Margherita Pizza (GF)

margherita pizzaMargherita Pizza (GF)
the ingredients:

  • 1 gluten-free pizza crust (I used Udi’s, but I plan on making my own pretty soon!)
  • 1 pound (2 large) ripe summer tomatoes or 1 16-oz can whole or diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil, sliced into ribbons
  • 8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated (you can use regular mozzarella – this is just what I had on hand)
  • Salt and pepper

 

the method:

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and trim away the stem area. Gently squeeze the wedges over a bowl to remove the excess juices and seeds. Combine the tomatoes with the garlic and half of the basil in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until the tomatoes break down into a sauce, scraping down the sides as needed. If desired, strain to make a thicker sauce.
  3. Spread a light layer of the sauce over one of the rounds of pizza. Top with half of the slices of mozzarella. Leave some space between the pieces of mozzarella.
  4. Bake for 7-12 minutes—exact cooking time will vary depending on your oven temperature. Pizza is finished when the crust is deep brown with charred spots and the cheese is bubbling.
  5. Sprinkle the pizza with basil as it comes out of the oven. Let it cool briefly before slicing and serving.

 

Triple Smoky Mac ‘n’ Cheese and More Football Food!

Well, it’s football season folks! As a vegetarian, it’s a lot of fun to get crafty in order to entertain your man-friend and a couple of his buddies. Nick wanted to entertain a group of his friends for the UofA game that was on Saturday night. I went to ASU myself, so I had to put my “big girl” pants on and buck up and cheer on the Wildcats while flipping back and forth to the Sun Devil game. Both teams won, thankfully – but I don’t think I‘ll be able to stay so neutral for the ASU vs. Arizona game come November. Get your claws out, Jorgenson…

We decided on grilling some burgers, and preparing mac n’ cheese and a salad for side dishes. I left Nick to grill while I prepared the side dishes. The boys has savory beef patties and Nick grilled up a nice Gardein burger for me J.

I felt the urge to impress Nick’s friends since one of them had just come back from Mongolia (figured he wanted some traditional cheesy and yummy tailgating food), and I was in a room full of UofA boys. I’m sure most people are aware of the rivalry between ASU and UofA… so the chances of a roast were very high. I couldn’t just make typical mac n’ cheese, so I opted for what I like to call Triple Smoky Mac n’ Cheese. As for the salad – I went with Alicia Silverstone’s Sexy Inspired Salad.

I want to give a big shout-out to Dave for chopping an avocado like a champ. I’m serious – dude’s got mad skills.

I’m hoping the yum-factor of the side dishes wiped their memory clear of the fact that I am a Sun Devil (and proud of it)!

Triple Smoky Mac ‘n’ Cheese

The Ingredients:

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni (I used shells because thats what I had on hand)
  • 6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • Half an onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced, or
  • 1⁄4 cup Frontera brand chipotle salsa
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 8 ounces smoked cheddar, grated, or substitute regular cheddar if you can’t find smoked cheddar
  • 8 ounces smoked mozzarella, grated
  • Kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 cups Homemade Bread Crumbs made with 2 cloves minced garlic added. Recipe in the book.

The Method:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil pasta according to package directions, draining when it is just becoming al dente. This will bake more in the oven, so don’t overcook it. Drain, transfer it to a bowl, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the butter.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

3. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk pretty constantly for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Add the onion, smoked paprika, rosemary, chipotle, oregano, and nutmeg. Bring to a gentle simmer and keep cooking, whisking occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.

4. Reduce the heat to low. Whisk in the grated cheeses, a handful at a time, stirring each addition of cheese until melted. It is important to do this gradually, to avoid graininess.

5. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your preference. It will probably need just a little salt, depending on the cheeses. Add more chipotle if you’d like it hotter. Remember that the sauce should be pretty intense, because it needs to flavor a full pound of pasta.

6. Stir the macaroni into the sauce. Pour the pasta into the baking dish. Scatter the bread crumbs evenly over the top.

7. Bake until you can see bubbling around the sides and the bread crumbs are nicely browned, about 30 minutes. Let the dish rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Alicia’s Sexy Inspired Salad

The Ingredients:

  • Fresh salad greens such as red leaf, butter lettuce, or romaine (I used Romaine)
  • 1 small handful of arugula
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/2-1 heirloom tomato (optional but nice)
  • 1/2-1/4 medium cucumber, chopped into bite size pieces (peel only if the cucumber is not organic)
  • 4 dandelion greens (optional, but good for you)
  • 1/2 carrot, shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 3-4 chopped fresh basil sprigs
  • 4-5 chopped fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon hemp seeds (optional)

Dressing

  • 2.5 tablespoons truffle-infused olive or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • juice 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated vegan Parmesan cheese

The Method:

  1. Add all the dressing ingredients together and whisk together.
  2. Get a big salad bowl that makes you happy with a lot of room to toss and play. Wash, tear and throw in the lettuce. Add the arugula, avocado, tomato and cucumber. Top with the dandelion greens, carrot shavings, and herbs. Toss with dressing and sprinkle with the hemp and sunflower seeds.

No-Rise Pizza Dough

Back from the madness of an overwhelmingly unproductive 3-day weekend, last night’s dinner wasn’t too creative. I have, however, adapted a new mantra so I can keep tabs on myself and posting: No Excuses. Blog like a champion.

