use code KRIS4688
home essentials
Shop health & beauty products, household essentials and more
buy home essentials at soap.combuy home essentials at
Not valid for existing, or customers. Some restrictions apply.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Prosciutto Arugula Pizza with Fontina and Truffle Oil

Three of my favorite things on a Friday night are a pizza stone, cheese, and truffle oil…and a nice glass of red wine (OK so 4 things)! So when I stumbled across this beauty, it just topped my Friday night. I also love that this recipe has just a few quality ingredients. The prosciutto was salty, the Fontina was buttery and nutty, and the wilted peppery arugula melts in your mouth. If you don’t have a pizza stone, go out and buy one pronto. It’s the best gift I received from my wedding registry a few years ago and we use it on a weekly basis. It’s also great for reheating leftovers, gets it nice and crispy, and it’s so easy to clean.

Also, instead of using diced prosciutto and sautéing prior with onions, you could simply add slices of prosciutto on top of the pizza after the cheese melts, there’s variations to this pizza online, so be creative, whatever makes your mouth happy… Happy Friday!

Prosciutto Arugula Pizza with Fontina and Truffle Oil on Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

  • 1 ball pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Fontina cheese
  • Package of diced prosciutto
  • ½ cup of diced yellow onion
  • A couple handfuls arugula
  • Truffle Oil
  1. Set the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Roll out the pizza dough and prepare it on a pizza stone. 
  3. Brush the dough with EVOO and some garlic and Italian seasoning (use any other seasons you like too!)
  4. Pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes-this will get it nice and crispy and strong enough to hold all the deliciousness that’s about to take over the dough
  5. In a sauté pan on stove, caramelize onions and diced prosciutto in ½ TB of EVOO. Once browned, remove from heat and set aside
  6. Remove pizza from oven and top with Fontina cheese, onion, and prosciutto and brush some more garlic/olive oil mixture on the crust. Return to the oven until melted (about 5-7 minutes) and the crust is golden
  7. Once out of the oven, and pizza is cooling, toss some arugula on top and drizzle with truffle oil. Cover warm pizza with arugula and let wilt for a few minutes and then enjoy this yummy pizza!

Grilled Pesto Shrimp Skewers with Tomato Avocado Salsa and Brown Rice

As you know, I love Basil, especially in a pesto. This is a two part recipe and easy enough to make on a weeknight either on your grill or a grill pan on your stove top! First make the salsa, it's a little bit of chopping, so get that out of the way first so  you're ready to go...

Tomato Avocado Salsa
  • 3 Vine Ripened Tomatoes, diced
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • Basil, chopped
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ½ TB EVOO

  1. Dice the tomatoes, onion and avocado and place in a medium bowl.
  2. Add basil, garlic seasoning, salt and pepper, EVOO. Stir together and set aside in the fride.

Grilled Pesto Shrimp 
  • 6-8 oz. Basil Pesto (packaged or homemade) *I used Wegman’s pesto from the Olive Bar
  • 1 lb fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • garlic seasoning
  • 6 wooden skewers

  1. Combine raw shrimp with pesto and seasoning in a bowl, and marinate a few hours in the fridge. Soak wooden skewers in water at least 20 minutes. Once marinated and ready to grill, thread the shrimp onto 6 skewers (about 5 shrimp per skewer) 
  2. Heat an indoor grill pan (or outside grill, I don’t have one yet at my casa so indoor for me!) over medium-low heat until hot. Be sure the grates are clean and spray lightly with PAM. 
  3. Place the shrimp on the hot grill and cook until shrimp turns pink on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes; turn and continue cooking until shrimp is opaque and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Serve with tomato avocado salsa and rice on the side, enjoy!

Servings: 7  Serving Size: 1 skewer • WW Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 180 • Fat: 8.4 g • Protein: 25.3 g • Carb: 0.4 g • Fiber: 0.2 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 292 mg (without salt)

Source: original recipe adapted from 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tomates A La Provencale

I decided to borrow my sister’s Julia Child’s cookbook and take a look at a few of her side dishes. Some may think her recipes are tough, but they aren't too difficult, it just seems that way because it’s a lot of steps to follow. Be patient, it’s wonderful at the finish line!

