Summer entertaining shouldn’t be about spending hours in the kitchen tossing together elaborate meals when guests come over to play. Nope. Dinner should be effortless, preferably served on paper plates, and cooked on the grill creating hardly any cleanup. When kids are involved, finding a dish that keeps both adults and tots happy can be challenging, but not with this seriously easy dish.
Sure, you can cornmeal your crust and slide your tasty pie directly on the grill, but I erased the worry that yours won’t with my cheap pizza-grilling secret – pizza pie tins from the grocery store, making this my no-fail way to make summer entertaining fun and easy. And you know how much I love pizza (here, here, and here…).
Make things even easier by using a store purchased pizza crust and you are good to go. This is so fun for the kiddies as well as the adults. Each child can create their own pie, and the adults can create gourmet pizzas to kick things up a notch.
So crank the grill and get cooking!
Heat your grill to medium high heat. You want things to be hot, but not too hot. I’ve got a gas grill, but you can also make your pizza over coals.
Lightly grease one of the aluminum pie pans. I picked up a set of three for about $2 at the grocery store and can usually gets two uses from each before it starts falling apart.
Press the pizza dough into a round on the greased pan into an even crust. You can make your own pizza dough or use store bought, either works just fine. You want the dough nice and thin, otherwise it won’t grill evenly.
Top your pie with whatever you like and then pop directly on the grill – aluminum pan and all!
Cover and let sizzle for 10 to 15-minutes, or until you see the edges just starting to brown and the top to bubble.
Serve with a big salad and you’ve got dinner!
Dying to toss that dough directly onto the grill? Try this suggestion from my friend.
See how I used the AccuCore Stainless Steel 3-quart Sauté Pan for My Set, My Healthy Chicken Stroganoff.
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There’s nothing like a one-pot dinner that’s also heathy — and seriously easy to make. With the help of a seriously amazing AccuCore Stainless Steel 3-quart Sauté Pan, I had dinner on the table in no time and in serious style. I’m always trying to find ways to put a healthy spin on dishes and experimented with a twist on the traditional stroganoff by using skinless boneless chicken thighs and swapping sour cream for yogurt.
The other day there were whole ducks at Costco. It’s not every day that you pick up a whole duck to cook up for dinner, but the price was not to be passed up — $14 for a 4 pound birdie seemed like a total steal. Humanely butchered and also kosher, we picked up three and quickly walked to the check out.
Because we don’t have a deep freeze, orchestrating the proper positioning of those ducks in the freezer took much more time than I ever imagined. But it was totally worth it. Roasting a duck isn’t a quick thing. For a little birdie, slow and low is the way to go.
Start by removing the innards from the duck. You can do wonderfully delicious things with the liver, but that’s a post for another day. Give your duck a quick wash in cool water and remove any feathers if neccesarry.
Prepare your roasting pan by lining with two layers of tin foil. Yeah, you want to save that duck fat — really, you do. Now place a turkey rack in that pan and give it a good coating of oil. Tuck the wings under the duck, place it on the greased rack, and give it a quick sprinkle of salt.
I decided to stuff my duck with a quartered orange and a couple of smashed cloves of garlic. Truss the legs to keep that birdie pristine. Use a very sharp knife to poke the duck all over the place. We’re not talking stabbing, just a nice decent jabbing. This helps release the fat from the skin so you’ll have a nice, crisp skin when that duck is finished roasting.
Preheat the oven to 350F and then score the breast with a sharp knife. You don’t want to butcher the thing, just criss-cross the skin delicately and then give it a good seasoning with salt and pepper. You’ll notice I tossed the neck bone in the bottom of the pan for extra lovely duck flavor…
Pop that duck in the oven and set the time for one hour.
Take the duck out and baste with its own drippings. Carefully turn, poke, baste again, and then roast for another hour.
Take the duck out and baste. Carefully turn, poke, baste again, and then roast for another hour.
Take the duck out and let sit for a moment. Now is the time to decide on your flavor profile. If you are wanting a Peking duck kind of flavor, baste on some duck sauce or soy sauce and have a great time. But what tastes even better is mixing together you own tasty coating. I squeezed an orange, mixed with 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon ketchup, a touch of soy and Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper.
