Pickles on my Pizza

Have you ever eaten something out, and thought to yourself: I could make this better? I had one of those moments at a work meeting. It was a ‘catered’ event, which means they ordered us pizza. One of the pies had pickles and some kind of chicken on it. I had never had pickles on my pizza, and really liked the flavor combination. However, I thought the chunks of chicken were too big, and their wasn’t quite a balance between the flavors and topping distribution on the pie. All I could think was, I could make this better!

RECIPE: Pickles on my Pizza
Makes a Very Large Pizza 

(4-6 Servings) 

Cast iron pans
Plastic Cutting Board
Cheese Grater
Baking Pan
Oven set to 450 Degrees
Wooden Board
Pizza Cutter

Chicken Breast
Habanero Hot Sauce
Pureed Tomatoes
Garlic Powder
Mozzarella Cheese
Sourdough Pizza Dough
Kosher Style Pickles
Pickled Jalapenos

1) Begin by heating up two cast iron pans.
2) On a plastic cutting board, cut the raw chicken into bite size pieces.
3) Add the chicken to the cast iron pan and pour over the hot sauce. I used a 4 ounce jar of hot sauce so that it can marinate as it cooks and absorb the flavor.
4) In the other pan, begin heating the tomatoes seasoned with oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. With home much is going on to the pizza, you want the sauce to be a very simple and straight forward marinara style sauce.
5) In a bowl, its time to make homemade ranch for the pizza drops. Combine a large scoop of mayo with 2 teaspoons of parsley, a dash of paprika, and a ton of garlic powder. Stir well.

6) Shred 4-8 ounces of mozzarella cheese depending on your preferred cheese level.
7) Stir the chicken and set it off the heat to cool a bit.
8) On a well greased baking sheet, begin laying out your pizza dough.
9) Spread a layer of sauce over the dough and sprinkle with cheese.
10) Distribute the chicken, pickle slices, and pickles jalapenos evenly across the pizza to ensure even coverage and balance of flavors.

11) Drop or drizzle ranch dressing onto the pie before baking.
12) Bake the pizza until the crust is down and the cheese is melted, 15-30 minutes depending on how hot the oven is and how thin your crust is.
13) Move the pie to a clean wooden cutting board and let it rest for a moment before slicing and serving.


I decided to go square cut on this pizza, mostly because I got nostalgic thinking about the pizza we used to eat at my Nana’s house. It was a huge hit in our house, and my husband has already said he wants more pickles on pizzas in the future. IMG_1313

I also love homemade of this pizza used my home-canned goods. The peppers, pickles, and hot sauce were all made from locally grown produce I either grew myself, was given by friends and coworkers, or bought at the market!

Mixed Chili and Cheese Dog

Trying to make sure we consume more non meat proteins, which can be a struggle when you are craving a chili cheese dog. To make it a bit healthier, I use a mixed chili. That means while the chili does contain beef, it also contains just as much (if not more), black beans. The textures and flavors come together well in this mixed chili for hot dogs because not only is it cooked together with the spices, beer, and tomatoes, but its literally pureed together into a single cohesive chili. I definitely recommend you try it out next time you feel like having a chili cheese dog.


RECIPE: Mixed Chili and Cheese Dog
Makes a 4 Dogs  with lots of extra chili

Mandolin Bowl
Baking Sheet
Oven set to 400
Cast iron pan
Cutting Board
Spatula or Spoon
Immersion Blender
Grill or Broiler

Sweet Potatoes
Avocado Oil
Ground Beef
Black Beans
Garlic Powder
Homemade Chili Powder
Tomato Puree
Dark Beer
Pickled Jalapenos
Pepper jack Cheese
Hot Dogs
Bread or Buns

1) Begin by using the mandolin to cut up the sweet potatoes. Place the cut potato in a bowl and toss with a little bit of avocado oil and salt.
2) Lay the sweet potatoes in a single layer and slide into the oven for 30 minutes to an hour, checking occasionally to see how they are crisping up and to make sure they don’t burn.

3) Start your chili by browning some ground beef in a cast iron pan.
4) Add the black beans to the pan as well.
5) Season the bean and beef mixture with your chili spices (Garlic, Cilantro, Paprika, Cumin, Chili Powder) to your preferred pallet. I tend to shake, taste, and revise.
6) Add about a cup of tomato puree and a heavy swig or two of the beer.
7) Let the chili simmer and cook down.

