Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Roasted Vegetable Dip and Chicken Pizza

Perfect Pairing:  Golden Home Pizza Crust


One of my all-time favorite recipes on my blog is this Roasted Vegetable Dip.  I have made it countless times. 


A healthy mix of red peppers, red onion, eggplant, garlic, olive oil, and seasonings are roasted then processed with tomato paste and red pepper flakes.  It is ridiculously delicious and guilt-free. I have used it as a dip for crackers, vegetables, or as a spread on crostini or on a grilled cheese sandwich.  It is so versatile.


My new favorite use is using it as a pizza sauce.  Start with a pre-baked pizza crust, top it with a generous spread of the Roasted Vegetable Dip, cooked chicken, red onion or shallot, cheese, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.  It is great as a main course or cut into smaller pieces for an appetizer.


I just discovered these Golden Home Pizza Crusts.  They are super thin and crispy.  If you have a pizza stone, use it with these crusts.  The nutritional stats are pretty great too, especially when you compare it to Chicago deep dish pizza.  Egads.  I am not being sponsored in any way by this company, in fact, I have not been able to find them in my local store so I have to ask my mom to stock up for me at her grocery.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Simple Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Perfect Pairing: Seeded cucumbers (spoon method)


If you are lucky enough to have a garden, or perhaps are just lucky to know someone with a garden who likes to share, you probably have a lot of cucumbers.  In honor of the last day of summer (waaaa!), here is a super simple cucumber salad.


I made this all summer long to serve with anything off the grill, or alongside of my favorite Tomato Pie.  I always use fresh dill, but will throw in fresh basil and mint if I have access to it.


Garden cucumbers often have a thick, sometimes bitter, skin and lots of seeds.  I like to peel the cucumber, slice it lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a teaspoon.  If you are feeling motivated and have the time you can salt the cucumbers in a strainer for 30-45 minutes to drain off excess water before making the salad, but this is not necessary.


Soak up the last day of summer!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Grilled Sweet Miso Salmon

Perfect Pairing:  Foil


About a year ago I started noticing miso recipes all over the internets.  I knew I liked miso.  What is not to like about miso soup?  It is salty and savory and all sorts of umami.  My knowledge of miso pretty much ended there.  I made a special trip to Whole Foods to find miso.  I was too proud to ask where it was, so I had a great tour of the store.  I did not find it on the shelf with other Asian foods which is where I was SURE it was going to be.  I found random packets of miso soup mix.  I stood in front of those googling trying to figure out if that was, in fact, miso paste.  It was not.  During the search I saw something about the refrigerated section and headed there.  At my Whole Foods it was chilling with the tofu and cheese. 

So I found miso paste….. red miso, white miso, mellow white miso.  Eh?  I JUST WANT MISO PASTE.  I decided to go with white.  That seemed innocuous enough.  It was a big tub and I had no idea how I would ever make a dent in it.  Guess what folks?  I just bought my second large tub of miso paste.  This stuff is the NUTS!

The first thing I made with it was this simple Miso Coconut Chicken and Rice dish.  It was fabulous.  I started using it in salad dressings, and mixing it with a little cream cheese to spread on toast for breakfast.  I also combined miso with butter and sautéed fresh corn in it with a little lime juice.  This was based on a dish my brother told me he had at a local restaurant.  Amazing. 


One of my favorite uses has been in this Grilled Sweet Miso Salmon.  Miso is mixed with brown sugar, mustard and rice vinegar and then basted on grilled salmon.  I grilled the salmon on foil so it is easy cleanup and dinner is ready in minutes.  


I served it with these super simple grilled seasoned potatoes and brussels sprouts.


Embrace the miso!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Year Four in Review

What a year it has been!  Since my Year Three in Review post I got engaged and married, gained a cute new roommate, and pretty much had the most incredible year ever.  Admittedly, Perfecting the Pairing took a backseat to wedding planning and my husband, and the number of posts went way down.  I still love this little blog and love getting new recipes posted.  I am cooking all the time, now I just need to do the rest of it!

Thank you thank you thank you to all my readers and for all of the positive feedback, encouragement, and sweet comments.  I said it last year, and I will say it again, I truly appreciate every single view this site gets. 

Without further ado…

Top ten most viewed posts from year four

MY Perfect Pairing – There is no recipe here, but there is a really sweet story about my now husband surprising me with the most amazing proposal.  Ahh!  I love that man and I loved that proposal! 


