This the final post in three part series involving recipes for piquillo pepper hummus, homemade pita (or pitta), and now stuffed pita. The hummus is amazing and the pita is the best I’ve ever had. Combine with a few more simple ingredients and you have a scrumptious snack. This snack, or light meal, is also quite healthy even though it does not taste like it at all. I feel like it’s a treat even though it’s good for me, and I’m not one of those people that enjoy eating tofu and call it “yummy.” My skinny jeans wish I was though.
When I was going to make dinner, I was planning on making stuffed zucchinis. I’ve made them before, and they were awesome. I chopped up the onion, and I pulled out he zucchini and….the zucchinis had begun to rot. I was VERY bummed. But, I had just made pita and hummus and my mom sent me falafel mix I had been intending to try. So I took the lemons that life handed me and made stuffed pita. This turned out to be a very good decision. I didn’t have feta cheese which is typical in stuffed pitas so I used a different kind of goat cheese crumbles. The tangy flavor of the goat cheese really complimented the other flavors in this pita in an unexpected, yet harmonious, way.
Before the recipe, I would love input regarding what types of recipes you, my audience, would like to see more. More bread? Healthy options? Vegan recipes? I would also love input about my writing, photography, and recipes. Do you like having the nutrition facts and printable versions? Since this is a very new blog, I’m still trying to find out the best way to cater to my readers. I think the best way to do this is to ask my readers. Please comment or email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions, questions, or just want to say “Hi.” Now, for the recipe.
Recipe for Stuffed Pita:
1 tbsp piquillo pepper hummus
2 prepared falafels*
Torn off bit of Romaine lettuce
1 tsp chopped red onion
1 tbsp goat cheese crumbles**
*I used a falafel mix. I tried to make my own and, as my sister put, they were fa-AWFUL. I used Telema® brand. They were slightly salty, but very easy and yummy in this stuffed pita. I got the mix from my mom and will update with where she bought it.
**I used Montechevré brand crumbled goat cheese “fresh & natural” from Fry’s (a Kroger owned supermarket). This cheese has a very strong and tangy flavor so I did not use very much.
Active Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Time: 0 minutes
Makes: 1 stuffed pita
Using a serrated bread knife, cut the pita in half. Take one of the halves and spread the piquillo pepper hummus on the thicker side inside of the pita pocket. Sprinkle the goat cheese in the pocket in an even manner. Do the same with the onion. Make sure the front of the pocket has as much goat cheese and onion as the back of the pocket. Wrap the falafel ball in a tiny bit of romaine lettuce and stick it in the pocket. Do the same for the other half of the pita. Devour.
This snack is so amazing, healthy, and easy that you must go for second or third helpings.
Since there were so many variants in this recipe, I have not posted nutrition facts. The pita is 100 calories, the hummus would be about 25 calories, and the falafel brand I used would contribute approximately 50 calories. However, I used a very specific brand of falafel mix and goat cheese and these factors could change the nutrition content significantly. I would say that it is likely to be no more than 250 calories per whole stuffed pita (2 halves). If you have questions about this, please leave a comment or email (address above) and I will do my best to answer.
Also, I love to talk to people about food and read food blogs. Please comment so I can visit your blog too!
This post is part 2 in a series leading up to the greatest stuffed pita of all time. The first recipe was piquillo pepper hummus and the last is stuffed pita. This hummus is amazingly and so simple. If you have time to make these pitas, you have time to make the hummus. You really need to try it. You’ll thank me. The second recipe is for pita.
Pita bread is common in the Mediterranean area and is used as a pseudo spoon to scoop dips or sauces. It’s puffed up and has a pocket in the middle that makes them perfect for stuffing with sandwich like ingredients. The possibilities are endless when you have a pita. Whatever your favorite sandwich is, you can turn it into a stuffed pita and make it even better. Although making any kind of bread takes time, the out come is amazing and I would recommend this recipe.
