Homemade Lamb Sausage Pizza

Sometimes I feel like making my own pizza dough, sometimes I like buying the pre-made flatbread slabs and covering them with my own toppings.  I’ve made this pizza twice now, both times with the Trader Joe’s flat breads.  The base is your choice, this recipe just tells you how to bring it all together.

Here’s what you need:

For the sausage:

olive oil

1 sweet onion, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 pound ground lamb

1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1 teaspoon sumac powder

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds

For the sauce:  1 can crushed tomatoes, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

The cheese:  3-4 cups shredded fontina and Gruyere cheeses (also good with Gruyere and jack combo)

The base:  2 flatbread crusts (or other crust of your choice)

Here’s what you do:

1.  Make the sausage (you can even do this a day in advance):

Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and cook the onion and celery until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the lamb to the pan, and continue to cook until the meat is cooked through, adding the fresh herbs and dry spices about halfway through.

Remove from the heat.

2.  Make the sauce (you can do this while the lamb mixture is cooking):

Open the can of crushed tomatoes.  Stir in the garlic, sugar and crushed red pepper.  Allow the flavors to meld.

3.  Shred the cheese (you can do this while the lamb mixture is cooking).

4.  Prepare your pizzas:

Preheat your oven per the instructions on your crusts.

Spread a thin layer of the sauce over the crusts (you will have much more than you need).

Sprinkle a generous layer of cheese.

Sprinkle a generous layer of lamb sausage.  (You will have extra.)

5.  Bake per the instructions on your crusts, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.


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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Recently, I attended Caleb’s bris.  (He’s this perfect little guy that just joined us in this world.)  It was lovely and emotional and he slept through the whole ceremony.  And, like any good Jewish celebration, it was accompanied with copious amounts of food and dessert.  One particularly delicious one – this coffee cake.  It was so good, the baker gave me the recipe and I made it for Grandma the same week.

Here’s what you need:

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Here’s what you do:

1.  Generously butter a bundt pan.

2.  In an electric mixer, combine the butter, 1 1/4 cup sugar, and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy.

3.  Add flour (sifted if you can) and baking powder and baking soda to the bowl.  Beat to combine.

4.  Add vanilla.  Blend in.

5.  Make the filling:  combine the two remaining tablespoons sugar with the walnuts, cinnamon and chocolate chips.

6.  Spoon about half the thick mixture into the bundt pan.  Then sprinkle about half the filling.  Spread the remaining cake mixture over the top, and then the remaining filling mixture.

7.  Place into a cold oven, set at 350 degrees, for about 55 minutes.


P.S. My sister, Ashley, made it today.  Hers looks pretty amazing too, and she said it tasted great!

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Coconut Curry Roasted Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Soup

Simon’s description of this soup:  “the soup with the yellows–it’s soo good.”  This simple and delicious recipe is a new fave, hope you like it too!  (Note–My pics are of a very thick version of the soup.  We thinned it out each time we ate it with milk.)

Here’s what you need:

3 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform sized-cubes + olive, salt and pepper, to coat and season the sweet potatoes for roasting

2 yellow onions, sliced + olive, salt and pepper, to caramelize and season

1 can coconut milk

4 cups liquid (broth or milk or some combination–I did 1 cup broth and the rest milk)

1 tablespoon madras curry powder

Here’s what you do:

1. Roast the sweet potatoes:  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Toss your sweet potato cubes with enough olive oil just to coat, but not to pool in the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread the cubes on a large baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Check to see if the cubes are cooked to tender and lightly browned.  If not, stir them around a bit and give them another 5-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven when they are cooked.

2.  Caramelize the onions:  Add olive oil to a large non-stick cooking pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, plus salt and pepper.  Saute until the onions until cooked and brown in color, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.

3.  Combine the ingredients:  In a large pot, combine the sweet potatoes, onions, coconut milk, liquid, and curry powder.  Mix and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.

4.  Puree:  Working in batches, puree the ingredients in the blender.  Let them at least 2-3 minutes per batch so they are all whipped and yummy.

Then, enjoy!  (If you want the soup thinner, you can always add milk or broth to each additional serving.)

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Moroccan Lentil and Garbanzo Bean Stew

Warm and comforting, flavorful and beautifully spiced, this stew was a real winner.

Here’s what you need:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 ribs of celery, diced

1 medium brown onion, diced

2 tablespoons grated ginger (I used the kind that comes in a jar)

5 cloves garlic (I used the paste in the refrigerated section of the grocery store)

spices:  4 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons cumin, 3 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 carrots, chopped

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed

1 cup green lentils, rinsed

8 cups vegetable broth

one bunch of kale, ribbed and chopped

28-oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes

bunch of parsley, chopped

bunch of cilantro, chopped

juice from 2-3 lemons

Optional:  goat cheese or feta cheese for topping; serve over rice

Here’s what you do:

1) Saute the onion and celery with the olive oil over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes.

2) Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant.

3) Stir in the spices and cook for one minute.

4) Add the carrots, the garbanzo beans, the lentils and the broth.  Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer 25-30 minutes (ensuring lentils soften).

