Thursday, June 30, 2011

Eat Your Veggies Pizza

I've been on a bit of a homemade pizza kick recently.  Not only are they pretty quick to throw together, but my favorite part is topping it with whatever your little heart desires!  Okay and it also doesn't hurt that my 14 month old usually loves whatever pizza we make.  I did not, however, expect him to love this version.  Eggplant?  Peppers?  Olives?  Those are 3 things I NEVER touched as a kid.  Ever.  It wasn't until I met my husband that I finally started branching out with what veggies I would eat, and since then, I've never turned back.  I love them more than I thought I would, and I'm no longer afraid to try even the ugliest of vegetables.  That being said, when I saw all the fresh and beautifully purple eggplant at the Farmer's Market the other weekend, I thought it was about time I try cooking with it.  Eggplant used to scare me away, but I'm glad I got over that fear because in this recipe it had an amazing flavor after soaking up all the sweetness of the peppers and onions. 

Even though I love healthy meals and try to add as many meatless meals to our weekly menu as possible, I'm definitely not a vegetarian.  My toddler isn't a vegetarian (the first time he tried bacon he smiled and promptly asked for more), and my husband most definitely is not a vegetarian either (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree), yet we all LOVED this pizza.  I loved it so much that even I, who never touches leftovers (unless it's risotto), ate the leftovers for lunch the next day.  And so did my toddler son!!  I can't believe I just typed those words, but yes - he ate pizza topped with eggplant, peppers, onions, and olives!  We were all amazed.  If you're looking for a fantastic homemade veggie pizza chock full of flavor, this is a great one to try. 

Even my bacon-centric husband, who admittedly was a bit skeptical of this "veggie recipe" upon reading it, devoured half the pizza for lunch, and complimented me on it once again.  Now that's saying something!  

Eat Your Veggies Pizza
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1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, cut in strips
1 small (or half of 1 large) eggplant, cut into half-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, cut in strips 
1 yellow pepper, cut in strips
1 Whole Wheat pre-baked thin pizza crust (i.e., Boboli or Whole Foods 365 brand)
4 oz. tomato paste
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Handful of fresh basil, chopped


1.    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.    Heat oil in a large skillet set over medium heat.  Add onions and saute for 3 minutes.  Add eggplant and saute for 3 more minutes.  Add the salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, and stir.  Add garlic and red and yellow peppers and continue cooking for 3 more minutes, until veggies are crisp-tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.
3.    Spread tomato paste over pizza crust and top with half of the mozzarella.  Top with veggie mixture, remaining mozzarella, feta, and olives.
4.    Bake until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 10-12 minutes.
5.    Remove pizza from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Top pizza with fresh basil just before serving.

*slightly adapted from Loaded Veggie Pizza

Monday, June 27, 2011

Almond Crusted Tilapia with Quick Tartar Sauce

This is the newest go-to recipe I've found for a super quick and easy weeknight meal that everyone in my family will eat, including my 14 month old (and no, it doesn't come from a can, a box, the freezer, and isn't pre-made!).  Even though my son is a great eater, that is not something I can say about many dinner recipes.  

This recipe was surprisingly flavorful, especially considering the minimal amount of effort put into making it.  I was a little worried the fish would taste bland, but the Old Bay seasoning and brown sugar flavored the fish perfectly.  With a squeeze of lemon and tartar sauce (optional) on the side, this was just what I needed to add to my weekly rotation of heart-healthy fish recipes.  It's a super win in this family's book! 

