Pizza Beans

It’s the first Lenten Friday of 2018 and I’m marking it with – you guessed it! – a pizza dish.

For years, our Lenten Friday staples were spaghetti with tomato sauce and pizza. This blog series was born out of my desire to experiment with other options. Now in it’s fifth year, I’ve added so many more meatless meals to my repertoire – but pizza-inspired dishes still hold a place in my heart.

These beans are our pizza representation for the year. They’re not overly reminiscent of pizza, but the tomato sauce and cheese made it totally plausible to the kids – they happily ate it up! I loved that it was loaded with veggies, too.

Pizza Beans

Pizza Beans
(from Smitten Kitchen Every Day)
Serves 6-8

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup red wine
4 oz.  curly kale leaves, torn into bite sized pieces
2 1/4 cups crushed tomatoes
1 lb. giant white beans
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 lb. mozzarella, grated
1/3 cup  grated Parmesan

 

Soak the beans overnight. Drain, then transfer to an oven-safe dutch oven. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until beans are soft. Drain and transfer the beans to a bowl. Set aside.

Over medium-high heat, add the oil to the same dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits in the pan, then continue to cook until the wine disappears. Add the kale and cook for 1-2 minutes, until wilted in. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Stir in the beans and vegetable broth. Simmer for 10 minutes and adjust seasonings as needed.

Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan over the top and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Pizza Beans

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25 Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent #LentenDinner

Lent starts today, which means my annual Meatless Meals for Lenten Fridays series does too. You can check back here every Friday until Easter for a new, delicious meatless meal!

As I started working on this Ash Wednesday kick off post, I realized that I didn’t have many new meatless meals on the blog this year – and roughly half were pizza-related. In an effort to make things more well-rounded, I asked my blogger friends to share their favorite meatless meals, too. Below, you’ll find some from me and some from them – and plenty of variety to please everyone!

You can also check out my previous roundups – 16 Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent, 16 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent, 12 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent, and 9 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent for more ideas.

See you back here Friday for the first meatless Lenten dinner post of the year. (Spoiler alert: it’s pizza related. Of course.)

25 Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent

Meatless meal ideas from Kate’s RecipeBox:

Eggplant and Garlic Pizza

Florida Strawberry Pecan Pizza

Greek Pizza

Quinoa Pizza Burgers with Garlic Bread Buns

Enchilada Rice Skillet

Spanakopita Quesadillas

Cauliflower Nachos

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna Soup

Pinto Bean Burritos

Meatless meals suggested by my blogger friends:

Spicy Quinoa Corn Chowder from Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

A “Meaty” Stew from I Was Born to Cook

Golden Red Lentil Dal Saag from The Tiny Tyrant’s Kitchen

Huevos Rancheros Burgers from Joesin’ for Taste

Spring Greens Quiche from Faith, Hope, Love & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Mushroom Stroganoff from A Day in the Life on the Farm

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Carbonara from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Bean Ragout and Crisped Mushrooms from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Hearty Veggie Meatloaf from Simple and Savory

Falafel Waffles from Cooking with Carlee

Fried Lasagna from Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Warm Pasta Salad with Tomato and Zucchini from Book ‘n’ Cooks

Cauliflower Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms from Caroline’s Cooking

Healthy Vegetable Skillet Dinner from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Easy Vegetable Pot Pie with Fillo Crust from All that’s Jas

Vegetarian Chickpea, Carrot, Cilantro Curry Patty from Shockingly Delicious

Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares #FoodBloggerLove

Today we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day a little early with some #FoodBloggerLove and I’m so thrilled to introduce you guys to Nicole from For the Love of Food.

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I was so excited to get to know her blog over the last few weeks – she and I are super similar! She also has two little ones that help her out in the kitchen, family meals are her bread and butter, and she’s crazy for anything chocolate peanut butter.

Yeah, I know – it was like looking in a mirror!

I knew I wanted to make a treat Nicole would love – and I also wanted it to be something her girls could help with. These Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars are the perfect fit!

Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares 2

My little helpers helped with the measuring and stirring. These treats are no bake, but they do need a few minutes on the stove top to melt the ingredients together so I handled that. They only take about five minutes to prep – perfect for a toddler attention span! – and they’re so, so good. If a peanut butter cup and a crunch bar had a baby, this would be the result.

Nicole, I know you’ll love these! I hope you and your girls get a chance to make them soon! Happy #FoodBloggerLove!

If you’re looking for some more blogger love, check out the #FoodBloggerLove linkup here:

Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
(slightly adapted from The Big Man’s World)
Makes 20 Bars

3 cups crisped rice cereal
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup

Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment and set aside.

Add cereal to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Add the chocolate chips, peanut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until all melted together and well combined.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smooth out, and refrigerate for several hours.

Once cooled and solid, use the paper to lift out of the pan and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in a fridge.

Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes #ImprovCookingChallenge

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I just bought my first sheet pan this year. As in, 2018. I’ve always just made do with cookie sheets but I was super excited about the idea of sheet pan pancakes so I bit the bullet early last month and ordered one with my holiday gift cards.

And now I’m kind of obsessed with it. It’s so perfect for cooking up a family-sized batch of whatever and, in the case of the dinner, having one pan to clean as opposed to 3 is great.

This month’s Improv Cooking Challenge is steak and potatoes – perfect for Valentine’s day. And since Valentine’s day is on a Wednesday this year, you’re probably looking for something easy. This is a great option. It’s ready in about 35 minutes and it’s delicious!

You can find more steak and potato dishes from the #ImprovCookingChallenge bloggers in the link up below!

improvchallenge
The #ImprovCookingChallenge is a monthly blogging event where two ingredients are assigned to a month. Bloggers can make any recipe they like as long as it features the two ingredients. If you are a blogger and would like to join us, please visit our Facebook page.
You can also read more about the event on our home page.  If you’d like to see previous creations, check out our Pinterest board.
Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes
Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes
(adapted from Carrie’s Home Cooking)
Serves 6
2 lbs. London broil
2 lbs. baby red potatoes
2 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. balsamic
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the London broil to a large resalable bag and pour the marinade over. Seal up the bag, turn a few times to coat, then set aside for 20 minutes to marinate at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line your sheet pan with foil.
Place the potatoes in a bowl and add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat again then spread on the baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and push the potatoes to the side. Add the marinated steak to the middle of the pan.
Add the broccoli to the bowl you used for the potatoes, adding the remaining olive oil and tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss again.  Spread the broccoli out on the pan around the steak.
Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the steak reaches the desired doneness.  Let rest 10 minutes before slicing the steak.
Sheet Pan Steak & Potatoes

Review: Cave Tools Metal Meat Claws

Disclosure: I received these products complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It’s January and the weather has been struggling to get above freezing so you’d probably assume we haven’t been using grill tools much around here – but you’d be wrong.

Cave Tools sent these Metal Meat Claws for review, and I put them to use right away.

Cave Tools Meat Claws

These meat claws are sturdy, sharp and perfect for shredding meat – but that’s not their only use! I put them to the test on a big, 18 lb. ham.

The claws were sharp enough to easily pierce the ham so lifting it was a breeze. I could easily move it from the pan to the cutting board. It felt sturdy and I didn’t worry at all about dropping it. I usually shoo the kids out of the kitchen for this part – just in case – but you can tell from my photo bomber I didn’t have to do that with these claws.

Cave Tools Meat Claws 1

They’re also the perfect tool to hold the meat while you slice. Having the handle was so much more sturdy than just using a fork – and much more comfortable too. I had this carved up in no time!

Cave Tools Meat Claws 2

I was so impressed with how effective these are. They might not look overly special, but they really made things so much easier. I can’t wait to use them to shred up some pulled pork – it’s going to make such fast work of it!

The Metal Meat Claws can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code MEATCLAW15 to take 15% off. They can also be found on .

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes for 2 #RecipesforTwo

What’s better than chocolate lava cake? Chocolate lava cake with warm, melty peanut butter sauce in the middle. Seriously you guys – this is what dreams are made of.

