Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza


Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza

For those of you who read my posts regularly, I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I love to grill!  I will attempt to grill everything! One of my favorite things to make on the grill is pizza and bread. Grilled pizza has become quite popular over the last few years and with good reason…it tastes great! So here is a really quick and easy meal that everyone will love. Typically this is one of the meals I throw together when I have leftover chicken, but you can always cook your chicken right before making the pizza. If you’ve read how to make grilled pizza you may have been told to oil your dough, but that is actually not necessary. I usually always oil my grill grates because it does help prevent foods from sticking but it also keeps the grates in better condition, however this is also not necessary for pizza. Once the dough firms up it will come right off the grate with no problems. I never measure my ingredients for this so although I’ve included measurements for each ingredient in the recipe ultimately you can just put the toppings on to your own preference.

Grilled Barbecue Chicken Pizza

1 Pizza Dough (homemade or store bought is fine)

1 cup Barbecue Sauce

1 cup Mozzarella Cheese

1 cup Cheddar Cheese

2 slices of cooked bacon

1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded

 1/4 cup chopped red onions

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.

  2. Divide dough into four and flatten using a rolling pin or your hands.

  3. Place each piece of dough on the grill for 3 minutes over direct heat.

  4. Remove the dough from the grill to add toppings. On the cooked side of the dough, place about 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce, 1 tbsp. onions, 2 tbsp. of shredded chicken over each piece of dough. Crumble the bacon over the pizzas and add the cheese (about 1/4 cup of Mozzarella & 1/4 cup of cheddar on each pizza).

  5. Return the dough to the grill uncooked side down and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes over direct heat. Then continue to cook the pizzas over indirect heat until the toppings are heated through and the cheese is melted.

  6. Cut into slices or squares and serve!

 

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The Breakfast Madness Continues…Waffles!


So I thought I would stick with a “breakfast theme” for the remainder of my posts this week. I love breakfast food…I could eat it in the morning, for lunch, or for dinner. I especially love the Belgian-style waffles you get at diners and buffets. As a matter of fact, last Spring, Hubby and I took a ride to Atlantic City and ended up staying over at a hotel. We hit up their breakfast buffet and they had the waffle maker and waffle mix to make your own Belgian waffles….holy moly…these were THE best waffles ever!! I loved them so much that when we got home I did a little research to find out what kind of mix the hotel chain used and found out it was Carbon’s Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Flour. I then immediately ordered three huge cans of it from Amazon and Hubby bought us a nice big waffle maker.

When I whipped up these waffles…I was happy to find out they tasted the same as I remembered. Although I’ve read numerous reviews talking about adding other ingredients to make it better…in my opinion, the best way to make them is to follow the recipe on the can. They come out light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. They have such a great flavor…mmmmmm….sorry I was daydreaming about biting into them.

So anyway, if you are looking for a great restaurant-style waffle then I would highly recommend splurging on Carbon’s. It is a bit pricier than the $2 waffle mix you can find in the grocery store but it is well worth the extra few dollars. I’ve never seen it sold in stores, but if you do an internet search you can definitely find a bunch of sites that sell it. I went with Amazon because they had a pretty good deal and I liked the fact that you could get it in bulk (3 large cans) so you don’t have to order it every other week.  Carbon’s offers a large variety of its pancake and waffle flour including gluten-free, natural, and organic varieties, as well as a “just add water” version.

As for our waffle maker…this has been a good purchase as well. It makes great waffles and although it is a little bit on the bigger side it is not as large and bulky as some of the other waffle irons out there. I love that it flips over for even cooking and has a temperature control with a good range (0-10).

One last thought…like I said, the best way to use the Carbon’s flour is to make it following the recipe on the back of the can, but you can definitely get creative by adding all kinds of different things to the waffles, such as fruits (blueberries, apples, bananas, raspberries, etc.) or chocolate chips or nuts. I’ve tried pretty much all of these and they all tasted great.

Oh and don’t worry…..I have a “Slimmed Down” version of these waffles, which I’ll be sharing soon! So even if you are watching what you eat you don’t have to give up this awesome waffle mix! Be sure to check back for this lower fat option.

 

Carbon’s Golden Malted Waffles (Makes 3 small-medium waffles or 2 ½ large Belgian size waffles)

(Source: Carbon’s Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Flour Canister)

1 cup Carbon’s Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Flour

1 egg

5 oz. water

2 tbsp. melted butter (or 2 tbsp. vegetable oil)

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Pour mixture into waffle maker and cook per manufacturer’s instructions.

