Flexitarian Favorites…so far

It has been almost a month since I decided to start replacing the meat in my diet for a couple of days a week. I shared this new lifestyle decision with you in my post titled “Less Meat!” I set the goal for two days a week and that has been completely manageable. In fact, I’ve even gone three days in some weeks. If you’ve been following along, you’ve seen posts about my Go Green Bake and my Eggplant and Heirloom Lasagna.

Those were my most involved veggie fixes so far, but I have a few other very simple but tasty favorites too.

I found a recipe for curried egg salad and I can’t get enough of it! I keep forgetting to take pictures of this one, but you can see the finished product in the original post. I’ve also used this as a filling in lettuce wraps instead of on toast just to mix things up a bit.

I am also a fan of flat bread veggie pizzas. Pictured is a pizza margherita. You can make so many different combinations and usually I just use this to finish some odds and ends veggies that are in the refrigerator before they spoil.

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I also tried a recipe from Martha Steward for a Tortilla and Black Bean Pie. It was very tasty! I suggest adding a little extra hot sauce to it. I also replaced the scallions in the original recipe with cilantro. This is what I’ve made for my food swap event coming up next week!

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I had leftover black beans from the pie, so I made Buffalo Black Bean Stuffed Peppers the next night. Basically, I just used 1/4 cup chopped red onion, 1 cup of black beans, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 6 chopped cherry tomatoes, and 3 tablespoons of buffalo sauce for the filling, and topped it with mozzarella and baked it until heated through. A great way to use the black beans in a different way!

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Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Chicken and Beer Cheese Pizza

Last week we attended the Olympics of Pizza, the Bluegrass Pizza Bakeoff where individuals and businesses competed on traditional and non-tradtional syles of pizza trying to win a spot in the pizza olympics in Italy. This inspired me to make my own version of a non-traditional pizza.

There are already places in Lexington that do a pizza that is representative of Kentucky: The Hot Brown Pizza. You can find this at Saul Good or The Grey Goose. I still wanted to do a Kentucky inspired pizza, so I thought about those things that are unique to Kentucky. Of course, I thought about tobacco, coal, and horses, but those things would not be very appetizing on a pizza.  =)

Bourbon? Beer cheese? Now these are ingredients I can get down with for this challenge. Because this was a different kind of challenge focused on creativity and not timing or surprise ingredients, these cooking directions will look a little different than my posts about mystery ingredient challenges.

First, before I left for work, I put chicken tenders into the crockpot and let them cook on low. This makes them super tender and easy to shred. 

When I came home, I started the homemade pizza sauce. I sauteed a finely chopped half an onion, Kentucky grown tomatoes (thanks mom and dad!), 2 garlic cloves, and a half teaspoon of oregano in olive oil. I let this simmer for about 20 minutes while I worked on other ingredients.

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I shredded the chicken and tossed it in about one cup of bourbon barbeque sauce. This is not my own recipe, but it is made from scratch. I used Four Roses bourbon because that is what we had on hand.We had it leftover from a wings dinner with friends, and if you’ve been following my blogs, you already know how I feel about repurposing leftovers.

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I did cheat a little and buy a refrigerated pizza crust. Had I made this on a weekend I may have made a pizza crust from scratch when I had time for the dough to rise. I used a new artisan whole wheat crust by Pillsbury.

After rolling out the crust, I pre-baked it for about 6 minutes. Then, I spread Kentucky beer cheese over the entire crust. Someday, I’ll make it to the Beer Cheese Festival.

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I used my new purple immersion blender to blend the pizza sauce to a smooth consistency.

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Last, spread the pizza sauce on top of the beer cheese, added the bourbon BBQ sauce chicken, green peppers, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. I popped this into the oven until the crust edges were golden brown, which took about another 8 minutes.

This is my non-traditional Bourbon Chicken and Beer Cheese Pizza!

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The Olympics of Pizza

One of the things I love about living in Lexington is that there is always something fun happening. Tonight was the Bluegrass Pizza Bake Off.

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There were pizzerias and home chefs from the Lexington area competing for best traditional pizza and best non-traditional pizza titles. The overall grand winner, voted on by the public tasting and three professional judges, will win a trip to Italy to compete with the USA Pizza Team. Who knew there was an olympics for pizza!?!?!

The lugged several large pizza ovens into the Fifth Third Pavillion and the baking began!

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We got there a little late because of our running club, so we didn’t get to try all of the pizzas. There were 22 different traditional pizzas and 22 different non-traditional pizzas. We were full after trying 4 samples of each!

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When it came time to vote, it was a nontraditional pizza that won my heart. I don’t have a good picture of the one I voted for, but the best way I can characterize it is a Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza. It had ground burger, mustard, ketchup, bacon, onion, and even pickles. It was delicious.

I’m going to have to keep my ears open for the winner. Good luck in Italy!

I’m going to use this event as inspiration. I think I’ll have a non-traditional style of pizza challenge in the near future. Look for the post!