My kitchen focus was severely lacking the other day

Pesto Pepper PizzaI have recently initiated meal planning into my life. I go a pinch overboard and plan a month in advance. Since I live alone, I really only have to pick out 8-10 recipes that I’ll spread out over the month. Any who, I was planning on making Chicken Pesto Pizza for lunch one week. I was at one grocery store and decided to wait on getting the chicken until later in the week when I’d hit up Fareway, however that stop never happened. It was 8:50 on Monday night when I was getting ready to bake the pizza that I would have for lunch the following day when I realized my mistake. By that time my local grocery store was closed (which is only 4 blocks away, so sad) as well as Fareway, by the time I would have driven over to the next town. What could I do? Not make it and have something else for lunch (a good solution) or make it without the title ingredient. As the picture shows I chose the latter, I made Pesto Pepper Pizza and it was delicious. It’s passed all my ‘rules’: it’s good hot, reheated and cold. The perfect single person food or at least I enjoy it all those ways. My taste buds diverge from the norm. For instance I’ve never gotten the extreme love for steak. Yeah it’s good and all but I’m just as happy with a well cooked chicken breast or even a burger. All-in-all, despite my short comings, I was (and am) quite pleased with the end result. Also I have a second pizza crust that I can try the correct recipe on. Win-win.

The altered recipe is below, until next time.
~ Q

PestoPizza_LargeIngredients:

  • 2 cups spinach (frozen + thawed)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil – set 1/2 tsp aside
  • 3 teaspoons basil
  • 3 teaspoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1-12″ prebaked pizza shell
  • 1 orange pepper, cut into small strips
  • 1 water-packed canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained, patted dry and quartered (the recipe called for 1/2 cup which is about 3 but I thought they smelled funny so I only used one – turns out I like them though so all three next time.)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat oven according to package (mine said 450 I believe)
  • Thaw the frozen spinach by placing it in a microwaveable bowl and microwaving it for 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the spinach into a blender or food processor, and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. (If the pesto is too thick, a small amount of water may be necessary to thin it out.)
  • Spread 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil over crust before spreading pesto
  • Top with peppers, artichokes, and cheese
  • Cook for 10 minutes

Hummus Wraps Sans Hummus

HummusWrapIt may be weird to have a hummus wrap without the hummus but the hummus I purchased was distasteful so I pitched it. I need to remember which brand I enjoy so I can try these suckers again ‘properly’ but the rest of the ingredients blended well to create an enticing low-cal meal.

Not being one to normally eat tomatoes I thought I was going to have to shut my eyes and gobble down these little wraps, however I gobbled them down for other reasons. Why don’t I like tomatoes? When I was a kid we had tomato vines. Every summer we would produce a lot of tomatoes. Many meals comprised of corn on the cob (hello, I’m an Iowan), some kind of meat and then sliced tomatoes. I did my best not to take a slice but pops, insisting I try new things, would be sure I have at least one slice at each meal. I would like to say I took my ‘punishment’ gracefully but sadly, that was not the case. That is how I developed the eye shut eating technique though. Because, obviously, if you can’t see it happening, then it isn’t. Right?

Twenty years later I’m at the grocery store looking at my list and see that tomatoes are on it. Leery does not begin to cover what I felt. I somewhat shut my eyes, grabbed the cherry tomatoes, placed them in the cart and vacated the produce section before I could second guess myself. Dad, you were right, tomatoes are good. I’m putting it in writing so you can always prove I said it.

Hummus, Spinach and Tomato Wraps (serves 4)

Ingredients (for original recipe)

  • 4-12 inch tortillas
  • 8 tbs hummus
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, finely chopped (about 12-14)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

Directions

  • Heat tortillas (I did it in the microwave for about 20 seconds)
  • Turn on broiler (optional – it’s just what I did)
  • Spread 2 tbs hummus on each tortilla
  • Mix together tomatoes, pepper and spinach (I had this several days running so the tomato juices were able to ‘marinate’ the other veggies)
  • Divide vegetables equally onto each tortilla
  • Wrap up and if you want to broil them to toast & heat everything up I strongly suggest it. I put them on the bottom shelf and cooked for about 5 minutes. (I burnt mine if I did it on the top shelf for 5 minutes)
  • Not into hummus? Try substituting 1/4 cup of cheese instead. That’s how I rolled since the hummus was gross.

