Decision 2012 – What’s for Dinner?

I feel like there’s something big going on today…anybody else?

That’s right – it’s Election Day! I remember 4 years ago was my first time to actually vote at a poll location (the previous election I was in college out-of-state!) and there is just something about standing in line and voting in person that makes you feel proud to be a part of a process that makes our country great.

(I also remember 4 years ago texting back and forth with “some guy” as we were watching the results come in. At least we know how that one turned out, right?)

So today, my friends, presents you with a decision to make: What’s for dinner?

Okay, so maybe you have another decision to make today! But if you’re going to be standing in line after work or glued to the coverage on TV, the last thing you want is to be stuck in the kitchen. You need something quick!

Pizza! No, put the phone down. Just make your own – your waistline will thank you!

Recently, we had our first garage sale and I knew I’d be crazy busy and knew we needed a quick dinner the night before. On my grocery run, I ran across Canadian bacon and immediately had a craving for a Hawaiian pizza. Just something about the little bit of sweet from the pineapple combined with the salty, smoky flavor from the cheese and meat…yum! This pizza totally gets my vote! (I’m sorry, you know me – I couldn’t resist!)

Now, for the steps below I made my own wheat dough, which you can find the recipe for here – but if you want to make this a super quick meal like I did before the garage sale, just grab a pack of naan (an Indian flat bread) from your local grocery store. It’s the perfect size for a personal pizza! I like the Stonefire Whole Grain Naan when I don’t have time to make my own dough!

Homemade Hawaiian Pizza (serves 2 / 13 pts. per pizza)

1 batch wheat dough (or your favorite store-bought – make sure to adjust the points!)

1/4 cup Ragu pizza sauce

1/2 cup pineapple tidbits in juice, drained

1 cup reduced-fat shredded Mozzarella cheese (I was out of fat-free – if you use it, the points per pizza drops to 11 pts. per pizza!)

4 slices Canadian bacon, cut into small pieces

Olive oil spray

Garlic salt

Heat your oven to 375. Have your dough/prepared crust on a baking sheet. Spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt.Next, add your pizza sauce – spreading out in a thin layer with a spoon.

Then, take your pineapple tidbits and arrange them evenly over your pizza(s). I like to make sure I’ll get a piece in almost every bite – buuut I’m also a freak. At least I own it.

Now, sprinkle your cheese on top of your pineapple.

Then add your Canadian bacon – again, arranging evenly over your pizza(s). We decided we liked this on the top instead of under the cheese so gets some direct heat!

Bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on the crust you use). I also let ours sit under the broiler for a minute or two to get good coloring on the cheese (ours maybe went a few seconds too long but there was a kitchen emergency as somebody spilled coffee granules EVERYWHERE!).

Now it’s time for the 3 S’s – Slice. Serve. Shove in your face.

So go stand in line and cast your vote today – cause you know dinner is taken care of!

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Special Occasions

Today is a very special occasion in my household.

One year ago today, on a beautiful Fall day in Memphis, I put on my white dress and my red shoes and married my best friend. It was truly an amazing day from spending the morning with my parents, the afternoon with my favorite ladies, the evening with my husband – and the later hours with our dear friends and family.

Cheers to 1 year and to many more! Love you babe!

 

And then of course ditching everybody to spend a week basking in the sunshine and drinking margaritas on the beaches of Mexico! Hee hee.

Well, in honor of a special day – I thought I’d share a recipe that my husband loves. I’m making a special meal for us tonight – but the hubby recently requested this dish, so I decided to be a good wife and oblige. And okay, I think it’s pretty delicious too! I ran across this one on one of my favorite blogs.

Clams Casino Pizza (Adapted from “How Sweet Eats”)

Crust

3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour

1/2 tsp. yeast

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 Tbsp. honey

Pizza Toppings

4 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small red onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

A few dollops of Tabasco (we like it spicy people – I’d say we rocked 10-12 shakes)

8 ounces fat-free mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup reduced-fat parmesan cheese

2 cans of minced clams, drained

In a small bowl, add warm water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix and let sit 3-5 minutes. Add flour to a medium bowl with salt. Add liquid to flour and mix well until combined. Knead  2 minutes, cover and let sit 1-2 hours to let dough rise.

When dough has risen, spread out on a lightly floured surface and form into a circle.

