Diary of a Foodie

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chicken Pesto Pizza

I love a good pizza. I'm not really impressed with pepperoni, sausage or any regular ingredients. I like flavor, lots of different flavors, co-mingling together to create a great meal. I usually order the craziest pizza on menus; potato pizza, lemon pizza, pulled pork and Asian slaw pizza. I like to venture out.

One pizza in particular is always on my mind and on my radar. There is a local restaurant that sells a flatbread with all the flavors I add to this pizza. I wanted to make it at home, adding extra of what I love and trying to lower the fat content. I think I've done that here.

The dough recipe is NOT mine. I saw it on Instagram, thought it was a crazy recipe, decided to try it out. Worked out beautifully.

Chicken Pesto Pizza
 Makes one 12X12 inch pizza

Pizza Dough

1 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
1 c flour (I used AP, but you could try wheat)
1 tsp salt

In a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, add all ingredients and let mix for 5 minutes on low speed. Let dough rest for 20-30 minutes before rolling it out.  (yup, that's the whole recipe)


1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 c fresh spinach leaves
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted
juice of one lemon
2 garlic cloves
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/3 c olive oil
salt, pepper to taste

In a food processor OR blender, add basil, spinach, toasted pine nuts, lemon juice,  and garlic cloves, blending until finely chopped. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse for 20 seconds. Remove the opening of the lid and while processor/blender is running, slowly stream in the olive oil. Once all the oil is in, taste to check seasonings, adding salt and pepper as needed. You may not use all the pesto, store extra in the fridge or freezer for sandwiches or pasta.


1 c cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped  (I usually just bake one breast in the oven while the dough is resting, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper.)
1 1/2 c low fat mozzarella (I use fresh mozzarella found in the deli case, that I cut into slices)
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, packed in water, diced
8 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 c fresh spinach leaves


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll dough on a floured surface, into a circle or rectangle, based on the pan you are using to bake in. Cookie sheets, pizza pans, pizza stones, all work. If using metal cookware, grease the pan before placing dough onto it. Roll dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and place on pizza pan. Top dough with pesto, cooked chicken pieces, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and cheese. DO NOT ADD SPINACH AT THIS POINT. Bake at 400 degrees F on lowest shelf for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is brown on the bottom. Remove from oven and top with fresh spinach. Cut into slices and serve.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Roasted Chicken with Roasted Vegetables and Parsley Potatoes

When I am eating cleaner, I love roasting vegetables and chicken. It's quick, easy, healthy, and roasting brings out the natural flavors. You don't have to add a lot of extra flavors to make these tasty.

Roasted Chicken

 4-5 lb whole chicken (organic if you can)
1 TBSP salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp sage
olive oil

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove giblets from the breast cavity and throw them away. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Using two fingers, separate skin from breast meat, without removing skin or tearing it. Pour about 2 TBSP olive oil over the chicken and under the skin on the breast. Sprinkle with all seasonings on the skin and UNDER the skin on the breast meat. Place onto a cookie sheet with a baking rack. Roast at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes-20 minutes per pound. To check doneness, cut the skin next to the leg, if the juices run clear and not pink, the chicken is done. If pink, chicken is still not cooked through. Once juices run clear, remove from oven and cover with foil. Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes before carving. To reduce fat intake, do not eat the skin.

Roasted Vegetables

2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 lb baby bella mushrooms (or white button)
olive oil
1 TBSP salt
1 tsp pepper
1 TBSP tarragon

Cut zucchini and squash into circles. Place them and the mushrooms on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with about 1-2 TBSP olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 375 degrees F the last 25 minutes the chicken is roasting, stirring half way through. Once roasted til soft and slightly brown, remove from oven and sprinkle with tarragon.

Parsley Potatoes

2 lbs red potatoes
2 TBSP parsley minced (fresh is best)
2 TBSP butter, melted

Cut potatoes in half, then in half again, so that each potato is cut into 8 pieces. Place in a 8 qt pan and cover with COLD water and about 1 TBSP salt. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Once in a boil, reduce to a simmer, cooking until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the water and place potatoes back into cooking pot. Add butter, parsley and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mint Mojito- Sans Alcohol

Is there anything more refreshing on a hot day than a cold drink? Nothing. No one thing.

