Category Archives: Savory Meals

The Pepperoni Pizza Cake

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Last week I saw a pizza cake for the first time on Instagram, and was quite intrigued by the idea. I knew I had to make one. I discussed my pizza cake strategy in depth with Stephen, and we decided that the best approach would be to precook the pizza layers, then stack and wrap the layers with an exterior crust. I used a standard Food Network pizza dough recipe, and kept the toppings pretty simple with pepperoni and mozzarella 😛

Pizza Dough:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Toppings:

  • 1 can pizza sauce
  • 1 large bag shredded mozzarella
  • 1 package pepperoni

Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.

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Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a large bowl with a splash of olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size (about 1 hour). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll the dough out to a 1/2 cm thickness. Using a six inch bowl, trace and cut out four circles. Place on a non-stick baking mat, and cover completely with pizza sauce. Spread 1/2 cup of cheese and several pieces of pepperoni on top of each pizza layer. Back for about 10 minutes, until the edges of each pizza begin to brown. Remove from oven and let the cool for 10 minutes.

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While the layers cool, roll out the dough scraps, and cut a rectangle 6 inches by 19 inches. Stack the four, cooled pizza layers on top of each other, and wrap the rectangle of dough around the pizza stack. Roll the extra dough at the top of the pizza into a crust, and top with an additional handful of cheese. Bake the pizza cake on a silicon baking mat for 15 minutes, until the exterior crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm with additional pizza sauce. This recipe comfortably serves about six people.

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Baked Rigatoni Pie

My friend Tia brought be back a beautiful bag of rigatoni from Milan, and I wanted to make something fun with it. The pasta had been sitting on my table for weeks, and I finally came up with the perfect way to use it! BAKED RIGATONI! And to honor the sweet theme of my blog, I made a baked rigatoni PIE. This recipe made me fall in love with my spring-form pan all over again 😀

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 8

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Heat the oil in large skillet over medium-high. Add the ground meat and cook until it’s browned all over, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper. Sauté another minute, then add the crushed tomatoes and simmer on medium until thickened (about 10 minutes).

While thickening the tomato sauce, cook the rigatoni until it’s slightly underdone. Drain and rinse with cool water. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and parmesan cheese.

Lightly oil a 9-inch spring form pan. Tightly pack the rigatoni in the pan, standing on their ends. Pour the meat sauce over the pasta. Push the meat down into the noodles, filling them as much as possible. Bake the pie in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove, top with mozzarella cheese, and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbly. Let the pie cool sufficiently before serving, at least 15 minutes.

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The Search for the Ultimate Wing Recipe

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Wings…where do I even begin. The ultimate bar food? The tastiest type of chicken? The perfect Friday night dinner? Yes, to all of the above. Wings have a special place in my heart, and I think it’s high time I learn how to make them myself. I had some friends over, and we tested out three different recipes. The ingredients included:

Baked Brown Sugar Wings:

  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, combine wings, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the wings in the seasoning, the place wings onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, using metal tongs to turn at halftime.

Traditional Buffalo Wings

  • 12 whole chicken wings
  • 2 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan on medium high, and brown the wings/drumsticks (about 3 minutes on both sides). Place wings on wire rack, and roast wings on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes, until meat is cooked through and the skin is golden brown. While the chicken is roasting, melt the butter in a small bowl along with the garlic. Pour this along with hot sauce and salt into a bowl large enough to hold all of the chicken and stir to combine. Remove the wings from the oven and transfer to the bowl and toss with the sauce. Serve warm.

Oven-Crisped Wings Recipe

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 10 chicken wings, tips removed

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Be sure wings are thawed and dry them well with paper towels. Combine flour, paprika, garlic salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a plastic bag. Shake to mix ingredients and add wings. Line a large baking sheet with foil and melt the butter on it. ( Makes for easy clean up). Add wings to pan and turn to coat. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn wings over and bake for 15 more minutes or until crispy and done.

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We all agreed that the traditional hot wings and the brown sugar wings were the winners! Both were absolutely delicious, with just the right balance of spice and flavor. The dry rub wings developed a great crispy skin, but needed a little more flavor. I think they would be great tossed in a sauce, or dipped in some blue cheese.

