Saturday is Pizza Day!

Pizza has once again become a weekly staple in our house. You see, we had stopped eating it for a time because there are simply no good places to get a good pie around these parts. We have the main pizza chains in the area, but I would hardly characterize what they deliver as food. Furthermore, eating from those places guarantees spending most of the rest of the night in the bathroom. Why pay for that?

The Best Ever Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut Cookies

Butter, sugar, brown sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla...
A typical chocolate chip cookie at its core, but aside from the hazelnuts what makes these cookies special are the added oatmeal and toffee bits. Oatmeal you say? Why yes, and no, it's not oatmeal raisin cookie dough - raisins + chocolate chips. A small amount of oatmeal is pulverized in a food processor, or in my case a coffee grinder that I usually use to grind spices, and incorporated into the dry ingredients.

Beans with Mushrooms

Another new favorite from this vegetarian kick that I've been on. I'm finding some good recipes so far that are substantial meals, not the commonly misconceived leaves of lettuce that lead to malnourishment and ultimate weakness.

Broccoli and Ricotta Cannelloni

I'm not a vegetarian. I don't think I ever will be, but for health reasons I have decided to try to find some decent non-meat recipes I could add to the weekly meal rotation. It's really sort of an awakening for me and also a big step where diet is concerned. It dawned on me the other day that, except for breakfast on most days, I eat meat for every meal. So far I've had a mixed reaction to my research. I've perused some cookbooks where my instinct toward dishes and ingredients has been WTF? but I have found a couple of books with some decent content.

Penne with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Another new favorite from Giada that is easy and inexpensive to make. Pasta and Italian sausage makes for a hearty meal, and the sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes add earthiness to the flavor and a touch of elegance to the dish. Use hot sausages to warm things up a bit.

Bread Zeppelin

Since I started making bread, Rich White Bread has been a staple in our diet. In fact, since early January I've only bought two loaves of bread from the store, you know, to have bread on-hand for those days that we're out of homemade and I haven't yet made a new batch.

Steak and Pasta

So incredibly simple to make, yet so dynamic in depths of flavors. I commented to Jen while we were devouring this dish that this was probably the best thing I've ever made. This recipe starts with an easy marinara that Jen laments is better than her variation of Aunt Rose's traditional gravy (and a fraction of the time to make). The marinara is added to vegetables cooked in red wine and broth and incorporated into pasta and tender, medium rare ribeye steak.

Baked Lentil and Vegetable Casserole

This is an easy to make, healthy dinner with about 15 minutes of prep time and about 45 minutes in the oven.  It's also very filling and makes for a great meatless meal for vegetarians or for those trying to cut back on meat consumption for budget or health reasons.

Mediterranean Barley Salad

If barley salad could be classified as decadent then here it is. One could consider this a healthy dish, but with barley, navy beans, pepperoni and olives as the key ingredients it's on the higher end of calories and fat. On the bright side it is very filling and makes a great small meal or small side and is packed with flavors and textures that make you want to shovel it into your mouth as fast as possible. Beware!

Homemade Minestrone

This recipe came out of Jen's mysterious Ziploc bag of ancient Sicilian secret family formulas & food alchemy. On an aged sheet of irregularly sized 8 1/2 x 6 notepad paper. This particular notepad recipe comes complete with lotto numbers scribbled at the bottom 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. Just kidding, they're actually 38, 42, 11, 5, 46, 45, 28 if you'd care to try your luck.

Roast Beef and Salami Sandwich

I've categorized this under dinners because it was served with Minestrone Soup and made for a fantastic supper. These sandwiches were made with homemade bread from my Rich White Bread recipe.

Rich White Bread

This bread recipe has been a tremendous success compared to the Thirty-minute White Bread recipe. The first attempt at this recipe went remarkably well, and I have since made two more attempts which have also become increasingly better. For this particular recipe I would say that timing is everything.

White Bread Fail

This was my first ever attempt at making bread..

Parmigiano and Herb Chicken Breast Tenders

I just call it parm chicken
This is a family favorite. It's good! The only down-side is it gives me a little heartburn. I pretty much go by the recipe on this one, except the first time I made this I found I only needed about half of the breading recipe. I also omit the red pepper flakes. Below is the full recipe as printed by the original source.