While dough is rising, chop your vegetables. Preheat your oven to 375.

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add your vegetables and saute 5-7 minutes. Add in your garlic and your hot sauce. Then add your clams and half of the crumbled bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and prepare to assemble your pizza.

Brush pizza dough with olive oil. I added a few shakes of garlic along with my Italian seasoning.

Sprinkle half of the mozzarella on the dough. Top with the vegetable/clam mixture.

Then add Parmesan and remaining mozzarella.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, removing after 10 minutes to top with remaining bacon.

Serve and devour – I know we certainly do! A great twist on a favorite food of ours that super easy to make.

Hope you all enjoy – now I’m gonna go whip up a deliciously sinful feast for the hubby and I that we’ll chase down with year-old wedding cake! (Hopefully better than it sounds!)

 

 

Meet me in St. Louis – Part 1

My apologies for the lack of posts lately – I have been crazy busy the past few weeks, including last weekend! Luckily, it gave me some great blogging material that’s a little different from the usual…

My husband’s birthday was in April (remember the super naughty cookie pie I made for him?) and since he was studying until June, I wanted to give him something he could look forward to – so I presented him with a trip to St. Louis to see the Cardinals play!

He was very brave and let me plan out the entire weekend, which, shockingly enough, did not involve any shopping!

So we drove in on Thursday night and had 2 full days of being touristy – and of course, eating!

Our first evening, we stayed outside of downtown and chose a fabulous hotel. The Cheshire is a boutique hotel that is essentially diagonal from Forest Park (home of the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Art Museum, a history museum, a boat house, tennis, etc.). The Cheshire is modeled to look like a traditional British inn, and from the very little time we spent there, I can tell you that the details and staff are amazing! All of the rooms pay tribute to a different British author (we were in the Elizabeth Barret Browning room) – and they even have amazing themed suites (the James Bond suite looks the coolest to me!) Even the lobby makes you feel like you’re in England!

Right up the road (maybe a 5 minute drive) is “The Loop” – a strip of restaurants and bars located near the beautiful Washington University. I know my husband’s love for pizza, so Thursday evening after we arrived we went straight to Pi Pizzeria for some deep dish pizza. We split a 9” and it was incredibly delicious – especially sitting outside on a beautiful evening and enjoying a nice cold draft beer.

After that, we wandered down the street and headed to the top of The Moonrise Hotel for a drink on their rooftop bar – which gave us a beautiful view of downtown St. Louis. There were a ton of other great places I’d love to have explored, but we had a very early morning ahead of us according to my very strict itinerary…

Early Friday morning, we headed to the St. Louis Zoo – which is pretty much amazing. It’s free admission – and we managed to hit Caribbean Cove in the first hour of operation so we didn’t have to pay the fee. You can pet the rays and sharks…but we chose to just observe!

We walked around and took in a lot of exhibits – and I have to say I absolutely loved the penguins! One species of penguin is outside – but then you walk inside into a very very cold corridor that has the Antarctic penguins. They are so beautiful – and it’s a nice reprieve from the heat!

 

We got to see hyenas being fed, two baby elephants playing in the water and a Daddy lion sleeping on the job while his two little kiddos played.

 

After that, we headed to “The Hill” – which is the Italian district of St. Louis. It’s about a 1 mile square that is full of amazing looking restaurants. I chose Zia’s – which was absolute perfection. A glass of wine for me, a beer for my husband – and of course, a delicious Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and tomato sauce. And the obligatory side of pasta..

Well, I will leave it there for now – but I will post Part 2 of our trip soon, which includes a trip to the Botanic Gardens, beer school at the brewery and of course, some baseball!

Hope you enjoy this little peek into our fabulous weekend trip – and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

T.G.I.F. people! And welcome the return of some faux-bar food Friday deliciousness!

Now, you know the husband and I love our homemade pizza creations – but sometimes, there’s just not enough time to make the dough and let it rise in time for dinner!

So on those evenings, I usually stop by the store and grab a 2-pack of Naan – which is an Indian flat bread. You can also grab a pre-made pizza crust. I just love the “rustic” shape of flat breads. And my co-workers can testify that any time we go out to lunch, if there’s a flat bread on the menu, I will be ordering it!

