Greek Pizza

Today is Good Friday and the last installment of the Lenten dinner series for the year. And I saved the best for last.

One of our local pizza places makes a salad pizza – it’s basically a warm crust with a garden salad on top and it’s amazing. This is pretty much the Greek salad version of that. There’s something amazing about the contrast of the warm, melt-y feta against the cold crunch of the vegetables. Seriously, if you don’t already have dinner plans, you need to make this tonight.

In the interest of speeding things up (because I have zero patience on Friday nights), I used a pre-made pizza crust for this. You could also use your favorite pizza dough and just bake until the dough is golden brown – probably a few extra minutes.

GreekPizzaDone

Greek Pizza
(slightly adapted from Cooking Classy)
Makes 1 pizza

1 prepared pizza crust
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 oz. shredded mozzarella
4 oz. feta, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Whisk together the olive oil and garlic and brush over the prepared crush. Sprinkle the crust evenly with oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Top evenly with mozzarella and then feta.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden. Immediately top with red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, olives, onion, and parsley and serve.

Quinoa Pizza Burgers with Garlic Bread Buns

I’m sure none of my long-time blog readers are surprised to see that pizza has made it’s way into the Lenten dinner series. I’m a pizza fan. It was bound to happen.

The beauty of these is – like pizza – you can top them however you want. If it wasn’t Lent, I would have added some pepperoni on top. Ham and pineapple would also be good. These are a great idea if you’re looking for a meal that will please both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike!

QuinaPizzaBurgers

Quinoa Pizza Burgers with Garlic Bread Buns
(adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
Serves 6

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. basil
1 cup cooked or canned pinto beans, drained and mashed
6 burger buns
6 slices of mozzarella cheese
6 Tbsp. pizza sauce
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. garlic powder

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to low and cook for 14 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Combine cooked quinoa, tomato paste, spices, and mashed beans. When well  combined, divide into six equal parts and form into patties.
Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and cook patties over medium heat until both sides are browned and patties are heated through. Top with 1 Tbsp. pizza sauce each and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Cover and let cheese melt.
Meanwhile, spread melted butter over the cut side of the buns and sprinkle evenly with garlic powder. Broil until toasted.
Serve burgers on toasted buns immediately.

Chocolate Bunny Brownies #ChocolateBunnyPledge

Are you working on filling Easter baskets this week? We are. I’m so looking forward to stocking up on jellybeans, marshmallow chicks, and chocolate bunnies for my crew. You know what won’t be in our Easter baskets? Any live animals.

Each year after Easter, animal shelters and rescue groups get countless requests to take in baby chicks, ducks, and bunnies that were gifted in Easter baskets. It might seem like an adorable idea, but those animals aren’t toys – they’re a lot of work.

The Bunny Hutch is one of these groups and this year they’re asking people to take the #ChocolateBunnyPledge. Will you commit to making your Easter basket fillers candy instead of live animals? Sign the pledge here.

ChocolateBunnyBrownies

And if you’re looking for the easiest Easter dessert ever – featuring a chocolate bunny! – look no further. This is a standard brownie mix (or your favorite brownie recipe – I love this one.) Take it out of the oven during the last two minutes of baking and press a chocolate bunny and some Cadbury mini eggs into the brownies. Return to the oven for 2 more minutes to let everything meld together. Voila! Easy Chocolate Bunny Brownies.

No-Bake Oreo Pie

It’s been a while since we had something sweet around here. Would you like a slice of pie?

This was actually our pi day pie. Made in the middle of the Nor’easter. I knew we’d be stuck in the house, so I picked a pie that Jake could help with.

We all really enjoyed this and while a frozen pie wasn’t necessarily the best choice for a snowstorm, it’s going to be perfect for summer barbecues!

OreoPie

No-Bake Oreo Pie
(adapted from The First Year)
Serves 8

1 premade Oreo crust
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
10 Oreos chopped, divided
1 8 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed, divided
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Stir in half the container of Cool Whip. Stir in 6 chopped Oreos. Spread mixture in the premade crust and freeze for 3 minutes.

Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. In a microwave-safe container, microwave heavy cream until just starting to bubble. Pour over the chocolate chips and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk together until smooth.  Let cook to room temperature. Pour over the top of the pie and smooth out.

Spread remaining Cool Whip over the pie and then sprinkle remaining chopped Oreos over. Cover and return to the freezer for 1-2 hours. Remove a few minutes before serving.

Enchilada Rice Skillet

We’re officially into the phase of Lent where meatless Fridays feel like a chore. The new meals I was most excited to make have already been tried out and I’m trying really, really hard not to just fall back on pizza and fish sticks.

This meal was a bit of a compromise. I had something veggie-packed and healthier planned – but cheesy comfort food sounded much better for the night. And it was.

We topped leftovers with grilled chicken and pulled pork for lunches the next day – both were great!

EnchiladaRiceSkillet.JPG

Enchilada Rice Skillet
(from Budget Savvy Diva)
Serves 4

1 cup rice, uncooked
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup of green salsa
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

Cook rice according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, onion, and pepper and cook until onion is soft and translucent  – about five minutes.

Add in rice, corn, black beans, enchilada sauce, green salsa, and spices. Mix until well combined and cook for an additional five minutes, until everything is heated through.

Sprinkle the cheese over the top and cover. Cook until cheese is melted and serve immediately.

Grilled Stuffed Mini Peppers

The weather is getting better! The snow piles from the nor’easter are nearly gone and we’ve had a few evenings where it’s not frigid by dinner time – so we’re starting to fire up the grill.

