Thursday, July 17, 2014

White Pizza with Beef Sausage

I love pizza.  Who doesn't?  Sometimes I want a fancy pizza from California Pizza Kitchen.  Sometimes I want Pizza Hut (love their new garlic hand tossed crust!).  Sometimes I just want a quick and basic (or "hot and ready") pizza from Little Caesar's.  But the best pizza ever is homemade.  

I've made a lot of different types of pizza.  I recently improved my whole wheat crust recipe (blogged about in the previous post, which you can find here).  It's light and fluffy, and my husband couldn't stop talking about how good it was.  Well, to top it off, I came up with a recipe for pizza that in my opinion is truly the best.  If you like white pizza, you'll love this pizza.

I'm not really a fan of tomato sauce on pizza.  I prefer fresh tomatoes, but I also know that pizza crust tastes better with a little something on it in place of the sauce.  I've used BBQ sauce, pesto, and wing sauce (this one most frequently), but recently I've discovered something even better.  I just lightly brush the crust with olive oil, sprinkle that with garlic and salt and top that with a thin coating of ricotta cheese.  It's amazing and goes well with so many other toppings.  I use that "sauce" on the pizza recipe below.  When you add onions, mushrooms and homemade beef sausage, it just really can't be beat.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

White Pizza with Beef Sausage
Makes 1 large pizza
1 large pizza crust (I suggest making The Best Whole Wheat Pizza Crust - get the recipe here)
1 thinly sliced roma tomato
1/2 c ricotta cheese
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
16 ounces mushrooms, chopped
½ of a large onion, chopped
TexJoy Spicy Steak Seasoning (buy it online here)
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
olive oil
8 ounces ground beef
½ tsp TexJoy Sausage Seasoning (buy it online here)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook the mushrooms and onions in a frying pan until caramelized and all the liquid is removed from the mushrooms (otherwise you’ll have a soggy pizza).  Sprinkle with TexJoy Spicy Steak Seasoning.

Mix the ground beef with the TexJoy Sausage Seasoning and cook in another frying pan.  Crumble as it cooks.

Roll out the crust.  Drizzle with olive oil and brush just to coat the crust.  Sprinkle with garlic and salt.  Spread ricotta cheese over crust.  Arrange tomato slices evenly over ricotta and sprinkle with salt.  Sprinkle a little of the mozzarella cheese over the tomato slices.  Top evenly with the mushroom and onion mixture.  Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella cheese.  Top evenly with beef sausage.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is slightly browned and cheese is golden.

Happy eating!

The Best Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Probably about a year ago, I posted a recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Crust.  Until recently, I used that recipe a lot.  Then I discovered how fluffy the crust becomes when I substitute some of the whole wheat flour for bread flour.  In my opinion, it's totally worth it for the crust not to be 100% whole wheat.  It's still mainly whole wheat, and my husband raves about this crust.

The Best Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
makes 4 large pizza crusts

2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp active dry yeast
3 c warm water
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
5 c whole wheat flour
2 c bread flour

Pour water into a large bowl.  Dissolve sugar in water.  Sprinkle yeast over water and set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes.  At this point, yeast should be foamy.  Add salt and olive oil.  Then add 4 cups whole wheat flour and 2 cups bread flour.  Mix until dough starts to form.

Switch to dough hook, and add 1 cup whole wheat flour.  Knead dough until all the flour has been incorporated and dough becomes elastic. 

Spray the mixer bowl with cooking spray.  Form the dough into a ball and put the dough back inside the mixer bowl.  Cover the bowl with a towel and put it in a warm place to rise.  Usually the counter is warm enough. Set a timer for an hour.

At this point the dough should be doubled in size.  Remove dough from bowl and separate into 4 equal parts.  Form four dough balls and place the balls in four separate oiled (I use cooking spray) bowls.  Cover the bowls with a towel and place in a warm place.  (You can leave it on the counter if the kitchen is warm, or you can put it in the oven on the lowest setting.) Set the timer for 45 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to your desired size.  Each dough ball makes a large thin-crust pizza.  Wrap the extra dough balls in plastic wrap or put each dough ball in sandwich-size Ziplock bags in the refrigerator.  If you want to stock up on dough for later, you can put the sandwich-size bags or plastic-wrapped dough inside a larger freezer bag in the freezer.  When ready to use the crust, defrost overnight and set on the counter for a half-hour before rolling out to get the crust up to room temperature.

Burgundy Beef Tips

This is a recipe that my husband makes for himself all the time.  I think he learned to make it from his dad.  I love men that can cook!  It's easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.
Burgundy Beef Tips
Serves 1


5.5 oz steak (or whatever meat you want)
5 oz rice (cooked)
5 oz red wine
1/4 tsp of TexJoy Cajun Seasoning (buy it online here)


Cut the meat into 1/2" cubes.

Coat the steak with TexJoy and brown it on all sides, stirring as necessary.

Pour wine over steak and bring to a boil. 

Allow to boil until wine is reduced 50%.

Mix the rice into the wine and steak.

Happy eating!

Seafood Fried Rice

The inspiration for this recipe came from a recipe in the July/August 2014 issue of Fitness Magazine (my all-time favorite magazine) for Shrimp, Corn and Scallion Risotto.  I made a bunch of changes, using ingredients I happened to have on hand and came up with a definite hit.  My husband and I have dubbed this a “do-again”.  That’s what we call a recipe when we know we’ll have to make it again and again and again!

