Salami Umami Pizza

The name of this post makes me laugh.  This pizza was born on Sunday night after an afternoon of tidying up the house, hanging all the things in BG’s room and checking off a long “to do” list.  I was more than ready to dive into this pizza.

The recipe is actually a marriage of two different recipes:  umami marinara ,that I saw on Rachael Ray and couldn’t stop thinking about, and a Salami, Hominy and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza recipe.  Unfortunately we couldn’t find smoked mozzarella but I think the umami marinara brought a punch a flavor to the pizza so I didn’t miss it too much.  And instead of hominy, we decided to use some of the homegrown corn we have stashed in the freezer.


We used our favorite pizza crust recipe and for some reason this particular one turned out a little crisper and I loved it!  I love a little texture in my crust.  The umami marinara is so yummy.  The secret ingredient is anchovies – I used anchovy paste – and I PROMISE, cross my heart, that you can’t taste any fish.  It seriously gives the sauce a salty, nutty flavor and you would never know it’s in there unless I told you.  Another secret ingredient is sun-dried tomato paste instead of regular tomato paste.  Like I said, lots of flavor.

I love the pops of corn and the salami gave the pizza just enough meatiness and saltiness.  And well, mozzarella is just necessary.  The more cheese the better.

And I’m really excited that I was able to freeze half of the umami marinara to use in the new year.  #stockthefreezer


Pumpkin Pasta with Balsamic Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Despite the summer-like weather on Sunday, we had the most fall-filled day.  After Big Guy being away all week and then me being away all weekend we felt quite like ships passing in the dark.  Thankfully we were able to spend quality time on Sunday afternoon together.  Not only did we visit the pumpkin patch and put together our “fall” display in the front yard, but we made a fall-inspired dinner of pumpkin pasta.  

The pasta requires only two ingredients.  That’s right, two.  In a food processor, pulse together one can of pumpkin puree with flour until it forms a dough ball.  From there, the pasta noodles come together quite easily if you have the pasta attachment for your Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.

The sauce is made by browning butter with whole garlic cloves and fresh sage leaves.  Once brown, remove the sage and garlic, and add in white wine and balsamic vinegar.  Allow the sauce to simmer before adding in your cooked pasta.  Toss and then serve with roasted pumpkin seeds, manchego cheese and fresh nutmeg (my special addition).


This dinner hit the spot.  Not only did it feed my belly but it was nice to enjoy a stress-free (well, mostly stress free…the pasta water pot overflowed and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty) meal together after a long week away from Big Guy.

Pumpkin in food – like it, love it or hate it?  

I’m all about REAL pumpkin being in food but I find that some of the “pumpkin spice” items are taking things a little far…like been jerky.  Just no.

Antipasto Pizza

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.  We spent Friday night hosting “A Night in Havana” which was so much fun and we couldn’t have asked for better whether when it came to dining outside.  Saturday I was up early to teach class and then we spent most of the day lounging by the pool before heading home for a “date night in.”  And on Sunday we got in a long walk and brunch before getting cleaned up and going to a friends house for a gender reveal (it’s a boy AND a girl!).  We ended the weekend in the best way with pizza!

I loosely based our pizza on this recipe but I used our favorite crust recipe.  We decided to grill our pizza so we threw the dough on the grill and then after three minutes flipped it and then added ALL the toppings:

Marinara Sauce

Sautéed mushroom, red onion and garlic




Roasted Red Peppers


Fresh Basil

Allow the pizza to grill until the crust is cooked through and beginning to brown and the cheese is nice and melted.


Serve with an extra sprinkle of fresh basil and dig in.

Pizza Pizza!

Biscuit Cinnamon Sweet Rolls

Haines, my niece, has two favorite foods:  cinnamon rolls and bacon.  I’m pretty sure she couldn’t choose between the two so we went for it on Sunday morning and made both for a late breakfast.

These cinnamon rolls are different from ones that I’ve made in the past in that you don’t have to prep anything the night before.  They also start with a biscuit base.  That’s right – these rolls are the perfect marriage of a buttermilk biscuit and a cinnamon roll.

Holy moly.

There are two very important steps to the dough portion:  make sure your shortening is FROZEN (I lied, I put this in the freezer the night before) and make sure you chill the dough for 10 minutes before adding the buttermilk.  This is the KEY to perfect biscuits.

Another important step once the dough is rolled out:  make sure the butter is super soft to spread over top.  And yes, it looks like a lot of butter and that’s because it is a lot of butter.  But you only get to cook bacon and sweet rolls for your favorite niece every once in a while.  So deal.

Once the sweet rolls are baked, they are drizzled with a delightful glaze that Haines LOVED (of course she did, it’s sugar).  I used whole milk in place of the heavy cream and it worked just fine.


Incredible.  You MUST try this biscuit + cinnamon roll.

And bacon, please serve with bacon.

Sausage Potato Pie

Big Guy and I have never really been brunch people.  On the weekends we typically eat a light breakfast, light lunch and then have a killer dinner.  Until lately.

Over the past several months, I’ve truly started to love Sundays.  Gone are the days of complaining about Monday being just around the corner.  And gone are the days of not having brunch at home.

