Mini Bagel Bites

Mini Bagel Bites 4
Did you guys love Bagel Bites when you were a kid? I remember my brother and I always got so excited when my mom bought them for us. I don’t even know if they make them still but every time I think of them, it brings me back to my childhood. Whoever thought of turning a boring bagel into pizza is kind of a genius.
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I don’t know about you all but I really struggle with lunches for the kids. I don’t really want to cook a full meal but I also don’t want to do sandwiches every day. A lot of times, we have all the ingredients on hand for English muffin pizzas but recently we had some mini bagels lying around and I thought it would be a fun change. They were gobbled down within minutes and that’s saying a lot considering it often takes up to an hour to get Noah to eat a meal. The kid is just too busy for silly things like eating. He’s also a big snacker so he would rather eat like a bird all day then sit down and have 3 meals. I will be nice to have this one in my back pocket when I need him to focus and eat.
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I have to tell you too, they were equally well received by the 30 year old boy in my house too. Nice to know iconic kid food can span the decades.
Mini Bagel Bites 1
Mini Bagel Bites

4 mini bagels, split in half
8 Tbsp. pizza sauce
8 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese
mini pepperoni, or desired toppings

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place bagel halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Spread each bagel half with 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce and top with 1 tablespoon each of mozzarella. Top with mini pepperoni or other desired toppings.

2. Bake for 8 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
Mini Bagel Bites 2

Dominican Stewed Beans with Rice

Dominican Stewed Beans with Rice 3
This past summer we vacationed in the Dominican Republic and had a blast. The only thing I was disappointed with was the food. We stayed at a resort so it was nice that we didn’t have to figure out and agree on meals but we definitely didn’t get the authenticity that we usually seek out when traveling to new destinations. At the buffet one night they did have a Dominican night and the dish I enjoyed the most was the stewed beans over rice.
Dominican Stewed Beans with Rice 2
I knew when we got home I had to try and recreate it for one of our meatless Monday’s. Well, we went on vacation in July and I just now got around to it. I wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long! I love the simplicity of this dish in the fact that it uses ordinary, staple ingredients and they come together to make something that conjures up memories. Nice, warm, relaxing memories of the beach are so nice today when school has been canceled because of extreme temperatures. Seriously people, wind chills near -25 degrees. That’s not supposed to happen in Nebraska. Noah has told me it’s so cold we will need to drink hot chocolate at every meal. Smart man.
Dominican Stewed Beans with Rice 1
Anyway, back to the beans. This dish is great for those on a budget too since it doesn’t get much cheaper than rice and beans. Plus, it’s vegan. Need I say more?

Dominican Stewed Beans with Rice
recipe adapted from Latina.com

8 oz. red kidney beans
3-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 cups brown rice, well rinsed

1. Soak beans overnight in a container big enough to generously cover the beans. Drain the water and add the beans to a large stock pot. Cover with 5 cups of fresh cold water. Bring beans to a boil then reduce to medium, cover partially and cook for an hour stirring occasionally. Add a cup of water then cook for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make a sofrito: In a food processor or blender, combine garlic, cilantro, and onion and process to a coarse paste. In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil then add the sofrito. Cook for 1 minute then add to the beans along with the tomato paste, salt, pepper and vinegar. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add in rice and cook for 10 minutes, stirring so that it doesn’t stick. Reduce temperature to low, add 1 cup of water, cover and cook for 55-65 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked. You may have to add more water throughout the cooking time (I ended up adding about another cup).

Meatball Pizza

Meatball Pizza 1
So remember when I made spaghetti and meatballs for you last week? A big ‘ole delicious batch. But have I ever told you how much I dislike leftovers? They are ok for a day but after that no bueno. I just hate eating the same thing over and over. And Joel now has lunch provided for him at work so that means there are even more leftovers for me to eat. The smart thing here would have been to freeze half the batch for another time but alas, that didn’t happen so I got creative instead.
Meatball Pizza 4
I always have pizza dough in my freezer for quick weeknight meals. Lately I have been creating lots of delicious and non-traditional pizza’s so why not make one with leftovers for the ultimate quick and easy meal?
Meatball Pizza 3
And that’s exactly what I did after 2 days of spaghetti and meatballs for lunch and dinner. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I was thankful for leftovers because it turned out so tasty. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making extra meatballs from now on just so I can make this pizza.

Meatball Pizza

2 disks whole wheat pizza dough
Leftover meatballs and sauce
2-4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Preheat pizza stone for 30 minutes.

2. Roll pizza dough disks together into a 12-inch round then place on preheated pizza stone. Slather desired amount of pizza sauce over crust and top with cheeses. Thinly slice 4-5 meatballs and layer on top of cheese.

3. Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs 4
Noah had his first day of preschool a couple weeks ago and we did lots to celebrate the big day. It mostly revolved around food because that’s how we roll around here. Big, fancy breakfast, out to his choice of restaurant for lunch (HuHot of course) and his request of spaghetti and meatballs with bell peppers for dinner.
Spaghetti and Meatballs 1
I have a meatball recipe I usually go to for spaghetti but I thought I would switch it up and try something different. I’ve always wanted to try the combination of beef and pork for meatballs so I went on the search and decided on an Ina Garten recipe since you can’t really go wrong with anything she makes. I did adapt the recipe to make them clean by switching white bread for whole grain and using only olive oil to cook them in. Still super delicious and I couldn’t tell the difference. I also opted to make my favorite spaghetti sauce rather than the recipe she included.
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This recipe makes a lot so you can cook them through step 2 then cool and freeze them. Or just wait until next week for a delicious way to use the leftovers.

