Sausage and Pepperoni Calzones

Have you ever had a calzone? They’re delicious! Think pizza folded in half. Only instead of your typical pizza toppings, calzones doesn’t have a sauce, and are filled with a cheesy, pizza topping mixture. The crust gets nice and crusty on the outside, and the cheese turns delightfully molten on the inside (don’t burn yourself!). Dip it in a marinara sauce, and you might even consider swearing off “normal” pizza for good.

First, make up your dough and let it rise.

While it’s rising, make your filling. Brown the sausage, dice the pepperoni, shred the cheese, mix it all together.

After the dough is done, punch it down and divide it into two. On a floured surface, roll out each half. Cover one half of the dough with half of the filling, leaving a border around the edge.

Fold the other side over the top, and brush with egg wash (a beaten egg+a Tbs. water).

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with a hearty side of marinara sauce.

This recipe is a winner and is a fun twist on traditional pizza. Give it a try!

Ricotta and Mozzarella Calzones

Ricotta and Mozzarella Calzones

Ingredients

    For the dough:
  • 2 1/4 tsp. yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (105-110 degrees F)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups flour, divided
    For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, diced
  • 1/2 lb. ground sausage, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced (about 6 small)
  • 1/2 onion, diced finely
  • 1 Tbs. dried basil
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 egg, beaten and mixed with 1 Tbs. water

Instructions

    To make the dough:
  1. Mix yeast and sugar in water. Note: Make sure your water is the right temperature! Allow mixture to sit and proof for 5 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, mix water and yeast with olive oil, 1 cup of flour, and salt. Once smooth, add 1 1/2 cups of flour, reserving the remaining 1/2 cup for kneading. Dump the dough onto the counter, and start kneading. Add flour as needed. The goal is an elastic dough that isn't sticky. Kneading should take about 5 minutes.
  3. Put the dough into a clean bowl with 1 tsp. olive oil. Turn dough to coat. Cover the bowl with saran wrap, and allow to rise for an hour.
    To make the calzones:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. While the dough is rising, cook and drain the 1/2 lb. of sausage. Add it to a bowl, and mix in the cheeses, pepperoni, mushrooms, onion, basil, oregano, and garlic powder.
  3. When the dough is doubled in size, or nearly so, punch it down and divide in half.
  4. Roll out one half into a circle, and put half of the cheese mixture on half of the dough. Fold and press to seal. Repeat with the second half of the dough and the second half of cheese mixture.
  5. Beat one egg with 1 Tbs. of water. Use a basting brush to coat the tops in egg wash.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the top is golden brown and the crust is cooked through. Serve with marinara sauce on the side for dipping.
http://www.balanceandblueberries.com/2015/06/29/sausage-and-pepperoni-calzones/

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

Happy calzone making!

If you’re interested…homemade pizza and our trip to Florence.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Not to be dramatic, but….this recipe will rock your world. The pork is tender and juicy, and the barbecue sauce has just the right amount of tang. Combine their powers and you won’t know what happened to your taste buds. Try this pork once, and you will never again frequent your local barbeque joint. Think I’m kidding? Give it a try.

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This is a great dish to make on a weekend. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the scent emanating from your kitchen as the pork cooks. Alternatively, it’s a crock pot meal, so assuming you make the BBQ sauce ahead, this is totally a weekday dinner option.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Adapted from Food Network

Serves: 6

You’ll need:

  • 3 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3-4 lb. boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup vinegar (any kind will work)
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 Ciabatta buns, toasted
  • Barbecue sauce (see below)

1. Combine brown sugar, paprika, ground mustard, cumin, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

2. Rub the pork with the sugar and spices mixture.

3. In a heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the pork on each side for 2 or 3 minutes to sear in the spices.

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4. Combine the vinegar, 2 Tbs. brown sugar, tomato paste, and water in your slow cooker. Add the pork, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.

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5. While the pork is doing its thing, make your barbecue sauce.

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Based on Chow

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 brown sugar, packed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbs. vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

1. Add all ingredients to a pot, and cook over medium heat, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, or so, until desired consistency is reached.

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3. Remove from heat and cool. Once cooled, sauce can be refrigerated and stored until you need it.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, cont.

6. Once the pork is done, remove to a cutting board. Pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a pot. Rough chop the pork, and return it to the slow cooker (either off or on a warm setting) to keep warm.

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7. Bring the liquid to a boil, and allow it to reduce for roughly 10 minutes. Once reduced by about half, add 1 cup to the pulled pork. Stir.

8. Toast your ciabatta buns, and serve.

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Enjoy!

If you’re interested…another slow cooker recipe and a delicious cheesecake.

Swiss Steak

It was Bob’s birthday yesterday. (Happy birthday, love!) For dinner, he requested Swiss Steak. Never one to deny someone their birthday request, I called his mom to get the recipe. Before I met Bob, I had no idea what Swiss Steak was. None whatsoever. Turns out, it isn’t too difficult and is quite tasty. In short: take a roast, cut it into slices, tenderize it, cook it in a gravy, and slide it into the oven. The cooking takes awhile, but your hands-on time requirement isn’t bad. Give it a try!