We fell in love with lava cakes after a cruise a few years ago and they’ve since become my go-to special occasion dessert. And this one is freaking amazing. If you’re a chocolate-peanut butter fiend like me, you will love this! That melty peanut butter is really something special.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it makes just two little cakes – perfect for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or any other occasion where you want something special for a smaller crowd. The recipe can, of course, be scaled up to make more – but sometimes it’s nice to have something already sized for two!

 

Peanut Butter Lava Cakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes
(adapted from The Cookie Rookie)
Serves 2

2 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
6 oz. German Baking Chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp. powdered sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg + 1 egg yolk
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray two ramekins with non-stick spray. Combine 1 1/2 tsp. flour with the cocoa power and coat the inside of the greased ramekins with it – shake off any excess.  Place prepared ramikins on a baking sheet and set aside.

Combine 4 Tbsp. butter and the chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth.

Using a stand mixer, beat the sugar, eggs, and salt on medium-high for about three minutes, until the mixture is think and pale yellow. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate until no longer streaky. Fold in the flour and mix until smooth.

Use 2/3 of the batter to fill the ramekins, then place half of the peanut butter mixture on top of each ramekin. Cover the peanut butter with the remaining batter.

Bake for 14-16 minutes – the top should be set but the cake should still have a little jiggle. Let sit for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes

Need more ideas for Valentine dishes for two? Here are some great ideas!

Savory

Sweet

January Family Dinner Book Club – Teamwork

If you haven’t already heard of Family Dinner Book Club, let me introduce you! Every month,  Growing Book by Book, Chef Sarah Elizabeth, and Sunny Day Family get together and put together a suggested reading list, discussion guide, meal, and activities around a theme. As a book lover and mom, I think it’s such a brilliant (free!) resource for families – so we’ll be participating all year!

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January’s theme was “teamwork” and the featured book was Swimmy by Leo Lionni. This was the perfect book for our kiddos – age 1 and 3 – so we kicked off our family dinner book club by reading it all together.

Then, we worked on some things as a team to reinforce the theme of teamwork. We made vegetable stew for dinner – I cut everything up and then put the slow cooker crock on the floor and the filled cutting board on a stool and let the kids add all the ingredients to the pot. Mark moved the filled crock to the slow cooker and turned it on so we’d all have a hand in the dinner making process!

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We also worked as a team to create a table runner for dinner. This was done over a few days to let the paint dry in between. First up, we painted a long strip of paper in various blues to make the ocean.

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The next day we added life to our sea! We all helped to add seaweed, red fish (via a potato stamper), and some yellow urchins (via the end of the celery). Then Mark and I added some additional characters based on Jake’s suggestions: the big black fish, a lobster, a jellyfish, and, of course, Swimmy.

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Right before dinner, we tackled our family service project as a team. I settled on making utensil packets for our local soup kitchen because it was something that we could do inside (hello, January in NJ!) and it was on the kids’ level.

I started by putting a napkin in a zipper-top bag. Julie added a spoon. Jake added a fork. Mark added a knife and sealed up the bags. Our little assembly line cranked out just about 60 of them!

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After our service project, we sat down to dinner all together – a special event in itself because of Mark’s work hours and the kids’ schedules. Having everything decorated and a meal that we made together was awesome – and we spent the meal talking about teamwork. It was neat to see that even at 3, Jake could make connections between teamwork in the book and our activities.

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This was such an awesome, positive experience for our family. I’m so excited we finally dove in!

Details on February’s theme – persistence – were announced this morning. Will you be joining us for Family Dinner Book Club in February?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Sheet Pan Pancakes

Sheet pan pancakes are my new favorite thing.

My three year old is completely obsessed with pancakes and requests them nearly every other day. We’ve been obliging him – but the thing that drives me mad is the timing of them.

