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Monday, January 23, 2012

Home-Made Pizza Rolls

I couldn't take my own picture because by the time I went to
get a spoon for the dipping sauce, all of the rolls were gone!
This is probably the easiest, most well-received appetizer I've ever made. It took about 5 minutes to put together and only 6 items. Being a die-hard Giants fan, I knew I would have to find a recipe that was easy to make because there was no way I was going to miss a second of the Giants/49ers playoff game.

I found this recipe on one of my stumbles. I've gone to TidyMom a few times before to find easy appetizers, cocktail party recipes and highly recommend you check her blog out.

So here comes the extremely complicated ingredients and cooking directions.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes

Home-Made Pizza Rolls
Makes about 16-18 rolls

2 cans refrigerated pizza crusts
Garlic salt
Italian seasoning
1 cup sliced pepperoni
1 bag of shredded cheese (I like the 4 cheese variety)
Sweet tomato basil pasta sauce for dipping

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Dust a large cutting board or piece of wax paper with flour and roll out each pizza crust.
  3. Season each crust with garlic salt and Italian seasoning.
  4. Top with cheese and meat
  5. Starting with a short end, roll crust into a tight log
  6. Slice into 1 inch sections
  7. Place on lightly greased pan and bake for 10-12 mins.
  8. Serve with warmed pasta sauce
Since some members of my football party were vegetarians I made this recipe with cheese only and added some extra seasoning for taste. This recipe will be good with any of your favorite toppings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage

I have never worked with chicken sausage, let alone even seen it before so I was a bit nervous trying out this recipe on my family. My mom and sister (who aren't big fans of sausage in general) weren't thrilled with the chicken sausage and would have preferred the regular Italian variety. But my boyfriend couldn't get enough of it... so I figured it was blogworthy.

This recipe is super easy and can be made on a busy weeknight or even made ahead of time and frozen. I like to make my own pesto especially now that I have my awesome food processor. It takes about 5 minutes and really makes the meal. But if you don't make pesto or own a food processor, I recommend buying it from Wegman's. I think they make it the best.

The one thing I like about this recipe is its versatility. The original recipe I based this off of called for orecchiette pasta, but I couldn't find that so I used fusilli. My family didn't like the chicken sausage so next time I will either used grilled chicken or Italian sausage. It is completely customizable based on your family's taste, and will still be relatively healthy regardless of what kind of protein you put in there.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage
Serves 4

12 ounces whole wheat fusilli
1/2 pound fresh green beans
1 cup frozen peas
8 ounces fully cooked Italian style Chicken Sausage links, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of pesto (fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice, parmesan)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the green beans and peas during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and vegetables and return them to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add the sausage, pesto, Parmesan, and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and vegetables and toss to combine (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry).
That's all it takes! In 3 easy steps, you will have a delicious, healthy and filling meal for a busy weeknight.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year, New Recipes!

One of my resolutions for 2012 is to eat healthier and force those around me to do the same. I've been doing a lot of reading lately about the effects of preservatives and pesticides found in food, and it is some scary stuff. So I vow to not take the easy way out by buying frozen foods that I could make fresh and freeze myself. It also helps that my mom bought me a Cuisinart food processor for Christmas, and I am obsessed with it!

That being said, I started off the New Year with a delicious surf & turf dinner at my boyfriend's. We chose to do snow crab legs instead of lobster because the majority of the group prefers crab over lobster (and I don't think I will ever be able to stick a lobster in a boiling pot of water). This next statement may be a bold one, but I completely stick by it. The filet mignon was the best  I have EVER had!! I attribute this partly to my marinade (recipe to follow) and to the fact that I bought it at the butcher as opposed to a package at the grocery store. The inch and a half filets melted in your mouth. You could pick apart bite size pieces without even having to use a knife; it was that tender. Dinner was followed by individual chocolate cheesecakes with chocolate ganache frosting and bite size pieces of pancetta -- it was the perfect mix of sweet and savory. Remind me to ask Candice for the recipe.

Then last night I tried out my new food processor. After days of trying to figure out how to attach the slicing blade, I decided to slice up some russet potatoes and roast them. Using the slicing blade, I inserted potatoe halves into the pusher and it perfectly sliced the potatoes to a size that is about 2 potato chips thick. I am so excited to try out more recipes with my food processor. It cuts the prep time in half and has so many different uses.

Next on my list is homemade pesto, pizza dough, soup, minced garlic and lots more vegetables!

Here are the recipes for my beef marinade and roasted potatoes.

Teriyaki Beef Marinade
Serves 5 filet mignons

2 cups Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce (soy sauce, sesame seeds, minced garlic, minced ginger)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp all-natural honey
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl
  2. Whisk heavily for 2 minutes
  3. Put beef in a gallon size Ziploc bag
  4. Pour marinade over
  5. Let sit in refrigerator for 4 hours
  6. Grill filet mignons 3-4 minutes each side
Roasted Garlic Rosemary Potatoes

5 russet potatoes (do not skin)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp minced onion
Grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
Sprigs of rosemary
  1. Cut potatoes in half, slice in food processor
  2. Mix all ingredients in bowl
  3. Place on a foiled cookie sheet in one layer
  4. Top with more parmesan cheese
  5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown