Homemade Veggie Pizza

Making pizza dough is super relaxing and fun! Here’s a great recipe from Betty Crocker. I used bread flour.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups bread flour (I used 2 1/2)
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 3 T olive or vegetable oil (I used vegetable)
  • 1 cup very warm water, about 120-130 degrees

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add 3 T oil and warm water. Beat on medium for 3 minutes. Stir in the rest of the flour and continue beating until dough becomes sticky and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead 5-8 minutes. Dough should be springy. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. Dough will rise!
  3. For thin crust pizza, heat oven to 425F. Grease a cookie sheet and divide dough in half. Place half the dough on the cookie sheet and pat down into a 12-inch circle. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crust begins to brown. Remove from oven.
  4. Add toppings of your choice. I used pizza sauce, 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced red peppers, chopped fresh basil, and chopped mushrooms. Bake pizza for another 10-15 minutes, or until toppings begin to brown and cheese has melted.

Note: You can also skip the cheese if you are making this for lactose-intolerant folks!

 

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Breaded Parmesan Chicken with Marinara Sauce

Sometimes you just want some breaded chicken! I had some leftover cutlets from my Skillet Lemon Chicken, so I made this last night. Although the coating can be a bit dry, if you sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top at the end, it will boost the flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken cutlets, about half an inch thick
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Prepare the bowls: place the flour, egg, marinara sauce, and breadcrumbs in individual bowls and set aside.
  2. Wash and pat the chicken dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with Pam.
  4. Dip each cutlet into the flour, then egg, then marinara sauce, and finally the breadcrumbs. Place on the sheet. Repeat with the other cutlets.
  5. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken from the oven and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Place in the oven for 5 more minutes so the cheese starts to melt.

Spaghetti with Tomato and Garlic

As I was flipping through an Allrecipes magazine (which is amazing by the way), I encountered a meal that had been saved 13, 812 times on the website. Well, for good reason! This dish is so versatile, you can substitute different types of diced tomatoes, herbs, greens, and meats. The original recipe can be found here. I made this dish twice: first without meat and using the original recipe calling for 2 cans of diced tomatoes, and the second time with shredded chicken (leftovers from last night’s tacos) and one can of diced tomatoes. I didn’t have fresh basil the second time around, so I just used dried oregano and basil flakes. The second time I also used thin spaghetti instead of angel hair, and I liked it better. I also added fresh spinach to the sauce while simmering. This is a dish I will continue to make for an easy weeknight meal!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta (or thin spaghetti)–about half a box
  • 4 T olive oil (I used about 2)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed–I used about 2
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes–I used Del Monte, plain; you can also use one can only for less sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar (optional ingredient, but I added it!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil–If you don’t have fresh basil, sprinkle in some dried basil and dried oregano flakes)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil over high heat and add the pasta, cooking until al dente. For angel hair pasta, cook about 4 minutes and drain. For thin spaghetti, cook about 8-9 minutes.
  2. While your pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil (2 T) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute about 30 minutes, until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and pepper. This is also a good time to add in the dried basil and oregano if you are using. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 2 minutes. Add fresh basil if you are using. You can also add fresh spinach here.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce in the pan and stir. Top with grated Parmesan.

A reader from Allrecipes suggested you add mushrooms or zucchinis too.

 

Here it is without the chicken using angel hair pasta and two cans of diced tomatoes:

 

This is the dish with chicken and spinach using thin spaghetti and one can of diced tomatoes:

 

Parmesan Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic

This is a very easy dish for a weeknight:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 box angel hair pasta (4 servings)
  • 3 T grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Parsley flakes

Directions:

Boil a pot of water and add salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions (4-5 minutes).

In a separate skillet, heat the olive oil to medium heat and add the garlic, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and parsley flakes. Saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until garlic is fragrant and remove from heat.

Drain the pasta and toss with the olive oil mixture. You may also reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water and toss it in too. Sprinkle pasta with grated Parmesan cheese!

Loaded Potato Nachos

This recipe was published in Self Magazine in their Drop 10 Plan. These potatoes are fantastic. They really fill you up. I over-broiled them, which is why the cheese looks like a brown crust…but they still tasted great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Russet potato, sliced into half-inch thick slices
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/3 cup canned black beans
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (they suggested cheddar but I don’t like it)
  • 2 tbsp plain 2% fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup quartered grape tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sliced scallions

Directions:

Heat broiler. In a bowl, combine the potato slices, cilantro, olive oil, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Arrange the potato slices in a single layer on a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet, 6 to 8 inches from the broiler.

Broil until golden, about 10 min. Transfer the potatoes to the sheet lined with foil (sprayed with Pam). Pour the black beans on top and top with the cheese. Bake at 350F until the cheese is bubbly (10 min). (This is the part where I messed up. I broiled it for another 10 min! The potatoes were perfect, but the cheese crust wasn’t.)

Serve topped with yogurt, tomatoes, and scallions.

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Polenta Basil Pizzas

I found out about polenta a few years ago, and I have decided I do not make it enough. This time I purchased the pre-made polenta and sliced it into 1/2-inch thick rounds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll of pre-cooked refrigerated polenta, sliced into rounds
  • Fresh basil, torn
  • White mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

Dry the polenta well. Brush olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill on medium high for 5 minutes per side, or until dark grill marks appear (they never showed up on mine).

Place polenta slices in an ovenproof baking dish. Sprinkle each slice with the mozzarella cheese.

Arrange the basil pieces on top of the cheese. Layer the mushroom slices or chunks on top.

Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and mushrooms are browned.

 

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Parsley-Walnut Pesto

So, it has been a while since I have posted, and I thought I’d start again with a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for years. Now, I’ve had my Cuisinart food processor for a while, but until recently I had not even taken it out of the box. This contraption is the most useful kitchen appliance I can think of! (Other than my oven) I’ve made almond butter with it (talk about having patience!), and now I love making homemade pesto sauce with it. I found this recipe online somewhere (sadly, I do not remember where), and it worked like a charm.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Add all the ingredients except the olive oil into the food processor. Process them until they are mostly combined. Scrape down the sides and continue processing a bit more. Add the olive oil and process for 20-30 more seconds.

 

Pesto sauce