Entree

Spinach Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza is one of my favorite things to make for dinner. The obsession first started with the novelty of making my own pizza in whatever shape or size you desired (at one of my birthday parties there were elephants, butterflies, monkeys, etc). Then came the endless possible combinations with different sauces, cheeses, and toppings. Finally there were the different kinds of dough. It started out simple enough with regular, thin, and whole wheat, but then morphed into more creative outlets such as stuffed crust, garlic bread crust, garlic dough, rosemary beer dough, Greek yogurt dough and even Cauliflower Crust. While most people are debating between sausage or pepperoni, I am still trying to decide on the base let alone the toppings.

Spinach Pizza Dough 1

To make my life even more difficult I created another new dough option, spinach dough just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Although pizza doesn’t normally come to mind when thinking of this holiday the green color couldn’t be more perfect, accomplished by adding pureed spinach to my regular pizza dough recipe. It’s also a sneaky way to trick any kids nearby into eating a little spinach because it adds more color than flavor, and what kid doesn’t enjoy oddly colored food? Just tell them it’s food coloring ;-).

Spinach Pizza Dough 2

This dough could also be used to make a Christmas pizza – red pizza sauce and Mozzarella cheese on top of a green dough. Heck you could use supreme pizza toppings and dub them “ornaments”. Haha oh I’m so witty. But since we don’t want to rush off into winter now that we’ve finally caught a glimpse of spring, stick around for Wednesday when I’ll tell you how to make a “Leprechaun Pizza” using this spinach pizza dough, pictured below.

Spinach Pizza Dough 3

Three years ago: Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry
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Amaretto-Maple Glazed Pork Chops

When I packed up most of my belongings into a POD, I had all kinds of food and drinks for those who came to help: cookies, pizza, ranch pretzels, candy, juice, pop (yes pop), and liquor. Drinking liquor while moving heavy boxes and furniture is a fantastic idea, isn’t it? Okay maybe not large quantities of it but I did have several more than half-empty bottles of liquor that I was in no mood to put in a box and move, so I told my my friends to drink up or at least take it with them when they left.

Amaretto-Maple Glazed Pork Chops 3

There were however a couple select bottles that I did keep and brought them with me. Such as a new bottle of Patron silver, several bottles of wine, and the remnants of Disaronno. Now, my parents do not drink alcohol except on the rare occasion but that didn’t stop me from getting excited by the idea of making pork chops with an amaretto glaze.

Amaretto-Maple Glazed Pork Chops 2

It’s been a long time since I’ve cooked pork chops, but these were the most tender and juicy pork chops I have ever had. I’m not sure if it was pounding the crap out of them with a meat mallet that did it or the cooking method, but either way they were fantastic. And in case you didn’t think it could possibly get any better, they were also smothered in a amaretto-maple glaze. Winner winner chicken pork chop dinner.

Amaretto-Maple Glazed Pork Chops 1

Three years ago: Easy Garlic Knots
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Oven-Fried Mac and Cheese Ravioli Salad

Before I get into this recipe, I just have to say that I am super stoked about Taco Bell’s breakfast menu. I don’t eat fast food very often but when I do it’s typically Taco Bell or occasionally breakfast from one of the main-stream burger joints. To join those two together is a dreamland. Admittedly, I have eaten regular Taco Bell menu items for breakfast more times than I can count but now I’ll have the option of actual breakfast food. Glory and celebration!

Now that I’ve warmed you up to atypical meal options, how do you feel about macaroni and cheese on top of a salad? Let me explain before you run away thinking I’ve lost my mind completely.

Oven-Fried Mac and Cheese Ravioli Salad 1

After hearing about Mac and Cheese Mania, hosted by Rachel and Brandy, I knew I had to jump on board. An entire event dedicated to carbs and cheese? Heck yea I want to participate in that celebration! As an added bonus there are prizes involved. In order to win you have to link up a mac and cheese recipe (up to 4, old or new) and link back to their pages. I already submitted an old one but decided to whip up something new for another entry. And because I’ve been trying to eat more salads O:-).

