Mini Pizza Bar

superbowl-pizzas

superbowl-pizzas
The Super Bowl is right around the corner. I’m not a big sportsfan but I am a big foodfan and anywhere there is food and a party I am there! I created these super easy pizzas for hosts with little time. You could even have your guests put on their own toppings and pop these into the toaster oven. Just prep all the items and create a pizza bar.

If you are making a big batch, heat the oven to 400º F. Bake for 10 mins or until the cheese is nice and melty. For smaller DIY portions, I like to use the toaster oven set at the same temperature and people can just set the timer when they pop theirs in.

You can get very creative with the toppings but I kept mine simple. Here’s what I used.

Ingredients:
low calorie sandwich rounds (you can also use English muffins or pita bread)
marinara sauce from a jar
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onion
pepperoni
oregano
parmesan cheese

For a pizza bar, set up all the ingredients for the guests in different containers so they can easily choose what they like. I would include a few different cheeses like mozzarella, parmesan, and even goat cheese. A cream sauce would be a fun twist paired with the traditional marinara. Several meats like pepperoni, salami, shredded chicken, bacon, and prosciutto are good toppings. I love a good veggie pizza so include some vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and herbs.

This is a fun meal even if you aren’t cheering for a team. Kids will love it and you will too! Which team are you cheering for?

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Update

Hello! I’ve been away for a bit because of my new bundle of joy, but I’m back in the blogging world and I’ve missed it! I have been active on Instagram (because I’ll admit, I’m addicted), so if you don’t follow me there here’s what I’ve been up to.

Lots of coffee for sleepless nights, our date night at the JT concert, strawberry croissant-doughnuts, picking out color swatches for our new abode (which I’ll talk more about soon), Christmas cards/Birth announcements, and a whole bunch of baby goodness!

Introducing…

Say, “hello!” to the newest member in our family! Madeline Judith Ver Raitt. Andrew and I both fell in love as soon as we laid eyes on her. Born on my birthday(!) we named her after her two grandmothers. Madeline is a variation of my mom’s name, Magdalena, and means woman from Magdala (a city in biblical times). Not to mention, one of my favorite cookies! And her middle name, Judith, is in memory of Andrew’s late mother.

The labor went incredibly fast. I began having contractions at midnight on the morning of my birthday. While some of my friends were greeting me at midnight, I was timing my contractions to make sure I was going into true labor. I had a feeling a couple days prior that I would be having her within the next 48 hours because I started having symptoms like I was going to start my period.
After beginning contractions at midnight, I was ready to go to the hospital by 1 am because they were getting very close. By 5:30 am, the doctors said that I was already fully dilated! Madeline wanted to get out of there! It took a while to get my epidural done so I was in incredible amount of pain and all my breathing techniques and yoga meditations went out the window. By the time the epidural kicked in at 5:30 am the doctors decided to let me get a few hours of rest before I had to push. She finally came out at 10:20am.
What a way to kick off my thirties and the new year! BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! She is growing everyday and we can’t wait to watch her grow up and teach her about the world. Andrew and I are so blessed and thankful for all your warm wishes.  Love, Christine and Andrew

Any Day Now

Motherhood is approaching quickly.  I’ve been feeling so anxious lately while waiting for the baby to arrive that I’ve been up late at night thinking, “she’s coming tonight” or, “she’s coming in the morning.” These photos definitely don’t reflect the anxiousness that I’m feeling inside =D, but hopefully what I will be feeling after she arrives, relief.  Then, onto the next chapter in our lives.  Wish me luck!

Last Minute Thanksgiving

I’ve been so busy lately with finishing up work before maternity leave and preparing for the baby’s arrival that I (almost) forgot that Thanksgiving was this week! If you are like me and have absolutely no time to make a full Thanksgiving meal take the Last Minute Thanksgiving approach.  I’ll show you how!

I made the meal pictured above for my coworkers in 1 hour. This was a meal for 6 and we still had plenty of leftovers.  You can shop for your items the day before or the morning of.

Buy ready-made items. Use the store to help you with this meal. Don’t stress yourself out! I bought 50% of the items pictured above and made the rest.

What to buy ready-made:
Buy the desserts, or better yet, ask your guests to bring a dessert. People are always willing to bring desserts because it’s the easiest thing they can grab from the grocery store and check out quickly.

Buy the protein ready-made. Those rotisserie chickens from the grocery are actually really good. They come whole and are the perfect size for a family of 4-6. Place in an oven safe dish and reheat in for 20 mins.

If you insist on cooking the protein, buy a chicken already butchered or just a turkey breast portion. When they are cut up, they cook much faster than a whole chicken. Season it simply with olive oil, s+p, and some herbs, then pop it into the oven first. It should cook at 425 degrees F in about an hour.

Buy semi-made items. Some boxed items help you skip several steps and do all the measuring for you. Some good items are stuffing, cornbread mix, and biscuits.

Add something special to make it your own. With the cornbread mix, I added jalapeños and cheddar. Cut up an apple and some sausages and mix it into the stuffing. Top the biscuits with any cheese you have in your fridge.

Don’t buy canned. Especially vegetables. This is something you should make fresh as it usually is less expensive and tastier.  Some veggies that are perfect for your spread and don’t take a long time to cook are Brussels sprouts, potatoes, or green beans and carrots. Buy them already washed and cut so all you have to do is season and cook in a pan with some olive oil, or if you still have oven space, roast until fork tender.

Buy your cranberries frozen or fresh. Here’s a recipe that is so simple you can literally leave it on the back burner until it’s ready.

Gravy is simply equal parts butter and flour, cooked. Then slowly whisk in some chicken broth to your desired consistency and season with s+p.

Cook on the stove top. If you are reheating the bird, baking the stuffing, and roasting some veggies you need to make something on the stove top. Something you have made before and can do with one hand tied behind your back. Some of my favorites to make on the stove are mashed potatoes, stove top mac and cheese (skipping the oven part), and any vegetable dish.

Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Here’s a sample menu and timeline so you can get an idea.
Sample menu:
serves 6
Rotisserie chicken
Mashed potatoes (1 lb. potatoes, 1 quart heavy cream, 1 stick butter, s+p)
Roasted Brussels sprouts (bagged already washed sprouts, s+p, evoo)
Jalapeño and cheddar cast iron cornbread (2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix, 2 jalapeños, 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, 2 eggs, 2/3 cup of milk)
Store bought pie

0:00 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
0:01 Half fill a large pot with water for potatoes and bring to boil. Add 1 tsp of salt
0:05 Bring out all your items and arrange by dish for organization
0:10 Reheat chicken in the oven
0:11 Cut Brussels sprouts in half and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with s+p. Put in oven
0:18 Cut potatoes in quarters and drop in boiling water
0:25 Chop jalapenos and grate cheese
0:35 Take bird out of the oven to rest
0:35 Follow directions on cornbread box, add grated cheese
0:40 In a cast iron pan or skillet, melt butter and saute chopped jalapenos. Pour cornbread mixture into the pan and insert in the oven. Take out Brussels sprouts if fork tender
0:45 Drain potatoes. Return the potatoes to the pot and mash in butter, cream, and s+p to taste
0:55 Place the chicken on the table with the Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and pie
1:00 Take cornbread out of the oven and place on table

That wasn’t so hard was it? Now that you know you can do Thanksgiving in 1 hour for 6 you’ll breeze through every other dinner.  Keep things simple, and although it’s Thanksgiving, don’t try to be too ambitious. You’d rather spend the time with your friends and family than over the stove anyway.  Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Christine