Tag Archives: toddler approved

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs.

Happy first day of Fall!

Even though there are still a few more weeks left of the season, baseball has been set on the back burner in favor of football.  And even though I’m not a fan of the game, I’m a big fan of all the food that goes along with it.  Even if it’s just the Husby watching the game, I ultimately end up making a huge spread to graze on throughout the day.

This week’s swap was another Blogger’s Choice and I was introduced to a new-to-me blog, Becoming Pigzilla.  I initially had picked out a different recipe and had gone to the grocery store to get all of the ingredients, but even though I remember putting potatoes into a produce bag, they somehow never made it into my cart nor onto the belt at the register.  Baby is eating my brain!

Luckily, I had all of the ingredients for these pizza puffs waiting at home.  They were simple to whip up and made for an awesome lunch.  The Fruitaholic thought they were too spicy but next time I’ll omit the red pepper flakes to make them more kid friendly.  I’m already planning to make a double batch for the next big game and one to have in the freezer for a quick meal once baby girl gets here.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs.

Serving Size: 24 Mini Puffs


  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Dried Parsley
  • 1 tsp. Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Cup Mini Pepperoni
  • 1/2 Cup Marinara Sauce


Preheat oven to 375.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire beater, whisk together the flour, baking powder, oregano, parsley, basil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and salt until well combined. Add the milk and egg then mix again. Stir in the mozzarella, parmesan and pepperoni. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Using a cookie scoop, spoon batter into the greased cups of a mini-muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes, until tops are puffy and golden brown.

Serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.

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Mini Honey Corn Dog Muffins.

With the Husby out of town this week, I’ve been on the lookout for simple, uncomplicated meals for the Fruitaholic and myself.  As soon as I saw these on Pinterest, I immediately added them to this week’s meal plan.

When the Husby is home, I don’t usually worry about what to make for dinner, since it’s pretty simple to make some mac and cheese or a PBJ for the Fruitaholic if he doesn’t like what we’re eating.  But when we’re on our own, I prefer to make something that I’m sure the Fruitaholic will like (so I end up eating a lot of the aforementioned foods).  These were perfect for our needs!

They’re all the fun of the battered red hot on a stick without the pointy weapon that all kids seem to love.  The Fruitaholic kept asking for more “hot dog pancakes.”  I ate an absurd amount before I had even plated any for him.  They would be a wonderful addition to a party spread.  I froze the leftovers, so I’m excited to have an easy lunch solution later this week.

Mini Honey Corn Dog Muffins – slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1/4 Cup Melted Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Cornmeal
  • 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 8 All-Beef Hot Dogs, cut into 1″ bites

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray.

Combine butter, applesauce, sugar and honey in a bowl and mix until combined.  Add the eggs, mix again, then add the buttermilk and stir together until smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix together the baking soda, cornmeal, flours and salt.  Add half of the mixture to the wet ingredients, stir until combined, then add the remaining half and stir again.

Spoon 1 Tablespoon of batter into each mini-muffin cup.  Stick one hot dog piece into the middle of each cup.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cornbread is golden brown.  Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes then transfer whatever is not being served to a cookie rack.

Store the leftovers in the refrigerator.  To reheat, microwave for 20-30 seconds.  If reheating from frozen, microwave for 1-2 minutes, until warm all the way through.

Caramel Almond Oatmeal Banana Bread.

This bread is bananas – B A N A N A S!!

The Fruitaholic could live off of bananas alone.  Seriously, this kid was eating whole bananas at 18 months old.  Therefore, we always have the fruit bowl stocked full.

But even so, we don’t always get to all of them in time, and everyone knows that the best use for brown bananas is making banana bread!!  That being said, everyone has their own recipe for “The Best Banana Bread Ever.”  I knew I wanted something different, something that was a little bit on the healthy side so that I wouldn’t feel too guilty eating a slice (or two) for breakfast and a slice (or two) for dessert.  So I sifted through a ton of recipes online until I found “the One” – a low fat oatmeal banana bread adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe.

I loved the addition of oatmeal since it’s such a power food with the ability of helping you to stay fuller longer.  I also added some sliced almonds and caramel bits to the batter, keeping it still relatively healthy yet adding just a touch of sweetness and crunch.  It was most excellent fresh out of the oven, yet still great this morning heated up for a few seconds in the microwave and savored with a cup of green tea.

The only thing I would change?  A friend and I made this together and I sent her home with half of the loaf, leaving less for me to devour!  But I know for sure what I’ll be making next time we don’t finish our banana bunch in time.

Caramel Almond Oatmeal Banana Bread – slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 1 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Oatmeal, uncooked
  • 1/2 Cup Caramel Bits (or chopped caramel)
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds, plus 1/4 Cup for topping
  • 3-4 Bananas, very ripe
  • 3 tsp. Canola Oil
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Egg Whites

Preheat oven to 350.  Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, oats, caramel and 1/2 cup almonds.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, then add the oil and whole egg.  Mix thoroughly.  Add this mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whisk attached (or a medium bowl, using an electric mixer) and whip the eggs on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Add one-third of the batter to the bowl with the egg whites.  Mix gently, then repeat until all batter has been incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and top with 1/4 cup sliced almonds.  Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the top of the bread is golden brown.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes then run a knife around the sides to loosen the edges and turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool an additional 10 minutes before serving.

Marinara Sauce.

Sorry for the blog hiatus.  I have a TON of new recipes that I’m looking forward to sharing with you but I’ve had a bit of a scenery change that got in the way of my posting abilities.  No, I haven’t abandoned my sweet home Chicago, but the Husby is on a two week business trip and the Fruitaholic and I decided to join him.  So hello from (a suburb of) SEATTLE!!

The Fruitaholic and I are having a great time exploring, so if you’re familiar with the area, make sure to leave me a comment with your “must dos/must eats!”  I do have a kitchen equipped with basic supplies so I’m hoping to be able to test out some new recipes, but I also came prepared with a backlog of awesome recipes (almost) ready to share with you.  So enough with the chatting, let’s get to it!

There’s something to be said about a big bowl of pasta.  It’s warm and comforting and easily one of the most adaptable foods out there.  Whenever I don’t know what to make for dinner, I just put a box of pasta on the stove and top it with whatever is in my fridge.  Some days it’s fancy, like brie and bacon and butternut squash.  Other days it’s simply adorned with chicken sausage and spinach and garlic.  But most of the time, I end up pulling out a jar of store bought sauce from the pantry, heating it up and topping it with parmesan cheese.

I’d never thought about making my own sauce until this past week’s recipe swap.  Now you might be thinking, what the hell does tomato sauce have to do with soup?!  Reading through the recipe, it called for a cup of marinara sauce, and Melissa had mentioned that she had made her own, so in order to stay as authentic to her mother’s soup recipe as possible, I decided to do so as well.

Honestly?  I was surprised at how easy it was and, of course, how much better it tasted than the store bought kind I’m so accustomed to.  You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now that pretty much everything tastes better when you make it yourself.

This is also a great freezer friendly recipe.  You can freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays and once frozen, transfer to a ziplock bag.  When ready to use, just thaw 2 to 3 cubes per serving.

Marinara Sauce – slightly adapted from I Was Born to Cook

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Sweet Onion, chopped
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 28 oz. Cans Crushed San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Dried Basil
  • 2 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar

Set a stock pot over medium-high and add the olive oil.  Add the crushed red pepper, onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5-8 minutes.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste and the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.  Cover, leaving slightly ajar, and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve over your favorite pasta, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.