Pistachio Pesto Pizza with Honey

I’ve decided that all weekends should end with pizza.

Especially perfect weekends like this past one.  The most productive thing I did on Saturday was go to the gym – after that, my production only went downhill.  And I’m okay with that.  The weather was perfect and we spent a good part of the day at the pool hanging out with friends.  Saturday night was date night – just what Big Guy and I needed.  Yesterday we headed to Raleigh to find some new shoes for me (mission not accomplished – you’d be surprised how hard it is to find a black wedding-appropriate shoe) and also grabbed sushi for lunch.  But I have to say that the best part of yesterday was once we got home, opened a bottle of wine and enjoyed an easy Sunday evening.

We spent some time creating our menu for our upcoming long weekend at the beach – yes, we take food very seriously – before getting started on dinner.

The ingredient list isn’t long or crazy for this homemade pizza but the combination is perfection.

pesto

Pistachio pesto is made by pulsing together pistachios, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and garlic.  Once combined, olive oil is streamed into the food processor until desired consistency.

The pizza crust for this pizza is thinner than what we typically make and it doesn’t need to rise.

Once the pizza crust is rolled out, spread on a thick layer of the pesto.  This is where all the flavor is.  Next top with a hefty layer of freshly shredded mozzarella and end with sprinkle of Parmesan.

Bake until golden and the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Before serving, top with chopped pistachios, a few fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of honey.

Oh man.

pistachio pesto

Just look at that mozzarella bomb that oozed off the pizza.  Best bite ever.

Incredible flavors.  Herbaceous and nutty pesto, creamy mozzarella, salty Parmesan and sweet honey.

The thin crust was exactly what this pizza combination needed.

The pizza was made complete with a glass of pinot noir.

Pizza, I love you.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I’m especially glad to see Friday this week because Big Guy is currently on his way home from being in Guatemala/El Salvador all week.  We haven’t seen each other in two weeks and I am so excited to spend the weekend pestering him and catching up on two weeks of small talk.  It’s been a rough month and a half with all his travel (Mexico, London, Costa Rica) but I’m focusing on the fact that we have the weekend ahead of us with no outside plans (meaning – no commitments).  The next two days are going to include the pool, cocktails, delicious food, shoe shopping (I know he’s thrilled about that), wine and laughter.  Mostly laughter.  And wine.  (wink wink)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  And if you’re in need of a weekend idea – roast some s’mores.  National S’more Day was Monday but I won’t tell that you’re a little belated in the celebration.

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Favorite Salty & Sweet:  Potato Chip Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches.  I can’t even tell you the last time I had an ice cream sandwich.

Favorite Twist:  Watermelon Wedge with Kale, Jalapeno, and Avocado.  So much summer in this salad.

Favorite Marinated:  Charred Coconut Chicken.  That blackened, crispy skin is what it’s all about.

Favorite Upgrade:  French Croissant  Hot Dogs with Crispy Bacon.  I’m not sure which is getting the upgrade:  the croissant or the hot dog.

Favorite DIY:  Coconut Coffee Scrub.  To think of all the coffee grounds I’ve thrown away over the past 10 years…

Favorite Slice:  Pistachio Pesto Pizza with Honey and Fresh Mozzarella.   Just add a flute of sparkling rose and we’ll call it a date.

Favorite List:  104 Little Happy Moments in Life We All Need to Appreciate More.    Amen, amen, amen.

6. When two songs you love play back to back on the radio

12. Genuinely candid laughing photos.

44. The relief you experience when someone whose name you forgot introduces him or herself to your friend

46. Being able to rub your eyes because you’re not wearing mascara.

55. Using brand new pens.

82. Letting someone merge into your lane and seeing their “thank you” wave.

Favorite Homemade:  40-Minute Super Soft Hamburger Buns.  There is a hamburger on my list of “five things”

Favorite Diagram:  Wine + Cheese Pairings.  

Favorite Shaken: Banana Daiquiri.   Forget banana bread, I’m infusing rum the next time I have brown bananas.

Cheers to the weekend.

Chicken with Italian Sweet-Sour Fennel {with herbed green beans}

It’s no surprise to anyone that knows me that I’m kind of obsessed with SoCo Farm and Food.  I’ve mentioned SoCo multiple times and over the past two years of knowing Kimberly and Jeremy they’ve become our friends.  I am so excited about their new venture and even more excited that August is here which means the home deliveries are officially in full swing.

We have expanded our restaurant’s vision of eating well and eating local to include home delivery of scratch-made, heat-and-eat meals. Now restaurant-quality, frozen meals—along with other items, including local bread, dairy, farm-fresh eggs, beer and wine–can be delivered right to your door. Even if you’re not in our dining room, eating well and eating local is still easy.

The best thing about the home delivery is that there is something for everyone.  Big Guy and I will primarily purchase raw ingredients (cheese, meats and eggs) plus coffee, wine and beer.  However, I know of couples who are using it primarily for weeknight meals – buying 2 or 3 pre-made dinners each week.  I love that you are not automatically charged or sent anything – instead, you get to shop online each week and the food is delivered the next week.  I also want to note that I’ve compared prices, and the cost of their meat, cheese and eggs is very competitive.  And you can’t beat knowing exactly where your food came from – my cheese came from the neighboring town of Mount Olive.

My first delivery arrived on Tuesday with fresh eggs, blueberry goat cheese and chicken.

soco delivery

Before the chicken even arrived on my doorstep, I had plans to make Chicken with Italian Sweet-Sour Fennel.  