8) Add the pickled jalapenos to the mixture.
9) Use the immersion blender to puree the beef and bean chili into hot dog chili consistency.
10) Chop the onions and slice the pepper jack cheese.
11) Grill the hot dogs and place them in their buns. Top with mustard, then chili, then onions, and finally cheese.
12) Serve with a side of fresh sweet potato fries with a paprika ketchup.


The hot dogs definitely look prettiest when its just the chili and onion, but adding the cheese is what makes them extra delicious. This meal is not often in my house, but it always goes quickly. If you have any leftover white wine, I definitely recommend pairing it with these mix chili and cheese dogs!

Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles

This recipe has evolved a lot over the years. It began in college based on a dish one of my housemates would make of just regular noodles mixed with peanut butter and sriracha. It’s a bit more complicated and fancier now, but the taste has also improved 10 fold. If you like spicy food, I definitely recommend trying out this recipe when you are craving something a little different for dinner.

RECIPE: Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles
Makes a 2-3 Servings 

Cutting Board
Cast iron pan
Spatula or Spoon

Sesame Oil
3 Scallions
2 Large Cloves Garlic
Edamame Spaghetti
Soy Sauce
3-4 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
1-2 Tablespoons Sriracha
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds

1) Chop up the scallions, reserve some of the greens for later but add the rest to a cast iron pan with some sesame oil.
2) Begin boiling a pot of water and cook the edamame spaghetti as directed on the box.
3) Mince the garlic and add it to the scallions. Stir constantly.
4) Sprinkle the mixture with ginger and a dash or two of soy sauce.
5) Add in the peanut butter and sriracha. Start with the small measurements and adjust based on preference and consistency.

6) Add the cooked noodles to the pan. I prefer to transfer from pot to pan so that some of the cooking water clings to the noodles and helps the sauce mix better with the noodles.
7) Stir in the sesame seeds and serve with a sprinkling of scallions on top.FullSizeRender I think this is one of my husband’s favorite dishes. It combines two of his favorite flavors, peanut butter and spicy!

Cinnamon Apple Sauce Muffins

I rarely crave muffins, but they are a very popular breakfast food. Since I woke up early one Saturday morning, I thought I would bake a batch. They are so easy, and who doesn’t love a warm fresh muffin? My husband loved coming home from work to fresh muffins on the counter. The trick to this recipe is to use unsweetened nothing added apple sauce, and if you can your own, it will just make it that much better.

RECIPE: Cinnamon Apple Sauce Muffins
Makes a Dozen Muffins

Muffin Tin
Oven heated to 400 degrees

2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Apple Sauce
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
Dash of Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Oatmeal
1  Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Extra Sugar (optional)

1)In a bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar.
2) Stir in the apple sauce, cinnamon, and vanilla.
3) Add the dry ingredients and stir until everything is mixed and forms a batter, but be sure next to over beat it or your muffins will be dense and chewier.
4) Fill the lined muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full.
5) Place the muffins in the oven and let bake for 10-15 minutes. Then sprinkle with a little bit extra sugar and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so to allow them to finish baking and have the extra sugar crystallize on them.
6) Let cool on a rack or serve warm.

FullSizeRender (3)

These muffins stand up on their own, so there is no need to get out the butter or jam. The oatmeal helps make these muffins a little heartier. Once you have these muffins for breakfast, you don’t have to worry about snacking before lunch!

Hamantaschen Cookies

I guess this post tells you how far behind I am between my cooking and posting, as Purim was quite a while ago. Sometimes having a day job and other responsibilities really gets in the way of my blogging! Hamantaschen are a traditional Purim cookie that represents Haman’s hat, pocket, or other feature depending on which story you grew up hearing. The best variety for these cookies comes not from the representation to Haman, but the fillings you can put in them! I made three different fillings for this batch.

I don’t make these cookies often, so I did pull out my copy of The Jewish Home Beautiful cookbook to make sure I made these just right.

RECIPE: Hamantaschen
Makes a Dozen Cookies

Measuring Utensils
Pastry Board
Rolling Pin
Round Cookie Cutter
Baking Sheets
Small Spoons
Oven heated to 375
Cooling Rack

2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/3 Cup Sugar
Pinch of Salt
Sprinkle of Lemon Peel Powder
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
Apple Butter
Huckleberry Jam
Chocolate Chips

1) Begin by mixing together the dry ingredients, and then beat in the eggs and oil to create a dough.
2) Kneed lightly until a smooth dough is formed.
3) Roll out the dough until 1/8 of an inch thick on a pastry board.

