Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower is all the rage lately on Pinterest. I’ve looked on with skeptical curiosity but finally decided to take the plunge given our goal to keep eating healthy. I will say making this crust was a bit more work than I expected, but, it really, truly was delicious. My crust was a bit soft in the center so I think I could have cooked the crust a few more minutes or the tomato sauce was too much to handle (I’ll have to make a few more before I can submitt a perfect recipe to you all). But if you are gluten free and cutting back on carbs (or want to hide some veggies from your kids) this recipe is a great option. It can be fun to do as a family, too!

Cauliflower crusted pizza by jewtalian

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dried or Fresh Chopped Oregano
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional for some spice)
  • 1 TBSP flax seed meal (optional)
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • Few TBSPs of fresh grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

Instructions:

  • Put your pizza stone in the oven at 450 degrees.
  • Place your cauliflower in the blender and pulse until it looks like rice or some people say, snow.

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  • Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 4 minutes. It will come out piping hot. Dump the mixture on to a clean dish towel and when it’s cooled enough squeeze all the water out–this will take you several minutes. You will be shocked by the amount of water that comes out!
  • In a mixing bowl add the egg, cheeses, and seasonings. (I have used fresh parsley and the spicy oregano I grow in my garden) Incorporate the cauliflower and mix together–use your hands!

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  • Roll it into a ball and place on top of a piece of parchment paper.

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  • Using your hands press down on the “dough” flattening it out into the shape of a pizza. I used my fingers to create a crust around the edge.

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  • Place the crust on the parchment paper on the pizza stone and cook for 15 minutes 

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  • I topped mine with some leftover homemade sauce, caramelized onions, reduced fat mozzarella cheese, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and of course some spicy soppressata.
  • After your toppings are done, bake the pizza until the cheese is bubbly and browning. NOTE: let your pizza cool and set a few minutes before you cut into it or it will be messy and more difficult to pick up a slice and eat it. Buon Appetito!

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Here’s another version I did with zuchinni, tomatoes and shrimp. 

Portabella Pizza

Want to eat pizza without all the carbs? Instead of using dough, buy some large portabella mushroom caps. They can hold a lot of toppings, they cook well in the toaster oven (or on the grill) and they pair wonderfully with all the traditional pizza ingredients. Tonight’s mushroom pizza was one of my favorites so I thought I would share it. Plus, Kyle loved it, and when he loves something healthy I know I’ve done it right. You can make any kind of pizza toppings and cheeses you can imagine.  While I was making the topping for this pizza I also reserved half to put over whole wheat pasta for lunch the next day. So this recipe can make 4 portabellas or, 2 portabellas and a lunch portion of pasta.

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Ingredients:

-4 large portabella mushrooms

-2 spicy Italian chicken sausages from whole foods

-2 garlic cloves

-1 fresh tomato, diced

-About 1 cup of tomato sauce (you can just use a can of diced tomatoes instead of the combination of fresh and sauce but I didn’t have any)

-1/4 or so of red wine

-Fresh chopped basil

-Mozzarella

-Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Saute your red onions in olive oil in a hot pan until they start to caramelize. Cut your chicken sausage out of the casing and add to the pan. Let it brown on all sides. Using a potato masher will help grind the chicken up in to small pieces. Then add garlic. Let the mixture cook until the sausage is browned and mostly cooked.

Add the red wine and let reduce. Using your spoon, scrape the grits off the bottom of the plan. They have tons of flavor.

Get your toaster oven heating up to about 350 on bake.

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Add the fresh tomatoes, basil and tomato sauce. Let simmer for a few minutes. You want it to be a thicker sauce so it holds well in the mushroom. If it is too thin, add some tomato paste.  I used half of the mixture in the photo below to fill two large mushrooms, and saved the other half for pasta the next day. If you choose this option, add a bit more tomato sauce to the pan so the noodles have liquid to soak up. I recommend cooking the pasta now, adding it to the sauce and then putting it in the fridge for lunch the next day.

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Place your mushrooms on tinfoil and using a spoon scrape out the insides so they are easy to fill. Add the mixture.

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Top with your favorite cheeses! I sprinkled some parmesan, some shredded low fat mozz and I diced up some fresh mozz I had on hand. 20130805-201413.jpg

Cook in the oven until the cheese melts and turns golden brown. The mushrooms will release some liquid which is normal. Use a spatula to take the mushroom off the tinfoil and plate.

