For Foodies: Friday’s Flavors ~ Greek Salad

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

gsI don’t know about you, but I love a good salad, especially a Greek salad. That said, with the number of lettuce recalls over the last few years, I’ve started making most of my salads without lettuce. And while I’ve learned to be rather creative, peeling zucchinis into ‘lettuce’ strips and shaving fennel, Greek salad seems to lend itself naturally to a lettuce free version. Besides that, this recipes is incredibly quick and easy!

This recipe serves makes 2 servings.

 

Ingredients (for the salad):

1 ripe tomato

1 cucumber

1 small red onion

sliced Kalamata olives

capers

feta cheese

optional: caper berries

Ingredients (for the dressing):

1/8 cup (1/2)  lemon

1/8 cup olive oil

1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1-2 teaspoons dried oregano

1-2 teaspoons sugar

1-2 cloves garlic

salt and pepper (or Nature’s Seasoning) to taste

Preparation:

gs1For the salad, chop the tomato, cucumber, and onion. Mix in a bowl with sliced Kalamata olives and drained capers. Top with feta cheese and the optional caper berries.

For the dressing, everything is to taste. Some like a sharper flavor, some a milder, so you do you!

Juice half a large lemon in a measuring cup (you should get about 1/8 cup lemon juice). I juice the lemon first because it makes removing the lemon seeds easy.

Add olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, pressed garlic and salt and pepper or Nature’s Seasoning to taste. Stir ingredients together with a fork.

The sugar helps curb the acidic nature of the lemon and vinegar, balancing the flavor nicely, but a little goes a long way. It’s easier to add more than take it out, so start sparingly, stirring and tasting as you go until you get the balance you want.

Dress the salad, and viola, it’s as easy as that. A delicious salad and home made dressing in less than 10 minutes!

As always, if you try it, please let me know how you liked it!

 

For Foodies: Friday’s Flavor ~ Mini Calzones (Yeast Free)

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

ff24Today I’m sharing another of my recipes I created to satisfy my pizza/calzone cravings. Pillsbury is kind enough to make its Crescent Rolls with baking soda instead of yeast AND – did you know that you can buy it by the sheet, without the perforations? This discovery was a game changer for me, because 1) sometimes you (or at least I) NEED a little bread and 2) there are SO many things you can do with a sheet of delicious crescent dough!

And here’s one of them!

This recipe makes 6 mini calzones

Ingredients:

1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Sheet Dough

Pepperoni

Shredded Mozzarella

Ricotta

(any additional cheese you want to add)

optional – marinara sauce

Preparation:

ff10
step 1

Per dough directions, preheat oven to 375 (or 350 depending on the bakeware you’re using).

ff11
step 2

 

 

Unroll the dough onto a baking sheet. Repair any tears or holes in the dough the best you can, then cut the dough into 6 sections.

You’ll be folding the dough in half, so place ingredients on the triangular section on one side of the fold.

ff14
step 3

 

 

Place a pinch of mozzarella on one side of each section.

ff15
step 4

Add pepperoni (I use three slices in a triangle pattern for each portion).

Drop a spoonful of ricotta on top of the pepperoni and spread it out a bit.

ff13
step 5

Add more mozzarella (and any other cheese you like, like grated parmesan).

ff12
step 6

 

Fold the dough over and press edges together, tucking ingredients inside. It doesn’t matter if there are gaps in the closed seam.

Place in oven and bake for 9-11 minutes. Enjoy!

ff9If you make this, please let me know how you liked it!

For Foodies: Friday’s Flavor ~ Guacomole

ff22Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of going to a Mexican restaurant (besides the margaritas) is when they make tableside guacamole. I LOVE avocados and guacamole is another one of those things (seems like there’s a lot of them) that I feel like I could eat my own bodyweight of everyday!

The only thing is, there are so many variations on guacamole that you can never be sure what you’re going to get. After years of experimenting, here is my favorite way to make guacamole at home.

Ingredients:

3 ripe avocados

1 red onion

1 tomato

1 lime

2 cloves garlic

1 bunch green onion

cilantro

garlic salt

Preparation:

ff18Chop your onion, tomato and cilantro. Some people like chunky, some people don’t. I cut mine fairly small. Peel garlic and slice lime.

Scoop your avocado into a molcajete or bowl. A ripe avocado should easily separate from the rind with a spoon.

ff19Mash the avocado.

Add the juice from half the lime, some garlic salt (just a bit at first), pressed garlic, a handful of onions and tomatoes, and cilantro. Mix together, mashing a little. Only you know how much of each ingredient you’ll want. (I go much heavier on the onions than the tomatoes.) Taste.

ff20Adjust flavor by adding more garlic salt and lime. When you get the flavor how you like it, add green onions and stir. That’s it!

If you try it, please let me know how you liked it!

For Foodies: Friday’s Flavors ~ Pizza Stuffed Pasta Shells

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

ff4I’ll tell you – one of the hardest parts about developing food sensitivities in adulthood is that you’ve spent years indulging in all the wonderful things you’re no longer supposed to have. And while many great strides have been taken by manufacturers to eliminate certain ingredients, like gluten, all the gluten-free breads, pizza crusts, beer, etc., still contain yeast, which is a major bummer, but . . . I’m pretty determined, so I’ve created several recipes to help me feel like I’m not missing out on too much.

This one combines two of my favorites – pizza and pasta!

