Spinach, Bacon & Feta Pizza with Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

I love pizza!  If you think about it, it’s pretty much the perfect food!  It has all of the major food groups, it tastes amazing and you eat it with your hands.  Yup, definitely a stellar combination!

I stumbled upon Lauren’s Latest a few weeks ago on Pinterest, when I made her Thai Sweet Chili Chicken Bites (which were SOOOOOOO good, by the way!).  I decided to do something UNHEARD of!  I made two new recipes from the same blog for dinner!  They were both so delicious!

Now, I discovered a trick for cooking bacon- bake it!  In fact, this has so revolutionized my world that I am planning to do a whole blog post on it, the next time I get a few minutes during nap time (which doesn’t happen very often… good thing Caleb is a cutie!)

The recipe calls for homemade sun-dried tomato pesto, which is DELISH!  The combination of pizza sauce and sun-dried tomato pesto is divine and makes regular pizza spectacular!  If you have store-bought, I’m sure it’s fine as well!  Now, the recipe for the pesto makes about 3 cups, but you only need 1/3 cup for this recipe.  I cut it in half, and froze the rest of the pesto for another recipe (think- over pasta with mozzarella cheese and spinach) or the next time you make this pizza!

Spinach, Bacon & Feta Pizza with Sundried Tomato Sauce
Recipe from Lauren’s Latest, who in turn got the recipe from Perry’s Plate

Enough pizza dough to make a large pizza (about 1 lb)
12 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup homemade sun-dried tomato pesto (see recipe below)
1/3 cup pizza sauce
2 or 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach
2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1.  Preheat oven to 450°.
2.  Spread pizza dough out onto your pizza pan (or cookie sheet, I use a stone…).
3.  Combine the pizza sauce and pesto in a small bowl.  Spread over the dough.
4.  Top with fresh spinach and mozzarella.
5.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust isn’t quite brown yet, but has gotten firm.
6.  Remove pizza from the oven and top with the bacon and feta.
7.  Return the pizza to the oven for another 5-8 minutes, or until the mozzarella cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden!
8.  Cut and ENJOY!

Homemade Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
Makes 2-1/2 – 3 cups
Also from Lauren’s Latest, via Perry’s Plate

2 cups oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly ( or just buy them thinly sliced to save time!)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

1.  Combine tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts in a food processor.  Pulse until you have a nice, thick, combined texture!  Drizzle in a little olive oil if the mixture is too thick!

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Tequila Lime Chicken

Last night, I posted a recipe for Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob.  It was so delicious!  I served it with this Tequila Lime Chicken.

This recipe is easy, with only a few ingredients!  The fact it has tequila in it is great, because we went to Mexico a few years ago and returned with a giant bottle of tequila– yet, we don’t like to drink it!  This is a good way to help use up our stash.

The original recipe called for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but I subbed in boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  They have more flavor and more fat, which translates into juicy, moist chicken on the BBQ!  I used 16, which fed my sister and I, as well as our hungry husbands, with a bit left over.  Also, the recipe called for ancho chili powder, but I used chipotle chili powder instead.

For one meal it seems like a lot of the same flavours (chipotle, lime…), but the flavour on the chicken is subdued.  It really worked together well!

Tequila Lime Chicken
Recipe adapted from Canada Grills
Serves 4

8-16 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cook as many as your family will eat…) or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup gold tequila
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 Tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients but the chicken.  Pour the marinade over the chicken in a large resealable bag.  Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature (be careful that you don’t marinate it too long- the lime juice will begin to cook the chicken!).
Heat the BBQ to medium high.  Grill the chicken over direct heat for about 5-6 minutes per side, until it is nicely browned, firm and the juices run clear.  If you encounter flare-ups, move the chicken to a part of the grill with lower heat!  Serve with rice.