You can obviously throw anything on this and make it your own, but here is a variety that we love! Try it this weekend – there’s so much going on this Saturday (Grizzlies playoff game, Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo celebrations!) so this might be a great meal to throw together between gatherings and parties!

Barbecue Chicken Pizza (serves 2)

2 pieces whole wheat Naan

1 4-oz chicken breast (I made 2, but didn’t need it all!)

Barbecue seasoning

Olive oil spray

Garlic salt

1/2 cup barbecue sauce + more to drizzle

3 slices red onion, diced

1/2 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat a skillet on medium. Coat chicken breasts on both sides with barbecue seasoning. Cook chicken in skillet.

Preheat oven to 375.

Once chicken is cooked, add to food processor and shred.

Spray Naan with olive oil and sprinkle garlic salt.

Pour barbecue sauce over Naan and spread.

Add red onions on top of the barbecue sauce.

Add shredded chicken on top of the onions.

Mix cheeses together and sprinkle on top of the chicken.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until crispy and cheese is melted. Drizzle with additional sauce and serve!

Slice and wash down with a cold beer. Or mint julep. Or margarita. Like I said, it’s a big weekend!

Oh – and Happy Star Wars Day – May the 4th be with you!

(I know, I know…)

 

Cheese Steak Pizza

It’s time for another edition of “Faux Bar Food Friday!” Get excited. No really, are you excited yet?

I’m sure a lot of people will be gathering at their local watering hole for a cold beverage (or 2 – hey, I don’t judge) this weekend for one of several reasons:

A) It’s the weekend. Duh.

B) St. Patrick’s Day. Green beer. Good luck. And kissing for various reasons, like being Irish. Kiss me, I cook. Pucker up hubby! 😉

C) Um, March Madness? (Go Tigers Go!)

D) Spring Break ending or beginning. In which case I hate you because you still have spring break. Not really…more like I’m really jealous.

E) All of the above. Which really makes me miss my last spring break…a week during which a small group of my fellow classmates were surprisingly studious, but still managed to forge some great friendships over classwork, college basketball and cold beer. Ah, the good ol’ days.

I digress.

Regardless of which category you fall into – and even if you decide to hang out in the comfort of your own home – you gotta eat, right?

So I think you should make a delicious and very filling pizza. Because I care about you. And because well, it’s just so darn good! We’ve surpassed the traditional sauce and pepperoni pizza. I throw on steak sauce. And, um, steak. And vegetables – because they make this “healthy”. And of course, cheese. Even my cheese-loathing sister might approve of this recipe.

Do yourself a favor and make plans to throw this one together. There are many things you might regret while enjoying spring break, St. Patty’s or hours of watching basketball in a bar…but at least this recipe is one thing you can look back on with pride.

Cheese Steak Pizza (serves 2)

Pizza Crust

3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 tsp. dry active yeast

Mix together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Pour warm water in a small bowl. Add olive oil, yeast and honey and whisk with a fork. Let sit 7-10 minutes until “foamy.” Add liquid to flour and mix until combined. Cover and let rest in a warm area to rise, usually 1-2 hours.

Cheese Steak Topping

6 oz. tenderized cube steak (it has the “lines” in it)

1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 bell pepper, sliced

1/2 small onion, sliced

Steak Sauce (I used A1)

5 slices reduced-fat Provolone cheese

1/2 cup fat-free mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat your skillet to medium and add Worcestershire sauce. Slice your steak along the lines.

Add steak to hot skillet with salt and pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes and flip.

Add your sliced bell peppers and onions. Saute with steak for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender and steak is cooked through.

Roll out your pizza dough and stretch out onto a lightly greased pan.

Add 4 tablespoons of steak sauce and use a spoon to spread out evenly on the pizza crust. (I also sprayed my crust with a little olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt before adding the sauce.)

Then, add your steak and vegetables.

Take your slices of provolone cheese and arrange on top, covering as much surface area as you can.

Fill in the gaps with your shredded mozzarella.

Cook pizza for 15-20 minutes until crust is crispy and cheese has melted.

Slice, serve and enjoy! It’s the weekend after all, and we all have a reason to celebrate!

Happy Friday everybody!

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

So we may have gotten a little out of the habit the past few months, but I’ve started bringing back “Meatless Monday.” Just a little break to appreciate your fruits and veggies!

