Quesadizzas?

Ok, I cannot take credit for that awesome name.  I was just making quick weeknight pizzas on tortillas.  Boringly, I just called them…ready? Pizzas on tortillas. I know, I’m brilliant.  But I just showed some pictures of Olivia eating these wondrous pizzas and a friend said they had teased a coworker for doing the same thing…and they called it his Quesadizzas.  So, that’s what we’ll call it.  I suppose we could say Pizzatillas or Pizzadillas? Hmm? I’ll have to ponder that. If you have a preference, comment and let me know this crazily important life decision.

This is one of those dinners that you can whip up in no time flat, especially if you’ve made the sauce in advance like we did. We just keep our pizza sauce in the refrigerator for when we need it.  No pizza dough? No problem!  We have some tortillas here so we are making little pizzas for our meal.  Some bonuses about making dinner this way?  It’s quick, like I mentioned. It’s portion control built-in. Everyone gets their own mini-pizza. And the biggest bonus? We always have some sort of vegetable on hand, so we simply pureed it into our sauce so now our pizza sauce always has some added veggie nutrients.

[Tangent: So, before I had kids I thought books like Deceptively Delicious were genius.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are some great recipes in there. It’s not that I don’t think it’s a great cookbook nowadays. But now that I have Olivia, I realize that I don’t want to always have to ‘sneak’ vegetables into all of Olivia’s food.  I want her to know how awesome and delicious vegetables and other healthy goods can be.  Although I incorporate veggies into this sauce, I simply always remind everyone that there’s tons of yummy greens in the sauce, as well.]

We simply topped our tortillas with our veggie pizza sauce and some mozzarella and whatever toppings we were in the mood for. In no time flat, some delicious pizzas.  We love this recipe for those days you need to whip up something nutritious with little time free.

PIZZA SAUCE

What You’ll Need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, minced (Do I have to tell you that we throw in way more than this? But if you’re garlic shy, 4 cloves works just fine)

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce (or make your own tomato sauce: 3/4 cup tomato paste + 1 cup water = 2 cups of tomato sauce)

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 small bay leaf

1 teaspoon fennel seed

What You’ll Do:

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic to the butter (by the way, best smell ever, am I right? Onions and/or garlic sauteeing in butter? Heaven!) and saute until everything is soft and translucent.  Then, add the tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir everything until it is smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring it to a simmer.  At this point, technically, it is done.  But I like the flavors to develop a bit more, so if you have the time, I would really recommend simmering the pizza sauce for at least 30-60 minutes, depending on how much time you have and how developed you like your flavors.  And there you have it. Pizza sauce.

At this point, you could add in some cooked up vegetables and throw it all in the Vitamix/blender to add in some extra veggies. We had some broccoli & cauliflower, so that’s what we added to our pizza sauce.  It made it look unappetizingly green-ish red, but it tasted delicious!

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QUESADIZZA (TJ just informed me he thinks he likes Pizzadilla better. We will hash out all of our options later)

What You’ll Need:

Your Pizza Sauce, all Vegetabled up or not

Flour Tortillas

Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Toppings of your choice

What You’ll Do:

Preheat the oven to 375.  Spoon some of your pizza sauce onto your tortillas.  Top it off with the shredded mozzarella and toppings of your choice. Pop in the oven and in about 5-10 minutes (depending on what you topped your pizza with, how ooey gooey you want your cheese, etc.), you’ll have your Pizzadilla/Quesadizza.

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Quick, Easy, Nutritious, Fun to Say, and, most importantly, Tastes Oh-So-Good.