5) Add kale, tomatoes, and half the parsley.  Cook for 10 more minutes.

6) Turn off the heat.  Stir in the remaining parsley, the cilantro, and the lemon juice.  Add salt to taste.

Optional:  Serve over rice, topped with a dollop of goat cheese or a sprinkle of feta.




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Peruvian Green Spaghetti

While perusing Instagram, I came across a post about a blog featuring family recipes and the meaning behind them.  The recipe of the week, featured on Food52, was for a dish called green spaghetti with its origins in Peruvian cooking.  Yes, I know, the ingredients seem like an odd combination, but trust me, they work.  This is so delicious.

Here’s what you need:

1 pound dried spaghetti

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large and 1 small red onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic (or the equivalent of garlic paste), chopped

10-12 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted

1 bouillon cube (optional)

1 package cream cheese, divided in two

1 cup of evaporated milk (for green sauce) and 1/4 cup of evaporated milk (for aji topping sauce) (can do fresh milk instead)

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 jalapeno, seeded and deveined (feel free to use less for less heat, or a hotter pepper for more heat)

lime wedges (optional for serving)

Parmesan cheese (optional for serving)

Here’s what you do:

1)  Boil water and cook the pasta until done.  Drain and set aside.

2) While the pasta is cooking, prepare the green sauce and the aji topping sauce:

  • Saute the red onions in the olive oil over medium and/or high heat until they start to brown, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for about 3-5 more minutes.
  • Remove about one quarter of the onion/garlic mixture and set aside (for the aji topping suace).
  • Add the spinach to the remaining onion/garlic mixture and cook for a few more minutes.  Stir in the boullion cube if using.

3) To finish the green sauce:  In a blender, combine the onion/garlic/spinach mixture, the 1 cup of evaporated milk, and half of the cream cheese.  Blend well until smooth (about 3 minutes).  Pour over the spaghetti and mix well to coat the pasta.

4) To finish the aji topping sauce:  In the blender, combine the set aside onion/garlic mixture, the 1/4 cup evaporated milk, the other half of the cream cheese, the peanut butter, and the jalapeno.  Blend well until smooth.

5) To serve, you can either mix the aji topping sauce into the green pasta, or add in dollops along with a squeeze of lime and some Parmesan cheese.




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Favorite Watermelon Salad

We were lucky enough to spend the Fourth of July in Lake Chelan at the Foster lake house.  It was a week of fun in the sun, in the water, and with extended family.  We attended the neighbor’s Fourth of July potluck, and there tasted what is hands down my favorite watermelon salad.  Kathy procured the recipe, from Sunset Magazine, and Simon and I had the opportunity to make it together.  Hope you like it too!

Here’s what you need:

1 small watermelon cut into large cubes

2 Persian cucumbers, cut into slices

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped mint

1 small shallot, minced

1 Serrano chile, stemmed, ribbed and seeded, then minced

A couple handfuls of arugula

Salt to taste

Additional options:  Chopped up feta cheese, chopped up hard goat cheese, cut up avocado, thinly sliced red onion or some quick-pickled red onion (to make just combine one red onion, some kosher salt, and some lemon juice in a container and refrigerate overnight)

Here’s what you do:

1. Cut up the watermelon and cucumbers.  Put in a bowl.

2. Make the vinaigrette:  In a jar, add the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, cilantro, mint, shallot and chile.  Shake well to combine.

3.  Pour the dressing over the watermelon and cucumber.  Then stir in the arugula.  Add salt to taste.


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Light and Fluffy Yogurt Lime Cake

After spending the day with Gigi and Great Grandpa, we came home with a bag full of mini limes.  We turned to the internet for some recipe ideas and found one without butter, and that incorporated yogurt, on the Smitten Kitchen website.  Last night we were able to whip this up before Simon was out of his high chair, and the result was absolutely delicious.

Here’s what you need:

1 cup yogurt (we used full fat Fage)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

zest from a couple of mini limes (or one regular lime)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 eggs

1 2/3 cups flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9″ round cake pan.

2.  In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, sugar, zest and lime juice.  (At this point, Simon was more than happy to sample the beginnings of the batter, and loved it.)

3.  Whisk the eggs in one by one.

4.  Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda to the bowl and whisk until just combined.

5.  Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes until it is golden brown and a cake tester in the center comes out clean.


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Spinach Pasta Bake

Bowl of baked spinach pastaIf you like spinach lasagna, you will like this.  Actually, lasagna was what I had in mind, but we had shells, and that seemed easier, so I went with a baked pasta that only took about 25 minutes to assemble and was so delicious and bonus – filled with lots of green goodness.  Hope you like it!  (And Grandma, if you are reading this, yes, I froze some for you!)

Here’s what you need:

1 pound uncooked pasta (shape of your choice)

A couple of tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 zucchini, diced

1.5 cups shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

A few tablespoons of garlic paste (I use the squeeze tube kind you can find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store)

2 pounds fresh spinach or baby spinach or baby kale or a combination

1 pound cottage cheese (you can do low fat, but I did full fat)

30 oz. ricotta cheese (you can do low fat, but I did full fat)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil or dill OR 1 tablespoon dried basil

salt and pepper

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

2. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, but cook it about two to three minutes less so it still has a crunch.  (It will absorb water from the veggies when you bake it.)

