Pepperoni Pizza Waffles

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The last phase of the kitchen re-do was getting new countertops. In an effort to save some money, we opted to take off the old countertops ourselves – which ended up happening the week before the new ones were installed so my Dad could help with it all. We’d been working around a torn up kitchen for a month already, but having no counters (or a sink!) really threw me. We ended up doing a lot of take out that week.

I think this is the only meal I made at home that week. It involved minimal equipment: one cutting board to prep on, one knife and the waffle iron. And then we ate off paper plates so there wouldn’t be any more we had to wash in the bathroom sink.

They were fun – definitely not any kind of gourmet, but fun. We used refrigerated biscuits, cut a pocket, stuffed them with pizza toppings and tossed them on the waffle iron. We served them along with warmed pizza sauce for dipping. Start to finish, it probably took fifteen minutes to get it on the table. Perfect for what we felt like dealing with that week, but I’m also thinking this would be a great, quick lunch.

 Pepperoni Pizza Waffles
(from Pillsbury)
Serves 2-3

1 can of refrigerated biscuits (I used flaky layers)
8 slices of mozzarella
Sliced pepperoni, or any of your other favorite pizza toppings
Pizza sauce, for dipping

Using a knife, cut a pocket into each biscuit and stuff with mozzarella and pepperoni (or other toppings). Cook in a hot waffle iron until golden brown.

Serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping.


Southwest Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce

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This was another burger that helped feed our work crew during the re-do. (Which, is almost done!) We cooked these up the first day, so I was able to make the patties up before things were really a disaster so it worked out well.

If you’re looking for something different from a typical burger, this is a really great option. Packed with black beans and corn, the patties themselves were really good. And the chipotle yogurt sauce and mashed avocado played off each other really well and were a great accompaniment!

Southwest Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
(from The Roasted Root)
Serves 4

for the chipotle yogurt sauce:
6 oz. plain greek yogurt
3 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped, plus 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Salt, to taste

for the burger patties:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 lb. ground turkey

for serving:
Burger buns
1 avocado, mashed

Prepare the chipotle yogurt sauce by mixing together the yogurt, chopped chilis and adobo sauce until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the jalapeno, garlic, salt and cumin and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook until plumped, about another 3-5 minutes. Add the black beans and cook until heated through. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Combined the cooled mixture with ground turkey, mixing until well combined. Divide into 4 equal balls and form each ball into a patty.

Grill over medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Serve patties on toasted buns with mashed avocado and chipotle yogurt sauce.


Queso Burgers

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It’s sort of amazing that we always want what we can’t have. On a normal week, I’d kill to have a night of takeout and not have to cook. With the kitchen torn apart and plans to get takeout, there’s nothing I want more than to be able to cook dinner. Of course.

What have we been eating while the kitchen is a mess? Burgers. Lots and lots of burgers. They’ve been easy to put together and throw on the grill without actually needing the kitchen.

This is one of the burger variations we liked best. It’s a basic burger patty (in a pinch, you could totally buy pre-made pattys) topped with queso. So simple and yet really, really tasty.

Queso Burgers
(from The Recipe Critic)
Serves 6

1½ lb. ground sirloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. Velveeta, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with jalapenos, undrained
6 hamburger buns

Divide the ground sirloin equally into 6 balls, form into patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes per side, until they reach desired doneness.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the Velveta and diced tomatoes. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and then stir. Continue to microwave in 30 second – 1 minute intervals, stirring between, until the cheese is fully melted and well combined.

Serve burgers topped with queso.


Flank Steak Pinwheels

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This recipe came from a magazine I got while in college. I made it a few times that summer and then pretty much forgot about it. I don’t know what made me think of it the other day, but I decided I needed to make it again. I tore my office apart looking for that magazine, only to come up empty handed.

And then it occurred to me that it’s 2014 and I could probably find it on the internet. Thank you, internet!

This is a dish that looks fancy but is actually pretty quick and easy – and now that the recipe has resurfaced, I’m sure it’s one we’ll make regularly. If you’re still looking for something fun to grill up this weekend, I recommend these!