I’ve really enjoyed our slow mornings that start without an alarm clock.  After waking up, I make coffee, enjoy a cup with a small breakfast and then we go on a walk.  After we’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time for brunch.  And have I got a deliciously comforting yet incredibly easy brunch dish for you.

Sausage Potato Pie is full of potatoes (I used pre-shredded hashbrowns, oh yes I did), sausage, eggs and cheese.  A little milk helps bring it all together along with some spinach for nutrients and any seasoning you desire (I used a Savannah Summer Salt).  Simply brown the sausage and then whisk together the eggs, milk and seasonings.  Then fold in the potatoes, some of the cheese (we used a smoked gouda), spinach and cooked sausage.  Pour into the prepared pie dish, top with more cheese and bake.


Add a mimosa on the side and you’ll really be living.



Watermelon Margaritas + Chicken Tinga Tacos with Grilled Corn Guacamole

Let’s ignore Monday for a little bit and talk about the weekend.  This weekend was packed with social events.  On Saturday morning I taught a Saturday Sweat class before heading to the pool for a little last-bit-of-summer sunshine.  After getting our bronze on, it was time to head home and get ready for our evening with friends.  We had a graduation party to attend for one of our friends who just got his MBA from ECU.  Go Pirates!  It was such a fun night and we saw a lot of friends we haven’t seen much of this summer.  Sunday we had another party to attend but this was for a little guy who just celebrated his 1st birthday.  The party was at the pool so we went a little earlier in the day so we could catch even more sunshine.  But Sunday evening was all about relaxing and cooking at home.  Last night was Mexican night at our house!


We have an insane amount of watermelons growing in our garden so I decided it was time for watermelon margaritas.  I made two different simple syrups – one was infused with homegrown jalapeños and the other with basil.  I made a pitcher for margaritas and then just added about an once of simple syrup when pouring a drink.  For the margaritas:  1 1/2 cups tequila, 1 cup lime juice and 3 cups watermelon juice.  Be sure to taste and add more of any ingredient based on your liking.  I leave out the orange liqueur because it’s just not my favorite.  For the simple syrup, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.  I then split the syrup into two mason jars and added a sliced jalapeño to one and a handful of basil to another.  Let sit for about 15-30 minutes before making a cocktail.

And when there are margaritas, there has to be guacamole.  This guacamole added in some homegrown sweet corn.  While I’m not always a fan of “trashed up” guac, I loved this addition.  The texture and sweetness it added was perfect.  The guacamole was made with avocados (smash them with a potato masher), juice from a lime, some sweet onion, one diced jalapeño, handful of cilantro, grilled corn (I charred ours in a cast iron skillet), pepper and lots and lots of salt.


And for dinner, Chicken Tinga Tacos.  Tinga is a Mexican dish made up of shredded chicken in a sauce of tomatoes and chipotle chiles.  The chicken thighs are sprinkled heavily with spices:  cumin, garlic salt, smoked paprika and pepper.  The chicken is then seared in a Dutch oven with a little bit of olive oil.  Once browned on both sides, remove chicken and add in the onions.  Once the onions have cooked for about 5 minutes, in goes the garlic, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste and chipotle peppers.  Bring to a boil, add the chicken back into the pot, reduce the heat and cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes.

The chicken is shredded and then added back into the sauce.  I tried something new to shred the chicken last night and it worked perfectly.  Simple place the chicken in your KitchenAide mixer with the paddle attachment and let it do the work for you.  I promise it works – Big Guy witnessed the magic.

Now you’re ready to assemble the tacos.  Warmed tortillas, some chicken, then pile on some homemade salsa (tomatoes, sweet onion, cilantro, jalapeño and salt) and then a little grilled corn guac.


And while pizza Sunday is still our favorite tradition, I won’t argue with a margarita and taco Sunday every once in a while.

Have a great week, friends!

jalapeño-pineapple pizza with bourbon bbq drizzle

I’m not sure when Pizza Sunday became a tradition but I am sure that I don’t want it to end.  This particular pizza recipe comes from one of my favorite bloggers turned cookbook authors.  Her recipes are some of my favorites and I can always count on her for amazing appetizers and fantastic pizza recipes.

For this pizza, I used her favorite pizza crust recipe (also in the book but here’s a link to another pizza crust recipe of hers) subbing bread flour for all-purpose flour.  It was an experiment and it worked phenomenally.  The crust  was tender and doughy without being too thick.   This is our all-time favorite crust.

There isn’t a sauce for this pizza.  Instead the dough is drizzled with olive oil before piling on the caramelized shallots, shredded mozzarella, pineapple chunks, jalapeno slices, feta and a homemade bourbon-vanilla BBQ sauce.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Bourbon-vanilla BBQ sauce.  It was weird and totally fun to eat.  The base of the BBQ sauce is ketchup (duh!) and bourbon.  The secret ingredient is a splash of vanilla extract plus the seeds from a vanilla pod.  So much flavor.  And yes, this pizza is meatless but you totally won’t miss the meat.  And if you’re afraid you will, throw on some bacon or some shredded chicken.  Pepperoni would be tasty, too.

This pizza had so many flavors.  Spicy jalapeno, sweet pineapple, salty feta, bourbon-vanilla BBQ sauce that’s so weird yet so right.  And the perfect pizza crust.

Pizza Sunday, I love you.