Thursday, July 26, 2012

Italian Sausage, Spinach, and Heirloom Tomato Pizza

I'm VERY excited to share this recipe! I think it's the perfect balance of meat and veggies. I usually go for pepperoni and some veggies for pizza toppings, but I had a hankering for spinach pizza. And Italian sausage! And I was given MORE organic produce (I know, lucky lucky lucky) and tried heirloom tomatoes for the first time and they rocked my world! They taste like a flavor-concentrated version of regular tomatoes. Not only are they brighter in color, but I thought they tasted brighter in flavor too. I know they are expensive, but for certain dishes like this where tomatoes are one of the stars, I will definitely shell out a little extra cash for the heirlooms in the future. There is no sauce on this pizza! The diced heirloom tomatoes are the first layer of the pizza so you get a little burst of tomato with each chunk. And it's absolutely delightful! 

Italian Sausage, Spinach, and Heirloom Tomato Pizza
Makes 1 large pizza (4 servings)
Total Time: 35 minutes
1 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Italian sausage links
3 heirloom tomatoes
10 oz frozen spinach (1 box), thawed
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove sausage from casing and cook over medium heat, breaking into small pieces. Cook until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Place cooked sausage on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess grease.

2. Remove stems from tomatoes and dice. Wrap thawed spinach in 3-4 paper towels and squeeze as much liquid out as possible.

3. Roll out pizza dough. Top with the heirloom tomatoes. Sprinkle with garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese over the tomatoes. Top with spinach, Italian sausage, and remaining cheese, all evenly spread in layers.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

I thoroughly enjoy sausage on pizza! Remove the Italian sausage from the casing and cook over medium heat, breaking up into pieces. Cook until not longer pink. This picture shows it's close to done.
Place the cooked sausage on a plate lined with paper towels to drain some grease.

Look at these beauties! I loved the colors of the heirlooms. I even had a few that were kind of magenta and purple looking! Remove the stems and dice the heirloom tomatoes.

Wrap the thawed spinach in paper towels and squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible!

Roll out the pizza dough and top with the heirloom tomatoes. Sprinkle the garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. These chunks will be little tomato flavor explosions when you eat the pizza!

Add 2/3 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Layer on the spinach, sausage, and the remaining cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

You get just enough of each ingredient in every bite. The fruity heirlooms act as your sauce and give you little bursts of tomato flavor each bite, there is enough spinach to make it still feel like a spinach pizza, and the Italian sausage is the perfect meaty addition. And of course all of this is layered in mozzarella. Mmm!!! Some of my best work. YOU WILL LOVE THIS PIZZA I promise.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Lucky me - someone gave me a bunch of organic produce this week! I saw all of the beautiful red roma tomatoes and said to myself salsa is happening. Ever since I wrestled my parents' food processor away from them (not really, it was a wedding present they never used) I've been loving trying out different kinds of fresh salsa. I made a Sweet Pepper version that was quite tasty. This recipe below is your classic tomato and jalapeño salsa, and it's delicious. I kept the seeds in the jalapeño so it's got a decent kick to it. I would say it's on the hot side of medium. Make this fresh salsa instead of eating the jarred stuff!

Makes 2 cups of medium salsa
Total time: 10 minutes
4 roma tomatoes
1 jalapeño (2 for hot salsa)
1 clove garlic
1/4 red onion
1 Tbsp cilantro
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp cumin
Salt to taste

Cut stems off tomatoes and jalapeño and cut into large pieces. Blend all ingredients in the food processor until smooth. Enjoy!

Beautiful vegetables. Definitely one of the big advantages of making your own salsa - you know what's in it! And this is pretty much it, just bright fresh produce (aside from seasonings). *I didn't end up using all of these romas. 

Cut the stems off the tomatoes and jalapeño, give them a rough chop, peel the garlic, and add everything to the food processor. Blend until smooth! I like my salsa smooth. Feel free to just pulse it if you like it chunky (I would recommend cutting the ingredients into smaller piece before you pulse in this case).