Enjoy the last few days of summer!
The Hungry Teacher

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Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Avocado

Hey everybody….it’s the Hungry Husband here. I am your
guest blogger for today…and super excited to be here! Since the birth of our
baby boy (Caleb James, born June 11), the Hungry Teacher has been slacking in
her duties as chef in chief!! We have been super lucky to have friends and
family bringing us meals, and without them there would have been many more
burgers on the bbq. However, today I decided I couldn’t handle another lasagne and
garlic bread meal (not that I am complaining by any means!!! Just to clarify
for our wonderful friends. Those meals were appreciated!!!!). So I took it upon
myself to find something to make. It’s not until you actually have to meal plan
that you appreciate how hard it can be to find inspiration to cook different meals!
I took this new meal-planning freedom to create a meal that Amy would normally
shoot down the moment I suggested it (when you cook…you kind of control that
area).

Now, when I cook, it needs to have 2 main ingredients: the barbecue
and meat. Oh, and it must be simple…because I can get easily bogged down in
the details, and leave out a key step or two. Amy is not really a pork fan, so
this was the perfect opportunity to make a dish that had something I love –
pork tenderloin. To make it even better, this recipe called for avocado, which
is one of Amy’s favourite foods, so I figured the two kind of balanced each
other out.

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Avocado

Recipe adapted from Chatelaine Summer Cookbook

Serves 4

Ingredients:

 

2 – Pork Tenderloins (500g each)

1 tbsp – vegetable oil

2 tsp – garlic salt

1 – vine tomato chopped

¼ cup – crumbled feta

1 – large orange

1 – finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

2 – ripe avocados, halved and pitted

Directions

Preheat barbecue to medium. Use a fork to poke a bunch of
holes all over the meat. Brush it with oil and rub in the garlic salt. Combine
tomatoes and feta in a small bowl. Juice the orange (about 1/3 cup), and
combine juice with a tsp of orange zest and the chopped chipotle.

Oil the grill, barbecue meat with lid closed, turning
occasionally until done, about 25 minutes depending on the thickness of the
meat. Grill avocadoes cut side down for about 3-5 minutes until there are some
nice grill marks on them. Remove meat and let it stand for about 5 minutes,
then slice it thickly. Drizzle the chipotle orange sauce over the meat, and
spoon tomato mixture over avocados.

Enjoy with a nice cold Dos Equis.

 

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Baked Chicken with Green Spinach-Horseradish Sauce

Wow!  It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged.  I’m almost in my final month of pregnancy and working full time, so I’ve been trying to prepare for the baby!  As I sit down to write this blog post, it will be the THIRD time I’ve rewritten it (apparently wordpress has a bit of a glitch right now, so this post is now being written in Word, to be copied and pasted).
I’ve switched the focus of my cooking to quick meals that are healthy and delicious!  I still love to cook the elaborate meals, but I have been lacking in energy and ambition after a full day of work!  I made this dish a few weeks ago, but I didn’t take any pictures (I didn’t really think it’d be good enough to blog about).  BUT, it turned out to be beautiful, unique and seriously tasty!  So, I made it again two weeks later (a rarity in my kitchen!) so I could blog about it.
I decided to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs (my husband prefers them, plus they were on sale!), rather than the boneless, skinless chicken breasts the recipe called for.  The original recipe also says to use frozen chopped spinach, but I used a few  andfuls of fresh spinach instead. Also, fresh parsley was called for, but mine is too tiny to use yet, and I didn’t want to buy any, so I omitted it. It would add a nice flavour, but it was still delicious without it!  I served this dish with rice (and spooned extra sauce over top of it), and a salad.
Baked Chicken with Green Spinach-Horseradish Sauce
Recipe adapted from Robin to the Rescue
Serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
salt and pepper to taste
One 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed (or a few handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped)
½ cup mayonnaise
6 Tbsp. prepared white horseradish
2 Tbsp. Chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  If desired, coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.  Place on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden  brown and cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the spinach, mayo, horseradish and parsley.  Process until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Put the sauce over the chicken and serve!!
Delicious!
XOXO,
The Hungry Teacher
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Ham and Cheese Quiche

Yummmm…. quiche!  Quiche is so versatile… you can serve it for any meal, it’s fantastic the next day, and it lends itsself well to additions!   We had leftover ham from our Easter dinner, and I had pie crusts in the freezer, so quiche was the logical choice!  My mom makes the best pie crusts, and I’ll often go to her house with my crust ingredients so she can help me make them beautiful!  Next time, I’ll take my camera and take pictures and get her tips so I can blog about it!

