Dinner for Two: Grilled Vegetable Pizza

One of my favorite places in the world is Trader Joe’s—a true gem where you’ll find quality items at reasonable prices. Something I always stock up on is the Whole Wheat Pizza Crust, and I’ll freeze it if I don’t have plans to use immediately. Even with the added fiber and nutrition from the whole wheat flour, it surprisingly doesn’t taste like cardboard. Check out the pizza I made last night!

Thinly slice eggplant and yellow squash. Season with olive oil, seasoning salt, and black pepper.

Grill until you have faint grill marks on both sides (don’t overcook–they’ll cook more in the oven).

Cut red onion and tomatoes however you prefer. Sauté until soft (helps take juice out of tomatoes).

Roll out dough until 1/4 in. thick.

Apply light coat of olive oil and sea salt to crust.

Spread sauce.

Add mozzarella.

Fan squash and eggplant on top of the cheese, alternating.

Add onions and tomatoes.

Top with salt, pepper, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.

Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano and freshly torn basil.

Bake at 350°.

Eat every. last. slice.

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Posted in Eat

Recipe Makeover: Whole-Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

What do I love the most about my mom’s cooking? I could ramble, but I’ll stick to the simple answer. She’s flexible, adaptable, and spontaneous. I believe flexibility distinguishes a great cook from its “good” counterpart. A great cook can look at a recipe and instantly know if it is worth a go. Does it have intriguing flavor combinations? Would it be a party favorite, or rather something that would go over well with the Supper Club? Once a great cook identifies a good recipe, he/she also knows instinctively how to improve it. Maybe a baked chocolate confection calls for two tablespoons of water, but you use some of your leftover morning coffee instead—we all know a little coffee goes a long way when it comes to highlighting the rich flavor of chocolate.

My mom is inspiring in the kitchen. Sometimes she follows recipes to a T; sometimes she uses them as a loose reference; but most of the time, she wings it using whatever she has on hand—and every time, her food is phenomenal.

ImagePhoto: A Dash of Sass

Like mother, like daughter. I always use whatever I have on hand as well. I was frantically searching for a way to satisfy my love of warm oatmeal cookies and milk and my desire to fit into skinny jeans (not easy living in the South). I then came across this recipe for Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from A Dash of Sass. I had a random assortment of items on hand, so I used this as a rough guide. I swapped whole wheat flour for all purpose flour and egg beaters for the egg (it was all I had); I chopped four different (extremely) dark chocolate bars into chunks (left over from my Valentine’s Day packages from my mom); and I omitted the nuts (not my first choice, but didn’t have them).

The cookies were moist and rich, sans guilt trip. The nutty whole wheat flower paired perfectly with the hearty oatmeal, and the dark chocolate chunks added a depth of flavor that was sheer decadence.

How many times have I made them since I discovered the recipe? I’ll never tell.

Posted in Eat

From harvest to our table: centerpiece side dish

Remember our brussels sprouts centerpiece for Thanksgiving? We’re making good on our promise and transforming it into a delicious seasonal side dish. We know that BS aren’t a favorite vegetable for many–we understand. Who wants to eat boiled cabbage? When done right, however, they are hearty, caramelized bits of heaven. Yum.

And they’re SO good for you.

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Simply cut each floret off the stalk, or you can buy them already de-stalked.

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Pull off outer leaves (they may be discolored) and trim white stalks.

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Blanch in salted water (2-3 mins).

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Halve each sprout and saute in 1 tbsp. extra virgen olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter (NOT MARGARINE) until golden.

Seasoning salt and pepper to taste.

Buen provecho.

Posted in Eat

Weeknight Meal: Lemon Caper Chicken

So fast. So simple. So healthy. So delicious.

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Sauté a little garlic and onion until tender.

Dredge chicken breast tenders in seasoned flour.

Lightly fry in oil until both sides are lightly golden.

Add sliced lemons, capers, and Marsala to deglaze the pan.

Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through.

Season to taste.

Serve over rice.

Enjoy.

Posted in Eat