Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Looking for a healthier pizza option that still tastes great? Try using Whole Wheat Pizza Dough! This is a healthier version of my original pizza dough recipe but uses whole wheat flour for a protein and fiber boost. Delicious used with my BBQ Chicken Pizza, Taco Pizza or Classic Margherita.

whole wheat pizza dough ball in a glass bowl

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough | A Healthier Alternative

While I love a classic pizza dough, sometimes its nice to change it up and go for a healthy alternative. Whole Wheat Pizza Dough is just that!

The main difference between Whole Wheat Pizza Dough and Regular Pizza Dough is that the whole wheat version uses a combination of whole wheat flour and bread flour whereas the regular pizza dough simply uses bread flour. Whole wheat flour adds more dietary fiber and protein and the bread flour adds that extra gluten to create that chew that all pizza crust has.

The biggest complaint people have about a whole wheat pizza crust is the taste and texture being off (read: gross). Whole wheat pizza crusts made entirely with whole wheat flour are going to be heavier and taste a little different. It’s the exact reason why I only use 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour and make up the difference with bread flour. Using two kinds of flour is the key to delicious whole wheat pizza dough.

Main Ingredients Needed

You are going to need a lot of the same ingredients you’d use with classic pizza crust for this whole wheat pizza dough. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Warm Water, Yeast + Honey – these three come together to create the perfect environment for yeast to activate.
  • Olive Oil – you could also use canola oil here. The main difference is the taste.
  • Salt – to season the dough and add some flavor.
  • Whole Wheat Flour – this flour is a whole-grain product which means it contains more dietary fiber than regular flour. This is a much healthier option that helps with digestion and gut health but, don’t worry, this dough still has a killer texture and taste.
  • Bread Flour – this flour specifically has more gluten in it, yielding a chewier crust. In a pinch, you can also use all-purpose flour, but you just need to knead the dough a little longer. King Arthur Flour is my favorite bread flour.

A Note About Whole Wheat Flour

You’ll probably notice a lot of similarities between this recipe and my original pizza dough recipe. They are essentially the same, but I use less overall flour in this recipe. Why? Because whole wheat flour soaks up more water because it’s a whole grain. It’s heavier, too, so you don’t need as much overall flour. It’s also another reason why I don’t recommend using ALL whole wheat flour for your pizza dough.

Can I Use All Whole Wheat Flour?

For best results, I recommend using a combination of bread and whole wheat flour.

While you absolutely CAN use 100% whole wheat flour for this recipe, you will use about 1/4-1/2 cup less overall flour than the recipe states, simply because it’s a heavier flour and it will soak up more of the moisture in the dough (like I mentioned above). You might want to consider also adding in an extra tablespoon of olive oil to help with the texture of your dough as well.

How to Make Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

For full details on how to make whole wheat pizza dough, see the recipe card down below 🙂

1. Proof Yeast

In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit until bubbles form and the mixture starts to foam. This tells you that the yeast is alive and kicking.

What if my yeast didn’t bloom?

If the yeast didn’t bloom (bubble or foam up) this means that your yeast is dead. This could be because it was old or because the water was too hot. To fix this, toss the yeast mixture down the drain and start again (preferably with fresh yeast and warm water).

2. Create the Dough

Pour in salt, olive oil, and all the whole wheat flour and mix. Once that flour is incorporated, start adding bread flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it, it doesn’t stick to your hands.

3. Knead

Once you reach this stage, knead on low for 6 minutes. The dough should be smooth and easy to work with. And the bowl should be mostly clean! {*This is the point when you could freeze your dough!)

4. Rise + Use as Desired

Lightly grease the bowl & the dough so it doesn’t dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

Once pizza dough has risen, you can use as desired.

whole wheat pizza dough on a bread hook

Can I Freeze Whole Wheat Pizza Dough?

Yes, you can freeze this whole wheat pizza dough recipe! Here’s how to do it:

Freezing Instructions

Simply follow the directions all the way stopping after you knead the dough. Divide into portions, place into freezer bags, seal, removing all air, and freeze for up to three months.

How to Defrost Pizza Dough

Remove from the freezer and place the frozen dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it defrost, then rise until it has doubled in size. This process can take anywhere between 3-6 hours, depending on how warm or cold your kitchen is. Once dough has risen, use as desired.

Can I Grill This Dough?

The beauty of this whole wheat dough is that you can use it however you use regular pizza dough. So, long story short, yes, you can grill this dough. Here’s my how-to on how to grill pizza!

pepperoni pizza made with whole wheat crust

Try These Pizzas with Whole Wheat Pizza Dough!

