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Pizza Stuffed Zucchini

18 Aug
(sorry if this photo looks white and grainy! Blogger is being ridiculous and uploading my photos weird!)

Guess what, friends! I have ANOTHER giveaway coming up next week! Stay tuned for that! It’s a good one you’re not going to want to miss!

Well, summer is coming to a close which means I am up to my eyeballs in fresh zucchini. In an attempt to eat a little healthier and lower my carb intake, I created this handy dandy little 20-minute dinner. Seriously! Only 20 minutes from start to finish. And, I used up my extra large garden zucchini. If you don’t have access to any jumbo zucchinis or friend’s with gardens full of them, pick up some small ones from the store. About 1 per person, or in my husband’s case, 2.

To road map this recipe for you, I sliced my huge zucchini down the center and then in half again. I scooped out the seeds so I was left with 4 skinny zucchini boats–perfect for fillings! Before I filled them, I cooked them in a skillet 5 minutes per side, covered; this gives them a little needed flavor and color. I cooked them enough to be crisp-tender–how I like it. (See recipe tips for softer zucchinis) Then I filled them up with loads of pizza toppings and stuck them under the broiler! Thats it! I did happen to have some cherry tomatoes from my garden around too, so I made a little tomato basil mix for the top. So simple, and so good. It’s like the taste of summer in your mouth. I loved these and so did my husband. My daughter just ate all the cheese off the top! 🙂

Hope you all are enjoying these last few days of Summer before we’re into Fall! (PS- I’ve got some GREAT pumpkin recipes that I’m dying to share with you so fall can’t get here fast enough!)

Pizza Stuffed Zucchini
yield: 4 servings

2 extra large zucchini from the garden or 4-6 small
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
2/3 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup sliced pepperoni
4 slices deli ham, julienned
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/4 onion, sliced thin
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
any other pizza toppings you’d like
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
10 fresh basil leaves, torn (if desired)

Preheat skillet over medium heat with olive oil and garlic. Slice ends off of zucchini and slice down the center lengthwise. Scoop all the seeds out so you are left with a skinny boat shape, about 1/3-1/2 inch thick. (*If you are using large zucchinis, slice in half, this time width-wise so you have 4 ‘boats’ per zucchini. If you are using small zucchinis from the store, you can forgo this step) Sprinkle salt and pepper over prepared zucchinis. Remove garlic from pan. Place zucchinis cut side down in pan and cover. Cook 5 minutes and turn. Edges should be brown. Cover and cook another 5 minutes. Transfer cooked zucchini to a sheet pan. Fill with pizza sauce, desired toppings and cheese. Sprinkle with oregano. Bake under the broiler until cheese has browned. Remove from oven. In small bowl, combine tomatoes with basil, salt and pepper. Top cooked pizza stuffed zucchinis with tomato mixture, if desired.

Recipe TIPS
-I like my zucchini crisp-tender. Meaning it is still a little firm but not crunchy like a totally uncooked zucchini would be. If you would like a softer pizza stuffed zucchini, all you need to do is bake the pizza stuffed zucchinis at 375 for 10-15 minutes (as opposed to broiling). This should soften things up!


Spinach, Bacon & Feta Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

2 Jul

Two or three weeks ago, I became friends with a girl named Natalie who happened to be a featured member on Tasty Kitchen. After reading her blog, Perry’s Plate, and emailing her a few times, we realized that we went to the same college, are part of the same church and know some of the same people! Such a small world! By the way, she is super friendly and nice and has two little rug-rats of her own. If you have never heard of her, I recommend stopping by her site and taking a look around (but only when you’re done here!) Her photos are gorgeous and she showcases the best of the best recipes. 

Anyways, I suggested doing a recipe swap where I try a recipe of hers and she tries a recipe of mine and we blog about it. Well, it took me a few days and countless hours looking through all her recipes to finally just choose one to try. I actually lost track of time on several occasions…..thats how into her site I was! Well my friends, I finally chose her Spinach, Bacon & Feta Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce. This is one of her original creations and it will not disappoint. All of the flavors really work together to make a uniquely delicious pizza. I really liked being able to taste the sun dried tomato pesto along with everything else. Did I mention that this pizza is chock full of bacon, too? Good gravy is bacon good! (It was my husband’s favorite part of this dish!) Anyways, I could go on and on but I need to discuss other matters.

If you don’t already have your sun-dried tomato pesto made and you’re planning on making your own pizza dough (which is what I opted to do) then this is going to take a little time to make. But if you break it up in stages throughout the day or do things in advance (like the day before) then it should be a breeze to come together. All the steps are easy so don’t feel you need to be intimidated by this multi-step recipe. It’s a cinch. Anyways, have fun in the kitchen with this one! It’s great! Thanks for letting me share it, Natalie!