I made this quiche using ingredients I had in my fridge, but the sky is the limit!  All you need for sure is eggs and milk or half and half.  Spinach and feta cheese is a delicious combination!  I started out with 3 eggs and about 1/4 cup of half and half, but my crust wasn’t quite full, so I added an extra egg and a bit more half and half.  The quiche turned out great!  I served it with a spinach salad with poppyseed dressing and it was a good dinner.

Ham and Cheese Quiche
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

Unbaked 9″ single pie crust
1 cup ham, chopped
1 cup cheese, grated
1/4 red onion, chopped
4 eggs
3/4 cup half and half
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Place your pie crust in a pie pan on a baking sheet (in case it runs over!).  In the bottom of the pie crust, place ham, cheese and onion.  In a bowl, beat eggs and add in half and half, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.  Pour into pie crust.  Bake quiche for 15 min, then turn down oven to 325°F and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center!

Enjoy!
The Hungry Teacher

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Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Well, the Hungry Teacher has been on Spring Break this week!

It’s wonderful– sleeping in a bit, enjoying coffee in the morning over a novel…. catching up with friends and family.  Sigh!  But that’s what makes vacations at home so special!  Next week we’ll be going away on a road trip, making our way down to the Redwoods in Northern California, stopping to see relatives in Oregon along the way! 

I’ve been able to do a lot of cooking this week, but haven’t been taking a lot of pictures (must keep camera close by!).  I made Carrot Cake (this is my grandma’s recipe for the easiest, most moist, best carrot cake ever!), Twice Baked Potatoes(and I made a triple batch so I have a bunch in the freezer), cookies, roast chicken, a variety of appy’s for dinner last night… it’s been fantastic! 

Since I’m not eating very much meat right now, I asked my husband what he wanted in the way of meat this week.  One of his answers was Stuffed Pork Tenderloin.  So, I found a recipe and cooked it up!  He said it was amazing, delicious and definitely worth making again!  The recipe and steps are really quite easy, but the result looks impressive!  It would be a great dish to serve to company because you could do all of the prep beforehand and just sear it and throw it in the oven when you’re ready to eat!

A few tips for making this successfully.  When you go to sear the tenderloin, use vegetable oil, not olive oil.  I used olive oil, and the pan got so hot in the oven that the olive oil was smoking!  I’ve always read that you shouldn’t cook with olive oil at high temperatures, but I need to learn the hard way, apparently!  I also used cracker crumbs in the filling, but you can use bread crumbs or whatever you have on hand.  To hold the pork tenderloin closed, I used toothpicks, but you could also use kitchen string (I keep meaning to buy some to try it for projects like this!).  I have an enameled cast iron skillet that goes in the oven, but if your skillet does not have ovenproof handles (or you’re not sure but don’t really want to find out), you can wrap your handles in a double layer of aluminum foil and it will protect them!  Or, you could just transfer the tenderloin to a baking dish after searing.  Now, read on for the recipe, and have fun! 

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Recipe adapted from mushrooms.ca
Serves 2 (hungry husband sized portions– one for dinner, one for lunch the next day!)

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
125 g fresh mushrooms, chopped (about 1 cup or so)
Less than 1/4 cup each of chopped onion and green pepper
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup cracker or bread crumbs
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)

In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat 1 Tbsp of oil.  Saute the mushrooms, green pepper and onion for 3-4 minutes, until the moisture from the mushrooms is released and evaporated.  Add sage, salt and pepper and cook and stir for another minute.  Remove from heat and stir in mustard and cracker crumbs.  Set aside.

