Grilled Burrata Pizza with Crispy Prosciutto and Basil

Burrata is slowly but surely becoming one of my favorite cheeses.  Perhaps it’s because it’s a bit elusive (aka I have to go to Raleigh to find it) or maybe it’s because it’s just so creamy and dreamy.  Either way, this pizza has one of the shortest ingredient lists of any pizza we’ve ever made yet it’s one of my all-time favorites.

By grilling our favorite dough, the crust had the slightest “smoky/grilled” taste to it and I loved how crispy yet chewy the crust was.  Once we grilled one side of the dough, we flipped and grilled the other halfway before added shredded mozzarella.  Then came the burrata with all it’s lusciousness.  On top of that went crispy prosciutto that I cooked over the stovetop in the smallest amount of EVOO.  Then I added crispy basil that I cooked in the prosciutto fat/EVOO.  Right before serving, I sprinkled with sea salt that added a pop of flavor.

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Salty.  Creamy.  Crispy.  Herbaceous.  Cheesy.

Pizza perfection.

First Trimester Recap {Weeks 4 – 13}

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In case you missed it – Our Announcement!

The past ten weeks have been full of praying, anxiously awaiting appointments, secrets, early bedtimes, afternoons full of exhaustion and grapes.

Today is the beginning of our second trimester.  It’s crazy to think that a baby will be here in six months.  We found out I was pregnant on May 30 (my Momma’s birthday) and despite the fact that we had been trying to have a baby we were still shocked.  Like heart beating out of my chest shocked.  But we are incredibly excited as well as petrified about being parents.  Before I even get to the recap of the first three months, let me say that I have been extremely lucky and really cannot complain about this pregnancy.  I am blessed.

Week 4 {Poppyseed}:  As soon as we found out I was pregnant, I started keeping a “journal” so I won’t forget the small details about this journey.  The main symptom this week:  extreme thirst.  We also broke down and told two of our friends in town because of social commitments.  It honestly felt so good to tell someone.

Week 5 {Apple Seed}:  Refusing to get too excited because the risk of miscarriage scared me so much.  I did buy three books and “better” prenatal vitamins (I started taking prenatal vitamins in December.  Upon a little research, I found some sources that say taking prenatal vitamins for three months before getting pregnant helps lessen morning sickness – I’m a believer!).

Week 6 {Sweet Pea}:  We told my parents because well, I just couldn’t keep it from them and we were with them for my brothers wedding weekend.  Feeling super tired, and almost “hung over.”  One incident of “nausea” while cooking sausage.

Week 7 {Blueberry}:  Increased dizziness; weird dreams; and increased hunger (started adding in a small mid-morning snack).  Started loving grapes and really missing wine.

Week 8 {Raspberry}:  Incredibly tired in the afternoon/evening.  Increased bloating and no desire to plan or cook dinner.  No strong aversions and continued having vivid dreams.

Week 9 {Grape}:  Feeling bloated, as if I can’t suck in.  Grapes have never tasted so good and I had a craving for pepperoni pizza while we were at the beach.  No aversions, but my beloved salmon doesn’t sound so appealing.

Week 10 {Olive}:  Finally had a visit at the doctor though it was only informational as well as the appointment where they draw lots and lots of blood.  Looking forward to my next appointment in two weeks when I’ll get to hear the heartbeat.  Started becoming restless at night so we bought me a Snoogle (aka the BEST purchase of my life).  I have not had a bad nights sleep since my Snoogle arrived.  I had a craving for grilled cheese and raw veggies gave me an increased feeling of bloating.

Week 11 {Lime}:  This week I experienced a small scare but that scare had a silver lining – an ultrasound.  Unfortunately Big Guy was out of town but it was such a relief to see Baby Watson – I finally felt pregnant and could accept that I was pregnant.  Baby Watson had a heartbeat of 170 so I’m convinced it’s a girl (don’t worry, I’ll be happy with either – I’m praying for a healthy baby).  The baby was moving so much during the ultrasound and sharing the pictures with Big Guy was probably a highlight of the past several months.  This week I had lots of bloating and found myself really wanting nachos.  Chinese/Japanese flavors in cooking did not excite me at all.

Week 12 {Plum}:  My 12-week appointment and we were able to hear the baby’s heartbeat.  No bloating this week – woot woot!  Seeing a small change in my stomach and I’m sleeping so well.  We finally were able to tell all our family and friends and it was the best feeling ever.  Such an exciting time.  We were overwhelmed with the amount of prayers and well wishes we received.

