Today I made Beer Braised Country Style Ribs and eggplant on the side. Or underneath, as pictured here. It was just a throw-it-all-together type of meal, and honestly I didn’t even measure anything out so it is hard to say exactly what I did (oops). I let the ribs marinate in soy sauce, crushed garlic […]
When I was pregnant I became obsessed with pepperoni pizza. I have never exactly been a pizza person before– not that I didn’t like it, I just never felt the need to eat it that much and was usually able to resist (unless it was right in front of me!) – and especially not specifically pepperoni. But that changed fast with baby boy. I wanted pepperoni pizza at least once or twice a week. And I had it almost that much.. And honestly, the love for it didn’t exactly leave with the end of the pregnancy. I definitely don’t think of it nearly as often, and can certainly resist now even when I do think of it, but I still definitely appreciate it. But what do I do when I feel like I want some pepperoni pizza but don’t want to actually eat pizza? Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas!
They have all the flavor of pepperoni pizza, but can be made in 5 minutes in the comfort of your own home! No waiting 45 minutes for delivery and feeling guilty about scarfing down a whole entire pie yourself. This quesadilla is really satisfying and can be put together with things you may already have on hand (if you keep pepperoni around normally) and it can also be converted to a plain cheese pizza quesadilla just as easily. Make one and cut it into triangles to share as an appetizer, or make one and eat it all yourself for lunch or dinner.
- 2 tortillas or wraps of your choice
- ¼ canned crushed tomatoes or pizza sauce
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- ¼ cup pepperoni
- sprinkle of oregano
- Spread the tomatoes on one of the tortilla or wraps. Cover with cheese and then layer the pepperoni on top, followed by a sprinkled of oregano.
- Bake in toaster oven (or regular oven) at 350 for about 5 minutes.
I didn’t actually end up cooking today at all, because I had to work all day and then had a rehearsal dinner for my friends wedding which is tomorrow. So I had great food today but not from my kitchen. If I was going to have made something today though, it would have been something like my One Pan Skillet Sausage Pasta. It was a chilly day and perfect for pasta!
Introducing: 31 Days of Easy, Healthy(ish) Meals!
For the month of October (how the heck is it October already?!) I am launching a series called 31 Days of Easy, Healthy(ish) Meals, which is exactly what it sounds like. I’m committing to actually post every day of the month, as part of the 31 Days challenge. I’m not saying each post will be a big beautiful recipe post, but I am going to try to make and post something about one meal a day. This is going to be real life meals, not specifically bloggable dishes- meaning, I’m not going grocery shopping every other day to get fun supplies especially for a certain recipe. These will be the meals that I throw together for a quick dinner based on what I have on hand. Sometimes two days may be similar to each other, because that’s real life, although I usually do try to change it up enough that they won’t be exactly the same. Once a week I’ll do a meal plan post about what I plan to make, but as always, I probably won’t stick to it completely, and will end up making whatever works at the time.
I’ve found that the majority of my meals are described (by me) as ‘easy’ and that is a major factor in what I make and what we eat. Nobody has time for long complicated recipes. I also try to make somewhat healthyish dishes when I cook, although that depends on your definition of healthy :)
I’ll be posting the dishes here each day and you can check the main blog page for the new post, or come back here for the full list to check out past posts. Let me know if you have any suggestions on what to cook!
Day 5: Pepperoni Pizza Quesadilla
I feel like the whole summer passed me by and I didn’t get it together to do some of the best and most basic summer things. Like eat tons of corn on the cob. I think I had it like once? Maybe? So upsetting. Corn is such a summer thing and making/eating it is such an easy thing to do that it seems even worse that I didn’t do it enough. I literally went to the store last time and it was 12 ears for $1.95. What? No excuse.
So for one last hurrah, I decided I needed to at least make a recipe that would allow me to ingest lots of corn even if just for these last few weeks of summer. I saw a recipe for a whipped corn dip in Food + Wine magazine this summer and thought it looked so delicious and easy. I based this off of that, but made it even easier, because really, when you have fresh summer corn right off the cob, it really doesn’t need much dressing up.
Grilling the corn first gives it that specific grilled corn flavor which just screams summer, and makes it so that you really don’t need to do much else to it at all. The ricotta makes it creamy and light and fluffy and amazing.
Get the full 12 ears and make a huge vat of this for your next gathering! You won’t regret it.
I made some basic pita chips to go with it, because a homemade dip deserves a great chip as vehicle. I just spread olive oil on top, cut into rectangles, and sprinkled with a bit of garlic powder and baked for about five minutes at 375. To go with this dip, you really don’t need any extra flavoring on the chip.