Fresh Vegetable and Chicken Soup (without the Chicken)

Over the weekend I tested my prowess at making soup. As it turns out I can achieve a good result. Well, so long as it is a broth based soup not a cream based one. I have yet to attempt that. There are just too many variables to mess up with that tosh for my current level of confidence in cooking. Anyway, everything was fairly smooth sailing. I had read the ingredients before going to the store and was sure everything was on hand. When It came down to cook though I was prepping all the ingredients and had a bit of a shock. I went to the freezer to get the chicken I had planned to use up and saw that it was dried out or freezer burned. This rose a peculiar dilemma. I did not wish to go to the store just for two cups worth of chicken. I did not think I could quite salvage the chicken in its current state. I did not want to ruin the rest of the soup by using inferior chicken. In the end I decided to just omit the chicken all together and making it a completely vegetarian soup. I probably should have continued my alterations to add in beans or some other protein source. But I have thus enjoyed the end result so am fine with having a perhaps somewhat nutritionally inferior soup (I guess a saving grace is that it is fairly wholesome and low-cal). “Be ever flexible” that’s my kitchen motto (like last week when I made a dish of saute onions and apples and served it on a bed of couscous because both items in question were nearing the end of their optimal produce window).

Until next time ~ Q

Fresh Veggie SoupIngredients:

      • 3 tbsp olive oil
      • 1 onion, chopped
      • 1/2 head of broccoli, chopped
      • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
      • 1 pepper, chopped
      • Salt to taste
      • Pepper to taste
      • 4 cups chicken broth


    Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large quart boiler over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and cook until soft, about five minutes.
  • Add broccoli, carrots and peppers, cook about four minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper and broth and bring to simmer.
  • Cook until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

Quick Post: Spinach Salad

Last night I fought spinach, and although it may energize Popeye I was able to defeat it. The recipe I had (which I decided to triple for some unknown reason) called for 2 cups of spinach/serving (with the recipe making 2 servings). That made it so I was trying to toss 12 cups of spinach, not an easy task. Next time I’ll just layer the spinach and mix the other ingredients. It will be so much easier and so much cleaner. Never doubt my ability to make my kitchen a disaster zone.

Spinach SaladRecipe (for 2 servings):

  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 3 eggs (I hard boiled/chopped mine)
  • 4 cups spinach
  • Combine all ingredients and enjoy

Quick Post: Looks gross, tastes delicious!

Today for breakfast I decided to be semi-adventurous the result was a bit gruesome to the eyes so I balanced it out with an old favorite – cheese omelet and toast. Anyway to the experiment. I had a ton of spinach that was due to go past its ‘best by’ date this week. I also had some grapes that weren’t my preferred level of tenderness. Knowing I wasn’t going to eat either (had my meals planned and they didn’t include spinach salad) I threw both in the blender and decimated them. The result? 6 cups of runny green goo. Sounds appetizing right? I warily dipped in my spoon and was rewarded for my bravery with a wonderful taste and unique texture. I was worried there would be just chunks of spinach leaves but there wasn’t to many and they were tiny enough to ignore. Also the grapes dominated the flavor, and the slight spinach essence only enhanced the experience, rather than detract. That’s one way to get your veggies without dealing with the sometimes bland taste. As an added bonus Spinach is full of good-for-you stuff like calcium, folic acid, vitamin C & K, iron, fiber, carotenoids, lutein and bioflavanoids. The goo was actually my favorite part of breakfast. The other stuff (eggs & toast) were just old had compared to the uniqueness in my glass. Anyway must dash, until next time ~ Q