Easy Pizza Rolls


These quick and easy pizza rolls are a delicious twist on a beloved classic. Keep the few ingredients on hand and you can have glorious, cheesy finger food ready in a flash!

My husband Justin has many, many good qualities. Of course he does, I married him! He is intelligent, funny, understanding, hard-working, crazy handsome and an all around sweetheart. There is no one else with whom I would rather spend my life. But… If I had to pick one minor, teeny tiny little flaw, it would be this: he forgets to fill me in when he’s inviting people over to our house. It throws me for a loop every time. I obviously want to be showered and presentable when we have guests. More importantly, I want to be gracious. I get it from my grandma, who was completely unable to allow people to enter under her roof without feeding them. Every time we would visit, she had sodas for the kids, beer for my dad, tea for my mom and cookies in the cabinet above the microwave. If you wanted something more substantial, all the better. An impromptu Italian feast would be placed in front of you before you could blink. I witnessed her casual hospitality so regularly that it is ingrained in me. It’s a reflex. If you come over, you’re going to eat.

So, I tend panic when I learn last minute that we will have guests. What can I offer them? These pizza rolls are an easy and delicious answer.  Made with a mere handful of pantry and refrigerator friendly staples, they require only 5 minutes of hands-on prep time and under 30 minutes in the oven. That leaves just enough time to do a quick tidying up and to put on a fresh coat of mascara before the guests arrive.


Start by rolling out a refrigerated can of pizza dough onto a cutting board or countertop. Use your fingers to press the dough into a roughly 11×13 inch rectangle. This is not the time to break out the ruler. Spread some jarred pizza sauce over the dough, then layer on pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Provolone would work, too! Roll it all up, jelly roll style, and cut into 12 equal pieces. Place in a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Slather them with a savory mixture of butter, garlic and Italian herbs, then toss ’em in the oven. Once they come out, sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese and serve! I like to have some extra pizza sauce on hand for dipping. And there you have it- a no-brainer, back pocket kind of recipe for easy, cheesy, delicious pizza rolls that will be ready in the time it takes you to shove all of the counter chaos into a drawer before company arrives.


Easy Pizza Rolls


  • 1 can refrigerated pizza dough, such as Pillsbury
  • 1/2 cup jarred pizza sauce, plus more for serving
  • 5 oz. sliced pepperoni
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella OR 12 slices of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Roll pizza dough out onto work surface. Use fingers to press dough into a roughly 11×13 rectangle.
  3. Spread pizza sauce in thin layer across dough.
  4. Place pepperoni on top of sauce in an even layer. Sprinkle or place cheese evenly on top of pepperoni.
  5. Starting with the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough jelly roll style into a cylinder. Pinch closed at the seam.
  6. Cut the cylinder into 12 equal pieces. I do this by cutting the cylinder in half, then each half in half, then 3 pieces from each quarter.
  7. Place cut pieces into pan.
  8. Melt the butter and stir in the garlic and Italian seasoning. Pour over the pizza rolls.
  9. Bake pizza rolls 25-30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and dough is puffed and lightly browned. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over pizza rolls while warm. Serve immediately.

Makes 12 pizza rolls

Classic Pot Roast

Classic Pot Roast

Pot roast is the definition of comfort food for me. Nothing gives me the warm and fuzzies the way a fall apart tender roast does. The aroma of a pot roast slowly simmering away transports me to the wintry Sunday afternoons of my childhood. My mom in the kitchen, my dad in front of the fire watching football, my sister and I working on homework and sneaking a nap. On days when a pot roast is in the oven, I can close my eyes, inhale, and time just vanishes. I’m home. That’s part of what makes a dish like this so comforting, isn’t it? The familiarity, the echo of a feeling of being cared for. I love that every time I prepare this dish, I can feel the warmth that permeated our home on those cold winter days.

Of course, an equally important criteria for comfort food is that it be delicious. Warm memories will fall flat in the face of a disappointing dinner. Too often, pot roast can wind up a little lackluster- tough meat and watery, flavorless gravy. I want a dish that can live up to the high standard of my memory. Fortunately, this recipe is a home run in that regard. It is simple, smells divine and, most importantly, is so, so tasty. The beef is flavorful, juicy and tender. The vegetables are caramelized and velvety. And the gravy is rich, smooth and so quick to come together.