Seafood Fried Rice
Serves 2


2 ears of corn (cooked)
4 green onions (aka scallions), chopped
1 cup cooked coconut rice (get the recipe here)
6 oz precooked shrimp
6 oz scallops
½ tsp TexJoy Seafood Seasoning (buy it online here)

Spray a large pot or frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add scallops and cook for a couple minutes.  Then add all other ingredients except Parmesan and cook and stir until heated through.  Divide onto two plates and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Happy eating!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Chicken Spaghetti Squash

When you add enough meat, cheese and seasoning to spaghetti squash, it tastes even better than real spaghetti.  This is one delicious way to eat your veggies!

Chicken Spaghetti Squash
(serves 4)


1 whole spaghetti squash (3.5 lbs squash makes ~33 oz, cooked, 4 calories per oz)
1.5 cups marinara
1 tsp smoked chipotle flakes
1 tsp spicy Tex-Joy
6 oz chopped chicken breast, cooked
8 oz shredded mozzarella


Microwave the spaghetti squash for 1 min per pound.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half.

Remove the seeds and webbing; a melon baller works well.  

Place each side cut-side down on parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.  

Meanwhile, heat the sauce, chicken, and spices in a pot.

Scrape the insides out with a fork into the pot, and heat thoroughly. 

Divide the mixture into four bowls, and stir in 1.5 oz of cheese into each bowl.

Sprinkle .5 oz of the remaining cheese on top of each serving.

Happy eating!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes

Not too long ago, I posted a recipe for Fluffy Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes.  I still make those pancakes almost every day for breakfast, but I switch up the berries sometimes.  I even made them with crushed pineapple once! 

I’m pregnant, and one of my food aversions has been chocolate.  It’s so weird because I used to eat chocolate every day.  Well, recently my chocolate taste buds have been coming back (thanks, baby!), and I decided I needed to modify my pancake recipe to turn it into a chocolate pancake recipe.  After a couple attempts, I finally got it chocolatey enough to be husband approved!  I made these pancakes with strawberries because I love the combination of chocolate and strawberries, but you could use sliced bananas, flaked coconut or even chocolate chips instead.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes
Serves 2 (4 pancakes per serving, 8 pancakes total)

1 c whole wheat flour
5 tbsp Splenda (you can substitute an equal amount of sugar)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c + 2 tbsp Silk Light Chocolate Soymilk
1 egg
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
about 8-16 strawberries, chopped (how many depends on the size of the berries)

Whisk the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk the soymilk, egg and vegetable oil in a separate bowl.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined.  A few lumps are okay.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour about a quarter cup of batter onto the hot surface.  Drop about a strawberry or two worth of berry pieces on top of each pancake.

Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancake.  Then carefully flip over with a spatula.  Cook another minute or so. 

Flip over again.  The pancake should be fluffy, cooked through and slightly browned on both sides.

Put the pancakes on a serving plate or individual plates.  Repeat the process with remaining batter.  You can keep the pancakes warm in the oven on the lowest setting while you cook.

Top with butter, syrup, chocolate syrup or powdered sugar.

Happy eating!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I grew up with my mom making banana bread fairly often, that is, every time we didn’t eat the bananas fast enough and they got too brown on the counter.  She had a recipe from an Amish cookbook that she used.  When I got married, I made this same recipe for my husband, but he thought it tasted a little dry, so I went in search of a new recipe.  I eventually landed on the recipe I’ve been making ever since which turns banana bread into chocolate banana bread. 

This recipe has been a hit every time I’ve made it for both family and friends.  I don’t remember where I saw the original recipe, but I’ve changed a few things along the way, like making it with whole wheat flour instead of all purpose.  I try to substitute whole wheat flour whenever I can, and I’ve found that as long as you add a little bread flour with it, the bread comes out just as fluffy as when made with all purpose, and I honestly don’t taste the difference.

I hope you enjoy this delicious treat of a recipe as much as my family and friends do!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
(makes 1 loaf or 9 mini loaves)

mashed bananas

½ c butter, softened (set it on the counter a half hour before making this recipe)
1 c Splenda (you can substitute an equal amount of sugar)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c whole wheat flour
½ c bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
½ c light sour cream
½ c chocolate chips
3 bananas, mashed
½ c chopped walnuts (optional – this turns the bread into Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread!)


finished batter
Preheat your oven to 350. 

In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), cream together the butter, Splenda and eggs.

Mix in the bananas and vanilla.

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder together to combine.  Then add this dry mixture to the wet mixture in the large bowl and mix well.

Mix in the sour cream, chocolate chips and walnuts (if using nuts).

Spray your bread pan and pour in the batter.  If you're using a mini-loaf pan or a muffin pan, I find that using a cookie dough scoop is that easiest way to transfer the batter.

If using a traditional size bread pan, bake for about an hour.  If you use mini loaf pans (my personal preference), bake for about 20 minutes.  In you use another size bread pan (muffin pan, mini muffin pan, etc), just take your best guess on timing.  I find that it’s better to underestimate and add a few minutes if necessary (maybe try 10 minutes and check it).  Whatever pan you use, the bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the bread cool on the counter in the pan for about 10 minutes.  Serve warm (the chocolate chips will be melty!) or at room temperature.  You can refrigerate leftovers for about a week (if they last that long!).

If you’re having a party or want to make this bread look even more impressive, you can double the recipe and bake it in a bundt cake pan for about 90 minutes.  Dust it with powdered sugar or drizzle a simple glaze over it. 

What a yummy chocolate fix, right?

Happy eating!