Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

Yes, you read that right. And maybe you’ve seen this recipe circulating Pinterest, but I just saw it two days ago, and I made it last night for dinner. It was from I Breathe I’m Hungry.

She starts with steaming the cauliflower, and then pureeing it in the food processor with cheese and pepperoni. This was easy and delicious, but instead of pureeing the entire head of cauliflower, I only did about half, and left the other half in florets. I placed them in the baking dish and poured the puree over it, then cheese, black olives, and pepperoni. It was soooooo good. Really cured my pizza craving! And to be honest, easier than cauliflower crust pizza. You could make this with any and all toppings. Next time I will definitely add in some italian sausage, or even ricotta as well. The options are endless. I may have to make two, because I could eat this every day for lunch and feel like I’m getting pizza, as well as my husband, the “Pizza Purist” who only likes pepperoni and cheese pizza. Did I mention both kids cleaned their plates and had no idea they were eating cauliflower? After Hadley was done, I asked her if she knew what her dinner was and she said, “pizza!”. Yes, I told her, but what was in it? She had no idea, and when I told her cauliflower she made this face like, are you kidding me? But she loved it!

Original recipe is from www.ibreatheimhungry.com and I’ve added my changes!
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Ingredients

For the Puree
  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 8 slices pepperoni
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Casserole

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower
  • sliced pepperoni
  • sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

For the Puree
  • Clean and trim the cauliflower, breaking it into medium sized pieces. Place in a microwave safe bowl with 2 Tbl of cream and 1 Tbl of butter. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 10 minutes. Stir to coat cauliflower with cream/butter mixture. Microwave for another six minutes on high (or until tender.) Remove from the microwave and put into a high speed blender or food processor along with the 8 slices of pepperoni and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can adjust the cream and butter to your preference for consistency (I added a few more Tbsp of cream and 1 Tbsp of butter).

For the Casserole

  • Place the cauliflower florets into an 8 x 8 oven proof casserole dish.
  • Spread the cauliflower puree over the florets. Cover with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, and layer with olives, pepperoni and toppings of choice. Bake at 375 degrees (F) for about 20 minutes. Alternatively you could microwave this for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Notes

Approximate nutrition info per serving: 207 calories, 15g fat, 4.75g net carbs, 10g protein

 

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Please make this! I’m telling you, your kids and husband will thank you, as well as you will know that you are making them eat so many vegetables and they have no idea! It is a tricky game, and you’ll win! We also topped ours with a few spoonfuls of warm marinara. Like I said, next time (next week??) I am going to add some ricotta, italian sausage, basil, who knows what else, and it is going to be amazing. I love how cauliflower is so versatile!! Let me know if you make it and how it turns out!

Turkey Burgers with Avocado Aioli

Let me just tell you that Hadley has asked if we could have these burgers for dinner every night since I made them. If that doesn’t tell you how good they are, I don’t know what will! They were so.stinkin.good. Seriously.

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Ingredients:
Hamburger buns or big lettuce leaves
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 ripe avocado
1 Tbsp Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Mayo
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 c chopped seeded tomato
Salt and Pepper
Alfalfa Sprouts

Directions:
Place half of the avocado in the bowl and mash it as if you were making guacamole. Add the sour cream, mayo, lime juice, cumin and garlic powder and stir to combine. Dice the other half of the avocado and add it in, but don’t mash it. Then add the tomato and salt and stir gently. You could add in cilantro or a jalapeño here if you wanted as well.

After making the turkey patties, sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Cook the turkey patties on the grill or however you like to cook your burgers. Toast the buns for about a minute on the grill as well.

Place sprouts on the bottom of your bun (or lettuce leaf) and lay your turkey patty on top. Load it with a quarter of the Avocado mixture and the other half of your bun. I am also the mom that serves broccoli with burgers, but it was delicious and there were no leftovers.

I made mine with large lettuce leaves, and it was just so amazingly good. Light and summery, but different than our regular old burgers. Although, this might become our regular old burger!!!

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Stuffed Chicken Bacon Bites

For years I have been making this chicken dish, and it has always been one of my favorites. As my kids are getting a little older, and I really dislike making the same dishes continuously (even though I feel like I do), I have been trying to get creative with presentation so they don’t get picky or bored. Normally I pound out chicken breasts, stuff them with cream cheese and green chiles, wrap them in bacon and grill them. No matter how you slice it, these are delicious. So last night I decided to slice the breasts into tenders, and make mini “bite size” versions of these in hopes that the kids would have fun with it. I also used a fresh poblano pepper instead of green chiles or jalapeños, just to change it up. They have no heat to them, and have a really yummy flavor.