Recipe for the Pita (Pitta):
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups all purpose flour, plus some for sprinkling
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp yeast
Active Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hours 45 minutes
Makes: 15- 4″ pitas
Using a bread machine place all the ingredients into the bread pan in the order specified by your manufacturer. If you aren’t sure, it’s common to place them from wet to dry (the order that I have them listed). Set to dough. Add water if the dough appears too dry (I added about a teaspoon of water and my dough was perfect after that). If you do not have a bread machine, mix the ingredients in a stand mixer with a dough hook or by hand and knead for at least 10 minutes. Let rest in a warm area for 1 hour.
When the dough cycle (or resting time) has finished, divide the dough into 15 equal parts. For larger pitas, divide the dough into fewer parts. Shape each part into a ball. Cover the balls with a damp paper towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. If you have a baking stone place it in the oven to preheat as well. Roll each ball into a circle or an oval about 1/4″ thick (very thin). Cover again with a damp paper towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
Move the pitas to the stone or place on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes or until they are puffy and lightly browned. I had to bake mine in parts so make sure that you give your oven time to reheat from opening and closing the door. Transfer the finished pitas to a wire rack to cool.
Enjoy with hummus, stuffed, or plain. And don’t forget to go for second helpings!
I wasn’t really sure what to call this soup. It’s mostly carrots, but just carrot soup sounds boring. I thought about calling it Spicy-Ginger-Onion-Garlic-Carrot-Soup, but I thought that was too long.
Anyway, I made soup! The boyfriend is sick and since I’m vegetarian, I went hunting for a chicken soup alternative. I’ve heard (but I have no idea if it’s true) that ginger, garlic, and onions are all supposed to be good for you if you’re sick. Add a big helping of Vitamin C from the carrots, and I think this soup qualifies as an immune-booster soup. The bonus is that it tastes about 50 million times better than cherry cough syrup. This soup is delicious and will feel great on a sore throat. Also, I just realized this recipe is vegan. It’s so yummy that I didn’t even realize it.
Another bonus is that I got to whip out my immersion blender that I got from my mom this weekend. One of the best parts of moving out is that you get so much stuff when you go to visit. I returned with a Gamecube (Super Smash Bros., anyone?), a pasta roller (I’ll let you guess what my next recipe will be), an immersion blender, and a bunch of other random hand-me-downs. Thanks, Mom!
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can still make this recipe. Just pour the soup into a regular blender and puree it until it’s smooth. You’ll get the same results except you’ll lose whatever you spill. I know I’d probably spill about half of it. I hope you all are more coordinated than I am.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
about 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tbsp chives
1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tbsp thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
1 lbs carrots, pealed and chopped into 1″ pieces
4 cups (2 cans) vegetable stock
Active time: 10 minutes
Inactive time: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 4 portions
Soup is pretty easy to make. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions, red pepper, garlic, ginger, chives, crushed red pepper, thyme, and paprika (what a list!). Saute until the onions turn a light brown color (about 5 to 10 minutes).
Add the vegetable stock and carrots and bring to a bowl. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
If you have an immersion blender, use it now to blend the soup. I left some chunks just because I like a little texture in my soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour the soup into a blender or food processor and blend until it’s your desired chunkiness.
Garnish with crackers and/or extra chives. Serve after it’s cooled so you don’t burn your tongue like I did. As always, don’t be afraid to go for second helpings!
I guess I lied last week when I said I would always post on Wednesday. With Thanksgiving and my boyfriend’s birthday, things got a little busy. I’ll try again next week (I got a pasta roller during the sales for Black Friday and I’m very excited to use it). In other news, I’m back with my family in Colorado! Things have been great with lots of food, laughs, and overall a good time. I have a younger brother and sister that were both home too so the whole family is here. Tomorrow I get to see my brother dive for the first time since I moved to Phoenix. I here he’s gotten really good. It’s always fun to watch him flip and twirl in the air; it’s so elegant. Everything is going really well (except I miss my kitty and my boyfriend!).
