Monday, May 9, 2011

Homemade Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Here's a way to make a healthy homemade pizza for your family.  Feel free to personalize it to your tastes.  This amount makes either one large (14-16") thicker crust or two very thin crusts.  Since I'm trying to watch my calories I normally split it into two crusts and roll it very thin.  This makes our ingredients go further too! :)

  • 1 (1/4 oz) pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 c warm water
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 c flour (can substitute whole wheat flour)
  • additional flour for kneading
  • small amount cornmeal
In a medium mixing bowl combine yeast and warm water.  Let sit until yeast foams, about 5 minutes.  Stir in oil & salt.  Add flour, 1/2 c at a time, mixing with a large spoon, until dough comes away from the side of the bowl and holds together.  Sprinkle a little bit of flour onto a large cutting board or pastry board.  Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead about 5 minutes, until it's smooth and springy, only adding enough flour to keep it from sticking to the board.  Form dough into a ball and place in a medium bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place.  Let rise until about doubled in size, about 2 hours or so.

To make the pizza, preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and flatten with your hand.  Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough outward from the center.  Form dough into a circle or rectangle (whichever shape your baking stone or pizza pan is).

Sprinkle baking stone, pizza pan, or baking sheet with a small amount of cornmeal.  Lay the crust on the stone or sheet.  Top as desired.  The BBQ chicken pizza shown in this picture was made with about 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce, some mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken, and red onions.  You could also use pizza sauce and any other toppings you like such as pepperoni, sausage, ham, peppers, etc.

Once the pizza is topped, let it rest about 10 minutes for a crispier crust.  Bake pizza for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melting & browning a bit.  If desired, sprinkle with sliced fresh basil.  (If adding fresh basil don't add until after the pizza comes out of the oven so the basil doesn't burn.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Russian Tea Cakes

These are messy, but delicious!
  • 1 c butter
  • 1/2 sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c finely chopped pecans
  • Additional powdered sugar
Cream butter in large mixing bowl.  Gradually add 1/2 c powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Stir in vanilla.  Combine flour, salt and pecans in another bowl.  Gradually add to creamed mixture, blending well.  Chill until firm.  Shape dough into 1" balls and place about 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Roll in additional powdered sugar while still warm.  Cool on wire racks and roll again in powdered sugar.  Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yum Yum Bars

This recipe came from my aunt Barb Mastley.  The name says it all... they're definitely yummy!
  • 1 German Chocolate cake mix (just the mix, not prepared according to the package)
  • 3/4 c butter
  • 1/3 c evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • bag of caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/3 c evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
Mix together cake mix, butter and 1/3 c evaporated milk.  Spread 1/2 on the bottom of a 9x13" cake pan.  Bake for 6 minutes at 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, melt together the caramels and 1/3 c evaporated milk.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the bars in the cake pan.  Spread caramel mixture over that.  Spread remaining cake mixture over that.  Bake 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let cool.  Cut & serve.  For variety sprinkle chopped peanuts over bars.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Green Bean Casserole

This is the classic casserole that many people make at holiday times.  Although many people make this with frozen or fresh cut green beans, my family prefers the french cut green beans for this dish.  In fact, this is about the only way I can get my husband to eat green beans.  This is the amount for a single recipe.  For a larger crowd I would double or triple the recipe.

  • 1 can French-cut green beans, drained
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can French Fried onions
Layer 1/2 of the green beans on the bottom of a 1-qt casserole dish.  Spread 1/2 of the cream of mushroom soup on top.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the onions on top.  Repeat layers. (If you were making a double batch you would put the whole can of beans on the bottom of a 2-qt casserole, and so on.)  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until casserole is bubbling and it looks done.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Flour-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

I discovered this recipe many years ago after my Grandpa learned that he was sensitive to gluten and I wanted to be able to make a cookie that he could eat at Christmas when the rest of us were pigging out on cookies.  They're very easy to make, and surprisingly enough, you don't really miss the flour.
  • 1 c creamy peanut butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 egg
Mix ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Roll into 24 balls and place on a cookie sheet.  Flatten with a fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.

