Monday, July 21, 2014

Spinach Artichoke Pizza


Well, guess what my lovely friends? I didn't take a single photo this weekend.

Nil.

Zero.

None.

Sob.

It was a gloomy weekend here in NE Kentucky. There was little to no sun on Saturday, and then yesterday was even worse! The sun began to peek through the clouds a smidge around 6:30 last night, but you can't take pictures at that time of night. So needless to say, I cooked a whole bunch this weekend and yet, I have no photographs. Today is supposed to be sunny, so I'm hoping to spend a couple of hours this afternoon taking pictures. Yep, hours. Here's everything I need to photograph:


Nectarine Yogurt Pops
Blueberry Jam
Thai Pickled Cabbage
Pulled Pork Taco Casserole
Cherry Pie Bars

Wowsers. I have my work cut out for me, so that sun better make an appearance!

In other news, I've demanded the hubby get me a photography light for my birthday so I'm not at the beck and call of the weather. Anyone who would like to contribute to the hubby making it a great birthday for me, contact him :)


So, where did these pictures come from you ask? I've had this recipe tucked in my back pocket for awhile. Saving it for a rainy day (ha!). And that rainy day has arrived. The hubby and I went nuts for this vegetarian pizza. While it's not the most beautiful or colorful, it's the deliciousness that counts. I made this on my homemade pizza crust, which is one of the best recipes I've ever found. There's a creamy béchamel sauce separating the crust from the glorious spinach, artichokes, and cheese. The crust is perfectly crispy. Honestly, this is one of the best homemade pizzas I've made. The hubby and I had no leftovers, we demolished a whole pie by ourselves. What piggies we are!



Did everyone have a great weekend? The hubby and I spent ours around the house. We signed up for a 7-mile run at the end of August, so we've started training for that. I think I mentioned last week that the hubby is very gung-ho on his health kick right now, which is making him very gung-ho on running. He's following a very specific training plan, which I'm going to follow and support him when I can. Meaning -> when he's at work, I'm the type of person that's going to do what she wants. Meaning -> I might do a gym day when I'm supposed to do a light run. Or a long, slow run when I'm supposed to do a short, fast one. 

I'm all for a training program, but I have to keep my personality in mind. If I'm not having fun, and something feels like work or a job, I'm 100% less prone to do it. I've got to keep it fun and light-hearted for me to keep at it. But, like I said, I'm going to support the hubby as much as I can :)

Have a great week everyone!


Ingredients (makes 1 pizza):

1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz spinach, divided
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper
6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 oz parmesan cheese, grated
6-7 canned artichoke hearts, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Prepare the pizza dough according to directions.
2. Preheat oven to 550º. Allow to heat for 1 hour.
3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. When warm, add 3/4 of the spinach. Sauté until just wilted, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and roughly chop. Set aside.
4. While oven is heating, prepare béchamel sauce. Melt butter in a small skillet. When melted, add flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes, to cook out raw flour taste. Begin adding milk in small additions, whisking constantly. Add more milk if sauce is too thick. When milk is incorporated, add onion powder. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in wilted, cooked spinach. Set aside.
5. When the oven has preheated for 1 hour, turn the oven off and turn the broiler on.
6. Roll your pizza dough out into a very thin circle. Spread the béchamel sauce over the crust. Spread the remaining spinach and chopped artichoke hearts over the sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the crust. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the crust. 
7. Broil in preheated oven 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly, and crust is beginning to get toasty brown spots. Remove from oven, slice, and serve immediately!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Mini Chocolate Chip Zucchini Loaves


Happy Friday! We've almost made it to the weekend. Almost. In the meantime, wouldn't a slice of these mini cakes totally be the best way to start out your next lazy couple of days off? Methinks so :)

These are not your garden-variety zucchini cakes. You know the ones I'm talking about- dry. Crumbly. Bland. These mini loaves are none of those things. Quite the opposite, in fact. Moist? Check.   Delicious? Check. Chocolatey? Heck yeah, check! It's just in my nature to add chocolate chips to everything, however the hubby's aunt told me she'd never had zucchini bread with chocolate chips before. And she loved it. I was also told by my sister-in-law that my youngest nephew loved the bread as well, although she had to tell him it was "chocolate chip bread". 4 year olds don't want to hear their beloved baked goods contain a shocking amount of green vegetable. Go figure.


I found adorable little loaf pans on clearance a while ago, and I've been dying to test them since then. I'm glad I found an excuse to finally break them out! If you don't want to make mini loaves, the amount of batter should produce one good-size loaf of zucchini bread. The hubby's family loved receiving the little loaves, they were the perfect size to deliver to people. Enough cake to satisfy a sweet tooth, not so much cake that one would feel the need to leap on the treadmill post-consumption.


