Ham and Arugula Shortcrust Rolls


I’m always coming across new food challenges to participate in. It helps me be keep my recipes varied, because I get new ideas of things to make! In my internet sleuthing, I found The Pastry Challenge. The idea of the Pastry Challenge is to make a pastry item that meets the monthly theme. This month’s theme was anything, which really is a nice way to start this since I haven’t been doing much baking lately.

I decided to use the first time back into pastry baking to be a dinner item – this is a shortcrust wrapped up with ham, arugula, mustard, and parmesan cheese. It was a great choice. I added just a bit too much water to the dough, but all-in-all, delicious!

Ham and Arugula Shortcrust Rolls

1 cup flour
1/8 tsp red chili powder
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/ 8 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp ice water
2 tbsp honey mustard
5 slices honey ham
1/3 cup arugula


  1. Sift the flour, chili powder, salt, and pepper together. Put into a food processor and pulse several times.
  2. Add the butter and pulse into a course meal is formed.
  3. Add the 1 1/2 tsp cheese and pulse several times.
  4. Add the egg and pulse several times.
  5. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time and pulse until the dough comes together.
  6. Shape into a ball and wrap in seran wrap. Refrigerate for half hour.
  7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Smear with mustard. Top with ham, arugula, and 1 tbsp parmesan.
  8. Roll into a wrap, starting on the long side.
  9. Put in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 375. Cut the dough into slices. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

* makes about 9 rolls


Caramelized Onions and Red Wine Naan Pizzas

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I don’t know what’s wrong with me blogging lately – I just have zero motivation to do it. I’ve also lost a lot of motivation for cooking. I’m hoping to change it up in the New Year, mostly because I like to look back and create this sort of cookbook of recipes I liked enough to eat again. So I think a new year’s resolution is going to be to update this thing like once a week. That shouldn’t be impossible.

This year has just been zipping by. I don’t know where this year went. And also, this holiday season has just snuck up on me. I’m going to my parents’ on Wednesday until Sunday. Then back home to ring in 2016.

This month’s Alphabakes is all about the letter “N.” Caroline and Ros are letting the letter “N” stand for NOEL, so I’m expecting they’ll be receiving a ton of sweet treats baked up specially for the holidays! I veered in a different direction this month.

AlphaBakes Logo

Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Naan Pizzas

2 pieces of pre-made garlic naan
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 onion, sliced
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup red wine (I used the rest of the Bogel zinfandel I had drank over the weekend)
2 tbsp parsley, minced
1/2 tbsp rosemary, minced
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup feta
salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. In a pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the onions and cook them over medium-high heat, allowing them to brown. Make sure they do not burn by stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. In the pan, heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Cook the mushrooms for 4 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
  4. Pour in the wine, parsley, and rosemary with the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have soaked up the wine. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place your naan on a baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle the naan with the mozzarella. Top with the onions. Then top with the mushrooms. Finish by sprinkling feta on top.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

* serves 2
* This is also being shared with Mix It Up Monday

Broccoli Arugula Pepperoni Pizza


Eek! The day is speeding by and I needed to get this dish made and posted! Food ‘n Flix is celebrating its 5th birthday this month and to celebrate, we could make a recipe based on ANY of the past movies hosted by the fun monthly challenge. I’ve participated in and hosted a ton of the Food ‘n Flix months in the past.

The past movies I hosted included Eat Pray Love, Delicatessen, Elf, Like Water For Chocolate, and Lady and the Tramp. And! In October I’m hosting Hocus Pocus!

Anyway, Food ‘n Flix has been such a fun monthly thing to participate in. It’s truly one of my favorite food round-ups. Heather, our fearless leader, is hosting our big party this month.

I decided to watch a movie I’d seen before, but one that I didn’t cook from for Food ‘n Flix because it was before i found out about this community. I watched Mystic Pizza!


Mystic Pizza (starring Julia Roberts who is always my favorite,) is about three girls who work at the Mystic Pizzeria. A true coming of age story, this movie follows sisters Kat and Daisy and their friend JoJo. When not following their own young loves, these girls work at a pizza parlor known for its secret (and delicious) sauce.