So if you’re looking for a new healthier pizza dough to try, try this one! I promise it won’t dissapoint 🙂

The printable recipe card is below, enjoy!

whole wheat pizza dough ball in a glass bowl

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Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This Whole Wheat Pizza Dough is a healthier version of my original pizza dough recipe. Use with any recipe that calls for pizza dough!
Course Breads
Cuisine Italian
Keyword whole wheat pizza dough
Prep Time 16 minutes
Rise Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 16 minutes
Servings 2 medium 12″ pizzas
Calories 788kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups bread flour give or take 1/2 cup, depending on heat and humidity

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and the mixture starts to foam. This tells you that the yeast is alive and kicking.
    yeast proofing in a glass bowl with honey and warm water
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, pour in salt and all of the whole wheat flour and mix.
    dry ingredients in a stand mixer bowl
  • Pour in olive oil and yeast mixture until well incorporated with the whole wheat flour.
    adding olive oil to stand mixer bowl
  • Once that flour is incorporated, start adding bread flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it, it doesn’t stick to your hands.
    adding bread flour to the stand mixer bowl
  • Once you reach this stage, knead on low for 6 minutes. The dough should be smooth and easy to work with. And the bowl should be mostly clean!*
    whole wheat pizza dough on a bread hook
  • Lightly grease the bowl & the dough so it doesn’t dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
    whole wheat pizza dough ball in a glass bowl
  • Once the pizza dough has risen, you can use it as desired.**
    whole wheat pizza dough spread out on a baking sheet

Notes

*This is the point when you could freeze your dough!! Divide into portions, place into freezer bags, seal removing all air, and freeze. To use, remove from freezer and let sit out to get to room temperature and double in size; 6-8 hours. Then use as you’d like.

**Pizza dough bakes for 9-10 minutes at 500 degrees. Alternatively, you can bake at 425 degrees for a longer period of time.

Nutrition

Calories: 788kcal | Carbohydrates: 136g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1180mg | Potassium: 540mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 4mg

The post Whole Wheat Pizza Dough appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper is an easy and delicious dinner that tastes amazing and is just as fast to make as the boxed version…only made with real ingredients! This is one of my go-to, weeknight ground beef recipes that I just love. Ready in a flash and cooked in only one pan, too.

big spoon of homemade hamburger helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper | The Easiest Dinner Ever

I really like having these fast “I don’t have to think about it” dinners in my back pocket. While I never really grew up eating the boxed Hamburger Helper, I certainly enjoyed my fair share in college. But now that I’m a mother, I definitely can appreciate the point of a fast dish like Hamburger Helper, but much prefer making it homemade. And, funny thing is it doesn’t take that much longer to make it from scratch and it tastes waaaayyy better.

What is Hamburger Helper?

Hamburger Helper is an easy boxed pasta dish that you can find in the grocery store next to the boxed mac and cheese. It usually comes with dry pasta and a seasoning packet which you then cook with meat (usually ground beef).

pouring tomato sauce into pan over macaroni

Main Ingredients Needed

Okay I admit, this list is long, but this recipe could not be any easier! Here’s everything you’ll need to make homemade Hamburger Helper:

  • Olive Oil – this is used to cook the ground beef and onion.
  • Ground Beef + Onion – I used a 93/7 blend of ground beef and yellow onion, but you could just as easily use a white onion or ground turkey.
  • Elbow Macaroni – you can use whatever shape of pasta you’d like, I just kept it classic by using macaroni.
  • Beef Broth – this helps cook the pasta while still providing flavor.
  • Tomato Sauce – this is the base of the sauce.
  • Milk – this also helps cook the pasta while keeping things creamy.
  • Garlic Powder, Chili Powder + Ground Mustard – some seasonings to give it that classic Hamburger Helper taste.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – another flavoring agent, a little goes a long way!
  • Salt + Pepper – and don’t forget to season as you go, these make everything better.
  • Cheddar Cheese – you can make this as cheesy (or not) as you’d like.
  • Half & Half – or use heavy cream. This really makes the sauce creamy and dreamy.
  • Parsley – this is a garnish and is optional.

Can You Make Hamburger Helper without Milk?

Yes, you sure can! While the milk adds a creamy flavor and I’d suggest using it, there are other ingredients you can add that could be considered good substitutes:

  • canned evaporated milk
  • nonfat dried milk whisked together with water, according to package directions
  • almond milk
  • coconut milk
  • extra beef broth + 1-2 tablespoons butter

If you love Homemade Hamburger Helper, try these other ground beef + pasta recipes:

cooked hamburger helper in skillet

How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

For full details on how to make Homemade Hamburger Helper, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Cook Ground Beef + Onions

In a large skillet with deep sides, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown onions and ground beef, breaking apart as it cooks.

Create Sauce and Cook Pasta

After onions are tender and ground beef is completely cooked, add in macaroni, beef broth, tomato sauce and milk. Add in spices, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir well and cover. We are going to cook the pasta in the broth/sauce mix we just created. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring every 5 minutes or so to help prevent sticking and scorching. This should take 10-12 minutes total, depending on how long it takes for your pasta to cook.