Impossibly Light Pineapple Whip – There are only three ingredients in this crazy delicious, healthy dessert.  It was the perfect sweet treat during my pre-wedding diet!  It is a dead ringer for the Dole Pineapple Whip from Disney World.


Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole – All the flavor of pizza, none of the guilt.  This freezes well and is great to have on hand for a quick dinner. 


#LamsInLove – Part 2 – Pretty much a recap of our wedding.  Again, no recipe…. Man, I was slacking!


Sloppy Joe Dip – Not very pretty, but so so tasty.  I find that men tend to love this one.  Actually, everyone loves it.


Menu Post #1, Huli Huli Chicken – Remember last year when I said my goal was to have a new section all about menus?  That was a cute idea.  I did it twice.  Ok, goal for year 5!  This menu was repeated again multiple times this summer.  It is a crowd pleaser every time!


Wheat Berry Chicken Salad – If you have not tried Wheat Berries, you are missing out! 


#LamsInLove – The Wedding Favor/Escort Card at our wedding was handmade Sriracha Salt and Citrus Pepper.  This post provides some recipes and tips on how to use it.  I think the Sriracha Salt was everyone’s favorite! 


Apple Cider Sangria – This will be happening again in a couple months.  Perfect for autumn!


Cheeseburger Soup – Comfort food to the max! 


I can hardly believe I am kicking off year five!  #PairingForLife.  xoxo

Monday, August 10, 2015

Un-Recipe Files: Warm Mini Pesto Sandwiches


One of my favorite summer traditions are TGIF dinner cruises.  On Friday evenings we will pull together an easy meal of sandwiches, veggies/chips with hummus/dip, Bing cherries, and an easy portable dessert.  Oh, and wine.  You must have wine on TGIF cruises!  All of this needs to be pulled together in time for sunset on the lake.  Add in some good cruising music from Joshua Radin, Amos Lee, Iron and Wine, or Norah Jones and you pretty much have perfection.  On a boat.


We usually make these simple, but deceptively delicious, sandwiches.  Start with a small, soft roll.  We usually get them straight from the grocery store bakery.  Add your favorite deli meat, half a slice of cheese (provolone, cheddar, pepper jack, etc.).  Now for the special sauce.  Mix up a quick pesto aioli using equal parts of pesto (store-bought is fine) and mayo.  Wrap up the sandwiches in a square of foil and bake in a 300 degree oven until the cheese is melty. 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Simple Fruit Dip

Perfect Pairing:  Summer Fruit


This recipe came to be because of a cooking accident.  I liked it so much that I repeated the accident many times!  It started because I had a surplus of Ina Garten’s Stewed Rhubarb and Red Berries.  Her recipe says it serves 6, but I found that it had 12 or more servings, so I was looking for a new way to use some of the delicious stewed fruit.  I decided to try a trifle with angel food cake.  I layered cake cubes, the fruit, and a luscious white concoction I came up with, then repeat.  It was a scrumptious dessert!


The angel food cake was small, and of course I didn’t have a full batch of fruit, so when I finished the trifle I had a surplus of this delicious creamy concoction.  What to do?  I tried dipping fruit in it and decided that this trifle component was actually pretty amazing on its own. 


It is embarrassingly simple with just three ingredients.

Whisk them up and you have an incredible fruit dip that makes a fruit platter really special. 


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Caesar Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Perfect Pairing: Yogurt based Caesar dressing


Pasta salads can be so bad.  Rarely, rarely do I like pasta salads from restaurants or grocery store delis.  They all have the same odd taste and are just not worth the calories.  There ARE good pasta salads out there though!  I don’t want to pat myself on the back, but this one is really good.  I think I just did it anyway.


Grape tomatoes, whole button mushrooms, and sweet onions are grilled then tossed with pasta, arugula, and a super simple dressing.


The dressing is made with store-bought Caesar dressing.  I used this yogurt variety so it was a little lower in calories and fat.  The dressing is whisked with pesto and fresh lemon juice.  If you happen to have an abundance of homemade pesto stocked in your freezer (I’m so jealous) use that, but feel free to use store-bought pesto here.


We ate this while it was still slightly warm.  YUM.  It was also great leftover chilled.  It would be fantastic with grilled chicken or steak for a full meal. 


One year ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Avocado and Strawberry Toast with Feta and Honey

Two years ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Thai Peanut Pasta Salad

Three years ago on Perfecting the Pairing: Grapefruit Margaritas

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