Cauliflower Crust Pizza.

This recipe is a tribute to a friend who so generously acted as beauty consultant / hair colorist for me yesterday. To thank her, I made these gluten-free pizzas, which are completely delicious whether g-free is your lifestyle (hers) or not (mine). Though gluten is fine by me, I’ve found that a lot of the things I love to cook (and eat) are already gluten-free. So when I find a recipe, like this one, that is totally dreamy and healthy AND fits in with the g-free life, I love to share it. This is one of those! I came upon essentially the same ingenious recipe on 3 of my favorite blogs, and this is my version of that awesomely tasty and healthy pizza. Yum! And thanks Jeni!

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INGREDIENTS

for crust:
2 cups cauliflower stems and florets, grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
oregano and granulated garlic to taste
1 egg
salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp cottage cheese, to hold it together

topping ideas:
1/2 cubed chicken breast, sauteed with salt, pepper, and paprika
shredded mozzarella
grape tomatoes, quartered
green onions, chopped

Just the Recipe link: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450 F.

First, put the grated cauliflower into a bowl and microwave for 7 minutes, covered with a washcloth or paper towel. When it’s cooked, mix all the crust ingredients in a bowl. Use more or less cottage cheese, depending on how dry the mixture is and how it’s holding together.

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On a greased baking pan, shape the cauliflower mixture into two flat discs, as thick or thin as you like.

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Bake them for about 15 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the top is flecked with bits of golden melted cheese. The thickness of the crusts will affect baking time, so make sure to keep an eye on them.

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Once the crusts come out of the oven, I use a spatula to loosen them from the bottom of the pan and make sure they come off in one piece, because this will be a lot harder to do once they’re topped with cheese and other wonderful things.

Before you start with the toppings, turn up your oven to broil (or to very, very hot!). The pizzas only have a few minutes left to cook, and we want to do it at a high heat.

On to the beautiful toppings. They can truly be whatever you want – we went with chicken, green onion, tomato, and cheese, and they were fantastic!

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Stick back in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and has started to turn a little golden. Sprinkle with some more green onion or some oregano and dig in!

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Rosemary Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

Let’s keep this simple: I love Nigella Lawson.

I love her recipes. I love her witticisms. I love her energy.

My approach to cooking is strongly influenced by something she once said: “Don’t worry if bits of eggshell get into the bowl. It proves it’s homemade.”

So when I made her recipe for roasted brussels sprouts and discovered that a few lemon seeds had made their way into my final product, I wasn’t bothered in the least.

All is right with the world. Try these Rosemary Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts a la Nigellissima yourself, and just be sure to mind the pips!

Rosemary Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts | KellyintheKitchen | olive oil, lemon zest, 1 clove garlic, 1 sprig rosemary, 100 g brussels sprouts, 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, salt and pepper

INGREDIENTS

olive oil
1 lemon, zested to taste (I go lighter on lemon zest but Nigella’s recipe calls for the zest of a whole lemon)
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
1 sprig rosemary
a few handfuls of brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (you want enough to form a single layer on the bottom of a standard sized cast iron skillet)
1-2 tbsp parmesan cheese (to taste)
salt and pepper
NOTE: this recipe doubles and triples easily if you’re cooking for a bigger group!

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 F.

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Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a pan (I used my cast-iron skillet). Grate the garlic and lemons zest into the pan and, tearing the rosemary leaves apart roughly, strew them about the pan. You can leave them large enough to remove at the end if you like. Add the brussels sprouts and toss to coat.

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Roast for about 15 minutes, until starting to become tender. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with parmesan and salt and pepper at pop back in the oven for another 5 minutes. They’re ready when they’re tender but still have a little bit of bite in them.

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Pull out the rosemary leaves and serve ’em up! These make a fantastic side dish to an herby roasted chicken, but we ate almost all of them straight out with our fingers. Yeah, they’re that good!

Baked Italian Macaroni and Cheese.

As I’ve mentioned before, I came back from my trip to Scotland with crisps, chocolate bars, and Nigellissima, Nigella Lawson’s latest cookbook. On Sunday, in honor of Nigella’s birthday and our hungry stomachs, my sister and I cracked open this wonderful tome and made her Italian-inspired mac and cheese. After switching up a couple of things and converting all of the measurements from metric to standard (and laughing as we tried and failed to guess how much 60 ml and 125 g of things were….metric, it just doesn’t work for me), we got to dig in and enjoy this stuff. So good! We’re thinking that maybe next time we make this, we’ll stir in some caramelized onions, and bacon or pancetta or something nice and salty would be a good addition too. Either way, yum. Happy Birthday, beloved Lady Lawson!