Give your duck a big basting and then toss in the oven for another 2o-mintues or so. You can take your birdie out and check its temp and give another basting. Your bird might need up to an additional hour of cooking at this point, so just check back often. It’s suggested that the leg joint temp should read 175F, but if you’re around 165F or 170F, pull that duck and let it rest for a few minutes.
Give your duck at least 10-minutes to set before you start carving. While you’re waiting you could make a lovely sauce from the fat, steam some broccoli for a side, enjoy a glass of wine….
Carve your bird and serve with whatever you love.
I love Alfredo sauce. All that cream and butter smoothed lusciously together and then slathered on pasta – yum. What I’m not so in love with is all that cream and butter and cream and more butter. I love pasta but am also trying to switch our sides to healthier salads or bean concoctions. Amazingly, the tot inspired this recipe. The other day I boiled up some noodles to serve plain with a drizzle of good olive oil, roasted garlic and fresh herbs when she spied the yogurt in the fridge. She insisted on having yogurt with her pasta, which kind of sounded a bit icky to me. But, whatever makes her happy, right?
By the end of dinner, curiosity got the best of me and I snatched a forkful of her yogurt pasta. And, surprisingly, it was good. Sure, it needed tweaking, but it was creamy, tasty, and healthy.
This is a super easy way to liven up pasta – without all that cream and butter. You can add flavors your family loves, or leave it plain and simple. Use a thick, Greek-style yogurt for making this light Alfredo sauce.
1 lb. pasta cooked (whatever shape you like)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper and dried oregano
Boil your pasta until tender and drain. In the same pot, melt the butter along with the chopped garlic until the edges just start to brown. Add the pasta back to the pot and stir to coat.
Turn the heat to low and add the salt, yogurt, and milk. Give things a gentle stir until the yogurt has melted into the pasta.
Now turn the heat off and add the grated Parmesan cheese. Mix things together, do a taste test, and adjust seasoning as needed. If you like creamier pasta, add a splash more milk. Want more cheese? Sprinkle some over the top of the pasta before serving.
I have a toddler that loves pasta. She could eat the stuff all day everyday and be happy. I’ve played around with different kinds of pasta with great success (homemade spaghetti-ohs, white bean mac-n-cheese) but she was ready for something different. After the fifth round in a row of homemade spaghetti-ohs, she was moping around and even asking for peeup-and-belly-witches.
So the other day, while she was chomping down her sandwich, I experimented with a new pasta dish for dinner. I had fresh carrot juice in the fridge along with a bit of Greek-style yogurt. Yes, they don’t sound like a good pairing, but along with the help of some cheddar cheese, anything is possible.
And, I was right.
This is a really easy recipe, you just need the ingredients. Most markets carry carrot juice, but make sure you don’t pick up a blend with orange or cucumber. If you’ve got your own juicer, you’re totally good to go.
8 ounces dry fusilli pasta cooked (which makes about 4-cups)
1/2 cup carrot juice
1/2 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (you know, that Lawry’s stuff)
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Bring a big pot of water to a boil, toss in a bit of salt, and then your pasta. Any shape works, but the fusilli really is perfect. While things are bubbling away, mix together the carrot juice, yogurt, oil, seasoned salt, and salt in a bowl. Give things a whisk to make sure it’s all creamy. Go ahead and shred your cheddar, too.
Once your pasta is cooked and happy, give it a strain. While it’s hanging out, toss the carrot-yogurt mixture into your hot pot and turn the heat down to medium-low. Give things a stir while the sauce starts heating up.
As soon as the sauce starts bubbling, add the pasta back to the pot. Stir to coat the pasta and then add the shredded cheese. Keep stirring and simmering until the cheese is all melty.
Now is the time for taste testing – this is a kid-friendly recipe, so it’s low in salt and also not too strong in flavor. If you know your kid loves garlic, add some in with the mix. Got a child that loves the spice? Kick things up with a few shots of hot sauce. Mine can’t get enough of that tangy yogurt flavor, so I added an extra dollop at the end, along with a dash of pepper (and another sprinkling of salt).
