Sunday, August 24, 2008

Grilled Pizza

The barefoot contessa (Ina Garten) is one of my favorite cooks. I have a few of her cookbooks although I don't make too many of her recipes because each one has 4392387 calories. One of her most classic calorie additions is butter. Her burgers even have a pat of butter in the middle of them. But there is no doubt that she makes very tasty food. On Wednesday we made one of her recipes for Emilie's birthday. Grilled Pizza. Surprisingly, no butter in the pizza. I made the dough ahead of time and everyone got to create their own masterpiece. Toppings to chose from were: spicy sausage, salami, pepperoni, banana peppers, garlic, fresh basil, mushrooms, green onions, fresh mozzarella, olives red pepper flakes and cheddar cheese.

For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature. Roll and stretch each ball into a rough 8-inch circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. (You will be able to fit 2 pizzas on each 18 by 13-inch baking sheet.)

Light your grill and wait until it's hot.

Place the pizzas directly onto the grill and cook on 1 side for 1 minute. Turn the pizzas over and brush with olive oil or garlic oil.

Top the pizzas with any toppings you wish, piling them high. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the lid on your grill and cook for 5 minutes more, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked. Slice and serve!

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs was a new recipe this week and was a definite keeper. Using fresh rosemary (thanks Emilie!) really made a difference.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)
5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes

In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken in the bowl, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup is a favorite recipe of mine, given to me by my good friend Emilie. I love how quick and easy it is. Topping with sour cream, cilantro and crunched chips is optional but adds some extra tastiness. My favorite hot sauce to use is Frank's original. If you pull out some of the soup before adding the cumin/hot sauce it's baby friendly as well!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
3 15-ounce cans black beans with juices
1/2 14 1/2-ounce can low-salt chicken broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and thyme; sauté until onion is golden, about 8 minutes. Add beans, reserved 1 cup bean liquid, broth, tomatoes with juices, cumin and hot pepper sauce. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and soup thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Working in 2 batches, purée 2 1/2 cups soup in blender until smooth. Mix purée back into soup in pot. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls.

Tex-Mex Chicken Club Wraps

1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 t crushed red pepper
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
1 T tomato paste

For Wraps:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T mayonnaise
4 slices bacon
4 slices pepper jack cheese
2 tomatoes, sliced
green onions
1 avocado

Bacon Cheeseburger Calzone

Bacon Cheeseburger Calzone was an easy weeknight meal. I usually get pizza dough from Trader Joes because they sell ready-made bags for about $1.

1 pound refrigerated pizza dough
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
3/4 pound ground beef
4 slices bacon
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 plum tomatoes, chopped

1. Preheat a grill to medium-high. Divide the pizza dough and form into 2 balls. Place in a large bowl greased with 1 tablespoon olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef over medium heat, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
3. In the same skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve the drippings in the skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes; add to the beef. Crumble the bacon into the beef mixture and stir in the cheese; season with salt.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 ball of dough into a 12-inch round and transfer to a large oiled baking sheet. Place half the beef mixture on one side of the round. Top with half the tomatoes. Fold over the dough to form a half moon; crimp the edge to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush the calzones with olive oil. Pierce a vent in the top of each calzone. Transfer the baking sheet to the grill, cover and bake until golden-brown, about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Endless Summer Minestrone

Endless Summer Minestrone- this was one from my Rachael Ray magazine and the only thing I changed was buying pre-made pesto instead of making it fresh. It was a great twist on the traditional recipe.
1/3 cup plus 2 T(EVOO)
1 cup orzo
2 small zucchini, finely chopped
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 pound green beans, cut into thirds
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup basil leaves
2/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 clove garlic, halved
2 teaspoons grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
Crusty bread, for passing around the table

1. In a deep skillet or soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and toast for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, tomatoes and green beans; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and boil for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the scallions and cook until the orzo is al dente, about 3 minutes.
2. While the soup is working, in a food processor, puree the basil, cheese, parsley, tarragon, pine nuts, garlic, lemon peel and lemon juice. Scrape down the sides and then, with the motor running, pour in the remaining 1/3 cup EVOO. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small bowl.
3. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and stir in some pesto. Serve with the bread.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Blueberry Zucchini Bread- Delicious things like this happen when I buy mass quantities of blueberries at Costco!

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pint fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 4 mini-loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans.
3. Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.


Paella is one of our favorite dishes to make. We fell in love with it while on our honeymoon in Spain and have tried to perfect it since. I half this recipe and don't add turmeric ('cause I don't have it) and only use hot italian sausage instead of adding in mild as well. Many people put mussels in their versions put I am not a fan. We just stick to shrimp, chicken and sausage.

