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I don’t profess to be a chef, or a person who like fancy foods. I mean, sure, I LOVE a good aged, sharp cheese, but I’ll eat just about anything. That said, I have no idea what to call these. When I explained what I was making, I called it a “type of calzone,” but then someone chimed in, “It’s basically a pizza.” So, I clarified, “It’s a pizza hot pocket calzone thing, but it’ll be good, so chill.” Luckily, the recipe stood up to my bravado.

This is one of those recipes that is super easy, and can trick people into thinking you know how to cook (Men, I’m looking at you). And as usual with most of the recipes I like, you can totally make it your own!

But here’s what I did, and it’s the recipe in it’s most basic form:

hot pockets calzone

What You Need:

1 package puff pastries (I used Trader Joe’s because they come in rectangles, not rounded)

Marinara sauce (or whatever your fave spaghetti sauce is)

Mozzarella cheese

What You Do:

Preheat the over to 400 degrees (or whatever your package suggests)

Choose the size of pockets you want, keeping in mind you’ll be folding them, and cut them

In the center of one half, add sauce, cheese, and any other toppings you want

Fold, and close the edges using the tines of a fork (like when you make peanut butter cookies)

Put in the over for 20-30 minutes (will vary depending on the crust, so just keep an eye on it)

Flip them at some point towards the end (I flipped around 20 minutes and cooked for 30 total)

Take out of the oven, and enjoy!

hot pockets calzone

Messiness: This isn’t really messy, but if you’ve been following this blog, in addition to deserving an award, you know that dough it not my best friend (unless it’s un my belly). So, that part got a little messy, but by “messy” what I mean is “I had to wash my hands.” So it really wasn’t a big deal.

Budget: This is pretty cheap. The dough is going to be the most expensive part unless you’re adding fancy meats and cheeses. In which case, please invite me over. Thx.

Simplicity: So simple, I recommended it as the college guy’s go-to “Hi, look at me, I can cook delicious things!” recipe.

Deliciousness: SO good! Where your traditional hot pockets and calzones are doughy, this one is just enough dough with lots of flake.

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A few weekends ago, my dad and I went wine tasting at a winery where they served mostly Argentinian wines (Malbec!!!) and one of them was served with some chimichurri. It was so good that we liked it as much as the wine! Served like bruschetta (but tastes a bit more like tabbouleh), I had to google a recipe and get all of the ingredients on the way home, because we needed it to go with the bottle of Malbec we had waiting.

After looking over about six recipes, I found one that combined what sounded like the best elements of them all, and after a few minutes in the food processor, we had fresh chimichurri. Still working on the food photography (clearly), but I can assure you it tastes 10x better than it looks.

chimichurri

What You Need:

1 bunch parsley

1/2 C cilantro (optional)

4-6 garlic cloves

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 C red wine vinegar

1/4 C lemon juice

1/3 C red onions

1/3 C sundried tomatoes

1 tsp Oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

What You Do:

Get all of the ingredients in a food processor

Pulse until it’s the consistency you want for an appetizer with bread, or to put on your steak. If it’s too thick, add more olive oil.

 

Messiness: This is the messy level of salad, so, if making a salad irks you, it might be smart to steer away from this. But if you’re down with salad making, this will be status quo.

Budget: It’s not super cheap, but for about $5-6, you can have a fresh, yummy appetizer that you would have paid the same if not more to be already made.

Simplicity: I love any recipe that only involves a food processor and comes out tasting like you are a genius.

Deliciousness: Even the meat eaters were happy nibbling on this. I think that pretty much speaks for itself.

Over the last few years I’ve fallen in love… with chickpeas. Whether they’re roasted, or a welcome addition to my salads, or I’m dipping things in hummus, I love them.

I previously made thick chickpea fries, or panelle, but since then, I’ve tried out some new chickpea flatbread recipes, and as usual, I’ve come out believing that chickpeas, or garbanzo beans reign supreme.

This socca recipe is simple, and there are about a million ways to make this flatbread, depending on who you ask. The method I’m sharing is the one I found to be the simplest and among the healthier since it cuts out the gobs of olive oil needed. Also, because I’m lazy and impatient which isn’t usually the best combo.

socca -- chickpea flour flatbread

What You Need:

2 cups besan/chickpea/gram flour*

2 cups water*

1 TBSP olive oil + 1 TBSP more

rosemary (optional, to taste)

salt and pepper (optional, to taste)

*basically, you just need equal parts water and flour

What You Do:

Mix the water and besan, water, and olive oil together and let sit for anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours (the idea is to make sure the flour and water are fully absorbed)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees

In a shallow pan, use the extra olive oil and grease the pan

Pour the batter into the pan

Sprinkle on rosemary, salt, pepper, and any other spices you want

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top browns (this time will change if you batter is thicker or thinner)

Messiness: if you’ve made pancakes, or just regular boxed cake, then expect the same amount of messiness from this. Minimal, but flour is always a bit tricky.

Budget: The besan flour is pretty cheap at Indian markets and lasts for-ev-ver. So, in all, this is a pretty cheap recipe since you likely already have the other ingredients. Definitely cheaper than making your normal flatbread.

Simplicity: Super simple! In fact, I basically just let the batter sit while the oven preheated, then greased the pan.

Deliciousness: REALLY good! Especially if you’re trying to eat healthier and are looking for a bread substitute. I eat it with my salad, soup, basically everything. It’s also got about 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per serving.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research to get better at food photography (which is so much harder than I ever thought it could be), and trying out new apps. Well, after I made this salad, I attempted to take some pics, and as soon as I got back to my computer, it turned out I had no idea how to use my chosen app, and all of those pics I thought I took didn’t even save.

