Monday, March 28, 2011

Homemade Pizza

I have been making pizza for over 40 years.  My four kids always gobbled pizza up & my daughter recalls that I always made it every Friday night.  I've tried to pick up tips over the years.  Lately I've been using the Artisan Bread recipe for pizza, which makes a chewy, delicious crust.

For each pizza:

1 grapefruit size piece of Artisan Bread dough (check under the "bread" label)
parchment paper
pizza sauce
2 cups grated mozzarella
pepperoni,  cooked sausage, etc.,  or whatever you like

1.  Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven with a baking stone placed on the rack at 550 degrees (or 500 degrees if that's your oven's max).

2.  Prepare all your toppings.

3.  Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough &  cut off a grapefruit- size piece of dough.   Dust the piece with flour & shape into a ball.  Here's my tip:  place the dough on a piece of parchment paper that will fit your baking stone.  Sprinkle the parchment with cornmeal & put the dough on this.  Cover the dough with 2 sheets of plastic wrap, overlapping to form a large square.

4.  Roll out the dough with a rolling pin right over the plastic wrap.  My pizzas are around 12-13".  Carefully peel off the plastic wrap & discard.

5.  Cover the dough with your favorite pizza sauce, being careful not to cover it too thickly.

6.  Scatter half the mozzarella on top of the sauce.  Add pepperoni, etc.  Now add the rest of the mozzarella.  Trim around the outside of the parchment paper, leaving about 1/2-1" overhang.

7.  Take a rimless baking sheet, or pizza peel, if you have one, and slide it under the pizza.  Now slide the pizza on to the hot stone.  The parchment paper makes this super-easy!  My pizzas get done in 7-8 minutes.  You may need 10-12 minutes in a 500 degree oven.

8.  Allow to cool slightly allowing the cheese to set.  We like to sprinkle dried oregano & parmesan on the pizza when it comes out of the oven.

9.  Enjoy!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lemon Sour Cream Pie

I saw this recipe on a blog that I like to check, which is  I like to buy extra lemons, wash , cut in half & freeze them.  It's really easy to zest a lemon or lime when they're frozen.  This works out really well for me & then I always have lemons when I need them.  This pie has a luscious, lemon taste & would be perfect for an Easter dessert, or any time for that matter.

1 9-inch pie crust, baked & cooled
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 egg yolks, beaten
1cup milk

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup sour cream

Combine cornstarch, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolks & milk in a heavy saucepan.  Cook on medium heat until thick, stirring constantly.  Add butter & let cool to room temperature.  (I'm usually in a hurry, therefore I put the pan in a bowl of ice water to speed it along!).  Stir in sour cream & pour into the pie shell.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours.  Top with whipped cream right before serving.  Fresh berries are also a wonderful addition.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Log Cabin Chicken Pie

I first sampled this recipe years ago at Lazarus Department Store, in Columbus, Ohio.  I then discovered this recipe in a very old cookbook I have, "Pillsbury's Best 1000 Recipes Best of the Bake-Off Collection".  The winner of this recipe stated that Abraham Lincoln stopped at her great, great grandparents' log cabin where this pie was served.  It really is tasty.  May you enjoy this slightly adapted recipe!

1 pie shell, partially baked at 425 degrees for 10 minutes

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 cup bread crumbs (2-3 slices)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning

Saute the celery, green pepper, & onion in the 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet about 5 minutes.  Blend in the flour & then add the chicken stock, poultry seasoning & salt to taste.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Stir in the chicken & simmer.

Combine the bread crumbs, melted butter & the salt, pepper & poultry seasoning.

Pour the hot chicken mixture into the partially baked pie crust.  Top with the crumb mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pasta with Sausage

I tasted this dish several years ago at a department store demo.  I've changed it up to suit our tastes.  Whenever I need a quick, easy meal, I make this.  You can use penne or rotini pasta in this dish.  I hope you enjoy it!

8 ounces Italian sausage, casing removed (I use 2 links of chicken sausage)
1 cup chopped onion
1 bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 cups of penne or rotini pasta, cooked
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Cook sausage over medium heat in a deep skillet, stirring to break up sausage & until it is no longer pink.  Drain & then add onion, bell pepper, mushrooms & garlic & cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes, oregano & basil and salt & pepper to taste.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add cooked pasta and cook 2-3 minutes until pasta is heated through.  Add freshly grated parmesan for garnish.  Delcious!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Artisan Bread

  This bread recipe is fabulous!  I also use the dough for making pizzas.  You can add some whole wheat flour, rye flour, etc.  It is so easy & keeps in the fridge for 14 days. I do mix it up in my Kitchen Aid mixer, with a dough hook, but you don't have to. I hope you'll try this recipe.

