Ja cię kocham…

….simple, healthy, and with lots of love.

Weekend Food – Hazelnut Pesto & Grilled Vegetable Pizza, Loaded Nachos and more!

November 24, 2009 By: kristi Category: Appetizer, Main Dish, Side Dish, Spreads/Dips, Vegetables


Hazelnut Pesto and Grilled Vegetable Pizza

I really wasn’t going to post these dishes because pizza and nachos are easy to make, and you don’t need me to tell you how to make pizza or nachos.   But I decided to pay tribute to fun, festive food consumed when I’m watching football with the hubby.

There is nothing better (well, ALMOST nothing better) than piling on the couch in sweatpants and your favorite sports team’s jersey, turning on ESPN and watching the game with real sports food – pizza, nachos, chips & dip, hoagies, etc.

Yes, I said hoagies.  I’m a Philly girl.  It’s not a sub or a hero.  It’s a hoagie.

As much as I love lazy days when I can go less than a mile down the road and order a pizza, nachos, or a hoagie, I also love the days when I can have my favorite sports meals made with a little lovin’ from my own kitchen.  And I use lotsa lovin’.

The pizza in the first picture – we’ll call it Hazelnut Pesto & Grilled Vegetable Pizza – was made using whatever I had in the fridge.  I did this before when I made my Everything But the Kitchen Sink Pizza.  I enjoy these types of recipes because I get to use up all the leftover veggies lingering in my fridge before they go funky on me.  I don’t do funky veggies.  And I get so upset when I have a few slices of bell pepper in the fridge with no purpose.  I can’t just throw it out.  I’ll just put it on my pizza…

Hazelnut Pesto & Grilled Vegetable Pizza


Pizza dough
olive oil

For the pesto:
2 LARGE handful of basil leaves, stems removed
handful of hazelnuts
1 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the toppings:

4 slices of bacon
1/4 cup eggplant, diced
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup orange bell pepper
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
your favorite cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Put all pesto ingredients except for the olive oil into a food processor and start pulsing it.  While pulsing, add the olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Place a medium skillet on medium-high heat.  Add bacon slices.  Cook until crispy.  Set aside.  Leave drippings in pan.

Still on medium-high, add vegetable toppings (except garlic) to skillet.  Saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened.

Roll out your pizza dough on a floured surface and brush lightly with olive oil.  Spread pesto onto pizza surface.  Then add sauteed vegetables, garlic, and cheese.

Place in oven for about 10-15 minutes or until edges brown and cheese melts.



Ja Cie Kocham’s Loaded Nachos

My family has a thing for nachos.  We’re known to order them as our main meal at a restaurant and eat the whole thing by ourselves.

What?  Nachos are AWESOME.  I bet you do it, too.

Nachos can be zapped in the microwave…. I have seen a few friends put tortilla chips on a plate with salsa and cheese and microwave them for 30 seconds, which is totally acceptable but I wanted some pizazz for these babies.

nachos 2

I wanted the works – the salsa, the fresh tomatoes, the scallions, the avocado, the refried beans, the bacon, the beef, and most importantly THE CHEESE.  I seriously made enough for 8 people for Jay and I, and we almost polished off the entire thing on our own.  I couldn’t breathe when I was done and I was even full the next morning… now that’s what I call loaded nachos!

Ja Cie Kocham’s Loaded Nachos


1 bag of corn tortilla chips
4 slices of bacon
1 – 1.5 lbs. hamburger
1 15 oz. can refried beans
1 jar chipotle salsa
your favorite shredded cheese
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 scallions, chopped


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a medium skillet placed on medium-high heat, cook your bacon.  Once bacon is crispy, remove it and keep the drippings in the pan.  Add the hamburger.  Cook until brown.

On a large cookie sheet covered in nonstick spray, spread out the nachos.  Add the hamburger, refried beans, salsa and cheese.  Bake for 10 minutes or until refried beans and salsa are hot and cheese is melted.

Crumble up bacon that you have set aside.

Take out of oven and add the remainder of the ingredients, including the bacon that you have reserved.  Serve immediately.


Other fun recipes for sports watching at home:


Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms



Hot Bean and Cheese Dip


Pineapple Pizzas

Petite Pineapple and Prosciutto Pizzas


red pepper dip

White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Dip


Enjoy yourself and give your sports food a little lovin’ from your kitchen…

Molly’s Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

September 27, 2009 By: kristi Category: Appetizer, Fish

Stuffed Mushrooms

Jay tells me that I’m a facebook addict.  Apparently I completely zone out and do not hear anything anyone is saying while I’m surfing my friends’ pages.   Sorry, honey.  You know I love you anyway.

Here are some perks to succumbing to online social pages:

  1. You find out that dear friends from preschool and elementary school live a quarter mile down the road.  (Hi Christina!)
  2. You don’t feel so lonely on lazy Saturday nights because you find out that there are other people staying home, too.
  3. You can send out invitations to parties without having to spend a dime.  A simple mass message on FB does the trick… AND it keeps track of who’s coming and who isn’t.
  4. People post food that they are making allowing you to be nosey and ask for their recipe.

This leads me to my friend Molly.  I have known Molly since elementary school.  (I even have our 4th grade class picture from Mrs. High’s class…hehehe.)  Well, yesterday on Facebook, she posted that she was making crab-stuffed mushrooms for a family picnic.  CRAB-STUFFED MUSHROOMS!  I immediately asked for the recipe because it just sounded so good.  What makes this recipe even better is how easy it is to make them!  In a matter of minutes, I have these adorable mushrooms on my table and a happy husband with delicious food while watching the Eagles game.

Thank you, Molly!  These are literally the best stuffed mushrooms I have ever had.

Molly’s Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

Serves 6

Source: My childhood friend, Molly


24 baby portobella mushrooms, stems removed, and cleaned with a damp paper towel
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
6-8 oz. lump crab meat (sift through it with your fingers to make sure there aren’t any shells)
1 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. +1 tsp. fresh parsley or dill, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper (optional)
mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place mushrooms on sheet.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cream cheese, crab, parmesan, 1 Tbs. dill/parsley, garlic powder, salt/pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Put a generous amount of cream cheese mixture into the cavity of each mushroom.  Add a dash of cayenne pepper and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the mushrooms are hot and water starts to appear on the baking sheet underneath the mushrooms.  Garnish with dill/parsley.  Serve immediately.