Easy Pizza Roll-Up

I found a new way to eat pizza! I know, I’m probably behind the rest of the world, but I was really excited about this.

This is a fast, easy recipe, and perfect for a weeknight.

**This recipe has been done a million times by a million people and I based mine off of a random picture that I saw online. I don’t know where the recipe originally came from.**

Pizza Roll-Up

Ingredients:

Pizza dough (homemade or refrigerated)
6 oz tomato paste
oregano
red pepper flakes
pepperoni
Italian cheese
banana peppers
spinach
whatever other pizza toppings you like!
olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and roll pizza dough into a rectangle.

2) Top dough with tomato paste, oregano, red pepper flakes, pepperoni, cheese, banana peppers, and spinach. Make sure you line the toppings up so each layer has a little of each.

3) Starting with one of the two smaller ends of the dough, roll into a log. Brush top with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese. Cut two or three lines in the top of the pizza log with a knife.

4) Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the pizza dough is brown and crisp. Check the middle to make sure the dough is cooked through. Enjoy!

Super good dinner, and very adaptable. You can easily make it vegetarian or vegan (they make vegan “cheese”!) and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. We made it for dinner, but I think it would be a fun, easy party appetizer too.

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Tortilla Pizza

Sometimes a good, easy lunch is born out of a necessity to use up some leftovers. I hate throwing out leftovers. Recently I’ve noticed that I can never seem to use an entire package of spinach and it drives me crazy. One of my cooking goals for the week is to throw spinach into everything I can just to use it up.

Anyway, spinach is not the only leftover food we had hanging out in the fridge. In this case we also had leftover tomato paste, green peppers, pepperoni, onion, banana peppers, and leftover tortillas. I was tired of using the tortillas for veggie wraps so I figured I’d just make a fast and easy tortilla pizza!

Tortilla Pizza

 

Ingredients

Whole wheat tortillas
Tomato paste
Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, garlic)
Red pepper flakes
Italian cheese
Whatever toppings your heart desires!
We used:
Onion
Spinach
Green Peppers
Pepperoni
Banana peppers

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place tortillas on a cookie sheet. Spread tomato paste onto tortillas and season with Italian seasoning and red pepper.

3) Top with whatever veggies/meats you’ve chosen. Top with cheese.

4) Bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges of tortillas are crispy.

 

Chad used some leftover onion, green peppers, banana peppers, and pepperoni on his pizza. I just threw a ton of leftover spinach on mine.

I know I always like easy things like this for weekend lunches (it would be good as an appetizer for a get together too!), and it brought me one step closer to getting rid of that darned spinach!

Homemade Tortilla Chips

I had some leftover salsa from the nachos I made a few days ago and I didn’t want it to go to waste. I also had some leftover corn tortillas, so what could be easier than baking those tortillas to make some homemade chips?

These reminded me of restaurant tortilla chips. Eating them warm right out of the oven is definitely the way to go.

Baked Tortilla Chips

Ingredients

corn tortillas
sea salt

1) Preheat oven to 375° F.

2) Cut tortillas in half, then cut in half again. Arrange pieces on cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt.

3) Bake for 10-12 minutes, until chips are golden brown and crispy.

 

And that’s it! It’s that simple. I think warm, fresh tortilla chips and homemade salsa are my new favorite snack.

 


Black Bean Nachos

One of my favorite appetizers to order when we go out to eat happens to be nachos. Don’t misunderstand me, nothing will ever replace my undying love for a good plate of cheese fries, but nachos are a close second. Luckily we don’t eat out that much, so both of the aforementioned dishes are rare treats.

This week I decided that I really wanted to make the homemade salsa recipe that I posted here. Then I started thinking about nachos and how long it’s been since I had some. In the end I decided to try to recreate some of my favorite restaurant nachos by throwing some things on baked tortilla chips and winging it. So here goes:

Black Bean Nachos

Ingredients

1 package corn tortillas (the smallest tortillas you can find)
1/2 can of black beans, drained, but save a tablespoon or so of the liquid
taco cheese
jalapeños
salsa/light sour cream

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut 5 of the tortillas in half. Place on a cookie sheet.

2) Bake tortilla slices for approximately 10 minutes, until crispy and golden.