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Top with fresh basil and enjoy!!

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Get out your fork and knife and dig in! 🙂20130805-201554.jpg

Italian Antipasto Crostini

In search of a new fun appetizer, I spent some time on Pinterest and Food Gawker this week. I was going to a coworker’s house for a BBQ after a 9 hole golf tournament so I needed something I could make in advance and pack in a cooler. I came up with a combination of ingredients that go together seamlessly after seeing many different inspirational dishes online. The key here is your ingredients must be fresh!! You can opt for a store-bought pesto but I don’t think it’s quite the same.

This is a multi-step recipe and a little time consuming (but you can multi-task) so I recommend you make extra of these ingredients. Keep them in the fridge to integrate in other meals throughout the week–especially the caramelized onions and pesto!

Serve to your guests with toasted slices of bread and let them assemble their own crostini masterpiece!

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Ingredients:

  • Fresh Basil
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 log of goat cheese
  • 1 container of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 large sweet onions (more if you want extras)
  • 1/4 cup or so of pine nuts
  • Few tablespoons of parmesan cheese
  • Fresh arugula (1/2 cup)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 baguette cut into slices
  • Kosher sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
  • Balsamic glaze (highly recommend purchasing this even if it is pricey, it’s a great finishing sauce for many dishes)

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Roasted Tomatoes and Peppers

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and cut your peppers into small strips. Place on a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil (less cleanup) and add olive oil until the vegetables glisten. Add salt & pepper and mix well. Place in the oven for 2 hours. (If you don’t have as much time you can turn your oven to a higher degree like 350 for an hour.) Taste your pepper to make sure it’s soft and sweet. If you bite into a pepper and there is a crunch, they are not ready.

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Caramelized Onions:

Caramelized onions can be made at any time and kept in the fridge for sweet and savory additions to meals throughout the week. Cut your onions into thin strips (for guidance click here). Place in a hot pan with olive oil and season with salt. Cook on medium to high so they brown (be careful not to burn!). You can’t over cook them on low heat-they only get sweeter. About 20-30 minutes is a good time frame for a delicious final product.

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Pesto:

Fill the food processor to the top with fresh basil and then add oil, salt, pepper, pine nuts and a bit of arugula (optional). Turn it on for a few seconds to get most of the mixture combined. Then add cheese and combine again.

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Plating:

Make sure all your ingredients are cooled. Add the roasted tomatoes and peppers to the outside of your dish. If you place a bowl in the center it will help guide you. Then add onions still leaving a place in the middle for your pesto. After you spoon in your pesto mixture (don’t be shy to pile it in there – people looove pesto) then top with your log of goat cheese. I recommend cutting your goat cheese into pieces to make it easier. Serve with toasted bread.

Give your guests a spoon and let them make their own crostini!

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French Onion Soup with Truffle-Salted Croutons and Gruyere CheeseS

French onion soup is one of the only soups Kyle will enjoy so it’s a natural go to on a fall or winter day. There are many ways to make this soup and I tried to lighten it up by using half the amount of butter normally used. Substituting with a tablespoon of olive oil is a good way to cut down on some of the fat. It’s obviously not an overall light dish but this recipe won’t make you feel like you ate a pound of butter and cheese when you are done.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 sweet onions and 2 yellow onions (or a mixture of your favorites), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 tbsp or so of olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Beef stock and chicken stock: 1.5-2 quarts in total (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock but I lighten it up by using half and half)
  • Red wine (roughly a cup or so)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Fresh chopped thyme
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Sliced and toasted French bread
  • Grated Gruyère cheese, enough to cover the top of your bowl
  • Few sprinkles truffle salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1 In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add olive oil on medium to high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, bay leaf and fresh thyme. Sauté the onions until they caramelize, about 30 minutes. Stir the onions occasionally.

2 Add 3/4 cup of red wine and bring to a boil. Then lower heat and let the wine reduce to at least half. You want most of the liquid to be gone. Discard the bay leaf.

3 Add the flour and cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Make sure not to burn the flour but you want to cook off the flavor.

4 Add the remaining wine, beef and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce and let simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5 Set your oven to broil. Ladle the soup into bowls. Cover with the toast you previously sprinkled with truffle salt. Top with the cheese. Put under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. For a fresh garnish add chopped chives or parsley. Serve immediately.

