Sausage, Apple and Spinach Grilled Pizza

Fall is in the air and on my plate! Fresh picked apples bring the taste of the season to this grilled pizza. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the sausage and top with toasted pecans or walnuts for a crunchy protein after removing from the grill.

If there are pick-your-own apple orchards near your home, I recommend stopping by for fresh, local apples. Visiting orchards and farms are great ways to educate the children in your life about where our food comes from, and this recipe is a kid-friendly one that you could make together after harvesting your produce.

Ingredients:
½ pound ground sausage
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium apple, cored and diced
1 bunch spinach, trimmed and chopped (about 4 cups)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 homemade or store bought pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit)
2 tablespoons cornmeal
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned and no longer pink. Drain fat from skillet and return to the stove. Add onion and apple to the sausage and cook until tender and lightly browned. Add spinach and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Roll and stretch pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter.
  3. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
  4. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel comes handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom.
  5. Remove crust from grill. Top cooked side of crust with sausage, apple and spinach mixture. Add shredded mozzarella evenly over pizza toppings.
  6. Return pizza to the grill and cook for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and bottom of crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill, slice into 8 wedges and serve.

Note: When I make homemade pizza crust, I often double the recipe and freeze to have on hand for fast weeknight meals like this one.

Servings: 4 

Black Pasta with Tomato Langostino Sauce

Made with squid or cuttlefish ink, black pasta has a slight salty taste that makes it an ideal pair with seafood. This trendy style of pasta has been popping up in restaurants and speciality grocery stores. You can also purchase squid or cuttlefish ink from specialty grocery stores or online retail sites and make homemade black pasta by adding 4 teaspoons of this specialty ink into your favorite fresh-egg pasta recipe.

Langostino has a lightly sweet and rich seafood taste similar to lobster. While often referred to as squat lobster, longostino are actually crustaceans akin to crabs. This affordable seafood comes with an upscale taste and makes a perfect stay-home, date-night meal served with your favorite red wine.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, diced
½ cup red wine
1 teaspoon concentrated tomato paste
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
12 ounces cooked and peeled langoustine tails, defrosted if frozen
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ ground black pepper
8 to 10 ounces black spaghetti (made with squid or cuddle fish ink)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add tomatoes and cook until tender, about five minutes.
  2. Add wine, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add langostino. Simmer uncovered for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the pasta. Add more wine if needed.
  3. Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and serve with tomato and langoustine sauce on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 4

Fish Tacos with Purple Cabbage and Avocado Cream

With bright purple cabbage, one look at this dish is like sunshine on a rainy day. Filled with tender and flaky fish, crunchy cabbage and creamy avocado sauce, one bite of these tacos will have you reminiscing of ocean- or lake-front dining. Pair them with chips, salsa and a margarita for a restaurant-inspired meal.

Ingredients:
4 cups purple cabbage, shredded
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
The juice of 2 limes, divided
1 small avocado, pit removed
1 cup plain, light Greek yogurt
1 ½ pounds halibut
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
12 corn tortillas
⅓ cup cojita cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, cilantro and half of the lime juice, and stir until evenly coated.
  2. With a spoon, scoop inside of avocado from the outer shell and place in a food processor. Add yogurt and ¼ teaspoon salt, and process until smooth.
  3. Prepare an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Brush fish with olive oil and season with chipotle pepper, black pepper and remaining salt. Grill fish until opaque, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and flake into large chunks with a fork. Drizzle fish with remaining lime juice.
  4. Place tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds on each side, until light grill marks appear. Remove from grill and place an equal amount of fish in each tortilla. Top with cabbage, avocado cream and cojita cheese.

Servings: 6 ~ Serving size: 2 tacos