Week 13 {Lemon}:  Still having vivid dreams.  In the morning I wake up and my stomach looks “normal” but as the day progresses, I get more bloated looking and almost a rounding of my belly.  Anxious to find out if we are having a boy or girl (September!).  And I continue to worry about miscarriage especially now that everyone knows our news.  We also made two “huge” decisions – who our pediatrician will be as well as what stroller we want.

And here we are at week 14 – AKA “Peach.”  I know that the next three months will fly by so I’m trying to embrace all the changes and savor the excitement.  I can’t wait to share our “reveal” next month.  Your continued prayers for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby are always welcome.

Skillet Nacho Dip

Our third and final dinner utilizing the caramelized onion burgers I made over the weekend.  I can honestly say that all three dinners have been extremely different in flavors and textures and presentation.  I also think it was helpful to spread out the meals, allowing for a day of leftovers here and there.

This dinner came together SO fast – I’m talking under 20 minutes.  Diced red onion and jalapeño are sautéed in a little bit of EVOO before adding in the spices:  cumin and chili powder along with a thickening agent (I used cornstarch, recipe called for flour).  Stock is added and allow the mixture to bubble and thicken before adding in pinto beans (you honestly could use any bean here – black would be great) and the chopped burgers.  Add in some of the cheese and mix before adding more cheese on top and broiling until melted.  Before serving, top the skillet dip with diced tomato and avocado.  Serve with tortilla chips.

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I loved how I felt like I was eating a “cheat” meal – we usually doing eat nachos during the week.

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So dippin’ good.

Thai Beef Salad

I present to you another edition of “Cook Once, Eat 3 Times.”  Cooking Light has been printing this monthly feature in their magazine for a while now and I absolutely love the concept.  The first night you spend a little more time in the kitchen and then the second and third meals come together a little faster because you utilize a major ingredient from the first night.

On Saturday night we made Smoky Caramelized Onion Burgers (they were DELICIOUS but my pictures turned out incredibly dark) and I’ve been using the four leftover patties all week in our other meals.  On Monday night the burgers were crumbled and transformed into a Thai Beef Salad that was so unique and I honestly felt like I was eating a completely different meal – not just a burger crumbled up.

To make the dressing, whisk together lime juice, light brown sugar, fish sauce and Sriracha.  This dressing is used to flavor the meat as well as dress the greens when a little EVOO is added.  Like I said, crumble the burgers and sauté in a little but of EVOO until crispy and warmed.  Then add in some of the dressing and allow the liquid to be absorbed.  I made a few changes to the recipe and used romaine lettuce instead of cabbage and I used red onions instead of green onions.  The greens are tossed in the remaining dressing along with steamed haricot verts (French green beans).  Top the greens with the crumbled beef and peanuts for some extra crunch and nuttiness.

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Big Guy and I both loved the flavors in this salad.  Completely different than the burgers. So refreshing and you guys know I love a meal with a huge portion size.

Tomorrow I’ll show you how I used up the last two patties…it might just be my favorite.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Nectarine Dressing

Good morning, friends!  First of all, we are SO excited to be adding a little one to our family in early 2018 (due date is February 5) and we’re also terrified.  I think that’s normal.  Secondly, this blog is not going to turn into all things “baby.”  Instead, it’ll be a  lot of the same stuff with baby stuff sprinkled in when appropriate.  Thankfully, my tastebuds haven’t failed me and I really haven’t had any aversions (just one incident with salmon) and I’ve been able to cook as normal.  Since next Monday will mark the beginning of my second trimester, I’ll give you a full recap of how I’ve been feeling then (promise there won’t be any belly pictures found here).  So until then, it will be blogging as normal!

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Tomatoes are at their peak right now.  They are gorgeous and juicy and delicious.  We had dinner with friends on Sunday night and I wanted to make a salad to go along with our pasta main dish.  And while I could have simply used the roma tomatoes and grape tomatoes from our garden, I couldn’t pass up a beautiful heirloom tomato at Whole Foods.  It was HUGE.  And so pretty.  The salad was a simple toss of sliced tomatoes, sliced english cucumbers and slivers of red onion.  The dressing added a punch of flavor and sweetness and really made this salad something different.  The nectarine dressing consisted of red wine vinegar, fresh thyme, a little sugar and EVOO.  Right before serving, I mixed in one diced nectarine and poured over the salad.  And for a final touch, a sprinkle of basil confetti.

I am obsessed with the flavors of this salad.  So summery.

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.