Since I’m doing Weight Watchers, I decided to try one of her side dishes that has a vegetable in it. Summers in New Jersey, mean Jersey tomatoes, and they are the best! So when I scanned through her recipes and came across this, my decision was made. I actually used shallots and green onions and added some panko to the bread crumbs for more of a crunch. Her recipe asks you to roast them on third level oven rack at 400 for 15 minutes, but I let them roast in the oven for about 45 minutes at 350* in the middle then moved to the top rack for ten minutes and they were so juicy and browned on top. This is the perfect (and healthy) vegetable dish to accompany your summer dinners! Bon Appetite!

Tomates A La Provencale

  • (8) firm, ripe, red tomatoes (about 3 inches in diameter)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1-2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 3 TB minced shallots or green onions (I used both)
  • 1/8 TSP Thyme
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • Big pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 bread crumbs (I used a mixture of regular bread crumbs and panko for a bigger crunch)
  • A shallow, oiled roasting pan just large enough to hold the tomatoes easily in one layer


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Remove the stems, and cut the tomatoes in half cross wise (the equator of the tomato). Gently press out the juice and seeds. Sprinkle the halves lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Blend all the ingredients except bread crumbs and oil together. Correct seasoning if needed. Fill each tomato half with a spoonful or two of the mixture. Sprinkle with a few drops of the olive oil. Arrange the tomatoes in the roasting pan; do not crowd them.*may be prepared ahead to this point*
  4. Shortly before you are ready to serve, place them in the upper third of the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tomatoes are cooked through and the mixture has golden browned on the top. **I cooked these at 350* for about 45 minutes on the middle rack, and placed on upper rack for last 10 minutes and they were great!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Healthy Make ahead Breakfast Sammies TO GO

Have you ever rushed out the door  during the week en route to work and skipped breakfast? And as your driving you pass Wawa and think to stop for their sausage egg and cheese sizzlie because your stomach is grumbling? Or as your ordering your morning Dunkin Donuts coffee your salvating at the pictures of the donuts, muffins, and Big N Toasted Texas toast breakfast sandwich? Been there, done that.

Problem now solved!

Last week, I was on Pinterest and stumbled across Undressed Skeleton's blog where she makes ready to go homemade egg sandwhiches which are A. healthy and B. inexpensive. The only con, is that you need to put some time aside on the weekend to make, bake, and assemble. Well, I attempted it this weekend and it was super simple and super delicious! I watched TV as I assembled these bad boys and there are soooooo good! I used a few different brands and tried a few different cheeses to spice it up a little bit to! And now I have (5) sammies sitting in my freezer as we speak ready for my early morning rush to work! Bring it on Monday!

Total time making/baking/assembling: 30 minutes or a full episode of Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives
Total cost per sammie: $1.70
Makes 6 servings ( 1 sammie per serving)
About 260 calories, 5 g of fat, 31 g Carbs, 5 g fiber, 22 g protein

  • (5) egg whites and (1) whole egg
  • (6) Thomas English Muffins (high fiber)
  • Turkey Bacon
  • 6 slices low fat cheese ( I used sharp cheddar, provolone, and mozzarella)
  • tomato, sliced and diced
  • salt and pepper
  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
*get creative and try diced bell peppers, spinach, onions., etc... 