AGAIN, I PROMISE THESE ARE EASY. Sorry, that felt necessary. Ahem. Anyway.
Before I moved to Phoenix, I was mildly obsessed with making bread. So, my brother and sister both requested I make bread, specifically Asiago bagels. I couldn’t say no. Below is the recipe and how I made them. Since I’m near Denver now, I made some adjustments for high altitude (more water). As always, the nutrition facts are at the bottom of the post.
(makes 8- 3″ bagels)
1 cups warm water (plus 2-1/2 tbsp for high altitude)
3 cups flour
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese (Next time I’m planning on using 3/4 cups to make them a little cheesier. Feel free to do whatever you like. You can even omit the cheese and make plain bagels.)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 packet or 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
water for boiling (about 3 quarts)
3 tbsp sugar to add to boiling water
cornmeal to sprinkle on baking sheet
1 egg white for topping
extra Asiago for topping
Add the first 6 ingredients to the bread machine pan (water, flour, cheese, salt, sugar, yeast) and set to dough or remove after the second kneading. You can also mix the ingredients yourself by doing a slow knead for 10 minutes, knead quickly for 20 minutes, let rise for 1 hour in a warm area.
Remove the dough from the bread pan and separate into 8 equal parts. I did this by rolling it into a log of approximately uniform length and then cutting it into quarters and then halving the quarters. They still didn’t end up very equal, but they were all delicious.
Roll each piece into a roll. Stick your thumb in the center of the roll to make a hole. Spin the bagel around your finger to widen the hole. Set the bagels under a wet paper towel for about half an hour. Bring the water for boiling to a boil and add the sugar. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Place the bagel into the boiling water for 30 seconds, flip, and let it boil for an additional 30 seconds. Pull the bagel out and set it on a dry paper towel. Do this for all 8 bagels.
Sprinkle the cornmeal onto a baking stone or baking sheet. Transfer the bagels to the baking stone/sheet. Check on the bagels at 20 minutes and add an additional 5 minutes until golden brown (as my sister put it “bagel colored”). I ended up baking mine for 25 minutes
Set on a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes. These taste good warm, but I think they taste even better after they cool for a long time (maybe an hour). They get that chewy bagel texture that I love. Enjoy these bagels and do not forget to always go for second helpings!
Ok. New goal: Put up a post every week on Tuesday evening. I read somewhere that Wednesday morning is when the most people are on the internet. I don’t know if it’s true, but it posting before Wednesday seems like a good goal. Especially since I totally abandoned this blog for about two weeks. I can’t really expect to gain loyal readers if I abandon them now can I? For any potentially loyal readers, I apologize. I won’t do it again. I don’t even have a good excuse for why I didn’t post. My family was in town for a week (we went to the Grand Canyon!) and then the other week the things I made were not very good. I’m going to start making drafts before I post online so that even if I don’t have time that week, I can still post. I think it’ll work well…I think.
In other news, it’s fall. This means there are a flurry of pumpkin and butternut squash recipes. I thought I’d try one to see how it went. It turned out awesome. Since butternut squash doesn’t have a low GI, this recipe is not the best for diabetics. However, this recipe does have very few calories per serving. You can check it out in the nutrition facts. Now, on to the recipe!
(Makes 8 side dishes or 4 main courses)
1 medium to large butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
1 green pepper (optional)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup lowfat cream cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1. The goal of this first part is to end up with butternut squash mash. I’ll explain how I did it and then how I think it could be done. First preheat the oven to 425°F. Next, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and guts. Place the squash cut side up on a baking tray and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until the flesh is soft and you can easily insert a fork (about an hour depending on the size of the squash). When the squash is done, remove from oven and let cool. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scrap out the flesh into a large bowl and mash it up.