- 1 cup corn, about three ears grilled and then cut off the cob
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 1 garlic clove
- salt pinch
- pepper pinch
- Grill corn on grill for about 5 minutes on one side and then flip and do 5 more minutes on the other.
- Carefully cut it off the cob, add to food processor with cheese, garlic clove, pinch of salt and pepper.
- Process until smooth. Taste, and add more salt or pepper if needed.
This summer I ended up with tons of cucumbers in my garden and not enough to do with them all. I was on a hunt for some worthwhile way to use some of them up at once, so that I wouldn’t let them go to waste while they were fresh. Yes, I cut them up and put them on salads, or ate them plain with a sprinkle of salt, but that could only take care of at most, one each day! There had to be something else.
Enter, this cucumber soup. My friend made a version of it for our book group meeting a few months ago, and I was hooked. It was cold and refreshing and summery, and oh so flavorful. I was shocked at how creamy a cucumber soup could seem, especially when there was no cream involved! Her version included way more ingredients than mine does, and even mine looks like a lot, but it’s all simple things you already have on hand and all you have to do is throw them all in the blender together with almost no prep, so it’s really quick and easy. My friend’s version was so smooth and luscious because she has one of those fancy blenders that completely pulverizes everything in two seconds, but even with my non fancy blender the soup is delicious and gets pretty smooth. Personally, I like it as smooth as possible, so I would recommend using a fancy blender if you have one, or blending it a little extra to get it really silky. But I also know that some people would prefer it a little chunkier, and like to have some pieces in their soup, so you could blend it a little bit less.
The glorious thing about this soup is that I really think you can change it up depending on what you want/like. You can add in so many things and it will totally work. The cucumber serves for such a light and fresh base, and the yogurt gives it great texture. Anything else you want to add can really shine on top of this simple base. And it’s so light and yummy you can make a huge batch with all your cucumbers and eat it for lunch, as a before dinner appetizer, or as your dinner, all week!
- 3 medium cucumbers, peeled and seeded
- ⅔ cup plain greek yogurt
- ½ cup walnuts
- 3 slices sourdough bread
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped (like ¼ or less)
- 2 garlic cloves
- juice from ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon dill
- sprinkle of pepper
- Chop up the cucumbers and tear the bread into smallish pieces. Add these and all other ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate to chill until cool or until serving.
So we’ve been using the cloth diapers for about 6 months now I think (we didn’t start using them right away because he was so small at first) and I figured it may be time for an update, because I said I would let you know how it’s going at the end of my first […]
Some things I need to eat immediately:
Black Eyed Pea Cakes -> interesting!
Coconut Cookies -> love me coconut anything!
Garlic Roasted Cabbage Wedges -> what a good idea.
Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Cake with Salted Caramel -> yum!
Some other random ramblings:
I feel like I haven’t eaten nearly enough ice cream this summer. I’ve been trying to rectify that situation the last week or so (see above) but still don’t think I’ve been doing very well.
It’s in the 90s this week and our air conditioner broke. Of course. After one year of use! Cue several hours a day on the phone with some not so good men from Goodman… #irony. So far we’ve gotten nowhere.
I’ve been reading Dawn for my book group last month. It’s so not my usual style, but I actually really like it. It’s an old book, from the ’80s, and is syfy, which I actually have been enjoying recently in the TV realm, but have never thought I’d like in books. Turns out we all liked it so much we’re reading the other two books in the Lilith’s Brood
trilogy for next month.
We’ve also decided to read Between the World and Me next. We don’t usually pick two months’ books at a time, but I’m excited to read this next one too. It was actually on my list and someone else brought it up as a suggestion. I think I might actually buy it as a real book, as opposed to the Kindle version, too. I like to do that once in a while with good books!
The Mister’s birthday was last week and instead of my regular birthday cake or the delicious coconut cake I made last year, he requested just my dad’s famous peanut butter pie. Easy peasy. (Yes, I know I need to update the pictures on that post. But I promise the recipe is still spot on!) Everyone was extremely impressed which is funny because it’s so easy to make. But it really is that good. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like it, even people who say they don’t like peanut butter (though I try not to have people like that in my life- ha!).
A quick, easy, summery salad that is cool and refreshing, with a satisfying amount of crunch. And it uses up some of those cucumbers that may be going a bit crazy at this time of the year! I don’t know about you, but I have more cucumbers than I can keep up with. I have made two batches of pickles already and don’t know what I will do with any more, so I’m trying to find other ways to use some of these cucumbers up. Beyond slicing them up and throwing them on as a topping for another salad, I don’t always know where to go. It’s not like zucchini, which can be used in breads and cakes and be cooked up all kinds of ways. (Although I’m also glad it’s not like zucchinis, because there is a reason I didn’t grow those those year!)