  1. Preheat oven to 350, and line cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Lay out 6 slices of turkey bacon and put in oven on middle rack for 6 minutes
  2. scramble the eggs, add tomatoes, oregano/basil, salt and pepper and pour into 6 greased muffin tin cups
  3. when the oven dings after 6 minutes, move the bacon one level down and slide muffin tray on to middle rack
  4. plug in your panini maker or grill and slice your english muffins
  5. slice your cheese and place on bottom english muffin.
  6. When the oven dings again, remove the bacon, place on paper towels to soak up extra grease and leave eggs in for 3 more minutes
  7. once bacon is cool to handle, cut each slice in half and place two pieces on top of the cheese.
  8. after 3 minutes take out the eggs and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, take a spoon and take each egg cup out and put on top half of english muffin. 
  9. place the sammies on the panini  grill and press down so egg is the size of the english muffin and let grill for 3-4 minutes or until golden
  10. remove from panini maker and cool
  11. place on wax paper ( or place in ziplock bags), wrap them up, and assemble with tape or stickers (I had some Trader Joe stickers in my drawers, pick them up while your at the store, they are free too!) which ever you have handy and place in your freezer for the work week ahead.
  12. when your ready to eat, place in microwave for 2-3 minutes ( depends on your your microwave), grab some fruit and your ready to start the day with high protein, fruits, and veggies!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shrimp and Sausage Cioppino

My girlfriend, D’yani , gave me Weeknights with Giada cookbook last year for my birthday and it’s my absolute favorite! She has a Shrimp and Sausage Cioppino recipe that I used as a base to start and then I tweaked  and added some things in my first attempt to this beautiful one pot dish. My hubby said it was an absolute treat for him when he walked in the door and knew something special was on the stove, so enjoy!

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 large or 4 small shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed (can use spicy/hot sausage too)
  • 2 cups white wine, such as Pinot Grigio (I used Yellowtail Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined ( I used frozen)
  • 1 dozen fresh little neck clams
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes (I used Hunt’s diced with oregano and garlic)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Additional variations:
Crusty sourdough bread
Cup of rice

  1. In a separate medium sauce pan, cook your rice and set aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the sausage and break into 1/2-inch pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn up the heat and add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomato paste, chicken broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Uncover the pan and add the clams, basil, and thyme. Wait for them to pop and then drop your shrimp in. Simmer, uncovered, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  7. Drop a ¼ cup of rice into your soup bowls and then ladle the Cioppino on top and serve with crusty bread.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Huge Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookies

I can’t believe Turkey day has come and gone, and now it’s already December 12th? Where has the time gone? It’s just crazy-nonetheless,  I want to talk about my Thanksgiving cookies that I made and brought to my parents house in Virginia for Thanksgiving which featured me and my hubby’s favorite candy, Reese’s Peanut butter cups!
These were super simple using my handy dandy kitchen aid mixer, the hardest part was keeping my hubby from eating the Reese’s candies that were all unwrapped! I made a variation of sizes with these and were super fun to share and eat with our family. Couple these bad boys with some Paula Deen Ooey Gooey Butter Cookies and everyone will be smacking their sugary lips applauding your baking skills!

Over the Top Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookies
·         3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
·         1 cup sugar
·         1 cup brown sugar
·         1 cup peanut butter (I used JIF creamy)
·         2 large eggs
·         2 tsp vanilla
·         1 tsp baking soda
·         1/2 tsp salt
·         2  1/2 cups flour
·         1  1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
·         32 mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, each cut into 4 pieces

  1. Mix the ingredients down to the vanilla.  Add soda, salt, and flour.  Fold in chocolate chips.
  2. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop dough (these are big cookies).  Place 6 scoops of dough on ungreased cookie sheet.  Use your hand and slightly flatten each scoop of dough.  Cook for 12 minutes at 350.**
  3. Remove cookies from oven and lightly press 8 cut up pieces of the Reese’s peanut butter cups over the top of each cookie. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes before placing on cooling rack.  Makes 18 big cookies.
4.       Variation: you can also use mini or regular M&M pieces or any other chocolate favorite candy of yours in place of the Reese’s pieces.
**if you don’t want big cookies, just use a melon baller and make smaller cookies and then you will have more to nibble on and share. Up to you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mason Jar Salsa

If I was deserted on an island and I could have one snack to eat for the rest of my life, it would be chips and salsa (and queso too if I can!). I just really love salsa and have a few restaurant favorites in which I can eat the whole basket of chips and lick that salsa bowl clean- hey I’m just being honest! Some of those favorites are from On The Border, Don Pablo's, Los Amigos and Chili's. I like a smoother consistency more than chunky but you can control that via the food processor to your likings.