I sliced up the pepper into strips and set them on a plate. Then I put a big dollop of cream cheese on the plate, then I took bacon slices and cut them in thirds and put them on the same plate. I put the chicken breasts in a plastic bag and pounded them until they were about a half inch thick. Cut them into about 6 tenders each. Grab one, spread some cream cheese on it, lay a pepper on that, fold it over and wrap it in a slice of the bacon. This is where I realized I was out of toothpicks. Make sure you have toothpicks. Instead, I pulled out the big metal shishkabob skewers and decided to stack them up. I made 12 little poppers and put them on 3 skewers. I also realized I was out of charcoal for the grill. It’s fun cooking with me, isn’t it?? On goes the oven, to about 400. I layed the skewers in a baking dish, drizzled them lightly with EVOO and sprinkled them with the ever so versatile, Cavenders Greek Seasoning. I cooked them for about 20 minutes, and then turned on the broiler to crisp up the bacon.
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While these were cooking I boiled some cauliflower, drained it and set it aside. Then I made a cheese sauce with a little half and half and some cheddar cheese. I poured it over the cauliflower, sprinkled it with mozzarella and put it in the oven to melt while the bacon was crisping.
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Do you know what it’s like to have your kids eat their cauliflower before any other item on their plate? Neither did I – until last night. They loved it! Besides their chicken they also got grapes, and still finished the cauliflower first. Needless to say, I will be making that often. They cleaned their plates and my almost four year old told me that’s the only way she wanted to eat chicken anymore. Ha! Brent said he preferred the poblano peppers to the others I have used before.

The whole meal was easy and turned out delicious, and once again there are no leftovers. Super low carb, and low calorie depending on how much cheese you put into your cauliflower. But hey, it’s better than macaroni! For me, the smaller chicken bites really helped me control my portion size better. Normally I would eat a whole small chicken breast with lots of stuffing and probably 2 slices of bacon wrapped around it. I had 4 pieces, which would be 2/3 of one of these breasts, less than an ounce of cream cheese, and only 1 and 1/3 slices of bacon. Crazy, but it looked like more food, and was actually less. And I definitely didn’t need anymore.

Hope you like it!

Cucumber Salad on a Warm Summer Night

Yesterday was a “Get-back-in-the-swing-of-things” kind of day. After my family coming up to visit a few days last week and then going down to Texas for 4 days, I was super unmotivated and tired. It is so daunting to have all of your “vacation laundry” to do, on top of the normal everyday stuff. I had to get to the gym, because I really didn’t want to. Those are usually the days I need it the most. I did feel pretty good afterwards, and I enjoy starting my day feeling productive after a good workout. It sets the tone for the rest of my afternoon to get things done and stay in a good mood.

After my workout the kids and I headed to one of my favorite sandwich shops, Jimmy John’s! It was their first visit, so I had a #12 Unwich (Low Carb) and they split a turkey sandwich. I also picked one up for Brent and ran it over to his office for him, since he was having a really busy day. I really like the Unwich option for any sandwich, not only does it cut all the calories and carbs from the bread, but it still has all the flavor and deliciousness of a sandwich. An Unwich is basically your sandwich wrapped in its lettuce, rather than on bread. YUM.
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I brought the kids home afterwards and they took fantastic naps, which was not a big surprise as they are both still exhausted from our trip. I showered and started working on my grocery list, which includes planning a weekly menu, and usually takes me about an hour.

This weeks menu:
Grilled Chicken with Cucumber Salad
Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs and Marinara
Chicken Bacon Poppers and Grilled Broccoli
Shrimp and Avocado Salad
Pesto Apple Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower

I usually only plan 5 meals per week, because inevitably one night we will decide to eat out, and one night we will do leftovers.

Last night I grabbed two of the chicken breasts and seasoned them up for the grill, and since it was so warm out I knew Brent would rather have a cold side than a hot one. I had seen a cucumber salad recipe on Pinterest, so I thought I would try that. It has a little greek flare to it, which I love. And it is very light and summery, it could go with almost any protein.
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Cucumber Salad

2 large cucmbers
1/3 cup of sour cream or Fage Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp of dried dill
2 Tbsp of Lemon juice
Garlic powder to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice the cucumbers in half longways, and then use a mandolin to slice them very thin. Set aside.
Mix all the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and whisk or stir until smooth. Pour over the cucumbers and combine well. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge.

