Better Cook

Kristin Porter

Get Grilling! Summer Garden Pizza

Up until a few years ago I had barely ventured beyond tossing tried and true foods like chicken, brats, burgers, and the occasional halved stone fruit on the grill. Since then I’m happy to report that I’ve broadened my grilling horizons and branched out to tossing goodies like avocados, fruit cobbler and, yes, even pizza on the sizzling surface.

That’s right - grilled pizza is not only possible but truly delicious! I followed BHG’s recipe for Summer Garden Pizza for my latest grilled pizza creation which starts with pizza crust lightly grilled then topped with a variety of summer veggies including sweet corn, tomatoes, basil, red onion, and torn baby spinach. Studded with melty chevre and parmesan cheese, this fresh and summery meal will wow your friends and family.

Plus it’s fun to get them involved in making ‘em, since everyone can pick out their own toppings!

Start with the pizza crust. You can follow BHG’s recipe or take some help from the store and use a tube of ready-made pizza crust. I won’t tell!

Unroll the tube and slice into 4 rectangles then liberally brush one side with extra virgin olive oil. This will ensure that the crust doesn’t stick to the grill.

Place the crusts oiled-side down over low-heat then grill until the bottom is golden brown, 3-4 minutes. If you have hot spots on your grill (the front of mine gets hotter than the back, for instance) use tongs to rotate the crusts so they brown evenly. Brush the tops of the crusts with more extra virgin olive oil then remove and place on an upside down baking sheet, grilled side up.

Next, pile high with fresh and yummy toppings. Brush the grilled side with a bit more extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle on chopped garlic and shaved or grated parmesan cheese.

Like I said – this recipe is very flexible in terms of toppings, so use whatever you’ve picked up at the farmers’ market or from your garden.

I used fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, red onion, baby spinach, and then dotted the top with tangy chevre. Fresh mozzarella would also be divine.

Place the pizzas back onto the grill over low heat then grill with the lid down until the second side is golden brown, 2-3 more minutes. Remove, slice, then enjoy!

Click here for the Summer Garden Pizza recipe > 

Note: I used store-bought pizza crust, omitted the tomato sauce, and used garden veggies I had on hand!


Kristin Porter

Better Cook: How To Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

One of the meals I remember eating often growing up was my Mom’s egg salad sandwiches. There’d always be a big tub of egg salad in the fridge which she’d scoop onto two pieces of toasted white bread before cutting in half and serving with a cold glass of milk. The hot, crispy toast was divine with the cold, creamy egg salad.

To help her out I’d often peel the hard-boiled eggs for the salad, which came out perfect every time. In place of an overly hard yolk ringed with green, were bright and creamy yolks that seemed to melt in your mouth.

Since May is National Egg Month I thought I’d teach you her no-fail way to make perfect hard-boiled eggs, every time!

Start with fresh eggs, which make for the tastiest hard boiled eggs, naturally! Place the eggs in a saucepan then cover with cold water by 1″. Place the saucepan over high heat then bring to a boil.

Immediately place a lid on top of the saucepan then remove it from the heat. Set a timer for 12 minutes (9 for medium eggs, or 15 for extra-large eggs) then drain and rinse under cold water.

Eggs are the easiest to peel when they’re still slightly warm, so tap the egg against a flat surface then roll until the center is cracked all the way around. Gently peel back the shell then, voila! You’ve got hard-boiled eggs! Use right away or stash in the fridge to be used later that day.

I incorporated my latest batch of hard boiled eggs in BHG’s Tomato Egg Salad.

This light, low-carb salad is perfect for this time of year when it’s just starting to get hot out, and you’re craving something light and fresh for either lunch or dinner.

Start by chopping 3 hard boiled eggs, then combining with 1/3 seeded chopped cucumber, and 1/4 cup minced red onion in a medium-sized bowl.

The recipe calls for 1/3 cup mayonnaise to be added next, which I substituted with plain Greek yogurt to save on fat and calories, and loved. Finally add 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. FYI: I’d knock the salt down by about half next time!

Mix the egg salad together then scoop into hallowed out tomatoes.

Slice, and enjoy!

Click here for the Tomato Egg Salad Recipe >

(Note: I substituted plain Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise, and would only use 1/4 teaspoon salt next time.) 


Erin Gleeson

better cook: tabbouleh in endive boats

Tabbouleh is a healthy grain based Mediterranean dish and serving it like this in little endive boats is so much fun! I started with this BHG Tabbouleh recipe and made it my own. You can buy boxes of tabbouleh mix at most grocery stores, and then customize them by adding lots of fresh veggies and herbs like tomatoes, bell pepper, mint and parsley. You really can’t go wrong! It’s colorful and great as an appetizer or a side.

Ingredients

  • 1 5 1/4 ounce package tabbouleh (wheat salad) mix
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
  • 1 cup chopped yellow, red, and/or green sweet pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • endive leaves

Directions

1. In a large bowl combine tabbouleh mix with spice package. Stir in the boiling water. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

2. Stir in tomato, the sweet pepper, green onion, parsley, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper.

3. To serve, spoon onto endive leaves. (Or cover and chill up to 24 hours.) Make 6 servings and works as an appetizer or side.

The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes with photos and watercolor illustration. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods where she is currently working on The Forest Feast Cookbook. Follow Erin on Twitter and  Instagram, @theforestfeast.