Adapted from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007)

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into the lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece . Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on parchment paper that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.  Allow to rest for 40 minutes.  Keep the rest of the dough in a covered container that is not airtight,  in the fridge.

3.Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack.  Place  an empty broiler pan on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.

4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone by using a rimless cookie sheet (who needs a pizza peel??) parchment paper & all.   Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam.  Bake until well browned, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.

Yield: 4 1-lb. loaves.

I had enough dough to make two loaves of bread & two 13" pizzas.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Favorite White Chili

I cut this recipe out of a November, 1994 issue of "Good Housekeeping" magazine.  The original recipe stated to bake in a covered casserole for 50-60 minutes.  I've adapted it to a slow cooker & use frozen chicken breast halves instead of chicken that is cut into chunks.  You also can use 2 cans of Great Northern beans in place of the white kidney & garbanzo beans.  It's really tasty & so easy to assemble.  Lately, instead of using a slow cooker, I opt to use a covered dutch oven in a low temperature oven.    That way, I can use one pot & save cleaning!  Here's the adapted recipe.

1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 can white kidney beans, drained
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can white corn,drained
2 cans chopped mild green chilies
2 cans chicken broth
hot pepper sauce, to taste
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

 Over medium heat, cook the onion, garlic & cumin in the hot oil, until onion is tender.

 In slow cooker, combine the onion mixture with the chicken (I use frozen), beans, corn, green chilies & broth.  Cover & cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours.   Remove chicken & shred & return to slow cooker. 

To serve, stir hot pepper sauce, if desired, into chili.  Serve with shredded cheese.  I like to add slices of avocado & a dollop of sour cream.

I am sharing this with:                                                            
Seasonal Sundays
On the Menu Monday
Mouthwatering Monday
Tasty Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Foodie Friday
Crock Pot Wednesday
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Sunday, March 13, 2011

English Muffin Bread

I decided this year that I would only eat homemade bread.  It's not that I'm a "bread snob" ,  I just love the texture & taste of homemade goodness.  This recipe is especially easy & kind of a cross between a yeast & a quick bread.  It only requires one rising, which takes care of the "quick" part.  It does have nooks & crannies like English muffins & it's delicious toasted.  I hope you'll give it a try.

6 cups flour
2 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk, heated to 110 degrees (heat in microwave)
1 1/2 cups water, heated to 110 degrees ( heat in the microwave)
cornmeal for dusting pans

Grease 2 - 8x4" pans, then dust with cornmeal.

Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt & baking soda in mixer & whisk together. Add milk & water & beat together to combine.  Add 2 1/2 - 3 cups flour & mix with a dough hook.  (I actually just use my dough hook for this recipe so that I don't have to clean more beaters!).  Mix for 4-5 minutes.

Divide the dough into the prepared pans & even the tops (I wet my hands to smooth them).  Cover with a towel & let rise 45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Remove from pans to a cooling rack.  The bread is much easier to slice when cool.  It freezes well, also.  Enjoy!

Makes 2 loaves

I am sharing with:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hershey Chocolate Pie

This recipe was given to me by my friend, who also happens to be my son's mother-in-law.    It's really hard to believe that anything this good could only have 2 ingredients in it (okay 3, counting the pie shell!!).  It always seems to make an appearance at our family functions because the grandchildren love it (big people love it, too).   It is SO delicious & SO easy!  Try it yourself & see.

2- 4.4 oz. Hershey bars (the original recipe called for 10 oz., but all things seem to change!)

1 cup whipping cream

1 graham cracker crust, or baked pie shell

Melt the chocolate bars in the microwave for 2 minutes on low power.

Whip the whipping cream.

Pour the chocolate into the whipped cream & combine.

Pour into the prepared crust.  Let set up in the fridge for several hours, if you can control yourself!  If you're like me, just lick the bowl...m-m-m-m.  Hm-m-m, for adults,  wouldn't Bailey's Irish Cream be good in this for St. Patrick's Day?  Other possibilities would be Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Frangelico, etc.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Scones

Oh my goodness, I could eat one of these scones every single day!  They are like eating a big oatmeal raisin cookie for breakfast.  What could be better than that?  This recipe is from Nick Malgieri's "How to Bake" cookbook.  He actually pats his dough out into a disk & then cuts the scones.  I like to just drop the scones on the prepared pan because it's a very soft dough (& it's easier!).   Enjoy these with a cup of tea or coffee.  Yum!

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup granulated or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter (I sometimes only have salted butter, therefore I leave out the salt)
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Set rack in the middle of the oven & preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Pulse 5 times at 1-second intervals.

