Thursday, January 31, 2013

Football Calzones

Every year the boyfriend's parents throw a huuuuuuuuge Superbowl party.  So I decided to contribute some food this year instead of just showing up for the festivities! :)  I have been searching high and low for 2 months for just the right thing to bring.  I spend endless hours on pinterest, I did google searches, I looked at TON of blogs, and I just couldn't pick one!  (I picked 3 or 4 or 5.... you get the point)  So finally I stumble on some random post for food ideas on a party website and I'm browsing through the 15 or so ideas when I see..... football shaped calzones...!!!!! WHAT?!?! Mind blown.  Because who doesn't like bite size anything regarding pizza???  So I ventured forth to make a test run.  (The site didn't have any recipes, just the ideas themselves.  Even better!  I love to play with recipes!)

Now when it comes to pizza in my house, we love just about anything if it involves meat, cheese, and some yummy dough.  I've spent a ton of time researching doughs for various breads (because who doesn't like homemade bread??) and I now have two pizza dough recipes that I go for.  One is specifically made for a fast throw together pizza.  The dough doesn't need to rise.  The other, (my favorite of all time) is one that can be made with a mixer, a breadmaker, your hands, or whatever else you might want to try!  This is the dough used here in this recipe.

 I made cheesy bread with my leftover dough :)

Next I had to decide fillings!  You can't just have plain ol' pepperoni... That's just boring.  So after much thought and deliberation, I landed on pepperoni and buffalo chicken (since it IS the superbowl).  Time to get cookin!

Football Calzones

*Makes 18-24 depending on how thin you roll and what cutter you use

1 batch Soft, Chewy Pizza Dough

Pepperoni Filling:
1 Jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I as always use Classico and the Italian Sausage one is great to add to the pepperoni) **You'll use 1/4 C. for the filling and some more for dipping**
12-14 pepperoni sliced (cubed small!)
1/4 C. Mozzerella

Buffalo Chicken Filling:
1/3 C. Shredded Chicken (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder)
3 Tbsp. Onion (minced)
1/4 C. Cheddar or bleu cheese
2-3 Tbsp. Favorite hot sauce (I get mine from a local pizza place but most people love Frank's Red Hot)

Egg Wash (1 Egg and 1 tsp. Water)

1.  Start out by making the dough.
2. Boil your chicken breast for 45 mins to shred for the filling.
3. Once the dough is done, put out on a floured surface and kneed for 3-4 mins.  Then put in a bowl and cover it for about 15-20 more mins.
4. Mix together the fillings.
5. Pull out the dough again and split into three balls.  Roll them out one at a time on a floured surface and make them as close to 1/8th of an inch as you can.  Use your chosen cookie cutter and start cutting.  Making sure you cut an even number for top and bottom.
6. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and put the bottoms on it.  Start adding the filling.  Try to stuff as full as possible by stacking it tall, not wide so you can still seal the edges.  Continue until you fill 2 sheets or until you run out of dough.
7. Once your 2 sheets are filled, take the tops and start pressing them around the edges.  You can use a fork to push the edges together for a nicer look.  *I tried to cut laces in the footballs but I didn't roll the dough thin enough so they just puffed up back together*
8. Set your oven to 400 degrees.  Just let the calzones sit uncovered during that time.
9. Mix up your egg wash.  When the oven is heated, generously slather the calzones with the egg wash and put them in the oven for 20 mins or until they're golden brown.
10. Serve with ranch, marinara, bleu cheese, more buffalo sauce, or whatever else your heart desires!