There are few secrets that make this classic pot roast so phenomenal. A trio of flavorful, umami-boosting ingredients really enhance the beefy flavor. Tomato paste is caramelized until sweet and brown. Balsamic vinegar adds a wonderful acidity and soy sauce brings a meaty depth of flavor. The roast is cooked at a relatively low temperature for a long time, giving the meat plenty of time to bend to our will and shred easily.

The silky, savory gravy is ridiculously easy to whip up, thanks to a beurre manie. Fancy name, easy technique. Simply mash together equal parts softened butter and flour until a smooth paste forms. Once the roast is done, remove the meat and vegetables from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon. Whisk the beurre manie into the liquid and, voila, luxuriously lump free gravy in an instant.

Cold, bleak winter days so often leave us seeking comfort.  Find it in the kitchen with this classic recipe and relish the warm memories it will evoke, and those it will create.

Classic Pot Roast

Classic Pot Roast

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2.5 lb chuck roast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 medium onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  1. Place oven rack in lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Pat chuck roast dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over all sides.
  3. In medium size dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Brown roast on all sides, about 6-8 minutes total. Remove roast from pot to a plate.
  4. Add carrots and onions to dutch oven, brown 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste and allow to cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add beef broth, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce to dutch oven and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return roast to the dutch oven. Add rosemary and thyme.
  6. Cover dutch oven and transfer to oven. Cook for 3 hours, turning roast once halfway through cooking. Roast is done when it falls apart easily.
  7. Transfer roast to cutting board and remove vegetables from dutch oven with slotted spoon. Remove the herb stems and discard.
  8. In small bowl, mash together butter and flour until they make a smooth paste. Stir butter/flour mixture into the liquid remaining in dutch oven until incorporated.
  9. Slice and/or shred beef. Transfer beef and vegetables to serving platter. Pour gravy into serving vessel. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4

Classic Pot Roast

Eggplant Parmesan


I think liking eggplant parmesan is a sign of maturity. It so often sits neglected on the menu of your favorite Italian restaurant, as the spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmesan and lasagna all steal the spotlight. But it only takes that one night out, where you decide to try something other than your standard go-to order and give eggplant parm a try. And then, provided you are in an establishment that knows what it’s doing, you realize what you’ve been missing. Such was my experience. After years of ravioli, pasta and meatballs, one day I decided to give eggplant parmesan a try. I’m not sure what motivated my choice. It certainly can’t be because I thought I was saving any calories- there’s plenty of cheese and carbs to be had in eggplant parm. I can only chalk it up to maturity. I finally decided to step outside of my red checkered tablecloth comfort zone and was handsomely rewarded. And now, my love for this classic has grown to the point that I’m really hoping maturity is not a nicer way of saying “old”.

Of course, there’s always the chance to you will visit an establishment that does not know what it’s doing when it comes to this dish, and as an eggplant lover that breaks my heart. I’ve had soggy eggplant. I’ve had deep fried eggplant. I’ve had eggplant where the coating slides off in one fell swoop (why?!) The obvious solution is to have a killer recipe for eggplant parmesan at your fingertips so that you are sure to enjoy tender, cheesy eggplant perfection when the mood strikes. THIS is the recipe you (and I) need. It is decadent, cheesy and oh so delicious.


Now, there are a few steps to this recipe and it is not super quick. But, none of the steps are complicated and you can assemble it ahead of time and bake when you need it. So with a little planning you can have delicious eggplant parmesan any time you wish.

The most important step to this whole recipe is the one that takes the longest but is also the easiest. Eggplant naturally holds a lot of moisture. The excess moisture can lead to mushy texture and an inability for the coating to adhere to the eggplant. This recipe calls for you to liberally salt the eggplant slices and place them in a colander for an hour or so.  The salt will draw the excess moisture from the eggplant, which will remedy both the textural and coating concerns. Don’t worry about ingesting too much salt- you wipe off the salt along with the excess moisture before cooking. Use this time to take care of other kitchen tasks (meal prep!) and to set up an assembly line for the rest of the recipe.

