Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Deep Dish Homemade Pizza

Pizza, in our home, can be a bare cupboard meal since I almost always have a can of tomato paste, flour, and some shredded cheese in the house. But the great thing about pizza is you can make it as fancy and delicious as you'd like. My husband spent a lot of time taking our basic recipe and tinkering with it to get a delicious deep dish pizza, much like what we enjoy at the restaurant Old Chicago.

 


My pizza crust recipe:
3 cups flour 
3 tsp yeast
1 cup very warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

- Preheat oven to 200.
- In a large bowl combine 1c flour and the yeast. Add the water and stir.
- Add the oil, sugar, salt and remaining flour, blending it until it forms a ball. (You may need to add more water, oil or flour depending on the texture and humidity in the air. It should be smooth and velvety, not sticky or dry.)
- Turn it out on a lightly floured surface and knead 8 - 10 times, form it into a ball.  
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled, oven safe bowl. Flip the dough over so the bottom is now on top, with a light film of oil. Cover with cling wrap.
- Turn off the oven and place the dough inside. Allow it to rise about 1 hour.



Assembling the Pizza:

Pour vegetable oil into the bottom of a cast iron skillet so that it forms a shallow pool. (The oil essentially fries the bottom, giving it a crispiness while the inside of the dough will still be soft.)
Dump the raised dough into your hand, gently letting the dough stretch itself into a circle.
Plop the dough into the skillet and stretch so it can reaches the sides of the pan. 

Put the sauce* on the dough, leaving a ring of dough about 1" thick along the outside.

Add whatever seasonings you'd like: pineapple, peppericinos, sausage (it can be raw as long as the clumps aren't too big), etc.
Cover with shredded cheese.
Bake for 12 minutes in an oven preheated to 500 degrees. 


Several inches of awesome.

*You can use a store bought or homemade sauce. My recipe is below.

My Homemade Sauce: 

minced garlic
olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
oregano
basil
sugar
parsley
salt
pepper


- Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a heated pan.

- Add 2 Tbsp minced garlic and saute for ~1 minute.
- Add diced tomatoes, undrained, and the tomato paste. Fill the cans each with water and stir it in until the sauce is smooth. 
- Season to taste, approximately 2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp parsley.
- Keep on a low simmer until sauce is desired thickness.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Super Easy Chicken Pot Pie - egg and dairy free

This recipe I improvised one cold Fall day. 
I wanted something easy, something in one dish, and something that the whole family - including my son with dairy and egg allergies - could eat. 
We didn't have a lot of groceries, but my standard frozen chicken breasts, frozen veggies, and four meant I could make this happen.

It turned out well and all my kids liked it - good, warm comfort food on a cold autumn night.
I hope you like it, too! 



Filling
Ingredients
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp oil
2 12oz bags of frozen mixed veggies
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp onion powder

Directions:
Heat oil in a large pan.
Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes. Season well with salt and pepper and add to pan.
Once the chicken is cooked add the frozen veggies.
Sprinkle flour, parsley, and onion powder on top and then mix to coat the veggies and chicken.
As the veggies heat you may need to add water or more flour to adjust the gravy coating to your preference - more flour for a thicker gravy, more water for a thinner one.
Season with salt and pepper as needed, according to preference.

While this cooks preheat oven to 400 and make pie crust.

Pie Crust
Ingredients:
1 C + 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C vegetable oil
2-3 Tbsp cold water

Directions:
Mix flour, salt, and oil.
Add water until it forms a ball - it's better to add too much water than too little.
Roll out between two pieces of wax paper or cling wrap.

Makes one crust


Pour chicken and veggies in a greased deep dish pie pan. I used a 1.5 quart Corningware dish. Cover with the pie crust, making slits on the top to vent.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bloglovin

I'm getting spiffy...
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

You guys! I can't believe how many of you have never before had strawberry pretzel salad. It's like the best stuff ever. You can serve it as a side dish, dessert, or as breakfast.



Well, most decent people don't serve it as breakfast but I do.

Salty - sweet. Creamy - smooth - crunchy. So, so good.

Enough ado.  Here's the recipe:

For a 9x13 casserole dish, typically served as a side:
Ingredients:
2 1/2 C coarsely crushed pretzels
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 C butter, melted

8 oz cream cheese
1 large tub of thawed Cool Whip
1 C sugar

6oz strawberry Jello
20oz frozen strawberries
2 C  boiling water

Directions:
Mix together pretzels, sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13" pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Meanwhile cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Gently fold in Cool Whip, being careful to not over mix. Set aside.

In a separate bowl dissolve the Jello into the boiling water. Then add frozen strawberries, breaking them up as you stir. Allow to cool but do not let the Jello set.  This usually takes 5-10 minutes.

Once the pretzel crust has cooled cover it with the cream cheese mix. Be sure to smooth the cream cheese over to the edge of the pan, creating a seal over the pretzel crust. Pour the Jello and strawberry mix on top of the cream cheese mix. Spread it over the whole area.  Chill in the fridge until Jello is set.