5 (4 ounce) links hot Italian sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
5 (4 ounce) links mild Italian sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
15 raw chicken tenders or strips
2 pounds large shrimp - peeled and deveined
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 large stalk celery, with leaves, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes, juice reserved
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 1/2 cups chicken broth

1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Fry hot and mild Italian sausage pieces in the wok until brown on all sides. Remove sausage, and fry the chicken strips in the sausage drippings until browned. Remove chicken and saute onions, green pepper, celery, and garlic for 5 minutes, or until tender.
2. Stir in the uncooked rice, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, oregano and turmeric. Cook and stir for 1 minute, then mix in the reserved tomato juice and chicken broth. Add chicken pieces, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
3. Add sausage to the mixture, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes, then stir in the shrimp; cover and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through.

Lettuce Wrappers with Shrimp

Lettuce Wrappers with Shrimp is a great summer recipe because it's spicy but cool and light. I don't add water chestnuts because they make Mark gag and I didn't add hoisin sauce because I didn't have any.

1 T peanut oil
1 lb (large) shrimp, shelled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
2 medium (1/2 cup) celery stalks, finely chopped
1/4 cup(s) chopped water chestnuts
1 clove(s) garlic, minced
1 t finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 T hoisin sauce
1 T reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
8 large Boston lettuce leaves
roasted peanuts, chopped

1. In nonstick 12-inch skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes or just until opaque throughout, stirring constantly. With slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to medium bowl.
2. To same skillet, add celery, water chestnuts, garlic, and ginger, and cook 2 minutes, until celery is tender-crisp, stirring. Return shrimp to skillet; stir in hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar. Cook 1 minute or just until mixture is heated through. Remove skillet from heat.
3. Evenly divide shrimp mixture among lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with peanuts.

B.L.T. Salad with Basil Mayo Dressing

B.L.T. Salad with Basil Mayo Dressing and Provolone and Roasted Pepper Crisps
I don't think you can go wrong with a dressing that includes bacon drippings!

1/2 pound bacon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
4 slices French bread, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside, reserving 2 tablespoons of the drippings.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved bacon drippings, mayonnaise, vinegar and basil and let dressing stand, covered, at room temperature.
3. In a large skillet over medium heat, toss the bread pieces with the salt and pepper. Drizzle with the oil, continue tossing and cook over medium-low heat until golden brown.
4. In a large bowl mix together the romaine, tomatoes, bacon and croutons. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.

2 pitas, sliced in half to make 4 round pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
4 slices lemon
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 cup grated provolone

Heat broiler to high. Arrange the pitas on a baking sheet, cut-side up. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then sprinkle with the paprika, oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Place under broiler to crisp, about 2 minutes; set aside. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Add the peppers, lemon, garlic, and the remaining salt. Saute until the peppers are hot and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Spread the peppers evenly over the pita halves and sprinkle with the provolone. Return to broiler and cook until the provolone is melted, about 3 minutes. Cut into strips, if desired.

Spicy Chicken Spaghetti

Spicy Chicken Spaghetti was a new recipe this week. I originally wanted to try a spaghetti recipe to see James getting messy with it but this one ended up being too spicy to give him. Oops. I left out the olives for Mark but otherwise kept it the same. This is not for the faint of heart. We love spicy but this was making our eyes water!

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
10 chicken tenderloins
salt and pepper to taste
1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce with mushrooms
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (10 ounce) can whole black olives, drained
1/4 cup canned jalapeno pepper slices, undrained
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (16 ounce) package angel hair pasta
1 tablespoon butter

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook 6 minutes on each side, until juices run clear. Set aside, and keep warm.
2. In a large pot, mix spaghetti sauce, tomatoes with liquid, red bell pepper, corn, olives, and jalapenos. Bring to a boil, and season with garlic powder, onion powder, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken in the pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place pasta in the pot, and cook 2 to 4 minutes, until al dente. Drain, transfer to a bowl, and toss with remaining olive oil and butter. Spoon the sauce over the pasta to serve.

Mongollian Beef

1 t sesame seeds
1 T soy sauce
1 T cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound beef round steak, cut into thin strips

3/4 cup water
2 T soy sauce
2 1/2 t cornstarch
1/2 t white sugar
1 t red pepper flakes
2 T vegetable oil, divided
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, cut into 2 inch pieces

1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds for 1 to2 minutes, or until the seeds begin to turn golden brown; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and minced garlic. Stir in beef strips. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.
3. In a separate small bowl, mix together water, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, sugar, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes; set aside.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Cook and stir beef in hot oil for 1 minute; remove, and set aside. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the same pan. Saute carrots and white part of green onions for 2 minutes. Stir in green parts of the green onion, and saute for 1 minute. Stir in sesame seed mixture and beef. Cook and stir until sauce boils and thickens.