This turned out great and we actually topped it with some kalamata olives. It would also be good with some feta sprinkled on top.

This was a great low carb summer dinner that my husband loved! My kids ate up the cucumber salad too! I would definitely take that to a barbecue… Maybe that means its time to have one!

Do you have a favorite summer dinner?

Pesto Apple Chicken with Provolone and Roasted Broccoli

A while ago a friend of mine posted a picture of her dinner, and it looked O-So-Tasty, so I wanted to try it!

I had pretty much all the ingredients, so here is what we had for dinner.
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Pesto Apple Chicken with Provolone and Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients:
Chicken Breasts
Pesto
Fuji Apple (or 2) sliced thin
Sliced Provolone

Broccoli and EVOO

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425.You can pound out the chicken breasts if you’d like to, or if you just want them to cook faster. I didn’t do this this time but sometimes I do. I slathered on a tablespoon or two of Pesto straight onto the chicken and then covered the whole breast in apple slices. I put it on a foil lined baking dish and into the hot oven for about 30 minutes. When I pulled it out, the apples were cooked really nicely so I put two slices of Provolone cheese on top of each chicken breast and then popped them back into the oven to melt the cheese. At this time I also put the broccoli (drizzled in EVOO) in the oven on the top rack to broil for about 10 minutes.

The chicken had the best flavor, the apples really paired well with the pesto and cheese. Brent was pretty concerned when I told him what we were having, but he said he really enjoyed it! He was surprised at how much he liked the apples on it. I wasn’t, I knew it would be delicious!! Both kids cleaned their plates and Hadley was upset that she didn’t get more apples. Next time, I’ll broil some extra for her. Thanks for the recipe Rachel!

Spaghetti Squash Taco Bowls and Homemade Salsa

I saw a recipe on Pinterest a while ago for stuffed spaghetti squash. Normally, I fill our spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce or swedish meatballs and gravy, or even veggies and pesto. But these had taco fillings in them. I wasn’t sure how they would go over with Brent, but he loves spaghetti squash so I thought I would give it a try.

It was a total hit! My kids are not huge fans of the squash because of the texture, so I made theirs like a bowl from Chipotle and they ate it up! Ours was very similar, just in a spaghetti squash instead of a plate. The buttery taste of the squash mixed with all the fillings was perfect, and if I may say, even better than rice. It was really easy, just like making tacos! But instead of putting tortillas in the microwave, bake a spaghetti squash. Saves you calories and carbs!

Spaghetti Squash Taco Bowl

1 Spaghetti Squash
1 lb ground meat (any kind is delicious!)
1 package of taco seasoning
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans, rinsed
2 cloves of garlic or some garlic powder to taste

Toppings – whatever you prefer for your tacos! I made homemade salsa, added shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro and diced avocado.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scrape out the insides. Rub the meat with butter or extra virgin olive oil, season with some salt and pepper and throw it in the oven on 425 for 25 minutes. This is for a medium sized squash, small ones won’t take as long to cook, so keep an eye on it, and stab it with a fork every once and a while. I like the top to get a little golden on the edges.

While you are cooking the squash, put the meat in the skillet and get it browned. I make homemade salsa all the time and just keep it in the fridge, but if you want to open your favorite jar of it, feel free! (I’ll post that recipe at the bottom) This is also the time where I get out all the other ingredients and set them up so I can just whip up the bowls. Shredded cheese, dice the avocado, sour cream, chop some cilantro, diced onion, jalepenos, etc. Whatever you are craving! When the meat is browned, sprinkle in the taco seasoning and however much water it calls for and cook it for 5 or so minutes, and then toss in the beans and corn to heat through. This only takes a few minutes. By now the squash should be done, so pull it out of the oven. Then fill the insides with the meat/bean/corn mixture and top it with some cheese. Put it back in the oven for a couple of minutes just to melt the cheese. When you pull it back out top it with whatever your little heart desires. Mine was loaded up with salsa, sour cream, cilantro, onions, and diced avocados. I ate about half of mine, and Brent ate about half of his, which means I still have leftovers for lunch!
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Such an easy dinner, and really so healthy. I mean, think of all those veggies taking the place of carbs and grains that you don’t need that late into the day! YUM.

For Salsa
My sister-in-law makes this delicious salsa, so I finally paid attention a year or so ago and we haven’t had anything else since!