For 2 9" pies to be served as dessert:
Ingredients:
5 C coarsely crushed pretzels
5 Tbsp sugar
1 stick of butter, melted

8 oz cream cheese
1 large tub of thawed Cool Whip
1 C sugar

6oz strawberry Jello
20oz frozen strawberries
2 C  boiling water

Directions:
Mix the pretzels, sugar, and melted butter together and divide in two. Press the pretzel mixture into the bottom and at least half way up the sides of two ungreased 9"pie pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Meanwhile cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Gently fold in Cool Whip, being careful to not over mix. Set aside.

In a separate bowl dissolve the Jello into the boiling water. Then add frozen strawberries, breaking them up as you stir. Allow to cool but do not let the Jello set.  This usually takes 5-10 minutes.

Once the pretzel crusts have cooled cover them with the cream cheese mix, using half the mix for each pie. Be sure to smooth the cream cheese over the edge of the pretzel crust, creating a seal. Pour the Jello and strawberry mix on top of the cream cheese mix. Spread it over the whole area.  Chill in the fridge until Jello is set.


Notes:
- You can finish the dish off with more Cool Whip and sliced strawberries if you wish. In the image above I reserved about 1 C from the tub for a topping instead of mixing it all in to the cream cheese.
- Be sure to spread the cream cheese mix all the way to the sides. Once I did not and there was Jello in the pretzel crust. It wasn't as crunchy or pretty as it's supposed to be.
- You can use fresh strawberries in the Jello if you'd like but you'll need to plan on giving it extra time to cool off. If the Jello is too hot it will melt the Cool Whip and cream cheese mix.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dairy and Egg Free Cake and Frosting


Because my son has severe egg and dairy allergies I have been on the look out for a frosted cake he can eat. Recently I learned that Duncan Hines had a yellow cake mix that was dairy-free.  I bought it with the firm resolve to try an egg substitute so he could eat it. 

For St. Patrick's Day I a little something and we loved it.  I made 12 cupcakes and a 9x9" cake.  They didn't rise like usual but they were super moist and delicious. Here's what we did:

Cake:
Duncan Hines yellow cake mix + 1 can of Diet Dr. Pepper (or your soda of choice).
Blend those two bad boys together and put them into a greased pan.
Bake according to the box.

When cool, frost and decorate as desired.

Frosting:
3/4 C Crisco
~2.5 C powdered sugar
~1/2 tsp salt
~1/2 tsp vanilla
~1.5 Tbsp water

Sorry about the approximations! I just eyeballed everything and added more ingredients until I had enough frosting and it was the taste and consistency that I wanted.



Friday, February 15, 2013

Mardi Gras King Cake

My recipe is modified from this one from All Recipes.

Ingredients
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 C white sugar
1 C warm milk

1/2 C butter, melted and mostly cooled
5 egg yolks

4 1/2 C all purpose flour + more for kneading
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

for the filling:
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 C powdered sugar

for the icing:
2 C powdered sugar
scant 1/4 C lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk

green, yellow, and purple sprinkles

Directions:
Melt the butter and set aside so it can cool a bit.  Preheat the oven to 175; when it reaches the temp turn off the oven so it is the right temperature for raising the dough.

Mix the first three ingredients together; set aside for about 10 minutes while yeast activates.

Blend butter and egg yolks in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest.

Combine yest and butter mixtures.  When well blended, add the flour mixture.  When the dough has gathered into a ball in the bowl, dump it onto a lightly floured surface to knead.  Add flour as needed; the dough should be soft but not sticky. 

Take a large, oven-proof bowl (I use a large, glass bowl - the same one I mix in so I have to quickly wash it out.) and lightly coat with canola oil.  Put the dough in the bowl and flip it over so the top of the dough is coated with oil.  Loosely cover with a damp towel (I used a wet paper towel) and place in a warm oven.  It should take 1-2 hours for the dough to double.  Meanwhile mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar.

When doubled, remove the dough from the bowl and roll out into a long, thin rectangle, approximately 6"x30".  (You could also divide the dough in half and make two smaller King Cakes.)  Spread the cream cheese filling down the center of the rectangle.  Fold the two sides over the filling, creating a thick rope.  Pinch the ends of the rope shut so the filling won't bake out. 

Place the rope on a lightly greased baking sheet, seam side down.  If you have a baby Jesus to bake into it, put it in now.  Position the dough so the hole in the center is large and won't fill in as the dough rises again.  Put a damp cloth on it again and place in a re-warmed oven so it can rise again.  This will take 30-60 minutes.

When the dough has raised again take out of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the icing. 

When the King Cake has cooled frost with the lemon-icing.  Add purple, green, and yellow sprinkles. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Best Apple Cider

My friend Joanna and I were talking about her post for the Advent series over at A Knotted Life.  She mentioned to me that she is in possession of the  best apple cider recipe, a beaut that was handed down from her grandmother. 

And she offered to share it with me and my readers.  So yay for us!

Ingredients:

2 quart cider
1 quart cranberry juice
1 C orange juice
1 C sugar
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

Also needed: cheesecloth and stock pot

Directions:

In large stockpot combine cider, juices, and sugar.
Place allspice, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in cheesecloth.  Wrap and tie into a bundle.
Place cheesecloth bundle in stockpot and bring the cider to a boil.
Simmer for approximately 45 minutes to let the spices do their magic.

Can be stored in fridge and enjoyed warm or cold.