This was the perfect movie for me to watch, because I LOVE PIZZA. I love pizza so much. And I always have. When I was a little girl (probably around 3 or so,) my parents had ordered a pizza and brought it home for dinner. I sat down at the table and burst out crying. “What’s wrong Betta?” my parents asked.

“You can’t eat pizza! Pizza’s my friend!”

I didn’t cry over the chicken we ate or the cow or the pig – you know, living things. No, I cried because they were eating my dear friend Pizza. My friendliness with pizza has clearly changed, because now I’d eat it any day of the week.

I didn’t have time to make the dough for this pizza and tried the Pillsbury Pizza Crusts that were in a tube. It was surprising good and super easy! I need to get some more of those for some easy dinner nights.


Broccoli Arugula Pepperoni Pizza

pizza dough for one pizza
2 cups chopped broccoli
5 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup pesto
spicy pepperoni
1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450. Stretch your pizza dough on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. While the dough is baking, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. Add the arugula to the water and let wilt. Drain. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Spread the pesto on the pizza crust.
  4. Spread the broccoli and arugula over the pesto.
  5. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Place the pepperoni on top of the cheese, covering the pizza.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before attempting to cut.

Eggplant Meatballs


I really need to find my camera charger for my Canon. The battery is totally dead. I know the charger is somewhere and actually . . . there’s TWO chargers somewhere but until I figure out where that is, my iPhone camera is going to have to suffice. It’s better than nothing and it’s better than some digital cameras, so that’s okay.

In all honesty, I didn’t cook this. My boyfriend did. He cooked it with me in the kitchen guiding him. We’ve decided he needs to learn to cook. So for the past two weeks we’ve been having cooking lessons. He’s been a great student. I’m no expert, but I’m better than nothing. He’s starting to get better than nothing, but we will see what happens if he has to cook for himself. We probably need more lessons.

I had chosen this recipe to make for January’s Pasta Please, hosted by Ren Behan: healthy pasta. I love meatballs of all types, whether meaty or vegetarian. These meatballs were in my most recent Food Network Magazine and were perfect for the challenge.

The original recipe called for white beans. I can’t eat most beans so was going to replace them with chickpeas (which I can eat.) Unfortunately, the leftover chickpeas I had were moldy. So we used shredded potato instead. These were great.

pasta please

Eggplant Meatballs

1 small eggplant
1 large egg, beaten
2 small fingerling potatoes, shredded
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup basil, chopped
2 tbsp onion, diced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 cups marinara sauce
8 oz pasta


1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place an eggplant on the sheet. Poke a few times with a fork. Roast the eggplant for 40 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the oven and let cool, but leave the oven on.

2. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop the meat of the eggplant out from the skin and place in a bowl.

3. Add the egg, potatoes, garlic, basil, onion, parmesan, and salt and pepper to the eggplant. Mix together with your hands. Then add the breadcrumbs and mix together with your hands.

4. Form balls in the size of golfballs out of the eggplant mixture. Place on the foil lined baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes.

5. While the meatballs are cooking, cook the pasta per the instructions on the box. Also, in a small pan heat up the marinara sauce.

6. When the meatballs are done, mix together the meatballs, pasta, and sauce. Serve with some extra parmesan cheese on top.

* serves 4
* besides Pasta Please, this recipe is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Butternut Squash Parmigiana


I was going to make eggplant parmigiana, but I decided last week mid-week that I wasn’t going to do any grocery shipping and I was going to use the ingredients I had in the house. I had planned to make this eggplant parmigiana, but didn’t have an eggplant . . . so I searched through my fridge and found a butternut squash that was asking for me to use it. I’ve made mini pizzas on butternut squash before, so I figured this was a good choice of foods to make parmigiana with. I really love butternut squash. This meal turned out to be decadent – with the sweetness of the squash mixed with the salty of the tomato sauce . . . YUM!!! I’m going to not go grocery shopping more and force myself to make do with what I have in the house, because this was magical.

Butternut Squash Parmigiana

3 cups crushed tomatoes
2 medium butternut squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated


1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice the squash into slices 1/3 of an inch thick. Make sure you clean out the center of the squash, disposing of the seeds.