I think that a better way to do this would be to peel the squash before placing it in the oven and then cutting it into 1″ cubes. This would reduce the baking time and also allow you to immediately mash the squash when it comes out of the oven. Also, I’m impatient and burnt myself because I didn’t let the squash cool enough. However you want to do it, you want to end up with butternut squash mash.
2. While the squash is in the oven or while it is cool, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the chopped red onion, the chopped green pepper, the thyme, and the ginger. Stir occasionally and cook until the onion and pepper begin to brown. Add to the large bowl with the butternut squash mash.
3. Add the cream cheese and the parmesan cheese to the bowl and mix all the ingredients together until uniform. Spoon the mixture into oven safe dishes. I made mine in 4-3.5 oz ramekins. You could also put all of the mixture into one large baking dish (probably a 9×9 glass casserole dish) for a family style dish. Add the bread crumbs and chopped pecans to the melted butter and mix. Spoon the mixture over the top of the mixture in the dishes as evenly as you can.
4. Place the dish(es) in the oven at 425°F for 25 minutes until the tops begin to brown. Remove from oven. Let cool and then enjoy and don’t hesitate when going for second helpings!
Most people have their typical banana bread recipe that they always go to when they want banana bread. I got this one from my mom. It’s the banana bread I had growing up. I was surprised to see that it required 2 cups of sugar to make 2 loaves of the delicious treat. “I’m never going to be able to have this banana bread!” my mind complained. I went to the store to get the rest of my groceries and spotted some no calorie sweetener for baking. Since I was really craving banana bread, I decided to try it out. It’s just the off brand Kroger kind, so it was cheaper.
So, in addition to the recipe and how to make the bread, I’m going to review the no calorie sweetener I used. The recipe and nutrition facts are still here and just them is the review. I won’t lie to you, even with the zero calorie sweetener, this bread should still be thought of as a desert type bread. It has a lot of oil in it. It’s super delicious, but not especially healthy.
As a side note, the mini loafs would make a great holiday present for coworkers or other acquaintances. The mini loafs are very quick to make and come out amazingly delicious. Minimal effort for maximal reward is the best way to go.
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
6 very ripe (almost all brown) bananas, mashed up.
2 tsp baking soda
1-1/4 cup whole wheat flour (can use regular white flour if you want)
1-1/4 cup white flour
2 tsp salt
2 cups baking sweetener (kroger brand)
Servings: Makes 2 large loafs or 6 mini 3X6″ loafs
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Baking time: 50 for the large loafs, 25-30 for the small loafs.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the banana mash with the eggs and canola oil and mix well. I mixed by hand, but using an electric mixer will help ensure that all the bread has no banana chunks in it. In a separate bowl, combine both types of flour, sweetener, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix again. Grease two 9″ x 5″ or 6 mini 3″ x 6″ bread pans with left over oil. Pour about half of the mixture into each of the pans. Put in the oven for about 50 minutes for the large loafs or 25 minutes for the mini loafs. Check with a knife or toothpick to ensure that they are done. Baking times will vary especially you have very large bananas or one pan didn’t get as much batter as the other, so be sure to watch them carefully after 45 minutes or 20 minutes. Once the knife comes out clean, let them cool for a little bit. Enjoy.
This bread was super yummy. Even my kitty wants to have a bite (I gave him a little bit to see if he liked it and he wouldn’t leave me alone afterwards!).
Servings Per Recipe: 16 (2 loaves of bread with 8 slices)
Amount Per Serving:
Calories – 245.9
Total Fat – 15.4 g
Saturated fat – 1.5g
Cholesterol – 46.3 mg
Sodium – 466.1 mg
Total Carbs – 25.1 g
Dietary Fiber – 2.5 g
Sugar – 5.5 g
Protein – 4.2 g
The bread was AMAZING! Complaints I’ve heard about using an artificial sweetener instead of sugar is that baked goods don’t brown as well. As you can see from the pictures, the bread browned beautifully. The baking time was a little longer than I expected, but I’m not sure if this was due to the sweetener or being at a different altitude than normal. Either way, the bread was sweetened perfectly and the texture was fine. I would use this sweetener all the time if I had to. One draw back is that it was fairly expensive, especially when compared to regular sugar. It was about $5 for this small bag which has a little bit more than 4 cups in it.
