Pull Apart Pizza Bread


Over the weekend I made this ridiculous, absurd, out-of-this-world, cheesy, gooey, flavorful pull-apart pizza bread.  Should I even keep talking?  Writing?  Blogging?  Whatever it is I'm doing.  Basically, you should probably make this as soon as possible.  It requires a little effort, but it's not hard.  Added bonus?  Your children will totally want to help, and by "help" I mean they'll want to sprinkle flour all over their bodies and the floor like the fairies do.  The pizza bread dough only has to sit for an hour, so the whole thing comes together relatively quickly.  Once it's ready, you stuff little circles with a cheesy, saucy mixture (one you could add any of your favorite pizza toppings to!), and then you shove them all into a bread dish and bake.  Oh, and you top it with a buttery chive sauce because it's not sinful and delicious enough as is.  (Sarcasm)    

You can find the recipe HERE.  Enjoy!  

{Mozzarella, Parmesan, pizza sauce, sliced pepperoni, Italian seasoning}

{My little helpers, flour EVERYWHERE}

{Pockets stuffed, ready to bake...}

{Voila!  Topped with a chive butter sauce}

How to make a great Chicken Paillard


The other day I put up an Instagram story about our dinner and got so many requests for the recipe.  So here you go!  Your wish is my command!  Well, it's sort of my command, because I'm not actually going to write out a recipe... because I'm too lazy.  Sorry not sorry.  However, I will be as descriptive as possible on just how I make this salad that has become a weekly staple in our house!

It's all about the chicken.  I like to buy boneless, skinless, thinly sliced breast cutlets, but breasts or tenders would work as well.  Whatever chicken you have, the key is to pound it so that it's as thin as can be.  I place my breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and I pound it with a meat tenderizer, however you can use just about anything: wine bottle, soup can, your fist (this is particularly fun if you have anger issues).      

Next, you need to set up a breading station (of course, you can skip this step if you'd like to just grill your chicken as is, but I like a little crunch to mine).  I use flour, whole wheat breadcrumbs combined with Parmesan, and two egg whites.  IMPORTANT: salt and pepper each bowl.  This will help with developing flavor.  The order for dredging is: flour, egg whites, breadcrumbs.  Get your skillet ready by covering it with olive oil, about 1/4 inch deep, over medium-high heat.  Cook chicken for no more than 3 minutes a side, less if you're using cutlets or tenders.  You'll know when to flip because the bottom of your chicken will become nice and golden.    

As for your salad, anything goes!  Last night I used arugula, cherry tomatoes, sweet yellow peppers, toasted pine nuts, leftover corn, avocado and grated Parmesan.  I make the same dressing almost every time: 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, about 1/4 cup of good olive oil and salt and pepper, all whisked together.  Chicken on the bottom, salad on top, voila!

Leprechaun Bait


Top 'o the morning to ya, lads and lassies!  I read that in my mind with a really lame Irish accent as I wrote it.  I also had a weird daydream this morning about a leprechaun running in the room and pinching my butt as I brushed my teeth.  Probably didn't need to tell you that, huh?  I've obviously eaten too much of this sweet and savory Leprechaun Bait that I saw on Pinterest.  Basically you throw a bunch of stuff you probably already have in your house - popcorn, rice cereal, pretzels - and add Lucky Charms (I found the St. Patrick's day limited edition box), green M&M's (I used a bag of mint ones), and drizzle green candy melts over the whole thing!  Kind of gross?  Yes.  Fun for the kids to make?  Yes.  Will it really trap leprechauns?  DUH!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!  

Similar recipes here and here.    

Also... more St. Patrick's Day dishes and treats HERE!

Baked Spaghetti Squash Carbonara


What would be your last meal on earth?  I hate that question, so I apologize for asking you.  But now you have to answer, so do it.  The question stresses me out, because I love too much food!  Would it be an indulgent short rib dish?  Something Mexican?  An entire chocolate cake??  I can't decide!!  Pasta is definitely high on the list, and specifically Spaghetti Carbonara.  Pasta in a creamy egg sauce with bacon, I mean, come ON!  It's always my go-to order at a nice Italian restaurant.  However, since I can't eat like there will be no tomorrow EVERY night, I like to modify my favorites to make them slightly healthier.  Like this carbonara dish made with spaghetti squash!  

