Broccolini and Leek Pizza


Leeks are SO yummy and I always look for new ways to use them. They add a special flavor to many veggie side dishes or pasta dishes. I eat them all by themselves too!

To prepare these veggies to use as a pizza topping start by sauteing the leeks. While they are getting all soft and happy in the saute pan, prepare the broccolini. I sliced the larger ones in half lengthwise and then cut all of them in half.


How good does this look? Give me a fork!

broccolini and leeks

This combo was so tasty. The guys in my house even ate it. In fact…when there were two pieces left over I threatened them with their lives if they even looked at them. Those two pieces were going to be my lunch the next day!!

Broccolini and Leek Pizza

Broccolini and Leek Pizza

  • 1 bunch organic broccolini
  • 1 leek, white & light green part only
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • your favorite pizza dough, I made my own
  • 4 slices italian salami, cut into a small dice (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Italian 5 cheese blend cheese


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • To prepare leeks cut the dark green part and root end off, then slice in half lengthwise. Clean by holding under running water and opening up the layers slightly to remove any dirt that might in between the layers. Place leek halves on a cutting board and cut up into half moons.
  • Wash broccolini, slice any larger pieces in half lengthwise then cut them all into two pieces.
  • Heat skillet over medium heat and add a little EVOO. Add leeks and some salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring a few times and then add the broccolini. Cook only until the broccolini turns bright green. Remove the pan to another unused burner on the stove and let the mixture cool down while you prepare the pizza dough.
  • Once the pizza dough is spread out and placed on your pizza stone or tray drizzle the top with some EVOO. Add the broccolini and leeks in a single layer, add the diced salami (if using) then top with the cheeses. Cook until crust is browned and cheese is bubbly (times vary depending on the thickness of your crust and could take 10-20 minutes).

Homemade Pizza Dough

homemade pizza dough

Yesterday Devin and Travis requested pizza for lunch. Travis purchased some locally made sausage at a farmers market a couple of weeks ago and it has been waiting in the freezer for the moment when we were ready to transform it into a pizza topping. I knew he wanted pizza because he took the sausage out of the freezer last night to defrost. Yeah, in case you wondered he never does that…

homemade pizza dough

I have made this dough once before about a month ago. It was my first attempt ever at making dough of any kind. I was so sure that it wouldn’t turn out that I didn’t take any pictures or even think about blogging about it.

sausage and cheese pizza

I cut down Gwyneth’s recipe the first time I made it because I only had two packets of yeast instead of three. I decided to do the same thing this time because it makes two medium sized pizzas and that’s all we need for a meal with a couple of leftover slices for a snack later. You could also make half of it and freeze the other half to use later.

sausage and cheese pizza

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pizza Dough

From My Father’s Daughter

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water, divided
  • 1 1/3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (I used Hodgson Mill)
  • 3 1/3 cups King Arthur white wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


  • In a large bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of the water, the yeast and the sugar. Let stand until the surface has bubbles and it’s creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the other 3/4 cup of warm water, 2 cups of the flour, salt and olive oil. Stir until smooth (with your hands). Gradually add the rest of the flour until the dough starts to pull away from the bowl.
  • Knead the dough on a floured counter surface until elastic and smooth – it will take about 5- 8 minutes. Dust the surface of the dough as you go if it is sticky. Form the kneaded dough into a ball, place into a large clean bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil on top and turn the ball around until there is a little oil on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for about an hour and a half or until doubled in size. (Once the dough has reached this point you can refrigerate it until ready to use or even overnight)
  • To bake: preheat oven to 425 degrees. Divide the dough in half to make 2 pizzas. Dust the counter with flour and work the dough by stretching it with your fingers and setting it down in the flour if it becomes sticky. I use a pizza tray that has holes in it to allow for a crisper crust but if you have a pizza stone or a wood fired pizza oven like Gwyneth Paltrow then by all means…use that!!
  • Add your favorite sauce, toppings and cheese and bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned, bubbly and done.

Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

The cool weather and gray skies this week called for some comfort food in my house! I had 3 exams and a group project due this week so it was nice to have this easy to put together dish actually work for dinner for 2 nights (for the 3 of us). I have a little study break the next 3 days! Looking forward to it!


I’ve made this recipe multiple times but this is the first time I added sauteed garlic and mushrooms. They add a special flavor note to the dish that was just incredible. I especially like the flavor and texture of the shiitake mushrooms. They are a little more pricey than other types of mushrooms but since this is a meatless dish (and it lasted for 2 dinners) they are SO worth it!

Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

  • 1 – 10 ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 package of shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, halved then sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 – 15 ounce container, organic part-skim ricotta
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • freshly ground pepper and kosher salt, to taste
  • 16 ounces fresh mozzarella, divided
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 – 25 ounce jar spagetti sauce
  • 1 box manicotti pasta, uncooked


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 13×9 glass baking dish with non-stick olive oil spray; set aside.
  • Prepare mozzarella by cutting off about 1/3 of the log and dicing it up (this will get added to the filling). Slice the remaining mozzarella; reserve to be added to the top of the filled pasta.
  • In a small saute pan melt the butter. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft.
  • In a medium bowl combine spinach, mushroom mixture, ricotta, the diced mozzarella, nutmeg, salt & pepper.
  • In the bottom of the baking dish add 1/3 cup water and about 1/3 of the jar of spaghetti sauce and stir around a bit to mix. Fill the uncooked pasta shells with the ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish. Top the pasta with the rest of the spaghetti sauce then the sliced mozzarella and the shredded parmesan cheese.
  • Bake covered with foil for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes or so. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Easy Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

7 ingredients. That’s all. I swear! It’s easy prepare and there is very little cleanup. The hardest part of this lasagna is waiting for it to be done.

The amount of eggplant I use for this recipe depends on size of the eggplant. I bought 3 locally grown eggplant at Whole Foods that were barely bigger than the red pepper so I used 3 of them.

I cut the eggplant, peppers and onions into similar sizes.

This is the lasagna ready to be baked and before I covered it with foil:

The yummy-delish finished product:

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

  • 2 medium or 3 small eggplant, cut into chunks
  • 1 large white onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 large (or 2 smaller) red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 1 – 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1 – 9 ounce box no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1- 16 ounce bag shredded mozzarella cheese (sometimes I’m guilty of using much more cheese than this but this is all I used this last time)
  • 1 large jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce


  • Preheat oven to 375. Prepare the veggies. Layer them evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Spray the bottom of a deep 13×9 dish with olive oil cooking spray. Add about 1/4 spaghetti sauce on the bottom of pan. Next add 4 lasagna sheets, overlapping a bit. Add 1/2 of the roasted veggies, sauce and mozzarella cheese then 4 more pasta sheets. On top of the pasta sheets add all of the ricotta and smooth it around to cover the sheets. Add 4 more pasta sheets on top of the ricotta. Layer more sauce then the other half of the roasted veggies and more mozzarella cheese. Add the last layer of pasta sheets, the remaining sauce and cover with the remained mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes before serving.

Meatballs Stuffed with Buffalo Mozzarella served with Whole Grain Pasta

I’m on a roll today! My third blog post! I just had to share the oooey-gooey-goodness pasta that I made tonight for dinner. I had a pound of grass-fed, locally raised ground beef from Mount Vernon Farm that I purchased at Farm 2 Family last week in the freezer. It was raining outside. I wanted spaghetti!

I started rummaging through the fridge and found a ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella that wasn’t used when I made pizza week and thought about trying to make a cheese stuffed meatball.

I looked through some recipes online but decided that I wanted to change so many elements that I would just wing it. Here’s what I did…

Meatballs Stuffed with Buffalo Mozzarella


  • 1lb. grass fed, organic ground beef
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • a palm-full of breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • a ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella cut into chunks (I didn’t use it all)


  • In a mixing bowl combine ground beef, shallot, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs and spices.
  • Form into balls and press a chunk of cheese into it…a couple of times I had to grab a little more of the meat mix to make sure the cheese was completely covered. (I had 11 meatballs)
  • Heat non-stick skillet to med and add the meatballs. Once they are browned on all sides (this is a little unconventional) I turned the heat down for a second, grabbed a couple paper towels and sopped up some of the excess fat (there wasn’t much). Cover the meatballs with Emeril’s Roasted Gaaahlic spaghetti sauce (my boyfriend and son love it, what can I say!). Place a top on the pan and turn the heat down to med-low. Simmer for 10-12 minutes. Spoon sauce over meatballs every couple of minutes.
  • Cook 8oz. of Ronzoni – Healthy Harvest, Whole grain, thin spaghetti noodles according to package directions and serve with meatballs and sauce.
  • Serves 3.

And you must experience the close-up…

Do you believe me now when I say “oooey-gooey-goodness”?

Local sausage, mushroom and spring onion pizza

I want to start my new blog simply and just share a few photos of tonight’s dinner and a little about my day. My boyfriend and I shopped at our local Farm 2 Family store today and picked some great ingredients and we used quite a few of them to make dinner tonight.  We decided on pizza using a great shortcut…pre-made pizza dough (from Pizza Tonight). The toppings were locally-made sausage, local organic shiitake mushrooms and spring onions and were paired along with fresh, sliced mozzarella cheese and San Marzano pizza sauce. Here are some photos. Enjoy!