Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Today’s post is about technique rather than recipe. I see people put stuff on waffle irons all the time. I’ve seen hashbrowns, brownies, pretzels, paninis, and so on. Literally everything. I wanted to try cinnamon rolls cooked into waffles. It worked!

I started with a roll of cinnamon rolls, with icing of course.
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I heated up the waffle iron and popped rolled up cinnamon rolls on top
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I squished ‘em down with the lid and bam! There were waffles with a beautiful swirl.
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I warmed up the icing and served them with some maple syrup
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I loved the flavors and they were just so easy. Seriously. Pop open the tube and waffle them up. These would be really fun for a crowd and way easier than traditional waffles.

BLT Pasta Salad

Now that the 4th is over, the pressure is off for your food to be red/white/blue. Phew!

I was thinking this pasta salad was getting so hearty that it didn’t really need to just be a side, I thought it could be almost the whole meal. I put it on salad with a few more veggies and thought it was great!

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Ingredients:

6 oz plain greek yogurt
1 envelope Ranch Dressing (or Italian Dressing)
10 oz dried pasta (any shape you like)
4 slices of bacon
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber

Directions:

In advance: mix yogurt and dressing packet together and refrigerate for 3+ hours.
Boil pasta until cooked through, but just a little al dante. (I cook it longer than when I prepare hot pasta).
Fry bacon until crisp.
Let pasta cool.
Chop tomatoes, cucumbers, and bacon.
Mix dressing onto room temperature pasta.
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Chill for an hour-or-two before serving.
Serve as pasta salad or on top of a green salad.
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Basil would have been a good addition to make the pasta salad be more BLT instead of the lettuce. I used Greek yogurt to up the protein and lower the fat from mayo. If it dries out, add a tablespoon or two of milk to get it creamy again before serving.

There are pretty much a million substitutions for this one…ready? go!

Shrimp and Couscous Salad

Sometimes it is just too hot to really cook. I don’t like when it is this hot out. I don’t know how people like the 90s. Yuck. It was too hot to cook, we had just been away for the weekend, I hadn’t planned anything so I was digging around to see what I could whip up. I came up with this salad-y dish that was perfect!

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Ingredients:

5 medium-large shrimp, pealed, deveined, and cooked (I used frozen)
½ cup Israeli couscous
¾ cup chicken/veggie stock/water/white wine (liquid of your choosing)
2 tbs whole grain mustard
1 tsp butter
1 cup edemame (I used unshelled, if they’re in the pods cook and pop them out earlier)
½ cup bell pepper, chopped
salt & pepper

Directions:

Add couscous to a medium pan over medium heat to toast for about 3 minutes.
Shake them around until they start getting a little tan colored.
Add in the liquid (I used chicken stock) and cover for 5 minutes.
Cook edemame (mine was frozen and deshelled and just needed to boil for 5 min).
Chop pepper and cut shrimp into 3rds or leave whole, depending on your preference while couscous is cooking
Remove from heat and add in butter and mustard.
Drop in edemame, peppers, and shrimp.
Stir until combined and sprinkle in cracked pepper and kosher salt.

This was so easy and I was using what I had. I didn’t have anything citrus based, but that would be really fresh and perfect for shrimp. I liked the butter and mustard flavors. The peppers are raw but warm up a bit from the heat of everything else. They add a good crunch. I loved this one dish meal. I’ve made couscous before sort of like this but this time, it got to be the whole meal!

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This could easily have a bunch of substitutions. Salad dressing would be a good substitute for the mustard if that isn’t your thing. It would nix a lot of calories to use water instead of chicken stock in the couscous, and to omit the butter, but I figured it was under 400 calories anyway so I’d live it up. I would have chopped spinach if I had some or cherry tomatoes would be great. My cucumber was questionable but I thought that would be a good crunch. This could use any veggies you had around.

I loved the colors and felt so summery eating outside on the deck!

Pizza Dip

One drizzly day here in Boston suddenly became the absolute perfect night for personal dips for dinner. That’s right. I planned that dinner would be us each to have our own ramekin of dip and we would double-dip until our hearts content…yes, this was the plan. I’m too structured to pretend that I came up with this one on a whim. It just got flipped during the week to a cool rainy evening and was perfect. I loved it. What other dip should be for dinner?

I was wooed into this idea when I saw a white pizza dip on How Sweet It Is. Her blog is gorgeous, she is gorgeous, and her recipes keep me inspired. I wanted a few more flavors like pepperoni and garlic. I also wanted ricotta instead of provolone which leans more towards lasagna. I also had pinned a lasagna dip with a few more ingredients. Mine is a mish-mosh of the two.

Ingredients:

1 pt cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 yellow onion, chopped
olive oil, salt & pepper
½ cup ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbs garlic, chopped
¼ cup pepperoni, chopped
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
french bread for dipping (I didn’t want leftover bread so I chose a roll for each of us)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees while you half tomatoes and chop onion.
Place tomatoes and onion on a baking sheet and top with a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle some salt & pepper over the top too.
Roast tomatoes and onions for 10-20 minutes depending how you like the tomatoes. They release lots of moisture and char a bit. The skin shrivels a bit too.
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While tomatoes are roasting chop basil and pepperoni.
Mix up ricotta, ⅔ cup of the mozzarella (saving some for the top!), Parmesan, garlic, and pepperoni.
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Remove tomatoes from the oven and mix into the cheese mixture also adding the basil. At this point I also added the last smidgeon of truffle butter I had, but that’s of course not necessary.
Spoon the cheese & tomato mixture into ramekins sprayed with non-stick spray or into a pie dish (if serving as a regular dip).
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Pop the dish(s) into the oven to bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, top with remaining cheese, and return the dip to the oven also putting the dipping bread into the oven.
Bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese melts.
Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving.
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I loved this. I thought it was perfectly cheesy with differing textures and very simple. I added pepperoni but it could use any cooked meat or sausage you have, or it could easily be vegetarian. I had leftover dip so I boiled some pasta and the dip became sauce on pasta for lunch the next day. Bam!

It was a fun alternative to pizza or pasta with some of the same flavors. I also think the garlic, onion, and pepperoni could easily be skipped if you didn’t have any. I do not think dried basil could replace the fresh basil. With so few ingredients, the fresh basil is totally necessary.