Full size calzones made with the extra fillings (I forgot the egg wash)

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Dark chocolate is really good for you in small doses!  I decided to make it worth my while with truffles! :)

*Makes 15-20 balls

1 C. Chocolate Chips (dark, regular, white) MAKE SURE IT'S ROOM TEMPERATURE
1/2 C. Heavy Cream
2 C. Chips (whichever you'd like to coat it in, I don't recommend white....)
You can also cover them in chopped nuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or crushed candy canes :)

1. Boil heavy cream on the stove, and add to a bowl with the cup of chips.  Let it sit for 2-3 mins.
2. Mix until it's smooth and creamy.  Put in the fridge uncovered for an hour.
3. Pull out the granache and spoon it into little piles. (about a small spoonful for each)
4. Roll each pile into a ball.  (it gets messy!!!)
5. Put back in the fridge for about 15 mins to harden them up again.
6. Start melting your coating chocolate on the stove with a double boiler or in the microwave.
7. Using two forks, drop a ball in the chocolate, coat it and put on wax paper on a cookie sheet.
8. When you're all done, put in the fridge (or freezer if you have room) to cool.  5-15 mins depending on which.
9. Put in a freezer bag or container and keep in the freezer!

Chinese in a Nut Shell

We LOVE Chinese food in our house and let me tell you, the delivery price just isn't worth it sometimes!!!  I've been dabbling in Kung Pao (chicken and beef) and it's been a great hit either way!  And when it comes to veggies, Who says it has to be textbook kung pao?!

Kung Pao/Stirfry (chicken or beef)

*Makes 6 servings

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or 1 Medium Steak (sliced thin)
1/2 Onion (chopped large)
2 Bell Peppers (chopped large)  Red, yellow or orange
1 Jalapeno (chopped)
1 Large Zucchini (sliced and halved)
2 handfuls of Snow Peas (maybe a cup and a half?)
1 C. Broccoli (chopped)
1 C. Cabbage (chopped sort of big)
2-4 Celery Stalks (chopped)
2 Bunches of Green Onions
1/3 C. Peanuts
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder (generous on the meat!)
Olive Oil (2-4 Tbsp depending on the frying)
1 1/2 C. Brown Rice
3 C. Water 

1 Packet of Kung Pao (chicken or beef) Seasoning Packet- Prepared
or 1/3 C. Szechuan Sauce or any other House of Tsang sauce (I'm a big fan)

 1. Put the water and rice in a pot and boil. Lower to simmer, cover and keep an eye on it.  Add 2 Tbsp. Oil to the pan on med-high heat.  When it's hot enough, add the meat and cook thoroughly.  Put in a bowl and set aside.
2. Drizzle a bit of oil and fry the peanuts by themselves.  This should take about 90 seconds.  Add them to the meat in the bowl.
3. Add more oil to the pan and throw in the veggies.  My method takes about 10-12 mins rather than 2-3 just to make sure the veggies are cooked enough.  Make sure to toss/mix often.

4. Mix the sauce.
5. Add the meat/peanuts/sauce and cook for another 5 mins until the sauce thickens a bit.
6. Serve up!

Lasagna Rolls

I've never made a lasagna before because I remember it taking foreeeeeeeeeeeever as a kid.  It doesn't really take much at all apparently! :)  I decided to make individual serving sized ones instead of a whole casserole.

Lasagna Rolls
*3-4 servings

Allergen Tips:
Rice flour noodles are a great g-free option for any pasta dish!

1 Bottle Favorite Marinara Sauce (I only buy Classico)
3/4 lb. Ground Hamburger
1/2 Container of Ricotta
1/4 C. Parmesan
1/3 C. Mozzerella
6 Lasagna Noodles
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Italian Seasonings

1. Brown the ground beef.  Season with all the above seasonings.
2. Cook noodles until they're done with salt in the water. \
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. Mix the ricotta, and the other cheeses together.
5. Drain the noodles and lay out on the counter or a cutting board.
6. Spread the cheese along each noodle.
7. Add spoonfuls of the sauce to the noodles.
 8. Roll up.
9. Spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom of a 6x9 pan.  Add the noodles.  Top with the rest of the sauce and then add more cheese to the top.
10. Tent tin foil on top and cook for 35 mins. (don't want the cheese to stick to that foil!!!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Protein Cookies!