So I made my favorite kind of pizza, my Smoked Mozzarella , Radicchio and Onion Jam pizza. I posted about this pizza before – you can see the recipe here. Since I’ve been a bad blogger, the last thing I wanted to do was repeat a recipe – which I promise I’m not going to do here.

Have you ever craved pizza but didn’t want to settle on generic delivery? Have you ever craved pizza so much that you were even willing to drive to the grocery store only to realize you have no gas? Okay, maybe some of those scenarios haven’t happened to everyone; what I’m trying to get across here is that I have a recipe for thin pizza crust WITHOUT RISING TIME.

Yep, you heard me… NO RISING TIME. That’s like, instant fresh pizza – and literally dinner in MINUTES. And I’ve decided to share it with my beautiful blogging community so everyone can have fresh pizza whenever they want.

No excuses. Eat pizza like a champion.

The Ingredients: 

Makes 2 pizzas

  • 3/4 cups (6 ounces) of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast (if using instant yeast, you don’t need to dissolve it during the first step)
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

The Method: 

  1. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, heat the water until it feels barely lukewarm when you test it with your finger (if the water is so hot that you can’t leave your finger in it, wait for it to cool down). Add the yeast to the water and use a fork or whisk to stir it into the water. Set this aside for a few minutes and allow the yeast to dissolve. It’s ok if the yeast doesn’t bubble, but it should be entirely dissolved and the mixture should look like thin miso soup.
  2. Measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and use your hand or a whisk to combine.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the water-yeast mixture. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to combine everything together.
  4. When it comes together into a cohesive ball, turn it out onto the counter along with any extra flour in the bowl that hasn’t yet gotten worked in.
  5. Knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic to the touch–about five minutes.The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If it’s sticking to your hands and counter-top like bubble gum, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it’s smooth and silky.
  6. Use a bench scraper to divide the dough in two.
  7. Shaping the Dough:
  8. Tear off two pieces of parchment paper roughly 12-inches wide. Work one piece of the dough in your hands and form it into a large disk. Lay the disk of dough on the parchment paper.
  9. Working from the middle of the dough outwards, use the heel of your hand to gently press the dough outward until it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. You can also use a rolling pin for this part. We like to make free form pies, but if you’d like a circular pie, you can trace a large circle on the back of the parchment to use as a guide.
  10. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
  11. Note: The dough will stick to the parchment paper, making it easier for you to roll out. You’ll bake the pizza right on the parchment paper. As it cooks, the dough will release from the parchment, and you can slide the paper out before serving.

Then just decorate the pizzas with whatever you want. I prefer to broil the pizzas which only takes about 5 minutes each… Seriously, if you decide to broil them, check on them every minute. It only takes 30 seconds for something to go from perfectly broiled to a charred brick. Bon appetit!

Baked Gemelli with Pecorino and Smoked Mozzarella


Yeah… so you may have noticed that I’m kind of in the middle of a love affair with smoked cheeses. They are just so gosh darn yummy!

Since it’s birthday season in my world, my wallet has been a little tight – not to mention Mondays are usually very long days for me with work, gym, boy toy, loving on my dog… you get the picture. I had slacked on my running schedule over the weekend so I really pushed myself yesterday. When I left the gym, all I really wanted to eat was a big heaping bowl of pasta. I wanted a recipe that was full of flavor but required minimal effort.

Enter the simple and oh-so-scrumptious Baked Gemelli. As simple as it was, this is one of my favorite things I’ve made so far. I think Nick would have to agree…

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried Gemelli pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups My Favorite Tomato Sauce (or any type of tomato/marinara sauce)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • Thyme, to taste (I like A LOT)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper or to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, heat the EVOO in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and thyme. Saute until the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the tomato sauce, sauteed onion/garlic/thyme mixture, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the pecorino, and the cubed mozzarella pieces. Season with the black pepper and red pepper to taste, and mix until well combined. Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover the top of the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Quinoa “Mac n’ Cheese”

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I LOVE quinoa. Nick hates it. Well – hate is a strong word, so let’s just say it’s not his “favorite.” My cooking mantra is: If it doesn’t taste good, put cheese on it.  Most of the time, this mantra works… especially in this case. If you love mac n’ cheese but want to make it a little healthier by adding protein and cutting carbs, then this recipe is for you. I paired it with some savory grilled tofu (Nick made chicken with the same marinade) and my Crispy Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts. TDF.

Quinoa “Mac n’ Cheese” Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • good pinch of salt
  • a few grinds of seasoning salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup soy milk or non-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling
  • 4 oz smoked mozzarella, cubed
  • Optional- Crushed Red Pepper, Panko Bread crumbs for topping
  • Toppings (optional)- salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions

The Method:

  1. Lightly saute garlic and shallot over medium heat.
  2. Cook quinoa to packaged instructions until fully cooked. (About 15 minutes)
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13×9 inch dish( or 8 individual ramekins) with cooking spray.Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt. Transfer to prepared baking dish and if using Panko Crumbs or Bread crumbs add now and bake 30-35 mins, until bread crumbs are browned.

Grilled Tofu Ingredients:

  • Extra-firm tofu, sliced 3/4 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil

The Method:

  1. Remove tofu from package and drain. Meanwhile, mix all the other ingredients together in a shallow bowl.
  2. After the tofu is done draining, slice into 3/4 inch thick strips.
  3. Place slices in the marinade and allow to site for at least 10 minutes.
  4. While the tofu is marinading, heat an indoor grill pan (or outdoor grill) to medium heat.
  5. Grill tofu for 3 minutes on each side.

ENJOY!