2. Brush the squash slices with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tender.

3. Raise oven heat to 400. Place the tender squash slices in a casserole dish, layering the bottom of the dish. Spoon the tomato sauce on top, followed by the mozzarella, and then the parmesan.

4. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

5. Cool for 10 minutes before enjoying!

* serves 4
* shared with Tasty Tuesdays

Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Fried Capers


Pasta Please is one of the challenges I try to participate in every month, though sometimes the month passes before I get to it.. This was not one of those months! I’m trying to participate in all the fun round-ups that I normally do. This month’s Pasta Please was hosted by Allotment2Kitchen who also hosts a new round up I’m going to start participating in called Eat Your Greens. The idea of Eat Your Greens is to share your vegetarian dishes made with green veggies. This month’s Eat Your Greens was paired together with Pasta Please.

I decided to use cabbage in my recipe for the challenge. My quick google search tells me cabbage may have cancer fighting qualities, as it contains a good amount of sinigrin, which has been in the attention of cancer researchers in developing a cure. However, the way to get the most benefit from the cabbage is to steam it which is not how I cooked it.

For a quick cabbage story, I love cabbage but I hate the smell of it. When I was in college one of my roommates decided she was going to go on a cabbage soup diet or something. She made this huge batch of cabbage soup which just made the house reek. In the end, she couldn’t stomach the soup because of the strong cabbage scent – so that diet was incredibly short lived, but the smell has definitely made an impact on me forever.

But, I haven’t let that get in the way of eating cabbage. It still tastes good to me at least.

This cheesy pasta recipe was delicious. The fried capers were a big hit. I’d never prepared capers like that before, but I definitely will again!

pasta please

Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Fried Capers

1/3 cup + 3 tbsp olive oil
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cabbage, cut into strips
1 onion, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry
8 oz rotini pasta
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste


1. Place a baking sheet in the oven. Preheat oven to 425. Once preheated, remove the sheet from the oven. Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil over the baking sheet. Place the cauliflower on the sheet and drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil over the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, shaking the baking sheet halfway through.

2. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage, onion, and thyme sprigs. Saute for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the white wine to deglaze. Set aside.

3. In a small skillet add the 1/3 cup remaining oil. Once the oil is hot, add the capers. Fry for 2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain.

4. Cook pasta per the directions on the box. Drain, saving 1 cup of the water the pasta cooked in.

5. Once the pasta is cooked, pour the noodles into the skillet with the cabbage. Put over medium heat. Add the cheese. Add the saved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time. Cook until you have a sauce develop. Add the thyme.

6. Serve and top with capers.

* serves 4
* besides Pasta Please and Eat Your Greens, this recipe is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs


This month’s Food ‘n Flix movie of the month is a double feature: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and it’s sequel hosted by Culinary Adventures with Camilla. When I first saw this movie, a few years back, I loved it. My boyfriend and I even adopted the way they kiss.


Anyway, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs was originally a child’s book. I never experienced the children’s book though, so the movie has been my sole experience with the story.

The movie is about Flint Lockwood, an aspiring scientist. His newest creation is a machine that can transform water into food. But, it backfires and it begins raining food, meatballs included. Both the first movie and its sequel, both feature a ton of food (and even food monsters!)



I could have been more creative and made something else from the movie, but alas, I chose the meatballs for the movie’s namesake. My boyfriend has the palette of a little boy and loves spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs I made have hunks of cheese in them, pieces of bacon, and were just all around delicious.

Anyway, you still have time to participate in this month’s movie! Check it out here.

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

4 pieces bacon
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp ground black pepper
3 oz mozzarella, cut into chunks
1 tbsp chicken broth
14 oz marinara sauce
4 oz spaghetti noodles


1. Preheat oven to 400. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bacon on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, until crisp. Set aside and let cool. Cut into pieces.

2. In a large bowl combine the bacon, ground beef, onion powder, paprika, bread crumbs, pepper, mozzarella, and chicken broth together with your hands. Shape the meat into balls (like ping pong balls.) Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the meatballs are cooked all the way through (about 10 minutes.)

