Venetian Rolled Pizza

If you, like me, enjoy a good football snack on Sundays, may I suggest Giada’s Venetian rolled pizza?  It’s perfectly dippable and reminiscent of Tracy’s garlic herb bread twists (swoon).

rolled pizza.

This is all my favorite flavors, literally rolled into one, and it’s the easiest to throw together.

venetian rolled pizza.

To make rolled pizza for 3, you will need:

  • flour
  • 1 lb. pizza dough (I used store bought)
  • 2 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 5 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 1 C torn baby spinach
  • 1 T olive oil
  • sea salt for sprinkling
  • marinara sauce, for dipping

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Roll pizza dough out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about a 12-14 inch-diameter circle, about 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle dough with half the cheese, and arrange prosciutto on top in a single layer.  Sprinkle with spinach, and top with the remaining cheese.  Roll dough into a tight log, folding in the ends so it’s as seamless as possible.  Brush dough with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake, seam-side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet, for 25 minutes, until top is golden brown.  Let cool 10 minutes.  Cut slices with a serrated knife, and dip in marinara sauce.

Love is a Bowl of Cheese [baking sheet macaroni and cheese]

Love is a lot of things, depending on whom you ask.  According to Peanuts, it’s walking hand in hand.  And if you could ask Andy Williams, he’d tell you it’s a many splendored thing.  Anna would burst into song, letting you know that love is open door (and to be honest, dear readers, I’d do that too, especially if you were riding in the car with me).  But the other night, for AGOMYR and me, love was a bowl of cheese.

love is a bowl of cheese.

She sketched this while were cooking dinner.  Shouldn’t she branch out into Sharpie-lettering?

baking sheet macaroni and cheese.

As I was tagging AGOMYR in Food 52’s Instagram of this recipe, she was tagging me.  That’s the kind of connection we share.

baking sheet macaroni and cheese.

So after work one evening, we got together in the name of all things cheesy.  We boiled water, cooked noodles, and grated 24 ounces of cheese.  24.  Ounces.  Of cheese!

This recipe is amazing.  It takes no time at all to make, and it produces a vast quantity of macaroni and cheese.  She and I had seconds, my husband had an initial portion that was equal to both of ours, and we’ve still got leftovers.  And, oh, the crispy cheese.  Because it bakes with more surface area there’s almost a 1:1 ratio of creamy sauce to crunchy cheese.  And that’s perfect.  Get this on your dinner table this week.

To make macaroni and cheese for a crowd, you will need:


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1 pound pasta spirals (or other small shape)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt
  • 2/3 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Use butter to grease a rimmed 11 x 17 baking sheet.  Combine the grated cheeses and set aside a heaping 2 C for topping (this is the crunchy part).

Cook pasta for 6 minutes, and drain.  Combine with the cheeses, cayenne, salt, and milk.  Spread on baking sheet, and top with reserved cheese, and another sprinkling of cayenne if you’re feeling spicy.

Bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes, and serve immediately.


You’re Overcooking my Grits [quinoa lentil salad]

One of my favorite lines from “Remember the Titans” is when Coach Yost is fighting over which staff he gets to keep, and he tells Coach Boone, “You’re overcookin’ my grits.”

quinoa lentil salad.

Dear readers I totally overcooked my grits, er, lentils, the other night.  So this most-gorgeous looking quinoa lentil salad turned a little mushier than I had planned.  But no less tasty.  I made it whilst cooking dinner with AGOMYR in the name of getting something healthy on the table.  You’ll get to see the other, much less healthy dishes, in the coming days.  But this one is a keeper, and easily doubled for a crowd.  I’d suggest it for your Thanksgiving table too, dear readers, if you’re looking for something new and exciting as a side.

To make enough salad for 6, you will need:

  • 1 1/4 cup dried lentils, any color
  • 2/3 cup dried quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 8 oz. brussels sprouts
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tb. olive oil
  • 1/2 C golden raisins
  • 1/2 C sliced almonds
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the quinoa and lentils in a medium stockpot with 3 cups of water, 1 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. curry powder. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the quinoa is fluffy and the lentils are cooked, but firm. Remove from heat, but keep covered until ready to use.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the brussels sprouts in half. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet with the sliced onions and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat then spread them out thin and salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crispy.
  3. Fluff the quinoa and lentils and move to a large bowl. Add the crispy brussels sprouts and onions, raisins, almonds, and the juice of half a lemon. Toss and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

GOAT [pioneer woman’s brisket]

  1.  City Sports is going out of business and if you go to the store, everything is on sale.  Everything.  North Face.  Patagonia.  Under Armour.  And this.