Add Half & Half + Cheese

After your noodles are completely cooked through and sauce mostly absorbed. Stir in half & half and grated cheddar cheese. Taste, adjust seasonings, top with parsley and serve.

homemade hamburger helper on white plate

What to Serve with Homemade Hamburger Helper

An easy dinner needs an easy side dish or two! Here are some of my go-to’s. With pasta, I love adding salad or some kind of cooked veggie. And garlic bread is always delicious.

big spoon of homemade hamburger helper

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Homemade Hamburger Helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper has tons of delicious flavor minus all of the chemicals and preservatives found in the boxed version!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword hamburger helper, homemade hamburger helper
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 608kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef 93/7
  • 1 1/2 cups onion diced
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese or more
  • 3/4 cup fat free half and half or heavy cream
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • In a large skillet with deep sides, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown onions and ground beef, breaking apart as it cooks.
    cooked ground beef and onions in skillet
  • After onions are tender and ground beef is completely cooked, add in macaroni, beef broth, tomato sauce and milk.
    pouring milk into skillet for homemade hamburger helper
  • Add in spices, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir well and cover. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring every 5 minutes or so to help prevent sticking and scorching.
    adding Worcestershire sauce to skillet
  • After 12 minutes*, your noodles should be completely cooked through and sauce mostly absorbed.
    cooked hamburger helper in skillet
  • Stir in half & half and grated cheddar cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings.
    adding grated cheese into homemade hamburger helper
  • Top with parsley (optional) and serve hot.
    homemade hamburger helper in large skillet

Notes

*Your cook time with vary based on the pasta you’re using. Check the packaging for estimated cook times.

Nutrition

Calories: 608kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 839mg | Potassium: 781mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 197mg | Iron: 3mg

The post Homemade Hamburger Helper appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

Chicken Cacciatore

Who doesn’t love Chicken Cacciatore?! It’s delicious slow cooked flavor in an Italian Stew with chicken thighs, peppers, mushrooms with a flavorful sauce. Served over pasta and topped with parmesan cheese and parsley. It’s so so tasty! Delicious served with Garlic Bread and Salad.

chicken cacciatore in bowl

Chicken Cacciatore | An Italian Stew

I never grew up eating Chicken Cacciatore. Having Hungarian and German family history, we ate a lot of Goulash and Chicken Paprikash. Both are delicious stews in their own right, but when I first tried Chicken Cacciatore, I was smitten. It was so flavorful and comforting! Extremely tender chicken and veggies that have been cooked down into this amazing and flavorful stew.

But First, What is Chicken Cacciatore?

The word ‘cacciatore’ literally translates to hunter in Italian. In cooking, alla cacciatora refers to the way the meal is prepared: “hunter-style”. This means it is made like a stew with onions, herbs, tomatoes, bell peppers, and sometimes wine. Traditionally it is made with chicken or rabbit.

pot of chicken cacciatore

Main Ingredients Needed

I know this ingredients list may look intimidating but don’t worry, every ingredient has its purpose and perfectly comes together to create this hearty Chicken Cacciatore. Here’s what you need:

  • Chicken Thighs – you could use chicken breasts here but I find that chicken thighs come out way more tender and flavorful. I use boneless, skinless thighs, but you can definitely use bone-in thighs. Just make sure you remove the skin before you use them.
  • Salt + Pepper – always important to season in order to bring out the most flavor.
  • Olive Oil – this is used to cook our chicken and to saute some vegetables.
  • Onion + Garlic – the basic building blocks of flavor for any italian dish.
  • Carrot– grated carrot adds a sweetness and cooks way down so it adds nice flavor while going mostly undetected.
  • Green Bell Pepper + Red Bell Pepper – two types of bell peppers for color and slightly different flavors.
  • Baby Bella Mushrooms + Criminis – feel free to use all baby bella mushrooms or omit completely if mushrooms aren’t your jam. If you have mushroom haters in your family, you can always halve the amount listed and chop them small so they go undetected. 
  • Tomato Paste– this adds intense tomato flavor.
  • Crushed Tomatoes – I like crushed tomatoes over diced tomatoes because it’s a little more like a sauce versus tomato chunks. If you don’t have crushed tomatoes, blend diced tomatoes for similar results.
  • Chicken Broth – use good quality chicken broth for best results!
  • Soy Sauce – Adds depth of flavor and salt without it tasting obviously salty.
  • Sugar – to balance out all of the savory and to cut some of the acidity from the tomatoes.
  • Italian Seasoning, Basil + Oregano – lots of herbs here to take this dish to the next level.
  • Butter – I finish off this stew recipe with butter for a silky smooth texture.

Should I add Wine?

This is personal preference. Lots of recipes call for the addition of red or white wine into their chicken cacciatore recipes. While I didn’t use any in my recipe, you are welcome to add some in (1-2 cups) with the garlic and tomato paste, reduce it down by at least half, and then add in the remaining ingredients. This is step 2 in the recipe card.

piece of chicken on spoon

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore

For full details in how to make Chicken Cacciatore, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Brown Chicken Thighs + Add Veggies

Blot chicken thighs with a paper towel to dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown chicken thighs on both sides and remove from pot.

Saute onion, peppers, and mushrooms with a little extra salt and pepper until mostly tender, 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.

Add Tomatoes and Seasonings

Stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, basil, and oregano. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce to simmer. Add chicken thighs back into the pot.

Simmer + Serve

Simmer gently for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour (but expect the chicken to fall apart as it cooks…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.) As it cooks, stir occasionally, adding in chicken broth if the sauce gets too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings. Melt a little butter in to the Chicken Cacciatore to finish the sauce and serve with pasta, parmesan cheese and parsley.

chicken cacciatore in bowl

How to Serve Chicken Cacciatore

I like to serve my chicken cacciatore with pasta and I think it is traditionally served with pasta, but you can definitely also serve it with:

  • extra wide egg noodles
  • couscous
  • rice
  • mashed potatoes
  • orzo
  • polenta (yum!)
  • crusty bread

If you’re feeling particularly decadent, melt some butter and parmesan cheese onto your pasta before topping with chicken cacciatore. So good! And of course top it all off with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese and parsley!

plate of chicken cacciatore

What to Serve with Chicken Cacciatore

If you loved this chicken cacciatore you’re going to love these other similar recipes! Give them a try soon 🙂

The printable recipe card is below, enjoy!

chicken cacciatore in bowl

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Chicken Cacciatore

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Chicken Cacciatore is a tomato-based slow-cooked Italian stew that tastes amazing over pasta with parmesan cheese! So good!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Chicken Cacciatore
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 278kcal

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs about 6
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole onion diced
  • 1 carrot peeled and grated
  • 1 whole green bell pepper diced
  • 1 whole red bell pepper diced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms chopped
  • 4 oz criminis chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • pasta, parmesan cheese, parsley optional for serving

Instructions

  • Blot chicken thighs with paper towel to dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown chicken thighs on both sides and remove from pot.

  • Saute onion, carrot, peppers and mushrooms with a little extra salt and pepper until mostly tender, 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, basil and oregano. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce to simmer. Add chicken thighs back into the pot. Simmer gently for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour (but expect the chicken to fall apart as it cooks…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.) As it cooks, stir occasionally, adding in chicken broth if sauce gets too thick.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings. Melt in butter to finish sauce and serve with pasta and parmesan cheese. Top with chopped parsley.

Notes

Feel free to use all baby bella mushrooms or omit completely is mushrooms aren’t your jam. If you have mushroom haters in your family, you can always halve the amount listed and chop them small so they go undetected. 

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 624mg | Potassium: 980mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 450IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 4mg

The post Chicken Cacciatore appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

Minestrone Soup

This flavorful classic Minestrone Soup recipe is warm, satisfying, and packed full of nutrition. Perfect for the colder months and even more perfect in a homemade bread bowl.

ladling minestrone soup out of pot

What is Minestrone Soup?

Minestrone Soup is a hearty Italian soup that includes vegetables, broth, and pasta (or rice). It’s one of those great soups that are delicious, vegetarian, and packed full of nutrition. I personally love the stuff and could eat the entire pot. It’s warm, satisfying and one bowl will fill you up! Like lots of other dishes, the longer it cooks the better it tastes. I’d recommend lightly simmering this soup for as long as you can and then 10 minutes before serving, put in the pasta to cook OR just cook it separately and serve it alongside. Top the whole dish with some parmesan cheese and crusty bread and that’s dinner!

Main Ingredients Needed

Overall, Minestrone Soup is a pretty healthy meal! If you don’t like certain vegetables in the recipe then you can omit them or substitute them for other ones. Here’s what you need:

  • Olive Oil – this is used to saute the veggies that need a little more cooking time than the rest.
  • Onion, Carrots + Celery – these three form the base of this soup. Lots of vitamins and minerals here.
  • Chicken Broth – use a high-quality chicken broth for the best results. If you are looking to keep this recipe vegetarian, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
  • Dark Kidney Beans + Garbanzo Beans – rinsed and drained. I used these to add in some protein to make this meal more filling.
  • Tomato Sauce + Diced Tomatoes – these are added to help make and flavor the broth.
  • Cabbage – if you don’t like cabbage then substitute it for zucchini. Zucchini is a pretty traditional ingredient for Minestrone–I didn’t have any on hand but feel free to add it in.
  • Basil, Oregano, Salt + Pepper – don’t forget the salt and pepper when it comes to the seasonings.
  • Short Cut Pasta – I used mini shells but you could use whatever short cut pasta you have, or even use rice or couscous!
beans in colander getting poured into minestrone soup

Variations

I am a firm believer that you should use ingredients that you have on hand or ingredients that you like. Because of this I encourage my reader’s to make variations to my recipes if they want to. Here are a couple ideas for Minestrone Soup:

  • Add Meat: I made a meatless soup but you can easily add in ground beef, chicken, Italian sausage or another type of protein.
  • More Vegetables to Use: you could sub out any of the vegetables listed about to make this soup your own. Some ideas include: spinach, potatoes, corn, zucchini, kale, green beans, peas, butternut squash, or collard greans.
  • Flavor Enhancing Ingredients: this could be anything from adding garlic to adding lemon juice/zest. There are a lot of variations out there so go crazy and experiment away.

How to Make Minestrone Soup

For full details on how to make Minestrone Soup, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Saute Veggies

In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery in olive oil over medium heat until slightly softened (the rest of the cooking will continue later in the recipe)

Add Broth + Other Ingredients

Stir in broth, beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings and cabbage.