3. While the pasta is cooking, heat up the olive oil and saute the diced onion for a few minutes.  Then add the diced zucchini and saute for another 5 minutes or so.

4. When the pasta is done, drain it and stir it with a handful of the mozzarella, a smaller handful of the Parmesan, and a big scoop of cottage cheese.  Then stir in the zucchini mixture.

5. Spray a lasagna baking dish, or a large heavy-bottomed pot (like a Le Creuset).  Spread the pasta mixture in the bottom of the pan.

6. Add the garlic paste to the saute pan over medium-high heat.  (If there is no oil left over, add a little more olive oil.)  Let it cook about a minute, and then dump in one pound of the spinach.  Add about 1/2 cup of water, and let the spinach wilt (stirring occasionally), about three minutes.  Once wilted, remove from the pot, roughly chop, drain some of the liquid in a colander, and then put in a big bowl.  Repeat with the other pound of spinach (but no need to add garlic a second time).

7. When all the spinach is done, add in the ricotta, the remaining cottage cheese, herbs, salt and pepper to the bowl.  Mix well.

8. Spread the spinach mixture over the pasta mixture.  Then sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the spinach mixture.

9. Bake covered for about 25 minutes.  Then remove the cover, turn up the heat to 400 degrees, and cook for another 10 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.

Enjoy!Baked Spinach Pasta

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Cheesy Baked Spinach

Baked SpinachThe first time I made this dish, I was cooking for Grandma and Grandpa, and one of their favorites is spinach.  The second time, I played with it a bit and put it together for Thanksgiving.  It was delish both times, but I definitely like the second version better.  The spinach in this dish is perfectly cooked, the cheese melted and delicious, and the whole thing a perfect accompaniment to any meal.  This was adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s The Best Baked Spinach.

Here’s what you need:

3 pounds baby spinach

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1.5 tablespoons flour

1 cup stock or milk or cream or a combination (I did vegetable stock and a little 1% milk)

2 to 2.5 cups grated Gruyere cheese (or swiss cheese)

Here’s what you do:

(1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and butter a shallow baking dish.

(2) Rinse your spinach. Add to a large pot over high heat, and cook until wilting and softening, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a colander and immediately rinse with cold water.

(3) Working in small amounts, squeeze as much of the water out of the spinach as possible.  Roughly chop the spinach.

(4) Wipe out the pan and melt the butter over high heat.  Add the spinach and cook until it starts to dry (when spinach starts to stick to the pan), about 5 minutes.

(5) Lower the heat, sprinkly the flour, and stir for two minutes.  Then add the stock/cream/milk and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper.

(6) Stir about half the cheese into the spinach mixture and pour into the baking dish.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Bake until heated through and bubbly, about 30 minutes.Baked Spinach



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Persian Herb Soup with Lentils, Rice and Lamb Meatballs

Herb SoupSince Patrick loves lamb, any lamb recipe that I come across usually gets at least a second look.  This one was particularly interesting because it was for a soup that had lentils, rice, herbs and lamb meatballs – a pot of deliciousness that we could all enjoy, and it was similar to ash joe, a favorite Persian stew.  And now that Simon is working on solid-er (is that a word?) foods than just purees, this seemed perfect for him.  I adapted this from a Food & Wine recipe.  Hope you enjoy!

Here’s what you need:

For the soup:

3/4 cup lentils, soaked overnight

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon cumin

3/4 cup white rice (I did arborio.  You want something with a little shorter grain because it is glutinous and helps contribute to the thickness of the soup)

10 cups of water

1 large bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems finely minced

1 large bunch parsley, leaves and tender stems finely minced

1 small bunch mint, leaves and tender stems finely minced

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (Note:  I purchased a bottle of this at a local Persian market.  I’m sure you can also find it on Amazon.  This ingredient is sweet and sour and really adds some depth to the flavor of the soup.  You could always add some lemon or lime juice squeeze before serving to help mimic this flavor if you can’t get this ingredient.)

For the meatballs:

3/4 pound ground lamb

1 yellow onion, grated or finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Here’s what you do:

(1) Heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and spices and cook until it begins to soften, about 5-10 minutes.Onions for Herb Soup

(2) Add the lentils (drained), the rice and the water.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens and the lentils and rice soften, about 1.5 hours.

(3) While the soup is cooking, make the meatballs.  Combine the four ingredients and roll into teaspoon sized meatballs.

(4) After cooking the soup for 1.5 hours, add the chopped herbs and cook for another 30 minutes.  Then stir in the pomegranate molasses.

(5) Add the meatballs and allow to cook for another 30 minutes.

You can serve topped with crispy onions or as is.  You may want to add salt to taste.  If you want to make this vegetarian, just omit the meatballs.

Enjoy!Herb Soup

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