I split the chicken breasts in half to make cutlets and seasoned with salt, pepper and rosemary (I used fresh rosemary).  The chicken is sauteed and then removed from the pan once cooked through.  To make the sweet-sour fennel, add the sliced fennel to the pan and saute.  Chicken broth (I used 1 cup and left out the wine), raisins and vinegar are added to the pan and then simmered.  Add the chicken back into the pan and sprinkle with pine nuts and fennel fronds.

chicken

And on the side, herbed green beans.  I used a mixture of fresh oregano and parsley for my herbs.  Simply steam your beans, toss with olive oil, salt and the herbs.

chicken with fennel and green beans

This dinner was incredible.  The chicken was tender and moist.  The fennel added a divine hint of sweet anise and the pine nuts gave a little crunch and nuttiness to the chicken skillet.  I loved the use of the fennel fronds for a little freshness.  The green beans were simple and herbaceous but so perfect as to not steal from the flavor of the chicken.

p.s.  If you’re in the Wilson/Rocky Mount/Greenville/Goldsboro area, here is the link for the home delivery membership.  

p.s.s. I am not being paid to sing SoCo’s praises (well, they may give me an extra pour of wine when I eat there – wink wink).  I honestly love SoCo, the fact that they source locally and their food is some of the best I’ve eaten in my life.

p.s.s.s. The vegetarian lasagna is life changing.

p.s.s.s.s. I may have picked the blueberries in the cobbler featured below.

farm to door

Refried Bean Poblanos with Cheese {five ingredients!}

You guys know I don’t mind turning on the oven – even if it’s 100 degrees outside.

But I also don’t mind easy recipes.  Especially on a crazy weeknight.

This is a five ingredient recipe that will be ready in minutes.

And you don’t even need the oven.

So what will you need?

  • poblanos (if you don’t want any spice, use bell peppers!)
  • fat-free refried beans
  • rice (and yep, the pouch will work just fine – it’s what I used)
  • salsa (the recipe calls for picante but truth be told, I used two almost-empty jars of salsa)
  • cheddar cheese (I used sharp cheddar – I don’t believe in reduced-fat cheese)

And here’s what you do.

Cut the poblanos in half (lengthwise) and remove the ribs and seeds – that’s where the spiciness lives.  Place the poblano halves on a plate (cut-side up) and microwave for 3 minutes.

While the poblanos are cooking, shred your cheese.

In a bowl, combine the refried beans, rice (I went ahead and cooked mine for the 90-seconds before mixing) and salsa.

Spoon evenly into the poblano halves.  Top with shredded cheese.

Microwave for one minute or until the cheese has melted.

Dinner is ready.

5 ingredients, 10 minutes.

poblanos

Can we all just have a moment of silence for the melted cheese?

 

 

Spicy Basil-Beef Salad

I am so glad our Thai basil survived this summer because I was finally able to make this recipe from Cooking Light that I’ve had my eyes on for way too long.  Years, in fact.

It has sat in my binder of recipes just waiting for the “right” moment.  And the moment finally happened.

This salad is incredibly simply but ridiculously delicious.

And I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t had beef in a few weeks but this steak hit the spot.  Tender and full of flavor – without anything but salt and pepper.

spicy basil beef

 

The salad base is a mix of basil (I used Thai basil and Genovese – basic Italian – basil), tomatoes, sliced shallot and cucumber.

That’s right – there is no lettuce in this salad – just herbaceous basil.

The dressing is an incredible mixture of flavorful ingredients including soy sauce (or tamari), rice vinegar, lemongrass, sesame oil, fish sauce and chile paste.

The salad base is tossed with the dressing before being topped with the sliced steak.

Each and every bite was bursting with flavor.  Not only is this a perfect weeknight dinner but it’s pretty enough to serve to guests or with a glass of wine.

By the way – this recipe earned a spot in the “keep” folder.

 

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Good morning and happy Monday to you!  After a glorious weekend with the flamingos, I’m back and ready to tackle the week.

I’ve been spoiled and have seen someone in my family three out of the last four weekends.  And now I don’t really have a date on the calendar to be reunited and I find myself a little homesick.

So last night I was craving comfort food.  You might not know this but tuna noodle casserole is one of my favorite classics from childhood.

It’s warm, cheesy and totally comforting – like a big hug from Mom or Dad.

This version is lightened up from the recipe I grew up eating.  Instead of cream of mushroom soup – a mushroom sauce is made combining milk, chicken stock, onions, flour and lots of mushrooms.

Cheese is added to the sauce so that each and every bite has a little bit of cheese.  Green peas add great texture with little pops of flavor here and there.

Before baking, the casserole is topped with more cheddar and a breadcrumb mixture with parmesan cheese.  A little more cheesiness and a little bit of nuttiness.

Y’all – this turned out way better than I expected and might even be more delicious than what I remember.

Warm.  Comforting.  Cheesy.  And a little crispy around the edges and on top (my favorite bites!).

I opted to go the gluten-free route and used gluten-free brown rice noodles and rice flour.  I also don’t believe in reduced-fat cheese so I used regular sharp cheddar.

If you are in need of a hug, this casserole is for you.

(And if you’re not a fan of tuna – which I know a lot of folks aren’t – you can totally substitute chicken.)

Flamingo Fling

My Momma has been daydreaming of an annual girls weekend at the beach for a few years now.  After years of dreaming, it’s finally a reality.  I’m currently beach-bound with an ETA of 11am for a weekend with my Momma, my sister and my sister-in-law.  And I couldn’t be more excited to pop a bottle of bubbly and get the weekend started with three of my favorite girls.

Flamingo Fling is here!  See ya next week.

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