3. Cook the noodles per the box directions and heat up the marinara.

4. When the meatballs are done, put them in the marinara sauce. Serve on top of spaghetti noodles.

* serves 2

FoodnFlix* Besides Food ‘n Flix, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Cooking




Roasted Pepper Pesto (with no nuts)


Though pestos traditionally have nuts (and usually pine nuts,) I forgot to buy nuts this week for this pesto. As a result, I had zero nuts in my house. I decided to make the pesto anyway, sans the nuts. This dish was delicious. The sauce was light with a slight kick to it (thanks peppers!)

To roast your peppers, heat your oven up to 500. Cut you peppers in half and seed them. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until the peppers are turning black. Remove them and put them in a ziplock. Let them cool off and then the skins will peel off nice and easy.

This dish was made specifically for the Pasta Please challenge from Tinned Tomatoes, hosted this month by simply.food.

pasta please

Roasted Pepper Pesto Sauce (with no nuts)

1 roasted jalapeno, with the ribs and seeds removed and with the skin removed
2 roasted poblano pepper, with the ribs and seeds removed and with the skin removed
2 garlic clove
1 cup cilantro
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
pinch of salt and pepper


1. Process the peppers, garlic, and cilantro together in a food processor. Add the olive oil slowly and continue to process. Add cheese and pulse a few times until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse a few more times.

2. Serve over your favorite noodle.

* Besides Pasta Please, I’m sharing this recipe with Wednesday Whatsits & Cast Party Wednesday

Turkey Sandwich with Roasted Tomatoes


This month’s Food ‘n Flix film is The Breakfast Club, hosted by Debra at Eliot’s Eats. This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen this movie, so I was surprised to see this as the movie for the month. I mean, it’s not what I would consider a foodie movie. So I rewatched The Breakfast Club with an eye for food this time. Rather than just seeing a bunch of high school students in detention, I looked for food. And while not entirely dominating the movie, food I saw.

breakfast-clubThough not quite as . . . creative as this lunch sandwich (eaten by Allison,) my sandwich would have been welcomed by me to have for a high school lunch. Though I did consider making Allison’s cereal filled sandwich, I didn’t know if I could actually bring myself to eat it. When I was in high school my mom made me lunch almost everyday, but she rarely made me sandwiches. This was due to my own demanding nature. For some reason I just . . . I preferred rice a roni I guess. And I was spoiled.

But anyway, this movie did bring me back some. I remember the one occasion I had detention in high school. It was because my shirt was too short when I raised my hand in class. All it taught me was not to volunteer in class, because the hour I had to sit in detention just pissed me off. Saturday detention sounds absolutely horrible though. And incredibly unproductive. You think they’d at least let them do their homework.

So, the recipe I’m sharing with Food ‘n Flix this month is a sandwich. This sandwich hopefully could full any high school student through Saturday detention. It’s simple enough but has a kick that makes it special!

Turkey Sandwich with Roasted Tomatoes

2 slices of bread
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 tsp paprika
2 slices tomato
1/2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of dried basil
3 slices deli turkey
1/2 slice Swiss cheese
a tiny handful of arugula


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the tomato slices on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and basil. Roast for 25 minutes.

2. Toast the bread. While the bread is toasting and the tomatoes roasting, mix together the mayonnaise and paprika.

3. Put your sandwich together! Spread the paprika-mayonnaise on the bread. Place the turkey, roasted tomatoes, Swiss cheese, and arugula on the sandwich.

* makes 1 sandwich
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this sandwich with Souper Sundays & See Ya In The Gumbo


Cheesy Pecan Chicken Casserole



It’s been casserole month here at our very own Pantry Party. It’s the day before entries are due and I’m finally getting my own entry published. It’s about time. I’ve been slacking at updating. But I did make a casserole!

From my pantry, it used: pecans and cream of chicken soup. I actually didn’t have to buy very much for this at all. I love having a stocked fridge.

Cheesy Pecan Chicken Casserole

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 tbsp onion, finely diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup (mine was herb flavored)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup cheddar and sour cream chips, crushed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded


1. Mix together all the ingredients except the chips and the cheese in a casserole dish.

2. Combine the chips and the cheese together. Sprinkle it evenly on top of the casserole.

3. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes at 375.

* serves 6
* Shared with See Ya In The Gumbo