Flank Steak Pinwheels
(slightly adapted from Taste of Home)
Serves 4

8 slices of bacon
1 1/2 lbs. flank steak
4 cups fresh baby spinach
7 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
3 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup shredded horseradish cheese (or blue cheese)

Place bacon on a microwave-safe plate lined with paper towels. Cover with another paper towel and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, until partially cooked.

Butterfly the steak and open it so it lies flat. Pound out to 1/4″ thick. Cover with spinach and red peppers. Roll up, jelly-roll style. Wrap the bacon strips around the beef and secure with toothpicks or skewers. Slice between the bacon slices, making 8 pinwheels.

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill for 5-7 minutes per side.

While the pinwheels grill, combine cream cheese, milk, butter and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook on low, whisking regularly, until smooth. Whisk in cheese and stir until melted.

Serve pinwheels with cheese sauce.


Chili-Lime Chicken Kabobs

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I really, really adore grilling weather. Now that it’s warm enough to grill, I get super annoyed when we have rainy weeks. It’s like, c’mon Mother Nature! We’ve only got limited time to begin with!

I’m also feeling a bit of a time crunch because I don’t know how cooking will go once baby boy arrives. I don’t want to set too many expectations for things to do after – so I’m trying to tackle some of my must-make recipes now. Of course, kabobs always seem to top the list.

These were another huge hit. Unlike some of the other kabobs I’ve made, these are flavored with spices instead of sauce which makes them a bit healthier. We loaded the skewers with veggies and served them with rice for a full meal.

Chili-Lime Chicken Kabobs
(from Allrecipes.com)
Serves 4

3 Tbsp. oilve oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 lime, juice
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Veggies – we used two bell peppers and a zucchini

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice and spices. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Chop veggies into bite-sized peices.

Preheat the grill for medium-high heat.  Thread chicken and veggies onto skewers.

Grill for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through, until the juices run clear.


Chipotle Chicken Kabobs with Avocado Cream Sauce

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We got a sneak peak of grilling weather the week before last – a few days of temps in the 70s. After this brutally cold winter, it was such a nice, welcome change. Of course, things are back to a more seasonal low-60s, with the evenings just a little too chilly to comfortably grill.

During our sneak peak, though, I happily busted out some recipes I had bookmarked last year and didn’t get around to trying. These kabobs were by far the favorite of the week, so I wanted to share them for those of you lucky enough to live in a slightly warmer climate. Seriously, if you don’t already have dinner plans for tonight, this is what you should be making. The chicken is good by itself, but the avocado sauce really seals the deal here. I could have eaten it with a spoon. (And, may have finished off the extra that way…)

Chipotle Chicken Kabobs
(from Annie’s Eats)
Serves 4

Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 chipotle chili in adobo
2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into uniform chunks

for the avocado cream sauce:
1 avocado, split and pitted
1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, oil, salt, chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, garlic, brown sugar and chipotle. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes – I left mine overnight and it turned out fantastic.

When ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates. Thread the chicken onto skewers and cook, turning once or twice until all sides are slightly browned and chicken is cooked through. Remove to a plate and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

To make the avocado cream sauce, add the avocado, Greek yogurt, garlic and lime juice to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with kabobs for dipping.


Eggplant Parm Burgers

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Today’s the last Friday of Lent and the Lenten dinner blog series was admittedly sort of a bust this year. We ended up revisiting a lot of old favorites – and getting a fair amount of pizza. Still, I couldn’t let Lent end without sharing these.

As soon as I saw these on Josie’s blog, I knew I had to make them ASAP – a mashup of burgers and eggplant parm? I’m so in. These were just as good as I was hoping they’d be. They also froze well – I stuck too in the freezer for a busy night and they came out just as good as the first time.

I think these officially displaced the black bean burgers for my favorite meatless burger.

Eggplant Parm Burgers
(from Pink Parsley)
Makes 4 Burgers

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 – 2 lbs.)
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil, plus more for serving
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup marinara sauce
Sliced mozzarella cheese
Hamburger buns
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
Garlic powder

Preheat your broiler. Lightly spray a foil-lined baking sheet. Peel the eggplant and slice into coins about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange on the sprayed baking sheet in a single layer. Using 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil, brush both sides of the eggplant rounds. Season with salt and pepper. Broil for about 7-10 minutes, until golden brown. Watch them closely to make sure you don’t burn them! Remove from oven and cool until able to handle.

