More Than Margherita Pizza

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Pizza and salad is one of my all time favorite meals. A pile of greens plus cheese and carbs is the perfect equation for a healthy dinner, right? After a late Saturday night (and maybe one too many shots of tequila), Kelsey and I were both lacking inspiration for cooking dinner on Sunday night. Kelsey suggested pizza as a fallback and our dinner ended up being something that I would have happily paid for in a restaurant but made at home for a third of the price…so more money for tequila shots?
The key to good homemade pizza (and most food) is quality ingredients. Don’t expect to be impressed by a grocery store crust with jarred marinara sauce and Kraft mozzerella. Do yourself a favor and start with your own pizza dough. It takes a little planning but the recipe at the end of the post makes two crusts so you can save one in the freezer for a quick weeknight dinner. It comes together with ten minutes of active time and either 3 hours on the counter or 2-3 days in the fridge.
Start with a standard Margherita pizza and add prosciutto and balsamic reduction– how bad could that be? (trademark Ina Garten) You could go all out and make your own reduction, but I took a little help from Trader Joe. With a glass of wine and a pats win (ouch), this WOULD have been a perfect dinner. Good thing hockey is back! I see many nights of Bruins wins with homemade pizza ahead.

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Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (adapted from the Pioneer Woman http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/02/my-favorite-pizza/) makes 2 crusts

  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Sprinkle yeast over the top of 1.5 cups warm (not hot!) water and allow to sit until foamy (about 5 minutes)
2. Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl.
3. With the mixer on low speed (or stirring by hand), slowly drizzle in olive oil.
4. Add yeast-water mixture to mixer. The dough will be sticky.
5. Brush the inside of a clean large bowl with olive oil. Form the dough into a ball and place in the olive oil-coated bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until roughly doubled in size (about 1.5 hours) then punch down and allow to rise again. The dough can also be stored in the fridge for a slow rise for 24-72 hours before using.

Pro tip:
Roll out pizza crust and freeze so that you can assemble a pizza and bake directly in the oven for a quick week night dinner.
For the pizza:
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 ball fresh mozzerella, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh basil (about 1 ounce) with about half chiffonaded
2-3 slices of prosciutto, torn into pieces
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4t olive oil, divided
oregano (fresh or dried)
salt and pepper

To assemble the pizza:
Preheat the oven to 450˙. Roll out dough until it is roughly 9×13 inches and place onto a 9×13” rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1T olive oil over the dough and add the minced garlic, then the tomato slices, followed by prosciutto, basil (and fresh oregano if using), and mozzarella. Drizzle remaining 1t olive oil over mozzarella and top with sea salt, fresh ground pepper and dried oregano if using. Bake for 15 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheesy is bubbling. Top slices with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and chiffonaded basil.

*Calorie guesstimate*
Serves 8 people
Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein
Boboli – 100% Whole Wheat Italian Pizza Crust, 1 Crust 719 132 15 30
Bel Gioioso – Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, 1 container (8 oz ea.) 560 0 40 40
Tomatoes – Red, ripe, raw, year round average, 2 medium whole (2-3/5″ dia) 44 10 0 2
Generic – Prosciutto, 6 thin slices 210 0 15 24
Oil – Olive, 3 tablespoon 358 0 41 0
Fresh – Fresh Basil Leaves, 5 cups (120g) packed,whole 20 4 0 0
Rachel Ray – Balsamic Reduction Drizzle, 1 tbsp 20 4 0 0
 
Total: 1931 150 111 96
Per Serving: 241 19 14 12
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Paleo Maple Bacon Meatballs

I know I know this the second meat post in a row but in my defense we aren’t eating sugar, white flour, or legumes at my house this week. This recipe I am actually making to bring in for my work potluck. I chose a Paleo recipe because many of my coworkers are on low carb diets so I thought it would be a nice option.

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The recipe for maple bacon meatballs came from one of my favorite paleo bloggers. It looked pretty easy and yet some how I overlooked the step that instructs you to pull out your food processor. The food processor is a touchy subject for me, I may have once called my roommate Ibby in tears because I couldn’t get it to turn on and there for couldn’t grind the lamb so ergo there would be no dinner and we would all starve. And, yes our conversation was just as much of a run on as that sentence. But I did already get all the ingredients so I decided it was time to show the food processor whose boss. (this was an actual mini pep talk I gave myself)

I managed to shred the sweet potato, mushrooms, onions, and garlic with little trouble. However I am a huge baby about touching raw meat, I have an absurd fear of food born illnesses. It’s borderline ridiculous but I can rattle off the internal temperatures of different meats, poultry, etc. because I am a food safety freak. So about touching the raw meat…yeah that wasn’t really my jam instead I just used a large wooden spoon to combine all the ingredients and then scooped out all 48!!! meatballs with a small ice cream scoop. Why 48 meatballs? Well I was under the deluded impression that 1 batch made 12 meatballs, I figured I’d double it to have enough to bring to work. Four cookie sheets worth of meatballs later and low and behold each batch makes 24 meatballs at 71 calories/meatball (just in case math isn’t your thing, I can relate).

Here is the nutritional info for the meatballs. They are pretty tasty and definitely pack a lot of breakfast flavor. I force fed one to Amy at 10pm and even she liked them!