Simmer + Cook Pasta

Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. The longer it cooks the better the flavor becomes. 10 minutes before serving, pour in pasta to cook or boil it separately.

Top with Parmesan

Serve with parmesan cheese and good quality crusty bread.

close up of minestrone soup

Storing Minestrone Soup

Any leftover Minestrone Soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. If the soup seems too thick after storing it, just add some more broth when you are heating it back up in the microwave or on the stove top.

Freezing Instructions

Because this is a broth-based soup it freezes beautifully! Cool completely then simply store in a freezer-safe container, leaving an inch or two of space at the top to account for expansion, for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight then heat over the stovetop.

close up of minestrone soup

More Italian Soups to Try!

If you liked this Minestrone Soup you are bound to like my other Italian soup recipes!

The printable recipe card is down below, enjoy 🙂

ladling minestrone soup out of pot

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Minestrone Soup

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This flavorful classic Minestrone Soup recipe is warm, satisfying, and packed full of nutrition. Perfect for the colder months!
Course Dinner, Soup
Cuisine Italian
Keyword minestrone soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 242kcal
Author Lauren

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery washed and chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 15 oz dark kidney beans 1 can, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz garbanzo beans 1 can, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz tomato sauce 1 can
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes 1 can
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano or marjoram
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup short cut pasta such as shells

Instructions

  • In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots, and celery in butter and oil over medium heat for 7-10 minutes.
    sauteed vegetables in big pot
  • Stir in water, chicken broth, beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings, and cabbage.
    cabbage and spices in minestrone
  • Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. 10 minutes before serving, pour in pasta to cook or boil it separately.
    adding pasta to soup
  • Serve with parmesan cheese and good quality crusty bread.
    ladling minestrone soup out of pot

Nutrition

Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 949mg | Potassium: 888mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 905IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 5mg

The post Minestrone Soup appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

Bruschetta Chicken

This delicious Bruschetta Chicken Recipe is a simple, fast and healthy dinner! Made with chicken cutlets and topped with a tomato basil topping inspired by my bruschetta. I love this recipe and know you will, too!

tomato bruschetta topping on chicken

Bruschetta Chicken | A Favorite Dinner

This Bruschetta Chicken made its way around the web when I first posted it last week for dinner. Lots of people were sharing the picture because they were THAT excited about this ever-popular recipe. Now, all you lovely readers can actually share the prettier pictures with accompanying recipe to boot!

Main Ingredients Needed

This recipe is a relatively healthy one that only requires minimal (but flavorful!) ingredients.

  • Roma Tomatoes – fresh and slightly tangy, Roma tomatoes are the perfect type for bruschetta chicken.
  • Garlic + Fresh Basil – garlic and basil to complement the tomatoes.
  • Chicken – simple cooked chicken for a bright and fresh meal.
  • Balsamic Glaze – I love to top this meal with a balsamic glaze, it perfectly rounds out the flavors in this Italian-inspired dish.

Variations

This Bruschetta Chicken recipe is a simple one, but don’t let that deter you from customizing it for a little more flavor. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Parmesan Cheese: feel free to top this dish with parmesan cheese.
  • Red Onions: these can be added to the bruschetta to add some punch.
  • Italian Seasoning: try adding this to the chicken while it cooks. More herbs equals more flavor.
bruschetta chicken on white plate

How to make Bruschetta Chicken

For full details, including increments, see the recipe card down below!

Step 1: Make the Bruschetta Topping

Dice the tomatoes and add them to a large bowl. Add in the minced garlic, fresh basil, salt and pepper. Stir to coat and then set aside.

Step 2: Brown the Chicken

Blot chicken with paper towels and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat. Cook 4-5 minutes per side until its well browned and registers at 165 degrees F.

Step 3: Drizzle with Balsamic Glaze

Once the chicken is fully cooked, top with your bruschetta topping, drizzle with balsamic glaze and enjoy!

tomato bruschetta topping on chicken

How to Serve Bruschetta Chicken

Here are some traditional items to serve with this meal:

Low Carb Options

Or if you are sticking to a low carb diet, here are some tasty alternatives:

  • zucchini noodles
  • cauliflower rice
  • asparagus

More Recipe to Try!

And that’s it! Bruschetta Chicken, a simple 30 minute meal perfect for those busy weeknights.