4) Use a large round cookie cutter to cut out circles.
5) Lightly grease the baking sheet and lay out the rounds of dough.
6) Use small spoons to drop a small amount of filling into each cookie.
7) Fold the round cookies up into triangles with the filling in the center pocket.
8) Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown, and then move to a cooling rack immediately. IMG_1230
While poppy seed is the traditional filling, I like to have fun with what I put in my hamantaschen. The huckleberry jam ones were my favorite, followed by the apple butter, and surprising the chocolate came in last. I guess sometimes fruit flavors are more delicious then chocolate (who would have thought that?).

Fully Loaded Tostadas

After making those crunch wrap burgers, we had a few left over tostadas. Instead of using them to make the equivalent of flat tacos, we decided to go all out. These things push the edge of what is considered finger food into monster sized food. They come with every topping you could imagine to put on them!

RECIPE: Fully Loaded Tostadas
Makes 5 Servings

Cutting Boards
Food Processor

Black Beans
Chicken Broth
Pepper Powder
Garlic Powder
Cheddar Cheese
Pickle Jalapenos

1) Begin by cooking the soaked black beans in some chicken stock. When softened, drain excess stock and put through the food processor and return to the pan.
2) On a plastic cutting board, cut the chicken into cubes and begin cooking in a cast iron pan.

3) Season the chicken with cumin, paprika, and hot pepper powders. Season the black beans with garlic powder and cilantro.
4) Slice up an avocado and an ounce or so of extra sharp cheddar cheese.
5) Chop up the onion, slice the lime, and shred the lettuce.
6)  Lay out the tostadas over two plates. Begin by smearing each tostada with some of the processed black beans, and then top with slices of avocado.

7) Add the lettuce, onion, and jalapenos next.
8) Add the chicken and cheddar cheese slices.
9) Top with salsa and a dollop of sour cream.
10) Garnish with the limes and have your guests squeeze the juice over top of them before eating. IMG_1202

These were so filling that one was enough for a whole meal! Definitely recommend these as a meal and not as an appetizer!

Meatloaf Patties

I am probably one of those rare people who actually likes meatloaf. I legitimately even get cravings for leftover cold meatloaf sandwiches. The problem is that on a work night, I don’t want to wait for the loaf to bake in the oven. This meal is my way to get home at 5 and have dinner on the table by 5:30, with all the best meatloaf dinner flavors and sides.

RECIPE: Meatloaf Patties
Makes 4 Patties 

Cutting Board
Sauce Pans
Cast iron pan
Potato Masher

Mashed Potatoes
Russet Potatoes
Skim Milk
Garlic Gravy
1 cup Chicken Stock
2-3 Garlic Cloves
Corn Starch Slurry
Meatloaf Patties
Half an Onion
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Lb Ground Turkey
Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
Worcester Sauce
Other Ingredients
Cranberry Sauce
Dilly Beans


1) It’s important to start the potatoes and gravy first since they have the potential to take the longest and are also easy to keep warm if they finish early.
2) Cut the potato into chunks and add to a pot of water, bring to a boil until the potatoes are soft.
3) Mince the garlic for the gravy. Combine the stock, garlic, and corn starch slurry in a sauce pan over medium low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
4) Chop up the onion and garlic for the patties. I like to chop the onion a bit bigger, mostly cause I like the distinct onion flavor.
5) Combine the garlic, onion, ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, and worchester sauce. Use your hands to mix and form into patties.
6) Place the patties into a hot cast iron pan.

7) Add the can of dilly beans to another sauce pan and let them start heating up. IMG_1213
8) Drain and mash the potatoes, stirring in a sprinkle of salt, butter, and milk until its mashed to your preferred consistency. I like mine to be a bit more smashed then creamy on a regular work night.
9) Flip the turkey patties, and begin serving up the sides on a plate. I like to make sure to leave an impression in the mashed potatoes so that the garlic gravy fills the impression without spreading to the other sides. Cranberry sauce and dilly beans can also be plated.
10) Serve up the finished meatloaf patties and drizzle with a bit of ketchup for that true authentic meatloaf appeal. IMG_1218
I love how quickly this meal came together, especially because it tastes like the kind of dinner you would spend quite a bit of time slaving over a hot stove to make. If you are decent at multitasking, you can have all of these meal plated and ready within 30 minutes of getting home.

