Calzones

This family loves pizza night! Who doesn’t love a good pizza? All that cheesy, carby goodness?? It doesn’t get better than that! Calzone is pizza night with a twist and has two favorite elements of pizza. I love dipping my crust in marinara or pizza sauce, and I just love crust – if someone at the table doesn’t want theirs, I might snag it. Yeah, pretty shameless of me, right? If you’re a fan, calzone is a great way to get more crust and sauce in every bite. This time I painted the dough with a simple mixture of olive oil and garlic powder – true powder, not granulated garlic. After that, I grated a “healthy” amount of Parmesan cheese over top; which baked into a crispy, salty crust that we all loved. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Calzones – 
  • 2 – 15 oz balls of pizza dough
  • 5 oz pepperoni, diced
  • Fresh mozzarella, torn
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, to taste
  • pizza seasoning
  • garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • marinara or pizza sauce for dipping

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out your pizza dough as you would a round pizza 12 inches in diameter. Sprinkle your shredded mozzarella on the dough leaving at least an inch of space from the edge. Top with pepperoni and cheese, season as desired. Fold into a half and crimp the edges to seal well. Cut some slits to vent and lightly brush the top with olive oil if desired. Place on a Silpat-lined (or foil) cookie sheet. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Carefully place each calzone on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!

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Cheddar and Mozz Mac

Quick Post: This is his fave mac n’ cheese, but now with a new cheese combination. This was a last-minute dinner decision, so I used what I had on hand for this, and thankfully it worked out. I know that cheddar and mozzarella isn’t an “outside the box” kind of pairing, but for someone who rarely steps outside a recipe, it’s blog-worthy 😉 This blog is as much about archiving as it is sharing with all you lovely readers out there. I always like being able to read what changes I made in the past, improvements, tweaks, recommendations, good, bad and ugly rather than try to remember it all! 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Triple Cheesy Pasta

Cheese + Carbs= my kryptonite. I know I’m not the only one 😉 I came up with this because I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store, and I always feel good when I am able to use what is available in my pantry and fridge. Macaroni and cheese is a great meal to make when you’re short on time and ingredients because it’s made with ingredients most of you probably have on hand. The cheese blend is gooey, melty and slightly spicy. Also, the ratio of cheese sauce to pasta is about 2 to 1! I could have cooked up at least 3/4 of a pound for the amount, so if you need to feed about 8 people, I recommend boiling up more pasta. We all enjoyed this and the kids and I love adding ketchup to any mac and cheese recipe – this is no exception. I love the tangy sweetness that it gives to the rich, cheesy pasta. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Triple Cheesy Pasta – 

  • 8 ounces dry pasta
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne and paprika (optional)
  • 3/4 pound of shredded cheese ( I used cheddar, mozzarella and pepper jack) reserve about 1 cup for the topping
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven 400 degrees, and bring a large pot of water to boil. Once it’s at a rolling boil, season with salt and pour in your dry pasta. Cook to package directions, preferably a little underdone. Drain and set aside.
2. While the pot is heating up, place a 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Once your butter is melted sprinkle the flour and seasonings into the pot. Cook for a few minutes or until the roux smells slightly nutty. Slowly pour in the milk/half and half while whisking to create a smooth bechamel. Cook over low heat until slightly thickened. Add the cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted.
3. Pour the cooked pasta in a 13×9 inch baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over all and stir to combine. Mix the panko and reserved cheese then sprinkle over top all the pasta. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbly! Enjoy 🙂

 

Meatball Subs and Marinara Sauce

Ooh…these were good. Even my picky eater enjoyed these, which is always a great because she often refuses to eat anything new. Another great thing about these recipes is that they made enough to become spaghetti and meatballs with marinara for last nights dinner. I’m so happy that my husband who hates spaghetti loved eating that meal too. Maybe it’s because this was all from scratch and not from a jar or package. I love being able to cook like this for my family and what makes that even better is that I thoroughly enjoy the process of it. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Meatballs – adapted from The Comfort is Always Here

  • 1/2 lb of ground beef
  • 3 Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 slices of white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 shallot, grated
  • Italian loaf of bread, or Italian rolls
  • 4 slices of mozzarella cheese per sandwich

Warm your marinara sauce in a deep skillet or a large saucepan while you prepare your meatball mixture.

Begin by soaking the bread in the milk for a few minutes. In a large bowl, add the meat, eggs, basil, seasonings, cheese and grated shallot. Squeeze the milk from the bread and add to the bowl. Thoroughly combine all ingredients, but be careful not to over-mix. Next form your balls and think about the size of them as you will place them onto the sub.

Cook your meatballs right in the sauce. Make sure the meatball is completely covered, and continue to cook on simmer for about 45 minutes, or longer.

When you are ready to make your sub, you have a couple of options. I hollowed out the top of mine, thinking I could place the cheese on the bottom, fill with meatballs, and place a couple of more slices of mozzarella on top. The choice is yours. You decide.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Add two slices of cheese to the bottom of the bread, and cook in the oven for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set your broiler. Add the meatballs to the top of the cheese, cover with two more slices of the cheese, and place under the broiler. Watch it carefully – the toasty goodness happens quick!

Marinara Sauce – adapted from Food.com

  • 3 -4 tablespoons olive oil (I use enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of my pot)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 -6 garlic cloves, minced (or to taste, the more the better I use 6 extra large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional or adjust to taste)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste (can use two cans for a thicker richer sauce if desired)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole roma tomatoes, undrained (break up with a fork before cooking, go ahead and use two cans if desired!)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup dry red wine (you may omit if desired but good to add in, can use white wine)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (optional or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste, a good tomato sauce needs lots so don’t be shy with the salt)
  • fresh ground pepper

In a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, dried herbs and pepper flakes saute for 3-4 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add canned tomatoes and wine and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 – 2 hours stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. You can add more water if you prefer a thinner sauce.