Caramelized Onion Tomato Sauce

My friend Sarah participated in a CSA this year that gives her locally grown produce every week. She gave me a bag of tomatoes she couldn’t get through that were absolutely delicious. It’s rare to get a really good tomato anymore so when I do, I will usually just sprinkle salt on it and eat it like an apple! But since I had this big bag of beautiful tomatoes and not much in the fridge, I decided to make a quick sauce for lunch this weekend. It’s fresh from the garden- a little bit sweet and creamy balanced by a dash of spice!

I will apologize in advance for the photo quality as my iPhone camera has taken a turn for the worse. Hopefully this will be remedied soon!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Whole Wheat Penne
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2-3 cloves, garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp (or so) vodka (could substitute with white wine or red if you take out the balsamic)
  • dash of cream or half and half
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Slice your onions very thin and put them in a pan with oil. Cook on medium to high for 30 or so minutes. The longer they cook, the sweeter they will get!

  • Put a pot of boiling water on for the pasta. When it comes to a boil add the penne and cook until al dente. It should take about the same amount of time to finish the sauce.
  • Add your diced tomatoes to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Grate one carrot into the pan. It will take away the bitterness of the tomatoes and add hearty flavor. (I often throw a whole carrot in my pot of sauce while its cooking and remove it before serving.) Then add the chopped garlic.

  • Pour in vodka and raise the heat, let it come to a boil and then lower to simmer and reduce. Add balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. Let cook for a few minutes.

  • Add a spoonful or two of water from the pasta if you need some more liquid in the pan. Put the sauce on low.
  • Pour in a touch of cream and stir.
  • Add in the pasta to the pot of sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil.
  • Eat and enjoy!

Stuffed Pork Chops

Last night was one of those times where the fridge was pretty bare.  I knew I had boneless pork chops and bok choy I bought a few days ago but not too much else to work with.  I’m not a huge fan of pork chops because to me they don’t really have much flavor, but when you get tired of chicken, they can be a great alternative.  I usually like to stuff them with gorgonzola, caramelized onions and spinach for a real punch of flavor.  But, of course the only ingredient I had of the three was an onion.

I stared in the fridge a few minutes annoyed I didn’t have any cheese until I noticed the left over ricotta from the eggplant rollitini.  I didn’t know where I was going with this but I figured it would be a tasty cheese to stuff the pork with the caramelized onions.  Boy was I right.  This photo might not make the dish look as delicious as it tasted (my photographer wasn’t with me today), but this was the best pork chop I’ve ever made!! Kyle agreed.  I find it so pleasing when you think you have nothing to make and then the outcome is better than you could have expected!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Boneless pork chops
  • Onion
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Ricotta cheese (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Whole wheat panko bread crumbs (a handful or so)
  • Italian bread crumbs (a tablespoon)
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Cut an onion into thin slices and place in a medium hot pan with olive oil.  Let them brown, lower the heat and then cook for at least 15-20 minutes.  The longer you cook them, the sweeter they will be!  Toss in a dash of kosher salt and pepper.  Meanwhile in a small non stick pan toss in the pine nuts and let them brown.  Be careful not to burn them!

In a small mixing bowl add the ricotta, bread crumbs, chopped toasted pine nuts, salt & pepper.  Mix together well.  When the onions are done toss it all together.  I recommend leaving some of the mixture out so you can top the pork chop later! It’s amazing how much flavor those onions bring to the dish!

Using a sharp knife, cut an insert in the middle of the pork chop creating a nice sized hole you can stuff.  Spoon in the mixture and pack as much as you can.  If necessary, use a toothpick to hold it all together.  Salt & pepper each side of the pork.

Using your misto, spray some more olive oil in a saute pan (you used for the onions) and put the pork in.  Brown both sides of the meat.  Then add chicken broth to the mixing bowl with any leftover cheese mixture and pour that into the pan. Place a lid on the pan to help speed up cooking and keep the pork tender. You will soon create a creamy (yet healthy) delicious sauce to accompany your pork.

Serve with a side of rice and a vegetable for a healthy, tasty and easy meal!

 

(The bok choy seen above is delicious sauteed with some garlic, s & p and a splash of chicken broth. I also cook my rice in water but add a chicken bullion cube for added flavor and no added fat or calories.  Try it!)