Ricotta, Tart Cherry and Italian Sausage Pizza

Good morning, friends!  I hope you had a fantastic weekend.  The weather was beyond gorgeous here and we took advantage by spending lots of time outside.  Friday night we had an easy, low-key night in (super delicious chicken dish coming your way this week) and on Saturday we went to Greenville for the spring football game (Pirates won! – hah) and lunch with Big Guy’s sister.  Saturday night was full of so much delicious food and wine.  Sunday morning involved a long walk and a social event at a local brewery.  Obviously the day ended with pizza.  And it was a good one.

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We used our favorite crust recipe from Seriously Delish – I highly recommend this cookbook if not just for this recipe.  But you can also find lots of deliciousness on her blog.  The unbaked crust is topped with whipped ricotta which is simply ricotta that’s been whirled in the food processor until smooth.  On top of the ricotta, lots and lots of mozzarella cheese.  Then comes the sweetness.  Dried cherries are soaked in red wine for the most glorious sweet and tart bite.  Those sweet nuggets go on top of the mozzarella followed by cooked and crumbled Italian sausage and a final sprinkle of pistachios.

The flavor and ingredient combo is so unexpected but it’s so unbelievable perfect.

Sundays are so much better when there’s pizza.

 

 

Friday Favorites

Hey, hey!  We made it to Friday.  The beginning of the week was like a turtle but the end of the week was super busy and went by in a flash.  We have a busy weekend but I have a feeling that’s going to be the trend throughout the Spring and Summer.  Speaking of which, where in the world is my warm weather?!?!  I wanted to cry yesterday morning when I was waiting outside the gym.  So over the 40 degree weather.  So over it. (p.s. I just saw the weather and next week is looking niiiiiice!)

I hope you have a lovely weekend full of all things amazing.  Here are my favorites from the week:

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Favorite From Scratch:  Homemade Corn Tortillas. Big Guy mentioned margaritas the other night and now I’m craving a Mexican-inspired Saturday.  Salt on the rim, please.

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Favorite Upgrade: Folding Fans Pillow. I most certainly don’t need new pillows but these would be perfect for our living room.

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Favorite Wake Up:  Cheddar Bacon Scones.  Sweet and salty.  Bacon.  That crispy cheddar outside.

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Favorite Quest for the Best:  Chocolate Chip Cookies.  This journey to find the best chocolate chip cookie is amazing.  And I kind of want to try them all.  But first:  the 72-hour chocolate chip cookie.

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Favorite Date Night:  Greek Marinated Flank Steak and Hummus Plate.  The next time I’m in control of date night, this is totally going down.  So many of my favorite things are happening.

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Favorite Fashion:  Candy Stripe Romper.  I have a thing for rompers.

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Favorite Weeknight:  Skillet Chicken in Tomato-Chipotle Sauce with Avocado Crema.  Just because this dinner is fast doesn’t mean it isn’t full of flavor.

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Favorite Add an Egg:  Shaved Asparagus and Prosciutto Pizza.  Totally Springy.

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Favorite Unexpected:  Lobster Bisque Fondue.  My favorite way to eat.  Lots of flavors and different bites.

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Favorite Tropical:  Pineapple-Vanilla Breeze.  This cocktails takes me back to our honeymoon.  But since I won’t be on an Island far away any time soon, I’d settle for a warm day and sunshine with this in my hand.

Cheers!

Roasted Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese and Herbs

First of all, I am 100% aware that most of you will never recreate this date night dinner at home.

BUT my hope is that perhaps we can make homemade pasta together sometime or you’ll come over and let me make it for you.

Consider that an open invitation.

Big Guy and I have had homemade pasta on the mind lately and when I saw this gorgeous roasted beet ravioli, I knew it was the one.  And too be completely honest, it wasn’t all that difficult though we did learn a few lessons.

The dough is a simple mix of flour, eggs, a little salt and beet puree (nothing fancy – just roasted beets whirled in the food processor).  Once the dough was made, Big Guy took over with rolling the pasta.

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The key to not having red hands at the end of it all is to wear gloves.

The ravioli were stuffed with a goat cheese mixture of whole milk ricotta, goat cheese, thyme, chives, garlic and a little salt.

The first two lessons:  roll the dough a little thinner and use more filling.  Next time we want our ratio of dough to filling to be more equal.

Once the ravioli are formed, all that need is a quick dip in the hot tub (boiling salted water) to cook.  Fresh, homemade pasta takes only a few minutes to cook.

After they were cooked through, the raviolis were topped with browned butter and more herbs.

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There is nothing better than a bowl of homemade pasta, stuffed with cheese and then drowned in brown butter.

Am I right, or am I right?

And while the process is a little time consuming, we love being in the kitchen together.  Especially sharing a bottle of wine and laughs.

But don’t think that the “homemade pasta” obsession is gone…we’re ready for our next pasta night in!

Roasted Poblano Pimiento Cheese with Buttermilk

It’s definitely Monday.  But at least it’s a sunny Monday.

This past weekend was a really good weekend.  Most weekends are really good but this one was extra sweet.  Complete with a GNO in Raleigh, sushi with Big Guy, homemade pasta and quite the spread while we watched the end of The Masters yesterday.

While we’re a huge fan of pizza on Sunday, I couldn’t help wanting to make a batch of pimiento cheese in honor of The Masters.  And this pimiento cheese is jazzed up with roasted poblanos.  I found the green of the poblanos to be very fitting to the green jacket.

The weekend and the Masters may be over, but I highly recommend this pimiento cheese along with everything that we snacked on throughout the afternoon and evening.

