Homemade Roasted Veggie Pizza

There is something quite magical about pizza. Whether it be a thin or thick crust, classic mozzarella or extravagant goat cheese, veggies or pepperoni, these ingredients create an irresistible combination.

I’m a firm believer that pizza shops don’t need any kind of marketing because the aroma that comes across as you walk by is promotion enough. Home-made pizza accentuates all the awesomenss of this typically fast-food item.

Plus, not gonna lie, rolling out the dough is a great time. This pizza creation has loads of veggie goodness complete with caramelized onions and mushrooms, fire-roasted red peppers and roasted broccoli and eggplant.

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Ingredients 

  • Store bought pizza dough
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Roasted red peppers
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 Chinese eggplant
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions 

Topping: 1)Slice eggplant and broccoli and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. 2) Bake the eggplant and broccoli at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes. 3) Grate/slice the mozzarella and set aside.

Sauce:  1) Slice the onions and mushrooms and saute in a pan with olive oil. 2) Once the onions are translucent/golden, add the tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Dough: 1) Flour your work space, hands and rolling pin and start rolling out the dough ( this prevents sticking). 2) Once rolled out to your desired thickness place onto a floured baking tray. 3) Bake the dough for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Assembly: 1) Pour the sauce evenly over the pizza dough, top with cheese and roasted peppers, broccoli and eggplant. 2) Bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until the cheese looks bubbly and delicious!

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Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

I’m sure many of you have seen (and become addicted to) the Tasty videos that are taking over Facebook. Learning how to make a dish in one minute or less is pretty cool. After watching one of their videos for Mini Oreo Cheesecakes I knew I had to try it.

So simple to make, these mini cheesecakes are a perfect bite of decadence. Combining the tried and true Oreo cookie that pretty much everyone on earth loves into a cheesecake all in one cute small bite is basically best the idea since the invention of the spiralizer. This is a great dessert to make for a crowd and will sure to be devoured by all.

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Ingredients

  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 Oreo cookies
  • Crushed Oreo’s for topping
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened

Directions

  1. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and place a whole Oreo cookie at the bottom of each.
  2. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and eggs with a mixerll combined. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Top the Oreo with the cheesecake mixture and crumble pieces of Oreo on top.
  4. Bake at 275°F for 22 min. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours ( I found that overnight works best because the longer it sits the Oreo becomes part of the cheesecake).
  5. Remove the cheesecakes from the muffin tin right before serving.

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Chocolate Spiders

What’s the one time of year when it’s actually acceptable to gorge ourselves with chocolate and candy?! I’m talking about the sugar lover’s favourite holiday, Halloween! We love getting dressed up and seeing the totally ridiculous costumes that everyone comes up with but more than that, we love the treats that come along with it.

This year, our office had a costume and baking contest so I couldn’t not contribute with a hauntedly delicious creation. These chocolate spiders are the perfect spooky bite… and even though they’re not the most beautiful looking, they definitely taste good and are so incredibly simple to make.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Spanish salted peanuts
  • 1 cup Chinese noodles ( I know it sounds weird, but they add the perfect crunch!)
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions

  1. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips
  2. Once completely melted, add in the Chinese noodles and peanuts and stir until coated
  3. Using two spoons, scoop out mixture into clusters and place onto a lined baking sheet
  4. Cool in the fridge overnight

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Alsoo, fun fact- this was the first Halloween ever that I carved a pumpkin! My goal was for it to be the new Raptors logo but I think for a first ever attempt it turned out pretty good!

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Hope everyone had a spooktacular Halloween!

Apple Crumble

It wouldn’t be fall without quintessential flavours like pumpkin spice and of course, everything apple! After going apple picking and coming home with pounds of these delicious  fruits I decided to make use of them in any way I could- eating my fare share straight from the tree, creating a rustic crumble, oh and experimenting with apple cinnamon french toast ( which was quite mind blowing in case you were wondering).  I think I’ve had my quota for the month!

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Apples take on a whole new life when you cook them down with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar- they get soft, sweet and almost have a melt in your mouth texture, still with just enough bite. The crumble mixture on top adds just enough crunch to make for one… or more amazing bite.