I've been looking for something quick to grab and eat because I don't want to put any thought into my snacks during the day.  This treat is amaaaaaazing and chock full of protein so they're great for after a workout.  I played with a recipe off pinterest and made it my own!  :) They're not for those who don't like bananas though!  Fair warning!!! Another note would be that these don't have ANY flour or sugar!!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Protein Cookies! (Wow mouthful)

*Makes 20 cookies (depending on the size)

2 Ripe Bananas (mashed)
2/3 C. Peanut Butter
1/3 C. Apple Sauce
1 Scoop Protein Powder (vanilla or chocolate work great)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 C. Oats (quick or old fashioned and uncooked)
1/4 C. Favorite Nuts (chopped)
1/4 C. Dark Chocolate Chips
3 Tbsp. Chia Seeds

1. Mash the banana and mix in the peanut butter.  Fun fact, it's super easy with a pastry cutter!!!
2. Add the apple sauce, protein powder and vanilla extract and mix well again.
3. Add oatmeal, nuts, and chocolate chips.
4. Let this sit for 10 mins.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Add the chia seeds right before you pop them in the oven.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and put spoonfuls of mixture and mash down into cookie shapes.  I dumped spoonfuls into a cookie cutter for fun shapes!  Hearts and stars.
6. Cook for 25-30 mins.
7. Pull them out and cool on sheet for 5 mins and then move to a cooling rack.

These last about a week but they freeze!  So keep a few out and freeze the rest!  Just pull em out early in the morning if you think you'll need a protein boost after a workout!

Fancy Roasted Broccoli

Finding veggies that the boyfriend will eat can be a challenge sometimes.  He hates squash, and cucumbers, and cauliflower, and some others.  Broccoli is one of his favorites!  *happy dance*  I get tired of steaming broccoli all the time so we have to come up with different ideas. (me rather... he doesn't do anything)  After my numerous hours on pinterest, I combined a handful of broccoli ideas to make the BEST recipe I think I've ever had.  It's a lot of ingredients but it's super simple to put together!

Fancy Roasted Broccoli
*Makes 2 servings

1 Head of Broccoli (chopped)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil (I eyeball this one, don't smother it, but be a tad generous)
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 Cloves of Garlic (sliced or minced)
2 Tbsp Parmesan (grated, but you can use the powder if you'd like)
2 Tbsp Sliced Almonds
Touch of Lemon Juice (maybe 1 1/2 tsp?)

1. Set oven to 425 degrees.  Chop up your broccoli and put it in a bowl.  Add the garlic, oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well and spread on a foil lined cookie sheet. (Spray with non-stick spray)
2. Cook 25 mins.
3. With 7-10 mins left, sprinkle the cheese and almonds on.
4. When it's done, add some dashes of lemon juice, and serve!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chipotle Shredded Beef

I LOVE my shredded beef recipe, but I was in the mood for a different flavor.  So I started from scratch to make something different!  I love my crock pot WAY more than a stock pot so that's how this recipe is made just like the other one.  **This is NOT Chipotle the restaurant's beef, it just has chipotle peppers in it**

Chipotle Shredded Beef

*Makes 6-10 servings

Allergen Tips:

Check the bullion for gluten to keep it a g-free recipe!

1 2-3 pound Roast
1 Can Green Chiles
1/2 Can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1/2 Medium Onion (chopped)
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Seasoned Salt
1 tsp. Cumin
4 Cloves Garlic (minced)
2 C. Beef Stock (I use bullion cubes)

1. Rub the seasonings on the roast and place in the crock pot.
2. Put all the veggies and peppers around the roast.
3. Pour the beef stock in, don't pour directly on the roast! (so you don't knock all the seasonings off!!!)
4. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
5. Pull out the beef and shred.  Before you put the beef back in, scoop out about 1 1/2 cups of the juice and veggies and set aside. (this is to make a sauce to pour on top)
6. Put the meat back in and cook for one more hour.  Serve however you'd like!

*For the sauce*
1. Put the set aside juice in a processor and pulse until all the solids are gone.
2. Put it in a sauce pan on med heat and add just a tiny bit of a flour paste to thicken it up.  Spoon over whatever you make!

 Yummy Enchiladas :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mexican Loaded Taters

Yet another use of my Black Bean Salsa is making really healthy twice baked potatoes!  It tends to be much healthier than loading it full of sour cream and bacon!