Cut the butter into 12 pieces, add to the bowl & pulse 12 times until the mixture looks like fine meal.

Add the raisins & milk & pulse 3-4 times to form a very soft dough.

Drop the dough, by large spoonfuls,  onto cookie sheets that have been lined with foil, parchment or a silpat.  You should get 12 large scones.  Brush the tops with a little milk & sprinkle with the sugar-cinnamon mixture.  Bake the scones for 12-15 minutes, or until they are golden.  Do not over bake as they will be dry.

I freeze any extras, then thaw & reheat them at 350 degrees for several minutes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Marinated Flank Steak

I have been making this recipe for years!  It is so flavorful & tasty.  Just remember to not overcook your flank steak.  I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe.

1 1/2 lbs. flank steak, scored diagonally on both sides
3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons brown sugar

Combine all ingredients, other than the meat, in a large zip-lock bag.  Add the meat & coat it with the marinade.  Seal the bag & marinate over night in the fridge.  The next day, grill the meat for about 4 minutes per side, or broil for 8-10 minutes.  When done, tent the meat with foil for at least 5 minutes to retain the juices.  Carve diagonally across the grain in very thin slices.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pasta Fagioli Soup

While there are a few more cold days before Spring arrives, you may want to try this delicious soup.    I sometimes use 2 links of chicken sausage in place of the ground beef.  It looks like a long list of ingredients, but it goes together quickly.  If you don't like all the herbs, omit those that you don't care for.  I hope you enjoy one of our favorite soups!

1 can Great Northern beans, drained
1 lb. ground beef, browned & drained
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans beef broth (I use chicken broth)
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon, pepper
1/4 teaspoon, marjoram
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, optional
1 teaspoon, dried basil
1 teaspoon, dried oregano
3 cups of cooked small pasta, like ditalini

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT pasta, and put in slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.  Add the cooked pasta before serving & stir to combine.  To garnish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

I am sharing this with:
Recipe of the the Week
Sunday Night Soup Night!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Croissant Breakfast Sandwich

I tasted a version of this sandwich over the weekend & wanted to re-create it.  I hope you enjoy it!

Per person:

1 croissant
sliced deli-style smoked turkey, or ham
1 fried egg  with the yolk broken while frying
1 slice of American cheese
1 slice of  cooked bacon

Slice the croissant in half, horizontally.  Layer all the ingredients on the bottom half of the croissant then top with the other half.  Slice in half & enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

We love stuffed peppers!  In the summer months we get an abundance of them from our friend's garden & my husband cleans & freezes the extras.  I've been using the 7.4 oz tub of cooked brown rice that is microwave ready in 90 seconds.   It's really yummy.  I hope you'll try this recipe.

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 can tomato soup
1 cup grated Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked rice 
4 large bell peppers, cut in half

Cook the peppers in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 5 minutes.  Remove the peppers with tongs & set aside.  While they're cooking, brown the beef, onion & garlic until the meat is no longer pink.  Drain grease.  Add chili powder, pepper, soup & rice.  Stir well & simmer for 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup of cheese to the meat mixture & stir until melted.  Spoon the mixture into the pepper halves.  Top with extra cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

If you wish to make these earlier in the day & refrigerate them, bake them for about 25 minutes or until heated through.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chicken 'n Dumplings

1 leftover rotisserie chicken, skin, bones & meat & extra pieces of chicken if needed
2 stalks of celery, cut up
3 whole carrots
1 onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup water
salt & pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a large dutch oven. Cover the pot & cook in a 300 degree oven for 5 hours, or a 200 degree oven for 8-10 hours.  Remove chicken from the pot & let cool.  Meanwhile, strain the broth & return to the dutch oven.  Cut up the chicken & the carrots & set aside.  Make a slurry in a covered jar or container with 1/2 cup flour & 1 1/2 cups water.  Bring the broth to a boil on the stovetop.  After it comes to a boil, slowly add the shaken flour & water, while stirring.  Bring to a boil again & then turn down to a simmer.  Add the chicken & carrots to the thickend broth.  Prepare dough for dumplings.  Drop the dumplings by spoonfuls onto the hot chicken.  Cook uncovered for 10 minutes; cover & cook 20 minutes longer.

Dumplings (the fluffy kind!)

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup milk

Put flour, baking powder & salt into a bowl. ( I like to add a sprinkle of dried parsley for color.)  Cut in shortening until the mixture looks like meal.  Stir in milk.

This is one of our favorite meals of all time!   If you need more chicken, just add a few extra pieces at the beginning.  I used to use a whole chicken, but I have found that the leftover rotisserie chicken just makes such a good, flavorful broth.
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