Gluten Free Parmesan Cauliflower Pizza Crust

DSC_0089 (2)Cauliflower pizza crust is another great idea.  I wish I could say it was my own, but there are many, many other bloggers that have shared their recipes before me.  Most of them leave me feeling like I was missing something because those crusts weren’t quite taking care of my pizza cravings.  While it was nice to still have the taste of the pizza, most of the time, they were meant to be eaten with a fork and were more like a layered cauliflower casserole instead of a pick-up-in-your-hands, chew-on-the-crust kind of a pizza.

In my Parmesan Cauliflower Pizza Crust, I accomplished everything I wanted to.  I made a pizza crust that, instead of tasting like steamed cauliflower, came out with a rich and nutty parmesan flavor, had a bit of a bite, and remained gluten-free.  The first goal was to remove as much moisture from the cauliflower as I could so it wouldn’t steam itself in baking process.  I read a few recipes that called for cooking the cauliflower in the microwave.  Since I knew that wouldn’t remove a lot of moisture on it’s own, I started the cauliflower cooking process in a sauté pan. I cooked it over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes and then finished it in the microwave for another 3 minutes.  Then, I chilled it for 30 minutes in my freezer. (Actually, out on my sub-zero deck at the time this recipe was made!  Ha!)  After the mixture was chilled, I removed the remaining moisture by squeezing it in my hands with paper towels.  It can take quite a few minutes and several paper towels, but trust me, the results are worth it.  After the cauliflower is mostly dry, I added 1 egg, skim mozzarella cheese, and finely grated parmesan to help fill in any open crevices.  Then I firmly pressed it into a well-greased 10 inch oven safe sauté pan.  Once again, I used paper towel to press the crust into the pan to remove any excess moisture then baked it at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes (or until it was a deep golden brown).  After that, I flipped the crust out of the pan onto a baking sheet, which made the well-sealed bottom my new top!  Afterwards, I added a few of my favorite toppings like sauce, cheese, mushrooms, spinach, cheese, a few pepperoni to keep in the pizza mood, and cheese.  Oh yeah….and cheese! (Ok..there is not really that much in the recipe, but it is just soooo good!)  After a quick 10 more minutes in the oven, you have a delicious, pick-up-with-your-hands, not-missing-a-thing piece of pizza!

Parmesan Cauliflower Pizza Crust

  •  1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 cloves of garlic, fresh minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup shredded skim mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese


Add cauliflower to your food processor and pulse until a rice-like texture is reached.  In a 10 inch saute pan, add olive oil, riced cauliflower, garlic, and Italian seasoning.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until all of the cauliflower is nearly translucent.  Remove mixture from the pan and place in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 3 minutes.  Remove and place in freezer to chill for 30 minutes or until completely cooled.  Remove the bowl from the freezer and squeeze out the remaining moisture using several paper towels.  Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly combined.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease 10 inch oven safe saute pan.  Add the cauliflower mixture and press firmly with fingertips and paper towels to create a well packed crust.  Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust appears to be a deep golden brown color.  Remove from the oven and flip onto a cookie sheet.  Top with desired pizza toppings and bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and toppings are cooked through.

German Pancakes

IMG_20150322_090218It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and what better way to spend it than with special breakfast.  My husband was off to watch his oldest son play hockey bright and early this morning and I had every intention of getting out of bed and making something amazing.  But……my youngest son woke up and wanted some snuggles, so did the dog, and the cat….plus….the dark roast coffee and “Peter Rabbit” cartoons were just too good to pass up.  Because I was now short on time for my breakfast, I remembered an oldie but goodie recipe for German Pancakes.  This quick and easy breakfast is whipped together in minutes and bakes in the oven in less than 15 minutes.  Top it with your favorite fresh fruit or fruit pie filling and, of course, powdered sugar and you have an impressive, light and delicious breakfast ready in no time!