So simple and so fresh. You really get the flavors of each ingredient! It blows the jarred salsa out of the water and I know what's in it. And you can taste test as you go and tweak the seasonings until it tastes perfect to you. I'm in love. I think salsa will be only homemade in Saucy Jocey's kitchen from now on!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer (Fruit) Lovin' Bread

I inherited a giant box of organic produce this week! I'm excited to have a ton of delicious fruits and vegetables to experiment with. One fruit we have plenty of (and I don't mind one bit) is plums! I ate them all the time as a child but I don't remember the last time I had them besides this week. I few of my friends even tried them for the very first time when I made this recipe! The batter is inspired by an awesome banana bread recipe that never fails me. I've adapted it a few times and made Mango Banana Bread a few months ago that was FANTASTIC. I love the little chunks of plum and cherry in this bread. You get a background sweetness from the batter that balances the tartness of the fruit nicely. Maybe I'll even throw in some blueberries next time!

Summer (Fruit) Lovin’ Bread
Makes 1 loaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes
2 plums
1/2 cup chopped cherries
3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened (1/2 a block)
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar

1. Wash, remove pit, and chop plums and cherries.

2. In a large bowl mix together butter and cream cheese. Mix in sugars and vanilla until evenly combined. Mix in egg.

3. In a separate bowl mix together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter and cream cheese mixture until fully combined.

4. Mix in cherries and plums. Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan in a 350 degrees F oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for a little, and enjoy!

Aren't they beautiful! I love the deep colors of the plums and cherries. So scrumptious. Clean, remove the pit, and chop the cherries and plums!

Mix together butter and cream cheese until combined. Add sugars and vanilla and mix.

Add the egg and mix until combined.

Mix white flour, wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. I find that using half wheat flour doesn't compromise the texture at all.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and cream cheese mixture until fully combined.

Add the sweet summer fruit! The batter is VERY dense so you have to kind of pat in down in the loaf pan.

Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan in a 350 degrees F oven for an 1 hour and 10 minutes. Stick a toothpick in and if it comes out clean, it's done!

This bread warmed up and your morning coffee = breakfast heaven. I love the colors and the little bits of fruit you get that are still juicy. And the bread is so moist and dense from the cream cheese. MMmm. Use your beautiful summer fruit for some warm Summer (Fruit) Lovin' Bread!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fiesta Chicken

Who doesn't love simple, quick, cheesy, crunchy, warm comfort food? It's pictured inside tortillas for quesadillas here, but the possibilities for this Fiesta Chicken mixture are endless. I ate my leftover servings melted on top of tortilla chips for loaded nachos. Serve it cold on a bed of lettuce and tomatoes for a zesty salad. Add more beans and cilantro lime rice to the mixture and roll up in a large tortilla for a burrito. Switch up taco night... I could go on for days. I'll admit that I even ate a spoonful or two out of the fridge cold. Make this fiesta chicken and I promise - you will love it!

Fiesta Chicken Quesadillas, Nachos, Salad, etc.
Makes 4 servings
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (( Healthier Ingredient Substitutions ))
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped
1 bell pepper
1 clove garlic
1/2 avocado
1/2 onion
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (( 1 cup shredded low fat pepper jack cheese ))
3/4 cup cilantro
2/3 cup black beans
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste
Tortillas for quesadillas, tortilla chips for nachos, lettuce for salad, etc.

1. Pulse cilantro, avocado, garlic clove, lime juice, and 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil in the food processor until smooth. 

2. Chop bell pepper and onion. Saute bell pepper and onion in olive oil until onions become translucent, about 3 minutes.

3. Mix all ingredients together. Use as a filling for quesadillas, on top of tortilla chips as nachos, over some lettuce and tomatoes for a salad (( healthier option )), with more beans and rice for burritos, etc. Enjoy!

Blend cilantro, avocado, garlic, lime juice, and extra virgin olive oil in the food processor. I want to experiment with a sort of cilantro pesto some other time. Hmmm.... 

Zesty Goodness!

Dice the bell pepper and half onion. I'm a big texture person so these crunchy veggies are a must!

Saute the pepper and onion until the onions just become translucent.

Mix all of the ingredients together! I'm telling you - this is a hit.