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INGREDIENTS

4 cups macaroni
1 cup whole milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups cheddar, grated
3/4 cup parmesan, grated
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
generous dash of dry mustard powder
generous dash of paprika
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Just the Recipe link: Baked Italian Macaroni and Cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat a pot of salted water for the pasta. Cook the pasta to a still-firm al dente (it’s going in the oven, so it should still be slightly undercooked). When you drain the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, to add to the sauce later if needed.

Now, the cheese sauce. In a large saucepan that’ll be big enough to hold all the pasta, heat the milk, stock, and bay leaves and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the cheddar in a bowl and toss it with the corn starch, mustard powder, and paprika (we had a brick of yellow cheddar about to run out, and then we started a new brick of white cheddar; hence the yellow and white. In mac and cheese as in life, color doesn’t matter).

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Then remove the bay leaves from the milk and stir in the cheddar. Turn the heat down to low, stirring as the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

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In a separate bowl, add a spoonful of the hot cheese sauce to the beaten egg to temper, and use a fork to stir.

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Take the sauce off the heat and whisk in the egg, mozzarella, butter, and salt and pepper. You’ll probably need a bit more salt and pepper than you think you’ll need, but be careful not to oversalt. Just try a bite after your first addition, and add seasoning as needed. Stir until melt-ily incorporated.

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Toss the pasta in the sauce to coat, and then pour into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with a handful of cheddar and/or parmesan, if you like.

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Bake about 15 minutes, until the top just starts to brown. Leave it to cool and firm up a bit for 5-10 minutes and dig in!

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Pea and Asparagus Risotto.

I get so excited when I’m out to lunch or dinner and I see a special risotto on the menu, and I almost always order it. I just think it doesn’t get any better than creamy, cheesey risotto, especially with some perky green vegetables in the mix. That’s why I made it for dinner this week! Risotto has a reputation as a hassle of a homemade dish, but I think that’s rather harsh and undeserved. It’s not that it’s at all difficult to make, it’s just that it takes some effort. In fact, risotto is actually pretty easy, if you can handle a bit of extended stirring in front of the stove. So if you find yourself with a free evening and you’re feeling like cooking up something special, risotto is definitely the perfect dish. Every time I make it, I’m amazed at how beautifully creamy it becomes—why is it so darn good?!

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
4-6 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock is fine too)
3 green onions, sliced
olive oil
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
fresh parsley, chopped
lemon zest, to taste (I like just a pinch)
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Because risotto demands your full attention, make sure to have everything prepped before you start. First, blanche your asparagus in a shallow pan of boiling water until just barely tender but still crisp, about 2 minutes, and then plunge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Chop the asparagus into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat stock to a low simmer and continue to simmer it, so that it’s nice and hot when you add it to the risotto. Cold stock will interfere with the rice cooking process because it will need to heat up each time you add it, so this step is important.

Now heat a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium to low heat. Oil the pan and add the green onion and a pinch of salt. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add the rice. Stir well and cook the rice until the sides are transparent and you see an opaque white spot in the center, about 3-5 minutes. That means it’s time to start adding the liquid!

First, pour in the wine and stir until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Then, add the first ladle of stock—just enough to submerge all the rice.

Stir almost constantly as the rice absorbs the stock. Once nearly all this stock is absorbed, add the next ladle, again just submerging the rice. Repeat this process until you add your final ladle of stock.

Once you’ve added the last bit of stock, drop in the asparagus and peas. Then stir until all the stock is absorbed, and remove form heat. The rice should be creamy and tender, with a little bit of a chewy texture.

Sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with an extra sprinkle of cheese and enjoy the fruits of your foodie labor!

Minestrone

I love any recipe with a mirepoix, and minestrone soup is no exception. A tasty Italian classic with a simple country elegance, minestrone is as easy as it is beautiful. It’s a fairly basic vegetable soup in a tomato broth,  but packs a vegetable punch and is a healthy way to warm up on a chilly day!


INGREDIENTS
1 large onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped (leaves included)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large potato, cubed
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped
14 oz canned crushed tomato
5 cups vegetable broth
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
olive oil
herbs de Provence
salt
pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot, heat oil on medium and add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.

When onion is soft, stir in potato. Top mixture with chard and herbs de Provence and cover. Allow the chard to cook until beginning to soften.

Then add tomato and broth and stir. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

In a food processor, puree beans with 1/4 cup water until smooth. Stir bean puree and Parmesan cheese into soup and season with salt and pepper. Cook 10-15 minutes more.

Remove from heat and serve with bread or over pasta.