Oven-Fried Mac and Cheese Ravioli Salad 3

This event just so happens to be occurring at just the right time as I have been meaning to use a bag of frozen mac and cheese ravioli for quite awhile. I know you are familiar with fried ravioli, but this time I used those mac and cheese stuffed ravioli, oven-fried them, and then threw them on top of a salad! You could skip the salad and serve them as an appetizer with Ranch dipping sauce, but it’s so much more fun to put unhealthy things on top of a healthy salad because everyone knows that a salad negates anything bad you eat with it. This is science people, the science of denial.

Come join Mac and Cheese Mania at Rachel Cooks and Nutmeg Nanny sponsored by Door to Door Organics and OXO – Win prizes!

Oven-Fried Mac and Cheese Ravioli Salad 2

One year ago: Baked Banana-Pecan Oatmeal
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Smoked Sausage with Peppers and Onion

This month I had the pleasure of browsing through the recipes by the very person who gave us The Secret Recipe Club – April of Angels Homestead! Some recipes of hers that I enjoyed included a festive Shamrock Pizza for St. Patrick’s Day, Creamy Salsa Verde, and even a recipe for 2-Ingredient Banana Pancakes using just banana and egg whites. She also just celebrated her 4th blogiversary last week, so head on over and check out her blog (there’s even a giveaway).

I chose to make her recipe for smoked sausage with bell peppers and onion. This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and couldn’t be easier, making it a perfect weeknight meal. Caramelize the peppers and onion, then add the sausage until heated through. There is no need for a sauce and just some garlic for seasoning. The sweet bell peppers, onion and smoked sausage bring plenty of flavor and moisture all on their own.

Smoked Sausage with Peppers and Onion

Two years ago: Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Mozzarella and Pesto

Three years ago: Cheesy Chicken, Bacon & Avocado Quesadillas
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Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

When I first started this food blogging thing, I submitted several pictures to websites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker only to be consistently rejected. Honestly I cannot blame them as my pictures during those times weren’t that wonderful (as many food bloggers can relate to with their first photos). Now that I have a nice camera and a little more experience, I decided it was time to try them out again. And guess what? I got my first submissions onto both sites yesterday! The Smoked Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies made it onto both Foodgawker and Tastespotting, and the Cookie Dough Oreo Cake made it onto Tastespotting. Of course several others were rejected but that seems to be pretty typical and I still have plenty of learning to do when it comes to food photography.

Most of the time when my pictures don’t come out perfectly it is because I am in a hurry or don’t have the best lighting. It is especially difficult when you have hungry eaters anxiously waiting to eat the item you are photographing. Take these spaghetti squash lasagna boats for example: the lighting was not ideal but three other people were ready to dig in. I love cooking for more than just myself, but always feel bad making people wait until the photoshoot is done. It is a tricky thing to balance! Lighting aside, these lasagna boats were a delicious, low carb alternative to traditional lasagna with a fun presentation.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

One year ago: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two years ago: Gluten-Free Bananas Foster Muffins

Three years ago: Cashew Chicken
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Southwestern Oven-Fried Chicken Salad with Avocado Dressing

If I could eat avocados in every meal of the day, I’d be one happy camper. Which means I was super excited to have a double dose in just one meal with this salad – fresh sliced avocado in a salad topped with avocado dressing. The dressing is definitely the star of this dish, but along for the ride is some oven-fried chicken which has taco seasoning mixed into the breadcrumb coating. Crunchy, creamy, fresh and zesty. What more could you want?

Southwestern Chicken Salad with Avocado Dressing

One year ago: Bacon-Cheddar Cauliflower Chowder
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Quinoa Turkey Meatballs

Per the request of my parents I have been cooking healthier meals. The only problem is that they eat about half as much as I do resulting in me feeling like a little piggy. Regardless, I guarantee I am still eating less than I normally did when I was on my own. I know this because I’ve been getting a lot of headaches, which is typical for when I am not eating enough. Sherrill has reminded me on more than one occasion to eat lunch. If any of my former labmates are reading this they will be shocked because I was nearly always the first one to initiate the “Lunch?” conversation. It’s hard to remember to eat when you’re the only one participating!