The printable recipe card is down below, save/print/bookmark this page 🙂

tomato bruschetta topping on chicken

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Bruschetta Chicken

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This delicious Bruschetta Chicken Recipe is a simple, fast and healthy dinner! Made with chicken cutlets and topped with a tomato basil topping
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword bruschetta chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 4 serving
Author Lauren

Ingredients

for the bruschetta topping-

  • 4 roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 small clove garlic grated
  • 10 basil leaves chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 chicken cutlets

Instructions

  • Dice the tomatoes and add them to a large bowl. Add in the minced garlic, fresh basil, salt and pepper. Stir to coat and then set aside.
    diced tomatoes, garlic and basil in glass bowl
  • Blot chicken with paper towels and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat. Cook 4-5 minutes per side until its well browned and registers at 165 degrees F.
  • Once the chicken is fully cooked, top with your bruschetta topping, drizzle with balsamic glaze and enjoy!
    bruschetta chicken on white plate

The post Bruschetta Chicken appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

Margherita Pizza

A perfectly crispy and chewy crust that is topped with a homemade tomato sauce, melty mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, a sprinkling of sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. This is the ultimate Margherita Pizza recipe! Crack out that Pizza Dough and try this delicious classic!

baked margherita pizza on cutting board

Ever since we moved out of NYC, Gordon and I have been dying to eat some amazing pizza. Since Margherita Pizza was our favorite, its the one we’ve been trying to perfect first and I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe with you today. New York knows they make pizza well and there are SO many pizzerias that have great pies. Our favorite pizzeria in the city was steps away from our last apartment and mama, was it good. So, we’ve been using our memories and tastebuds as a guide and gotten as close to the original as one can at home. I hope you come to love this recipe and become master pizza makers in the process.

But First, What is Margherita Pizza?

Margherita Pizza is not to be confused with a margarita…as in the drink. Two totally different things! The name Margherita actually comes from Italian royalty, technically Margherita of Savoy, the Queen of Italy. Word on the street is she was tired of the French food she was being served on a trip to Naples, so the most famous pizza maker of the time in Naples, was then asked to make her a pizza. And thus the Margherita Pizza was born.

There is more to the story, but that’s basically all you need to know.

hand holding can of san marzano tomatoes

Main Ingredients Needed

Here’s everything you’ll need to make Margherita Pizza. Because this is a such a simple recipe with very few ingredients, the quality of those ingredients is what is most important.

For the Sauce

While I tried making this recipe with just the San Marzano Tomatoes, I found adding a few simple ingredients to help bring out that tomato flavor was best.

  • San Marzano Tomatoes – I chose to use San Marzano Tomatoes for their authentic quality and taste (you can read all about it here). This is the brand I used and have loved them!
  • Olive Oil – to make the sauce a little saucier and to add some silkiness.
  • Garlic – for flavor.
  • Sugar – to cut the acidity from the tomatoes.
  • Salt + Pepper – season to taste!

Toppings

A Margherita Pizza always will have fresh basil and fresh mozzarella.

  • Fresh Basil Leaves – these are placed right on top of everything else (whole or sliced)! They add a fresh quality to the dish.
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese – Cut into thin slices or broken into pieces to place on the pizza. BelGioioso is the brand I used and is widely available.
  • Sea Salt + Olive Oil – these are optional finishing toppings for the baked pizza. While they are optional, I’d highly recommend them!

Variations

Margherita Pizza is so so so good all on it’s own, but if you are looking to spice this recipe up, feel free to use some of these ideas:

  • Smoked Mozzarella: this is seriously some yummy stuff that elevates the whole dish.
  • Herby Pizza Dough: consider adding Italian Seasoning (a mix of herbs) to your pizza dough, that way, even the crust is packed with flavor.
  • Grill Your Pizza: have you ever tried grilling pizza before? Let me tell you it’s life-changing. Luckily for you, I have a whole how-to on grilled pizza.
diced fresh mozzarella cheese on paper towels

How to Make Margherita Pizza

For full details on how to make Margherita Pizza, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Step 1: Preheat Oven and Pizza Stone

Move the oven rack to the very bottom of the oven. Remove any extra racks from the oven. Add pizza stone to the bottom rack and preheat the oven to as hot as it will go: usually 500-525 degrees F. Once the oven is preheated, keep the stone in there for an extra 30 minutes to ensure it is hot.

Step 2: Make the Sauce

Empty a can of tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor. Add olive oil, garlic, sugar, and salt. Pulse until mostly smooth, but still has a texture with a few small chunks.

A Note About This Fresh Pizza Sauce

The recipe for the fresh sauce makes plenty of sauce…more than you’ll need for this recipe. Store extras in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to two months.

spreading margherita pizza sauce onto pizza dough

Step 3: Prep Mozzarella and Basil

Cut mozzarella into small cubes. Press between paper towels to remove any extra moisture. Set aside. Pick fresh basil leaves off stems and set aside or chop into smaller pieces.

Step 5: Form Your Pizzas

Stretch and roll pizza dough out to be 4 individual pizzas, or 2-12 inch pizzas. You want the crust to be about 1/4 inch straight across, with an optional thicker edge. It may take a few tries to get your crust perfect. Too thin and you’ll have a hard time getting the bottom crispy, especially if there is too much sauce.

Transferring that Pizza onto the Hot Stone

Use extra flour and cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking to pizza peel/cutting board/plate/whatever you’re using to transfer the pizza directly onto the hot stone. Before you start adding the pizza toppings, shake the pizza peel gently to ensure the dough moves easily back and forth. If it’s stuck, add more flour and/or cornmeal underneath so it slides easily. Here is a great pizza peel that works perfectly.

unbaked margherita pizza on plate

Step 6: Bake

Add a thin layer of pizza sauce to the dough (less is more). Again, you’ll have to test this out to see what you like best and how it bakes up for you with your oven and pizza stone.

