Tag Archives: spinach

Grilled Peach Pizza

Saaayyywhaaaa?

Oh yeah.  My friend Kristin posted a photo of her grilled pizza she made not too long ago and man was I inspired.  And then I flipped through Cooking Light and saw fruit on a pizza and it was all down hill from there.  I was hooked.  Here’s how I made mine.

You’ll need:

  • pizza crust
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • mozzarella cheese
  • spinach
  • onion, chopped
  • green pepper, chopped
  • chicken, cooked and shredded
  • apple wood smoked blue cheese
  • 1-2 peaches, thinly sliced
  • balsamic vinegar

I started off by taking a pre-made pizza (I haven’t messed around with making my own pizza dough and I was not in the mood to try), brushed some oil on it and slapped it on the grill (medium high heat), about a couple minutes on each side to warm it up and get some grill marks on it.  I then added some mozz cheese, spinach, onion, peppers, shredded chicken, apple wood smoked blue cheese, peach slices, and topped off with a little more mozz.  Shut the grill and let her go until the cheese has melted and the pizza is warmed through out.  Um this apple wood smoked blue cheese is OUT OF THIS WORLD.  I think I could have ate the whole thing because it was JUST THAT GOOD.  I refrained.  It will go on the next pizza I make.

Now the balsamic vinegar.  If you are handy and can multitask, pour about 1/3 cup in a small sauce pan and boil for about 2-3 minutes until it has reduced.  Once the pizza is done (or do this as soon as the pizza comes off the grill or oven), drizzle this all over it.  Oh yeah.  Do not forget this part.  It makes the pizza.  I may start drizzling it over everything. And I mean everything.

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Garlic Soup with Spinach, Pasta Shells and Chicken

Talk about a soup that will warm you from the inside out on a chilly day.  I’ve never made my own broth before.  This recipe required you to.  I mean, who sells garlic broth?  Right.  So I had no choice but to make my own.  And it was… rewarding!  Thank you New York Times for this recipe.

You’ll need:

2 heads of garlic
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon olive oil
A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf, a couple of sprigs each thyme and parsley, and a fresh sage leaf
Salt to taste
1/2 cup small macaroni shells
6 1/2-inch thick slices country bread, toasted and rubbed with a cut clove of garlic
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
4 egg yolks
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach

Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice and water. Separate the head of garlic into cloves and drop them into the boiling water. Blanch for 30 seconds, then transfer to the ice water. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then drain and remove the skins from the garlic cloves. They’ll be loose and easy to remove. Crush the cloves lightly by leaning on them with the side of a chef’s knife.

Place the garlic cloves in a large saucepan with 2 quarts of water, the olive oil, bouquet garni, and salt to taste, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Strain and return the broth to the saucepan. Taste and adjust salt, and bring back to a simmer.

If you wanted to make your broth ahead of time and make the rest of the soup later, just stop here and pop the broth in the fridge or freezer.

Add the macaroni shells to the broth and simmer until cooked al dente.

Distribute the garlic croutons among soup bowls and top each one with a heaped tablespoon of cheese. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl. Making sure that it is not boiling, whisk in a ladleful of the hot garlic broth.

Add the spinach to the simmering broth and stir for 30 seconds to a minute, until all of the spinach is wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in the tempered egg yolks. Stir for a minute, taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle the soup over the cheese-topped croutons, and serve.

I also tossed in some shredded chicken for a lil more oomph into this delish soup.  I LOVED this soup. LOVED LOVED LOVED.  Make it.  Now!

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spinach, gruyère and mushroom calzone

Sometimes I like to play it simple and safe by stuffing some dough with ingredients and baking it.  Like this post.  I had some pizza dough from Trader Joe’s in the refrigerator.  Thinking it’s time to make a calzone, I had spinach, gruyère and mushrooms in my fridge.  Bingo!  All of those ingredients were stuffed into some of the dough and baked for about 30 minutes at 375, or until crisp and golden brown.

It’s the simple things in life that are the yummiest.  The complex taste of the gruyère mixing with the spinach and mushrooms makes me feel more of an adult while enjoying a simple calzone.  So good!  Served with some marinara (shh, or spaghetti sauce!) for dipping.  Happy stuffing!

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my first CSA box!