3) While tortillas are baking, puree the black beans. If mixture is too chunky, add some of the saved liquid and puree some more. In the end the puree should still be thick, but not chunky.

4) Spread bean puree on baked corn chips. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with jalapeños.

5) Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Serve with salsa and light sour cream.

 

Of course I am biased since I already said I love nachos, but I thought these were great. Maybe even better than restaurant nachos. 🙂

If you make these, definitely spend the extra time (it’s only like, 15 minutes, I swear!) to make the salsa from scratch. You won’t be sorry.

Updated April 2011: We’ve started adding seasoning into the bean mixture when we make these. Garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and paprika to taste. It just makes these nachos even better!


Baked Pita Chips

I know, I know…I am a slacker. I don’t mean to be. I get focused on work and school and the husband and suddenly I am four entries behind in this thing and dreading that I have to take the time to catch up.

But that’s what Sundays are for! So here goes.

I adapted this recipe for baked pita chips from Giada. You can find her version here.

Baked Pita Chips

Ingredients:

3 whole wheat pitas
1 Tablespoon olive oil
sea salt
pepper
oregano
Cayenne pepper
Parmesan cheese

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) Cut pitas in half, then cut each half into 8 pieces. In large bowl place pita pieces and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat evenly. Add salt, pepper, oregano, and cayenne pepper. (I use about a teaspoon of each, you can use however much your heart and taste buds desire.) Toss again.

3) Place pita pieces on two large cookie sheets in a single layer. Sprinkle pieces with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

I served these with a simple salad. Nothing special, just lettuce, carrots, broccoli, onion, feta cheese, Italian dressing. Very good and very simple.

This recipe is perfect for leftover pitas, which I always seem to have. I can never finish a package in time, and this is a great alternative to just tossing the last couple pitas.

Homemade Salsa!

I know I’ve been really bad about updating lately, but that’s mostly because I’ve also been really bad about cooking. We’ve been eating way too much processed “food” but I’m trying to get back in the cooking habit. I started nursing school a few weeks ago, so I don’t have as much time, but I’m working on it.

Before I post the recipe I will give you a friendly tip: do not make this salsa. Seriously, don’t do it. It’s easy to make. It’s delicious. It makes a huge batch so you can save a lot of it. But don’t do it.

Why? Because if you make this salsa you will never be able to eat store bought salsa again.

This salsa is that amazing.

**I got the recipe from a friend, and I have no idea where she got it.**

Homemade Salsa

Ingredients

2 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, halved
2 tomatoes
1 (28 0z.) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 onion (I used a Vidalia onion)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro
The juice of one lime

Place jalapeños, garlic, and half the diced tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Pulse until the jalapeños and garlic are finely chopped.

Add all other ingredients and pulse until salsa is the consistency you like.

It’s that easy!

I served this salsa with egg rolls last night and it was amazing!


Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic, Gorgonzola, and Herbs

I stole this recipe from Giada. I admit it, I love her. She is the only chef on Food Network that I get actual dinner recipes from (I’ve used Alton Brown’s cookie recipes before).

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching some of the other chefs, especially Paula Deen, I think she is hilarious to watch and I love southern accents. When we went to Savannah this past September I had to make sure I got a picture of her restaurant (although we didn’t eat there). But I have just never felt the urge to make any of her recipes, or the recipes of the other chefs on Food Network.

But this recipe from Giada…mmmmm….definitely delicious.

Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic, Gorgonzola, and Herbs

Ingredients

12 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
3/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese, finely crumbled
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) Using a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon, remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Place the tomato halves, cut side down, on paper towels to drain. This takes approximately five to ten minutes.

3) In a large bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss the drained tomato halves in the oil mixture until coated. Let sit (to marinate) for about ten minutes.

4) In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and Gorgonzola cheese.

5) Place tomato halves, cut side up, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fill each tomato half with the bread crumb filling. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly softened and the underside of the tomatoes are brown.

6) Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

**Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese, so if you don’t like blue cheese you can sub in 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. But I love blue cheese, so I used the Gorgonzola.**

To make this a complete dinner instead of just an appetizer (which is how Giada served it on her television show) I just put the tomatoes on a little bed of whole wheat pasta. It was unnecessary, I ended up not even eating most of my pasta because the tomatoes were just so good by themselves.