This recipe made enough to last about two weeks in the fridge tightly sealed. I also used this salsa to top on chicken and quesadillas and its perfect to have handy when it's game time on Sunday's.. The dishes are limitless to what else you can add this with! So get to the kitchen and start salsa'ing!

What You Need:
5-6 Roma tomatoes, chopped (I actually used the Cento canned ones as my grocer was out of Roma’s)
1 Small onion, chopped
1/2 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Serrano, seeded and minced
1 Jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp of EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste.
*mason jar

  • Heat pan over medium, and add the EVOO, garlic and onion and stir for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the chilies, stir for a 1-2 minutes
  • Then add the tomatoes and use a potato masher to crush them a bit
  • Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for about 5 minutes
  • Turn off the stove and pour mixture into the food processor, add your cilantro and lime juice, and pulse a few times until you get the consistency you like!
  • Taste test and add S&P, garlic, cilantro, etc as needed for your taste buds then pour into your mason jar, close and put into your fridge for a bit while you arrange chips in a bowl and salivate waiting for those beautiful ingredients to marry together.

I’d suggest you let it sit for at least an hour, but preferably over night. The longer the better, as the flavors get a chance to dance together over time.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thin Crust Shrimp Scampi Pizza

If you like thin crust pizza and shrimp scampi, you'll love it even more when using Lavash flatbread to make a pizza! It takes only minutes to prepare and the edges become super crispy. I read this recipe on Pinterest through Care’s Kitchen blog and wasn’t even sure what Lavash was, but thought I’d give it a try since I saw Skinnytaste also using it in a flatbread pizza recipe.

Lavash is a Middle Eastern flatbread, thinner than a pita and not as doughy as Pillsbury pizza dough. You usually find in the deli section of your supermarket or you can find it at Trader Joe's for $2.29 for (6) if you have one nearby! You can use these for sandwich wraps too!

I changed some things from Care’s Kitchen and added some spinach and more garlic. I also used Trader Joe’s packaged pesto but feel free to make your own as well!

I strongly encourage you to use a pizza stone if you have one (I use the Mario Batale Pizza stone from Crate and Barrel-best wedding gift ever, thanks Lindsay Lee!), but be careful when taking that big stone out when it’s hot, I received an oven wound and burnt my thumb by accident, owwwwwwww!
  • Lavash Flat Bread
  • 4 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1 Package of frozen, peeled, deveined, tails taken off TJ’s medium shrimp (or use fresh of course if you can)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tablespoon Flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoon chopped spinach
  • Prepared Pesto
  • 8 oz part skim Ricotta Cheese
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Red Pepper flakes (optional)

 To Prepare Pesto/Ricotta Mixture: 
Take Prepared pesto and Ricotta Cheese and mix together in a bowl until well combined and tastes delicious! Set aside.

To Prepare the Shrimp:
  1. Take thawed shrimp and marinate in EVOO, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes if you choose, and a touch of salt and pepper for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add shrimp with garlic/EVOO to hot pan and flash cook about 3 minutes (the shrimp do not have to be cooked all the way as they will finish cooking in the oven.)
  4. Remove from the pan and once cool enough, chop up the shrimp, set aside