And this drink hits the spot everytime. We love to serve it at neighborhood parties and barbeques.

Mint Mojito

1 2-liter Sprite
2 cans frozen limeaid
5 limes
15 mint leaves

In a large drink dispenser, add Sprite and limeaid. Mix til limeaid is well incorporated into the Sprite. Juice the limes, add the juice to Sprite mix, and throw the juiced limes right into the mix. Add the mint leaves and stir for a few minutes. DONE. Enjoy!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Smokey Chicken Street Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce

In an attempt to recreate a local restaurant favorite, I tried to make it slightly better for you while still maintaining all the flavor. Using my family as tastetesters, it worked out and there were clean plates all the way around.

Smokey Chicken Street Tacos

serves 6-8 people, about 3 tacos a person

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 TBSP salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

In a large bowl, mix together oil and all the spices. Place chicken into the marinade and rub it into the chicken breasts. Cover with plastic wrap and set in fridge to marinate at least 2 hours, but up to 6 hours. Heat outside grill to 350 degrees, cooking chicken 7-10 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Times will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts. Once cooked through, remove from grill and cover with foil, allowing meat to rest for at least 10 minutes. After meat has rested, cut into bite size chunks.

Tomatillo Sauce

4 tomatillos
1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise made with olive oil (this reduces the fat)
1/2 c plain, fat free Greek yogurt (adds the creaminess, none of the fat)
1/4 c cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 jalepeno, seeded (DO NOT ADD ALL AT ONCE)

In a blender, add all the ingredients EXCEPT for the jalepeno. Mix until blended well, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 of the seeded jalepeno and blend again for 30 seconds. Taste at this point to test the heat level. If you like the amount of heat, stop now. If too weak, add another 1/4 of the jalepeno and blend again. Taste again. Add jalepeno until it reaches your desired heat level. Set aside for assembly of tacos.


Pico de Gallo

2 tomatoes
1/4 c diced onion
2 TBSP cilantro, minced
1/2 tsp salt

Seed and dice tomatoes, add diced onions, cilantro and salt. Mix together. Set aside to allow flavors to marry.


2 avocadoes
1/2 tomato, seeded and diced
juice of one lime
1/2 tsp salt

Remove avocado from skin, dice and add to a bowl, Add seeded and diced tomato, lime juice and salt. Mix well and set aside.

Sour Cream
18-24 corn tortillas

Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until warmed through.


Take corn tortillas, add about 1/3 c of diced chicken to center of tortilla, topping each with cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole and tomatillo dressing, or whatever else you like on a taco.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wheat Bread

One of the best sensory memories I have is of walking in the house to smell the warm, yeasty scent of homemade wheat bread baking in the oven. My mom made it often and we would eat it straight from the oven, slathered in butter or homemade jam.

Some of my favorite moments with my mom occurred in the kitchen.

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again. My mom was amazing. I wish I was half the woman she was/is.

This is her recipe. No changes. Amazing like her.

Wheat Bread

1 cup milk, scalded (instructions on how to scald, below)
2 t salt
2 T honey
3 T vegetable oil
1 T yeast
1 1/2 c white flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 2 qt sauce pan, add the milk and over medium low heat, bring the milk up to the point of small bubbles forming on the edges of the pan. DO NOT BOIL. This is scalding the milk. Once small bubbles form on the edges, remove from heat and add to the mixing bowl using the bread hook attachment on the stand mixer. Add salt, honey and oil to the milk. Mix until milk returns to lukewarm, around 100 degrees (like bathwater). Add yeast, mix for 30 seconds then turn mixer off, allowing yeast to activate and bloom for 10 minutes. Add the flours slowly, mixing the entire time on low speed. Once all flour is incorporated, let the mixer run on low, kneading the dough, for 5 minutes. Remove mixing bowl from stand mixer, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set in a warm area to rise. I set the dough on the stove top of the preheating oven to rise. Allow dough to rise at least an hour or doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Shape into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan. Let dough rise again, covered with a clean cloth in a warm area, for another 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Once baked, remove from oven and then turn loaf out onto a cooling rack.  Yields one large loaf or two smaller loaves.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Peach Crisp

Desserts need to be a part of everyone's lifestyle, whether you're a fitspo, thinspo, clean eater, etc... I do not fall into any of the categories. I am someone who loves to eat and eats what I want, usually when I want. (Hence the 20 lbs I still need to lose are sticking around). 