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Along with pimiento cheese, we made some crispy fried brussels that were absolutely amazing.  I also sliced up some salami and a cucumber and added some olives and pickles to the mix.  Oh, and bubbles.  Always bubbles.

See you tomorrow with a very Springy recipe!

Friday Favorites

TGIF!  It’s been quite the busy week but busy typically means that the week flies by so I’m not complaining.  Big Guy has been in California all week so I am more than excited to see him later tonight.  Unfortunately my timing of my barre training meant we’ve spent about 3 hours together in the past 11 days.  Obviously Saturday is all about us hanging out and catching up on lost time.  Oh, and cooking delicious food.  But tonight is GNO (girls night out) and I’m excited to head to Art in Bloom at the NC Art Museum as well as dinner at a restaurant that’s been on my list of places to eat for several months.  I’ve been told I’m watching the Masters on Sunday…we’ll see about that.

Whatever you’re doing, I hope you have a great weekend.  Here are my favorites (almost all food!) from the week:

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Favorite Old School:  Meatloaf Sliders with Bacon, Pepper Jack and Frizzled Onions.  My brain has been fixated on meatloaf the past few weeks and this is the perfect mix of “old school” meatloaf in a “new school” way.

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Favorite Loaf:  Blueberry Lemon and Muffin Bread.  I am totally baking a batch of this bread.  And it’s totally happening today.

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Favorite “Don’t Throw it Away”:  Pickle-Brined Baked Chicken Tenders.  We’re obsessed with pickles.  As in, there are probably no less than 5 jars of pickles in the fridge.  And now I don’t have to throw away the juice.

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Favorite Over-the-Top:  Bourbon & Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle. Holy moly.  I want to face plant into this cake.

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Favorite Platter of Food:  Chicken Shawarma Fries with Mediterranean Salsa and Garlic Sauce. So maybe you could convince me to watch the Masters on Sunday if this was sitting in front of me.

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Favorite From Scratch:  Creamy Sweet Pea Pesto Agnolotti.  This pasta dish screams “SPRING” and I adore the envelope shape of these little bites of pasta.

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Favorite “To Do” List:  Kitchen Spring Cleaning.  While my kitchen looks spic and span, I need to carve out a few hours next week to clean in places no one every looks – like the cabinets and the fridge.  And don’t even get me started on how bad my oven needs to be cleaned.

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Favorite Southern:  The Masters Egg Salad. The two most popular sandwiches at the Masters are pimiento cheese sandwich and the egg salad sandwich.  Both are served on white bread and both are $1.50.

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Favorite Twist:  Grilled Avocado-Barbecue Chicken Naan Pizza.  Instead of your typically pizza dough, why not make a pizza on naan bread.  But I think we’ll have to take it to the next level and try to make homemade naan bread.

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Favorite Weekend:  Triple Citrus Gin Spritzer.  Light, bright and refreshing.  My perfect cocktail.

Cheers!

Seared Yellowtail Tuna with Avocado Salsa

Last night was one of those evenings when I didn’t really mind that I had to cook a solo-dinner.  Unfortunately, I eat a lot of dinners during the week by myself because of Big Guy’s work schedule but fortunately that means I can eat whatever I want.  And last night, I wanted tuna.  

The tuna was seared to absolute perfection by getting the grill pan screaming hot, coating the pan with coconut oil spray and then cooking the tuna for about 2 minutes on each side.  It was perfectly rare on the inside but the outside had a lovely crust.  Without a super hot pan, you can forget the outside having a great texture.

And with the tuna, a simple avocado salad.  My avocados were super ripe so it ended up being like a really chunky guacamole but you won’t hear me complaining.  The salsa mixture included avos (duh), halved tomatoes (so ready to have some growing in the garden), sliced red onion, basil (instead of cilantro because I had some in the fridge), gah-lic (and lots of it), lime juice, salt, pepper and some diced jalapeño for a little heat.

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So fresh.  So delicious.

I’ll be single every Tuesday night if dinner looks like this.

 

Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds, Beets and Manchego

It’s 6:46pm on Monday and honestly feel like the past few days have been a whirlwind.  This past weekend I inched myself a few steps closer to reaching one of my 2016 goals.  I attended a 3-day/16-hour training on Core Barre in Charlotte and I couldn’t be more excited.  I learned SO much – I honestly can’t remember the last time I used my brain so much on a weekend.  But I’m also anxious about what’s to come.  After the course, we took the written test which I passed with a 94 (woot! woot!).  The hard part is what’s happening now.  I’m studying and practicing so that I can submit my final practical which is a 35 minute video of me teaching various aspects of the syllabus.  I have so much to work on but I’m determined to be able to say I’m a Core Barre instructor by July 31.

So yea – that’s what my weekend looked like.  Plus a little family time including dinner with my parents, brunch with the family and then another dinner with my parents and brother.

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I arrived home at about 6:30pm last night to Big Guy working hard in the kitchen.  He was in charge of dinner and he sure impressed me.  He whipped up a salad and pizza that was absolutely incredible.  The salad included roasted beets, candied pecans, raspberry, manchego and a homemade raspberry vinaigrette.  The pizza (I forget his creative name for the pie) was topped with a garlic-olive oil base along with sautéed spinach, bacon, figs, toasted almonds, cheeeeese (goat and Monterey jack), and he finished the whole thing off with orange zest.  Weird but absolutely delicious.

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After a full day of work, I whipped up a simple meatless Monday dinner that used up a few ingredients in the fridge.

I made a quinoa salad that included toasted almonds, thyme, fresh basil and then used that as a salad topper along with leftover roasted beets and manchego.

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Salads are a great way to use up leftover ingredients in a new way.

I adored the bites of quinoa with almonds and a little manchego.

But then again, I love any bite that includes cheese.