(totally switched this one out for a grey one, though)

For those of you who don’t dabble in athletics, GOAT is Greatest of All Time.  Which, coincidentally, is what I think of The Pioneer Woman’s brisket.  (Though, honestly, I don’t know that this is her recipe, so much as her specific measurements and cooking times for a a classic brisket.)  I spent a fortune on good meat on Saturday morning, and got it into the oven by noon.  At 8 pm, we dug into the most wonderful and hearty meal.  I love when meat roasts all day during the cold-weather months.

pw brisket.

To make brisket, you will need:

  • 5-8 pounds of brisket
  • 24 oz. ketchup
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 1 C water
  • several dashes hot sauce.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.  Whisk ketchup, soup mix, water, and hot sauce in the bottom of an oven safe dish.  Add meat*, and work it around so it’s completely covered with sauce.  Cook 6-8 hours.

*I start my meat fat side up, flip it once about a third of the way through cooking, and flip it again after another couple of hours.  If you don’t want to even bother opening the oven, I’d cook it fat side up and leave it that way the whole time.

On Pen Pals [pumpkin cheescake dip]

The (Not So) New Girl was kind enough to put me in touch with one of her cousins when she recognized us as cooking twins over a year ago.  And now we trade emails with good recipes and good books.

This one came with the promise that it’s crack.  Seriously.

pumpkin cheesecake dip.

That promise was not wrong.

I am not one to go crazy over pumpkin recipes, but there is something special about this one.  Though it’s pumpkin cheesecake dip, it’s not heavy.  I served it at Halloween, and no one could get enough of it.  The recipe makes TONS, so there’s another half of the dip in the freezer for Thanksgiving.

To make a ton, you will need:

  • 1 lb. cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip

Beat cream cheese and sugar together in a mixer till completely smooth.  Add pumpkin, salt, vanilla, and spice.  Fold Cool Whip into dip slowly.  Serve cold, with anything you can dream up for dipping (we used apple slices and pretzels).

Chicken Ina Would Never Make [parmesan ranch chicken]

Possibly my favorite 30 Rock clip of all time ever.

I’m totally kidding.

Oprah was on 30 Rock, and THAT is my favorite clip ever.

But the Ina clip is a close second.

It’s a well-known fact that Ina makes roast chicken for Jeffrey every Friday night.  She calls her recipe engagement chicken because it’s supposed to be so good, it will make your boyfriend propose to you.  I believe her.  Magic happens when you’re Ina.

Ina is the most supremely classy woman I’ve ever seen.  She’s effortless.

I am most supremely not.  I would love nothing more than for you to think I blink and a gourmet meal appears on my table every evening, but that’s just not a reality on busy weeknights.  Which brings us to Parmesan Ranch Chicken.  Or, chicken that Ina would never make.  It is simple and easy, but it’s not fancy.  It’s quick and dirty.  But it’s good.  And buttery.

parmesan ranch chicken.

And if you have never made this chicken, then let me tell you that yes, you do need another recipe for breaded chicken in your arsenal.  Two bites into this and my husband was begging me to make it once a week.

To make chicken for four, you will need:

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or chicken tenders
  • 3/4 C crushed tortilla chips (or ritz crackers)
  • 3/4 C parmesan
  • 1 package Ranch dressing mix
  • 6 T butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Mix chips, cheese, and Ranch dressing mix in a medium bowl.  Dip each piece of chicken in melted butter, and roll in chips and cheese mixture to coat.  Place in a baking dish in a single layer.  If you have any extra crumb coating, sprinkle it on top of the chicken.  Extra butter?  Pour it on top of the dish.  Bake 45 minutes, until everything is golden brown.

Currently – Ish

I was going to do one of those “Currently” posts, in which I list out present participles, and you catch up on my daily comings and goings, but dear readers, my brain isn’t that organized.  Instead, please accept this random list of things on this, your Friday morning.  Cheers to the weekend.



