Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday's Food for Thought

Kitchen Essentials - The Pizza Stone

There are some things that have made cooking so much easier or have made the end result so much better.  As I come to rely on items that have changed my life in the kitchen, I want to share them with you.  One such item is my pizza stone.  I just don't know how I enjoyed home-cooked pizzas without it!  The difference it makes in the crust is astounding.  The pizzas are evenly cooked and the entire crust is just the right amount of crispy throughout.  

You can also use your pizza stone for more than just traditional pizzas!  It is a great tool to bake artisan breads at home.  Most pizza stones are equally at home on your outdoor BBQ, so you can enjoy a warm summer dinner cooked outside.  They make a great surface to cook veggie burgers on the grill!

I purchased my pizza stone from William Sonoma and it is the only one I have ever used.  It has become a much loved cooking tool in my house.  What is a tool that has made your cooking life better?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sweet Potato Kale Pizza with Rosemary and Red Onion

Pizza may be my all-time favorite food.  I could have pizza every single week!  I am always on the look out for new and inventive pizza recipes, and this one is a real winner!  I seem to always get quizzical looks when I tell people about it, but trust me, this is a pizza I would pay good money for at a restaurant! 

The combination of flavors is fantastic!  The sweet roasted red onions with the thick-cut sweet potatoes are wonderful.  That paired with a hint of rosemary, a crunch of kale, and a splash of balsamic vinegar make this pizza complex while still remaining kid-friendly.  

I always try to serve food with a variety of colors, and I love how colorful this pizza is.  Also, the fact that it doesn't use a sauce makes it a nice change of pace from our other pizza options.  I really encourage you to give it a try.  You will not be disappointed!  

your favorite pizza dough or ready-made crust
2 small sweet potatoes, sliced into about 1/4" thick rounds
1 medium red onion, cut into thick wedges
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
5-6 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1-2 C kale, torn into pieces
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the sweet potato rounds and onions in the olive oil on a large baking sheet.  Lay the potato rounds flat and season everything with salt and pepper to taste.  Bake for about 20 minutes being sure to turn the potatoes once during cooking and season the other sides.
  2. Once the veggies are done, turn your oven to 500 degrees and let your pizza stone (if using) heat up.
  3. To assemble the pizza, first layer the shredded cheese over the pizza crust.  Sprinkle the rosemary evenly over the cheese.  Once the veggies have finished roasting, place the potato rounds on top of the cheese.  Spread the onions evenly over the potatoes.  Lay the kale pieces on top (remember, the kale will shrink during the baking process).  Finally, drizzle the balsamic over the entire pizza.
  4. Place the pizza directly on the pizza stone, or on the oven rack.  Cook approximately 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly browned on the edges. 
  5. Let the pizza sit a few minutes before slicing.  Eat and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fresh Idea

Beyond the Kids' Menu - Ruby's Diner

Ruby's will always have a special place in my heart.  It was the site of my first date with my future husband when we were just juniors in high school.  :)  This diner has classic comfort foods like burgers, shakes, chicken tenders, and sandwiches.  We still love to go to any of our local Ruby's Diners.  My daughter just loves the retro diner decor and various themes (like trains or boats) they use to further decorate the spaces.  However, I never liked the choices on the kids menu.  They have your usual offenders like grilled cheese, chicken tenders, corn dogs, and the like.  Not really items I like to feed my daughter.  To be honest, we always took homemade lunches for her whenever we went to restaurants, but as she has gotten older, that is less of an option for us. 

However, there is a menu item that I do like for her on the adult menu.  It is their "Skinny Lunch"!  Yes, I hate the name, but it is such a great meal for her.  Best of all, she LOVES it!  The meal consists of a turkey or veggie patty (we opt for the veggie patty), a bowl of fruit, cottage cheese, and salsa.  What a great variety for a well balanced meal!  Why this can't be an option on the kids menu, I just don't understand.

Now, the kids menu ranges in price from $4 - $5 and the "Skinny Lunch" costs $8.49.  Even though it is about double the average cost of a kids' meal, I think it is well worth it.  I hope healthier meals like this find their way onto kids' menus.  It is such a great option!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chinese-Style Green Beans

Growing up, the only green beans I remember eating came steamed in that bland vegetable medley.  Not very exciting or tasty.  However, when I started dating my future husband, he opened my eyes to sauteed green beans at Chinese restaurants.  They were so delicious!  

However, after becoming a vegetarian, those were often off-limits because they usually came with pork in them or they were cooked with oyster sauce.  I was so disappointed.  But then my husband decided to find a way to cook a vegetarian version at home - and boy did he ever!  The caramelized onions and garlic really make this dish unique, and the green beans are cooked to perfection!

1 pound green onions, ends trimmed
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic oil
3-4 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper


  1. Heat oils in a large skillet over high heat.
  2. Add the green beans and stir to coat.  Cook the beans for about 5 mins.  
  3. Turn heat down to medium-high, add water to pan (be careful it will pop!), cover, and let steam for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add onions and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Allow to cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the onions have caramelized and the beans are tender and slightly wrinkled (about 15 minutes).
  5. Turn off heat.  Drizzle soy sauce into pan while stirring constantly.  Serve immediately.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekly Menu

There were some wonderful choices at the farm this week.  We selected green beans, kale, carrots, white and purple cauliflower, and strawberries.  Aren't there some beautiful colors this week?  I can't wait for our meals!  This is what we have planned:

  • Orange-Glazed Gardein Chicken with Chinese-Style Green Beans
    • using the green beans and some remaining green onion from a previous trip to the farm

  • Brie Cheese and Roasted Garlic Ravioli with Roasted Garlic Cauliflower
    • using the cauliflower

  • Sweet Potato Kale Pizza with Rosemary and Red Onion with a side of Roasted Carrots
    • using the kale and carrots

We will be making some Baked Kale Chips for a snack and enjoying the strawberries for dessert.