Homemade Greek Pizza

Homemade Greek Pizza

Homemade Greek Pizza

Who doesn't love pizza?  Like sandwiches, pizza can be a canvas for a zillion flavor combination. So, while surveying my haul after a trip to the farmers market along with the herbs in my garden patch, I decided to try a Greek version.  All of the classic Greek flavors are evident here; fresh oregano, Greek yogurt, red onion, Mediterranean olives, diced tomatoes, Feta cheese, garlic scapes (or cloves), baby kale (not Greek but definitely a good addition), olive oil, and a bit of Parmesan to finish.  The first crispy bite leads to in-your-face flavor, which leads to many more bites!  Having frozen pizza dough in the freezer at all times makes satisfying pizza cravings a snap, just saying!

1/2 or 1 full batch of Favorite Pizza Dough, depending on the thickness of the pizza crust you prefer

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup chopped garlic scapes (green shoots that carry the blossoms), or 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

2 cup thinly-sliced red onion

2 cups julienne baby kale, tough stems removed (spinach can be substituted)

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

1 Tablespoon finely-minced fresh oregano

Pinch of salt

1 cup diced, seeded ripe tomatoes

1/3 cup thinly-sliced Kalamata or Mediterranean olives

4 ounces Feta cheese, diced

2 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 500-degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic scapes and cook until they begin to soften.  Add the red onion and kale, and add the chopped garlic if using.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and kale are soft.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Combine the yogurt or sour cream, oregano, and pinch of salt until evenly combined.

Shape the pizza dough into the desired shape, according to the crust recipe.  Spread the yogurt mixture over the crust.  Top with the sauteed vegetables.  Add the tomatoes, olives, Feat and top with the Parmesan.

Bake for 15 minutes, check, then continue until the pizza is browned all over.

Remove from the oven, let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting.  Enjoy!!

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Asian Sticky Chicken

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Yummy Asian Sticky Chicken!

This simple recipe is so yummy, and you'll be able to skip the Chinese carry-out once you try this!  Just whisk together a few ingredients for the glaze and simmer while you brown the chicken.  The chicken goes into a baking dish and gets covered with the sauce.  About 30 minutes in the oven and you've got a fabulous dinner.  I also sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds sometimes, but the green onions are a must.  Jasmine rice on the side (or  Herbed Coconut Rice), and a few stir-fried veggies make an awesome feast!

8 chicken thighs (use boneless, skinless, if you prefer)

1/2 cup flour

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup orange juice

6 Tablespoons honey

6 Tablespoons hoisin sauce

4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

2 finely minced cloves of garlic

4 teaspoons finely minced ginger

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

4 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.

Sprinkle the chicken on both sides liberally with salt, then dredge in the flour to coat on all sides.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan whisk together the orange juice, honey, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch.  Cook over medium heat until it bubbles and thickens (while browning the chicken), then remove from heat and set aside until ready to pour over the chicken.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke a bit.  Add chicken thighs, but do not crowd.  (It may be necessary to brown the thighs in 2 batches.)  Sear on both sides until golden brown, then place in a baking dish that as been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the sesame seeds, if using. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer registers 170-degrees.

Sprinkle with the green onions and serve.

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Quinoa & Italian Vegetable Bowls

Quinoa & Italian Vegetable Bowl

Quinoa & Italian Vegetable Bowl

Need a fast and super-healthy dish for dinner tonight? This is it!  Quinoa is an ancient grain with a lovely texture, and it is a complete protein, making it perfect for a meatless meal.  (It is necessary to rinse it in a fine-mesh strainer to remove a coating on the grain that can be bitter, but it only takes a second.)  It efficiently absorbs the flavor from the vegetables, so every bite bursts with flavor. Since I am not vegetarian, I used chicken stock for flavor, but you may certainly use water or vegetable broth.  A sprinkle of Parmesan over the top adds nutty saltiness.  Serve it with a crunchy side salad and fruit for dessert for a tasty,  hurry-up dinner! 
Serves 3-4

2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water

1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh strain to remove any bitter coating

3 Tablespoons coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or other high-heat appropriate oil

3/4 cup finely-diced onion

3/4 cup diced red pepper

1 cup diced white mushrooms

3/4 cup diced carrots (I used purple & yellow, but any kind works)

1/2 cup diced celery, (inner parts with leaves are best)

3 cloves garlic, finely-minced

3/4 cup small-diced zucchini

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Prep all of the vegetables and aromatics.

Bring the stock or water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in the quinoa, bring up to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.  Cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, heat a large saute pan and add the oil.  Heat just until it starts to smoke.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the onions, red peppers, mushrooms, carrots, and celery and saute until beginning to soften.  Add the garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning.  Cook until the zucchini is softened and the tomatoes begin to break down. 

Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables along with the parsley and stir until well combined and hot.  Season with salt to taste, divide into serving bowls, sprinkle with cheese (if using) and serve.

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Simple Meat Sauce for Pasta

Spaghetti with Simple Meat Sauce and Parmesan, accompanied by No-Knead Country Bread

The recipe for this sauce lives in my head, and it changes a bit each time I make it, depending on what kind of tomatoes and meat I have on hand.  So I finally wrote it all down for posterity!  It is simple, which I love, made with ingredients from the pantry and a pound of ground beef.  Comfort food in no time!

1 medium onion, cut into chunks

1 small carrot, peeled and cut into chunks

3 cloves of peeled garlic

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 small can tomato paste

1 pound ground beef (A variety of meats may be used, including veal, pork, Italian sausage, or turkey with the beef, just use 1 pound total)

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup beef broth

6 cups canned tomato puree

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Salt, to taste

Place the onion, carrot, and garlic in a food processor and process until it becomes a paste. 

Heat the oil in a large, shallow pot over medium heat.  Add the processed vegetables to the pan and cook until soft and translucent and just beginning to brown.  Add the tomato paste to the pan and cook and stir until the tomato paste becomes a copper color.  Break the meat up into the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is well cooked and the whole mixture is browned.  Add the wine and cook until it evaporates.  Add the broth, tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, and dried herbs. 

Bring to a boil, then reduce a simmer.  Cover, and cook over low heat for at least 30 minutes, it is better after an hour.  If it is a bit too thin, remove the lid and allow it to reduce to the desired thickness.  Too thick for your taste?  Thin it with a bit of water.  Taste, and adjust the seasonings, adding salt, and even a pinch of sugar, to achieve the perfect balance.

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