A simple place to document the games of 'pretend chef' I play in my kitchen. Taking inspiration from eating out, travel, TV, & friends. Requirements: 1. a genuine addiction to all foodstuffs (especially avocado). 2. no judgement of my wine intake 3. sense of humor.
My husband planted us a super awesome garden this year – now our lettuce and spinach runneth over. I was trying to think of ways to use the spinach outside of salads – which we were getting sick of. I mean we aren’t effing rabbits. Then – spinach artichoke dip popped into my head. Great idea…but I always consider that to be an appetizer and didn’t think that ‘dip’ really counted as dinner. So, I took it a smidge further to relieve my ‘we had dip for dinner’ guilt. If you smear it on a flatbread, TA-DA, I now made a pizza. Sounds like much more work than ‘dip’. 🙂 It really was very good and it reheated well the next day. I think this would work as an appetizer or dinner…or leftovers for lunch at the office microwave station.
The other awesome thing here, is if you put all this into a skillet or oven-safe dish, then add a layer of cheese on top, bake for about the same time – and voila! You have spinach artichoke DIP. Then you can toast/cut some naan – or serve with tortilla chips. Two recipes in one. You’re welcome.
3/4 cup light mayo (I use olive oil mayo)
1.5 cups chopped spinach – lightly packed
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 can of quartered artichokes, drained and chopped into smaller bits
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Naan flatbread – can be large or small flatbreads. Room temperature.
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Combine ingredient items 1-8 above in a mixing bowl
Mix well until thoroughly combined. Can add more mayo or cheese if its not looking ‘creamy’ or cheesy enough (I just eye-balled it and thought – what does my dip usually look like – and add what I want from there – pretty sure you can’t mess this up)
Place the naan(s) on a baking sheet or pizza stone
Spread a healthy amount of the mixture on each one, leaving room around the edges for a ‘crust’ – about 3/4 inch
Bake in oven for approx 8 or so minutes. A larger flatbread may take about 10 minutes to ensure the middle of the flatbread gets hot.
Check at 8 minutes to see that crust is warm and the mixture is hot on top. Leave in oven if it needs more time. Check every 2 minutes.
Once almost done, turn the broiler on high and let broil for approx 1 minute- do not leave them in there unattended!
Free advice: Never turn your back on the broiler – you stand there or set a timer as a reminder. The Broiler can be your best friend or quite a bitch.
Once the tops are a bit golden brown/bubbly from the broiler – remove
Let cool for approx 3-4 min, then cut and serve!
Mixing cheese, garlic, mayo, salt & pepper together
Pasta salad is delicious – WHEN its done right. I am kinda picky about my pasta salad which is odd b/c I eat pretty much everything that comes in my path. Usually restaurants throw in a bunch of pasta, red onion and a basic Italian salad dressing and charge way too much for that thoughtless dish. No thank you!!
I love to make this salad for when I have friends over. They always think its store-bought, but its not! Its super easy to make and is bursting with flavor. If I have leftovers, I use for lunches or quick dinners on weeknights. Grill up a chicken breast or some shrimp – toss it all together and you’ve got a delicious meal. Enjoy!
Bring a large heavily salted pot of water to a boil. Add all pasta. Cook in boiling water for about 8 to 10 minutes total, but taste to ensure its done. Strain and rinse gently with cold water. Toss with olive oil and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the spinach in the microwave according to package directions. Strain into a colander, rinse with cold water and press out the liquid with the back of a spoon. I also grab paper towels and do one last smoosh through the colander to get out any additional liquid. Set aside.
In a very large bowl, stir together pesto, spinach, lemon juice, balsamic, mayonnaise, salt and black pepper. Add pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, peas, and 1/2 cup the parmesan cheese.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Before serving, sprinkle with other 1/2 cup of the cheese.
Cooked pasta tossed in olive oil
Chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Mixing mayo, spinach, pesto, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice & red pepper flakes
I was born and raised in Tulsa, Ok and went to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Ok. Hideaway Pizza is a pizza chain that began in Stillwater in 1957, and about 20 years later moved to other cities state-wide. Their culture was set by the owner/creator Richard Dermer who was a pizza loving hippie who wore tie-die and was seriously into flying kites. He even had a fleet of VW bugs as delivery vehicles. So cute! This laid-back, ‘keep employees happy’, try new flavor combinations, chill place is where SOOOO many delicious pizza creations were born.