1 can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 can original Rotel
1 large tomato
Handful of fresh cilantro
Garlic cloves or powder to taste

I put all of it in the blender or magic bullet and mix it together. If you want to make it spicier you can add onion or change the original rotel to mild or hot. You can even throw in a jalepeno. But my kids aren’t into spicy yet, so this is just warm enough to satisfy me but where they will still eat it. Sometimes I use two fresh tomatoes or two cans of fire roasted tomatoes if it seems warmer than usual.

Enjoy!!

New Brick? And Chicken with Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce

Yesterday afternoon was pretty frustrating to say the least. Our builder called to let us know that we had to come by and choose different brick for the exterior of our house. Apparently our next door neighbors chose the same brick, before we did of course,  and the mistake was just now caught. We found another brick that we like, so it wasn’t too big of a deal, but while we were there I noticed a new granite countertop in the design center. It looked similiar to the one that I chose in the beginning, and she looked it up and told me that it in fact, was the granite we chose for the kitchen.  It was hideous. So ugly I can hardly describe to you how much we disliked it. The sample we saw was white, with big flecks of pearl and black veins running through it, and tiny specks of orange here and there. This was the same, but add in giant red splotches all over. I almost cried. Needless to say, Brent called our sales rep and is getting it changed. Not sure to what yet, but almost anything would be better than that!!

He went to the gym after we left the design center and I took the kids to the park to burn off some energy before dinner.

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We came home and I was at a loss as to what to do with the chicken for dinner. I pulled out some ingredients from the fridge, and googled “chicken and mushrooms”. After reading 4 or 5 different recipes, here is what I came up with.

I had two chicken breasts, so I cut them each into 4 strips. Heated up some EVOO and put them in a skillet. I sprinkled on some salt and pepper, and cooked them on each side for about 5 minutes. Then I put them in a dish and covered it with foil and popped it in the oven to stay warm, on 200 degrees. While the chicken was cooking, I quartered some button mushrooms, minced 4 cloves of garlic, and grabbed the parsley. After the chicken was in the oven I added a little more EVOO to the pan and tossed in the garlic. Cook it for about a minute, then put in the mushrooms. Let these cook for about 5 minutes, til they are golden and start to soften. Then the best part, pour in about 2/3 cup of white wine.(Here is also where you pour yourself a glass) Stir it all together, and scrape the bottom of your pan with a wooden spoon to get any stuck on bits off. They will dissolve into the wine and really make the flavor delicious. Then I sprinkled in about 1/8 cup of dried parsley because I didnt have any fresh. I just let it simmer and reduce by half. Pulled out the chicken and poured the mushrooms and sauce on top.

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Here is the recipe that mine is most like, but I cut a couple of her ingredients and changed some things. She breaks down the nutritional information, but since i cut the flour out of mine, i figure it is about 150 calories and 5 carbs per serving, which is 2 strips and about a quarter of the mushrooms and sauce. Either way, it was soooo good and only took about 20 minutes to make.  Everyone ate it all, and I paired it with a little italian salad.

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After dinner we headed outside for some popsicles!

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Earlier today I was at the gym, ran out by the new house to double check the brick I chose, fed the kids lunch, and got them down for naps so I could pull myself together for tonight. We have our first dance lesson later! I am pretty excited about it!

Have a great weekend!

Does your neighborhood or street do a big kick-off to summer party? Ours is tomorrow and it is so much fun!!

Have you ever taken dance lessons? Neither one of us know how to dance and need some help with all of these weddings coming up!

Personal Pizzas and Fish Tacos

Now that its summer and Hadley is out of school, I feel busier than ever! And she is only 3! I do have her signed up for a few activities each week, and maybe its also because I am preparing for trips, weddings, and birthdays! This weekend is our neighborhood cookout down at the pool and clubhouse. Our street is on dessert, so I am making the Birthday Cake Rice Krispie Treats, since that is what Brent requested. He also said I needed to make a practice batch, which I did and half are gone already!

We are planning on spending the 4th of July at my brother’s house just outside of Fort Worth. During that trip we are hoping to get to see some friends who recently moved down there, as well as attend another friends wedding.

So far the new house is still moving right along, they were working on the HVAC yesterday and getting all the low voltage electricity installed next.

The other night for dinner we had fish tacos, so I made the cauliflower tortillas.

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It was a large batch because I wanted to have some left to make personal pizzas as an alternative to the regular cauliflower pizza crust that I usually make. The tacos are much drier and more pliable, where as the pizza crust recipe is usually eaten with a fork. Dont get me wrong, its delicious. But I thought this might be more appealing
to my kids, which it was because they could eat it with their hands. Truett ate an entire pizza by himself, and then a bowl of macaroni with spaghetti sauce. And he is only 19 months! What am I going to do when he is a teenager!?!?