If you plan to make this ahead, prepare the dish through assembly (layering the eggplant, sauce and cheese), then cover with foil. I haven’t tried freezing it at this point, but I’m sure it would keep well if tightly wrapped. From the fridge, I would allow to rest at room temp about half an hour before baking.

So, if you know a fellow mature eggplant loving soul or are looking to turn someone into a convert, I suggest making this recipe as a special treat. I’ve gotten rave reviews from both eggplant lovers and the eggplant-averse alike- you will, too!

Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 8


  • 2 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup olive oil, plus more as necessary
  • 16 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 3- 3 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded basil
  • kosher salt and pepper


Begin by salting the eggplant to remove excess moisture. Sprinkle eggplant slices generously with salt and place in colander (or two). Allow to sit in colander for 60-90 minutes to allow moisture to be drawn from eggplant. When ready to proceed with recipe, use paper towels to wipe moisture and salt from eggplant.

Preheat oven to 375.

Set up your dredging station with three wide, shallow dishes, such as pie plates. In the first dish, mix flour with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. In second dish, whisk together eggs and milk. In third dish, mix panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Dip each eggplant slice first into the flour, then the egg/milk mixture and then the breadcrumbs. Place eggplant slices on rimmed baking sheet once they have been dipped.

In large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Working a few eggplant slices at a time, sauté eggplant approximately 2 minutes per side until golden brown.

Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce across the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Place eggplant slices in single layer. Top each slice with a dollop of sauce and a piece of fresh mozzarella. Sprinkle about half of the shredded mozzarella over the top. Place remaining eggplant slices in another layer and top again with sauce, fresh mozzarella and shredded cheese.

Bake eggplant for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Turn on broiler and broil an additional 5 minutes (keeping a close eye so dish does not burn) until cheese is browned. Top with shredded basil and serve.

If making ahead, prepare recipe as far as layering the eggplant, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil. Allow to sit at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.

Serves 8-10

Quick Roasted Green Beans


A healthy and tasty side dish that goes from the fridge to the table in under 30 minutes. 

Hi there! It’s been a while, I know. This is a super busy time of year at work, and by the time I get home, make dinner, work out (0n a good day), shower and clean up…I’m ready for bed. But! I’m still cooking and coming up with lots of fun ideas to share, so stay tuned.

This recipe for oven roasted green beans has been a life saver over the past few busy busy busy months. It’s not often that I will finish my veggies before anything else on my plate (I’m looking at you, carbs), but these green beans are just so.darn.tasty. They are roasted at a high, but not too high, temperature for 20-30 minutes. This is longer than you might think a skinny old green bean needs to cook through, but the extra time in the oven makes the magic happen. No sad, soggy green beans here. They emerge from the oven toasted, nutty, crispy and (my personal preference) just south of burnt. If fruit is at its’ ripest right before it goes bad, these green beans are at their most delicious just before they burn. But fear not. There’s plenty of water in fresh green beans, so they will not go up in smoke while you’re busy tending to the rest of dinner. You’ve got a little wiggle room here. Like I said, a life saver.

I’ve been making a conscious effort over the past few months to eat a more wholesome diet, and this recipe has played an integral part. On Sunday afternoons, I’ll roast a pan of these, a pan of diced sweet potatoes and a bunch of seasoned chicken breasts to have for lunch throughout the week. On a busy weeknight, I can prep them and toss them in the oven in the time it takes to grill some turkey sausage or some other protein. And I have no shame in eating them cold straight out of the fridge. Green beans as snack food = a win.

img_7859To prepare these quick roasted green beans, you’ll need a pound of fresh green beans. If they are thick and the ends tough, trim them. I’ve been buying “French beans” at Costco and find that the ends are perfectly fine as they are. I like to line a half sheet pan with foil for easy clean up. Place the green beans on the pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Throw in some garlic powder if you’re feeling crazy. Roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the beans. Toss once halfway through cooking and remove from the oven when they have become browned and crispy in spots. Of course, you can cook them as long as you like, but I really do urge you to cook until well browned. If you’d like, you can finish with lemon zest or juice, or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. One final note- if making extra for meal prep, I would use two half sheet pans, as overcrowding the beans will make it hard for them to brown.