Apple Crumble 


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Ingredients

Filling:

  • 3 Macintosh apples
  • 2 royal gala apples
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon ( juiced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Topping

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of cold butter ( cut into 8 pieces)

Directions 

  1. Peel, core and slice apples. In a large bowl, combine apples with sugar, lemon juice, flour and cinnamon.  Grease baking dish and pour in apple mixture.
  2. In another large bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Gently work in the cold butter until the mixture forms pea-size chunks.
  3. Place topping over apples and bake for 45 minutes- or until the top is brown and apples are bubbly.

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Another fun apple creation: Apple Cinnamon French Toast!

Slice up an apples, saute it in a pan with butter and cinnamon, then fill the apple  between two pieces of challah, dip in some egg wash and cook on both sides. Voila!

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Chocolate Peanut Pretzel Squares

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Chocolate and peanut butter have always been known to be a match made in heaven. The sweet and salty combination makes anything incorporating these flavours irresistible. But what if one was to amp up this combo to the next level… Chocolate. Peanut. Pretzel.

These squares incorporate a simple cookie style base, with a chocolaty peanuty topping that includes pretzels for extra crunch and saltiness. These little bites of deliciousness are seriously to die for and will satisfy every sweet tooth craving you have ever had. Get ready to have self control go out the window, because you’ll want to keep going back for more of these.

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 cup pretzel pieces lightly crushed
  • 3/4 cup chopped peanuts

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 8 inch square pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter with sugars until smooth and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla
  3. In a separate stir the flour, oats, and salt to combine. Stir the dry ingreidents into the wet until blended and spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. For the topping, melt the chocolate in a double boiler ( in a metal or glass bowl over a pot with boiling water). Once melted, remove bowl from heat and stir in pretzel pieces and chopped peanuts.
  6. Pierce  with warm base with a paring knife and spread the chocolate mixture the top. Chill for at least 2 hours.

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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies are a wondrous thing. There are so many different varieties you can make with different combinations or opt for just sticking to the classics like a good old chocolate chip. I was recently motivated to bake a batch to make use of some ripe bananas in my kitchen- the result, banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Picture banana bread, but in cookie form.

The natural sweetness from the bananas,  combined with the texture and crunch from the oatmeal and pecans made these quite delicious and so simple to make!

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 light packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl
  3. Cream together butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Then add the egg and vanilla
  4. Add flour mixture, then stir in oats, chocolate, and pecans
  5. Bake for 12/13 minutes and then cool on a wire rack

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While mouthwatering when they come out of the oven, these cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days… but they won’t last that long.

Oreo M&M Cookie Squares

One might ask themselves, how do you  make a regular old cookie even more delicious than it already is. Well friends, I have the answer, add crushed Oreo’s and top with M&M ‘s and you’ve pretty much got the most out of this world, over the top, cookie delight!

Not sure if you could ever really go wrong with the combination of cookie dough, nostalgic Oreo’s and the sweet and salty bite of peanut M&M’s and this creation courtesy of The Vegetarian Ginger definitely shows that.

These cookie squares were super easy to make and a huge hit as a birthday treat. The leftovers in my house were demolished in the blink of an eye.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 18 Oreo cookies, quartered
  • 1/2 cup peanut M&M’s, chopped

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease an 8×8″ pan with butter and flour or use cooking spray.

2. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Then add the egg, and vanilla and mix until it comes together. Add the flour, stirring with a rubber spatula until just combined.

3. Chop the Oreo cookies into quarters ( they will crumble in the process but that’s ok!). Evenly stir the Oreo cookie bits into the batter so that you get a little bit of cookie crunch in each bite.

4. Turn batter out into the baking pan, and lightly smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the M&M pieces over the top, pressing them down so they become wedged in the batter.

5. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top of the bars have firmed slightly and the edges are a very light golden brown.

6. Allow bars to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack for an additional 30 minutes. Set on a dry surface and slice into squares (a little bit goes a long way since they are so sweet). Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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Chocolate Crackle Cookies

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December was a month of holidays, family time and lots and lots of eating. Specifically, a time of many sweets and assortments of cookies.

Someone at worked baked these chocolate crackle cookies for the office and after giving them a taste, I knew they were something I needed to try making for myself!