I worked there for about 6 years through high school and college, and loved EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. I never got tired of pizza, still to this day I recreate them at home. Some of the friends I’ve met there have followed me through to adulthood (insert shout out to Jen Glenn and KQPierce). If you are ever in Oklahoma, you MUST go check them out.
The chicken florentine is one of my favorite pizzas on the menu, I could NOT get enough. I ate it at least one a week for like a year. I do the exact recipe here minus feta cheese. If you love feta, then add it. I just didn’t put it on this time around. And here we go…
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed, dried and stemmed
1.5 cup light mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 16 inch pizza pan
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Place into container with a tight closing lid.
Cover chicken with Italian dressing and balsamic vinegar. Close tight and shake. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour.
Heat grill to medium, grill chicken breast about 5-6 minutes on each side or until internal temp registers 160-165 degrees . Set on cutting board, do NOT cut until ready to place on chicken. This will ensure it remains juicy.
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Begin to build pizza by placing the dough onto your pizza pan. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick unless you want a thin crust pizza – but if you do want thin crust…I would cook the dough for a couple of minutes before putting on toppings to ensure it cooks all the way through.
With a fork, poke holes about every inch or so around the pizza – even on the crust to ensure the dough doesn’t bubble.
Using the back of a metal spoon, spread pesto sauce all over the pie leaving about a 1 inch edge for the crust. Be sure not to use too much, pesto is oily and can keep the bottom of the pie from cooking all the way through. 3/4 cup should be enough if you spread it out to a thin layer.
Top the pesto with the spinach leaves, do not overlap.
OPTIONAL: I top the pesto and spinach with a light layer of cheese. If so you may need a bit more than called for above – your choice but my husband loves cheese.
Next, thinly slice the chicken breast – like 1/8 inch or less – and place on the pie.
Top with mushrooms.
Sprinkle the pie with mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle with minced garlic. This sounds like it will be crazy garlicky…but its not. If you like garlic – do it. If you don’t just leave it off. 🙂
Bake in oven for approximately 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown but still fluffy.
For the past 7 years, since we met, my dear friend JulieAnn and I have a standing agreement to get together once a week for dinner at either her house or mine. We usually make it at least 2 weeks a month and we do a good job making it a priority no matter how busy our lives get. I really enjoy the chance to decompress from a crazy work day, have a glass of wine, catch up with each other, watch extremely bad TV (holy Housewives!), and eat yummy food. Here’s the test of a super close gal pal: you spend the evening in workout clothes and don’t even attempt to tidy up your house when they come over. I hope after we both have our own kids and battle busier days, we’ll still be able to make this happen.
JulieAnn (not wanting a face image on the blog) and her step-son
Since most of my recent recipe posts haven’t been exactly healthy, we are getting into lighter dishes – especially since many of us are on the verge of prepping for swimsuit season. UGH. Yes. I said it. I am sorry but if any of you are feeling ‘large and in charge’ after this winter, I am right there w/ ya! Look forward to lighter versions of recipes you love, more salads, and more veggies coming soon – especially once we can fire up the grill!
JulieAnn cooked up oven-roasted salmon, creamed spinach w/ mushrooms, and red potatoes. We found the base recipes that we tweaked just a bit at Cooking Light.com. GREAT resource for light recipes. I love salmon, and this was a very delicious recipe that was moist, tangy and flavorful. The creamed spinach didn’t taste light at all, it was REALLY yummy. I was surprised. Easy healthy recipes any woman on the go would love. (note potato recipe not included).
2 six oz. salmon filets
1 tbsp honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Ingredients: Creamed Spinach/Mushrooms
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
10-ounces fresh baby spinach
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine honey, mustard, vinegar, pepper & salt in small bowl.
Brush over fish.
Coat cooking pan with cooking spray. Place salmon on pan.
Cook for 11-13 minutes until cooked through. Internal temperature at 145 degrees.
Directions Creamed Spinach/Mushrooms:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; turn pan to coat with oil.
Add mushrooms; cook 7 or so minutes or until liquid evaporates.
Remove mushrooms from pan.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; turn to coat pan with oil.
Add spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat a small dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil; turn to coat with oil.
Add shallots and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk.
Add milk mixture, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Cook 4 or so minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts and the mixture is smooth.
Add mushrooms and spinach to milk mixture, and toss gently to coat.