Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thai Chicken Pizza

When I was younger, my family would go to my grandparents' house for lunch every Sunday. Recently I have recreated a version of this family tradition. The difference is that I go to my nephew and niece's house and make lunch for them most Sundays.

When it comes to deciding what to make, I have several factors to consider. My niece, Siena, likes to know what I'm making, but has no intentions of eating it. My nephew, Luke, really is a very good eater for a 9 year old, though I do occasionally have to make something different for him to eat. Mark is a good man... you give him food, he eats it, he's happy. Kris eats very healthy and she doesn't like cheese. This is probably why, at 7 1/2 months pregnant, she looks like she has put a beach ball under her shirt. Really, she's a ridiculously beautiful pregnant woman. But you can't hate her for it, because she is just entirely too sweet and lovable. She was my inspiration for the development of this recipe.

Thai Chicken Pizza
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Chicken, cooked and cubed
Shredded carrots
Green onions, chopped

Measurements are not important for this dish. Use as much or as little as you would like.
Roll out the pizza dough and bake until browned and crisp. Let cool slightly. Spread with a thin layer of peanut sauce. Add cucumbers, chicken, carrots and green onions.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


The thoughts of some warm, cheesy classic lasagna have been roaming about in my head for the last 3 weeks. Finally, I broke down and made some on Friday.

I went all out, made the sauce and everything. And it was so worth the time and effort. You know you've done well when the sight of a dish makes your man stammer and rush to get off the phone with his friend...

Marinara Sauce
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. grated carrot
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can tomato puree
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried parsley
1 t. marjoram
1 t. dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf

Sautee onions and carrots until soft and transulcent. Add garlic, tomato puree, diced tomatoes and herbs. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Smoked Salmon Pizza

Awww, leftovers! What a beautiful thing. After the jewelry party, I used some leftovers to make a pizza. The most important component of this pizza, I feel, is the olive dip.

Let me just take a moment to honor the olive dip... It is a glorious combination of fat and salt. So yummy, it could make cardboard taste good. Most times I make this dip, I use that 1/3 less fat version of cream cheese, because in my mind it allows me to somehow rationalize eating the dip with a spoon.

Olive Dip
8oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
8oz. sour cream
15-20 kalamata olives
15-20 green onions with pimentos
2 T. capers
2 scallions, finely chopped

Chop olives and capers. Mix all ingredients well.

For the pizza dough, I used my breadmaker. It's just so much easier.

Pizza Dough
1 1/2 c. water
2 c. white bread flour
2 c. wheat flour
2 T. sugar
2 t. salt
3 t. active dry yeast

Jewelry Party

My best friend, Kelly makes jewelry, and I cook (aren't we talented girls...). So, our friendship is filled with great earrings, tasty food and lots of wine. Doesn't that sound like a party waiting to happen?! And that's exactly what we did, threw a Jewelry Party.

I love making appetizers for parties. Since people were looking at jewelry at this party, I wanted to make cutesy finger foods that could easily be eaten. I made dates, stuffed with Gruyere cheese wrapped in prosciutto; cucumber cups with diced tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onions, feta cheese and drizzled with balsamic vinegar; smoked salmon canapes with creamy pesto and topped with capers; and grape tomatoes stuffed with olive dip.

Earrings were purchased, food was eaten and lots of wine was consumed. I would say that was a very successful party.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

My boyfriend, Stephen, is the person who benefits from my love of cooking the most. He generally is not a picky eater... though he is an anti-vegetable, meat-and-potato guy. The greener the vegetable, the less likely he is to eat it. So, I was quite pleased with myself that he ate and actually liked this pasta salad mixed with lots of those dreaded veggies.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
1/2 lb. Farfalle pasta
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1 cucumber
1/2 c. kalamata olives
1 c. feta cheese

1/2 c. Italian parsley

Cook and drain pasta. Chop tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and olives. Stir pasta with vegetables, vinegar and oil. Top with feta cheese and chopped parsley.

*As a cook, I typically do not measure my ingredients. So, please fill free to increase or reduce the amounts to your liking.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eggplant Rolls

Spend a week eating like my mama and trying to keep up with her, and you will easily lose 5 pounds. She is quite possibly the only person I know who CRAVES vegetables. But this would most likely explain why she is so fit and beautiful. So, when she is in town by herself, I try to mix the foods I love... um, cheese... with the vegetables that she loves.

I rolled up slices of grilled eggplant with a piece of proscuitto and a combination of goat cheese and cream cheese. With the eggplant rolls, I served a spinach salad with red onion slices and strawberries. I topped both with a balsamic drizzle. And as my mama says, "It makes your mouth happy."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Recipe Contest

By profession I am a teacher for Dallas Independent School District. The district has an annual healthy recipe contest. In January I had seen this upcoming recipe contest and thought nothing of it. Well, my friend, Corley was not having that. She demanded that I enter the contest. Reluctantly, I submitted an original recipe, Crunchy Asian Chicken Slaw, on the last day they were accepting entries. Long story short, after lots of nerves and anxiety, I won 1st place! I received some amazing prizes, including a food processor, a Crock Pot, a Food Network cookbook, 10pc. cookware set and a Walmart giftcard. What a wonderful experience that I don't ever want to experience again. I have decided that my nerves are just not made for the food competition circuit.
Crunchy Asian Chicken Slaw
2 lbs. Tyson chicken breast, cut into strips
½ c. soy sauce
1 t. fresh lime zest
1 T. fresh lime juice
½ t. grated fresh ginger
1 c. Kellogg’s All-Bran Wheat Flakes cereal, crushed
¼ c. sliced almonds, chopped

2 T. smooth peanut butter
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 t. soy sauce
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
2 c. bean sprouts
2 c. matchstick carrots
4 scallions, sliced on an angle
6 romaine lettuce leaves, cut into thin strips
½ c. dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix together the soy sauce, lime zest, lime juice and ginger. Marinate chicken strips in soy sauce mixture for 5 minutes. Mix cereal and almonds together and spread out on a plate. Coat each chicken strip with cereal mixture and place on greased baking sheet. Bake chicken for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through.

Whisk together peanut butter, lime juice and soy sauce. Slowly add oil, while continuing to whisk dressing. Mix together bean sprouts, carrots, scallions and romaine lettuce. Toss slaw with dressing. Top slaw with peanuts and chicken strips.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

When I think of Valentine's Day, chocolate covered strawberries very quickly come to mind. A close friend ordered 2 dozen strawberries from me. Such a simple treat, yet so beautiful.