Do you remember the Book-It program? It’s Pizza Hut‘s program for rewarding kids for reading. I crushed Book-It. I mean, in first grade, I had piles of those free Personal Pan pizza coupons stacked up at home. About once a month, mom would take me to the neighborhood Pizza Hut to collect my prize. You were only allowed one topping. One.
Here kids, here’s a whole bag of Skittles, now let’s just eat one. Say what?
Early on I narrowed in on my choice and never once deviated. At age six — through elementary school — it was a plain mushroom pizza for me. I love those little squishy, cheesy bites of fungi! Three nights ago I ordered pizza for dinner — mushrooms only. It’s really the best option. Even my homemade pizzas are piled high with thick slices of mushrooms, and the salami, bell peppers, and basil are just there for decoration.
This, however, is not about pizza. It is a lot about how I’ve found one more place to enjoy three of my favorite things — mushrooms, cheese, carbs. Pile ’em up, baby! (more…)
There isn’t anything I don’t like about pizza. I like wood fire, NY style, grease bomb, and everything in between. You can hold the green bell peppers and onions, but otherwise I’ve never found a slice of pizza I didn’t like.
In the past year though, my favorite pizza is the one that I make. I’ve worked my homemade sauce to be just right, found a crust that is pretty perfect, and realized I don’t need a stitch of meat. Rather than give up pizza because it’s so unhealthy, I found a way to enjoy it on occasion because it’s not that bad for me.
I start with a whole grain naan, an Indian bread that is usually sold near your grocer’s bakery. The Stonefire brand is excellent (I find this at Kroger), and SuperTarget’s house brand is great, too. They usually come two to a pack and I try to keep at least one in the freezer at all times. You never know when it’s going to be the perfect night for pizza! (more…)
Have you ever considered getting into the whole herb gardening thing? I certainly have, but as always, I need a strong resource to wrap my mind around what is the easiest and most beneficial thing to grow at home. I didn’t find this quickie guide, so I did the research and created one for us all. It turns out herb gardening is easy and a super healthy and cost-effective way to add heapings of extra flavor to your food. Here are the best greens to grow in an indoor or outdoor herb garden. All you need to get started are a few pots, a little bit of soil and some seeds!
Basil is super easy to grow at home. All you need is some seeds and the sunlight. Basil is so versatile—use it in soups and salads or make pesto with it. It works great in Italian dishes (obviously) and it can add a fun flavor blast to stirfrys too! Basil is also awesome for clearing your skin and mellowing your stress. Who knew?
Try it in a summery peach caprese salad! (more…)
It’s very encouraging that we all continue to demand fresher, simpler, healthier recipes, and that they actually exist! Summer tends to inspire this more than other seasons, with the bounty of fruits and vegetables in season this time of year. As we stand to enjoy a few more sweltering weeks of summer sun before the first day of fall on September 22, we present a recipe that meets all of the aforementioned criteria.
This Tabbouleh-Inspired Freekeh Salad, crafted by guest chef Adriene Rathbun, is a fantastic way to use up the last of your summer garden harvest, as most of these ingredients could be plucked right out of your backyard (or even the farmers market).
We start with all-natural freekeh, pronounced free-kah, a roasted green wheat with a heartier, nuttier taste than bulgur with a texture and appearance similar to other whole grains like rice. It’s as easy to prepare as a pot of rice – you’ll just need a half-cup for this recipe boiled with water (or broth for more flavor) for about 20 minutes. We like ours on the chewier, al dente side, so we reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.
Are any three foods more perfect on their own? But then when combined can take the food center of your brain to a new euphoria? No. The answer is definitively no.
The caprese is so simple, effortless, satisfying, and a must-eat during the summer. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you skip this quintessential summer food. On those nights when you don’t want to cook, or it’s too hot to cook, but you don’t want to go out, and you want something healthy, and blah, blah blah, this is the answer. Appetizer, lunch, entree no matter how you slice that sweet mozz and those juicy fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes it’s perfection.
