Calzones are a guilty pleasure of mine. My absolute favorite is from a hole in wall joint on the outskirts of Rural Hall- about as far from Italy as you can get but so good. They’re kinda all things that are bad for you – but they don’t have to be so terrible. My version uses a whole wheat crust and low fat cheeses. Don’t eat them everyday but don’t hate yourself for a little indulgence.
OF NOTE: This recipe comes to you mid Phil Collins binge. I love the man. I highly recommend you make this tasty Italian nosh while playing air drums to “In the Air Tonight”. I’ve even hyperlinked it for your listening ease. You are welcome.
Spinach and Ricotta Calzones: makes 2 big calzones, serves 4 or a very hangry 2
Half your pizza dough and flatten each hunk into a rough square/rectangle about ¼ inch thick. I use my fingers like claws and punch it out- pretty sure I saw that on TV once.
On one half of each crust lay out the spinach and cheeses, spreading them across but leaving a good 2 border. Top the filling with a dash of Italian seasoning. Fold the other half of the crust over the top and crimp the edges closed using a fork or your fingers. Brush the top of each calzone with melted butter then sprinkle with Italian seasoning and a bit for grated parmesan. Cut the top to vent and pop them in the oven!
Bake for about 15-18 minutes until golden. I recommend flipping them over halfway through cooking to get both sides crisp!
In a food processor blitz chocolate chips, walnut, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla until it’s the texture of wet sand. (taste this bit it’s life changing)
Mix the remaining sugar with cinnamon. One a sheet of parchment paper spread out the cinnamon sugar in an even layer the size of your puff party. Lay the puff pastry right on top and use a rolling pin to work the sugar into the back side of the pastry.
Spread the chocolate/walnut love mixture evenly on the pastry all the way to the edges. NOW THE TRICKISH PART. Start with one long end and begin the roll to towards the center. Use the parchment to help you – almost like a sushi mat. Roll the other side so you have a long, kind of heart shaped log. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Slice into 1/2-1 inch slices and bake for about 15-20 minutes! Until golden brown.
This might be my favorite dish. It’s so easy but you can still develop complex flavors quickly. It’s even yummier on day 3 and blends my love of tacos with my love of german stews. It’s even hearty enough that the men in your life will love it – it’s Daddy, big brother and boyfriend approved.
1 lb ground beef (or turkey!)
1 16oz jar salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cups dried pasta (wagon wheel is cute)
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 can corn drained and rinsed
½ cup sour cream
In a large dutch oven brown off the meat. Drain any excess fat and add the meat back to the pot. Add the taco seasoning, jar of salsa and pasta to the meat and stir. Fill the salsa jar with water, give it a shake and add it to the pot as well. Simmer uncovered until the pasta is al dente, about 20 minutes. (Add more water if needed!)
Once the pasta is tender add in corn & beans; stir to warm them through. Remove from the heat and fold in the sour cream. Boom you’re done! Top with cheese, sour cream, avocado, and jalapeños.
You can go wild with this one. Use different salsas to change it up, try chipotle smoky flavors or add some cocoa and cinnamon for a mole twist. Holy mole it’s good (I just went there).
I don’t do drugs. But my obsession with this treat is pretty much cause for an intervention. I’m not sure what it’s actually called but in my apartment it’s just known as Crack. And it’s amazing.
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil and spritz it with cooking spray. (Dont forget the spray. You’ll thank me later). Line the whole tray with saltines! You may have to break some for the edges and that’s fine! I try to do salted side down because I’m weird.
In a small saucepan melt the butter and brown sugar over medium-high heat. You’ll want to be stirring pretty regularly. Bring it to a bubbly boil and continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Your caramel will turn a light brown color. Carefully pour this mixture over the crackers and spread evenly with the back of your spoon.
Pop the tray into the hot oven for 5 minutes! Pull it out when the whole tray is bubbly. Add your chocolate chips right on top and give them a second to melt. Spread the melted chocolate over you caramel cracker base.
I then like to top off the crack while it’s still melted. You can do nuts, flor de sal, crushed peppermint- players choice! The melty goodness of the chocolate will hold your toppings in place. Allow the crack to cool completely – 30 minutes in the freezer or an hour in the fridge.
Break into bites and be come addicted! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
P.S. Store your crack in the fridge so you don’t have a melty mess!
I am not fancy. I cook wearing yoga pants and oversized bro tanks with a terribly messy bun. But I believe you don’t have to be fancy to eat fancy. Food is and should be accessible to everyone – it’s a fabulous equalizer. This gallette is really a quick and dirty rustic pie with a fancy name.
Pear Gallette with St. Germaine Whipped Cream
One pie crust (homemade or store bought)
3 ripe pears peeled and sliced
½ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 dashed of nutmeg
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream
1 Tablespoon St. Germain
1 Tablespoon sugar (powdered or granulated)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a sheet pan lay out your crust and set aside.
Toss your sliced pears in a squeeze of lemon. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg then dust them over the fruit. Pour this mixture into the center of your prepared crust- leaving a two inch border or crust. Begin to fold up the edges overlapping them slightly.
Brush the exposed crust with egg wash (one beaten egg with a dash of water) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes.
For the whipped topping beat the cold whipping cream, St. Germain and sugar at a high speed until beautiful peaks of love form.
Dollop on your galette and you’re practically french.
We all love Bonefish’s Bang Bang Shrimp. It’s one of the few chain restaurants I’m willing to go to pretty much because of these babies! This recipe feels like cheating but will still impress. Here’s my take.
Bang Bang Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
One bag frozen popcorn shrimp (if YOU have time to fry shrimp go for it)
½ cup light mayo
1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce (more or less based on your spice tolerance)
¼ cup sweet chili sauce
Iceberg of Romain lettuce leaves, washed and dried
For topping :
Bake the shrimp as directed!
Mix mayo, chili sauce and Sriracha together! Toss the slightly cooled shrimp into the sauce and fold them gently to coat. Load 4-5 shrimp in each lettuce cup. Top with chopped green onion, cilantro and sour cream. I even added an avocado corn salsa.
There are few things I love more than butter, lemon and cheese. This easy one has all three. Praise.
Lemon Butter Chicken: serves 6
6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs (calm down. just eat the dark meat)
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup milk
¼ cup grated parmesan
1 teaspoon thyme
3 cloves minced garlic
Juice of one lemon
2 cups fresh spinach
2 Tablespoons butter
Sale and Pep
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Salt and pepper the chicken and brown on both sides in a large oven safe skillet- about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove chicken from the skillet and pour off any grease.
Add butter back into the hot skillet. Sauté the garlic in melted butter until it begins to turn golden. Add broth, milk, cheese, lemon juice, and thyme to the skillet and bring to a boil. The sauce will begin to thicken slightly so keep stirring. Add in your spinach and let it wilt.
Nestle the chicken back into the pan and pop it into the oven. Baked uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
Boom. Serve with a cauliflower mash or lots of crusty bread.