You’d better believe I ate that whole bowl as soon as I finished taking pictures. 🙂

Quick Roasted Green Beans

A healthy and tasty side dish that goes from fridge to table in 30 minutes


  • 1 lb green beans, cleaned and trimmed, if necessary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste


Preheat oven to 425. Place green beans on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle oil over green beans and add salt and pepper. Toss until green beans are evenly coated with oil. Spread green beans in single layer.

Roast green beans in oven 20-30 minutes, tossing halfway through. The green beans are done when they are browned and slightly charred. Don’t be tempted to take them out too early- the magic happens when they start to brown.

Serves 3-4

Bacon, Kale and Mushroom Frittata


A healthy, Paleo friendly frittata that makes a perfect make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings. 

The most challenging part of my 30 day Paleo adventure (you can read more about it here) is that most convenience/take-out foods are no longer options. This means I’m cooking, or planning what to cook, all.the.time. Breakfast bars, yogurt, sandwiches, pasta and pizza are out (sigh), so that means lots of chopping, peeling, slicing and dicing. Which I generally enjoy, but can require time I just don’t have. Especially in the morning. Tired of my little portion of nuts and a piece of fruit, I decided to make a healthy and hearty frittata this weekend to have for quick breakfasts during the week. A warm breakfast on a hurried weekday morning just makes me feel…better. And serves as a nice reminder that slow mornings over extra coffee are around the corner.


Of course, frittatas can be made with whatever vegetables and meat  you have sitting in the fridge. This time around, I took advantage of the fact that bacon is a Paleo approved food and paired it with meaty sautéed mushrooms, earthy kale and sweet caramelized shallots. I prefer the veggies in my frittata to have a little color on them, so there is some time spent here stirring the shallots and mushrooms as they brown. However, this is pretty mindless work that can be done while  you tidy up the kitchen, prep other meals or simply read a magazine at the counter. The method for a frittata is simple- cook your meat and veggies as desired, scramble some eggs and pour them into the hot skillet. As soon as the eggs on the bottom start to set, transfer the frittata to a pre-heated oven to cook through. Once the frittata is cooked through, run a spatula around the skillet and under the bottom of the frittata to release it from the pan, then transfer to a cutting board and slice into wedges.

While I prepared this frittata as a make ahead weekday breakfast, it would also be a wonderful addition to a weekend brunch. Cheese is not on the list of Paleo approved foods, so I left it out this time. In the future, and definitely for a brunch, I think some goat cheese, gruyere or even parmesan would be totally delicious here. And don’t limit yourself to breakfast- served alongside a salad, this frittata would make a light and delicious lunch or dinner!


Bacon, Kale and Mushroom Frittata


  • 8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced cremini (or white) mushrooms
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced thin
  • 2 cups lacinato kale, chopped
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


Preheat oven to 350. Whisk eggs with water, salt and pepper until well blended and set aside.

Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium high heat. Add bacon to skillet and cook until crisp, 10-12 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet with slotted spoon and pour off all but 1 Tbsp of bacon fat. Return skillet with reserved fat to heat and add mushrooms and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms and shallots have browned, about 1o minutes, adding a small amount of reserved bacon fat if the skillet seems especially dry. Add kale to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes, until softened and slightly wilted. Add bacon back to skillet and pour eggs over all ingredients. When the bottom of the eggs starts to set, about a minute, transfer skillet to preheated oven and cook for 10-12 minutes until eggs are cooked through and frittata is slightly puffy.

When skillet is removed from oven, place an oven mitt or piece of foil on the handle as a visual reminder that it is hot (you only make that mistake once…) Run a silicone spatula around the sides of the skillet and under the frittata, to loosen it from the pan. Carefully slide frittata from skillet onto cutting board and cut into 8 pieces.