I recently signed up for a bi-weekly CSA vegetable box through Isadore Foods and dun dun DUNNN! i was able to pick it up this past Thursday.  (for those who don’t know, a CSA is “community supported agriculture” where you get a box full of local vegetables.  pretty cool, right?)  i was really excited to jump onto the fall/winter CSA subscription.  my first CSA consisted of:

organic radishes & organic spinach from Brenckle Farm in Beaver County, PA

organic turnip greens and organic arugula from NuWay Farm in Mercer County, PA

and a half-gallon of cider from Sally’s Cider Press in Beaver County, PA

the one thing i love about this CSA (besides it being local and convenient), i’m getting vegetables that i normally wouldn’t pick out at the grocery store.  turnips? radishes?  i wouldn’t even to think to look at them!  now i am challenged to come up with recipes for turnips and radishes.  i’ve been looking around and have found some things to do… stay tuned to see what i come up with 🙂

 

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cast iron skillet… pizza?!

yes.  you read that correctly.  foodie friend and co-worker, Andrea (over at Storming Your Castle) and i were talking about food — probably because i was either a) hungry, b) didn’t know what to make for dinner, or c) both — and we got on the topic of pizza.  Andrea informed me of her post where she made pizza… but with a cast iron skillet!  i was shocked, baffled, intrigued and way excited to try it out for myself.  if you want to try a deep dish style pizza (or are unsure of yourself like i was), make the pizza inside of the pan.  if you’re going for more of a thin crust, flip the skillet over.

i threw caution to the wind and went at this with more excitement than anything else.  i went to the grocery store after work and got some dough, diced tomatoes and cheese.  i knew i had some random things i could toss on the pizza back home, so i was going to cross the topping bridge when i got to it.

i pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees but i did not put the skillet in the oven.  no point in messing with a heavy hot skillet (another great tip from Andrea).  i looked at the dough and realized… i didn’t have a rolling-pin!  seriously?!  i know, right!  but the last time i made a pizza was when i had a roommate who had a rolling-pin which was over a year ago.  i surveyed the kitchen and while i hate to admit it at first, i’m kind of proud of myself for my quick thinking.  i was enjoying a beer in a bottle so i poured it out, cleaned the bottle off well and used it as my rolling-pin.  not glamorous but it got the job done.

after rolling the dough out i put it in the pan.  i used a can of diced tomatoes with some of the juices, tossed on a good handful or two of fresh spinach, a nice coating of mozzarella cheese, sliced mushrooms and sliced tomatoes.

i popped that bad boy in for about 25 minutes and voila.  amazing pizza.

i have never made a pizza with such a crispy crust.  and it was so DELICIOUS.  it tasted just as good as it looks in the photos below.

if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, i suggest keeping your eyes peeled for a sale at macy’s and get one.  i picked mine up for $15 and it has been the best $15 i ever spent.  it might be heavy but… look at what it is capable of doing!  you bet i’ll be making more pizzas now.  i’ll try not to bore you with them… perhaps a breakfast or dessert pizza?! hmm….

i’ll do both! 🙂  yum, yum and yum!

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gnocchi with spinach and white beans

every Thursday, Market Square by my work turns into a farmer’s market.  i went down last week and after a recommendation by a coworker, i bought some fresh frozen pasta from this guy’s pasta stand.  gnocchi is one of my favorite things to eat so i bought the whole wheat gnocchi.  i could have taken the easy road by cooking the gnocchi and dumping some pasta sauce on it but i decided to take an easier road to flavor town and made it with spinach and white beans. you will need:

  • olive oil
  • one package of gnocchi, cooked
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chopped spinach leaves, fresh not frozen!
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
  • 1 15-ounce can of white kidney beans, rinsed
  • cup of chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  add the garlic and zucchini.  cook until the zucchini cooks down.  add the spinach and stir until it starts to wilt.  stir in the tomatoes, beans and ground pepper.  bring to a simmer.  stir in the gnocchi and turn the heat down.  simmer for another 5-10 minutes. serve with parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

i can’t believe how stinking simple this was.  and how stinking DELICIOUS.  and it’s even better the next day for lunch.  i love those kind of meals.  and i really enjoyed cooking with spinach.  it’s so simple and tasty, i might make it a point to start cooking with it more.  i highly recommend this for a quick weeknight meal with some flavor.  yum and YUM!

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