But, I digress.

Here is a quick, easy, yummy recipe to throw together whenever you need a little sweetness. You can always substitute apples, pears, add raspberries, etc... Make it your own.
 (If you use apples, I would use brown sugar, instead of white).

Peach Crisp
6-8 large, ripe yellow peaches (size of tennis ball to softball)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 c white sugar


1 stick of butter, room temp
1/2 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 c oatmeal (quick oats are the best to use here)
1/2 tsp salt

Peel and core the peaches (a vegetable peeler works great and it easier than boiling the peaches to have the skin come off.) Slice into about 1/4 inch slices. Toss together with corn starch, sugar and cinnamon. Place in a greased 9X13 baking dish. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, until bubbly and juicy. (If you peaches aren't totally soft and ripe, this stage may take up to an hour!) While peaches are baking, in a large mixing bowl, add all topping ingredients and mix together with your hands until it is crumbly and pea-sized chunks. Place in fridge while peaches bake. Once peaches are cooked through, take out of oven and crumble the topping over the peaches. Place back into oven for another 20 minutes. Crust will be slightly hard and will harden more once out of the oven. Let set for about 10 minutes before eating with vanilla bean ice cream. .

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Green Chili Pork Burritos with Honey Tomatillo Sauce

 In this version of a burrito, I was trying to make everything green, in a homage to Bobby Flay's Triple Green Burrito he used in a Throwdown Competition. I didn't follow his recipes at all, just tried to make everything green and tasty in my rendition also.

Green Chili Pork Burritos
makes 10-12 burritos

2 lb bone-in pork roast
1 4 oz can Hatch green chilis
5 tomatillos, husk removed and quartered
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 of an onion, diced
1/4 c honey
1/2 c water
1 jalepeno, pierced with a fork
1 tsp salt and black pepper, each
1/4 c chopped cilantro

10-12 flour tortillas, warmed and softened for assembly (I wrap them in foil and heat in oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes)

1-2 cups of shredded cheese, your flavor choice  I used Colby jack

In a large Crockpot, add all ingredients EXCEPT the cilantro. Cook on high at least 4-6 hours, until pork is fork tender and shreddable. Remove pork from Crockpot and let it rest for 15 minutes. While meat is resting, remove the jalepeno from the sauce and then pour the rest of the sauce that pork was cooked in, into a blender and add the cilantro. REMOVE THE CENTER PART OF THE LID BEFORE BLENDING, and cover the lid with a towel, allowing the steam to escape. Hot liquids expand in a blender and if you do not remove this part, the mixture will explode hot liquid all over you. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!! Once mixture is smooth, add it back into the Crockpot. At this point, the meat should be cooled slightly and rested. Using your hands or a fork, shred the pork and add it back into the sauce. Allow it to cook for another 30 minutes on low.

While pork is cooking for the last thirty minutes, prep and make the rest of the burrito fixings.

Cilantro Lime Rice

2 cups cooked white rice
1/4 c chopped cilantro
juice and zest of two limes

Once the rice is cooked (following package directions), add the cilantro and zest and juice of the limes. Sprinkle with salt and mix well. Set aside for assembly.

White Beans

2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 TBSP water
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c onion, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

In a 2 qt sauce pan add all ingredients and cook on stove top over medium heat for 10 minutes.


2 avocados
juice of one lime
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Mash the avocado and then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.


Take a warmed tortilla and in the center layer with a TBSP of cheese, then rice, beans, pork and top with guacamole. Fold sides of tortilla over top of the ingredients, fold up bottom of tortilla and then roll over. Serve warm.