 

 

 

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Bacon, Egg & Hash Brown Skillet Breakfast


My inspiration for this recipe comes from those yummy Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls. Hubby & I used to buy them now and then but of course they’re loaded with a ton of sodium and preservatives and who knows what else. Then one day it hit me…”why don’t I just make my own?”

It came out way more tasty (and these pics don’t do it justice…stupid iPhone!) and plus you can add pretty much whatever you want. Typically I use the Jimmy Dean precooked turkey sausage patties, but I like it with bacon as well. Since I had some leftover thick cut hickory smoked bacon from the farmer’s market I used that for Sunday’s brunch.

You can really get creative with this recipe by adding different veggies and different meats and even different cheeses and of course adjust the seasoning to your own preference. It is a great “base” recipe.

You’ll see in the recipe you are instructed to use a mandolin slicer with the julienne blade to cut the potatoes into hash brown pieces.

If you don’t have a mandolin slicer you can just cut the potatoes in cubes (this is what I used to do before I got my mandolin), but if you do I would recommend putting the potato cubes in a microwave safe bowl, filling with water and microwaving for at least 10-15 minutes to soften the potatoes up. If you don’t take the time to do this step, it will take forever for the potatoes to get done in the skillet and you’ll probably just end up burning the outside of the potato and they may not get tender at all…trust me I’ve learned from experience! 🙂 Serve this in a bowl as a meal or with pancakes, waffles or toast.

All this talk about breakfast foods has made me hungry! It may be a “BFD” kind of night…that is, “breakfast for dinner.”

Who doesn’t love BFD??

Bacon, Egg & Hash Brown Breakfast Skillet (Makes approx. 4 – ½ cup servings)

2 potatoes

3 slices thick cut bacon

3 eggs

¼ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. paprika

½ tsp. onion powder

2 tbsp. olive oil

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  1. Wash potatoes and cut them with a mandolin slicer using the julienne blade.
  2. Place the sliced potatoes into a bowl with a lid and add the salt, pepper, paprika, and onion powder. Place the lid on the bowl and shake it up to cover the potatoes with the seasonings. Set aside.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain grease.
  4. To the skillet, add the eggs and scramble, stirring constantly with a rubber scraper. Once eggs are completely scrambled and no liquid remains remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Using the same skillet, heat the olive oil. Add potatoes and cook covered for about 4 minutes. Carefully “flip” the hash browns over and cook (covered) on the other side for another 3-4 minutes or until crisp tender. (*Tip: Resist the urge to “stir” the potatoes frequently. This will cause them to be soggy and they will not get crispy like hash browns.)
  6. Remove the lid and make sure the potatoes are tender and browned. If they are done, add the egg, stirring to break up the egg.
  7. Crumble or cut the bacon into small pieces and add to skillet and stir to mix all the ingredients up.
  8. Finally, add the cheese and allow to melt, stirring occasionally. Once cheese has melted and is well-combined remove from heat and serve.

 

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Chocolate Nutella Cookies


So a few weeks ago I finally gave in and bought a little sample pack of Nutella to see what all the hype was about. Even though I was a little scared of it…it turned out to be pretty good. I ended up buying a jar at the grocery store, but it had been sitting in the cupboard unopen for about two weeks. I had seen tons of Nutella recipes and decided cookies would be good. I went to the  Weight Watchers website to find a recipe (thought that would be a good place to start). So my inspiration for this recipe is from the Community Boards on WW which were a thumbprint cookie.

Now, if you’ve made thumbprint cookies before you know that they typically call for egg yolks and that just seemed like to much work for me at the time.  Plus, I didn’t want a huge batch because the last thing I need sitting around the house is cookies! It doesn’t really matter if they are only 1 or 2 WW points plus when you eat 12 by yourself…at one time! So having to reduce the ingredients in the recipe meant I had to figure out the egg yolk…and I just didn’t want to do it, so I used egg beaters instead because that was the easiest and quickest way to get the amount of egg I needed. I knew this would change the consistency of the cookie, but I thought why not be a little experimental.  Lastly, I was not really in the mood to be patient with having to refrigerate the dough and then roll the cookies into balls…I just wanted to get it all done at once. So I just scooped them out into the best round shape I could and made an indentation in the middle with a spoon.