You can easily halve or quarter the recipe (which we did) if there are only two or three of you.

This recipe was really good, but next time I will drain the tomatoes a little longer, and use just a little less of the breadcrumbs. All in all, it was a wonderful meal.


Bruschetta

I know I promised a recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce, but I can’t deliver on that yet. Here is my very sage advice though: when halving a recipe…remember to halve the whole thing. Because if you are making, let’s say, a homemade spaghetti sauce, and you halve the amount of tomatoes that you are using, but then forget to halve the amount of spices…it does not end well. You can quote me on that. I will try again though, and once I get it right I will share the recipe with you.

Now, on to the Bruschetta!

This is technically an appetizer, but DH and I made it for dinner one night.

**Recipe adapted from Delish**

Bruschetta

Ingredients

1 loaf Italian bread (I used a garlic/parm French bread)
1 large clove garlic, cut in half and dice one half
3 0r 4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
basil
teaspoon salt
ground black pepper
shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread in 1/2 thick slices, arrange on baking sheet in a single layer, and toast for 15 minutes, turning bread halfway through cook time.

2) Transfer bread to wire racks. When bread is cool enough to handle, rub one side of each slice with 1/2 the garlic clove. Then you can discard that half of the garlic, reserve the second half for the tomato mixture.

3) In bowl, mix tomatoes, the diced half of the garlic clove, basil, oil, salt, and pepper. The basil, salt, and pepper don’t have defined quantities because those are customizable to your taste. Use as much (or as little) as you want. Toss until combined. Spoon mixture onto bread, sprinkle with shredded Parm, and serve!

**You can also essentially fry the bread, instead of baking. If you want to do that, use 1 Tablespoon olive oil and a Tablespoon butter. Cook over medium heat, placing slices of bread into the pan and frying until golden brown on both sides. If you go this route use a small clove of garlic for the tomato mixture, otherwise you’ll be left with half a clove of garlic that you don’t need, since this method negates the use of the cut half of garlic.**

This was really easy and fast to make and DH and I both loved it. I’m sure I’ll be making it again, hopefully with tomatoes from my grandpa’s garden. Home grown tomatoes are always better than store bought. 🙂


Southwestern Egg Rolls

Before I get into the egg roll recipe, I have to talk about the worst dinner I have ever made in my life.

Eggplant Parmesan. I am sure it was all me, I’m sure I overcooked the eggplant (I have no idea how to cook it, or how to tell when it’s done), seasoned it incorrectly, or did any number of other things to make it turn out the way it did. It. Was. Terrible. My husband wouldn’t even eat it, and he is the least picky person I have ever met in my life. My husband, who loves White Castle burgers (I know, I know) would not eat my eggplant parm. So, if anyone has ANY idea how to cook eggplant in a less horrible way, please share the secret with me. 🙂

Now, onto the egg rolls.

I used this recipe from Annie’s Eats (her blog is amazing and one of my favorites right now) and just changed a couple things. I’ll write the recipe with the changes I made, you can click that link to find the original.

Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls

Ingredients:
3 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles, drained (I used jalapeños instead, to make it extra spicy)
4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 package phyllo dough (obviously you should use egg roll wrappers, but apparently my grocery store didn’t carry them, so I improvised)
2 Tablespoons melted butter

1) In a large bowl, combine everything except wrappers and mix well.

2) Fold one sheet of phyllo dough in half and turn so one of the corners is pointing toward you. Scoop ¼ cup of the filling into the center of the dough.

3) Fold the tip closest to you up over the filling, roll slightly, then take the remaining points and fold them in as well. Continue rolling completely. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

4) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the egg rolls on the baking sheet seam side down and lightly brush with melted butter. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly brown, turning halfway through baking.

*The original recipe called for only two cups of corn, and for a 15 oz can of black beans. I hate beans, so I left them out and just upped the amount of corn. Next time I’ll make them with the beans because Chad was pretty disappointed that I was leaving them out.**

Over all, this was a pretty easy, delicious recipe. My egg roll wrapping skills leave something to be desired, but I’m sure I’ll be making this again, so I’ll have time to practice. 🙂

This was also my first experience with phyllo dough, and luckily it went pretty well. Hopefully next time I’ll be able to find actual egg roll wrappers and I can stick to using the phyllo dough in desserts.