He is, of course, starving so he’ll get the first pancakes out of the pan. By the time I’m done cooking up the batter, he’s polished off his plate and is itching to go play.  The genius of sheet pan pancakes is that everyone’s pancakes are done at the same time so we can all actually sit down and eat together. It’s kind of awesome.

And since it’s National Peanut Butter Day, I thought I’d share this peanut butter-y version (with compliments to PB’s bff, chocolate).  Need some more peanut butter inspiration to help you celebrate today? I’m linking up with some other bloggers to bring you lots of fun options!

Peanut Butter Day Recipes

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Sheet Pan Pancake

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Sheet Pan Pancakes
(adapted from Recipe Girl)
Serves 10-12

2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a half-sheet baking sheet with baking parchment, using enough that it hangs over the edges slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla until it is well combined and the peanut butter is all incorporated. Stir in dry ingredients until just moistened.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out to fill the pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake 12-15 minutes, until puffy and cooked through.

Remove from the pan using the sides of the parchment to lift. Cut into squares and serve with syrup, if desired.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Sheet Pan Pancakes

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup with Vegetables #SoupSwap

My favorite part of January is upon us: it’s #SoupSwap season! For the fourth year running, my friends and I are getting together for an afternoon of grilled cheese and soup sampling. The event always fills my freezer and recipe box for the season. You can check out recaps of some of our previous soup swaps here and here.

Today, I’m virtually soup-swapping with my blogging friends from #FestiveFoodies. We’re all sharing soup recipes we love to inspire you to make up a pot of cozy comfort food this winter!

This soup comes from Soup for Syria – my Mom gave me a copy for Christmas and I’m totally smitten with it. It’s full of gorgeous recipes and part of the proceeds benefit Syrian refugees – a win-win.

It’s a bit of a time consuming soup, but so worth it. My kids absolutely loved the mini meatballs and I loved how delicious and filling this was. It was outside of our normal flavor profile, but turned out to be a really worthwhile risk!

Whether you’re looking for something outside your norm, or just a great version of an old favorite, you’re sure to find something to fill up your bowl amongst these!

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup with Vegetables
(adapted slightly from Soup for Syria)
Serves 8

1 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
8 cups beef stock
1 cup fine bulgur
3/4 lb. ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 onions, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. dried mint
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon
3 small zucchini, peeled and seeded, sliced into crescents

Add chickpeas and beef stock to a large pot and cook for an hour, until the chickpeas are tender. Set aside.

Wash and drain the bulgur, then add to it to a food processor along with the beef, salt, pepper and one of the onions. Process until a paste. Roll into marble-sized balls.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large pan and brown the meatballs. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan, along with the onions and salt and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the mint, tomato paste, garlic, juice of the lemon, and pepper. Cook for two minutes.

Spoon the onion mixture into the broth with chickpeas. Add in the zucchini and meatballs and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the zucchini is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup

Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Guacamole

For Christmas, my cousin gave Jake his own set of cooking tools – a mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, a whisk, an apron… the works. He’s absolutely enthralled with it. We rearranged a cabinet so all of his stuff could be kept where he could reach it and – you guessed it – he’s been begging to help with dinner nearly every night since.

I love cooking with the kids. I really do. But on a Thursday evening when I’m just trying to get something on the table before everyone start melting down, the last thing I want to do is slow down enough for toddler hands – so I’ve been working on giving him his own, supplemental project to help with.

JakeGuac

Like guacamole as I work on the burritos.

This, by far, isn’t the fanciest guac recipe out there, but it’s perfect for a kid to help with (or do mostly themselves – Jake did!)

Kids can:

  • Scoop out and mash the avocado
  • Stir everything together
  • Older kids can measure the lime juice and salt, younger kids can add in pre-measured ingredients

Adults will need to:

  • Cut the avocado and remove the pit
  • Chop the tomato
  • Measure ingredients, if working with a younger child

 
Guacamole

Easy Guacamole
 (from Jake’s Amazing Chef set!)
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2-3 ripe avocados
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
Tortilla chips, for serving

Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash.

Stir in the lime juice, tomato, and salt.

Serve with chips.

www.KateRecipeBox.com

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