Top with fresh mozzarella and transfer to the hot pizza stone. Bake until bottom crust is browned and crispy and cheese is hot and bubbly. For us, that was 7 minutes exactly.

Step 7: Cool, Garnish and Serve!

Remove hot pizza off the stone and onto a cutting board. Top with fresh basil, a small little drizzle of olive oil, and a light sprinkling of sea salt. I used Maldon Sea Salt Flakes and they really did such a nice job! Do not use table salt..it won’t give you the same taste or effect. Cut and serve immediately.

cut margherita pizza on cutting board

While I still miss the classic Margherita Pizza slices I used to get weekly from the corner pizzeria shop in NYC, this is a close second. Use my directions to make some of the best homemade pizza ever.

Helpful Tools for Homemade Pizza

Pizza Stone. Take your pizza to the next level with a pizza stone! If you want that delicious crispy bottom you find at pizzerias, a pizza stone is the way to do it. This is the one I recommend. If you don’t have a pizza stone or don’t want to invest in one, consider getting large tiles from the hardware store. They work just the same. Upside down cookie sheets will also work in a pinch, but not in the same way because they don’t hold their heat quite as well as a thicker stone would.

Pizza Peel. This will make transferring pizza to the hot stone so much easier! Yes, you can absolutely get by without it, but one you have it you’ll wonder why you didn’t get one sooner. This is the one I recommend. Alternately, use a large, flat plate dusted with cornmeal for easy transferring. Once the pizza is baked, use a large spatula to remove to a cutting board.

Pizza Cutter. This obviously makes cutting pizza so much easier. Again, you don’t HAVE to get one to have success. It’s just nice to have. This is the one I recommend. Alternately, use a knife or kitchen shears.

More Italian Dishes to Try!

Be sure to check out these other Italian dishes too!

The printable recipe card is down below! Save it because it’s a good one 🙂

baked margherita pizza on cutting board

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Margherita Pizza

Homemade pizza crust topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh basil, sea salt and olive oil. This is the ultimate Margherita Pizza recipe!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword margherita pizza, margherita pizza recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 547kcal

Ingredients

For the Sauce*

  • 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the Pizza

  • 12 fresh basil leaves whole or chopped
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cut into cubes
  • coarse sea salt + olive oil

Instructions

  • Move oven rack to the bottom of the oven. Remove any extra racks from the oven. Add pizza stone to the bottom rack and preheat oven to 525 degrees or as high as it will go. Once oven is preheated, keep stone in there an extra 30 minutes to ensure it is hot.

Make the Sauce

  • To make the sauce, empty can of tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor. Add olive oil, garlic, sugar and salt. Pulse until mostly smooth, but still has texture with a few small chunks.
    pouring margherita pizza sauce into bowl
  • Cut mozzarella into small cubes. Press between paper towels to remove any extra moisture. Set aside. Pick fresh basil leaves off stems and set aside or chop into smaller pieces.
    diced fresh mozzarella cheese on paper towels

Form the Pizzas

  • Stretch pizza dough out to be 4 individual pizzas, or 2-12 inch pizzas. You want the crust to be about 1/4 inch straight across, with an optional thicker edge. It may take a few tries to get your crust perfect. Too thin and you’ll have a hard time getting the bottom crispy, especially if there is too much sauce. Use extra flour and cornmeal to keep dough from sticking to pizza peel/cutting board/plate/whatever you’re using to transfer the pizza directly onto the hot stone.

    Before you start adding the pizza toppings, shake the pizza peel gently to ensure the dough moves easily back and forth. If it’s stuck, add more flour and/or cornmeal underneath so it slides easily.

    risen pizza dough in bowl
  • Add a thin layer of pizza sauce to the dough (less is more).
    spreading margherita pizza sauce onto pizza dough

Bake

  • Top with fresh mozzarella and transfer to the hot pizza stone. Bake 7 minutes or until bottom crust is browned and crispy and cheese is hot and bubbly.
    unbaked margherita pizza on plate
  • Remove hot pizza off the stone and onto a cutting board. Top with fresh basil, a small little drizzle of olive oil and a light sprinkling of salt. Cut and serve.
    baked margherita pizza on cutting board

Notes

*The recipe for the fresh sauce makes plenty of sauce…more than you’ll need for this recipe. Store extras in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to two months.

*If your oven only goes to 500 degrees, you’ll want to bake your pizza for a few extra minutes to make sure the bottom gets plenty crusty. Of course check the progress as you go since every oven is different.

*If your crust it too thin, it won’t get very crispy because of the sauce and moisture in the cheese. It’s better to err on the side of thicker than thinner.