 Time to make the pizza:
I know this may seem like it's a lot of instructions, but it's very simple, and after you make it once, you'll know what to do and you can use the Lavash bread with any type of pizza type that you love, ie: margherita, prosciutto, four cheese, pepperoni, etc...
Right out of the oven
  1. Place a pizza stone or cookie sheet in the middle of your oven and preheat to 425.
  2. Once it's reached temperature, place (1) piece of Lavash Flat Bread onto the stone or sheet and cook for 2 minutes.Keep in mind that when the Lavash is cooked, it has a chewy but delicate cracker consistency, so when spreading your toppings just be sure not to press too hard or it can crack – that being  said - it can handle as many toppings as you choose! 
  3. Carefully remove the Lavash Flat Bread from the oven and place on a flat surface. (watch your thumbs people!)
  4. Take a garlic clove that's been cut in half and gently rub one side of the bread with the exposed fresh garlic - all over the bread. 
  5. Brush entire bread with thin coating of EVOO
  6. Spread your pesto ricotta mixture liberally over the top (you will have a lot of this mixture, don’t use it all on one piece of bread, just make more pizzas with it)
  7. Place desired amount of prepared shrimp over the top.
  8. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top.
  9. Chop up some fresh flat leaf parsley and spinach leaves and throw onto the pizza.
  10. Add some crushed red pepper flakes if you desire a bit of heat.
  11. Drizzle Pizza with a bit more olive oil.
  12. Place pizza back in the preheated oven and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until the edges look crispy and browned.
  13. Carefully remove pizza from the oven.
  14. Add fresh shaved Parmesan as a garnish if desired.
  15. Let sit a minute or two, then cut with a pizza cutter and serve! 
These will become a household favorite! 

I made a second one with the remaining shrimp scampi ingredients and made the other half a bruschetta and mozzarella pizza, so good! Get creative!

*If you want each piece of bread to have  crispy edges all around, cut your pieces prior to placing on pizza stone in step 2

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Creamy White Chicken and Artichoke Rigatoni bake

This recipe uses a bit of a lighter alredo creamy sauce using cream cheese and milk. I came across the original lasagna recipe from Tasty Tidbits blog and since me and lasagna are still not friends since my pork lasagna roll up trial, I decided to make a casserole dish with this using rigatoni. I made this the night before so it made for a quick dinner to pop in the oven after work last night. Pretty simple and great for leftovers to snack on for next few days...

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
1 can (8 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 tablespoon. garlic powder
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil, chopped, divided
1 lb. Rigatoni pasta

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine chicken, artichokes, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan and tomatoes.
  3. Beat cream cheese, milk and garlic powder with mixer until well blended; stir in 2 Tbsp. basil. Mix half with the chicken mixture.
  4. Meanwhile, boil pot of water, cook the pasta, drain, and set aside.
  5. Spread half cream cheese mixture onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish
  6. Mix remaining cream cheese mixture with chicken mixture and pasta,cover with mozzarella; and cover with foil.
  7. Bake25 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Let stand 5 min. before cutting to serve.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Penne al a Chardonnay

I've been looking for a pink penne vodka sauce of some sort to make my husband's belly dance! I've tried two different recipes already that were mediocre and figured I'd give it another try after stumbling upon a recipe on Pinterest, and I'm glad I did! Anthony took his first bite and as I watched him, he made a face, and I quickly asked "it's not good?", he said, "No, this is delicious! It's really good, this is like eating in an Italian restaurant, what did you do?" At that moment, I smiled a mile wide and said "third times a charm, I guess!" He knows how nervous I get when trying to recreate good Italian food that meats his palette. The secret ingredient you ask? Using chardonnay instead of vodka, who knew!

Though I found this on Pinterest, this recipe originated from The Pioneer Woman's blog from her Penne a la Betsy recipe and I made some revisions by adding extra garlic and Italian seasoning instead of parsley. I also made the sauce a night before and I think that helped marry all the flavors. This dinner would be perfect for meatless Monday, so last night after coming home from work, I put the sauce on the stove, boiled some penne, sauteed the shrimp in some butter, had some Italian bread warming in the oven, and a beautiful Penne al a Chardonnay was served with smiles all around!