But yes, healthier meals are going to be spread across this blog on a more regular basis. I actually made this recipe before the meatloaf cupcakes. They were so darn cute I couldn’t wait to post them. These meatballs also deserve your attention, being made with not only ground turkey but also quinoa in case you were short on your protein intake for the day. These meatballs are great served over pasta, but would also make for a great appetizer.

On an unrelated note, if you didn’t watch the Olympics finale for mens snowboarding halfpipe then don’t read any further. Jump to the recipe and ignore all this. All I have to say is – holy crap Iouri. As for Shaun White and the rest of the USA team – there’s always 2018!

Quinoa Turkey Meatballs

One year ago: Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes
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Hoisin-Glazed Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes

I’ve only been here a week and am already loosing track of what day of the week it is, let alone the date. The days are blending together and it’s hard to remember what happened yesterday, or what it two days ago? Speaking of time-warps, I starting digging through my old stuff here and I’ve stumbled across many interesting things: terrible-style clothing from middle school, old tennis and soccer uniforms, prom dresses, and even stuff from former boyfriends. It’s actually been fun recalling memories but now what to do with it all? I think I should just bake up a storm while wearing the prom dresses. I’d totally look like a little baking fairy haha.

Now even though these may look like cupcakes, I did not bake them while wearing a prom dress nor are they sweet dessert items. These “cupcakes” are actually mini meatloaves baked in a muffin pan and topped with whipped sweet potatoes as the “frosting”. I’ve always thought that meatloaves were ugly to photograph and this made for a much more appealing presentation. And I get to say I made/ate cupcakes for dinner O:-).

Hoisin-Glazed Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes

Two years ago: Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup (2012)

Three years ago: Nutella Cream Cheese Swirl Heart Brownies
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Mini Lasagna Stacks

My cat Brady lost his mind upon seeing me yesterday. My parents said they had only caught sparse glimpses of him since they released him into the basement a week ago, but the second I opened the door he came flying. This cat knows the sound of my footsteps, it’s crazy. Now that he knows I’m here he meows at the basement door until I come to hang out, which means many posts will be written down here (this one included) with him purring loudly at my side. Such an attention whore. I just hope he doesn’t meow too long at bedtime or else I’ll end up sleeping down here on an air mattress.

I love having homemade pesto in the freezer. The freshness of homemade basil year round! I actually made and photographed this almost a year ago, which is very evident to me now that I’ve been enjoying a fancy camera and paying more attention to lighting (I’m digging into the bottom of the barrel because I haven’t been in the kitchen with the move). But I digress. These little lasagna stacks are made easy by using wonton wrappers instead of traditional lasagna noodles and you can layer whatever you want between them. I used alternating layers of pesto and sausage marinara.

Mini Lasagna Stacks

Three years ago: Homemade Hazelnut Chocolate Spread (Nutella)
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Mexican Stuffed Shells

As of Sunday, all of my belongings are either in a PODS storage unit or at my parents home. It was incredibly disheartening to see the apartment at which I have lived almost 5 years completely barren. My last night there was spent watching a movie with my parents on my computer, sitting on the floor of the living room while eating the last of my ice cream, followed by a luxurious slumber in a sleeping bag.

Since I wasn’t quite prepared to leave Memphis yet, I am still residing here for a few extra days with my friend Maggie. I haven’t decided exactly when I will leave and have a feeling it may need to be a “rip off the band-aid” situation where I leave without warning. I don’t do goodbyes very well especially in times like this where I know I will turn into a sobbing idiot. Just a heads up to my Memphis friends – catch me while you can!

Anyway, yes I still have recipes for you this week because I am a psycho and made all of these before I packed up my apartment. Dedication or insanity? Either way you cannot complain. My godmother made this Mexican version of stuffed shells over the holidays and I immediately asked her for the recipe. For some reason I normally shy away from combining pasta and Mexican food but this was so incredibly good I had to make it again for myself.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

One year ago: Brussels Sprouts with Honey Vinaigrette

Three years ago: Almond Crusted Chicken with Scallion Beurre Blanc
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