Luckily, this recipe is really simple, and I only feel like I should share it because 1) there’s a mega heatwave and no-bake foods are so necessary 2) it’s sorta unusual.

So, here’s your sad pic that saved.

And here’s your recipe for a summer harvest fruit salad:

Summer Harvest Fruit Salad

What You Need:

1 ripe watermelon (cut in bite sized cubes or us a melon baller)

1 carton yellow tomatoes

1 carton blueberries

3 handfuls of spinach (optional)

What You Do:

Wash and mix toss together

If using spinach, I also added some salt and black pepper because why not?

 

Now, there aren’t any confusing or tricky parts to this except for choosing a ripe watermelon. If you were fortunate, like I was this time around, then save the excess juice from your watermelon. I had some cinnamon basil on hand so I muddled the juice with the herb, then added two parts vodka, one part juice/herbs, and one part water (or soda water). And voila! A fresh, nameless summer drink to go with your salad.

Messiness: Cutting fruit can get messy, which is why I opted to just use a melon baller. Also, it helped keep the watermelon juice nicely in the hollowed half so I could pour it into my drink.

Budget: As usual, I got all of these ingredients (minus the vodka) at the 99 Cent store, but in general these shouldn’t cost too much since everything is in season.

Simplicity: Are you ready to do the easiest thing you’ll do all day? Cool, then make this. 🙂

Deliciousness: I know what you’re thinking: Tomato? Really? Yes, really. These yellow ones are so sweet and juicy, they complement the fruity flavors well.

 

Sorry about the horrible, one picture. I’ll keep trying to improve… and any tips are welcome!

A couple of posts ago, I revealed one of my worst habits to you: buying produce and not using it all. Every single week, without fail it happens; I start out with the best intentions to eat well and not be lazy, but it just goes awry.

This week, add to that the fact that the basil I’ve been growing was going through the STRUGGLE! So, I quickly plucked some of the not-too-floppy leaves and decided to get less lazy and more creative.

I’ll give you the step-by-step instructions, since I know that can be helpful, but I’ll add some notes throughout in case your veggies on-hand were a bit different than mine. Can’t wait to hear how yours comes out!

‘BEFORE IT GOES BAD’ PASTA

What You Need (aka What I Had On-Hand)

2 cups yellow cherry tomatoes (or 1 container from the store)

2 red peppers (chopped)

2 garlic cloves (minced)

1/3 bag of angel hair pasta

handful of fresh basil

2 TBSP olive oil (maybe more)

lots of fresh Parmesan cheese

1 TBSP Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Salt, black pepper, crushed red peppers (all optional and according to your taste preferences)

 

What You Do:

Start cooking the pasta in a pot (NOTE: I used angel hair pasta because it’s what I had. You can use anything)

While it’s cooking, in a small skillet, warm up the olive oil on medium-low flame and add garlic

Add chopped peppers after about 2 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t get too brown. The goal here is to flavor the oil, which will be your sauce. If the veggies soak up too much of the oil, definitely add more! (NOTE: I didn’t have any onions or shallots, but those would also be great to add at this stage if you have some). Stir occasionally, and let cook for about as long as the pasta takes, unless the garlic begins to get really brown, then you’re done.

While all of this is cooking, halve the tomatoes, wash and julienne the basil so it’s ready to go. (NOTE: use fresh Parmesan cheese so it melts thanks to the hot pasta and sauce)

Once the cooking is done, combine everything and enjoy!

 

Messiness – The cutting board, one pot and one small skillet are the only equipment needed, though that is more than just one bowl, so I’m not sure if I’d say this isn’t messy, but it’s certainly not something that will destroy your kitchen.

Simplicity – Super simple! All of the prep is done in stages while other things are cooking. It may seem a little involved, but you’re done within 30 minutes, and I had enough to take to work for three days worth of lunches. Also, nothing is terribly difficult to where you need to pay lots of attention to it.

Budget – It’s as expensive as the ingredients you already bought, or want to buy. As with most of my recipes, olive oil is the most expensive part, but even with how much I use it, one bottle usually lasts me for months.

Delicousness – Pasta, cheese, veggies, and a garlicky sauce… I’m not sure what else I could want out of a fresh lunch!

 

I tell a lot of people about quinoa because, well, it’s amazing! But for some reason this “grain” really intimidates people.

So, today I’m here to tell you to STOP BEING SCARED OF QUINOA! If you can boil a pot of pasta, you can make quinoa (and if you can’t boil a pot of pasta, we have bigger problems).

I looked around for a video that would not only tell people about the benefits of quinoa but also how to cook it, since that seems to be the biggest issue.

Sometimes I swap out water for a broth, depending on what I’m cooking, but if you’re just making a batch to help get you through the week with a little extra protein and nutrients, then you’re good to go!

Take a look at this video, and if you still need some extra guidance GO HERE.

Let me know how it goes, and we’ll start cooking with this seed more often!

image

Cooking can be intimidating, especially when it isn’t something you normally do, but I promise, if you have a few tricks up your sleeve, you can make something delicious out of almost anything.

This is a good example.

I was hungry, and had lots of random veggies I’d bought because they had a good price. Well, I didn’t end up using them all and I hate to see things go to waste. So, I chopped them up and threw them in a covered skillet.

The catch? I special trick I learned not too long ago. Wash the spinach, and use the water still on it to steam it. Keep it covered for about 5 minutes and it’s done. Super easy!

Then, just add some cooked pasta, other chopped veggies you may have lying around, and mix them together with your favorite sauce.

Nothing goes to waste and you have a healthy dinner!