This is literally just cucumbers sliced up, a small red onion chopped or diced, some feta cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or a balsamic glaze. That’s it. No seasonings, or extra ingredients required. So simple and easy to put together on a lazy, hot summer day and a great side for a meal of whatever you want to throw on the grill!
- 3 medium cucumbers
- 1 small sweet red onion
- 2 tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar (about 1 tablespoon)
- Slice the ends off each cucumber and then slice the cucumbers into thin rounds. Cut each round in half so that they are all the shape of half moons.
- Slice the onion up so that it is in fairly small pieces, either a rough chop or a small dice, depending on preference. Mix with cucumbers.
- Sprinkle the cheese on top and gently mix together.
- Drizzle the balsamic vinegar on top.
- Toss before serving.
One of my biggest struggles is cooking/eating good meals when I haven’t had any time to plan them or shop for them. Part of that stems from the fact that the mister doesn’t consider it a meal if it doesn’t revolve around meat, but it’s hard to keep the freezer fully stocked with meat for every night- not to mention expensive. Sometimes lately though I’ve been surprising myself by coming up with delicious things based just on what we have already in the cabinet. I think it’s a great thing to be able to do and something I need to get better at. You know when they say ‘shop the cupboards’. It’s a great strategy in theory, but you have to make sure you first stock the cupboards with key staples so that you have enough to work with on any random day that you think ‘oh gosh I didn’t even think about dinner for tonight’. This post is definitely going to be a work in progress, as I make more examples of the dishes you can put together with these ingredients and link to them. Here are some of my favorites to keep on hand:
Canned Chickpeas/Black Beans -> there are so many things you can do with beans to make a super easy and delicious meal. Eat them cold with some veggies added in and you have a great summer salad like this one; cook some rice for a simple rice and beans which is so tasty; put them inside a tortilla with cheese for a satisfying two minute quesadilla etc.
Lentils -> along the same lines as beans, lentils are a great filling option that can be super satisfying. My favorite is to throw them in a pan with coconut oil, curry powder, a liquid (water or coconut milk) and some other spices and toast them up and eat them with a fried egg and avocado on top. Such a healthy and yummy lunch.
Quinoa -> a super healthy grain that can taste like whatever you cook it with. Add shredded cheese for a comforting ‘mac & cheese’ bowl, or toss with tomatoes and vinegar for a light, refreshing summer snack. So many options and it’s filling and good for you.
Pasta -> seems silly to even mention, and I know it’s not as ‘healthy’ as the above option, but I think it’s always good form to have one box of pasta in the cabinet for emergencies. Sometimes you just need carbs, right? Throw it together with olive oil or butter, some garlic powder, a pinch of salt and ground pepper and you have a shockingly delicious meal using literally no real ingredients.
Eggs -> ok, so these aren’t really something that goes in the cupboards, but I think eggs are still a major staple in most peoples’ homes and are something that you tend to have around. And they do last a long time so it’s possible to always have some on hand even if you don’t use them all the time. Eggs are quite possibly the single most important thing for me to have in the kitchen. Not because they’re my favorite food or anything, but you can do so much with them. Hard boil a bunch at once to keep in the fridge for when you want a two bite snack, or to throw on top of literally anything to add a bit of protein and flavor (salad, lentils/beans, toast, etc). You can also always make a quick omelette for a snack or lunch, or if you’re in a real pinch for dinner, a quiche! Additionally, if you only have one or two eggs, but one of the other things above, the egg goes great on any one of them to make it feel more like a complete meal so pair them together to make it even better.
Coconut Milk -> there are a couple of things that can make a meal feel really special for me, and one of them is adding a taste of the exotic with coconut milk! It makes things feel rich and creamy and have a hint of coconut which is one of my favorite flavors ever. Add it to your lentils or beans as the cooking liquid, or use it as a base for so many soups and sauces. It is so much better than water, and is something you can always have on hand in the cabinet.
Chicken or Vegetable Broth -> similarly to the coconut milk, having a flavored broth on hand can take sauces and soups to a whole other level. Make a quick and super easy sauce for your pasta, or cook your quinoa or other grains or beans in it for a boost of flavor.
So there you have it. The top 7 things to keep in your cabinet in order to make sure you have something on hand to throw together for a satisfying meal. Now I’m certainly not against having way more things on hand in your cabinet *cough, see above, cough..* But if you peer really closely you can see that most of these things are in mine even when the cabinet is also stuffed with way more. And quite honestly, these are still the things I reach for when I need to make a great meal with no planning.