Today is the first Friday of Lent, so I’m kicking off my annual Lenten project – sharing meatless meals every Friday. What began as simply a way to keep from eating plain spaghetti and pizza every Friday has grown into one of my favorite yearly blog projects.
But, nine years on, how do I keep this series fresh? I’ve spent a bunch of time thinking about our family’s current needs and how to get them to reflect in my meatless Friday posts.
It’s National Pizza Month – a holiday my kids can really get behind. Even as “good eaters”, they’re not immune to the lures of a good pie, and when tasked with picking dinner, they’ll pick pizza 99% of the time.
But, they rarely want anything other than cheese pizza, which is why I got excited for this linkup – an excuse to make a blog worthy pizza? Sold.
This pie is delicious, but the onions are what really sold me. Hitting them with the balsamic vinegar at the end add such a great depth of flavor – and they pair brilliantly with the bacon and spinach. This is easily one of the best pizzas I’ve ever made!
And if you want more reasons to celebrate this month, here are a few from my fellow blogger friends:
Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Spinach Pizza (adapted from Cooking Classy) Makes 1 12″ Pizza
1 lb. pizza dough or a prepared crust
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large red onion
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup frozen spinach, thawed and rung out well
2 Tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 cup milk
6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Put your pizza stone in the oven, if you have one.
In a skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Slice the onion thinly and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is soft then stir in the sugar. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until caramelized. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Roll out the pizza dough into a 12″ round.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in garlic and flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. While stirring constantly, bring to a boil.
Spread the garlic sauce over the prepared dough. Top with half the mozzarella and half the Parmesan. Sprinkle bacon, onions, and spinach evenly over the pizza. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.
This post is sponsored in conjunction with AppleWeek . I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the AppleWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.
For me, it is so, so easy to go into these event weeks and make all sweet dishes. The desserts are always a treat and while #appleweek is a great excuse to try out some really fun ones, I always try to make a conscious effort to work in some savory things too. Getting to try out this Swiss Diamond XD Nonstick Roasting Pan was a great reason to make this gorgeous chicken for our dinner one night and it was so, so good.
Because you’re starting with a whole, fresh chicken, it does take longer to cook – but the time is largely hands off. I threw potatoes, onions, and apples in the pan too, so this was pretty much a on-dish meal for us – I just added a simple side salad.
Also, this pan is totally dreamy. I never knew a roasting pan could cook so evenly! Or clean up so easily! While I’ve typically only used my roasting pan for holiday turkeys, this pan will surely be in heavy rotation around here.
You can enter to win a cookware set from Swiss Diamond, and lots of other great prizes from #appleweek sponsors, here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
3-4 lb. whole chicken
1 lb. new potatoes
1 onion, cut into wedges
2 apples, cored
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 sprig rosemary, removed from the stem and roughly chopped
1 cup apple cider
1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. sherry cooking wine
1 tsp. grainy mustard
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In the bottom of the roasting pan, combine the potatoes, onion, apples, and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Toss to evenly coat and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top. Rub with remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and liberally sprinkle with rosemary.
Cook the chicken for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
About a half hour before the chicken is done, combine the cider, brown sugar, sherry cooking wine, and mustard in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
When the chicken is done, pour the cider glaze evenly over everything, and tent the pan with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Want to see what other apple dishes are cooking up today? Here are Thursday’s Recipes:
Disclaimer: Thank youAppleWeek Sponsors: Swiss Diamond, Nordic Ware, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, The Spice House, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oats and Nairn’s for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for AppleWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. TheAppleWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Seven (7) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. TheAppleWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the AppleWeek posts or entry.
Disclosure: This post is part of the Tresomega Nutrition Blogger Recipe Challenge. I received complimentary products to use in this post. All opinions are my own.
My last Tresomega for the week is a quick and easy weeknight dinner that’s also healthy! This mustard sauce is a great way to add a lot of flavor without adding a lot of calories. My kids (and us adults) gobbled it up!
