September 30, 2011

Pizza Crust

I've played around with different recipes for pizza crusts.  Every single time, my hopes are high.  I bite into my freshly baked pizza, only to taste gross, dry, disgusting crust.  Disappointment.  But I finally found one that tastes great!  It was awesome, and even though I had to wait for it to rise, it was totally worth it.  This recipe yields two large pizza crusts, so if you only want to make one pizza, just refrigerate or freeze the other half of the dough before you let it rise. Okay, let's make some pizza.

Image Source
Pizza Crust
(adapted from Jay's Signature Pizza Crust on

*Yields 2 large pizza crusts

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
3 1/3 cups flour
2 Tbsp melted butter (or olive oil)
Garlic powder to taste

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in water, and let the whole thing sit for about 10 minutes.  If you've never seen yeast dissolve before, sit and watch. It looks pretty neat, in my opinion.
2. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution.  Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the rest of the dough until it's smooth and elastic (or just leave it in your kitchen aid and let it do the work).  Divide the dough into two equally-sized balls.  If you're just making one pizza, now's the time to refrigerate or freeze one of the dough balls.  Cover the bowl with a cloth and let it rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
4. Punch down the dough and form it into a ball again.  Let it sit for a minute to relax before rolling or stretching it out.  Preheat your oven to 425 while you're waiting.  Lightly oil your pizza pan or cookie sheet, and fill it with the dough.  If you want a puffier crust, just fold the edge back over onto itself and press to keep it in place.  Brush the crust with melted butter or olive oil, and sprinkle the garlic salt over the whole thing.  Let it rise 15-20 minutes more.
5. Top it with your favorite toppings (see here for all kinds of topping ideas) and bake on a low rack in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese and crust are golden brown.
6. Buon appetito!

September 26, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries

My little boy is starting to eat solid foods--a major step in life.  Consequently, I've been checking out all kinds of books from the library about how to make homemade baby food.  One of the recipes was Sweet Potato Fries for Baby.  Babies can eat sweet potato fries?  Lucky babies.  It sounded tasty enough to me, so I decided to make some for the little man.  But they looked so delicious as they were cooking that I did some tweaking and made an adult version for myself.  Yum!  Who knew that the inspiration for a new recipe could come from a baby food book?  I promise though, these taste nothing like baby food.  Just try them and see.

Image Source
Sweet Potato Fries

2 sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  You'll be so happy that you did when it comes time to clean up.
2. Peel and slice sweet potatoes into 1/3 inch slices.  Cut each slice into 1/3 inch thick strips.  They're starting to look like fries already!
3. Combine olive oil and salt in a mixing bowl, and add sweet potato strips.  Toss to coat the strips completely.  Place the sweet potatoes onto the lined baking sheet, making sure that they form a single layer with no fries stacked up on top of each other.
4. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, stir, then bake for 15 minutes more (for a total of 30 minutes).  Dip in your favorite fry sauce and devour.

September 21, 2011

Raspberry Jam

I've always secretly wanted to know how to can things--jam, fruit, salsa, apple get the idea.  But I've never really known how and never really wanted to invest time or money into figuring it out.  This month I finally jumped in and canned something--raspberry jam.  Sunflower Market was having a sale on raspberries, so I stocked up, borrowed a canner from a lovely neighbor, and got to work.  I am happy to say that even though my first batch was a little runny, it was still delicious (and even more so on top of a brownie a la mode). This is an old time recipe I got from The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Preserves, which I borrowed from the library.  Don't you just love books?  Since the recipe is more old-fashioned, it doesn't call for pectin--but don't let that scare you.  This jam turned out to be delicious.  I am officially a canner!

Image Source
Raspberry Jam
(from The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Preserves by Linda Zeidrich)

*Yields about 2 pints or 5 half-pints

2 lbs raspberries
3 cups sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

1. In a preserving pan, mash the raspberries with a potato masher.  Add sugar and lemon juice.  I did a little bit of research, and I guess professional chefs will sometimes warm their sugar in the oven or microwave first to cut down on cooking time since warm things boil more quickly.  
2. Over medium heat, heat the mixture, stirring gently, until the sugar is dissolved.  Raise the heat to medium-high and boil the mixture, stirring frequently, until either a drop of jam mounds on a chilled dish or the jam "sheets" as it pours off of a chilled spoon.  See here for a more complete explanation.  The second time I made this jam I boiled it for about 12 minutes, and it was perfect.  Keep in mind though that altitude plays a big role, and I live at about 4300 feet above sea level.
3. Ladle the jam into pint or half-pint mason jars, add lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
4. Be proud of yourself for canning your own, homemade, old-fashioned raspberry jam, and forget about toast or peanutbutter sandwiches--just slather that jam on a brownie a la mode!

Image Source

September 20, 2011

Egg and Potato Skillet

We've had an overabundance of spinach in our household lately.  So in my zeal prevent any of it from spoiling before I used it, I spent a lot of time researching recipes that use spinach.  I found this potato skillet recipe on and used ideas from a lot of the comments.  The result was delicious and inexpensive.  I love when that happens.  Bon appetit!

Image Source
Egg and Potato Skillet
(adapted from Spinach and Potato Frittata on

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 regular russet potatoes, thinly sliced (or 6 small red potatoes)
1/4 cup onion, sliced
1 can mushrooms
1 cup spinach leaves, tightly packed and roughly chopped
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (I used the Italian style, but I'm sure regular would be delicious as well)
1 tsp garlic salt
pepper to taste
4 eggs (The original recipe calls for 6, but since I added extra ingredients, 4 were all that would fit in my skillet.  If you have a bigger skillet, by all means use more)
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Toss in the potatoes, onions, and mushrooms, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just tender.
2. Mix in spinach, diced tomatoes, garlic salt, and pepper, cooking 1-2 minutes more until spinach is wilted.
3. In a small bowl, mix eggs and milk.  Pour egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet, then sprinkle on the cheddar cheese.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook about 5-7 minutes more, or until eggs are no longer runny.  If you want your cheese to get a bit crispy, just remove the lid for the last few minutes.
4.  Butter up some toast and serve it up.

September 9, 2011

Honey Chicken

My mom had a bunch of family over for dinner the other day and made honey chicken.  It was incredible!  I asked for the recipe, and it turned out to be one of the simplest recipes yet.  Every time I've had this dish, it has been tender and flavorful.  Give it a try.

Image Source
Honey Chicken

2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Place chicken in slow cooker.
2. In a separate bowl, combine all other ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cook on low 4-5 hours.
3. Serve over rice and be amazed at the incredible flavor.  That was easy!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...