Ina Garten’s Meatballs
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup fresh whole grain bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry whole grain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Olive oil
Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce (prepared without the ground meat)*
Hot cooked whole wheat noodles

1. Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. You will have30 to 32 meatballs.

2. Pour  olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.

3. Place meatballs in spaghetti sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, or until co0ked through.

*I subbed 3 tablespoons organic cane juice for the 1/4 cup sugar in the sauce to keep it clean.

Thai Chicken Pizza

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A whole wheat crust is slathered with a slightly spicy peanut sauce then topped with shredded chicken, a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese and baked to golden perfection. When it’s removed from the oven it’s topped with fresh cilantro, thinly slice carrot (I used a peeler) and peanuts for a little crunch. Are you drooling yet?
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So I don’t mean to brag, but this pizza is totally restaurant quality. I love making homemade pizza and always enjoy them but this was the first time I really thought I could see it on a menu somewhere.
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It is a bit fancier and more exotic than our normal pizzas but it was so so good. I know, I know, we live on the edge but we are pretty traditional when it comes to our precious pizza.
Thai Chicken Pizza 1
Plus, it is clean! I love when that happens. This is officially my new favorite. Thai chicken pizza for life.

Thai Chicken Pizza

1/2 recipe whole wheat pizza crust
1 batch Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
3-4 ounces mozzarella, shredded
Roughly chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced carrot
Roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

2. Roll out dough thinly and place on a pizza stone. Spread 1/4 cup of the peanut sauce over the crust. Toss remaining sauce with the shredded chicken and spread evenly over the crust. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

3. Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cilantro, carrot and peanuts. Slice and enjoy!

Thai Peanut Sauce
recipe adapted from food.com

2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated with microplane
5 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
1 tsp. Sriracha

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until the peanut butter is just melted (it only took 30 seconds for me). Whisk until smooth.
Thai Chicken Pizza 3

Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls

Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
Remember that fun dinner I talked about on Wednesday using whole wheat pizza dough? Well, here it is. Pizza rolls baked in a muffin tin.

Noah had a lot of fun helping me roll out the dough and spread the toppings. He’s been really into helping me in the kitchen again which means he’s super proud and is a lot more likely to eat what we are having. Not that it’s ever a problem when it’s pizza. But when he gets to help cut up the broccoli or cauliflower (with his kid knives) then he won’t complain as much when it comes to eating it. Sometimes the “help” isn’t all that helpful but we both enjoy it so much and sometimes the fun messy chaos is much more important than getting things done. I know these memories will be cherished for a long time to come.
Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
But back to the recipe at hand. These rolls are fun and kid friendly. I mean, who doesn’t love to eat with their hands. If you’re all fancy pants, you can cut them up with a knife but Noah and I preferred grabbing them with our hands and dunking them in the sauce. Dipping totally makes things more fun for kids too (and maybe adults).
Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
If you have the dough and sauce made up in the freezer, this would be an incredibly easy weeknight meal to whip up. I always make a big batch of both those things and freeze the leftovers for this very reason. Then all you have to do is thaw everything and grate some cheese.

Whole Wheat Pizza Rolls
recipe from Foodie Crush

Olive oil
Pizza sauce (make it clean by replacing brown sugar with honey)
1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
Any other toppings, I put pepperoni in half of them (for the boys)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a muffin tin with olive oil.
2. Roll out dough into a 10×20 inch rectangle. Spread a light layer of sauce over the dough then sprinkle with cheese and additional toppings of choice.
3. Roll lengthwise (like cinnamon rolls) to make a 20-inch log and pinch edges to seal. Slice into 2-inch sections then place them in the muffin cups, pressing down slightly.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and dough in the center is fully cooked. Serve with additional pizza sauce on the side.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Whether we are eating clean or not, something Joel just can’t live without is pizza. So I knew I would have to find a whole wheat pizza crust so we could splurge a little. And turns out, it’s pretty darn good. He asked me why I was able to eat it…he couldn’t even tell it was whole wheat.

I made a fun dinner with these using a cleaned up version of our favorite pizza sauce (just replace the brown sugar with the same amount of honey and make sure there isn’t any added ingredients in the tomato puree). I know some people who eat clean don’t eat cheese but that’s just a bit too extreme for me! I always buy blocks of cheese and shred them myself that way it doesn’t have any extra junk and it tastes so much better. I have also only been eating it in moderation.

So clean pizza it is! Using white whole wheat flour makes for a milder wheat flavor so you can totally trick any non-believers you are feeding. The dough was light, chewy and had the slightest bit of nutty flavor…just perfect in my opinion.
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
The recipe makes enough dough for 4 9-inch pizzas and includes instructions for freezing any extra so you can do the work now and have an extra dinner waiting for you in the freezer on a busy night.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
recipe from Weelicious

2 1/4 tsp. rapid rise yeast (or one 1/4 oz. packet)
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
3-4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing bowl and brushing on pizza crust
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1. Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of your mixer and allow to sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the olive oil and honey to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.

3. Stir together 3 cups flour and salt then dump into the yeast mixture. Mix on low for about 3 minutes until smooth. Crank speed up to medium and let it run for 5-6 minutes until it springs back when pushed. If dough is wet or sticky, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time.

4. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead for 15 seconds then divide into four equal parts. Form each ball into a disk and allow to rest for 5 minutes. At this point, you can freeze the dough for future use. Stack the disks on a baking sheet with parchment paper in between each then put in the freezer for an hour. After the hour is up, put the disks in a labeled freezer bag.

6. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Take a disk and holding the dough at the edges, pinch and pull the dough to 9 inches across. Periodically switch from pulling and pinching the dough to stretching it out using your knuckles.

7. Spread with sauce and top with desired toppings. Bake for 10-15 minutes.