Again, I was super impressed with Tresomega’s pasta. It’s gluten free, but we honestly wouldn’t be able to tell if we didn’t already know!
For more recipe inspiration, you can visit them on Facebook and Twitter. You can purchase Tresomega products at: Tresomega.com. Sams.com, Amazon.com and Walmart.com.
Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Creamy Mustard Sauce (a Kate’s Recipe Box original) Serves 4
1 box Tresomega Gluten-Free Organic Quinoa Fusilli Pasta
1 Tbsp. olive oil
12 oz. chicken apple sausage, coin sliced
2 green peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Prepare the pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add in sausage, peppers, and onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in the mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
I love a good freezer recipe – and I love that this one isn’t your typical casserole or soup. Now, don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of casseroles and soups in my freezer – but this is a great choice for nights when you just want something different.
I generally make these in batches of 4-5 dinners. You can swap out the protein, too – pork, beef, and shrimp all work well here! It’s also a great one to get the kids to help with. Jake can help with the measuring and dumping; Julie helps shake all the ingredients up!
In a gallon zipper bag, toss together the rice, peas and carrots, onions, chicken, and seasoning. Shake well to combine. Seal, label, and freeze.
Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet. Dump rice mixture into the skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat, breaking up any chunks of rice, until hot – about five minutes. Push rice mixture to the side of the skillet. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to the empty side of the skillet and add eggs. Cook and stir until eggs are thickened but still moist. Combine eggs with the rice mixture. Turn off the heat. Stir in soy sauce and pepper. Serve.
Fried Rice Seasoning
¼ cup garlic powder
4 tsp. ginger powder
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
Jake’s new favorite phrase? “I no like it!” It doesn’t matter if he ate it yesterday or he’s already halfway through the plate, once he throws out the “I no like it!” the meal is officially over.
All things considered, I really can’t complain about his eating habits. He really just seems like a normal toddler, but he’s definitively starting to voice his preferences more. And he has a strong preference for anything in the sausage family. This dinner was made with him in mind.
As expected, he happily gobbled the smoked sausage. The peppers and onions were largely avoided. The farro was his “I no like it!” trigger. All of the grown ups in the house really enjoyed this, though!
Sausage, Pepper and Farro Skillet (slightly adapted from Budget Bytes) Serves 4
1 Tbsp. olive oil
12 oz. smoked sausage
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow onion
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. oregano
Pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked farro
Slice the onions and peppers. Coin slice the sausage.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Brown the sausage, then drain the excess fait.
Add the onions and peppers to the skillet. Cook until onions are translucent. Stir in the diced tomatoes, oregano, faro, and pepper to taste. Cook until heated through.
I’ve been sitting on this recipe for weeks because I wanted to save it for #CookoutWeek – I’m so sorry I’ve been holding out on you guys. But, I’ve officially found my favorite way to grill up sausage.
In the past, I’ve always sort of failed at sausages on the grill. It would sound like such a good idea and then they’d end up undercooked on the inside or overcooked on the outside – or both. Braising them on the grill and then just transferring them to direct heat at the end eliminates all of that – and it’s absolutely delicious.
I had picked up these sausages on a whim at the farmer’s market and they were hands down the best impulse purchase I’ve made in a long time. I already can’t wait to make these again!
Grilled Italian Sausages with Sweet and Sour Peppers and Onions
(from Serious Eats)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 sweet Italian sausage links
Rolls, for serving
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sliced peppers and onions and toss to coat in the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes – until softened and browning. Stir in vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Light one side of a grill and allow to preheat for about 10 minutes.
Transfer the peppers and onions to a 10″ disposable aluminum pan. Push the sausages into the pepper mixture.
Place the tray on the heated side of the grill until simmering. Move to the non-heated side and close grill. Cook over indirect heat for 20 minutes, flipping the sausages halfway through.
Use tongs to remove the sausages from the peppers and onto the hot side of the grill. Cook, turning often, until browned – about three more minutes.
Serve sausages in rolls, topped with peppers and onions.