herbes de provence

Friday Pizza Movie Night

When I was younger my best friend and I used to babysit three wild children while their parents, our mentors & friends of the family, went out for “date night”. This family had a weekly tradition on Fridays called “Pizza Movie Night”. It was simple just like it sounds, the Mom would start with a whole wheat crust that was lightly sweetened with honey and simply topped with a squeeze bottle of pizza sauce and shredded cheddar cheese.

The pizza was simple but there was something so cozy about cuddling up on the couch with three little ones and a movie. Knowing it was a “family tradition” you felt like you were part of something, creating memories that would be passed down through the years.

I decided, after several Pizza Movie Nights that when I had my own family I’d start the Friday night tradition to create our own memories.

Working for Starbucks I hardly ever have a Friday thats really a Friday. I’m usually up early Saturday morning working an unpredictable day, just dreaming of sleeping in on Sunday morning. This weekly tradition is a little excuse to still celebrate on Friday and I’ve been figuring out healthy alternatives for pizza along the way.


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I still haven’t attempted making pizza dough with the Vitamix and this bad baker still needs to get a rolling pin so in the meantime I decided that the Artisan Whole Grain pizza dough by Pillsbury was the safest bet.

On this pizza I drizzled EVOO, herbes de Provence (of course), shredded pecorino, crumbed bacon, red onion, thinly sliced apples, spinach and french feta.

The secret is a blazing hot 500+ degrees oven. The pizza baked perfectly in under 6 minutes!

My new trend in the kitchen with pizza is to top it with fresh arugula after it comes out of the oven. The arugula just slightly wilts over the heat of the pizza and it adds this sweet peppery flavor and fresh texture.

 

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The second pizza was topped with a gourmet Italian pizza sauce from the cheese shop down the street (I cheated!).   I added some fresh Burrata from California. It’s a fresh Italian cheese made with mozzarella and cream. The outside is a shell of solid mozzarella while the inside is a mixture of mozzarella and cream, giving it a uniquely creamy texture. Burrata melts beautifully on pizza! I finished the pizza with almost the same ingredients as the one before it; spinach, bacon, feta, etc. Topped it with arugula and…bon appetit!

 

Now it seems like every Friday I’m trying new flavor combinations for Pizza Movie Night! Last week I substituted pesto as the sauce and completely covered the pizza with rows of juicy rotisserie chicken (cheated again!), freshly sliced mozzarella and roma tomatoes. After the oven I topped it with arugula of course! That was my favorite version of Pizza Movie Night, yet!

 

 

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Weeknight Meal: Chicken Tenders are Not Just For Kids

 

 

 

I’ve always wanted to make my own ketchup.

I decided to make a gourmet/healthier spin off of the traditional chicken tenders and french fries to pair with my homemade ketchup.

Before you do anything you’ll want to get your ketchup cooking.

In a saucepan I mixed one can of tomato sauce, a tiny can of tomato paste, 1/4 c. equivalent of truvia, 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, salt (I used smoked salt but any kind works) and pepper. I also included herbes de provence because I’m using it on everything lately.

Now the secret to this ketchup is in the onion and the cinnamon. Peel and cut a sweet yellow onion in half and place in the saucepan. When the ketchup is done cooking you’ll remove the onion. You can either discard it or create a great type of relish if you’re doing burgers, brats or something similar.

Preferably you’ll want to slow cook your ketchup for at least an hour but this recipe works with just 10 minutes of simmer-time if that’s all you have.

When you’re done cooking your ketchup you’ll immediately cool it. If you live in Minnesota and have 15″ of snow on the ground you can place a cover on the saucepan and stick it out in a snowbank (yes, I seriously did that). If not, make some room in your freezer and chill it to at least room temperature.

While your ketchup is chilling you’re going to get two bowls.

Bowl #1: Whisk together two eggs (or three egg whites)

Bowl #2: Combine about a cup of your favorite kind of flour (GF: coconut, almond, rice, etc.), salt and pepper.

To make clean up super easy I laid out some parchment paper on my counter. This helped because I had more tenders than my skillet could hold.

So it goes like this: chicken tenders get thrown into bowl #1, coated in the egg mixture, then they get tossed in bowl #2, lightly coated with the flour mixture and then they lay out on the parchment paper.

I heat just a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of my skillet and throw in about six tenders, sprinkle with herbes de provence (or your favorite seasoning), throw on the lid, cook about 4 minutes on each side. I keep cooking until my parchment paper is empty and by now my ketchup is cool.

Dinner is served!

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The ketchup was so good that we had meatloaf the next night just to have more! I think I need to make this ahead of time and keep it in a mason jar in my fridge from now on.

Delicious!