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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Weekly Menu:May 9th-15th

It’s been a while, but I figured I should take some of my lazy Sunday time and update! As usual, I’ve been busy with school. Nothing too exciting there, unless you’re like me and you find PICC lines and G tubes interesting.

This has been an awesome weekend. We (Chad, me, my mom, and my sister-in-law) went to see Bob Seger in concert. Nothing is more awesome than seeing a 66 year old man dancing around stage and singing a song called “The Horizontal Bop”. Seriously. If you get a chance to catch one of his tour dates, you should absolutely do it. You can tell he just loves performing and I love, love him.

Anyway, moving on!

Chad and I have recently decided that we are wasting way too much money by trying to shop for two weeks at a time. The veggies and other fresh foods tend to go bad before the end of the second week and I feel like I’m throwing money down the toilet. We cook a LOT with fresh foods as opposed to frozen or canned (although we use those on occasion as well) so it was a real problem.  Because of that, we’re only shopping week to week now. And we’ve revamped the way we make our weekly menu.

If we have too much leeway in our menu plan, we have a tendency to say “Umm–I don’t want to cook, let’s eat out!” and that isn’t good for our budget our or calorie intake. So we’re going to focus on what are essentially “theme” days. Don’t get too excited, I’m not going all out or anything, but we will have set days where we cook a specific type of food, and every night is planned out. Obviously there is still wiggle room and if we really don’t want pasta on pasta night, we can switch it for another day, but I figured this would work best. Plus it helps me plan recipes and cuts down our eating out to twice a month, on preplanned nights.

So, our nights are:

Monday- Pasta night
Tuesday- Leftovers or (if there aren’t leftovers) turkey/veggie burgers
Wednesday- New Recipe Night (I get to pick whatever new recipe my little heart desires for this night.)
Thursday-Grill Night (recipes for the George Foreman or the outside grill)
Friday- Pizza Night
Saturday- Mexican Night
Sunday is our night to wing it. Either leftovers from Saturday, or something easy.

So, with that in mind, this is what we’re having this week!

Monday- Lasagna Roll-ups & Salad
Tuesday- Leftovers
Wednesday- Quesadillas
Thursday-  Panini and salad
Friday- BBQ Hawaiian Pizza
Saturday- Taco Squares
Sunday- Leftovers

There you have it! We’ll see how this week by week planning goes. 🙂

Taco Squares

If you know me at all then you are already aware of my love of easy recipes. Look, I like cooking as much as the next person, maybe more than most people, but occasionally I have nights where I revert back to my old self. That girl hates cooking. She doesn’t know how to do it, she doesn’t want to learn anything about it, and she loves Easy Mac and ramen.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I am not that 20 year old girl anymore, so I no longer count Easy Mac as a food group.

Since I can’t live on Easy Mac and ramen noodles like I used to, I have to find alternatives. Recipes that don’t take that much time, but aren’t 90% sodium either. (That may be a slight exaggeration, but holy cow, have y’all had ramen lately?)

Anyway, this was an easy and delicious weeknight meal. It was a nice alternative to tacos and it was definitely husband approved.

Taco Squares

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey or soy crumbles
1 packet taco seasoning (you can also make your own)
2 (8 oz) cans crescent rolls
1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 diced tomato or halved cherry tomatoes
salsa (optional)
sour cream (optional)
guacamole (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2) Cook your turkey or meat substitute and drain. Stir in taco mix (or your own seasonings) and reserve for later.

3) Unroll crescent rolls and place in a rectangle on a(n ungreased) cookie sheet. We had to mess with the dough a little to get it all to fit, that’s perfectly okay.

4) Bake dough for approximately 15 minutes, or until a golden brown.

5) Top with your turkey/meat mixture and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, just until cheese is melted.

6) Sprinkle cheese and diced tomato on top, serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from What’s Cooking, Chicago?, my new favorite blog.

The only changes I made were leaving off some olives (I hate olives) and I didn’t cool the dough once it was baked.I have to admit that I didn’t read the directions closely enough to realize I was supposed to cool the dough in between steps. Oops.

Regardless, these are delicious and you should definitely make them. And check out that blog, the author is incredibly talented.

Cherry Banana Smoothies

I love smoothies. When I went to St. Joe they had this little place on campus where you could get the most delicious smoothies in all kinds of different flavors. I miss that place.

I’ve never really tried to make smoothies at home before because they just seemed like an inconvenience. But I was bored the other day and I had some frozen fruit to use up, so I gave it a shot.

The first smoothie I made was a combo of yogurt, milk, strawberries, melon, spinach, and some other random frozen fruit. It was okay, but not amazing.

The second time, I kept it simple and came up with this:

Cherry Banana Smoothies

Ingredients:

Frozen cherries
1 ripe banana
milk

There are no measurements because I honestly just threw everything into a blender until it looked like it would be enough for two people. I guess I did manage to eyeball it pretty well since it made just enough for both me and Chad to have a small glass. And it was delicious.