Vegetable Lo Mein

 I have been making tons of stir frys lately trying to get in my daily allotment of vegetables. I gag. Every salad I eat, I gag. It's just too much. So, I needed a bit of a change from the standard stir fry or salad.

Enter vegetable lo mein. Vegetables, noodles, a sweet and savory sauce. Sign me up.

Now with all of my recipes, you can make this your own. This is just a guide. Don't like spicy? Tone the sauce down. Don't like mushrooms? Don't use them. Want to add meat? Brown up some chicken, steak, pork, shrimp, whatever. Make it yours.

Vegetable Lo Mein

serves 8

2 whole carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 red pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 c whole snow peas
1 yellow squash, cut into rounds
2- 8 oz packages of stir fry noodles (I found them near the mushrooms in the produce section. Can't find them? Substitute udon noodles, ramon noodles, or even spaghetti noodles)

Prep all your vegetables and then in a large sauté pan, heat up 1 TBSP olive oil. Add all the vegetables and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked but not mushy. Add the stir fry noodles (the ones I got were already cooked. If your's aren't, boil them first.) Add the lo mein sauce and stir till all vegetables are coated. Serve immediately.

If adding meat, cook the meat in the same pan BEFORE you cook the vegetables. When it's cooked through, remove from heat and set it aside until you assemble entire dish.

Lo Mein Sauce

1/2 c sweet red chili sauce
1/4 c plum jam (or apricot jam)
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP water

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside till vegetables are ready.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Build a Healthier Burger

Burgers are the All-American comfort food. I don't know one person who doesn't love and crave them. I am just such a person. But again, I am trying to trim the waistline so I can't eat them often. I thought of different ways to cut back the calories and fat in this recipe.

Of course I could go bunless and be carb free, lose the cheese and bacon, or use ground turkey or chicken. But to me, that is a sad excuse for a burger. Feel free to do those things if you would like, but I am keeping it classic here.

 I'm using ground beef but instead of using 85/15 ground beef (85% lean meat, 15% fat), I am using 95/5 ground sirloin, which takes the fat down from 17 fat grams to about 5. I'm using thin cut provolone cheese, center-cut bacon, which has 40% LESS FAT than other bacon. And instead of using regular "fry sauce", A Utah original sauce of mayo and ketchup, I substituted plain, fat free Greek yogurt, ketchup and sriracha to add some heat.

Healthier Burger yields 8-1/4 lb burgers

2 lbs, 95/5 ground sirloin
8 whole wheat burger buns
8 thin sliced provolone cheese
1 lb CENTER CUT bacon (nitrite free is best)
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 avocado, halved and sliced
8 -16 lettuce leafs
caramelized balsamic onions (recipe below)
Faux fry sauce (recipe below)
salt and pepper

In a large bowl, mix together ground beef with 1 tsp salt and pepper, each. Separate meat into 8 equal portions, rolling into a ball, then flattening out into burger shape. Using your thumb, make a thumb print in the center of each burger. This will help them to NOT shrink when cooking. Set them aside while you make caramelized onions and cook the bacon.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place bacon on a cookie sheet and bake it for 20-25 minutes, or until desired doneness. Drain bacon on paper towels before serving.

Peel and slice onions into half moons. In a sauté pan, heat up 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Place onions in pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper and let them cook slowly til softened, at least 20 minutes. Once they are soft and browning, add 2 tsp Balsamic vinegar and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cook your burgers either on an outside grill or inside in a cast iron skillet, about 5 minutes per side. The last 2 minutes, add your cheese and let it melt.

To make the Faux Fry Sauce, mix together 1/2 c plain greek yogurt, 1 tsp sriracha, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper and 2 TBSP ketchup. Whisk until smooth.

To assemble, spread 1 tsp faux fry sauce onto top bun. Place lettuce on bottom bun, stacked with cheeseburger, bacon, caramelized onions, tomatoes, avocado and then the top bun. I served them with baked sweet potato fries.