Serves 8.

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”


Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” are a low carb, Paleo friendly substitute to traditional mashed potatoes.

Like many people, I’m making a conscious effort this month to eat healthfully to try to undo some of the (fun, delicious and very festive) damage done over the holiday season. My husband Justin proposed that we do a 30 day Paleo challenge. I’ve always been reluctant to try a restrictive diet plan because my favorite foods fall within the 4 Cs: cheese, carbs, cookies and champagne. However, after partaking in those foods a little too readily over the past few months, I decided I was up for the Paleo challenge. Especially if Justin and I would be suffering through our cravings together.

Reader, you know where this is going. Hubby made it all the way to day 4 until he texted me a picture of the candy bar he picked up on his way home from work (he’s asked me to clarify that it was a Nutrageous- apparently that explains everything.) He also had not one, not two, but THREE pieces of cake at his dad’s birthday dinner last week and has been helping himself to dessert after every meal. Has anyone ever heard of breakfast dessert?

So. I’m kind of on my own now on this whole Paleo challenge. Surprisingly it hasn’t been so bad. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that I was sick for the first ten plus days without much of an appetite, so I wasn’t able to miss my favorite non-Paleo foods. Since I’ve been feeling better I’ve been surprisingly satisfied and have not had any killer cravings. Needless to say, I have no intention of eating a solely Paleo style diet long term (I need my 4 Cs!), but the challenge is a good opportunity to evaluate my eating habits and to focus on making lean proteins, fruits and vegetables the building blocks of my diet.

This challenge has also been an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone in terms of meal planning and daily cooking. Normally I will make mashed potatoes once a week as a quick and tasty side. My very favorite mashed potatoes, while heavenly, are chock full of Paleo verboten ingredients such as cream, cream cheese  and butter. We’ve all seen the faux cauliflower mashed potatoes all over Pinterest and I’ve always been a skeptic. Cauliflower has always struck me as bland and…blah. Can a whir in the food processor really turn ho hum cauliflower into something that can really satisfy a comfort food craving? Over the past couple of weeks I’ve discovered that, YES, it certainly can. I can truly say that I do not miss the potatoes or decadent dairy when preparing cauliflower with this recipe. They are light and airy, creamy and flavorful. I’m a believer.

There are a few tips to ensure your cauliflower mash turns out perfectly. First, make sure that you boil the cauliflower until thoroughly tender. No al dente veggies here. Next, you want to drain it well to ensure excess moisture does not stick around. Once it’s been drained, I toss the cauliflower back into the pot in which it boiled so excess moisture can evaporate in the heat of the pot. You also want to puree the cauliflower in the food processor until completely smooth. You don’t want to see any little cauli trees in your puree. Finally, and most importantly, you need to add flavor. I add a head of roasted garlic and a couple of tablespoons of rich and fruity extra virgin olive oil. The resulting mashed cauliflower is smooth, delicious and surprisingly creamy.

I’ve served this as a side multiple times already this month. You already know I love it, but what about Mr. Paleo Quitter? These are a home run with him, too.


Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”


  • 1 large head cauliflower, cored and broken into florets
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper


Preheat oven to  350. Cut the top off of the head of garlic, so that the tops of all cloves are exposed. Place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle salt over garlic. Fold foil over garlic to create a sealed pouch. Place foil on baking sheet and cook in oven about an hour, until garlic is soft and lightly browned. When done, remove garlic from foil and set aside until cool enough to handle.

While garlic is roasting, place cauliflower florets into large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and boil cauliflower until very tender, when a knife slides in and out with no resistance, about 20 minutes. When cauliflower is tender, drain in strainer and shake to remove excess moisture. Place florets back into hot pot and stir, allowing the heat of the pot to evaporate additional moisture.

Transfer cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves from head of garlic, taking care not to get any garlic skin into bowl. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, remaining salt and pepper. Process in food processor until cauliflower and garlic are very smooth, about a minute. Transfer cauliflower to serving bowl and drizzle remaining 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over top.

Serves 4