German Pancakes

  • 3/4 cup flour, sifted or stirred with a  whisk to break up the lumps
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2/3 cup milk – the higher the fat the better (of course…haha)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon iodized salt


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whip the eggs until they are a pale, yellow mixture.  Whisk in butter, milk, sugar, and salt.  Whisk in the flour just until combined. Do not over mix.  Preheat an 11 inch oven safe skillet on the stove.  Spray with pan spray and pour batter into the pan.  Bake in the oven for 12-18 minutes or just until the edges are golden and the middle has puffed slightly.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with your favorite fruit.


Panko Parmesan Green Beans

Panko Green BeansI do love green bean casserole, but I always feel a little guilty after eating it.  Now please understand that I am not claiming my version to be “light,” but it’s at least a little lighter and brighter in flavor and not swimming in sodium-filled condensed soup.  (The holiday hams will have enough of that.)  A bonus to this recipe is that the ingredients can all be mixed inside the casserole dish, and you can save time by baking it at the same time as the ham.  Panko Parmesan Green Beans are made by tossing fresh beans with olive oil, fresh minced garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Then they are sprinkled with Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs and shredded parmesan cheese then baked for 30 minutes.  They were also a big hit with the boys.  I described them as green beans sprinkled with cheesy garlic bread…that was all it took!  They quickly disappeared.  I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with that description, which is sure to even convince picky adults to try it!

Panko Parmesan Green Beans

  • 4 cups (estimated) of fresh cut green beans
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh garlic paste.  (found in the fresh herb section of the grocery store in a tube) or 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced fine
  • 1/2 cup Italian Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese


In a 9×9 casserole dish, combine the beans, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Toss until coated evenly.  Sprinkle the mixtures with panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Toss to coat the beans again and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.


Cornmeal and Chia Crusted Tilapia with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce

DSC_0054You might be familiar with the chia seed because you have pasted the tiny seeds onto a porous clay figurine and heard the catchy/slightly annoying ch-ch-ch-chia jingle on the infomercials, but did you know that Chia seeds make a great addition to your diet and are said to be a “superfood”?  Chia comes from the Mayan word for strength, and the seeds were a staple in Aztec and Mayan diets.  Chia seeds are a good source of fatty acids, fiber, calcium, and antioxidants.  They are thought to help stabilize blood sugars, reduce joint inflammation, sustain a high level of energy, and lower your blood pressure.  They are also thought to have more antioxidants than fresh blueberries.

Chia seeds can be either black or white and used raw or cooked.  They have a mild, nut-like flavor and can be sprinkled on your cereal, salads, or yogurt.  The seeds, unlike flax, do not have to be ground, so they can are very easy to use!  The seeds also swell when mixed with liquids, so they can be soaked in a liquid of your choice to form a gel or pudding. That same swelling nature makes them a great substitute for egg in baked goods.  In Mexico, they are mixed with water and lemon or lime juice to make a drink called “Chia Fresca”.

When chia seeds are not soaked in a liquid, they have a nice, light, crunchy texture.  That light crunch is what makes them a perfect breading option for delicate fish.  Cornmeal and Chia Crusted Tilapia is a great swimsuit friendly way to work fish into your weeknight meal plans.  It only takes 20 minutes to prepare, and the Chipotle Yogurt Sauce adds a nice kick to keep your taste buds happy!

Cornmeal and Chia Crusted Tilapia with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce

  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal ground
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 8 ounces Greek yogurt, plain
  • ¼ cup chipotle flavored hot sauce (Tabasco or Cholula brands work well)
  • Pan Spray


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a shallow bowl, mix together cornmeal, chia seed, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  In another small bowl, mix Greek yogurt and chipotle hot sauce.  Set aside.

Lay tilapia fillets on a cutting board and spread one generous tablespoon of chipotle yogurt sauce over the fillets.  (do not double dip into the mixture because the remaining amount can be used as a serving sauce.)

Lay the fillet, yogurt side down in the cornmeal mixture and press lightly.  Remove from the cornmeal mixture and place on a greased baking sheet cornmeal side up.  Spray each fillet with pan spray to help the cornmeal mixture brown evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes or until fillets are cooked through and the cornmeal mixture is golden brown.   Serve with reserved yogurt mixture.