Roughly chop the eggplant and place in a food processor. Add the panko, parmesan, parsley, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes and egg to the food processor too. Pulse until evenly mixed. Form into four patties and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and heat a nonstick, oven-safe skillet with the remaining oil over medium heat. Transfer the eggplant patties to the skillet and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Top each burger with 1 Tbsp. of the marinara sauce and a slice of cheese and move the skillet to the oven. Bake about five minutes, until cheese is  melted and sauce is heated through.

While the patties bake, spread the butter on the cut side of the buns and sprinkle generously with garlic powder. Arrange, cut-side up on a baking sheet. Place in the oven when you take out the eggplant patties and toast lightly. Serve eggplant patties on garlic bread buns.


Honey BBQ Chicken Wraps with Broccoli Slaw

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One of the most common questions I get asked when people find out I’m expecting is, “Do you have any cravings or food aversions?” For the most part, the answer has been no. I’ve been lucky enough to continue eating fairly normally throughout the whole pregnancy (albeit, with lots more cooking help from Mark).

My one hang up? Chicken. For some reason, I just could not do a chicken we cooked here until about halfway through the pregnancy. Chicken at a restaurant? Fine. Pre-cooked, store-bought chicken? Fine. Any sort of home preparation? Blech.

Rather than trying to force the issue, I just worked around it as much as possible – which is where sandwiches like these came in. These are super minimal effort and time (fifteen minutes, tops), but still made me feel like I was making dinner. And coupled with the sauce and broccoli slaw, it didn’t feel like a straight-out-of-the-freezer section meal either.

I’m sure this is a dish I’ll revisit once baby boy is here and we need quick meals.

 

Honey BBQ Chicken Wraps with Broccoli Slaw
(very slightly adapted from I Should Be Mopping the Floor)
Serves 4

4-8 (depending on size) Honey BBQ chicken strips (I bought Tyson brand – you could make these at home pretty easily too)
4 burrito-sized wraps

For the slaw:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
3 cups broccoli slaw

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Bake the chicken according to package directions.

While the chicken bakes, mix together the ingredients for the slaw, tossing to coat the broccoli slaw evenly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients. Set aside until chicken is done cooking.

Once the chicken is done, spread 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the sauce on each wrap. Divide chicken between wraps. Top chicken with broccoli slaw. Wrap up burrito style and cut in half to serve.


Black Bean Fajitas

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One of the hardest things about meatless Fridays, for me, is that I don’t usually cook on Fridays. It’s our typical date night so we’re usually going out. But, when I go out I’m always drawn to a burger. Or steak. Or something else that’s off the menu on Lenten Fridays. So, we stay home and I cook, even though I usually don’t want to.

Quick meals make it easier to not throw in the towel and order a pizza. These were whipped up in no time and they were really good.

Black Bean Fajitas
(from One Hundred Dollars a Month)
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1  red bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cilantro, optional
Tortillas, for serving

In a large skillet, heat oil until shimmering. Add in beans, pepper, onion and zucchini and cook until the veggies are nearly done. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes.

Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. Serve in tortillas.


Bang Bang Cauliflower

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Mark’s been working late recently, which means the opportunity to make some dinners he’d turn his nose up at – like cauliflower as a main dish. It’s one of the best parts of dinner-for-1 nights!

I adapted this recipe a little – I used a whole wheat batter and baked instead of fried – to make a little healthier. Granted, you’re still covering everything in this amazing bang bang sauce, but eating so much cauliflower has to balance it out a bit, right?

This is a great meatless meal option, but chicken would also work great here.

Bang Bang Cauliflower
(adapted from Life and Kitchen)
Serves 2 as a main dish

1 head of cauliflower
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
2-4 tsp. sriracha sauce
Green onions

Preheat the oven for 450F degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into florets. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and milk. Dunk the cauliflower, letting excess drip off, and place on a lined baking sheet. When all the cauliflower is dunked, spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the cauliflower bakes, whisk together the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce and sriracha in a large bowl. Toss the baked cauliflower with the sauce and serve immediately.