Garlic-pesto cheesy pull apart bread

14468537_10153844925526643_2008414953671741295_oI have full on confession to make. I think I have eaten almost half of this loaf of pull apart bread all by myself. LOL! Bread-Cheese-Pesto-Butter-Garlic. <-Five out of the six best things known to man all stuffed inside on recipe. The last one is chocolate, incase you are wondering 😉

When it comes to food, I can practice self control all I want until garlic bread is involved. At that point, all rhyme or reason go flying out the door and a big hunk of garlic bread heads straight into my mouth. You guys. We’re suppose to be making a salad today. SALAD. How did the word ‘salad’ evolve into garlic-pesto cheesy pull apart bread? Wait.. who cares HOW it happened. Fresh whole milk mozzarella cheese, tons of chopped garlic, fresh pesto, a little butter, and lots of fresh herbs all stuffed inside a country style loaf. You like me just a tad bit better now don’tcha?

This is one of the most FUN garlic bread recipes to serve your guests. Let’s admit it, as tasty as regular old garlic bread is, it’s not the center of attention. This crack bread stuffed with cheese is possibly the coolest centerpiece to serve when you’ve got guests over. Just a quick garlic butter action stuffed inside diagonally cut bread and then pesto and cheese it up and voila! Pull apart garlic bread! I sometimes want to be über selfish and share just 1 cutout with the hubby and binge eat the rest. When it comes to garlic bread, i’ve got major issues.

Not only is it fun to eat it’s also easy to make. The hubs loved this recipe so much that he’s VOLUNTEERING to make this next time we have company. I think he wants to wow them with his garlicky bread skills. This pull apart bread recipe is super fun to make if you’ve got any little ones around. They can totally help stuff the mozzarella cheese into the cuts. Also how perfect is this for when football season starts? I don’t think anyone would actually be watching the game if you serve this cheesy garlic pesto bread though. It’s truly the MVP.

I’m going to dare you to NOT eat this straight from the oven. Waiting to dig into this pull apart bread until after I had taken the pictures was hard, not gonna lie. When perfectly melted mozzarella is oozing out of crispy bread and roasted garlic pesto butter whispers your name, one can only practice so much self control.

Let me cure your midweek blues, all you need is a little pull apart bread in your life.

14425443_10153859164651643_8444516999998450029_oIngredients:

10 garlic cloves finely chopped

1/2 cup parsley finely chopped

2-3 tbsp frest pesto

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small loaf country or sour dough bread

2 tbsp butter

salt to taste

4 ounces deli sliced mozzarella cheese (or shredded)

Method:

  1. Combine the garlic cloves, parsley, and olive oil in a small food processor until the garlic breaks down into small pieces. If you’re using sliced mozzarella, stack the cheese slices and cut into 1 inch squares.
  2. Heat the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. When the butter melts, add the chopped garlic mixture to the butter along with a pinch of salt and allow the mixture to cook for 2 minutes, stirring as necessary so the garlic does not brown. Remove from heat. Let it cool and add fresh pesto to it.
  3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Using a sharp serrated knife, make 1 inch diagonal cuts across the loaf of bread making sure you don’t cut the bread all the way through. I have used both slices and shredded cheese to make it extra cheesy 😉
  4. Use a spoon to drizzle the garlic butter into the the cuts of the bread. Stack 3-4 cheese squares and place them in the cuts. Place the garlic bread on a sheet of foil and fold up the sides. Use a second piece to cover the top (we’ll be removing this later). Allow the bread to bake for 10 minutes. Remove the top piece of foil and allow the bread to bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese melts completely. Serve warm.
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Cauliflower crust pizza

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Oh cauliflower pizza crust, I have been skeptical of you for so long. So, so long. The first time I attempted a cauliflower crust was back in the day, long before I knew what a blog was, after getting a recipe from someone in my local gym. I didn’t love cauliflower at the time but I didn’t loathe it either. Plus, it came loaded with lots of cheese, so it had to be a win. Right?

Not only is the crust simple, it is FAST. That’s the key for me. Now, let me say that I don’t think I will ever replace my favorite pizza crust. I make a mean whole-wheat dough and love it all up. But this is an awesome recipe for when you want pizza and you are short on time, or when you want pizza but are willing to draw outside the lines a bit, or when you want pizza but need to stay away from gluten/ low carb. Or maybe you’re trying to sneak in some extra veg. Story of my life.

This gets even better with an array of toppings. I like to try new toppings and base sauces for my pizzas, this time I have added grilled eggplants. 😉  So excited. Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

1 small to medium sized head of cauliflower – should yield 2 to 3 cups once processed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1 egg

Method:

Place a pizza stone in the oven, or baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil.

Wash and thoroughly dry a small head of cauliflower. Don’t get one the size of your head unless you are planning on making 2 pizzas. Cut off the florets, you don’t need much stem. Just stick with the florets. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower. You should end up with 2 to 3 cups cauliflower “snow” – In this case I ended up with 2 1/3 cups. Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool for a bit before attempting the next step.

Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel and wring the heck out of it. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a chewy pizza like crust instead of a crumbly mess.

Dumped cauliflower into a bowl. Now add parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, kosher salt, dried basil , dried oregano, garlic powder and red pepper flakes if you want. I skipped the almond flour at this time since I have plenty of cauliflower.  Now add your egg (and hopefully you made sure you had one before you started) and mix away. Hands tend to work best.

Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly, you want it nice and tightly formed together. Don’t make it too thick or thin either. Now, using a cutting board slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 8 – 11 minutes. Until it looks like this:
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Delicious, right? Just wait till you add the toppings and finish it off! Now add pizza sauce /presto/alfredo.., cheese, and toppings you want. I’m not gonna give you measurements for this. You know how you like your pizza – so go for it! Slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly golden.
Oh yes.Test your patience and allow it to cool for a minute or two. Probably closer to two. Then using a pizza cutter and a spatula serve up your delicious grain-free cauliflower crust pizza!
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Veggie Avocado Puff Pizza

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Everyone loves pizza! It doesnt matter if you have tomatoes and mozzarella or cover it in 10 different kinds of vegetables/tofu. No matter what combination of toppings you like, that pizza is going to be devoured. I am so use to eating outside pizza but since I started making pizza dough at home, I dont miss outside pizza anymore. Plus homemade dough is better if you are watching your diet. I love baking with puff pastry because it is so versatile. The puffed pastry does most of the work. I use to make puff pastry dough at home but since now its so easy to go grab it from the store, I have given up making it at home. Puff pastry is amazing because you can make anything you like with it, sweet or savory. You can make turnovers, tarts, pizza, puffs, cheese straws, etc. All these things can be made quickly in very short time. When I make puff pizzas, I get very creative. At times I use red sauce, pesto sauce, white sauce, truffle oil, etc. I get creative with toppings too. You can basically make it anyway you like. Use whatever your heart desires. So far my fav is this one, so I thought to share this combination with you 😉 Grab some plates! Pour some wine! Invite your friends and enjoy this delicious pizzas 😉

Ingredients:

1 whole sheet frozen puff pastry

olive oil for brushing

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella grated

olives finely sliced

onions finely sliced

tomatoes finely sliced

avocado finely sliced

2 gloves garlic minced

1 jalapeno pepper finely sliced

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp truffle oil to drizzle on top

Method:

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Thaw the puffed pastry on the counter for 30 minutes. When thawed, carefully open the sheet, then slice it in half down the middle. Place both halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then start prepping the pizza toppings.

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Brush a thin layer of olive oil on the puff pastry. In the middle layer all your toppings(olives, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, avocados). Add cheese on the top. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Pastry could go crazy and puff up in the unwanted areas but dont worry when you take it out it will all settle in the right place.

Remove from the oven and drizzle truffle oil and allow the pizzas to settle for 5 minutes before serving.

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P.S. I did not add any sauce this time because i love the taste of truffle oil. You can add red sauce, white sauce, pesto sauce, etc. Basically you can get creative with this pizza. Just remember to go light with the sauce and cheese, The star of the pizza really is the puffed pastry it self!

Stuffed Zucchini

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I have been having a summer love affair with zucchini. Plentiful, versatile, adaptable, from yet yielding to the right handling, readily available, a prolific producer. I have obsession with zucchini. I could live eating zucchini with every meal and would not care for any other vegetable. I have had zucchini pancakes, bread, muffins, stir-fry, latkes, and even pasta. My co-worker Candy introduced me to this dish. She experimented this recipe and brought it to work. After the first bite, I was in LOVE! I came home and next day I had these baking in the oven. They are  yummy, filling and yet healthy! I even stopped craving pizza after eating these awesome stuffed zucchinis. I hope you try and let me know your experience.

Ingredients:

3 medium zucchini

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. EVOO

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 cup finely chopped onions

1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/2 cup cheese (Parmesan/Mozzarella mix)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. using a paring knife, cut a 1/4 inch border around the flesh of the zucchini. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and seeds, leaving a shell about  1/4 inch thick. Finely chop the flesh/seeds.

Heat 1 tbsp. EVOO in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and all chopped veggies including the scooped out zucchini. Saute until all veggies are tender. Add salt, pepper and stir occasionally. Turn off the stove and let it cool.

Take the stuffing and fill all the zucchini shells. Top it with cheese and oregano. Bake until the cheese is slightly brown, about 15 minutes. Serve as a main or side dish.

P.S. This dish is very addictive. I make these at least twice a month, because they are so yummy.

 

Peanut butter cookies

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Hello good people of the internet, my name is Jenna and I am here to do a guest entry for one of my newest and best friends, Dhwani! She asked me to do this because of my good looks and charm. Only kidding, I chose to do it because I often brag about being a good baker. 🙂

Dhwani and I both started working at the same hospital in July. Being the only two employees on our floor under the age of 30, we bonded quickly. Being a more experienced nurse than me, Dhwani was always there to offer me help at work when I needed it. So when she asked my help to bake the perfect peanut butter cookies, of course I was up to the challenge.

Dhwani came to work one day frustrated because she had tried to bake peanut butter cookies for her husband, but they had turned out a little off. I found this recipe online that I thought would be good.

So, the morning after the first snow I drove over to Dhwani’s house to bake the cookies. Being cold and dusted with snow, the day was perfect for a warm oven and the smell of cookies. Playing Dance 4 on the wii was probably the most ideal way to pass the time while they baked.

Here are the ingredients we used:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 ¼ flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt

Here is what you do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make sure the butter is soft. Mix the butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla together in a bowl. Mix well. Then add the flour, baking soda and salt. Once the dough is mixed, roll it into balls and place onto cookie sheets. There should be about 24 Press down on the dough with a fork, and then the opposite way to make a criss cross pattern commonly seen on peanut butter cookies. If you like your cookies softer, take them out of the oven before they turn golden brown. If you prefer them more crunchy, wait until they are golden brown then take them out, let them cool, and enjoy with a nice cold glass of milk!

ãhãram

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