The combination of the soft almost fudgy like center and a light dusting of powdered sugar on top make these an all star holiday cookie to carry into the New Year!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chip

Method: 

  1. In a bowl  stir together flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and blend in butter. Stir in egg and vanilla until mixture is blended.
  2. Fold in  ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
  3. Spread dough in a thin layer in bowl and freeze 10 minutes, or until firm.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F and lightly grease 2 baking sheets.
  5. Put 4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball  then roll the dough ball in the confectioners’ sugar.
  6. Arrange balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets, bake for 7-8. ( I did 7 because they taste better when soft) Cool cookies on racks.

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Homemade Burritos

Burritos. A word that many associate with fast food. A quick grab and go, fully loaded wrap of deliciousness. Most don’t even consider making these bad boys at home. Though it might be a little extra work, the result is 100% worth it.

This recipe is courtesy of the Vegetarian Ginger and she describes them as the ‘Best Damn Burritos You’ll Ever Make at Home’. That’s definitely reason to give them a try!

The components of this burrito are re-fried beans, guacamole, pico de gaillo and mexican style rice that come together in a perfect tortilla parcel for one awesome bite!

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Ingredients

For refried beans:

  • 1 (450g) can of black beans, keep the liquid
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin

For guacamole:

  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 3 tbsp. red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • Handful of chopped chives
  • Salt to taste

For pico de gaillo:

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt to taste

For Mexican-style rice:

  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt to taste

Additional toppings:

  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup lettuce, shredded
  • 4 medium-sized flour tortillas

Method

For refried beans:

Heat vegetable oil in a medium-sized pan. Add garlic and cook for roughly 2 minutes. Add in black beans, chili flakes and cumin. Mash the beans with a potato masher, slowly adding in the liquid from the can. Let the liquid simmer and cook out so that the beans are smooth while still retaining some texture.

For guacamole:

Mash avocados, onion, lime juice, chives and salt in a bowl.

For pico de gaillo:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

For Mexican-style rice:

Cook rice as directed on packaging. Once done, stir in butter, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Take a spoonful or two of the pico de gaillo and add it in.

For assembly:

Preheat the sandwich grill. ( The grill is key because it helps to seal all of the ingredients into the tortilla and adds a nice crunch on the exterior)

Place one room temperature flour tortilla on a clean, dry work surface. Take 1/4 of the bean mixture and spread it in the middle of the tortilla, leaving plenty of space on the sides. Grab a large handful or two of rice and pat it down on top of the beans. Sprinkle some of the shredded cheese over top of the rice, then layer on the pico de gaillo and shredded lettuce. Layer the gaucamole on top as well as any additional toppings you prefer .

Fold the sides of your tortilla so that they cover the edge of the ingredients. Holding the sides of the tortilla in place, fold the front of the tortilla over your pile of ingredients and tuck them in as tightly as possible. Slowly roll it forward to seal the tortilla.

Place the burrito in the grill and press down lightly. Allow to grill for 4-5 minutes until the tortilla gets some nice grill marks and the ingredients have warmed through. Cut the burrito in half to view all the delicious components!

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Stuffed Peppers

Something about the immanent cold weather starting to creep up on us makes me crave comfort food. I recently came across a recipe for stuffed peppers that I decided to try out. I discovered that these stuffed peppers are pretty much the definition of comfort food.

Hearty, sauteed ground meat with caramelized onions, spinach and tomato sauce nestled in a colourful pepper and topped with melty  mozzarella cheese…. needless to say, they were pretty delicious and also show-stopping to look at!

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Ingredients 

  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
  • 3 garlic gloves minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 3/4 mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 6 bell peppers

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute  onion until softened in olive oil, add garlic. Cook until golden, then add ground meat.

2. After the meat has been cooking for about 3-5 minutes add in the can of tomato sauce, red pepper flake, parsley and  salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink

3. In a separate pan, saute spinach. Once wilted add in fresh basil and then combine with the meat mixture

4. Slice peppers in half and remove the seeds/ ribs of the pepper. Spoon the mixture into the peppers and place in a greased baking dish

5. Bake covered for 20-30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle cheese and broil until the cheese melts

 

 

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