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What are your favorite wing recipes? Feel free to share them with me! I’d love to try them 😀

Breakfast Pizza

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Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. When I get to eat breakfast for dinner, it’s even better. This train of thought is what inspired dinner tonight. I used freshly-made, store-bought dough to make the pizza crust because I was short on time, but you can always make your own. The ingredients included:

  •  1 ball of prepared pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup cooked bacon, diced
  • 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

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Start by preheating the oven to 500 degrees and flour the cookie sheet for baking. Spread the pizza dough out, onto the floured cookie sheet, until it evenly covers the entire sheet, remembering that the dough will contract slightly during the cooking process. Then sprinkle half of the cheese and bacon onto the dough, and let this cook. After about 5 minutes in the oven, take the pizza out and crack the eggs on top. Put the pizza back in the oven and let it cook for another 2 minutes. Once the two minutes pass, sprinkle the pizza with scallions, chives, and the remaining bacon and cheese. Finally, pop the pizza back in the oven for another two minutes. Once the edges are golden brown, pull the pizza out and let it cool slightly before serving. It’s important you serve the pizza promptly because the eggs will continue to cook from the heat of the pizza.

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I absolutely loved this dinner! I let the pizza cool a teensy bit too long, so my yolks weren’t as runny as I would have liked. But other than that, this meal was a home run!

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Tender Braised Short Ribs

I have been waiting to make this recipe for quite a while, but it is a meal that should be eaten in good company. I invited a friend over for dinner, and realized it was the perfect opportunity to finally make this dish 🙂 I started the prep work for this meal in the morning, and started by getting my ingredients:

  • 4 pounds beef short ribs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 0.5 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 0.66 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

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I started by sprinkling a generous amount of salt and pepper over ribs. In large pan on medium-high heat, I then browned the ribs on all sides and removed them from the pan (keeping the drippings in the pan).

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Next I sauteed the onions in same pan until they were translucent, and added the garlic. I let this cook for another minute, then placed the ribs in my crockpot, covering them with the onion/garlic mixture.

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I whisked together the wine, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and dark brown sugar, and poured it over the meat. The last step was to add fresh thyme sprigs on top of meat.

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I let this cook in my crock pot on low for 7-8, and served it over a mashed potatoes. Robert and Jonathan helped me taste test the mashed potatoes.

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Everyone gave it their stamp of approval 🙂 We finished off our meal with gratineed pineapples. Food always tastes best in good company!

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Brown Butter and Sage Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Sweet potatoes are simply the best. I love them, and eat them at least twice a week. That being said, when I saw a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi I went wild!! I knew I had to try it. Busy season had kept me tied up during the week, but I finally had a bit of free time on Saturday. I went for a BEAUTIFUL training run Saturday afternoon, and built up quite an appetite.

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So I invited my friend Tia over, and we got to cooking. I gathered the following ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2-3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 T Freshly cut sage

The first step was heating my oven to 350 degrees, and baking the sweet potatoes for an hour. I cut them in half to help them bake faster. Once they were soft and baked all the way through, I pulled them out and let them cool for a half hour. When I was able to work with them, I peeled off the skins and mashed them with a fork. I added the egg, nutmeg and cinnamon, and then Tia and I slowly added the flour, a half cup at a time.

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Once the dough was firm enough to roll out, I rolled it into logs 1/2 inch wide and cut square pieces. Tia then helped me press them flat with a fork 😀

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Once the gnocchi was cut up and ready to be cooked, I tossed them into a boiling pot of water and waited for them to rise to to the top of the pot.

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As I waited for them to cook, I heated my butter on medium high in sauce pan until it had browned and developed a toasty aroma. It took about 5 minutes, and I swirled it around a couple times as it cooked. Once the gnocchi had risen to the top, I let them cook a couple minutes longer, then poured them into my sauce pan. I tossed them in the browned butter and added the sage at the last minute.

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I then plated the gnocchi and paired it with an arugula salad dressed with lemon, oil, salt, and pepper. I was surprised by how sweet the gnocchi turned out, but liked the overall product. I think the next time I make this, I’ll add a little maple syrup to the sauce and play up this sweetness. I also would cut the pieces a bit smaller. I can’t WAIT to make/eat this again.

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Shrimp Ceviche

In my quest of clean eating, I came across this recipe and knew i had to try it. It is such a perfect recipe for a warm, sunny day!

  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 small cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 minced jalapeño (WEAR GLOVES WHEN CUTTING)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper

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I cooked the shrimp in a pot of boiling water for about 3 minutes until it was just done. Then I rinsed them with cold water to stop the cooking process, and combined the shrimp with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

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I let the mixture chill for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld together. This is such an easy recipe, and it’s packed with protein and flavorrrrrrrrr! 😀

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DISCLAIMER: WEAR GLOVES WHEN YOU CUT THE JALAPENO!! I make the rookie mistake of using my bare hands…and my entire left hand swelled up. It burned like HELL for six hours, and kept me up all night. Pleaseeeeeeee wear gloves, or at least coat your hand in oil before you cut into the jalapeno. I tried EVERY remedy suggested online, and none of them helped. Learn from my mistakes.