You see that title and you think, what are arancini rice balls and why would I want to make them? They are tomato-y rice surrounding a little pocket of cheesy goodness and you want to make them because they are AMAZING (don’t they look amazing?). These are an appetizer from Italy and I love them. A lot. If I have them, I usually make them my main course because I always eat so many of them.
So I decided to be adventurous and try to make them, modified to be healthy of course. First thing I did was I switched the usual arborrio rice for brown rice. This makes it so that it’s a whole grain and better for you. Second, I baked them instead of frying them which is how they are usually prepared. This decreases the fat content. Even with these healthy switches, they still came out amazing and delicious. What’s better is that each ball is less than 100 calories! Awesome, right?
These are a little spicy, which my boyfriend and I really like. If you’re not a fan, add less of the crushed red pepper. Generally, the amounts listed for spices are flexible and you can add more or less based on your preference.
Arancini rice balls are a really great way to use up left over rice. I made some brown rice the night before to go with some indian food and made a little extra to try out with these guys. Most of the ingredients are probably things you have in your pantry right now making them super easy to make.
Here is the recipe for these bad boys:
4 cups cooked brown rice (chill the rice if you want to make these all in one day)
1/3 cup (plus some for sprinkling) asiago (or parmesan) cheese, grated
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme
1-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (less for a less spicy dish)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, part skim milk, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup gorgonzola grumbles (optional, but they really make it yummy!)
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (You can use regular bread crumbs if you don’t have/don’t know what panko is. If you want to use panko, you can find it at Trader Joe’s.)
Active time: 20 minutes
Inactive time: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: Makes 16-2″ balls. 1 serving = 1 ball (but I had four for dinner with some broccoli)
Combine the cooked rice, beaten eggs, asiago cheese, and tomato paste and mix until uniform. Add the dried thyme and crushed red pepper and mix again. If your rice was already cold then you can go right on to the next step. If not, chill it until it is cold. I left mine overnight.
Now comes the tricky part. Making the balls. I will admit that I failed spectacularly at the several times before getting it down. I’m here to share you what I learned. First, let’s get everything set up. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a cooking sheet with PAM or something like it (I found an olive oil spray. It makes me happy). Next, get out a large spoon and moisten your hands. Keeping your hands moist throughout the ball forming process will ensure the rice won’t stick to you. Now cup one hand as if holding water and spoon a dollop (about 1/8 of a cup or 2 tbsp) of the rice mixture into your palm. Flatten it out with your other hand to make a cup sort of thing. Now place a mozzarella cube and some gorgonzola crumbles (if using) in the middle. Spoon another dollop of rice mixture on top. With your free hand try to smoosh the rice mixture you added on top to cover the cheese. Then bring your hands together to form the ball shape and transfer it to the other hand. This way you can check to make sure the cheese isn’t leaking out either side. In the end, you want to have a ball of rice without any cheese showing through. The balls will be fragile so don’t check it too much or they will fall apart. Place the ball on the prepared cookie sheet. Do this about 16 times.
This next part is fun, but be careful still. Take the panko or breadcrumbs and pour them into a shallow bowl or a plate. Then roll one of your balls around in it to coat it. Be gentle with the balls. I had a couple fall apart in the panko and that was sad. All that work to create a ball gone to waste! Once coated sufficiently, place back on the cookie sheet. Do this with all of the balls.
Once you’re done coating the balls in crumbs, place them in the oven for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip them over CAREFULLY so that they brown evenly. Devour immediately and don’t forget to go for second helpings!
