Pesto Caprese Pizza

I love pizza.  And with our garden producing lots and lots of beautiful basil and tomatoes, there’s no better time to make a caprese pizza.  

This caprese pizza is a little different because you make a basil vinaigrette (verrrry similar to the cilantro one I made for the salad) that serves as the sauce/base for the pizza.  I should also add that the basil vinaigrette is one of Gaby’s most popular recipes and can be used in SO many different ways.

The basil vinaigrette is made by whirling together a shallot, lots of fresh basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, EVOO, red wine vinegar and salt.  This can be made in advance and keeps for about a week in the fridge.

We made are favorite dough and then pre-baked it for about 10 minutes before adding the toppings.

Toppings include a generous slather of the basil vinaigrette, lots and lots of shredded mozzarella (always use fresh!) and halved cherry tomatoes.  I also shook things up a bit and added a little bit of goat cheese for a little tang.  Totally optional – I simply had some and wanted to use it.  Bake until the crust is brown and cooked through and the cheese is melted.  Finish with a sprinkle of fresh basil.

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Like I said, I love pizza.  And I think you’ll love this one, too.

Skillet Ratatouille

Earlier this week I prepared this dinner in an effort to use up some of our summer squash that I have more of than I can eat.  This dinner is a great make-ahead meal and you can easily reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.  I’ve been eating this all week long since Big Guy was traveling for work.  And trust me, you’ll have leftovers – this recipe makes a ton of stew.

Semi-drained diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted tomatoes with chiles for an extra something-something) and combined with the drained and rinses chickpeas and set aside.

Sauté garlic in EVOO along with chopped red onion, red bell pepper, squash and eggplant.  (I doubled the amount of squash and left out the zucchini.)  Once tender, stir in the tomatoes and chickpeas along with a little salt and cook for 5 minutes.

Uncover the pan and add a splash of red wine vinegar and paprika and cook until slightly thickened.

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Topped with a fresh sprinkle of basil, this dinner is a great way to let your summer vegetables shine.

What’s growing in your garden?

Loaded Grilled Steak Salad

Oh, hi!  Unfortunately I can’t tell you I’ve gone missing because of a fabulous trip somewhere; the truth is that our internet was down.  Not an exciting excuse but a valid excuse.

But I’m here and making it up to you with a delicious dinner you MUST make.  This salad screams summer and it’s quite possibly one of my favorite salads ever.  Bold statement, if I do say so myself.

The only time-consuming part of this recipe is marinating time.  So basically you’re not doing much work after you place the flank steak in a mixture of EVOO, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, red pepper and pepper.

The beef marinates for about 2 hours and then grilled to your liking (medium-rare around our house).  While Big Guy manned the grill, I prepped the salad ingredients.  Here’s what you’ll need:

Fresh salad greens
Tomatoes – I used cherry tomatoes from our garden and halved them.
Nectarines – You can totally use peaches but we’re currently obsessed with nectarines.
Avocado Slices
Sliced Green Onion
Cilantro Vinaigrette – quite possibly the best part of the salad.

I tossed the greens with the vinaigrette to make sure that the flavor was on every.single.bite.  Then top with the other ingredients plus the sliced flank steak.

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Not only is it delicious but it’s a beautiful salad.  This is simple enough for a low-key evening at home but it’s quite a stunner and would be totally acceptable to serve if you have dinner guests.

I promise I won’t disappear again!

 

 

Friday Favorites

Plans this weekend revolve around keeping cool in this summer heat wave. Ways to stay cool:  go to the pool and stay IN the pool; staying home and cooking epic summer meals; or going out to lunch where the AC is blasting and cool drinks are flowing.

So while I’m trying to not think about the heat – here are my favorites from the week!

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Favorite Sunday:  Strawberry Pizza with Bacon and Caramelized Onions.  We don’t have many plans set in stone this weekend (see above) however, “pizza Sunday” hasn’t happened in a couple of weeks so I’m thinking that needs to happen.

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Favorite Craving:  Potato Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies.  These would be worth turning on the oven.  Salty. Sweet.  CHIPS IN COOKIES!

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Favorite Dream House:  Katie Lee’s Hampton House is For Sale.  Rarely do I find a home in which I like everything.  Until now.  Everything about this house is perfection.  Except the price tag.

