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Vegetable Garbage Bread

Garbage Bread

There is something about food being called “garbage” that piques one’s curiosity. Well, it’s quite simple. Garbage bread is like a pizza burrito. Fill it with whatever you’d like, roll it up, then bake or grill it for a SUPER family-friendly dinner. Slice in half, dip in marinara or pesto and enjoy!

Vegetable Garbage Bread

1 ball pizza dough (about 12 ounces)
4 ounces cheese, such as shredded mozzarella
½ cup thinly sliced zucchini*
½ cup carrot, grated or chopped
½ cup broccoli, chopped
1 small shallot, minced
Olive oil
Optional: Parmesan cheese and basil, for garnish
Optional: Marinara sauce and pesto, for dipping

Preheat. Set a pizza stone or baking sheet on your grill or oven, and preheat to the highest setting.

Prep dough. Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough into two balls. Set the dough balls on the flour. Dust the tops with flour and cover with plastic. Let rest for about 15 minutes.

Prep filling. Trim the zucchini ends then slice thinly. Peel and grate or chop the carrot. Chop the broccoli finely. Mince the shallot. Grate the cheese.

Assemble. Stretch or roll the dough into two rectangles, each about the size of a sheet of paper, as thin as you can get them. Sprinkle the dough rectangles with mozzarella. Layer on the zucchini, carrots, broccoli and shallot. Roll into logs, tuck the ends under and brush with olive oil.

OVEN: Turn the oven down to 425 degrees and bake until a crust forms, about 15 minutes. (When you can hear or see the cheese bubbling, that’s a good indication it’s done.)
GRILL: Place the garbage bread directly on the hot grill or a preheated pizza stone. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes or until toasted on all sides. If the outsides cook too quickly, turn the heat down or grill the bread on indirect heat until it’s completely cooked.

Serve. Cool for 10 minutes. Warm up the pesto and marinara sauce. Slice the logs in half, dust with parmesan cheese and basil and serve with marinara sauce and pesto.

*You can easily customize the fillings with your family’s favorites. Feel free to replace the veggies with 3/4 cup chopped pepperoni and 4 additional ounces of cheese (or to taste).

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No-Mayo Creamy Potato Salad

No Mayo Creamy Potato Salad

I love mayonnaise on my sandwiches, but I always shy away from putting heaps of it in salads. This is a no-mayo potato salad recipe, leveraging hard-boiled eggs and olive oil as a mayo replacement. Picnic-style potato salad (aka best served cold) can be prone to dryness, so sour cream is added for creaminess, though plain yogurt would work just as well. The capers add little pops of salt which is addicting. Dill and shredded spinach is added for extra flavor, though any dark green leaf vegetable — kale, mustard greens, collard greens, etc. — would work just as well. Just mix it all together after the potatoes have cooled off.

Potato Salad

1½ pounds small potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
1 cup spinach, sliced thinly
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon dill, minced
1 tablespoon minced shallots
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Boil the eggs. Place eggs in a small saucepan and fill with water until the eggs are covered by an inch. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; when water is at a rolling boil turn the heat off, keeping the lid on. Let sit for 12 minutes. Fill a bowl with ice and water, and move the eggs to the ice bath. Let sit for a couple minutes then remove shell. Chop the eggs and place in a salad bowl.

2. Cook the potatoes. Fill a large saucepan with several inches of water and bring to a boil. Scrub the potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and partially cover. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a sheet pan to cool, then add to the salad bowl with eggs.

3. Mix the salad. Add the sliced spinach, sour cream, olive oil, capers, minced dill, minced shallots, salt and pepper to the potatoes and chopped egg. Stir gently until all of the ingredients are well combined.

4. Store and serve. You can serve this right away or, even better, make it ahead and store up to several days ahead so it is completely chilled.


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Better-Than-Steak-Sauce Mushrooms

I stumbled across a beautiful bag of shiitakes for $5 on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, sold by a student from the mycological department. Since we were going to be grilling some steaks over the weekend, I thought it might serve us well to grab a bag. (They also sold some gorgeous red wine cap mushrooms, among other varieties.)

These marinated, grilled mushrooms were simple to prepare, and better than any steak sauce. Just pile them on top of your grilled goodies before taking a bite.

Grilled Shiitakes

Grilled Red Wine-Balsamic Mushrooms

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms (or any with a wide cap like portobella or red wine cap)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & black pepper
1/2 – 1 cup balsamic vinegar

Marinate the mushrooms. Wash and pat dry the mushrooms. Trim off stems and set in a bowl. Splash in a couple tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a couple tablespoons of oil, and several shakes of salt and black pepper. Marinate until you are ready to use them (I marinated mine for a couple hours).

Make balsamic reduction. Set between a half to a whole cup of balsamic vinegar in a quart-sized saucepan. Simmer vigorously until the liquid is two-thirds reduced, or coats the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.

Skewer the smaller mushrooms. Using kabob sticks, skewer smaller mushrooms through the middle so they are spaced evenly, every inch or half-inch or so. Set big mushrooms aside.

Grill the mushrooms. Over a medium-high flame, lay flat any large mushrooms that aren’t at risk for falling through the grill, and set in place the mushroom skewers. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning them over every so often. Mushrooms are done when they are tender and juicy.

Serve. Set them on a platter and drizzle balsamic reduction on top. The balsamic reduction adds a nice note of sweetness to the complement the vinegar. Top burgers, steaks or eat them as is.

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