Recipe makes 16 servings (1 serving = 1 ball)
Amount Per Serving:
Calories – 99.5
Total Fat – 3 g
Saturated Fat – 1.5 g
Cholesterol – 28 mg
Sodium – 159 mg
Potassium – 114 mg
Total Carbohydrate – 14 g
Dietary Fiber – 1.3 g
Sugars – 0.8 g
Protein – 4.2 g
I love pizza. I think that pretty much everyone loves pizza. The major problem with pizza is that it’s too delicious and has about a zillion calories. I tried to create a pizza dough that you can use with any toppings that’s healthier than a frozen pizza or take out but just as yummy. At first, I was just using regular flour, but I thought today that I’d try to make it a little healthier by making it whole wheat. It turned out really well! It didn’t taste different from the white crust and it’s healthier.
Do you know why whole wheat items are healthier for you than white items? This is a little bit of biology so if you are scared of science, you can just skip this paragraph and get right to the recipe. If you want to know, read on. While they can have the same amount of calories, whole wheat items have a lower glycemic index (GI) than white. This means that it takes longer to break down the carbohydrates and release glucose (sugar) into the blood stream. Then your pancreas doesn’t have to work as hard to make insulin to break down that glucose so you are less likely to get diabetes later. Basically whole wheat = less diabetes. Hooray!
Enjoy this pizza, and don’t be worried about going in for second helpings.
Special tips are in italics. Nutrition facts are at the bottom.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough:
1-1/3 cup lukewarm water (warm to touch, but not too hot)
1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour (if you don’t have this, you can use all purpose flour)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
3 tsp active dry yeast
Prep time: 30 minutes
Inactive time: 1.5 hours
Servings: Makes 4-12″ pizzas. 1 serving = 1/2 pizza
If you have a bread machine, put all the ingredients in the pan. Most suggest doing it wet first then dry and yeast last. You can just dump them in the pan in the order that I listed them above and that should work. If you don’t have a bread machine then here’s what Bobby Flay has to say about the matter in his pizza dough recipe on foodnetwork.com (this is the recipe I started with). Or you could just do what my bread machine does: slow knead for 10 minutes, knead quickly for 20 minutes, let rise for 1 hour in a warm area.
After your dough has risen remove it from the pan or bowl and knock it back (punch it a little). Now would be a good time to preheat the oven to 450°F. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Roll or pat each part into a ball. I find that patting by holding it in one hand and hitting it with the other it works better than rolling it. Maybe I’m a bad ball roller, but patting it works for me. If your dough is a little dry at this point, moisten your hands with a little water and then work with the dough. Next, I use a rolling pin and try my hardest to flatten it into a circle. I always seem to mess this up. My pizzas are lopsided. As long as the dough is an even thickness, then it should be fine. Roll up the ends a little to make a crust if you want. At this point I recommend putting the extra pizza dough in the freezer. I separate the crusts with some wax paper so they don’t stick and then put them in a ziplock bag.
Now top the pizza with sauce, cheese, and whatever goodies you want. If you want part of it to be veggie and part of it to be meat, you can do that since you’re making it yourself! So convenient, isn’t it? And you know that no one is going to mess it up. I did a red sauce I bought from Fresh & Easy, mozzarella cheese, sliced crimini mushrooms, and turkey on half. If you use mushrooms, you will end up with water on your pizza since the mushrooms dry out and leak a little. Don’t worry, you can just dab it off. Sprinkle some more corn meal on a pizza stone or a baking sheet and place your pizza on the stone/sheet. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Let the pizza cool before you cut it. Seriously. Pizza burns hurt.
Now you can enjoy your awesome creation.
8 Servings (1 serving = ½ pizza, crust only)
Amount Per Serving:
Calories – 282
Total Fat – 8 g
Saturated Fat – 1 g
Cholesterol – 0 mg
Sodium – 585 mg
Potassium – 51 mg
Total Carbohydrate – 47 g
Dietary Fiber – 4.5 g
Sugars – 0.6 g
Protein – 7.4 g