I like this version much better than the first (which is why I’m not posting the first). I don’t love yogurt in smoothies, so maybe that was the issue. The spinach in the first one was fine, you couldn’t even tell it was there, so add that in if you want!

Menu Planning: April 10th-24th

The menu is pretty easy for the next couple of weeks. I have two exams this coming week and a ton of homework, so I’m not going to have too much time to spend in the kitchen.

I will be making a special birthday cheesecake for someone in my nursing school classes on Wednesday: Peanut butter/bacon. She requested it, I am not tormenting her, I promise. I’ll post about that when I get a chance.

On to the menu:

Panini and chilled berry soup
Lasagna Roll-Ups
Panini and baked potato
Taco squares**
Spinach and Tortellini salad**
Tomato and Blue Cheese pasta
Veggie calzones**

I’ll also have enough ingredients hanging around the house that I’m thinking about making Irish soda bread again. Yum!

Now, it’s too pretty a day to sit inside anymore, so the pups and I are going for a walk! Hope you’re all having an awesome weekend!

**=New Recipes!

 

Red Pepper and Mozzarella Panini

One of my favorite things in the kitchen is the George Foreman grill that Chad and I got for Christmas a couple years ago. It has the removable grill plates and we use it to make tons of things: quesadillas, grilled whatever, and now: Red pepper and mozzarella panini.

I didn’t even realize we could use the George Foreman as a panini press until Chad told me. Clearly, while I love the thing, I am not the one in the household who uses it. Chad is in charge of all things grilled. Or, in this case, pressed?

Regardless, this is an incredibly fast, easy, delicious meal. We paired it with a simple salad and it was the perfect meal to curl up with on the couch and watch some television. (Yes, I just admitted that we ate dinner on the couch and not at the dinner table.) 🙂

Red Pepper and Mozzarella Panini

Ingredients

Crusty bread
Extra virgin olive oil (to brush on outside of bread)
Sliced mozzarella
Spinach
Red peppers
Oregano
Crushed red pepper flakes

1) Slice bread to about 1/2 inch thickness. Arrange ingredients between slices, brush outsides of bread with olive oil, and press until bread is golden brown and cheese is melty.

2) Serve warm. Delicious!

**There are no quantities listed in the ingredients because it all depends on the size of your bread and how much you want to stuff into it.

I left the peppers off mine (I’m not a big fan) and added a little blue cheese for some extra flavor.

We’ll definitely keep making these, and just pair them with different sides. I think they’d be great with soup for another easy meal.


Grasshopper Bars

I love cookbooks. Any and all cookbooks. Even if I never make a recipe out of them, I love just reading them. I have several older cookbooks that I’ve gotten from relatives, some were my grandma’s, and they are all so interesting. Especially church cookbooks. For some reason that I cannot explain, I am fascinated by recipes that our grandparents and great grandparents grew up on.

Because of my fascination with these kinds of recipes, Baked Explorations is my new favorite cookbook. The authors take a look at good, old fashioned desserts-the good, the bad, and the ugly. They adapted their favorites, but kept them simple and classic. There are a few that I recognized (monkey bread!!) and some I had never heard of.  They even have 2 (yes, TWO!) recipes for whoopie pies. The whole book is amazing.

I saw the picture for this recipe and had to make them immediately. I am so glad I did. They were time consuming, but if you love mint, you will adore these brownies.

Grasshopper Bars

For the Brownie Base:

3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
5 oz dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat the oven to 325.

2) Grease the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9×13 inch pan.  Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper and butter the parchment.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.

4) Place the chocolate and the butter in the bowl of a double boiler. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined.

5) Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add both sugars.  Whisk the sugars until completely combined.  Remove the bowl from the pan.  At this point the mixture should be at room temperature. If it isn’t, allow to cool to room temp before continuing.

6) Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined.  Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter or your brownies will be cakey.

7) Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate.  Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.

8 ) Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with an offset spatula, and bake for approximately 13-18 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The brownies should be just a tad underdone (about 1 minute from being cooked completely).  A toothpick inserted in the brownies at an angle should yield a few loose crumbs.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan while you make the creme de menthe filling.

For the Buttercream

3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk (I used 2% instead of whole, it was fine)
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 stick butter, softened but still cool, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp creme de menthe (prepare to learn how to make the Grasshopper cocktail to use up the rest of the bottle)
1 tsp peppermint extract

1) In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together.  Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, 5-7 minutes.

2) Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on high until cool.  Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and mix until thoroughly incorporated. increase the speed to medium-high and beat until filling is light and fluffy. This will take a while, 10-15 minutes.

3) Add the creme de menthe and peppermint extract and mix until combined. If the filling is too soft, chill slightly in the refrigerator and then mix again until it is the proper consistency.  If the filling is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and re-mix to proper consistency.  Spread the filling evenly across the top of the brownie layer and place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes while you make the chocolate glaze topping.

For the Chocolate Glaze

6 oz dark chocolate (60-72%) coarsely chopped
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

1) Utilizing a double boiler, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.  Cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth.  Remove the bowl from the pan and stir vigorously for 1 minute to release excess heat.

2) Pour the mixture over the chilled creme de menthe layer and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer.  Place the pan back in the refrigerator and allow glaze to harden.

3) Remove the pan from the fridge, wait about 15 minutes for the glaze to soften slightly and cut the bars with a warm knife. If you don’t allow the topping to soften, it will crack. Cut into squares and serve immediately.  You can store leftovers for up to 4 days in the fridge.

 

Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations.

Amazing. They are also incredibly rich, but they make 24 bars so the portions aren’t too big.

I’ll probably add these into my Christmas baking, but I doubt I’ll make them much more often than that. I spent a good three hours in the kitchen, and I just don’t have that kind of time very often.

But if you have time to make them, definitely do it! And go get the book. It’s really interesting to read about the history of these classic desserts.

Mexican Casserole

I love Mexican food. Love it. Of course, what I make at home never quite lives up to my favorite restaurant meal (a vegetarian option that is to die for), but I’ll take what I can get.

I made this recipe a few weeks ago when I was in the middle of finals. I had intentionally saved it for a busy night because it’s so easy to make, and it definitely did not disappoint. It came together in less than half an hour and was really a great, easy dinner.

Mexican Casserole

Ingredients

16 oz refried beans
1/2 cup diced onion
5 10-inch flour tortillas
1 cup salsa
2 cups Colby Jack cheese

**extra salsa, sour cream, and green onions for garnish**

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare pie pan by spraying the bottom with cooking spray.

2) In a medium saucepan, cook refried beans with onions just until heated through (about 5 minutes).

3) Put one tortilla in pie pan. Spread with bean/onion mixture and place two spoonfuls of salsa on top of that. Sprinkle some cheese on top of salsa.

4) Repeat layers until pie is assembled, then top with remaining salsa and cheese.

5) Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Recipe adapted from this one.

 

Delicious!

I used whole wheat tortillas instead of flour. And next time I’ll sub in diced green chiles for the onions–I’m just not a big fan of onions unless they’re really well hidden in things.

If you want to make this for any vegetarians, make sure you grab the vegetarian refried beans. I had no idea they existed until I stopped eating meat, I just took for granted that all refried beans would be vegetarian, but that is definitely not the case.

I’ll keep this recipe around for for my next crazed finals week.


Veggie Ranch Pizza

We probably all know those people who like to dip their pizza in ranch dressing. Or maybe I just know particularly unique people. Either way, I stumbled across this recipe, immediately thought of a friend I went to college with who LOVED ranch on pizza, and I was curious.

In this case, the red sauce is left off the pizza and the ranch is used as the pizza sauce, not just a dipping accompaniment. Throw on some fresh veggies and lots of cheese and what could possibly go wrong?

Veggie Ranch Pizza

Ingredients

1 unbaked pizza crust
1 1/2 cups ranch salad dressing
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Crushed red pepper flakes

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place pizza crust on baking sheet. Spread ranch dressing over the top of the crust. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, followed by all the veggies.

3) Top with mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

4) Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until cheese is melted, veggies are soft, and crust is brown and crisp.

Recipe adapted from THIS one.

The only adjustment that I really made was that I just put a thin layer of ranch on the crust, so I didn’t use a whole 1 1/2 cups. That seemed excessive to me.

This pizza would have been amazing–except I’ve discovered that I have never outgrown my hatred for warm cauliflower. I love the stuff cold, it’s delicious, but cooked cauliflower is awful.

Chad thought the recipe was okay. I believe his exact words were that it was “definitely interesting”, so I’ll count that as husband approved.

We might make this again, but I’ll definitely switch up the veggies. And I do not anticipate that I’ll start dipping my normal pizza in ranch. I’ll save that for french fries. 🙂

 

 


Menu Planning: March 27th-April 10th

I have a couple recipes to blog about in the next few days (grasshopper bars and a Mexican casserole–yum!), but first–menu planning.

My menu plan for last week did not work out so well. My momma came to visit (yay!) so I didn’t do as much cooking as I had planned. Because of that, I moved a couple of the planned meals to this week.

Roasted red pepper sandwiches and soup**
Spinach and pepper panini and salad**
Baked potato and salad
Veggie ranch pizza**
Turkey burgers/veggie corn dogs/baked fries
Black bean nachos
Gnocchi

As always, the starred recipes are the new ones that I’ll be blogging about in the weeks to come. Assuming I actually get around to making them this time. 🙂