Cut tenderloin almost in half lengthwise so it opens like a book.  Pound to flatten slightly (so that the meat is a consistent depth).  Spread and lightly pack the stufffing in the tenderloin, leaving an inch border.  Fold the long edges of the tenderloin in (with the stuffing inside), overlap them when you can, and hold it shut with toothpicks (this took me a couple tries to get the hang of it, but I found if I really “sewed” the toothpick in and out of the pork it worked well!).  Don’t panic if the tenderloin is not perfectly held together.  Just be really careful with it and sear the seam side first in the next step!

Preheat oven to 400°.  In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Sear both sides of the tenderloin, about 5 minutes.  Place the skillet in the preheated oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, until juices run clear or an instant-read thermometer reads 155°F.  Let the tenderloin sit, covered for 5-10 minutes, then remove toothpicks, slice and serve! 

I served this with Twice Baked Potatoes!

Enjoy!
The Hungry Teacher

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Salmon Cakes

Well, after cooking a gigantic piece of salmon earlier this week, we had lots of leftovers!  I try to plan my meals in advance, so I had planned for this.  I decided to make salmon cakes!

Salmon cakes are easy and delicious.  Now, to make this meal easy, I took the bones out of my salmon and flaked it into a bowl the night we had it.  Salmon cakes are a great way to use up leftovers in your fridge– you could customize them to your taste and what you have on hand.  I used chopped white onion and celery, my mom used green onions.  We used dried mustard and salt and pepper for seasoning, but I could imagine chili powder or paprika for a more “southwestern” flavour.  If you wanted to make these Asian-inspired, why not add some ginger and sesame seeds to them?  I used panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) to coat.  They are really crunchy!  My mom used crushed crackers (she had them in the pantry!) to coat.  I really think the possibilities could be endless!

Salmon Cakes 
Recipe from my mom
Serves about 4

4 cups flaked salmon
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 egg
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp dried mustard
1/4 tsp crushed red chilies
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup panko
olive oil, for pan frying

Combine all ingredients, except panko, in a bowl.   Using your hands, form the salmon mixture into patties (we made eight).  Dredge both sides of the salmon cakes in panko.  Put a large frying pan over medium heat.  Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil.  Place salmon cakes into frying pan in batches (my pan could hold four at a time).  Fry until golden brown (about 4-5 minutes) on each side– you will want to add more oil before frying your second batch of salmon cakes, as it allows them to get nicely browned.  Enjoy!  Serve with dill sauce, if desired.

Bon Appetit!
The Hungry Teacher

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Simple Salmon

Even though I’ve stopped eating most meats, I can still eat some fish.  My parents bought some salmon from a fisherman a few months ago, and we still had a piece  in our freezer!  (I love having food in the freezer).

The salmon was caught in the Fraser River, which we live maybe…. 5 minutes away from– talk about local food!  Estimating size is not one of my strong points, but I’d have to say that one half of this fish fillet was at least 3-1/2 inches thick at it’s largest part!   It was huge!

Now, when we froze this fish, we didn’t think to seperate it into smaller, two-person sized pieces.  So… we ate just under half of the fish that was cooked.  I took the remaining salmon, removed the bones and flaked it into a bowl.  I’m planning to make salmon cakes later this week.  YUM!  If they are somewhat successful, I’ll blog about them…

This salmon recipe is one I’ve been using for years.  It’s simple and delicious.  The dish turns out moist and flavorful, but still tastes like salmon (which is nice when you’re cooking a beautiful piece of fish).  I included a recipe for Creamy Dill Sauce, but tonight I took a shortcut and used a dip mix (Lemon Dilly… it was awesome!) from Epicure Selections (which is a Canadian company with delicious spices and dip mixes, by the way!).  The contrast of the cool, creamy sauce with the warm, rich salmon is fantastic!

Simple SalmonRecipe adapted from Taste of Home

1 salmon fillet (about 2 lb)
lemon pepper
onion powder
salt
pepper
1 small onion, sliced and seperated into rings
6 lemon slices
2-3 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350º.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place salmon skin side down on foil.  Sprinkle with lemon pepper, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Top with onion and lemon.  Dot with butter.  Fold foil around salmon and seal tightly.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Open foil.  Broil 4-6″ from heat for 8-12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  Now, if your salmon is really thick, like ours, it will probably take longer to cook.  I would add extra time to the baking, because if you broil the salmon for too long it will dry out!
Serve with Creamy Dill Sauce (or some other dilly sauce) and enjoy!