As you can see above, I got a little hungry while taking these pictures. There's crunch from the vegetables, creaminess from the cheese and avocado mixture, a little kick from the pepper jack, and of course flavorful chicken and spices. It's aaaaall there. Use this as a base for your favorite Mexican dish and you will have a tasty meal on your plate in no time!  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chicken Salad

My boyfriend put in a request for chicken salad this week (and jokingly, or maybe not so much, put in a request for a sandwich on the Saucy Jocey's Kitchen Facebook page). I love chicken salad, tuna salad, potato salad... anything with crunchy bits and mayo really. I also received a request for a healthy twist on a yummy dish so I decided to try to lighten up chicken salad. Now I won't go out and say this is healthy considering it still has mayo in it, but using Greek yogurt in place of a large portion of the mayo helps a bit! I've heard vegenaise is a nice light substitution for mayo as well! This chicken salad also loads on the veggies, with plenty of celery and onion for added crunch. We used to make little cracker sandwiches with salads like this when I was little so I served it with crackers and a few pieces of fruit :)

Chicken Salad
Makes about 3 cups
Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (( Healthier Ingredient Substitution ))
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped
3 celery stalks
1/2 onion
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise (( vegenaise ))
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
Salt to taste

1. Chop chicken, celery, and onion.

2. Mix together Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and pepper. Tear tarragon into pieces and add to dressing mixture. Add salt to taste and mix.

3. Mix all ingredients together. Serve chilled with crackers and fruit or on a sandwich with lettuce and tomato. (( Use whole wheat crackers or bread for healthier version )) Enjoy!

Chop the veggies! And chop the chicken breast.

The fresh tarragon. It's very soft so I just tore it into the dressing mixture. I love the smell of tarragon. I'll have to learn some more recipes that use it!

Mix the Greek yogurt, mayo, garlic powder, pepper, and torn tarragon together. Taste test and add salt as needed. Then mix all ingredients together! So simple!

It's the perfect lunch served with crackers, fruit, and cheese slices. Another option is to toast some bread and serve it as a sandwich with lettuce and tomato. Either way, this chicken salad is nice and creamy and you can still feel good about eating it! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two great things about fruits and vegetables that are in season - they taste their best and they are cheap! I've been buying cherries lately because I can actually afford them at their in-season summer price (poor college student) and they are so SWEET and PERFECT. Experimenting with baking is my goal for the next few weeks, and these chocolaty and tart treats are the first success story! I love the way the fresh cherries taste with the semi-sweet chocolate chips. The chocolate chips aren't as sweet as milk chocolate and the cherries are sweet but tart, so these cookies don't taste like a mouth full of straight sugar. They're just the right amount of sweet :)

print recipe

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Fresh cherries and semi-sweet chocolate chips come together to create the perfect sweet and tart cookie!
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Fresh cherries
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Mix white flour, wheat flour, baking soda, and salt. 2. In a separate bowl mix granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Mix in the egg. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture and mix until fully combined.3. Remove the cherry seeds and coarsely chop the cherries. Stir cherries and chocolate chips into batter mixture.4. Scoop heaping tablespoons of batter onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees F. Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 32 cookies
Adapted from the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

Mix both flours, salt, and baking powder and set aside.

In a separate bowl mix granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Mmmm I'll admit I eat this form of the cookie batter sometimes. Sugar and butter and vanilla. So wrong but so right.

Mix in the egg!

Gradually add flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture and mix until fully combined.

Cut out the seeds out of the cherries. This is kind of tedious, but obviously necessary. Just eat a cherry or two as you're cutting and you'll stay happy.

Coarsely chop the cherries so they are in perfect bit-sized cookie pieces.

Ah the best parts! I'm a BIG chocolate chip cookie fan. They remind me of the holidays because we always make at least 5 batches around Christmas time. The cherries give these cookies a nice summer flavor though :)

Scoop heaping tablespoons on batter onto the cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes! I always line my cookie sheet with aluminum foil, which makes clean-up easy!

Take advantage of the BEAUTIFUL summer cherries and bake these cookies! I had a few of my friends taste test them and they definitely got the stamp of approval. Chocolaty and tart and sweet, all in one!

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