Crazy for Pizza!

As much as we love going out for drinks on Friday to celebrate the weekend and put the week behind us, we also love staying in and having our friends over for our version of happy hour. Being the pizza fanatics we are, we decided to try and make our own. We took a shortcut (love that) and used pre baked crusts (you can also use Naan or Pitas) but I must say I was proud of the result and judging by how quickly we all devoured our slices, I’d say our friends liked them too.

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My favorite! Margherita (with a little sauce)

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Mike’s yummy creation… A Philly Cheesesteak pie (Wiz included)

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I LOVED this combination! Goat Cheese and Figs (balsamic glaze)

What is your favorite way to spend Friday???

Monday Meatballs Pomodoro

Few things are more comforting to me than a big bowl of pasta and it having been a crazy Monday, I can honestly say; comforting is much needed. This is a simple recipe that will instantly bring you back to all those Sundays spent at Nona’s house eating supper with la famiglia (provided you HAVE a Nona and she just happens to make kick ass meatballs). 😜

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For the meatballs:

1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients, form into balls, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (until golden and cooked through).

For the Pomodoro:

1 28oz can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, puréed in food processor
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
3 large fresh basil sprigs
12 oz. bucatini or spaghetti
2 Tbsp. cubed unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add minced onion, cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute more. Increase heat to medium, add puréed tomatoes and season lightly with salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce reduces slightly about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in basil sprigs, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil. Season with salt; add spaghetti and cook until aldente. Discard basil and heat sauce over low – medium heat; add meatballs and pasta, toss to coat. Remove pan from heat; add butter and cheese; toss until cheese melts. Transfer to warm bowls; serve with more cheese, if desired (to which I say: YES!).

When Thursday is your Friday

Hi there!!! It’s been a while…too long actually. There have been many changes lately, my work schedule being one of them. Though I am not particularly happy about working 1 Saturday a month, I’ve decided to make the best of it. The upside is having the Friday beforehand off, which I’ve decided I’d treat just like Saturday only better; I’ll make sure to go all out with brunch (my favorite almond french toast), get things done around the house and maybe even go out for some shopping (minus the weekend crowds). So, I wanted to start my faux weekend with a fun dinner last night. Lobster pot pie was my pick. I’ve never made it before but have always wanted to try. I did a little recipe research online and took from several what I thought would work for my taste buds.

Here is the result and my simple recipe.

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You’ll need:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen peas
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup clam juice
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Brandy
½ pound cooked lobster meat (can be bought at the seafood counter)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (keep refrigerated until ready to use)
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set out two 2-cup individual ovenproof ramekins. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add diced onion and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add Brandy and let it cook off (about 2 mins). Add corn and peas. Stir in flour, and cook 1 more minute. Add milk and clam juice stirring constantly. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Then remove from heat, add lobster and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, flatten out 1 sheet of the pastry, using a floured rolling pin, to about 1⁄8-inch thickness. Using one of the bowls as a guide, cut the pastry into two circles. Spoon the filling into the bowls, and place one circle of dough on top of each potpie, pressing the edges to seal the pastry to the bowl. Cut a vent in the center so air can escape. Using a pastry brush, cover the surface of each pie with beaten egg. Place the potpies on a baking sheet and bake until pastry is puffed and becomes a golden brown shade, about 35 minutes.

And…the previously mentioned Almond French Toast:

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Serves 2:

4 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
2 tablespoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pure Almond extract
1 tablespoon Orange Blossom honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 slices bread (any kind works)
Unsalted butter

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, cinnamon, orange zest, almond extract, honey, and salt. Soak bread slices in the egg mixture for a few minutes; turning once.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a sauté pan or griddle over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Finish with maple syrup, confectioner’s sugar and your favorite fruit.

Nothing beats homemade

One of the not so healthy things I always find myself craving is a meatball sub. Nothing beats the combination of savory meatballs in marinara sauce, tons of melty delicious mozzarella wrapped in a toasty roll. So I decided to give it a try and attempt to make a healthier, lighter version at home so that maybe I can have them more often 😉 I opted for a lean 95, 15 ground beef, brioche buns from the Whole Foods bakery, mozzarella, and baby spinach for a little something green. The sauce is super light and if you have left overs I would highly recommend boiling some noodles and having a bowl of good ol’ spaghetti and meatballs.

This is how they turned out:

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For the meatballs:

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tsp.salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped Parsley

Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes.

For the sauce:

1/2 cup olive oil

2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cans crushed tomatoes
2 dry bay leaves

Heat the oil over medium. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, simmer uncovered on low heat until the sauce thickens. Remove the bay leaf, and toss in the meatballs!

What do you think, will you give it a try?

Keep it simple

There are few things more humble than a can of beans, but the best thing about them is their ability to be transformed, even into something rich. I personally enjoy them quite a bit even at their simplest so when I came across this recipe in Bon Appetit’s website I knew I had to try it. It was beyond tasty and I encourage you to try it too 🙂

Here’s how mine turned out:

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