After cooking many meals for friends, I realized that nothing excites people more than a delicious pizza. This week I threw a pizza party with friends. We only had one oven and two pizza trays, so we could only cook two pizzas at a time. In the end, I made six 14″ pizzas. We cut each pizza into ten slices, one for each person, and sampled one slice of each pizza. We would decide which pizzas were coming next while the previous two were baking. By the sixth pizza, we could barely take another bite!
We made all sorts of pizzas- from BBQ Chicken to Chicken Alfredo to Meat Lovers all the way to Hawaiian. Each time a new pizza was taken out, everybody was riled up- “This one is my favorite!” “Wait, no, THIS one is my favorite!” “Ah, no, THIS one is definitely the best!” I have never seen my friends so excited about something I cooked. This made me being to think about the wondrous pizza pie. A fresh pizza crust is like a blank canvas for a chef. You can combine any flavors you want to create your own unique masterpiece. I suggest to all of you that you make homemade pizzas at some point. My advice? Be adventurous, take risks, mix unlikely combinations- you’ll be impressed with the outcome!
This week’s Throwback Thursday recipe is a hearty spinach and pepper dip; great for a cold winter day. There is something nourishing about a warm cheesy dip with bread. This recipe is a great pick-me-up. It goes well with chips or bread and is a great recipe for a potluck or party, and can easily be doubled if need be.
I love exploring the flavors of foreign cuisines. Each country has their own unique way of doing things, that gives an exciting new twist to many foods. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest looking into the different flavors from around the world. I think that knowing different flavor combinations helps expand your cooking and keeps you from making the same dish over and over again.
This week I had some squash from my mom’s farm that needed to be used. I was in the mood for something a bit sweeter, so I decided on this Moroccan-style recipe. This dish has the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The raisins are a definite must, I even decided to add a few more to the recipe. It can also easily be made vegan/vegetarian by using vegetable broth and taking out the chicken. This recipe is simple to put together but looks sophisticated, a great idea for dinner guests.
Recently, I have been thinking about how great it would be to do catering. I have also been cooking for friends quite a bit, which I love. Both things involve cooking for a crowd, which can be hard to do. The more I do it, the more fun it gets. It is hard to think up original recipes for large groups sometimes, so I am really excited to share this one. This week I needed a meal to feed 14 friends. I didn’t want to do chili again, so I began to brainstorm and search the web. Casserole recipes are great for large groups and pizza is great for parties, which makes this pizza casserole the ultimate party dish. The original recipe that I found, form Country Kitchen Cooking, used pasta instead of breadsticks. Since I work at Noodles & Company, I decided against using the pasta. I think the breadsticks give it much more flavor. I made my green bean casserole to go with the meal and help my ski bum friends get some nutrients into their dinner. This spin off pizza is easier to make and won’t keep you in the kitchen for the entire party!
Now that the new year has started, I’m sure many of you are trying to eat healthier. I have personally been trying to eat more vegetables in my meals. I recently came across this recipe on the Gourmet Traveler blog. It uses a huge amount of spinach, which was great for me since I have a giant Costco bag of spinach at the moment. On a less healthy note, the Parmesan crisps are to die for, but beware they are super addicting! I ate this with my Broiled Lemon and Garlic Shrimp.
This is probably the fanciest recipe I have ever made. A friend of mine typed this recipe up and sent it to me during her vacation, I had been looking forward to cooking it with her. I was like a little kid with a new toy while I was cooking and plating the food. It is always fun to make fancy dishes that you can plate nicely. This recipe has a LOT of flavors in it, but my friend and I decided that the cucumber relish really isn’t very necessary and it would probably have been better without it. The eggplant salsa was very unique, but really good!
This recipe is awesome, but is kind of like my lobster recipes in the sense that I cannot afford to make it all of the time, since asparagus is so expensive! I was lucky enough to go to Costco with my Mom this week though (I have the best Mom in the world!), which meant large quantities of asparagus. This soup was a hit among my friends this week, when the weather was well below zero for a few days. It is really good if you serve it with garlic bread!
I came across a recipe for Indian Meatballs while I was in New Zealand last summer, but never got around to making them. This week I decided to add to the recipe I found to make this dish. This dish is not very spicy because the coconut milk tones down the curry, but can be made spicier with Siracha if you desire. This took me a bit longer than I expected… I never realized that making meatballs was such a hassle!
To go with the Trailer Trash Pot Roast, I made a green bean casserole for our holiday dinner. This recipe (from AllRecipes) is a little different than others because it uses sour cream instead of mushroom or onion soup. I think the sour cream adds great flavor. I will definitely be using this recipe from now on. Green bean casserole is another good holiday dish because you can easily increase the recipe for a large group.
My friends and I decided to have an early holiday dinner to celebrate Christmas this week. A little while back, I came across this recipe on the Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy blog, but hadn’t gotten a chance to make it. A pot roast is a great thing to make during the holidays, because you can begin cooking it early, then cook everything else while it finishes cooking. This recipe combines Coca Cola and Chili Sauce for a perfect combination of sweet and spicy.