·         3/4 pounds Penne Pasta
·         1 pound Shrimp
·         3 Tablespoons Butter
·         3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
·         1 whole Onion diced(small)
·         3 cloves Garlic diced
·         1/2 cup White Wine, Or To Taste 
·         1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
·         1 cup Heavy Cream
·         Fresh Basil, To Taste
·         Salt and Pepper to taste
·         Italian seasoning

1.Cook the penne pasta until al dente
2.Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp. Heat about 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Don’t overcook and remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.
3.Finely dice one small onion and mince three cloves of garlic.
4.In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add your white wine (I used Rawson’s Retreat Chardonnay). Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
5.Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce (I used Cento). Stir well until combined and then add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.
6.Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil. I also added a dash of Italian seasoning too for some more flavor
7.Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs and stir until combined. Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir and garnish with some fresh basil!

Bon Appetit!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sizzlin' Pan Seared Scallops

Mmmmmm scallops. I’m drooling just thinking about how easy this was and how delicious they were! Instead of going out for seafood, which can cost an arm and a leg, I said I’d cook some fish at home and who knew, it was easy, quick, and delicious!  I picked up about a pound of fresh scallops (forget the frozen ones, fresh is best) from Wegman’s for me and the hubby, which ran me about 16 bucks. I had rice and green beans already at home from my previous weekly shopping adventure, and of course I had white wine, so back to the kitchen I go…

First and foremost, you want dry scallops. Be sure to pat dry your scallops to rid the moisture and season them on both sides with S&P, I also sprinkle them with some garlic seasoning. What? I love garlic! You also want to be sure that your pan is sizzling HOT so you get those delicious markings on the outsides (all clad frying pan will work best).  As soon as you add the olive oil,  you’ll see the sizzle and then drop those bad boys into the pan. They cook fast and after you remove them from the pan, they will continue to cook, so no need to be nervous of  eating raw scallops! Keep in mind, you don’t want to overcook them, because then they will taste like rubber bouncing balls, which then means you wasted your money too! You also don’t want to overcrowd them in the pan and create the steamer effect. I did my scallops in two batches.

I let these guys cook about 2 minutes on the first side, flip and cook another minute plus on the second side. I remove them quickly to a plate while I get ready for the amazing sauce. The pan will look a bit messy with all the scallop bits and juices, but do not throw down the drain. This help builds the flavors and makes a wonderful pan sauce because it is packed full of flavor. Keeping the pan at med-high heat, drop the butter and watch it melt…

When the butter is completely melted, it’s time to pour in the white wine. I had some Yellowtail Tree-free Chardonnay in the fridge, but feel free to use what you like/have-Pinot Grigio’s  work well for this too. Just promise me you’ll use some good wine, you just spent $$$ on the scallops and we don’t want them to swim in bad tasting, cheap wine. Obvi! The wine will bubble and steam, and you’ll need your whisk or spoon in there to stir it around and scrape at the bits on the pan. This will then soften up and dissolve into the liquid, which makes cleaning the pan much easier and flavors that lovely sauce. As it reduces to the right consistency, I remove it from the heat and serve it over the scallops

*Since these cook so fast, be sure to prepare/have your sides ready. Remember the scallops cook in about 5 minutes, and the sauce is done under 5 as well. Bon Appetito my fellow scallop sailors!

 Pan-seared scallop ingredients:


  • 8 large dry scallops
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Garlic seasoning
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • *parsley for garnish at the end
  1. Pat the scallops dry with towel or paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the scallops (both sides).
  2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan (don’t use non-stick) over high heat. When oil is hot, place the scallops in the pan with at least one or two inches between them (so they don’t crowd and steam one another). After two minutes, the base should be browned nicely. Flip the scallops and cook for another minute or until base is browned. Remove from heat and set on serving dish(es).
  3. While still on high heat, drop a pat of butter into the pan. Move the pat around the pan until melted completely.
  4. Pour in the wine and use a whisk or spoon to scrape the bits from the pan and stir it into the liquid. Leave the heat on high and let the sauce boil until it reduces to desired consistency.
  5. Immediately remove from heat and serve with scallops.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Erin’s Better-than-Delivery (and DiGiorno) Pizza

Special Guest Blog Post today by my very best (and older!) sister, Erin!