Serves 4


Cherry Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cake

Are you looking for an delicious and impressive dessert to share with loved ones today?  Or Maybe you are just planning on a nice quiet evening to yourself.  Either way, this Cherry Pie Stuff Chocolate Cake should be on your menu.  This fall we tackled the task of an apple pie inside of a spice cake and it was amazing, but the boys decided this time we should try this version as a twist on the very popular chocolate covered cherries.  To make this cake, I started with a pre-baked cherry pie and store bought cake mix.  You can also you the premade/bake yourself kind that is in the freezer section.  The cake pan I used was a 10 inch round by 3 inch deep pan that I purchased in the cake decorating aisle at a craft store.  You can use a smaller cake pan, if you wish, by just using 1 box of cake mix instead of 1.5.  Once the cake batter is prepared according to the directions on the box, pour half of it into the bottom of your prepared cake pan, place the prebaked pie inside of the cake pan upside down on the batter, then pour the remaining batter over the top.  50 minutes later, viola!  A pie/cake that is sure to be the talk of your kitchen table!  Get our your favorite glass of wine or milk and enoy!

Cherry Pie Stuffed Chocolate Cake

  • 2 – 15 ounce box chocolate cake mix prepared according to directions up to the baking portion
  • 1 prebaked cherry pie
  • Whipped Cream for Garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the cake batters large in a mixing bowl and whisk until all ingredients are evenly combined.  Pour ½ of the batter amount into a prepared 10 round cake pan.  (I use a 3 inch depth pan)  Invert the cherry pie onto the cake batter, remove the foil.  Top with remaining cake batter and bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes or until cake has risen, top is solid and cake tester comes out clean and free of cake batter.  (will have pie on it)

Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 hours.  (You can cheat and set it outside for 30 minutes in our subzero temps)  Invert cake onto a pie plate, slice and top with whipped cream for serving.

Pesto Bacon Potato Skins

Superbowl Sunday is here and we have most of our spread figured out.  Queso, chicken wings, and potato skins.  We are making three different flavors of potato skins three ways this year.  Classic with cheddar and bacon, pizza, and one my new favorites, Pesto Bacon.  I love the tastes of the fresh basil and garlic on the warm potato skins.  Delicious!


Pesto Bacon Potato Skins

  • 6 medium red potatoes, baked, halved and scooped out (leaving about 1/4 inch of potato  on the skins)
  • 1/ 2 cup basil pesto
  • 1/3 cup bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes


Preheat oven to 375.  Place potato skins, cut side up in a baking pan.  Brush with pesto sauce, sprinkle with bacon and Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.  Remove from oven and top with diced tomatoes.  Enoy!

Fireball Chicken Lollipops

Many of you will be tuning into the Superbowl next weekend, and whether or not you are watching it at home with friends or family, for the game or for the commercials, you will also be looking for some tasty game day recipes.  Today, I am going to share with you a recipe for chicken drummies that is far from ordinary.  Fireball Chicken Lollipops is a quick and easy recipe that combines your usual buffalo sauce with Fireball Whiskey.  This combination sounds strange, but it gets really addicting after the first bite or two.  The warmth from the cinnamon adds a whole new dimension of flavor to your basic buffalo wing, but the newness doesn’t stop there.  A refreshing Cilantro Chutney is a nice change from the endless amounts of ranch or blue cheese dressing that are popular sides with wings.

To make the lollipops, I found the largest pack of drummies I could find.  You can use a smaller batch, but in my house full of boys, I find that chicken wings or dummies disappear just about as quickly as I can make them!  The drummies are turned into “Lollipops” by using a technique called “Frenching”.  To french the chicken, stand the drummie on its larger end by holding the narrow top and use a small sharp knife or a pair of kitchen shears to scrape and push the skin and meat down to make a plump “lollipop” while exposing the bone.  It takes a little extra effort than just going with regular drummies, but they keep hands clean and look so cute!  Once the drumettes are frenched, season them then fry in peanut oil for seven to eight minutes or until they are golden brown.  Remove them from the oil, let drain, and then bake in the oven until all meat has reached the proper chicken cooking temperature of 165 degrees.  While they are baking, prepare the amazing Fireball Buffalo Sauce.  To make the sauce, combine Franks Red Hot with Fireball whiskey and a touch of fresh grated ginger; then, bring it to a boil.  That’s it!  After removing the lollipops from the oven, roll them in the sauce.  You will also have time to prepare the Cilantro Chutney because it is just a dump, blend, and serve recipe.  My favorite.   Simply place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender, pulse so that it stays on the chunky side, and pour into your serving dish.  It can be made a few days ahead, but the color won’t stay as vibrant.