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These weren’t very big, maybe 8 inches across. Low cal and almost no carbs! Plus lots pf protein from the eggs, cheese, and pepperoni. And top them however you like!

Hadley has another swim lesson today, she is loving it! She also had her first dentist appointment the other morrning and did fantastic. No cavities and she is already asking when she gets to go back!

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Have a great Thursday!!

Breakfast Casserole Muffins

Last night Brent and I just weren’t in the mood for anything specific, which almost always means we end up having breakfast for dinner. My mom always makes this delicious breakfast casserole for holidays or when there are large groups of people. So I thought that might be a fun dinner for the kids, change it up a little. I also made it in muffin tins instead of a casserole dish, because it cooks faster and everyone can make theirs differently if they want to. Instead of using hashbrowns, I decided to use cauliflower to make it low carb but still filling.
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I just broke up the florets into small pieces. Then I layered in diced ham, fresh spinach, and cheese. Really you could put in anything you like. Sometimes we make ours with sausage and green chiles, or Carne Adovada, diced chicken and chives, the options are endless!
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I mixed up the eggs as if I was going to scramble them, and poured them over top of everything in the tin. I made 18 muffins, but I only used 14 eggs. If you fill the muffin cup to the top, it will spill over in the oven. I filled them about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
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Bake on 350 for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden and they don’t jiggle when you shake the pan. If you do this in a casserole dish it needs to cook for 45-60 minutes.
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Everyone devoured these, and it was a nice change from our normal breakfast for dinner. Hadley had two, and I never even told her there was cauliflower in it. Of course I loaded mine up with a roasted tomatillo salsa.

This morning I went to the gym, came home and fed the kids lunch, and put Truett down for his nap. Hadley needed to paint her nails so she’ll have her nap when she is done. 😉 She does a surprisingly good job!
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We have more bad weather headed for us today, so we probably won’t get much outside time later. Who knows though, I thought the same thing yesterday and it only rained for about 3 minutes and was sunny the rest of the day.

I don’t think we have any plans this weekend! Except swinging by a wedding reception for a few minutes to say hello, it is looking to be a pretty relaxing weekend!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Do you have a go to breakfast dish for large groups?

Healing in the Heartland

I am really missing this outlet of writing, but it seems like lately I am having a hard time even finding a few minutes to post. We spent Memorial Day weekend in Dallas having a nice long weekend with family. We came home to have a cookout with our neighbors and relax.

Last night Brent and I met up with 6 of our friends and headed out to the Healing In The Heartland relief concert. I was so excited to see so many of my favorite country artists performing to raise money to help everyone affected by the recent tornadoes. While we were sitting there, one of the guys starting talking to the man next to him, and he was showing him pictures of how their house was destroyed in Moore. He also told him that the people next to them lost a child in the elementary school. We hear it on the news and at church, but actually talking to people who lost everything makes it so real. I just can’t comprehend what either family is going through. But I know that there was a lot of money raised to help rebuild, and that is a start.

Blake Shelton was an amazing host, and when Miranda Lambert broke down during her performance (which just happens to be one of my all time favorite songs), I lost it. I think everyone was tearing up. Surprisingly one of my favorites was Ryan Tedder, from One Republic, he did great! Vince Gil’s song was pretty sweet too. After the one hour tv show ended, Blake Shelton and Usher brought out their Voice teams and sang a fantastic version of Play Something Country! That got the party started, because most of the artists came back out to do a song or two more. Usher, Reba, Miranda, and Darius Rucker were so much fun. But Luke Bryan probably had the best time on stage, and I love some Luke Bryan. Blake Shelton played his music between the others, and when the show ended the standing ovation continued until Blake came back out. He said they hadn’t planned on doing an encore, and it was the first time he had ever not planned one and had the crowd demand one. It was awesome! They played Brent’s favorite song, ‘Ol Red. The audience went crazy and finally let him leave the stage after that.

Definitely one of the best concerts I have ever been to. Blake Shelton is hilarious, and so genuine. We got home around midnight and crashed into bed.

Today’s workout is legs… and many of them to failure. So hard!! Im cooling down on the treadmill, and then home for lunch with the kiddos. I am on week 5 of Jamie Eason’s LiveFit. I will tell you it ia not getting easier, but I have lost inches all over! And this week I upped my weights by 10-15 pounds, and I was pretty proud of myself!!