When they came out of the oven they looked nothing like thumbprint cookies, but they looked and smelled good, at least.

Once they cooled and I was able to test them out I was pleasantly surprised. They were really rich and chocolatey and the Nutella on top added a nice dimension to the flavor.

Chocolate Nutella Cookies (Makes 15 cookies; WW Points Plus = 2/cookie)

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 tbsp. refrigerated egg substitutes (i.e. Egg Beaters)

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

7 1/2 tsp. Nutella

  1. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt with a whisk.
  2. Using a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla and Egg Beaters and beat for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until well combined.
  5. Scoop cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, pressing down in the middle with a spoon to make a small indentation.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool. When cookies are completely cooled top each one with a 1/2 tsp. nutella.

 

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Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches


 

There is nothing like the smell of something wonderful cooking in the crockpot all day. There is also nothing like throwing some meat and ingredients into the crockpot and coming home to a cooked meal.

French Dip is probably one of my favorite foods to order at a diner. Since I’m trying to cut back on eating out I decided to try it at home. This recipe is great for cheap cuts of beef since it cooks all day. The meat comes out extremely tender and super flavorful. I picked up some round eye steak since a whole roast was a little too much for just me and Hubby (although I could’ve bought a small roast and cut it down, but quite frankly I didn’t feel like going through all that work of slicing it and freezing it into smaller portions). I used two steaks which weighed a total of just about 2 lbs. but I didn’t change any of the amounts of the ingredients for the rest of the recipe.  Make sure you use low-sodium soy sauce or your meat and juice will be way too salty. To me, Crockpot meals are all about being quick and convenient so I just used dried herbs and spices but you could always substitute fresh since fresh is always better; just remember that you will need to increase the amount (rule of thumb: use three times the amount of fresh for dried). You can slice the meat thin or shred it. I prefer to shred it…there’s no particular reason for this, I just like it that way. Use “Mandy’s Marvelous Sandwich Rolls”, cutting in half and adding some garlic butter to each side and toasting before adding the meat.

 

French Dip Sandwiches in the Crockpot (Makes 12 servings)

1 4 lb. boneless beef roast

½ cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 cup beef stock or low-sodium beef broth

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. garlic powder

12 Sandwich Rolls

12 slices provolone cheese (optional)

 

  1. Trim beef of all visible fat and place in Crockpot.
  2. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, beef stock, bay leaf, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder.
  3. Pour mixture over beef and cook on Low Heat for 8-10 hours (cook longer for thicker cuts of meat).  If desired, in the last hour of cooking, take out the meat, shred and return to Crockpot to allow flavors to soak through.
  4. Remove meat from broth and reserve broth for dipping.
  5. Distribute meat on rolls and top with cheese, if desired. Serve with small individual dishes of broth for dipping.
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Fear of Baking Bread & Sandwich Roll Recipe


For some reason I always had this idea in my head that it was extremely difficult to make bread or rolls from scratch. Even though there is nothing better than homemade bread and rolls I stayed away from making them.

Then one day I planned to make sandwiches for dinner, but forgot to pick up some rolls. I guess I can thank my laziness for sending me on to the internet to look at some recipes for homemade sandwich rolls. There was no way I was getting back in the car and driving a whopping 2 minutes down the street to go to the store yet again. Somehow my warped mind thought driving back to the store would be much worse than the grueling task of making rolls from scratch. The fear was there that this may not be something I should get into, but I gave it a shot….and to my surprise it was pretty easy. Since then, I’ve tried all kinds of breads: sourdough, Italian, white bread, whole wheat, French bread, dinner rolls, garlic bread, etc. And each time I make them I am always impressed that it wasn’t too difficult to make and that they turned out really good!

This past weekend, while eating lunch at my mom’s house, I brought some of these yummy rolls for our sandwiches. I said to her, “how come you never told me it was so easy to make bread?” She just laughed and proceeded to tell me a story of how my Grandmother used to make such large batches of bread, my Grandfather would have to come and punch the dough down because it was too much for the women in the kitchen. Well, lucky for me I only cook for two people and I own a Kitchenaid Mixer! Which does all the kneading for you so this makes it even easier. But don’t worry even if you have to knead the dough by yourself (or maybe if you have some kids put them to work) it is not bad…I have done it before and lived to tell about it! (Of course, that was before I actually understood how all the features on my Kitchenaid worked :))

So what is the moral to this story? If you are like I used to be and think that it’s difficult to make bread or rolls….you should get over it and try it for yourself. You’ll never want to buy rolls or bread from the store or a bakery again!