The flavors of the cinnamon whiskey buffalo sauce and the fresh herbs might not be what you originally had in mind for wings on game day, but this is sure to keep both foodies and football fans happy!


Fireball Chicken Lollipops

  • 3lbs chicken drummettes, frenched
  • 6 cups peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper


Fireball Buffalo Sauce

  • 2 cups Franks Red hot sauce
  • 1 cup Fireball whiskey
  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger


Cilantro Chutney

  • 1.5 cups parsley leaves
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • ¼ cup water



Preheat peanut oil in a dutch oven on the stovetop over high heat to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine ground ginger, garlic powder, kosher salt and cracked pepper  Season frenched chicken drummettes with mixture and gently place in hot oil, being sure to tip the chicken away from you to avoid splashing hot oil on yourself. Gently turn over occasionally to brown on all sides.  After about 7 minutes, the lollipops should have a nice color on them.  Remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels.  Preheat oven to 425 and place wings on baking sheet. Bake for an additional 10-20 minutes or until thermometer reaches 165 when placed in the thickest part of the meat but not touching the bone.

While lollipops are baking, prepare the Fireball buffalo Sauce and the Cilantro Chutney.  In a small sauce pan on the stove combine the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer until ready to serve.  For the chutney, combine the ingredients in a blender or a food processor, and blend until combined and only slightly chunky.


To serve:

Remove the wings from the oven and dip and roll in the buffalo sauce.  Be sure to leave the ends clean and only dip the meat portion.  Serve with dipping cups of chutney or drizzle chutney over the top or bottom of serving platter.

Roasted Tomato & Chorizo Nachos

My Super Bowl spread has changed a bit over the years, but there are a few dishes that have managed to stick around through thick and thin.  (That is fully intended to be a reference to my waistline! Ha!)  One of those dishes is nachos.  In one form or another, those crisp, salty, cheese-covered chips are always a crowd pleaser.  They are also the enemy of my new year’s fitness goals and my jeans the next day.  This year, I found a way to make them a little more of a waist pleaser with my Roasted Tomato and Chorizo Nachos.

Chorizo sausage is a delicious Spanish, Portuguese, or Mexican flavored fresh sausage.  Fresh Mexican chorizo is a type of sausage that needs to be cooked before eating as opposed to the more traditional European Spanish and Portuguese sausages that are fermented, cured, or smoked.  The Chorizo gets its distinctive red color and smoky flavor from smoked paprika in Spain or Portugal and from smoked chili peppers if it is made in the Mexican style.

No, sausage is not my trick to making these nachos more New Year’s Resolution friendly, but it is the trick to making me want to eat them.  After crisp frying the chorizo and setting it aside to drain, I add it to a lightly pureed blend of oven-roasted plum tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and garlic.  Then the mixture is simmered for 20 minutes to make a delicious vegetable/meat sauce to pour over crisp, oven-baked (and lightly salted) corn tortillas.  The nachos are garnished with fresh guacamole, sliced jalapenos, black olives, and crumbled cotija cheese in place of the usual crock-pot of yellow gold.  This way I can still get my chips and queso, just a healthier version.  The sauce has been replaced mostly with vegetables, and the cheese is limited to a few sprinkles instead of an entire cup full.  Not only are the results are fantastic enough to make their way to more menus than just the Super Bowl, but my jeans can also rest easy!

Roasted Tomato and Chorizo Nachos

  • 4 cups Baked Tortilla Chips
  • 12 ounces chorizo sausage, removed from casing
  • 2 pounds plum or roma tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced large
  • 2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, diced large
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup guacamole
  • ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup sliced black olives
  • 1-2 jalapenos, fresh, sliced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, fresh chopped
  • Light sour cream, optional
  • 1 diced avocado, optional (or Easy Guacamole)


 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and place in a re-sealable plastic bag along with the onion, garlic, bell pepper, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out on rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tomatoes have started to turn dark brown areas.