Ingredients:

jumbo pasta shells

1 medium sweet Vidalia onion

1 stick pepperoni (no MSG), cut into chunks

ricotta

garlic powder

nature’s seasoning

fresh basil

block mozzarella, cut into cubes

shredded mozzarella

marinara sauce (while I love a good homemade sauce, I don’t always have the time to make it from scratch. When using a store bought jar, I 1) look for a brand without high fructose corn syrup or the like and 2) doctor it by sautéing onion with fresh pressed garlic, fresh basil, dried tarragon, nature’s seasoning, pepper, and if it really needs it for flavor, a splash of cooking wine like sherry or marsala.

optional: shredded parmesan, shredded Italian blend

Preparation:

IMG_20200529_165612 (1)Preheat over to 350 and bring salted water to a boil.IMG_20200529_165724 (1)

Add shells to boiling water and cook until done. Drain and rinse shells under cold water, then set aside to cool. (Note – I decide on the dish I’m going to use, then count how many dry shells it takes to fill it. Then, I add a few extra shells, because some are ffbound to break.)

Chop basil, onion, pepperoni and block mozzarella. The size you chop, and how much you use are up to your own tastes. I used about 1/2 a small mozzarella block, 3/4 of the stick pepperoni, and a medium sized onion. (Tip – after rinsing the basil, I place the leaves inside each other and roll them before chopping. It makes it really easy to cut them into ribbons without bruising the herb too badly.)

ff1Put ricotta in a bowl (I used about 12 ounces) and season how you want. I used garlic powder, nature’s seasoning, and fresh basil. Mix well. Add onion, pepperoni chunks, and mozzarella cubes, and mix again.

Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of your cooking dish (if you’re worried about cleanup, spray with a cooking oil first). Stuff shells with the pizza style ricotta mixture. I found this was easily done using a spoon.

ff3When all your shells are stuffed, cover with more sauce, then add shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until the sauce and cheese at the edges begins to bubble. Enjoy!

If you make this, I want to hear if you liked it!

Do you have any recipes that would satisfy my pizza and calzone cravings? If you do, let me know!!

For Foodies: Friday’s Flavors ~ Bacon Quiche

qu4If you’re a foodie like I’m a foodie (and Friday’s are for us foodie’s, right?), then you appreciate a dish that delivers major taste without requiring hours of hands-on laboring

When I’m craving something that’s rich and savory, I make what is essentially Quiche Lorraine but what is known of in my house as Bacon Quiche. I know it’s hard to go wrong with a meal that includes both bacon and cheese, but this is seriously tasty!

Quiche seems to have a bad wrap as something that’s difficult to prepare. Here are my hacks for ANY quiche:

  1. Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes, checking at 25 minutes. I put my pie pan on a baking sheet to catch any crumbs, but this also makes checking if the quiche is done super simple – just wiggle the baking sheet. If the quiche jiggles on top, it’s not done yet.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup milk for every egg you use. I suggest using at least 2 eggs, (so, 1 cup milk), but if you want to use 3, simply increase the milk to 1½ cups.
  3.  Add your spices, i.e. salt and pepper, nutmeg, etc. to the milk-egg mixture. I also add about half the cheese I use to this mix.
  4.  Buy a piecrust. Every time I made my own from scratch, I’d crash and burn when it came time to transfer the crust from the rolling board to the pie pan. They sell 2 packs in the dairy section by the Pillsbury items. (Bonus – the off brands don’t use yeast, which I sadly have a sensitivity to.) (Bonus² – if you make the recipe below, you only use half the cheese, so you already have some of the ingredients to make another quiche!)
  5.  Make the quiche ahead of time! I try to let mine cool for at least an hour – it allows the inside to set so it stays together when you serve it. You can always reheat if you prefer it piping hot, but it tastes great warm.

 

Roth Cheese, Alpine-Style, Grand Cru, Original
This is what I use, but any variation of Gruyere or Swiss should work.

Ingredients:

1 pound thick cut bacon, cut into 1″ pieces

1 sweet Vidalia onion

2-3 handfuls spinach

3 oz Grand Cru (or Gruyere) cheese

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 pie crust

salt and pepper to taste

optional: fresh grated parmesan

 

Preparation:

qu
Put cooked ingredients in crust.

Begin by cooking the chopped bacon and grating the cheese. When the bacon is done, place on a paper towel lined plate, and remove most, but not all of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving just enough to sauté the onion.

Add the onion. Cook until translucent, then add the spinach, tossing with onion until wilted (you can do this with the heat off). Return bacon to the pan, mix ingredients together.

Place your pie pan on a baking sheet, then put the piecrust in the pan (I use a glass pie pan), and lightly press down to shape it to the cooking container.

qu1
Add 1/2 the cheese.

It helps if you set the crust out for 15-20 minutes to let it warm up a little. You can cut the crust with a knife to neaten it up, and even pattern the edges if you want to get fancy. I’m usually in a rush when I cook this, so I don’t bother.

Next, add the cooked ingredients to the crust. I sprinkle about 1/2 the cheese over the ingredients. Then, mix your milk and eggs together (using the ratios above), add the other 1/2 of the cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the cooked ingredients.

qu3
Pour the mixture.

I like to sprinkle just a bit of fresh parmesan on the top if I have some around (I usually do). Place the pan on the baking sheet into the oven, then begin checking at 25 minutes. It usually takes closer to 35, but depending on your oven, and if you use different ingredients, (like a Mediterranean quiche), cooking times vary, and it’s easier to keep cooking than to scrape black crust off your dinner.

When the quiche does not jiggle when you wiggle the baking pan, and the top begins to turn golden brown, it’s done. I make mine ahead of time, and allow to cool for at least an hour before cutting so the inside sets.

qu2
Sprinkled with parm because I’m a cheese glutton!

That’s it! Prepare yourself for cheesy, bacony goodness! This is one of the few dishes where going back for thirds is the norm!

I usually serve this with something light, like a salad. Caesar goes especially well with it!

If you try it, I’d love to hear how it went and if you liked it!

 

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