Mandy’s Marvelous Sandwich Rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)

1 packet active dry yeast

2 tbsp. white sugar

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp. salt

4 1/2 cups flour

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy 5-10 minutes.
  2. To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt and 2 cups of flour and combine until a dough forms.
  3. Stir in the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Knead the dough. Using the dough hook of your mixer, knead for about 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 8 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat all sides with the oil.
  6. Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm dark place and allow dough to rise for about 1 hour.
  7. After the dough has risen, deflate it by gently punching it down in the bowl.
  8. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and separate into 12 pieces, forming them into round balls.
  9. Place dough balls on a non-stick baking sheet at least two inches apart and cover with a damp cloth. Place in a warm dark place and allow to rise for about 40 more minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  11. After second rising, bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 14-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

A Few Tips & Suggestions:

  • If you divide the dough into 16 rounds, the Weight Watchers Points Plus will be 4. You’ll have a smaller roll, but this is more of an appropriate portion size.
  • If you do not want to make all 12 or 16 rolls at once, after the first rising, only make the amount you need and freeze the remaining dough. When you are ready to use the rest of dough thaw it and allow to rise for about 45 minutes and follow original baking instructions. It is best to freeze dough before the second rising.
  • You can also divide the roll into 24 balls and use as buns for “Sliders” or use just as a dinner roll.
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Slimmed Down Sesame Chicken


So as I mentioned yesterday, I had a craving for Chinese food. Not exactly the best thing to be eating when you’re trying to lose weight! I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to try one of Hungry Girl’s recent recipes, “Sweet ‘n Sticky Sesame Chicken”. She has come up with some amazing recipes and I highly recommend you watch her show and pick up a few of her cookbooks! (Can you tell I’m a huge fan?!)

Anyway, I initially made the recipe exactly as written and it was pretty good but it was just a little bit on the bland side. I played around with it a little bit and came up with this modified version. For those Weight Watchers users out there this recipe is 7 points and makes one serving. Serve with ½ cup brown rice.

On a more personal note, I have successfully made it through three weeks of Weight Watchers…down 2.5 more pounds at today’s weigh-in. Thank goodness for all those other great bloggers out there dedicated to sharing tasty recipes that are low fat, low calorie, and healthy. I love finding great recipes that fit into my diet and I love sharing the ones I come up with as well! So, if you’ve been enjoying my posts please “Like” my Facebook Page.

I’m getting hungry….think I’ll make some more of this yummy chicken!

Slimmed Down Sesame Chicken (Makes 1 serving; 7 WW Pointsplus)

(Source: Hungry Girl)

1/8 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. fat free liquid egg substitute (i.e. Egg Beaters)

5 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

2 tbsp. whole wheat flour

2 tbsp. chicken stock

1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tbsp. sugar-free pancake syrup

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

1/2 tbsp. ketchup

1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce

1/4 tsp. sesame oil

1/4 tsp. crushed garlic

1/2 tsp. sesame seeds

1 scallion, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl combine the onion powder, garlic powder, soy sauce, vinegar and egg substitute. Add the chicken and make sure all the pieces are covered. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Add the flour in a shallow dish or bowl and dredge the chicken pieces in it, coating all sides. Place chicken on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining chicken stock with cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Heat over medium heat and add syrup, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic. Stirring often, cook until the sauce becomes thick.
  5. Add chicken to sauce and toss to coat.
  6. Serve and top with sesame seeds and scallions.
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Irish for A Day: Lucky Charm Cupcakes


Baking has always been something I’ve been pretty good at. Not to toot my own horn, but I can make some yummy baked goods (making them look pretty, however, is a different story). I haven’t been doing much baking lately because when I do bake all my willpower goes out the window and I will indulge in a cupcake (or two or three…but more like 6!)…and why is it that my Hubby will say he’s hungry for cake and then when I make one, he eats two pieces and never touches it again! Which then presents me with only two options 1) throw it away or 2) eat it myself (can’t freeze it because it just doesn’t taste the same)!