When we first started doing this, I relied heavily on black bean burgers. That’s not a bad thing – because they are delicious! A few months ago, I decided to make a vegetarian pizza – but I was allll out of pizza sauce. What’s a girl to do?

Um, use cheese. Duh.

I originally used Light Boursin cheese – which is oh so amazing. However, I had purchased  some of the Philadelphia cooking creme (used it in my pierogi recipe) so I decided to test it out. Verdict? You can’t lose. Honestly.

Shaved Asparagus Pizza (serves 2)

Wheat Crust

3/4 white wheat flour

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 Tbsp. honey

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. yeast

1/4 cup warm water

Mix together flour and salt. In a small bowl, add yeast, honey and olive oil to warm water and mix, then let sit 5-7 minutes. Add liquid to flour and mix until well blended. Cover and let rise 1-2 hours.

Topping

4 oz. shaved asparagus

1/4 cup Philadelphia Italian Herb and Cheese Cooking Creme, reduced fat

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, fat-free

Olive oil spray

Black pepper

Garlic salt

Italian herb seasoning

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll out your dough either into one large pizza, or two individual pizzas. (We like our own pizza for some reason!)

Spray each with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and Italian herb seasoning.

Spread about 2 Tbsp. cooking creme on each pizza, just a light layer. This serves as your “sauce” – yes, that is as amazing as it sounds.

Next, add your shaved asparagus. To shave asparagus, you just need a basic veggie peeler. Peel the asparagus until it is in pretty little slivers and curls! You can add a lot more if you want because it cooks down!

Top asparagus with some cracked pepper, and then add mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, until crust is crispy and cheese has melted.

Slice and serve. This is such an easy dish to throw together – and I’m sure it would be great cut into multiple slivers and served as an appetizer!


Now try to tell me you even miss meat in this dish…

This is Amore

Are you now channeling Dean Martin and singing about pizza pie? Can you guess the theme of the recipe I’m sharing today?

The husband and I love hot wings. And we love pizza. Again, things that are not so great for you when you’re trying to shed a couple of pounds.

When I started Weight Watchers 2 years ago, my major concern was depriving myself of things that I really enjoy eating. And being cranky about it. And snapping. Like “I haven’t eaten a cheeseburger in 4 months and I look so great…but I am going to walk into that fast food restaurant ,drop some ‘bows on children, hop the counter, shove down 12 cheeseburgers and 5 orders of fries. And a diet coke, because duh, I’m on a diet!”

So I found a way to make the diet work for me – not me work for the diet. And it makes me more child friendly too.

I simply found ways to make the things I craved. One day, going through my recipe box of some family recipes, I stumbled upon a soup I remember LOVING as a kid that my mom made. Hm. I modified it a little, plugged it in to my recipe builder and told the husband – “I’m going to make us pizza soup.”

He drooled a little. He loves pizza – I mean, we all do – but he reallllly loves it. And now – he reallly loves pizza soup! (Still not as much as regular pizza…but it’s up there!)

I forgot how amazing this was – so now I’m sharing the amazingness with you. Make this. Make a bunch of it and have some leftovers at lunch. Your co-workers will be jealous. And then you can share it with them – if you’re feeling generous.

Pizza Soup (makes 4 bowls…aka serves 2, wink wink)

8 oz. ground extra lean turkey breast (or ground beef or ground chicken)

1 can Campbell’s Minestrone soup

14 oz. jar pizza sauce

14 oz. water

Turkey pepperoni (I use about 30 slices)

5-6 dashes Tabasco, more if you dare (we do)

4 Tbsp. shredded fat-free mozzarella

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat your saucepan to medium. Cook turkey, breaking into crumbles as you go. Drain if needed. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add your pizza sauce. Then, refill the jar with water and add water to saucepan. Stir to combine.

Add the can of Minestrone soup, stir to combine. Add Tabasco sauce, salt (about 1/4 tsp.) and pepper (about 1/8 tsp.) and stir.

Slice your pepperoni into halves and quarters (I do about 15 each way) and add pepperoni to the saucepan. Mix well and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes until bubbling, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Serve soup and top each bowl with 1 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella.

Yes, that’s it. A meal that is warm, delicious, filling and ready in about 30 minutes.

Now THAT is Amore.