I followed this recipe and modified it by using whole milk instead of ricotta (because it's what I had on hand).  It was so tasty, and a fun variation of the classic dish.  Of course if it really WAS my last night alive, I would throw the squash straight out the window and go for the real stuff.     

Roasted Carrots and Asparagus w/ Avocado


I've made dishes similar to this one before (seen here) but I just can't get enough of the carrot/avocado combination.  I can't, I tell you, I can't!  Even though our weather is seventy degrees one day and snowing the next, I'm channeling springtime with these vegetables: sweet carrots and crisp asparagus, roasted in garlic, red pepper flakes and cumin, and then topped with a zesty greek yogurt, creamy avocado and crunchy pumpkin seeds.   It's a delicious blend of flavors and textures, and I think you'll love it as much as I do.    

Roasted Carrots and Asparagus w/ Avocado 
Adapted from here
(Serves 4)

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed off
1 bunch small carrots, stems removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup greek yogurt
Zest of one lime
1 avocado, sliced
Handful of pumpkins seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Place carrots and asparagus in a large bowl, and add garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes and a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Pick the carrots out of the bowl and place on baking sheet.  Roast for 10 minutes, then add asparagus and roast for another 20.  Remove from oven and place on a serving dish.  While the carrots are roasting, add the lime zest to the yogurt and stir.  Top veggies with sliced avocado, dollops of yogurt and pumpkin seeds.  Season to taste.  

TODAY tonight: Smoky Bacon Mac & Cheese


Goooooood morning, Internet!  I'm back with another TODAY tonight, which is a series where I make something at home that Carson ate at work and absolutely loved, mostly just to get him to shut up about it.  Just kidding!  I love hearing him talk!  Anyway, after he tried this Smoky Bacon Mac & Cheese (along with the gruyere and caramelized onion one) he said it was probably the best thing he's ever eaten on the show, and that Matt Lauer shared similar sentiments.  That's a pretty good review, if you ask me.  We had some friends over this weekend so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make it and it, was, delicious.  Delicious enough to use commas inappropriately.  It's made with smoked gouda and pepperjack cheese, applewood smoked bacon and seasoned with cayenne and paprika... which all contribute to the most wonderful smoky flavor.  And it doesn't hurt that you use bacon fat to make the roux.  Definitely try it at your next gathering, especially if you're a bacon fan, and if you try the other one please send me your thoughts!   

Recipe HERE.

Buddha Bowls


I'm still not exactly sure what a Buddha Bowl is.  I saw this article on Buzzfeed and became intrigued.  I think they are supposed to be hearty bowls full of raw or roasted veggies and healthy grains that make our bellies so full we end up looking like little buddhas.  Does that sound right?  While I'm not sure I want to look pregnant when I'm not, I am on board with hearty and delicious bowls of goodness, aren't you?  So I made my own with brown wild rice, roasted kale, broccolini and sweet potato, crunchy seasoned garbanzo beans and avocado.  While a lot of these bowls have a tahini-based sauce, for this I simply drizzled some good olive oil and sriracha on top of the finished dish and it, was, sublime.      

To get a nice crunch on the garbanzo beans, it helps to remove there outer skin.  This is tedious, I won't lie.  I'm weird, however, and enjoyed it... but I also enjoy pulling every single last hair out of a hairbrush.  I'd even enjoy it if it was your hairbrush.  Yeah, I'm weird AND disgusting.  Anyway, it helps to rinse the chickpeas (garbanzos, is their a difference?) under water while removing the outer layer with your fingers and discarding in the sink.  Trust me, make a double batch of these for snacking... they are delicious and much healthier than playing with stranger's hairbrushes. 

Buddha Bowls 
Makes 2 bowls

1 bunch kale (I used black kale), stems removed and chopped
2 cups diced sweet potato
1 bunch broccolini, stems removed
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and outer skins removed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups cooked wild rice or brown rice
1 avocado, halved and sliced
Olive oil and hot sauce for drizzling (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, place sweet potatoes, kale and broccolini.  Drizzle everything with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for 20 minutes, flipping veggies halfway through.  Remove, cover with foil and set aside.  In the meantime, place garbanzo beans in a bowl and add cumin, chili powder, salt and minced garlic.  Toss to coat.  In a skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add beans and sauté for 10-15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until beans have a nice crunch.  To assemble bowls, add rice first, then roasted veggies, beans and avocado.  Sprinkle with olive oil, hot sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.  


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