Most recipes for cakes, cookies, cupcakes, etc. are just way too much for my small family of two. I was always scared to try to scale recipes down since baking is so much more technical than other types of cooking. Eventually, though, I did start “halving” my recipes, but still this was too much of a good thing for only two people. So, I started going even further with my calculations and scaled back to make just enough for two. I’ve never been great at math, nor have I ever liked doing it. So, I cringe when I break out the pencil and the calculator to start making the conversions, but am filled with satisfaction when I’ve done it correctly!

So that’s what I did yesterday. Even though I am not Irish and typically don’t do anything to observe St. Patrick’s Day, I kept seeing recipes for Lucky Charms cupcakes, and I thought I would try them out. I really didn’t find any recipes on the web that were all that special so I ended up using “The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake” recipe on the “Cupcake Project” website. I considered following the recipe exactly and using real vanilla beans, but it just seemed like a waste of money since I was going to be adding Lucky Charms cereal and didn’t really know how it would turn out. I scaled down the recipe to make only four cupcakes.

To me, baking is pretty straight forward if you can read and follow directions. If you are not someone who bakes a lot make sure you follow the recipe exactly and follow the directions the way they are written. Be careful not to overmix your badder. When baking, be sure not to over bake or your end product will be dry.

For the frosting, I used the recipe recommended on the Cupcake Project site. I again scaled this down to 4 servings and did not use real vanilla beans.

Don’t worry….my willpower held strong yesterday and I only made these beauties for my Hubby.

For myself, I made some “guilt-free Hungry Girl” cupcakes. I used her Vanilla Cupcake Recipe and just added 1/4 cup of Lucky Charms to the batter.  They were ok, but had a strange texture and I felt like you could taste the diet lemon-lime soda….but these are the sacrifices I’m willing to make to get myself ready for bathing suit season! 🙂

One last tip…something that I didn’t come across when looking for the Lucky Charms recipe, but wish someone would have mentioned…would be to add the Lucky Charms that are on top right before serving. After I frosted the cupcakes I added the Lucky Charms to the top and by the time we finished dinner and were ready for the cupcakes, the cereal had turned stale and this definitely took something away from the overall taste.

I hope you enjoy them…even though St. Patty’s Day is over, Lucky Charms are great any day of the year so give them a try!!

Lucky Charms Cupcakes (Makes 4 cupcakes)

Adapted from “The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake”

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup + 3 tbsp. cake flour

1/4 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 large egg (beat egg and divide in half. For more accurate measurement weigh the beaten egg on a food scale and divide in half.)

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

4 tsp. sour cream

2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. whole milk

1/4 cup Lucky Charms Cereal

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with 4 cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt).
  3. Add the butter and beat with a mixer for about 3 minutes. You should end up with a fine crumb like consistency.
  4. In a separate small mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
  5. Add this to this to the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  6. Slowly add the milk, mixing on low speed until just combined.
  7. Fold in the Lucky Charms cereal.
  8. Fill cupcake liners about half full.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Place cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting(Makes enough frosting for 4 cupcakes)

Adapted from “Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting”

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. powdered sugar

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3/4 tsp. milk

  1. In a mixer, combine the powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add the milk and mix until desired consistency is reached. Add more sugar or milk to adjust the consistency.
  3. Add 2-4 drops of food coloring (green for the Lucky Charms cupcakes) and mix until combined and frosting is green.
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Italian Sausage and Three Cheese Raviolletti


This is a quick pasta dish great for a weeknight meal. Full of flavor and fresh ingredients the whole family will love it! I know my Hubby did! 😉 I originally saw this recipe in Food Network Magazine, but I did change it up significantly starting with the type of sausage and pasta. It is a pretty basic recipe, so you can definitely use any pasta you like or spicy sausage or a different type of meat. For this recipe I used Buitoni Three Cheese Raviolletti which you can find in the dairy section of the grocery store.