The finished faux mac-n-cheese has an almost neon-orange color and is good hot or cold. My tot scarfed down 2-bowls for dinner, and happily ate a big serving cold the next day at preschool.
*The first time I made this recipe, I included shredded, slow-roasted turkey breast, which was out of this world. For an adult version, finish the pasta with a couple of good handfuls of spinach, top with extra shredded cheddar and pop under the broiler for a fabulous side dish.
We had chicken for dinner the entire week. It just worked out that way – we had chicken in the freezer, so chicken we ate. I’m also seriously feeling a bit of a pinch after getting our final tax bill. Let’s just say we’ll probably be eating cheep cuts of meats and lots and lots of beans and veggies for quite some time. And, with all the drama over pink slime this week, chicken every night was more than fine by me. While at our local market the other day picking up a few essentials (milk, eggs, chocolate…), I asked my meat guy about the dreaded pink slime. He waved his hand behind him showcasing several butchers grinding up choice bits of beef, packaging them up nice and neat, and then proudly handing the freshly ground goodness over to smiling customers.
I grabbed some and added it to my cart looking forward to breaking the string of chicken dinners…
But, it was a wonderful challenge finding a few fun new ways to make tasty chicken dinners. We had a winner with pineapple chicken, tried making foil-wrapped chicken (which was good but needed some tweaking), and simply roasted both dark and white meat with fresh herbs and garlic. Chicken really is yummy – even with only a few ingredients.
Top row from left to right: Pounded chicken breasts dredged in flour and seared in canola oil over garlic mashed potatoes and fresh spinach, French green lentils stewed with carrots and onions topped with hot roasted chicken thighs, Pineapple simmered chicken over couscous and green beans. Second row from left to right: Ham and spinach stuffed chicken breasts with beets and garlic rosemary white beans, Foil-wrapped chicken thighs with steamed asparagus and sticky rice, Shredded steamed chicken tacos with lettuce and chopped scallion alongside carrot, celery spicy beans.
This week pretty much all our meals included spinach. I love fresh spinach and had picked up a couple of big bunches, which were happily added to our meals through the week. Even the tot enjoyed some finely sliced on her pasta. At first she wrinkled up her nose, but then hunger took over and she ate a whole bowl of her tuna, spinach mac-n-cheese.
Spinach is good stuff, full of healthy vitamins and antioxidants. Loaded with vitamin C and folic acid, spinach tastes great on just about everything. And, if you aren’t a big fan, purée some in your pasta sauce, mix fresh spinach with your dinner salad, or chop it up into itty-bitty bits and that spinach will blend right in with whatever you’re making.
I like tossing a few fresh leaves under toasty chicken or on top of grilled hamburgers. The big winner of the week was the garlic and oregano marinated chicken breasts over roasted chick peas (with spinach and homemade tzatziki sauce).
I’m not going to lie – it was a long week. The tot went to preschool on her own, which was big in our world. This was the first time we’d ever left her with anyone other than her Gamma and Opa, and the hubs and I were a bit on edge about the whole thing.
At pick-up, she told me to, “go home!”
We also did our taxes on Saturday, which went as I expected. I planned on owing, and owing I shall. We did enjoy a fun pizza night with friends and the husband had a successful photo shoot (even though his lame-ass (and not so awesome) beauty dish fell on my head). I’m looking forward to another fun week and also taking on the first challenge from the Yahoo! Shine Supper Club!
How was your week? Leave a comment and share your favorite recipe of the week!
*Top row from left to right: Slow roasted pork tenderloin over barley spinach risotto, garlic oregano marinated and seared chicken over spinach and white rice, alongside roasted chick peas (and homemade tziatziki sauce). Bottom row from left to right: Turkey sausage stuffed mushrooms and parmesan pasta with spinach, big mushroom simmered chicken thighs with spinach over mashed potato, boneless pork ribs over spinach polenta with fresh steamed asparagus and peas.
It was a bit of a challenging week. We just got back from vacation and then had a day to flip and head back to our regular routines. I’ll be honest – we all had a pretty hard time adjusting. The tot wanted to go back to Gamma and Opa’s house at the beach (which she told me over and over and over and over again) and I was having a difficult time getting motivated about anything.