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Favorite Dinner Party:  Go To Summer Menu – Bo Ssam Dinner Party.  Don’t let the name turn you away – it’s basically slow roasted pork that gets turned into lettuce wraps with ALL the toppings.  Delicious, right?
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Favorite Appetizer: Skillet Cheesy Corn Dip.  Would it be bad to eat this as diner?  Asking for a friend.

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Favorite Summer:  Loaded Caprese Grilled Cheese.  Thick sourdough bread, melted mozzarella, fresh tomato and garlic sauce, and herbaceous pesto.  I can’t deal.

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Favorite Food for Thought:  Marriage Isn’t About Your Happiness.  Because the more we give, the better we become. Real love is not self-seeking, and it will always cost you.

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Favorite Weeknight Dinner:  Chipotle Black Bean Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole.  I need some Mexican-inspired food in my life.  This could do the trick.

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Favorite Tips and Tricks:  How to Print Mix in Your Home.    I’m obsessed with Gray Malin’s photography and I dream of owning one of his prints.

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Favorite Cocktail:  Rosé and Watermelon Sunshine Spritzers.  The best thing on a hot day is an ice cold drink.

CHEERS!

Almond Butter Banana Yogurt Muffins

This is what happens when you have super ripe bananas staring at you and your freezer is already full of frozen bananas.

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Almond Butter Banana Yogurt Muffins are the perfect breakfast or snack and I think Big Guy is going to be verrrrry happy to sample these.  The recipe is very similar to other banana muffin recipes except there is NO oil.  Super ripe bananas and Greek yogurt give these muffins extra moisture to keep them from drying out.  And instead of pieces of nuts, almond butter!  Peanut butter (what the recipe called for) would be equally delicious but I’m OUT.   (Don’t worry, I’m working on my Trader Joe’s shopping list as we speak.)  In addition to sweetness from the bananas, a little maple syrup (or honey) and brown sugar add just the right amount. Feel free to adjust the amounts if you’re watching your sugar intake.  The only other changes I made to the recipe were that I used 2% milk instead of the soy milk and I used all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat.

Since I wasn’t really in need of a lot of muffins, I allowed the muffins to cool before freezing half of them for later.  Also, I think this recipe would make more than 12 muffins – mine turned out HUGE.

Happy Snacking!

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Grilled Romaine Salad with Crab

Think you’re grill is only for burgers and chicken?  Think again.  Grilling romaine hearts gives them a smoky flavor while still remaining crisp.  Big Guy and I both love amping up salads by grilling the greens.

The dressing for this salad only requires TWO ingredients:  pre-made guacamole (Wholly guacamole is my favorite) and lemon juice.  Other toppings include grilled corn (another love of my life), cherry tomatoes and crab (if you don’t have access to fresh, high quality crab meat, use grilled shrimp).

I prepped all the ingredients ahead of time so that when it was time for dinner, all Big Guy had to do was fire up the grill and cook the corn and romaine.  While the romaine was cooking, I cut the corn off the cob.

Make sure to season the salad with plenty of salt and pepper – it’s a simple salad and these two ingredients make a huge difference.

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So fresh and full of flavor!

And don’t you dare skip grilling the romaine.

Curried Lentil-And-Vegetable Stew

Despite cooking with zucchini and tomatoes last night, we had an entirely different dinner last night.  An abundance of homegrown tomatoes and zucchini are transformed in this Indian-inspired dinner.  

I was unable to find pre-cooked lentils, so I simply purchased quick cooking lentils, and they were ready in six minutes.  The stew starts by sautéing onion in a little EVOO and then adding zucchini and garlic.  Once those ingredients cook for three minutes, add in the tomato, curry powder and ketchup.  Yes, ketchup.  It’s our secret ingredient adding a little tang, a little sweetness and a little acidity.  The curry powder adds a PUNCH of flavor.  Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute before adding in the vegetable stock that is mixed with cornstarch (one tablespoon) to help thicken up the stew.  Finally, add in the lentils and salt and allow to cook for three minutes.  The entire pot gets a pop of freshness from the juice of one lime.

Serve a bowl full of this flavorful stew with cool, tangy Greek yogurt on top.

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