Supreme Combo Cookies

Chocolate and peanut butter is the best combination out there. Especially when it comes to desserts, there is nothing better. Reese’s peanut butter cups, peanut butter frosting on chocolate cupcakes, butterfingers, all of them capitalize on this great combination. These cookies take the chocolate and peanut butter combination to whole new level. My husband loved these, my coworkers loved these, and they work better than caffeine for keeping you awake and sugar high for early morning car trips!

RECIPE: Supreme Combo Cookies
Makes 4 Dozen

Measuring Utensils
Cookie Scoop
Baking Sheets
Oven set to 300 Degrees
Cooling Rack

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Butter
3 Eggs
2 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Coco Powder
1 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter Chips (cause I ran out)

IMG_11661) In a mixer, cream together the sugars and butter.
2) Beat in the eggs and a splash of vanilla.
3) Mix in the flour, baking soda, salt, and coco powder.
4) Add the peanut butter and chips. Mix so there are still smears of peanut butter visible and the chips are evenly distributed.
5) Scoop the dough onto an ungreased baking sheet.
6) Bake the cookies for 18 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack immediately. IMG_1167IMG_1170
You can even see the peanut butter swirl in the finished cookie product! They are a soft cookie, and you don’t need a glass of milk to really dig into these. I highly recommend you try this recipe if you like chocolate and peanut butter together (and honestly, except people with allergies to one of the ingredients, who doesn’t like the combination?)

Egg Foo Young

This recipe was based down from my mom. It’s a really good recipe, and my husband had never had it, so I had to make it for him. While Egg Foo Young is usually served in nice pancake form, I decided to make it into more of a scramble (because I’m lazy on the weekend).

RECIPE: Egg Foo Young
Makes 3 Servings

Cutting Board
Cast iron pan
Small Pot
Measuring utensils

Chicken Breast
Sesame Oil
Chicken Broth
3/4 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Corn Starch
1 teaspoon Robust Molasses
5 Eggs
3 Scallions
Broccoli (I used frozen, but it was just so sad looking)

IMG_11501) Begin by dicing up the raw chicken.
2) Add the chicken to a warm cast iron pan and season with a drizzle of sesame oil, some chicken broth, and a dash of salt and pepper.
3) In a pot, whisk together the chicken stock, soy sauce, and corn starch. Place on medium low heat and then add the molasses.
4) When the chicken is done, set it to the side to cool a bit.
5) Crack the eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl.
6) Using a clean cutting board and knife, slice up the scallions. IMG_1151
7) Use a fork to scramble the eggs a bit, and then add the chicken and scallions. If you want a hint of spice, chop up and add a tien tsin pepper.
8) Portion out the egg and chicken mixture into a hot cast iron pan, using a spatula to ensure the mixture cooks evenly without over cooking.
9) Serve the scrambled Egg Foo Young with sauce over top and a side of broccoli. If you have extra sauce, pour it over the sad frozen steamed broccoli.

Cocoa Crispies

Did you know that today is national cereal day? Did you know there was a national cereal day? I sure didn’t until one of my coworkers told me and then I saw it on Instagram (Have you followed me on Instagram yet? If not you should to get sneak peaks of the recipes to come!). In a fortunate coincidence, I was planning to post this lovely cereal based recipe today anyway! So happy national cereal day!

RECIPE: Cocoa Crispies
Makes 9 Crispy Treats

8 x 8 Baking Dish

5 ounces Marshmallows
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Scoop Peanut Butter (It’s just too sticky to bother accurately measuring for this recipe)
2 Cups Chocolate Rice Crispies
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
Grease (aka extra butter)

1) In a microwave safe bowl, combine the marshmallows, peanut butter, and butter.
2) Microwave the mixture on high in 30 second increments until the marshmallows expand and soften.
3) Quickly stir the hot mixture to evenly incorporate all of the components.
4) Add the cereal and stir quickly to evenly coat.

5) After the cereal has been added, it should be cooled enough to add in the chocolate chips without risk of them melting. Stir to evenly distribute.
6) Grease your 8 x 8 baking dish with some of the leftover butter and then press the cereal mixture into the pan.
7) Chill and serve by cutting into squares. IMG_1144