  1. I am finally hosting Thanksgiving in a house that I love, that looks exactly (well, almost) like I want it to look, and in a kitchen with two ovens.  Revolutionary.  It’s gonna be one for the ages.  The planning has commenced.
  2. I was determined to get a Friendsgiving on the calendar, but the truth of it is, next week is a busy one at work, and it’s not realistic to get one on the calendar.  Sad face.  Who wants to come over for a casual gathering where I cook you turkey and green bean casserole?
  3. I checked out about a million books from the library on Monday evening, and I know I will never read them all in the three weeks I have them.  But perhaps it might help make a dent in them if I turned off the TV?  I think it might be time for another challenge: at least a half hour of reading every day left in 2015.  It starts now.  I’ve been about a half hour from finishing Mindy’s latest book for a week.
  4. TV is so addicting, though.
  5. Sous Chef Lauren is coming for a visit soon, and I haven’t seen her in forever, and I am so excited.  We’re going to hit up Pasta Mia, because pasta.
  6. Also, it’s basketball season, and I am beyond excited to see how Maryland disappoints me this year.  And to stay late at all the 9:00 games, and be a zombie at work the next day.
  7. Which brings me to my next random thought, Starbucks.  The (Not So) New Girl up and had a baby, which left me slightly scrambling at work, and running out for coffee every morning.  I decided I can live with less (Not So) New Girl or less Starbucks, but not both.  (Her child is ridiculously adorable, so it’s really all good.)
  8. My December Daily album is up in my office, and I’ve been eyeing some holiday cards, and starting to think about Christmas gifts.  It’s coming…

Using Up Your Halloween Candy, Part 3 [chocolate candy cookies]

While there is absolutely nothing wrong, and in fact, everything right, with making chocolate peanut butter globs with your leftover peanut butter cups, what about those other chocolates?  The Kit Kats, for example?


I chopped up 20 of mine, and threw them into a slightly modified version of Jessica’s double dark chocolate peanut butter cup cookies.  But I sent them to work with my husband before I could snap a photo.  Please accept the above picture as a sorry substitute.

To make a couple dozen, you will need:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups chopped Kit Kat bars (or any other chocolate candy bars you have)

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

Place the cold butter in the bowl of your electric stand mixer and beat until the butter forms a ball or lumb of butter. Add in the sugars and beat until combined. Add in each egg, one at a time, beating until combined. Beat in the vanilla extract. The batter may look curdled or lumpy at this time. Slowly add in the flour with the mixer on low speed. Beat until it is just combined – even before it all gets stirred in. Stir in the chocolate chips and Kit Kats.  Refrigerate the dough for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spoon balls of dough onto baking sheets. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until just slightly set. Let the cookies cool slightly before eating.

Using Up Your Halloween Candy, Part 2 [peanut butter nutella brownie candy tart]

Still have fun size candy and nothing to do except pick at it all the live-long day?  Good thing you’re here, dear readers.  Let me introduce you to this peanut butter Nutella brownie candy tart.

Go ahead and read that one more time.

Peanut butter.





peanut butter nutella brownie candy tart.

It was every bit as amazing as it looks up here.

peanut butter nutella brownie candy tart.

To make one for 10, you will need:

For the brownie:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup nutella
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the ganache:

1/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons nutella

+ Assorted chopped candy for the top (I used peanut butter cups, Kit Kats, Snickers, M&Ms, and candy corn)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch tart part with a removable bottom.

Heat the butter, nutella and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat until melted. Whisk until smooth. Add in the chocolate and let it sit for a minute, then whisk until it melts. Stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until combined. Stir in the flour until JUST combined. Pour the batter in the greased tart pan, and watch it like a hawk. Bake 20-25 minutes. It won’t appear finished, but you don’t want to bake it longer! Let it cool completely.

Add the chopped chocolate, peanut butter and nutella to a bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan over low heat just until bubbles appear around the edges and it’s warm. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds, then stir continuously until it’s smooth. Let it cool slightly until it thickens and is spreadable without dripping. Spread on the cooled brownie.

Spread the ganache over top of the brownie and cover in your favorite halloween candy – or leave it plain! Slice and devour.

Using Up Your Halloween Candy, Part 1 [white chocolate candy bark]

Stick with me for a couple days dear readers.  I have a couple of great ways you can use up those lingering fun-size chocolate pieces you have sitting around at the bottom of your trick or treat basket.

white chocolate candy bark.

The first way is the easiest trick in the book.  Make bark.

To make enough pieces to share with friends, you will need:

  • 16 oz. white chocolate chips or pieces
  • 1 C pretzels, crushed
  • handful candy corn
  • handful M&Ms
  • (but really, use handfuls of whatever you like)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Melt white chocolate in microwave (nuke 30 seconds, stir, and repeat, until chocolate is melted and smooth).  Spread chocolate on top of parchment paper with a knife or an offset spatula.  Sprinkle with pretzels and candy immediately.  Press candy gently into chocolate.  Place baking sheet in the freezer, and leave till set.  When candy is frozen, peel parchment layer off, and break bark into pieces.  Serve immediately, or store in the fridge until it’s time to eat.