Pizza ingredients:
  • Store-bought pizza dough (I prefer Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s whole wheat)
  • Roasted Tomato Sauce
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Soppresata
  • Arugula
  • EVOO
  • Truffle oil, for garnish
Roasted Tomato Sauce ingredients:
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (Jersey tomatoes are best)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • EVOO
  • 5 sprigs basil
Welcome to my first blog entry, as the Basil Bee’s guest. Since this entry is long over-due, let me quickly introduce myself. I am the Basil Bee’s older and WISER sister, Erin. I also love to cook and also have a puppy. He will have a cameo later.
But what you really came for was a recipe, right? This pizza is delicious and can be as healthy, or as meaty, as you would prefer, so choose wisely. Fresh, high quality ingredients in my book, will beat cheaper (though sometimes faster) substitutes any old day. Reads: my husband and I do not like jarred sauce.
First, here are some helpful tools I have found along the way. Without these, rolling out dough can be a P.I.T.A. No pun intended, ha.
·         Silpat Non-stick Baking mat
·         Rolling pin, or similar contraption from Pampered Chef you’ll see in one of my pictures, below
·         Pizza stone
·         Pizza Peel  - we have this one

First, you need a good sauce. Luckily, this one can be made in advance, and yes, served with other things. For example, I originally made this sauce as an accompaniment to grilled polenta (also, something you should try). If you aren’t already familiar with the en papilotte style of cooking, get ready to be dazzled!

Directions for the Roasted Tomato Sauce:  First, preheat your oven to 400F. Pulse half the cherry tomatoes until they are coarsely chopped in a food processor. Next, in a medium bowl, combine the pulsed tomatoes with the remaining tomatoes, which should also be cut in half. Add the minced garlic and shallots and combine with enough EVOO to thoroughly coat.
On top of a cookie sheet, spread 3 layers of parchment paper about the same size as the cookie sheet.  Then, place the tomato mixture in the middle of the paper and add the 5 sprigs of basil. Create a tight packet with the parchment paper by gently folding the trio of paper in half, and crimping the edges until you have created a tight seal. The sauce is now ready to go in the oven on top of the cookie sheet.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until you have a saucy sauce. Just be careful when you open the packet to test your sauce, hot steam will escape!

Mmm-this is my sauce. Sorry the pixel quality isn’t great. 

Now that you have a scrumptious sauce, it’s time to assemble the pizza...

Erin’s Better-than-Delivery (and DiGiorno) Pizza
First, it is important to have a well-floured work surface, especially if you don’t have one of those fancy silpat things I just put a plug in for (Krissy, do I get any of your advertising commission on this one?).  It helps to take your dough out of the refridgerator aobut 10 minutes before you want to start rolling it out. Also, a well-floured rolling pin will also help.
To begin, preheat your oven to 450F – with the pizza stone inside.

Step 1: Roll the dough. Hint: make sure the crust doesn’t get to thin or you will have limp pizza syndrome. No one likes a limp pizza. 

See my fancy pampered chef pizza dough roller?

Step 2: Prepare your ingredients.

Step 3: Assemble your pizza – on a well-floured pizza peel. I hope you have one or you will have a hard time transferring your pizza to the hot stone. Also, don’t forget to brush the crust with EVOO. Hint: make sure you don’t make your pizza too saucy, or again, you will have limp pizza syndrome.

Pizza is on stone, ready for transfer.
Step 4: Transfer pizza to stone. Hint: This can be dicey so be careful. As long as you floured your peel in advance you should be ok. I also used a spatula to help with the transition.

So far, so good.
Step 5: Now, bake until the dough gets nice and crisp. It should be golden brown on the crust and the cheese should be melted.

My piece de résistance? Truffle oil, lightly drizzled on top of the finished pie.

Step 6. Mangia!

Porter can barely stand it, but he’s waiting patiently for a slice.

Hope you like it
Erin (& Porter)