Nutrition

Calories: 547kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 1438mg | Potassium: 631mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 873IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 357mg | Iron: 6mg

The post Margherita Pizza appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

French Dip Sandwiches

I love French Dip Sandwiches, but don’t love the time it takes to make the classic version. Enter my super speedy method! Roast Beef lunch meat and store bought Au Jus are jazzed up with a few extra ingredients to make this whole sandwich taste amazing and come together in about 15 minutes. It’s a killer dinner and so so delicious with Macaroni Salad or Potato Salad.

dipping french dip sandwich in au jus

French Dip Sandwiches in 15 Minutes

I know that title seems a little unbelievable, but it’s true! I’ve rigged the classic French Dip Sandwich and shaved down as much time as possible to create a fast but still delicious and flavorful sandwich you are going to love. With the help of your broiler and a few store bought ingredients, you will be enjoying these French Dips in no time. Makes amazing lunches or fast dinners.

Main Ingredients Needed

Here is the really short list of grocery items needed to make these French Dips at home!

  • Au Jus Gravy Mix– a powdered mix when whisked together with water creates a really tasty base for our Au Jus dip. This is the Au Jus Mix I used, but feel free to use the brand you prefer.
  • Roast Beef– thinly sliced lunch meat. I look for the roast beef that has the least amount of fat in the deli case. That’s just my preference, though. Use a brand you like.
  • Garlic + Bay Leaves– used to flavor the au jus so it tastes more homemade
  • Hoagie Rolls– I like toasting the exterior of these rolls just a touch before opening them up and toasting the insides. The toasting is completely optional, but I do find that it helps them hold up a little better.
  • Butter-used to butter the inside of the toasted rolls
hot roast beef in au jus in pan with tongs

How to Make French Dip Sandwiches

Again, this is a speedy recipe. No special equipment or tools needed. For increments and more specific directions, check the recipe card at the bottom of this post, right before the comments.

Step 1: Make the Au Jus + Warm the Beef

Whisk powdered Au Jus together with water in the bottom of a pot or deep skillet. Mine called for 3 cups of water, but double check yours to make sure that increment of water to powder is correct. You want to make it according to package directions.

Smash two cloves of garlic and add them to the au jus. Add the bay leaves. Transfer to stove and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and add in the roast beef to warm. Keep meat warm over low heat.

Step 2: Toast and Butter Your Rolls

While au jus/meat is warming, toast your hoagie buns. I like to toast the bottoms of the rolls, and toast the insides. Watch your bread closely as you don’t want it to burn. The toasting is definitely optional but it helps keep your bread together when you add the juicy meat. Also optional, but feel free to spread butter on the exterior of the roll too. It miiiight be overkill, but man is it good.

Once the insides of the bread are toasted, spread 1/2 tablespoon of butter onto each half and rub with raw garlic clove. SO much flavor is added when you rub the bread with the garlic. Don’t skip this step! It makes such a difference.

Step 3: Assemble the French Dips

Divide the meat between each bottom half of the sandwich and add the provolone cheese, 1 slice per sandwich. (You can always add more if you like it cheesy.) Broil again briefly to melt the cheese; should take 30 seconds to 1 minute since the meat is already hot.

Add the top, cut in half and serve with hot au jus.

Favorite Sides for Hot Sandwiches

While the warm French Dip Sandwich is really filling and delicious on its own, here are a few tasty sides that would made this meal more complete:

dipping french dip sandwich in au jus

Love French Dip Sandwiches? Try these other Favorites:

Anyways, I hope you love love love this recipe as much as my family has come to love it! It’s a simple dinner that has made our dinner menu three weeks in a row. While I love spending the time on classic recipes from time to time, sometimes its nice to have a quick recipe in your back pocket for those busy nights. Enjoy, friends!

dipping french dip sandwich in au jus

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French Dip Sandwiches

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 sandwiches
Calories 487kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Powdered Au Jus Mix
  • 3 cups water to make the au jus, check package directions
  • 3 cloves garlic divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 14 oz Roast Beef Lunch Meat
  • 4 Hoagie Buns/Rolls
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices provolone cheese

Instructions

  • Turn oven onto broil. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  • Whisk powdered Au Jus together with water in the bottom of a pot or deep skillet. (Mine called for 3 cups of water, but double check yours to make sure that increment of water to powder is correct. You want to make it according to package directions.) Smash two cloves of garlic and add them to the au jus. Add the bay leaves. Transfer to stove and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and add in the roast beef to warm. Keep meat warm over low heat.
  • While au jus/meat is warming, toast your hoagie buns. I like to toast the bottoms of the rolls, and toast the insides. Watch your bread closely as you don’t want it to burn. The toasting is definitely optional but it helps keep your bread together when you add the meat.
  • Once the insides of the bread are toasted, spread 1/2 tablespoon of butter onto each half and rub with raw garlic clove.
  • Divide the meat between each bottom half of the sandwich and add the provolone cheese, 1 slice per sandwich. (You can always add more if you like it cheesy.) Broil again to melt the cheese; should take 30 seconds to 1 minute since the meat is already hot.
  • Add the top, cut in half and serve with hot au jus.

Notes

To make this more Macro Friendly, simply reduce the butter by half OR omit it completely.

Nutrition

Calories: 487kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 2124mg | Potassium: 407mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 521IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 557mg | Iron: 5mg

The post French Dip Sandwiches appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest