Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pizza Night!

Last night, we decided we wanted Pizza but didn't want to drive 30 minutes to get some. So, we made our own! Josh is rather traditional and stuck with pizza sauce, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese. I went with my favorite - white pizza - with riccotta cheese, fresh mozarella, spinach, garlic, and tomatoes.

Pizza Crust
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 package of dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour, cornmeal, oil, and salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons bread flour, as needed, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; shape into a ball. Lightly respray bowl; place dough in bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stuffed Peppers

There are so many variations on these, but this is an old family recipe.

4 green peppers, tops removed and seeded
1 pound of lean ground beef
1/2 cup of rice (I use brown)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 quarts tomato juice
Mix the ground beef, rice, oil, and salt/pepper in a bowl. Stuff 1/4 of the meat mixture into each pepper.

Place the peppers in a crock pot and cover with the tomato juice. Season with salt/pepper. Cook on the low setting for 8 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My Famous Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe was the very first one I created on my own. Gosh, I think that was probably back in college...over 10 years ago. I had stuffed mushrooms in a restaurant and knew I could recreate them. The ingredients are so simple, it's hard to imagine that they taste so gosh darn good! So good in fact, that a friend of mine offered to mow our lawn if I paid him in stuffed mushrooms! Plus, if you're feeling adventurous, I suppose you could experiment with the filling on your own!
1 8oz. package of white button mushrooms
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 shallot, finely minced
1/2 cup of melted butter, divided
3 tablespoons of shredded parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Carefully wash the mushrooms. Remove the stems. Place the mushroom caps in a baking dish. Dice the mushroom stems and place into a mixing bowl. Add the riccotta cheese, breadcrumbs, shallot, 1/4 cup of the melted butter, and salt/pepper to the bowl. Mix well.
Stuff the filling into the mushroom caps. Go ahead, pile it on high!
Take the remaining 1/4 cup of melted butter and pour over the top of the mushrooms. Sprinkle the parmigiano-reggiano cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Veggies in January

A friend of mine recommended these. Steamed carrots, green beans, and zucchini in a buttery, rosemary-infused sauce. Sounds decadent, but only 45 calories! Thanks, Erica for finding these! They've been such a great find for someone longing for summer veggies!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Traditional Hummus

Mmm...I love hummus. I love it on sandwiches. I love it on warm pita bread. I love it on veggies. I've made it several ways and now...this is the traditional way. It's so yummy on pita or this sunflower-wheat bread with cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves. Yum!!

In a food processor, process:
1 can of garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
1 large clove of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon of tahini
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt
olive oil (stream in until smooth)
It will take several minutes to get it to the consistency you want. Remember to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl to catch any large pieces.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Harvest Salad with Apple Cider Balsamic Vinaigrette

It's that time of year again! Salad time! So who says you have to eat the same old boring salads?
This one is full of some of my favorite things. For the dressing, I prefer to use a thick and syrup-y balsamic vinegar. If you use the cheap stuff, you'll have to reduce it in a saucepan until thick.

2 Cups of Field Greens lettuce mix
1/2 red pear, cut into small slices
1/4 cup of dried cherries
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon crumbled parmigiano-reggiano cheese
In a small bowl, whisk together:
2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar (I prefer Claudio 25-year Balsamic)
1 small squirt of Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

World's Best Banana Nut Bread...Seriously!

My friend Andi gave me this recipe and it's divine! It has cream cheese, so of course it's fantastic!

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (1 1/4 pounds unpeeled bananas, about 4 medium)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in bananas, pecans, and vanilla. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 8- x 4-inch loafpans.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and sides pull away from pan, shielding with aluminum foil last 15 minutes to prevent browning, if necessary. Cool bread in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool 30 minutes on wire racks before slicing.