cover. Cook for 5-7 minutes until they're completely cooked through. Stir in the frozen edamame, thawed corn and the pieces of cream cheese. Mix until completely incorporated. Continue cooking uncovered, stirring occasionally until the majority of the liquid is evaporated.

Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with fresh ground pepper. Divide into portions and top with the reserved scallion greens.

Source: Eating Well Magazine

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cheesy Cauliflower Rice

I've been seeing cauliflower being used in all different ways so I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon and check it out too. I love eating this vegetable raw and also roasted. I've made a similar recipe with cauliflower and cheese, but it started with steaming and then mashing the vegetable to be similar to mashed potatoes.

After looking at several different recipes for cauliflower rice, I thought I would combine a few different recipes to make my own. Three out of four of us like it....I was shocked my little guy gobbled it down and then ate it the next day for lunch at daycare. I'll be experimenting more with cauliflower to replace starch plus there's other health benefits of eating this vegetable - anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, digestive support..and the list goes on and on.

small to medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
small yellow onion, finely minced
olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup (or more) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Using a food processor, shredded the cauliflower into rice sized pieces. 

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the finely minced onion until soft. Add in the cauliflower and cook until it starts to soften and become cooked. I had a larger head of cauliflower and it took about 15 minutes. Once cooked to your liking, add in the cheese and mix to combine. Scoop out and serve! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Snickerdoodle Bars - Secret Recipe Club

It's that time of the month - Secret Recipe Club time! While I was prepping for this post, I realized that I've been participating in this group since June 2011...crazy almost three years! What I love about this group is that I'm introduced to so many new blogs and I'm inspired every single month. This month was no exception when I look through my assignment - Little Bit of Everything. Julie and my blogging story started the same - a way to keep track of our recipes and go through all the cookbooks and magazine clippings.

I searched through all of Julie's recipes and was going to make her French Lentil soup, but settled on her recipe for snickerdoodle bars. Snickerdoodles are one of my favorites cookies so I knew I'd love this recipe. I'm actually eating one as I'm typing up this post. :) They taste just like a cookie but have the consistency and texture of a brownie. I'll be sending in half the pan with my husband to work because if they stay here with me all day, I'll eat the entire thing!

2 1/3 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp sugar + 1 Tbsp cinnamon, mixed together in a small bowl

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in both sugars until combined. Add in the eggs and vanilla until mixed thoroughly. Slowly add in the dry ingredients on low. Spread half of the batter into the bottom of prepared pan. 

 Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter in teaspoons over the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for an hour. 

Once cooled, make the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and can be drizzled. Drizzle over the pan and then let set before cutting into bars.