Spinach, Bacon & Feta Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
By: Natalie from Perry’s Plate
yield: 1 large pizza (about 6 servings)

1 lb fresh pizza dough or enough to make a large pizza
12 slices of bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
1/3 cup homemade sun-dried tomato pesto (see recipe below)
1/3 cup pizza sauce
2 or 3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz)
2/3 cup feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Spread pizza dough out into a rimmed cookie sheet (or round pizza pan, stone, peel or whatever you usually use). Combine pesto and pizza sauce in a small bowl. Spread over stretched pizza dough. Top with fresh spinach, then mozzarella.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the crust is firmed up, but not yet golden brown. Remove pizza from oven and top with crumbled bacon and feta cheese. Return pizza to the oven and bake for another 5-8 minutes or so until crust is golden brown underneath and the cheese is bubbly and browning.

Remove and serve. 

Easy Homemade Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
By: Natalie from
Perry’s Plate
yield: 2 1/2 – 3 cups

2 cups oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly (I bought mine julienne)
1 cup shredded fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

Combine tomatoes, cheese, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse/blend until thoroughly combined. Drizzle a little oil in if it gets to thick to proc ess.

Garlic Bread & Spaghetti Pizza

20 May

Oh my good gravy I have created a big delicious monster of a meal for you today! I know what you’re thinking : “Really?! Spaghetti on a pizza?! Are you kidding me?” No, I am definitely not kidding you. I was thinking that we all love garlic bread with our spaghetti so why not just skip a middle step and combine the two?! I know that this is like carb city on a plate, but once in a while you’ve got to indulge. My little family has been sick and it was rainy outside so I wanted something deliciously warm and filling. Plus our bodies are currently fighting off some viruses so we need all the extra calories we can get…….at least thats what we tell ourselves………….anyways………….about this pizza……….
Its pizza dough covered in melted butter and garlic salt and then topped with a healthy mountain of tomato sauce covered spaghetti and lots of mozzarella for good measure! Are you salivating yet? You just think about the combination in your mouth for a second while I continue–
I made everything from scratch because I had the time but if you’re in a pinch, pick up some prepared dough from the market along with some Bolognese or marinara and some pre-shredded mozzarella. That will cut your prep work in half at least!
Also, as some of you may know, I really like to hide vegetables in my spaghetti sauce and drain my ground beef to decrease the fat and increase the nutrients. Spaghetti sauce is the best place to sneak in some grated carrot, zucchini or any other vegetables you happen to have in your fridge. I also like to use low sodium V8 in place of just plain tomato sauce to increase the servings of vegetables. I tell you, these little changes make the world of difference!
Oh, did I mention its a buttery garlicy bread like crust topped with spaghetti and cheese? This meal is as kid friendly as it gets! Pizza AND spaghetti in one! Incredible! And you don’t have to feel so bad about serving this to your kids either, especially if you were sneaky and added in some extra vegetables!
Anyways, this should definitely make your dinner menu in the near future because yes, it really is that good!
Love you all like carbs,
Garlic Bread & Spaghetti Pizza
1 lb. pizza dough (my recipe is found below)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon garlic salt
2 1/2 cups prepared marinara or bolgonese (make sure its a good one!)
1/2 lb. spaghetti or spaghettini, cooked to al dente
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
parsley for garnish
extra marinara for dipping those crusts
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spray pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread pizza dough out to be 16-18” across. Place on prepared pizza pan. Brush crust with half melted butter and all the garlic salt, concentrating on the edges. Bake crust for 8 minutes. Mix cooked spaghetti with 2 cups of prepared sauce. Once crust comes out of the oven, brush edges with remaining melted butter. Top with coated spaghetti and spoon on remaining 1/2 cup of sauce to keep pasta moist. Top with grated cheese and bake 2-3 minutes more until cheese has completely melted. Remove from oven and cool 5-10 minutes. Top with parsley if desired. Cut into pieces and enjoy!
Recipe TIPS:
-My pizza dough recipe is pretty easy! In large bowl, combine 1 cup hot water with 2 1/4 teaspoons quick rising yeast (1 packet) and 1 teaspoon sugar or honey. Proof yeast 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 1/2-3 cups all purpose flour (start with 2 cups and work your way up). Knead dough 5 minutes. It should be slightly sticky and smooth. Coat in olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot in your kitchen and let dough rise 1-1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. Use as desired.

Jalapeno Popper Pizza

13 Apr
This is one of the BEST original recipes I have ever made. I LOVE it so much… much so that I submitted it to a Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Paula Deen contest, hence the video! I was so nervous filming it and I’m still trying to figure out how to edit my 3 videos together (I’m still learning!) but here is the first one that actually shows you how to make it! Tell me what you think and definitely make this pizza right now! Its so ridiculously good. Over the top delicious!! PROMISE!
Jalapeno Popper Pizza
Yield: 6 servings
1 lb. pizza dough
1 cup prepared alfredo sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and sliced
1 1/2 cups cubed prepared breaded chicken (store bought or home made)
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 oz. philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 lb. grated cheddar cheese
PS- do you like the video idea? Should I make more?!