Mexican Loaded Taters

 *Serves 2

2 Small-Medium Russet Potatoes
1/3 C. Chunky Salsa (photographed with my black bean salsa)
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Chili Powder

1. Wash the potatoes really well and stab all over with a fork.  Put them in a microwave safe dish. drizzle olive oil on them and roll them around.  Microwave for 6-8 mins depending on the size.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Take out and cut in half.  Spoon out the insides and mix with the salsa. 
3. Place the skins in an oven safe dish that's sprayed with non-stick spray.
4. Spoon the mixture into the skins and sprinkle the seasonings on top.
5. Bake for 20-25 mins. 

Best of Both Worlds Alfredo

The Best of Both Worlds Alfredo

*serves 2

Allergen Tips:

Rice flour noodles are a great g-free option for any pasta dish!
Double check your Alfredo labels for any sneaky gluten ingredients.

8-10 oz. Favorite Noodles (I went with Penne)
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
Good shake of Dried Oregano
2-3 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese

1 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (cut in half long wise so you have 2 thin "fillets")
 Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Grillmate's Chicken Seasoning

1 bottle of Classico Poblano Alfredo
1/2 a Bell Pepper (sliced to size you prefer)
1/8 C. Onion (chopped)

Side of your favorite salsa (pictured with my black bean salsa)

1. Boil water with a touch of salt and cook noodles to your liking.
2. Season chicken with all 4 listed and grill on a George Foreman Grill or sear in a pan.  Slice chicken against the grain and set in microwave to keep warm.
3. If you can multitask, saute the onion and bell pepper with a touch of butter until soft and the onion is transparent.  Add the alfredo and simmer til the noodles are done.
4. Pour noodles into 2 wide rimmed bowls, top with the alfredo, slide chicken onto the sauce and top with the salsa.

Fiesta Chicken Wrap

Day 3 of my weight loss challenge I went looking for some lunch.  I knew I was going out for dinner with some friends so I didn't want to overdo it with my calories.  I decided to skip the tortillas and make my first lettuce wrap. (ever! I know right??)  It turned out juicy, full of flavor and totally filling and satisfying!  It's a really simple wrap to make and you can always play around with the recipe!

Fiesta Chicken Wrap

*Makes two wraps

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders
1/2 C. Chunky Salsa (pictured with my black bean salsa)
1/8 C. Shredded Cheese
4 Iceburg Lettuce Leaves (less if you have a sturdier lettuce like romaine)
3/4 tsp. Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning

1. Season the chicken and grill or pan sear.  (I use my George Foreman at least 3 times a week!)
2. Sprinkle the cheese inside the lettuce and put the chicken on top of that. (it gets all melty and gooey!)
3. Top with salsa.  I also use my black bean salsa because of the nutrients in the ingredients rather than a normal salsa.
4. Wrap up and enjoy!

Pictured with a sugar free Crystal Light Peach Mango Green Tea! Yum!

Chicken Tortilla Soup!

As mentioned throughout my wonderful blog, I am a terribly picky eater.  Add tortilla soup to my list of things that have to be JUUUUUUUUUUST right.  I am in love with Cracker Barrel's tortilla soup and to be honest, nothing else compares!  I decided to take the jump into the wonderful world of soup making.  And my first soup, chicken tortilla!  It's not quite finished as I'm writing this but man is it tasty!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

*Makes 8 servings

Allergen Tips:

Check the bullion for gluten to keep it a g-free recipe!
Look for gluten free enchilada sauce, La Victoria is one option! 
Skip the cheesy toppings for a dairy free dish.

3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (frozen)
6 C. Chicken Broth (I use bullion cubes)
1/2 Medium Onion (chopped)
1 Can Red Enchilada Sauce (15 oz)
1 Can Corn
1 Can Black Beans (15+ oz rinsed!!!)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (15 oz mashed)
1 Can Green Chiles (4 oz)
2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder to taste
1 tsp. Cumin

1. Open everything.
2.  Dump in a crockpot! (low 6-8 hours, high 3-5 hours)
3. Near the end of it being done, pull chicken out and shred it.
4. Add cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream or whatever your heart desires and enjoy!
(Nutrition Facts do not include the extras!)