Mac n Cheese Suiza

Mac N Cheese Suiza was from my recent Rachael Ray magazine. It wasn't my all time favorite mac n cheese but it was a nice twist to a comfort food favorite.

1 lb cavatappi or other short pasta
1 lb tomatillos—husked, rinsed and halved (I used canned)
1 T (EVOO)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped
2 t honey
1 t cumin
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

Juice of 1 lime
3 T butter
3 T flour
2 cups milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
2 cups crushed tortilla chips, preferably flaxseed
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, then return to the pot.
2. Using a food processor, pulse the tomatillos until chopped. In a medium saucepan, heat the EVOO, over mediumhigh heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeños and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatillos, honey and cumin; season with salt. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk and vegetable broth; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Swiss and monterey jack cheeses.
4. Preheat a broiler. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta and toss. Spread half of the pasta in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and top with half of the tomatillo sauce; repeat the layers. Sprinkle the chips and pepper jack cheese on top. Broil until browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

Classic Apple Strudel

Friday night Darren and Kryssa came over to relive some good Europe times. In Austria we fell in love with classic apple strudel. We did our best to follow this recipe although we certainly did not stretch the dough out to 3 1/2' by 2 1/2'. We also watched the sound of music to check out all the places we had been in Salzburg.

For the dough:
3 cups bread flour
1 egg
1/4 cup soft, unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
Vegetable oil
Bread flour
For the Filling:
3/4 cups coarse white bread crumbs
1/2 cup, melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds, peeled, cored and thinly sliced Granny Smith
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup coarsely crushed nuts
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 ounces firm, unsalted butter

To make the dough: Place the flour, egg, soft butter and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mixing with the dough hook on low speed, add enough of the cold water to make a soft dough. Knead the dough in the electric mixer at medium speed until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and coat it with oil. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 1 hour.

For the filling: In a saute pan, over medium heat, saute the bread crumbs in 1/4 cup of the melted butter until they are golden brown. Reserve the sauteed bread crumbs and the remaining melted butter separately. Combine the sliced apples, granulated sugar, nuts, ground cinnamon and about half of the bread crumbs. Cut the firm butter into chunks and gently toss together with the apple mixture.

To Assemble: Pull and stretch the dough until it is a rectangle approximately 3 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet. Be very careful when you are pulling and stretching not to tear the dough. After it is pulled to the proper size, let the dough relax on the table for a few minutes. Place the apple filling next to the long edge of the dough closest to you. Form the filling into a thick log. Brush some of the reserved melted butter generously over the remainder of the dough. Sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs over the dough. Roll the strudel as you would a jelly roll, starting from the filling side. Place the strudel, seam side down, in a horseshoe shape on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the strudel with the last of the melted butter. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for about 35 minutes, Remove the pan from the oven and cool. Slice the the strudel into individual servings and serve with ice cream!

Marinated Steak with Sweet-Hot Slaw

1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 t. dried ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. + 2T tamari
2t cumin
1 bag red cabbage shredded
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 lb. steak
grill seasoning
1T lime juice

1. Dissolve 2T sugar in the vinegar over low heat. Stir in ginger and garlic. Trnasfer to a bowl and add 2T tamari and 1/2 t cumin. After 2min add cabbage and bell pepper
2. Preheat grill to high. Season the steak with grill seasoning. In a shallow dish, combine the remaining 1/4 c. tamari, 2T sugar, 1 1/2 t. cumin, the EVOO and lime juice. Add the steak, turn and let marinade for 10min.
3. Grill the steak, turning twice, about 12 min for medium rare. Let rest for 5min, then thinly slice against the grain and serve with the slaw.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Slider Caesar Salad

Just added Worcestershire sauce, pepper and salt to the ground beef and grilled them on skewers. Laid them over a bed of romaine with caesar dressing. Should have added croutons!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Grilled-Vegetable Succotash Salad

Grilled-Vegetable Succotash Salad- lots of chopping but very tasty!

6 ears corn
2 small zucchini, halved
1 eggplant, quartered lengthwise
1 red onion, cut into 1/2 rings
1 red bell pepper, halved
1 10oz package baby lima beans

1/4 cider vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 t sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 pepper
1/3 olive oil

Grill veggies over medium heat for 7-10min (turn halfway). Cook lima beans on stove according to package directions. Once cooked, cube everything and toss with vinaigrette.

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Blog

I love trying new recipes. So I thought it would be fun to have a place to list what worked, what didn't and what recipes are new favs. I'll try to take pictures along the way!


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