Almond Crusted Tilapia with Quick Tartar Sauce
Printer-Friendly Recipe


1.5 lbs Tilapia fillets, sliced in half (“butterflied” so to speak)
1 cup almonds
¼ cup plain bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ cup flour
1 egg, beaten


1.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
2.     Add almonds to a food processor (I used my mini-prep) and process until very finely chopped.
3.     In a shallow bowl, gently combine the finely chopped almonds, bread crumbs, brown sugar, old bay seasoning, salt, and pepper. 
4.     Put the flour and beaten egg in 2 separate shallow bowls (for dipping).
5.     Coat each tilapia fillet lightly with flour, dip in the egg, and finish by coating well with the almond mixture.  Transfer immediately to the baking sheet after coating with the almond mixture.
6.     Bake for 15-20 minutes until the almond crust is starting to crisp.
7.     Serve immediately with lemon wedges and tartar sauce on the side (optional).

Quick Tartar Sauce


1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (optional...but delicious!)
Salt and pepper to taste


1.     Combine mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, minced onion, and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

*Tilapia recipe slightly adapted from
*Tartar sauce from

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Red Wine Risotto

Risotto is a regular meal in this household.  We try to vary it from time to time so we don't tire of one of our favorite dishes.  That being said, when I saw Red Wine Risotto in Giada's Family Dinners cookbook, it immediately caught my attention (and the hubby's).  I'm no risotto connoisseur, but I do know that every version we've tried so far has been made with white wine.  But red wine?  What a great idea for a change of pace!  And a delicious one at that! 

In this version of risotto, the red wine gives the rice a delicate purple tint that contrasts beautifully with the green peas.  If you've never tried risotto with red wine or you're getting bored of your usual "go to" risotto recipe, this is just the version to try.  We finished every bite and promptly tucked this little gem into our regular rotation.  I hope you will too!

Red Wine Risotto

3 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Heat the broth over medium high heat and bring to a simmer.  Cover, and keep warm over very low heat.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, saute until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Stir in the rice.  Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed, about 1 minute.
  3. Add 3/4 cup of hot broth, simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed.  Once absorbed, continue by adding 3/4 cup of hot broth 3 more times, stirring often until liquid is absorbed each time.
  4. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of broth and simmer until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer.  Stir in the peas and parsley.  Mix in 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Sprinkle with additional cheese and serve.
Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 for dinner.

*Slightly adapted from Giada's Family Dinners.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Peanut Butter and Bacon Canapes

This recipe is one I probably never would have thought to try, but once again, my bacon-centric husband pulled out a keeper. 

See, he had eaten incredibly healthy for a whole week straight (pat on the back hubs!) in preparation for a short health physical, and naturally, he thought his reward should include bacon.  After a quick browse through his beloved Bacon cookbook, he decided on this savory treat, and I'm so glad he did.  Even I (who has been getting a little tired of the usual fried bacon with breakfast every weekend) devoured more than my fair share of this treat.  The peanut butter mixture has a slight tang to it that pairs just perfectly with the crispy bacon and toasted bread.  It'd be a perfect addition to the spread at your next get-together for that little something unexpected.

We ate these as part of a late brunch (okay, they were pretty much the "whole meal" for my husband), but they're meant to be served as an appetizer.  Either way, I'm confident any bacon lover will be smiling after biting into this treat, no matter how you serve it. 

And now you know another reason why I'm always eating Green Smoothies during the week...  

Everything in moderation!

Peanut Butter and Bacon Canapes

  • 6 slices maple bacon, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 4 scallions (white parts only), minced
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 9 slices whole-grain bread, crusts removed
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet set over medium heat, fry the bacon pieces until almost crisp.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
  3. Mix together the peanut butter, scallions, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tablespoon of the mayonnaise, and brown sugar in a small bowl until well-combined.
  4. Use the remaining 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise and spread a light layer over the bread slices.  Then top with a layer of the peanut butter mixture, divided evenly amongst the 9 slices.  Cut the slices into quarters and arrange on a baking sheet.  Place the crisped bacon pieces on top of each canape and bake until the bacon is fully crisped, about 10 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature.
Notes:  The original recipe called for double the lemon juice and double the worcestershire sauce listed here, but I felt those flavors were a bit overpowering in the peanut butter mixture and therefore cut back.

*Slightly adapted from The Bacon Cookbook.
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