Back in the day  in high school (we won’t mention how far back)I had learned in cooking class to always get all your ingredients prepared and measured out and ready to go before you begin the actual cooking or baking part. Fast forward to adulthood and when I first started out cooking I seemed to have forgotten this important “preparation” step. My cooking was unorganized, timed poorly and just an all around mess. As a matter of fact my own Mother commented that I was “a messy cook.” Initially this didn’t really matter to me so much as long as the end result tasted good! However, as I’ve gotten better and better I realized taking 10-15 minutes to prepare everything and have it readily available makes everything run so much smoother and easier….no more running around the kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off. As you can see in the picture, I took the time to chop the garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes, as well as cooking the pasta while I cut everything up. Once it was time to cook, I just grabbed everything as I went along. The total time for me to make this and put it on the table was about 40 minutes with minimal clean up afterwards. I guess those old cliche’s are true…practice does make perfect!

Italian Sausage & Three Cheese Ravioletti (Makes 4 servings)

9 oz. Buitoni Three Cheese Ravioletti

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

8 oz. Italian Sausage (casings removed)

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

6 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1/2 tsp. salt

Black Pepper, to taste

1-2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon until it begins to brown.
  3. Add the scallions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, mushrooms, salt & pepper, stirring occassionally until the mushrooms start to brown.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook until they soften slightly, about 3 more minutes.
  6. Add the chicken stock to the skillet and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  7. Stir in the pasta and cheese, cook until the cheese has melted.
  8. Divide among bowls, topping each bowl with some parmesan cheese.
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Pizza Steak Rolls


I had some fancy  (well maybe not fancy…expensive?) cheese left over from another meal I made, so I decided to throw this together and it turned out to be very delicious. It passed the taste test of my number one fan and my number one critic…my hubby! I’m hopeful this will please your taste buds as much as it did for ours!

First off, I want to say that this recipe is what I like to call a great “base recipe”. By this I mean, it has all the main things you need to get started, but it is easily adapted to fit your own preferences as well as your own creativity. With this recipe, the possibilities are endless as you can use different types of meats, cheeses, sauces, spices, and so on….of course you may not want to call it a “steak roll up” if you’re using chicken, but you get the point.  Also, if you need it for a quick meal you can substitute using refrigerated pizza dough, pre-made pizza sauce in a jar, regular shredded mozzarella, and if you are brave enough…steak-ums (do they even still make those? Are they even really beef? Ok, ok…I like steak-ums, but I won’t cook with them!). If you want to make a more all natural meal and have more time (and it fits your budget) you can make your own pizza sauce with fresh tomatoes, herbs & spices, and fresh garlic and can get a better cut of steak at your local butcher, just ask them to slice it super-duper thin! Our local farmer’s market sells two versions of their chip steak: regular bottom round and prime rib; and of course, you can use whatever cheese you like…there are so many great unprocessed cheeses out there!  The version I have provided is a mixture of both (pizza dough from scratch, sauce from canned tomato sauce & paste, dried herbs, minced garlic from a jar, and basic bottom round cut of meat and some good cheese).

Even if you are a beginner cook, you have probably heard or read somewhere that the best food comes from the best ingredients. I have to say that this is absolutely true! That $100 truffle you just splurged on…absolutely tastes like one hundred dollars…worth every penny! But realistically the average Jane (or Joe) probably can’t afford the very best all the time, so my advice is to always get the very best that you can afford. I usually splurge once a week and make a meal with better ingredients than I normally would for everyday cooking. This is a nice way to have “date night in”….the food is as good or better than a restaurant and it is actually cheaper than going out. So however you decide to make this recipe it will taste good…and that is the main thing, right?

Pizza Steak Roll Up (Makes 2 large roll ups; enough for at least 4 very hungry adults)

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough (see recipe from earlier post) or refrigerated pizza dough

Sauce:

  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. sugar

½ lb-1 lb. chip steak

Pinch of salt & pepper (or to taste)

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of onion powder

1 oz. smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into thin strips

2 oz. fontina cheese

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

Instructions:

  1. Make the sauce: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Prepare the meat by sprinkling the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder on both sides.
  4. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the steak, chopping into smaller pieces, approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Divide pizza dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into two rectangular pieces.
  6. Spread about ½ cup of pizza sauce (more or less to taste) on each rectangle.
  7. Divide the meat in half and spread out on the both pieces of dough. If you desire, add more sauce on top of the meat.
  8. Using a cheese grater, grate the fontina cheese evenly over both pieces of dough. Then, place the mozzarella pieces evenly over each piece.
  9. Roll up each piece by first folding in the two end pieces and rolling over.
  10. Seal with a fork and poke a few holes in the top.
  11. Coat the top of the rolls with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and heated through.
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