 Remove the pan from the oven and place all ingredients into a food processor.  Pulse until mixture is slightly chunky.

While the vegetable are roasting, use a small sauté pan over medium-high heat to cook the chorizo sausage until browned and slightly crispy.  Break the sausage apart as it cooks.  Removed the sausage from the pan and drain on a paper towel for 5 minutes.

Using a medium sauce pot, combine the roasted vegetables and chorizo and cook together over medium low heat for 20 minutes.  Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Remove the pan from heat.

Using a serving platter spread out tortilla chips.  Spoon the sauce over the chips and sprinkle with cotija cheese, jalapenos, and olives.  Add dollops of guacamole and sour cream as desired.  Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.


Easy Guacamole

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup salsa verde (green salsa)


Combine ingredients and smash ingredients with a fork until desired texture. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.


“Fried” Green Beans

Last night I decided to do a little experimenting in making one of my favorite appetizers….Fried Green Beans!  I love the idea of eating green beans as a snack, but I feel a little guilty because they are fried.  It leaves me a little conflicted.  Does it count as a vegetable if it is dripping in grease?  My baked version still has the bread-like coating, but they are so much crunchier than their fried counter parts.  Serve them with a little pizza sauce and it’s a sure way to sneak a serving of vegetables in for the day!





“Fried” Green Beans

  • 24 green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups Italian Seasoned Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, Bisquick, and garlic powder.  Whisk with a fork until smooth.  Pour bread crumbs into a shallow bowl.  Dip each bean into the Bisquick mixture, let the excess drip off and then roll in the bread crumbs.  Lay beans onto a sprayed baking sheet and bake for 15 minute or until golden brown.  Serve with pizza sauce.



(Almost)Guiltless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars!

It’s been a few years since I posted my black bean brownie recipe, so I thought I would finally get around to testing out another idea I had.  What if I used pinto or white beans to make a delicious base for cookie dough bars?!

I have always been fond of beans.  My father and brother are bean farmers, so it was something that we have always used in our cooking.  More recently, I have become more aware of food allergens because several family members have discovered they are allergic to gluten and a future nephew (and possibly myself) with egg allergies.  The beans in this recipe serve as an alternative to flour without having to use on of those fancy baking mixes.  They also have many health benefits because they are high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, folate, and potassium.  The chia seeds, or flax seed if you prefer, also have many health benefits and are a great substitute for eggs in baked goods.   I have been using them for that off and on for a few years and haven’t run into a single problem with it.  The ratio to use is 1 tablespoon finely ground chia or flax seeds to 3 tablespoons of water.  They can easily be ground in a coffee grinder, but a blender will work too.  In this recipe, I do use a lesser amount, but that is accounted for by adding extra moisture elsewhere.

Alright….enough of the healthy stuff.  How do they taste?  The answer is DELICIOUS, but that was the tricky part.  I found a balance for the fat, by using 1/2 applesauce and coconut oil instead of the usual butter that found in all of the great cookie doughs.  I did have a slight worry that it wouldn’t taste enough like cookie dough, so I added 1/4 teaspoon of imitation butter flavoring, but this ingredient can easily be left out.  Quick oats (which can be found gluten free) where used for texture and as a binder for the bars and vanilla, dark brown sugar, and semi sweet chocolate chips were added because they are the best parts of cookie dough bars!

We ate these warm out of the oven with whipped cream as a bedtime snack.  They were not able to be pickup up like a true bar, but my son and I were both very pleased with the results and I hope you are too! Warm, gooey, chocolate goodness!

(Almost) Guiltless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

  • 2-15 cans pinto or white beans, drained, rinsed really well
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds, finely ground and mixed with 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1.5 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespooon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon imitation butter flavor
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  (about 1 minute) Scrap down the bowl and blend for 15 seconds.  Remove from the processor bowl and place in a medium  sized mixing bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Place in a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges look darkened and start to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.  (can remain in pan longer if you like….it’s just to help the bars set before serving)