Rainbow Cookies

These are a fun and colorful way to enjoy some color with your cookies.  Normally you would make these in rainbow colors, but you could also make the layers with just red and green for Christmas.
  • 1 (17 oz) roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • Food coloring
  • Sugar (optional)
Allow dough to soften at room temperature.  Divide dough into 4 equal parts.  To first portion of dough, add 2 or 3 drops of blue food coloring and mix well so you have blue dough.  To the second portion, add 2 or 3 drops of green food coloring and mix well so you have green dough.  To the third portion, add 2 or 3 drops of yellow food coloring and mix well so you have yellow dough.  To the fourth portion, add 2 or 3 drops of red food coloring so you have red dough.  On plastic wrap or waxed paper, shape the blue dough into an 8" long log.  Press dough slightly to flatten the bottom while keeping the top and sides rounded.  Cover the log carefully with the green dough, making sure you keep the semi-circular shape.  In the same manner, layer the yellow and red doughs, gently pressing the layers of dough together.  Wrap and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 1/8" slices.  (You're cutting the log into 36 slices, so I would suggest making score marks with the knife before cutting at the half-way mark, then in half again, then each section into thirds, then thirds again to get even slices.)  Place cookies about 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Sprinkle with sugar if desired.  Cool slightly on the cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool.  Makes 36 cookies.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chinese-Style Fried Rice

I'm not sure where this recipe originally came from, but this is the rice my Mom used to make quite a bit when I was younger.  It's a great dish to serve with Chow Mein, or pretty much any Asian-inspired meal.
  • 1 3/4 c water
  • 1 1/2 c Minute rice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 c chopped onion
  • 2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
Bring 1 1/4 c of the water to a boil in a saucepan.  Stir in rice.  Remove from heat; cover & let stand 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the egg in butter in a 10-12" skillet until set.  Add onion & the rice.  Cook & stir over medium heat until rice and onion are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Combine the remaining water & soy sauce and stir into the rice.  Makes about 3 cups or 4 servings.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Banana Bread

Anybody that knows my Dad knows how much he LOVES bananas, so much so that my aunt & uncle gave him a whole crate of bananas as a gag gift for my parents' wedding and then again for their 25th anniversary.  After my parents' 25th anniversary party we had to figure out what to do with all of those bananas so they didn't go to waste, so I ended up making a whole bunch of banana bread.  This is the recipe I used.
  • 1/2 c butter (can use shortening)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 8 Tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • nuts (optional)
Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and cold water.  Mix to combine.  In another bowl combine baking soda, baking powder, and flour.  Add mashed bananas to wet mixture and stir well.  Stir in dry ingredients a little at a time until incorporated.  If desired, add some chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans.  Lightly grease 2 loaf pans or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Divide batter evenly between the loaf pans and bake at 325 degrees for about an hour.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stina's Simple Salad

Stina's Simple Salad
My grandma Stina used to make this salad a lot in the Summer.  It also would be a good holiday salad since it's red and green.  It's a good one to make when you have fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden and you want a quick and easy side dish.
  • 2 large cucumbers (can substitute zucchini)
  • 2 medium-large tomatoes
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise (If you want it sweeter you can substitute Miracle Whip.)
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower nuts (optional)
Slice cucumbers into a small bowl.  Chop tomatoes and add to cucumbers.  Stir in sunflower nuts and mayonnaise.  Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to let the flavors blend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kari's Ham & Veggie Soup

My husband loves my soups and is always asking me to tell him how I made it so he can make it sometime either when he goes snowmobiling with the guys or on a night when I'm not home.  The problem is I usually just use whatever I have on-hand and kind of estimate, so I can tell him what I put in it, but not necessarily how much of each ingredient.  This is from the one time I actually measured.
  • 8 c hot water
  • 6 tsp chicken bouillon granules (You can substitute 6 chicken bouillon cubes.)
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled
  • 3 large carrots, peeled
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 2 small or 1 large onion
  • 1 lb ham
  • 1 c dry white beans
  • dried oregano
  • garlic powder
  • dried parsley
  • black pepper
In a Dutch Oven, dissolve bouillon granules in hot water.  Dice potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and ham and add to Dutch Oven.  Rinse & drain beans and add to Dutch Oven.  Sprinkle oregano around the perimeter of the pan twice.  Do the same with the garlic powder.  Sprinkle parsley and pepper around the perimeter of the pan once each.  Stir well and heat to boiling over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.