Kristin Porter

quick & easy bbq chicken quesadillas

If there’s one dish that has stood the test of time at my house, it’s BBQ Chicken Quesadillas. Cheesy, filling, and laced with smokey-sweet BBQ chicken, I’ve been making these hand-held ‘dillas as quick lunches and dinners for years.

Not only are they easy to customize and cook, these quesadillas also happen to be my husband Ben’s #1 favorite meal – a dish he’d do anything for!

Need hubby to get something done around the house? Make him BBQ Chicken Quesadillas. Forgot something at the store? He’ll be happy to go back if BBQ Chicken Quesadillas are on the menu when he gets back. I’m telling you – these hot and crunchy quesadillas are loved by all!

While Ben prefers his quesadillas stuffed simply with cheddar cheese and shredded chicken coated with BBQ sauce, I love mine laced with sticky-sweet caramelized onions, grilled corn cut off the cob, or even sweet chopped apples thrown into the mix. Whatever you choose, the cooking method’s the same.

Start with the tortillas. You’ll want 4, 7-8″ flour tortillas to serve 4 people.

Next assemble the fillings, including 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (hand-grated is best, but pre-shredded will do in a pinch!) and roughly 1lb cooked-then-shredded chicken tossed with your favorite BBQ sauce. This dish is great for using up leftover grilled or sauteed chicken breasts, by the way, or even rotisserie chicken.

Preheat a large, nonstick-sprayed skillet over medium heat, then prop two tortillas against one another and sprinkle a couple Tablespoons cheese onto the bottom. I showed this quesadilla-cooking trick on my blog Iowa Girl Eats a few months ago and my readers went crazy for it. It’s the easiest way I know how to get multi quesadillas cookin’ at once!

Next layer on 1/4 of the chicken, and a couple more Tablespoons of cheese.

Fold the tortillas over then cook until golden brown on one side. Flip then cook until golden brown on the other.

Pull the quesadillas off the heat then let them rest for 3-4 minutes on a cooling rack before slicing into wedges. Letting the quesadillas cool gives the cheese a chance to meld all the ingredients together, and placing them on top of a cooling rack ensures the bottoms will stay nice and crisp.

I like to serve my BBQ Chicken Quesadillas with a side of BBQ sauce for dunking, and a crisp apple or side salad for something fresh.

I hope you enjoy these quesadillas as much as we do!

Click here for the BBQ Chicken Quesadilla Recipe >


Lauren Brennan

Browned Butter Frosting + How to Brown Butter

For those of you who have never attempted to brown butter or make anything with browned butter, let me be the first to tell you that you are missing out! Something magical happens when you let butter get all golden and fragrant! And the best part is you only need butter!

So, here’s how you do it. Grab a stick of butter and place it in a small saucepan over low heat. Once it’s completely melted, swirl the pan every 30 seconds or so and let it slowly brown. After a few minutes of babysitting, you’ll notice the milk solids start to brown up and then voila! It’s done! Try not to let it sit on the stove top unattended because it only takes a few seconds from going to perfect to burnt. And burnt butter is not quite the flavor profile we’re going for. Read more

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Kate Taylor

better cook: the anything frittata recipe

the anything frittata by cookie and kate

Hello! Kathryne from Cookie and Kate here. Frittatas are one of my go-to quick, clean-out-the-fridge meals, so they seemed the perfect subject for my latest Better Cook post. As long as you have some eggs, milk, cheese and vegetables, you can whip up a frittata for breakfast, brunch or dinner in no time! Slices of frittata also make great leftovers, too, whether served warm or cold.

I based my frittata off BHG’s “Anything Frittata” recipe, but in the spirit of the “anything” frittata, I used the Greek-style ingredients I had on hand. I also halved the recipe, using 4 eggs and 1/4 cup milk, and cooked the frittata in an 8-inch pan. Other ingredients included a big handful of chopped fresh spinach, sliced Kalamata olives and roasted red pepper, chopped shallot and crumbled goat cheese.

To make a frittata, simply whisk together eggs with a splash of milk or half and half and a dash of salt, pepper and maybe some dried herbs. Chop up your vegetables, shred the cheese, and start cooking.

Preheat your broiler and put an appropriately sized, oven-proof skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil or a big pat of butter. Cook the vegetables until crisp-tender, then pour the egg mixture on top. At this point, I just use a spatula to push the curds to the middle as they set, cooking for a few minutes, then I top the eggs with cheese and put the whole pan in the oven for a few more minutes, until the frittata is fully set. Slice and serve!

frittata tips by cookie and kate

Once you have the basic method down, frittatas are basically foolproof. Here are a few more tips to help make sure your frittata turns out fantastic:

1) Use quality eggs. My eggs came from a local farm; they are better for you and taste better, too.

2) Most recipes will tell you to use a non-stick skillet, but I have better luck with a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Cast iron skillets are non-toxic, too, and you don’t have to worry about scratching them—just slice and serve right from the pan.

3) Top the egg mixture with cheese right before you put it in the oven. Melted, golden cheese on top is extra delicious.

4) If you aren’t in a rush to eat, try preheating your oven to 350 degrees and letting the frittata bake for longer instead of using the broil setting. I think it produces a creamier texture. And don’t skip the splash of milk!

5) For a simple side, roast fingerling potatoes while you’re working on your frittata. Just scrub the potatoes and pat dry, then toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bake until the potatoes are easily pierced through with a fork (about 25 to 30 minutes).

Enjoy! And don’t miss BHG’s “Anything Frittata” recipe.

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