Serves  24 people
Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein
Sweet Potato – 1 Medium Sweet Potato ,(2″ Dia, 5″ Long) Baked In Skin, No Salt , 1 medium 103 24 0 2
Veg – Mushroom, 1/2 cup 5 1 0 1
Onions – Raw, 1 medium (2-1/2″ dia) 46 11 0 1
Syrups – Maple, 2 tbsp 104 27 0 0
Jimmy Dean Original Pork Sausage – Ground Pork Sausage, 16 oz 1,440 8 120 80
 
Total: 1698 71 120 84
Per Serving: 71 3 5 4

These would be even more delicious with an apricot maple dipping sauce, just throwing that out there send it right on back if you don’t like it.

Meat in the Morning

Let’s be honest with one another that is a creepy title, but it is also accurate. This morning I got up all ready to throw this super simple Pork and Apples recipe from Eat,Live,Run into the crockpot only to discover I was missing a major player…the pork! How this happened is an absolute mystery. Amy and our other roommate had made the weekly grocery shopping trip and I swore when they got home I saw pork chops in the fridge. Yet somehow, this morning the pork chops were no where MIA! So, this is why I found myself in Trader Joe’s at 8am buying meat. I was feeling pretty self conscious about my strange purchase so I picked up spinach and broccoli as side dishes for tonight’s dinner as well.

I briskly walked the few blocks home and fortunately this recipe was actually only 5 minutes of prep, because at this point I was pretty late for work. I threw into the crock-pot 3 boneless pork chops (slim pickings at Trader Joe’s) since they didn’t have a bone to help keep them moist I left the fat on the chops. The only special addition to this recipe was the kind of mustard I used, Amy’s family has a mustard mill in Maine so we happened to have this guy in the fridge.

White-Lightning

Yeah that’s some White Lightning for ya…I have no idea where I’m going with this. And then 9 hours later I came home to tender pork with sweet apples and onions. Which I served with a side of sauteed mushrooms and spinach, and roasted paprika broccoli.

Keep in mind the recipe calls for 6 hours of cooking, so Amy was kind enough to turn the crockpot to warm when she got home from work. Sadly we didn’t get to devour this the second I got home because we had a late workout session with our trainer, Kris. We usually see him every Tuesday night but this particular Tuesday was even later, no dinner for us until 9:30pm. Now don’t panic I know what “they” say about eating late, but guess what your body processes things the exact same way regardless of the time. Eating late got a bad rap because people tend to over eat at night, however if you haven’t exceeded your allotted calories for the day and it’s after 9pm you’re in the clear. (this is just in our humble opinion) For more information on this topic check out Can You Stay for Dinner’s post.

Fancy Quesadillas

The first time I typed in quesadilla I spelled it so wrong the autocorrect thought I meant disguise…um I have no excuse for that. But that’s what the Google is for she can always guess what I want especially when it involved delicious things bound together with melty cheese. I was perusing pinterest last week when I stumbled upon Two Peas and their Pod’s Pear, Brie, and Honey Quesadilla recipe. The first thing that comes to my mind when I see Brie is Amy, the girl just loves it…this is what happens when you know your friends this well you start associating food with them. For example our friend Chelsea aka CLAW (a post in of itself) when I see chips they have her name written all over them.

pear-brie-and-honey-quesidilla-

But back to the quesadillas, of course I couldn’t leave these delicious ingredients alone I just had to add my own spin to it, and what make it even “fancier?” I like to think of this as the Russel’s of quesadillas, you know Jesse’s Fancyman on New Girl? So I added prosciutto and maybe a swirl of balsamic reduction, this one from Trader Joe’s is such a time saver!

The result….surprisingly light for something that included brie and quite yummy. However it wasn’t really filling enough to last us on our Harvard Square bar crawl. The night may or may not have concluded with a trip to Tasty Burger. Luckily Amy and I had a 10 mile run planned that turned into 11 miles the following Sunday afternoon. Nothing really shames you into running more like late night fast food.

G-Free Pumpkin Muffins

Confession….

We are pumpkin addicts, like seriously. Case in point there is almost nothing we wont add pumpkin to. Chili? check! Oatmeal? yes please! Granola? you bet! And don’t even get us started on all the delicious pumpkin desserts that’s a whole other post. But it’s these pumpkin muffins that we are here to talk about.

What’s so special about these muffins? Well they are gluten free and still delicious! A handful of our friends can’t eat gluten and in an effort to be healthier we try to eat low gluten so these are a win-win. We did make some modifications to this recipe to “slim them down.” By adding an extra 1/4 cup of pumpkin we were able to reduce the amount of olive oil by a 1/4 cup, you see what we did there? These muffins were a side Kelsey served with chili so they didn’t need to be super sweet so go ahead and cut back to a 1/2 cup sugar. To reduce it even more substitute a 1/4 cup of the sugar with applesauce.

Kelsey’s first time making these muffins…we got a g-free virgin baker here
kelsey
Ingredients:
3 large organic free-range eggs or Ener-G Egg Replacer for two eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup organic pumpkin puree
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornmeal
1 cup Bisquick gluten free pancake mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt