Come football play-off season the pressure is really on for me. I’m not talking about being nervous or worked up about the actual games, I’m talking about intensely brainstorming game-day snack ideas. While everyone else is preparing their picks for the big game, I’m busy concocting up ideas for what I plan to stuff my face with. And good news: I have a buttery, carb-y, pepperoni-stuffed plan, my friends! When I hit a mental block thinking about what to bring to a football viewing party last weekend my husband offered me some sage advice. He said: ‘you usually do well by taking something big and tasty and turning it into a bite sized snack’ – of course! So I shrunk down my favorite flavors in pizzas and garlic breads into a super easy Pepperoni-Stuffed Garlic Knot bite. The full recipe is below for all of your Superbowl Party planning needs!  2015/01/img_5973.jpgGarlic Knot 1Garlic Knot 2Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Ingredients

  • Store-bought pizza dough
  • Pepperoni
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 Tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 cup of parsley leaves
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Pull or cut 1″ round pieces of pizza dough and use your fingers to roll into a 1 to 2″ disc. Top the disc with a piece of pepperoni and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.
  • Roll the sides of the dough over the pepperoni and cheese filling and pinch the dough closed to seal it inside. Roll dough around in between your hands to round the shape and ensure the dough is fully sealed. Repeat until all of the dough is used up and arrange the dough balls into a pie dish.
  • In a food processor, combine butter, parsley and garlic. Spread the garlic herb butter over the dough, making sure that the mixture is evenly dispersed.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the garlic knots just begin to turn gold brown.  Serve with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

After what feels like dozens of hot nights in our apartment, it finally cooled down enough this week that turning on the oven was an option. Getting back into the kitchen was such a good re-charge for me this week, especially with all of the amazing seasonal produce available to play with! I needed some comfort food after a long weekend of partying it up at a friend’s wedding so I went with a pasta dish — something quick and simple. I roasted a small eggplant, a container of quartered grape tomatoes, and two heads of garlic with some EVOO and salt and pepper at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. While that cooked, I made angel hair pasta and tossed it with half a lemon’s juice, torn basil leaves, about a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter, and some parmesan cheese. Once the vegetable mixture was well roasted, I pulled the cloves out of the garlic heads and smash them up with the tomatoes and eggplant, and tossed all of the ingredients together with the pasta and a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water. It totally hit the spot — the roasted garlic infused the eggplant and tomatoes with so much flavor, and all of the ingredients came together for a fresh but hearty meal. 20140729-075547-28547218.jpg20140729-075543-28543386.jpg20140729-075545-28545209.jpg20140729-075544-28544309.jpg20140729-075546-28546026.jpg20140729-075548-28548272.jpg

 

 

On my day off on Monday my husband suggested I try making homemade hummus — we buy it all the time and word on the street is that it’s pretty simple to make, so I gave it a whirl! I used Ina Garten’s recipe as a base (because she’s fabulous and I always trust her recipes!) and made a few modifications. First, I added a bit more garlic, an extra large clove, because adding more garlic is pretty much always my way life. Next, I reduced the tahini paste — it has a strong flavor, and I added in a little bit of the recommended 1/3 cup at a time, I probably only ended up using 1/4 cup in my version. After I blended all of the ingredients, I used a spatula to scrape it out into a serving dish and topped it with a few toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of good olive oil (for no other reason than that I’ve seen it done at restaurants, and I think it looks pretty!).  The verdict? It really is as easy it sounds — you just throw it all in a food processor and blend. Now that I know that, I’m brainstorming more flavors to try!

ADSC_0006 aDSC_0009 ADSC_0010 ADSC_0012 ADSC_0016

Guys, it’s hump day — and no one likes hump day — let alone the first one after the holidays, so I saved this recipe from a few weeks ago that’s completely focused on butter to make you feel better. One of the nicest presents I received for Christmas this year was from my grandparents and uncle; they got me a bunch of artisanal pasta and olive oils from a local pasta shop in my hometown. Clearly my family knows me well, carbs are my first love.

Roasted Garlic Herb Butter 1

When it came time to test out one of those pastas I wanted to make it a super special dinner, so in addition to working on a nice sauce and some homemade meatballs, I got a fresh loaf of Italian bread and decided to whip up a special herbed butter to go with it. I roasted a whole head of garlic for about an hour in a  small dish with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then once the garlic was cooked and soft, I used the food processor to combine the cloves with a 3 tablespoons of butter, a tablespoon of fresh grated parmesan cheese, a teaspoon of chopped rosemary, and a teaspoon of chopped thyme, plus a little more salt and pepper. The result was a sweet roasted garlic and herb-y butter spread that went perfectly with the little Italian feast I prepared!

Roasted Garlic Herb Butter 2 Roasted Garlic Herb Butter 3