The ingredient colors reflect those in the Italian flag, the origin of this recipe. As with any classic, the variations are plentiful and all equally delicious or capable of taking your familiarity with this food to a new level. We’ll introduce you to a mere 20 that we were able to say we absolutely have to eat!
For starters, our all new Peach Caprese Salad by Adriene Rathbun. (more…)
Juicy, flavorful, ripened peaches are a lovely summer treat often used in desserts. Peaches and cream. Peach pie. Peach cobbler. Naturally sweet, dessert is the easy and obvious choice for this warm-weather fruit.
We don’t take peaches in a savory direction often enough, and that’s exactly where we’re headed today.
One of my favorite uses of peaches is making a Caprese salad with a twist. Using peaches instead of tomatoes is a mouthwatering, savory way to enjoy one of summer’s best fruits in a fresh, new way. (more…)
Editor at The Cooking Channel and also a chef and writer, Suzanne Leher says it’s near impossible for her not to order chicken lettuce wraps if they’re anywhere on a menu. So what’s a chef to do with her favorite dish? Replicate it at home of course!
Suzanne created this recipe that she says just may convince you to throw out your takeout menus and hit the kitchen.
Cool, crunchy Bibb lettuce serves as the perfect pairing for gingery-hot chicken sautéed with sweet and crunchy carrots. Rice noodles stir-fried with sesame oil and red bell peppers, then topped with chopped peanuts and scallions make the perfect side for filling but healthy dinner. (more…)
If I told you that you could have big salads tossed with a creamy dressing and it would be fat free, would you believe me? Not only fat free, but extremely low calorie, fresh flavor, and maybe the best dressing you’ve ever had. Let me show you the way.
I prepare a big entree salad for dinner for my family once or twice a week. I swore off grocery store salad dressings years ago because they’re terrible, and frankly, I can whip up a vinaigrette on demand with a flavor that perfectly complements my meal. But I recently grew tired of the vinegar and oil and craved the creamier variety I used to douse my salads in. Inspiration struck.
Picking through the refrigerator, I found feta crumbles, Greek yogurt, and the strawberries and basil I usually add to vinaigrette. These were blended together, without the oil, and the sweetest pink dressing adorned our salads that night. And with that, my creamy feta dressing fixation began. (more…)
I’d much rather eat something fresh and homemade than something out of a box or can. Sure, it can be a little more time consuming, but that’s what my weekends are for. I feel a lot better serving a meal in which I can name every single ingredient. Plus, I don’t mind the bragging rights that come with a little honest-to-goodness made-from-scratch cooking!
One of my husband’s favorite meals is my Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. As soon as the temperatures start cooling off, I’m more than happy to spend a Sunday in the kitchen making this cool-weather meal for him.
I only have to make this once or twice each winter because it fills my Crock Pot completely full and then several containers for freezing. While I may have to invest an afternoon to prepare it once, I’ve got several effortless meals later. (more…)
If you haven’t jumped on the banana ice cream train yet, it’s time! After trying it for ourselves the first time this summer, we’ve been spinning our wheels to come up with new flavor ideas so we can keep enjoying this healthy, easy-to-make treat.
Banana ice cream is so simple to make. It’s essentially pre-peeled, sliced or loosely chopped frozen bananas whirled into a magical soft serve dessert in a blender or food processor. You can eat it as is and it’s quite delicious, if you enjoy the flavor of bananas. Or you can add in fun toppings like we did this time. (more…)
As a child, I never understood the importance of herbs. They all seemed like weeds to me and I found their flavors to be somewhat, well, gaggy. However, I also hated salad and coffee growing up – two of my now loves – so that doesn’t say much about how mature my palette was at the time.
But now, as a full-fledged 26-year-old adult, I adore herbs; and especially, basil.
While basil and I first tip-toed into our relationship via the world of margherita pizza and classic pasta sauces, we’ve now taken it to the next level. As in, I eat it plain, straight from the earth by the handfuls. Needless to say, things have gotten serious.
And with this matured relationship has come exploring and lots of it. Below are just a few ways you too can branch out and experience more of what this vibrant herb has to offer. (more…)