Creamy Dill Sauce
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp prepared horseradish
3/4 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the sauce ingredients until smooth.  Serve with salmon.

Enjoy your salmon!
The Hungry Teacher

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Summertime Chicken and Orzo

So, did you notice my new blog layout?  If you look, I also have a new domain!   My very own!!  Woo woo!  I think that your email subscriptions, google readers and other rss feeds should still work with the old address though!

I went back to work this week.  Which means that my summer of leisure and not planning meals in advance is over.  For most of the summer, I made what I wanted, when I wanted.  But, now that I’m working again, I like to plan at least my first three meals of the week in advance and grocery shop on the weekend.

Hence, the reason I made Summertime Chicken and Orzo tonight.  In my part of the world (near Vancouver, BC), today, it rained, hard, all day.  We are used to rain in this section of North America.  But, it was cold!  Alas, I had my meal planned and my chicken in the fridge, defrosting, so there was no way out.

This is a great summer meal.  It was light and tasty!  It tastes equally as delicious hot or cold, making it perfect for lunch the next day (I love leftovers!).  My husband liked it, which proves its man-friendly!  Plus, this dish was quick and easy to make.

I cooked the chicken in a frying pan on the stove, but you could easily grill it, if you would rather.

Summertime Chicken and Orzo
Adapted from Taste of Home, Aug/Sept 2010
Serves 4

3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste (I used seasoning salt, because I was in that sort of mood)
1 med. cucumber, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet.  Cook chicken over medium heat until no longer pink.  (The recipe says about 6-8 minutes, but mine took more like 12 minutes). Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, onion, parsley and chicken.  Drain pasta and stir into the chicken mixture.  In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Pour over chicken mixture; toss to coat.  Serve either warm or cold.  Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese.

Enjoy what’s left of your summer!
The Hungry Teacher

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Spicy Margarita Shrimp

The sunny weather brings out the barbeque-er in all of us!

While looking for a quick, healthy and easy dish for dinner one night this week, I stumbled upon a recipe for Spicy Margarita Shrimp on Tasty Kitchen.

It was really good, and really easy!  I adapted the recipe a bit, of course, as we all tend to do!   The recipe says to marinate the shrimp for no longer than an hour, because otherwise the acid in the marinade will start to cook the shrimp.  I marinated my shrimp for about half an hour, and it was the perfect amount of time!  The recipe also called for the remaining marinade to be reduced down in a saucepan to serve on top of the shrimp and rice.  I didn’t do this.  It would be a nice touch, but unnecessary!  You could also cook the shrimp on the stove by sauteeing them.  If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about half an hour before you use them so they don’t catch on fire.

On the side, I served rice and grilled zucchini.  The shrimp take about 3 minutes total on the hot grill, so make sure everything else is ready to go before you put them on!  To grill the zucchini, I cut it into 1/2″ thick slices.  In a small bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Brush the zucchini slices with this mixture on one side and put oiled side down on the hot grill.  Cook for about 4 minutes, then brush the other side with the oil mixture and flip.  Cook for about 4 more minutes!

Spicy Margarita Shrimp
Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Serves 2

1 lb shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined

Marinade Ingredients:
2 limes
2 oranges
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup tequila
1 Tbsp Triple Sec
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped

Zest the limes and oranges into a bowl.  Juice the oranges and limes into the same bowl.  Add in the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well.  Mix in the shrimp and marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Preheat the BBQ.  Remove the shrimp from the marinade, put them on soaked skewers.  Turn off the heat on one of your BBQ burners, so you have indirect heat.  Turn the other burner down to medium-low.  Place your skewers on the burner that’s turned off.  Cook for a minute or so, until shrimp start to turn pink.  Turn over and cook for another minute!

Enjoy this light summer meal!
The Hungry Teacher

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