In fact, there's quite a bit of zucchini in the recipe. 2 cups! I definitely put a heaping 2 cups in my loaves. I love seeing all the green studded throughout the bread. I'm so excited to start getting zucchinis out of the garden. I have so many recipe ideas for my zucchinis- cookies, stuffed, maybe a soup... The creative juices have been flowing!


Until then, there's plenty of zucchini flooding the farmer's markets right now. It makes my heart happy.


I'm a little flabbergasted we're already back to another weekend. It was a whirlwind of a week, an absolute blur. I didn't have time to prepare any recipes for next week's posts, so you can guess what one of my activities this weekend will be. Cooking. Picture-taking. Picture-editing. Uploading. It's quite the process. The hubby and I found out last weekend that my brother is coming for another visit next month (yay!) so we've been working on some projects around the house. I'm incredibly excited to unveil our latest project, but I'm going to wait till it's finished to do a home decor post. Or at least wait until it's almost finished. Right now it's in pieces on the floor, but soon- Soon it will take life into some wonderful. Y'all will just have to keep guessing till it's time. Hehe :)

Have a great (and SAFE) weekend everyone!


Ingredients (makes 4 loaves):

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 eggs, room temp
2 cups zucchini, shredded
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola oil (you can substitute applesauce here!)
2 tsp molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly coat 4 mini loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour through baking soda. Whisk to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs through vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. 
4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Fold in using a spatula. Mix until just moistened, do not over mix. Add chocolate chips to bowl, fold in with spatula.
5. Distribute batter among loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans for 20 minutes, then turn loaves out to a cooling rack. Cool completely before storage.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Roasted Garlic and Chicken Flatbread


I'm having one of those days. One of those days when no words will come, and I'm sitting here, staring at my pictures, and feeling inarticulate. I'm stumped. I've followed the normal morning routine- cup of coffee by my side, Chihuahuas in my lap, and Mr. Hummingbird staring me down from the window. Our hummingbird feeder is in the living room window, and normally when he guards the feeder, he faces the yard. Not today. He's facing the house for some reason. As if the hubby and I want to steal from his feeder. Silly bird. Anyhoo, I've followed my normal routine, but for some reason I'm feeling uninspired. Bear with me, dear friends.


This recipe is yummy times 10. And easy too! I had some leftover naan that I used, saving lots of time making dough. I also used rotisserie chicken, another major timesaver. Really, you are only going to spend time roasting the garlic (all hands off time) and making the sauce, which takes all of 10 minutes. I completed the sauce in the time it took to preheat the oven. 

And that sauce!! I'm a sucker for roasted garlic, the taste and smell are just out of this world. The roasted garlic lends such savory and velvety richness to the sauce, I found myself licking it right off the stirring spoon. I guess my manners are a little lacking :)


Roasting garlic is way easier than you may think. I simply slice the top of the bulb off, wrap it in aluminum foil, and roast it in the oven for 45 minutes. Done! I love the way the house smells after roasting garlic. After the garlic is roasted, you simply add it to the sauce as you are making it. The sauce is basically a slurry, with garlic and parmesan cheese thrown in. It's delish, so don't skip this step. Trust me!


All right. I'm going to take my writer's block, and whip it into shape on the open road. If a long run doesn't get the creative juices flowing, I don't know what will!

Plus, the hubby bought new running shoes so he's very gung-ho about running right now. I'm trying to take advantage of a phase I'm sure won't last long :)

Happy Thursday friends, it's almost the weekend!


Ingredients (serves 2):

White Sauce-
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 bulb roasted garlic
2 tbsp flour
1 cup almond milk
pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Flatbread-
2- Stonefire Whole Grain Naan breads
3/4- 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
2 cup spinach, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup fresh mozzarella, chopped
fresh herbs, chopped (I used parsley and basil)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425º. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, if using (I baked mine on a pizza stone).
2. Make the white sauce- in a skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Squeeze all garlic from the roasted bulb into the skillet. Sauté for 1 minute. Add flour, and sauté for 1-2 minutes, to cook out the raw flour taste. Begin adding milk in slow additions, whisking constantly with each addition. Add more milk, if sauce is too thick. Remove from heat, stir in pepper and cheese. 
3. Spread sauce over naan. Top each bread with spinach, red pepper, and mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes or until mozzarella has begun to melt and brown. Remove from oven, and top with fresh herbs. Serve immediately. 

Recipe adapted from Eat Cake For Dinner.
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