~ M ~

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New Toys: Vitamix Tomato Soup

My mom is a funny woman. She is a very frugal woman – saves money like crazy, rarely ever shops for new clothes for herself, refuses to spend money on cable and other luxuries.  But the woman also knows how to splurge on fun items – things she deems ‘worthy’.  She rarely spends money on clothes, but a luxury watch? Check. She won’t spend money on cable, but loves to travel the world.  Saves every container that food comes in so she doesn’t have to buy new Tupperware, but likes to buy the newest camera out there.  You see, while she is frugal on items that she sees as fleeting (clothes – fashion goes in and out of style so quickly), she thinks everyone should have a good quality watch.  She loves to travel and see the world because, let’s face it, the TV ain’t got nothing on the beauty of the world.  A recent addition to this splurge list is the Vitamix.   My mom kept trying to tell us that she would get us a Vitamix and insisted we needed one.  We weren’t so convinced.  While we had heard wondrous things about it, we weren’t sure we needed such a luxury.  My mom kept insisting and then, during a sale at Costco, she bought us one.  Boy, are we happy & grateful she did.

What’s that? You don’t know what a Vitamix is? Simply put, it’s a blender.  But saying that a Vitamix is a blender is like saying Superman is just a man.  The Vitamix is a crazy, high performance blender that can blend, puree, grind, chop, cream, purée, and so much more.  From smoothies to juicing, from soups to frozen desserts.

Tonight, we planned on having dinner with our friends (our friends who just had the baby less than 2 weeks ago).  We wanted to bring over or make some sort of comfort food.  For me, one of the quintessential comfort food combos is tomato soup + grilled cheese.  And while I can make a grilled cheese, as I’m sure most of you can, TJ makes an amazing grilled cheese.  So, while TJ got the grilled cheeses going on the stove-top griddle, I got to work on the tomato soup.  This recipe is super easy and with the help of a blender, you’ll have a great rustic tomato soup in no time. If you’re lucky enough to have a Vitamix (or similar awesomeness brand blender), then you’ll have a velvetty smooth tomato soup in no time!  Ready?  Let’s go.

What You’ll Need:

6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 large sweet onion, chopped

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

1-2 tablespoons of butter

1 (28-ounce) can of whole peeled tomatoes, in their juices, preferably San Marzano

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water

2 bay leaves

1/3 cup heavy cream

What You’ll Do:

Heat the oil and butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Once the butter starts to foam up, throw in your onions and a large pinch of salt and saute for about 5 minutes.  Throw in your garlic and stir occasionally.

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Cook until the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown.  Add the tomatoes (everything, tomatoes + juice) and stir to crush up the tomatoes (though if you have a Vitamix, this isn’t too necessary).

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Add the broth or water (but come on…I really mean broth) and the two bay leaves.  Bring to a simmer and leave to simmer until the tomatoes start breaking apart (around 10 minutes).  Discard the bay leaves and let cool for about 10 minutes.  If you have a blender, your run-of-the-mill blender, you’ll want to puree up your soup carefully and after the soup has cooled down quite a bit.  If your blender is too small, you may have to do it in batches.  Then, just transfer it back to the saucepan and warm it up to your desired heat level.  Now, if you have a Vitamix type blender (and yes! I’m one of you now!), you don’t have to let it cool too much and you won’t have to warm it back up in your saucepan.  In fact, with a Vitamix, you can even cook up the soup in your blender! Yes, that’s right! It is so fast and powerful, it creates so much power and heat that it cooks up the soup while you blend!  I let our tomato soup cool a bit and then transferred it to our Vitamix.  Our model (Vitamix 6300) has a “Hot Soup” program.

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We hit start and it started blending – maybe 10 minutes or so?  When the Vitamix was done, I was so incredibly impressed at how incredibly smooth, light, and velvetty this soup was.

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I was never able to get our soups this smooth in the past with just a regular blender or our immersion blender.  Amazing.  The soup came out piping hot, too!  Once the Vitamix was done, we stirred in 1/3 cup of heavy cream. And there you have it.  Creamy Tomato Soup!  This recipe is perfect for a dinner party of 4.

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**VARIATIONS**

You can imagine you could add quite a bit to this soup, depending on what you like.  No garlic (well, that’s just silly, now isn’t it?!), add in oregano & thyme, parsley, red chili flakes, a touch of ground cloves.  You get the picture!

With TJ’s perfect grilled cheese sandwiches and these amazingly smooth tomato soups, our very ordinary comfort food turned into something a bit more elevated. And as always, it Tasted Oh-So-Good!

~ M ~