Prosciutto, Fig & Spinach Pizza

Some nights I imagine I’m on Chopped (perhaps my favorite of all shows on The Food Network) and decide to challenge myself based on featuring four random ingredients and transforming them into something that would delight the Chopped judges – or in this case me.  Okay guys, work with me here……

In my Chopped fantasy, Ted Allen asks me to open the basket and announces my four mystery ingredients:

  • Baby Spinach
  • Prosciutto
  • Dried Black Mission Figs
  • Hazelnuts

If you regularly watch Chopped, you’re likely thinking I got lucky – no gummy worms, eel or headcheese in my basket.  Keep in mind, if I were on Chopped (seriously on my bucket list) it would be a home-chef episode. For those shows they typically don’t give the contestants something that would send them running from the studio in tears.

Here’s what I decided to make with my basket ingredients:

Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees, place your baking stone in the oven. Mix together a pizza crust mix (add water, olive oil, knead, cover rest for 10 minutes)  Place dried figs into boiling water to hydrate – set aside. Prepare the toppings – prosciutto,  chopped shallots, spinach, slice the figs in half. Using a cutting board with a dusting of corn meal and garlic powder, manipulate the pizza dough into the desired shape and thickness. Place the prosciutto, spinach, shallots, figs onto the unbaked crust, add red pepper flakes and top with shredded mozzarella and a drizzle of good olive oil.  Pull the heated baking stone from the oven and slide the pizza onto the stone.  Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the crust is nicely browned.  Remove from oven, top with chopped hazelnuts and cool for five minutes.  Slice and enjoy.

And yes, in my Chopped fantasy – the judges not only rave about my culinary skills but I’m offered my own show on The Food Network on the spot.  Of course, I humbly accept their accolades and realize I’m going to have to come out of retirement to do my show but this is a tradeoff I must make to follow my passion….


My Experience with HelloFresh

For those following this blog you know I love to cook. I have my Doctorate from the Food Network (okay I’m making that up), dozens of cookbooks, numerous Pinterest foodie boards and an overall obsession with great food. I was aware of these meal services – HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef – but felt they weren’t for me.

Until a week ago…..

Having passed the one year mark since losing Spence, I started looking at these meal services through a different lens. Cooking for one with a love of food but a small appetite, I’d been finding that food was going to waste – especially produce. Cooking for one, I rarely try new recipes and was in a bit of a rut. I checked out several sites and for me it came down to looking at the meal choices. HelloFresh had me at “Hello” (random Jerry McGuire reference).

The smallest commitment, two 2 serving meals per week (from a choice of ten) made sense for me. There’s no contract and you can skip a week(s) or quit anytime, flexible and hassle free.

Via text updates, I knew my shipment would arrive on Tuesday via UPS.  Everything was well-packaged and super fresh, a huge re-usable cold pack inside and the box was lined with a cooler-type insert.


My chosen meals were Lemony Cheese Tortelloni with Pancetta, Peas and Zucchini and Pan Seared Duck Breasts with Duck-Fried Potatoes, Asparagus and Grape Tomatoes.

I made the Tortelloni first, using half the ingredients which were more than ample for a single serving.

Easy recipe with step by step instructions, including photos and even a suggested wine pairing

I made the recipe exactly as written, making any notes on how I’d enhance the second portion later in the week. I’d add toasted pine nuts, a pinch of red pepper flakes and shave Parmigiano Reggiano over the top adding both texture and flavor.

I love duck and when I see it on a menu I order it – but I’ve never prepared it. HelloFresh gave me a fool-proof recipe and opportunity to try something I’d never done.  Count me in…


The Pan Seared Duck entrée was…..perfection!  I savored every bite and I can’t wait to make the second portion in the future. I don’t think I’d change anything!

There are lots of enticing first-time offers by these meal services that ultimately make your first order inexpensive and with no long-term committment what have you got to lose?