20150406_200804Swiss Steak

Serves 4

You’ll need:

  • 2 lbs bottom round roast, fat trimmed off
  • Flour, for dredging
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 2- 6 oz. cans Dawn Fresh Mushroom Steak Sauce (I found it at my local grocery, kind of by the gravy)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Slice your meat into 1/2 inch slabs, cutting with the grain. Dredge in flour, then pound with a meat tenderizer until 1/4 inch thick (or so). Dredge in flour again, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set aside.

20150406_1712263. In a frying pan, add 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Fry 4-5 pieces at a time, about 2 minutes on each side. After it’s browned, transfer to a 9×13 baking dish–glass or ceramic will work best. Repeat until all of the meat has been browned. If you have to double layer in your dish, go for it.

20150406_1722414. In the same frying pan, add diced onion, and saute until translucent. Add garlic and Worcestershire sauce. After a minute or two, add the mushroom steak sauce, cream of mushroom soup, and water. Stir until combined.

5. Pour sauce over meat and turn each piece so it is fully coated in sauce.

6. Cover baking dish with tinfoil. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 275 degrees, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer. It’s done when the meat is tender.

7. Serve with a side of mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice.

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Enjoy!

Sausage, Spinach, and Quinoa Skillet

This is fall in a skillet. I’ve made it three times in as many weeks, and will probably make it again soon–it’s that good! Sausage, spinach, cranberries, quinoa, all cooked in chicken broth and apple cider. Yes, apple cider. Intrigued?

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Sausage, Spinach, and Quinoa Skillet

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

You’ll need:

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 12-16 oz sausage–whatever type your prefer
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cups spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/3 dried cranberries

How to:

1. Slice your sausage and dice your onion. Put olive oil in a large skillet or pot which has a well-fitting lid. Heat over medium high.

2. Add sausage and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach. It will look like a lot at first, but then wilts after a couple minutes. Add salt and pepper.

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3. Once the spinach is fully wilted, add the cider and chicken broth, and increase the heat until it boils. Add quinoa, turn heat back to medium, and put the lid on it. Leave the lid on, and let it simmer for 25 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

4. Remove from heat, add cranberries, put the lid back on, and allow it to stand for 5 minutes.

5. Serve!

What’s for dinner? Winter Edition.

A few weeks ago, I shared some basics of meal planning. I’m a firm believer, simply because it saves me time and money, and we (almost always) have something delicious and wholesome on the table for dinner.

20140114_084943All my theories and tips are all fine and well and good, but how do they play out in real life? Both the husband and I work full time. We often don’t get home until 6:30 pm, so don’t have infinite amounts of time to make dinner. Here’s what we’ve been eating recently to work around our time constraints:

Tacos or Fajitas. They’re so easy, and can be prepped ahead of time if you’re on top of your game. Bonus points for making your own taco seasoning or fajita marinade–it’s not hard!

Italian Wedding Soup. Make your meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. If you do, this is a very simple weeknight meal.

Jambalaya. One of our favorites, because it’s so versatile. I often leave out the shrimp to keep the cost factor manageable.

White Chicken Chili. Just had this one last night. So delicious. To make it even easier, dump everything in the crock pot before you leave for work, put it on low for up to 10 hours, and dinner is served right when you walk in the door. If you do it this way, you don’t have to cook your chicken first–just add two raw chicken breasts, and it will be juicy and cooked to perfection by dinner time. Shred and serve.

IMG_5723Meatloaf. Another great one, though it requires you to be home an hour before you eat. In order to cut down on prep time, I make this recipe the night before, and cover with saran wrap in the fridge. Then all I have to do is slide it in the oven.

Chicken Fingers. 30 minutes start to finish, and you’re done. Serve with a veggie side and some ketchup for dipping.

IMG_5915Pea Soup. Maybe not one for the masses, but we like it. Another recipe that’s easily made ahead or quickly made on a weeknight.

Loaded Nachos. This has become something of a Sunday night tradition. And I like it.

IMG_6116Chili. Ever faithful, traditional, meat and beans chili. Comfort food at it’s finest right here.

IMG_4537Barbeque Chicken. Take the desired amount of chicken breasts or thighs. Put in baking dish. Slather with BBQ sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Lemon Pepper Salmon. Thaw desired amount of salmon. Sprinkle both sides with lemon pepper. Saute in 1 Tbs. olive oil for 4 minutes (or so) a side. It’s done when it flakes.

Whole Roasted Chicken. Nothing like it. Like the meatloaf, this one is very little hands on time, but does require you to put it in the oven 1.5 hours before dinner.

IMG_2021It takes some planning, but eating well on a weeknight is doable, no matter your schedule!

What have you been eating recently? Have any quick, weeknight meals I should add to my list?

Mix it up

Please make this avocado pasta. It’s quick. It’s relatively healthy, depending on the pasta you use. It’s tasty. And it really is done in 15 minutes. No complaints here.

I decided to change up my lunch routine today. Usually, I make a salad or have a bowl of leftover soup. But today, I wasn’t feeling it. Dinner is going to be late. I needed something that was going to stick to my ribs. So I made pasta. With avocado. And it was brilliant. And will most assuredly stick to those ribs well into the evening.

I followed Angela’s recipe, and it led to this wonderful dish. Creamy. Delicious. To make the avocado goop, I didn’t use a food processor as she recommends, and I mashed it with a fork. It worked!

The only downside? No leftovers. Avocado doesn’t really do well if you want to save it. The upside: if you have leftover avocado goop, use chips and eat it like guacamole.

Happy Wednesday, friend!