After moping around most of the day on Monday and then having an action-packed Tuesday, it almost slipped my mind that it was Valentine’s Day. YUP. I really almost forgot. The husband and I don’t really do much of anything for each other (although he is pretty good at providing me with flowers and some amazing chocolate), but I did want to make something tasty for dinner. I made a last minute run to the grocery store and found some fresh clams at the grocery store – yum.
The week continued on without much else of interest. We had a nice lunch with friends at our new favorite restaurant, Miller’s East Coast Deli, which was totally tasty and ended with the befuddling experience of watching a very, very old man back up and then slowly pull forward repeatedly while just barely grazing the car next to him. We all stood a bit wide-eyed trying to figure out what to do alongside a nice group of people. Eventually someone helped the guy back out of the parking spot, he screamed off (at a big whopping 4-miles an hour) jabbering in some unknown language, and the woman walked up to her car, jumped in – without blinking an eye, and drove off.
This all happened before any of us had a chance to even tell her what happened – or determining what the proper action was for dealing with the nonsensical driver.
(I’m sure we will all be highlighted on one of those exposes showcasing people behaving badly.)
The winner this week was our spaghetti squash dinner – it was so good! Look for the recipe coming soon…
Don’t forget to link up your favorite recipe of the week below!
*Top row from left to right: Leftover try-tip tacos with veggie beans, garlic and white wine steamed clams with asparagus, capellini, and garlic toast, rosemary, oregano chicken breasts over carrot and celery lentils. Bottom row from left to right: spaghetti squash with fresh tomato sauce, spinach and Wisconsin mozzarella, homemade beef and broccoli over white rice, oregano garlic chicken thighs and zucchini fries.
So, we’re on vacation – but that doesn’t mean there’s no cooking going on. I’m just a bit more distracted with the beach and stuff, which means this post is going to be short and sweet. To start off, the hubs was concerned everyone was going to raid our house after I publicly let the world know we were heading out. But, then I reminded him that our crazy ass mean neighbor was going to be watching the cats.
And, really. He’s crazy – and mean (but loves cats). So, whatever.
When you’re going away, the last thing you want is a bunch of stuff smelling up your fridge, so it was all about leftovers at our house this week. Some looked like a bunch of brown mush – but tasted amazing, while others were awesome the first and second time…. (hello, slow roasted barbecue turkey things!)
I hope you all had a great week – what was your favorite recipe? Link up!
Top row from left to right – Slow roasted barbecue turkey things over quinoa and zucchini casserole, breaded and baked eggplant with fresh garlic tomato sauce over polenta and spinach, garlic and spinach pasta with leftover barbecue turkey thighs. Bottom row from left to right – half a rib eye over polenta spinach cakes topped with caramelized onions, Trader Joe’s Beef and Broccoli and TJ’s Fried Rice, slow roasted barbecue turkey things over quinoa and zucchini casserole, grilled balsamic orange chicken breasts with roasted sweet potato and steamed cauliflower and broccoli salad.
I like to make something homemade every night for dinner, but I do like to get some help from time to time. This week we even braved going out to dinner, which is something we never ever do.
But, things went really well, and I also had fun putting together something with the help of Chef Boyardee. This week was all about taking it easy. Our tot came down with a cold (which the husband now has), we were all super busy, and the weather was just wonderful. We enjoyed a weekend of soaking up some some sun – and hopefully getting rid of all that sick.
What’s your favorite go-to pre-made dinner item? Share your favorite recipe or awesome tip!
Top row from left to right: Trader Joe’s fish nugget tacos with big veggie black bean salsa, garlic, oregano, and olive oil marinated and roasted chicken legs with green onion rice and a cucumber yogurt sauce. Bottom row from left to right: Mushroom cap meatballs with spinach garlic pasta and a sprinkling of fresh Parmesan, cheesy chicken Florentine with Chef Boyardee, breadcrumb coated and fried yogurt honey mustard marinated chicken breasts with steamed green beans and rosemary garlic rice-a-roni with fresh Parmesan.