Cave Tools recently sent me a pepper grill rack to try out (you can see my review here) and we finally busted it out to make these delicious little peppers. I think most people automatically think jalapenos stuffed with cheese and bacon for something like this, but I wanted to make something that felt light and fresh – and that was more toddler-friendly.

These were perfect! I can’t wait to make them again once we have lots of fresh herbs in the garden.

CaveTools4

Grilled Stuffed Mini Peppers
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 12

12 rainbow mini peppers
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Clean and core the peppers.

In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, dill, basil, green onions, garlic, and lemon zest until well combined. Stuff peppers with cream cheese mixture.

Using a rack, grill over medium heat until the peppers are softened and the cream cheese puffs slightly. Serve immediately.

Review: Cave Tools Jalapeno Grill Rack & Pepper Corer

Disclosure: I received these products free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

We’re just getting into grilling season here, so when Cave Tools asked if I wanted to review their Jalapeno Grill Rack & Pepper Corer I jumped at the chance. We love making dinner on the grill now that the evenings are warmer (and it’s light out!) and I love products that make grilled dishes easy – this is one of them.

Because we have a toddler who insists on trying everything we’re eating, I decided to try the rack out by making stuffed mini peppers (check back for the recipe tomorrow!).

CaveTools1

The set comes with a corer tool to make prep easy. I sliced off the top of the peppers and then used the tool to clean them out and was impressed with how quickly and effectively it worked. My husband even commented on how fast it was!

CaveTools2

I stuck the peppers in the rack as I filled them. The one thing you do have to be mindful of is that you pick peppers that won’t fall through the holes – or tweak as you go. I added two smaller peppers together in some spots. A little foil would have worked, too.

The rack itself is super sturdy – the legs snap into place so it won’t collapse unless you want it to. This made it easy to transport the rack from the kitchen to the grill.

CaveTools3

I loved that the rack kept the peppers away from heat enough that they could cook without burning (brown spots = poison to a toddler) and we didn’t have to deal with any cheese spillage as the mixture got melty. Cleanup was also a breeze – the rack goes right in the dish washer.

I really loved this rack and can’t wait to try out some of the other things they suggest (like chicken legs!) this summer.

If you want your own jalapeno grill rack, they can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code ROASTPEPPER15 to take 15% off. They can also be purchased via Amazon. Cave Tools also has a lot of other fun grilling accessories, I recommend checking them out while you’re browsing!

Spanakopita Quesadillas

You know what’s tricky about Lenten Fridays with a toddler? Lunch.

He is, in general, really good about eating whatever we’re eating for dinner. I’m one of those mean moms with an “eat it or go hungry” policy. But, lunch is another story. I usually let him pick his own lunch and that means we have a healthy rotation of dinosaur chicken nuggets and cold cuts. So far, Lenten Friday lunches have meant PB&J. For both of us.

I wasn’t sure how this would go over, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. Jake ate half of his quesadilla before declaring he didn’t like it and requesting something else. Half of a spinach-filled, whole wheat wrap? I’ll take it.

And, I loved these so I was happy to steal the rest of his. Serve with tzatziki or sour cream for dipping. We added some olives on the side for a light lunch. If this was dinner, I would have opted for a Greek salad or hummus and veggies to round out the meal!

SpanikopitaQuesadilla

Spanakopita Quesadillas
(from Cooktoria)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic
7 cups baby spinach, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
1/4 cup feta crumbles
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
4 flour tortillas

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add in the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and spinach and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until spinach is cooked down a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a bowl and pop it in the fridge.

In a bowl, mix together the egg, feta, Parmesan, and dill until thoroughly combined.

When the spinach mixture is cool enough to handle, squeeze out any remaining liquid and add the spinach to the cheese mixture. Combine well.

Divide the mixture evenly between 4 tortillas. Fold each in half and fry over low heat for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway.

 

 

 

Cauliflower Nachos

A lot of my Lenten Friday dinners are recreated junk food or takeout fakeout. There’s a reason for that. By the time Friday rolls around, that’s really all I want. And I’m assuming I’m not alone in that since pizza is such a popular Lenten dinner.

So, here’s another option if you’re thinking of ordering pizza tonight.

No, you won’t be fooled into thinking the cauliflower is tortilla chips – but this is delicious in it’s own right. And you’ll feel more virtuous downing a whole plate!

CauliflowerNachos

Cauliflower Nachos
(from Delish)
Serves 2

1 large head cauliflower, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
Your favorite nacho toppings – we used salsa, black beans, black olives, pickled jalapenos, and sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil. Sprinkle spices evenly over the cauliflower and toss to coat. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes, until golden and crispy.

Top with cheese and any other toppings you want warm and bake for 5 minutes more, until the cheese is melted.

Add remaining toppings and serve.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna Soup

The weather is giving me whiplash. We keep going from unseasonably warm to snowstorm and back. Yesterday, we were at the park in light sweatshirts. Today, it’s snowing.

Luckily, that means it’s soup weather – and I just happen to have a great meatless soup to share as part of the Lenten dinner series!

This soup is pretty much veggie lasagna in a bowl. I’ve tried a bunch of lasagna-type soups and they never quite hit the spot because they lack the cheesy goodness that is lasagna. This version features an ingenious dollop of cheese on top. I love it!

VeggieLasagnaSoup

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna Soup
(from Foodie Crush)
Serves 10

1 yellow onion, diced
2 zucchinis, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/8  tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. lasagna noodles

 

For the ricotta cheese topping

1 8 oz. container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4  cup basil leaves, chopped
Generous pinch of salt

Add the onion, zucchini, garlic, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

While the soup cooks, mix all ingredients for the cheese topping together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When the soup is done, prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, chop them up, and add to the soup.

Serve the soup topped with a dollop of cheese topping.