Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Serving Up {Pizza}: Deep Dish Pizza

I like the idea of having a "pizza night" every week - yummy homemade dough, toppings for everyone to create their own masterpiece and knowing that everyone leaves the family table satisfied and happy.  In search of that "perfect" homemade pizza I have tried EVERY dough recipe that I come across but most leave me still searching.  Recently however, I discovered that it wasn't the dough recipe that was keeping my weekly pizza night from becoming a reality - it was my method!  And now that I have corrected that, we are proudly eating pizza ALL THE TIME!!!   I am quickly becoming the awesome mom I have always known I could be if I only served pizza more.

My pizza epiphany came when I was browsing pinterest and saw a pin for "pizza hut deep dish pizza".  Due to the fact that I was still in the "try every recipe I come across" I printed off the recipe and made the knockoff.  The verdict from my family was that the recipe had the "deep dish" method down, but even my kids complained that they thought the dough itself was bland.  That is probably because our favorite homemade dough is very flavorful and delicious - my reason for not making it more frequently is that I truly don't love rolling it out.  Why this method seems "easier" to me, I'm not sure.  A couple of days later I tried making my dough recipe but cooking it in the deep dish method and my family gave me a "keep the recipe" rating, which is the equivalent of 5 stars!

The recipe for the sauce is from the pizza hut recipe - I had my own homemade sauce recipe, but I just can't get over the five ingredient version so the sauce recipe listed has become my "go to" sauce as we become regular pizza makers at our house.

(printable version)

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 packet yeast
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. oil
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. dough enhancer (optional)
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour

Turn oven to 150 degrees.  Once temperature is reached, turn off the oven.

Prepare three 9" cake pans by oiling each with 2 Tbs. oil (I use 1 Tbs. melted butter and 1 Tbs. olive oil).  Set aside.

Combine water, yeast and honey in a large mixing bowl and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes, until the yeast foams.   Add oil, garlic, basil, oregano, salt, dough enhancer and 2 cups flour.  Mix well and add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Continue to mix on "knead" setting for an additional 5 minutes.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and divide into three equal balls.  Stretch dough or use a rolling pin to create a 9-inch circle from each dough ball.  Place dough into oiled cake pan.  Cover the cake pan with a large plate and place it in the warmed oven (make sure you have turned the oven OFF!).  Allow to rise 30-60 minutes.

While the dough rises, prepare the sauce:
1 can (8-ounce) tomato sauce
1 tsp. dry oregano
1/2 tsp. dry basil
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
Combine in a bowl and allow to sit for an hour.

Once dough has raised, remove from oven.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
For each pizza, spread 1/3 of the sauce, sprinkle with freshly shredded mozzerella cheese, add any additional toppings, end with additional shredded mozzerella.
Bake at 475 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is completely melted and bubbly.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Serving Up {Salad}: Sarah's Salad

In Salt Lake City there is a historic building on Temple Square called The Lion House.  It was built originally as a home but is now used as a reception center and is a very popular one at that.  In fact, here's a little trivia, my husband and I had our wedding there!  The food at the Lion House is very well known and there have been multiple recipe books published over the years.  My favorite Lion House recipe book is the original which is no longer in print, and which can fetch up to $100 for an original "new" copy.  I grew up using my mom's copy and when my grandmother passed away, her copy was one of the few things that I requested.

While I haven't made my way through the entire cookbook, this salad is one recipe that I have made many times.  I think that the recipe is a bit dated by the mere fact that it calls for iceberg lettuce.  Get over it though.  It really is a yummy salad and because it is written to be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight, it is a great recipe when you want to prepare ahead of time.

(recipe from The Lion House Cookbook)

1 head of iceberg lettuce
5 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
1/2 pkg. (10-ounce) frozen petite peas, thawed by running under hot water
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2/3 cups diced green onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods)
1/4 cup salad dressing (like Miracle Whip)

Wash and drain lettuce; allow to dry thoroughly.  Tear into bite sized pieces and place in salad bowl.  Sprinkle lettuce with sugar, salt and pepper.   Layer the peas, cheese, and onion.  Combine the mayo and miracle whip and place that as the top layer.  DO NOT TOSS!  Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve (preferably overnight).
Prior to serving toss the salad gently and top with bacon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Serving Up {Dessert}: Chocolate Mint Frosty

Our family received a Blendtec blender as a delayed Christmas gift and we have spent the past six weeks LOVING it.  We have plowed through the recipe booklet, along with making our own creations by throwing all kinds of fruit and vegetables into the blender - add ice and it's magically a smoothie.  My boys ask for smoothies two and three times a day and I generally oblige :)  So much fun!

This recipe is not part of the blendtec recipe booklet, but is a recipe we have had for a few years.  It is a fun treat, made all the better now that I have the "best blender on the market" to make it!  This would really make a delicious Valentine's Treat for your favorite person should you need something super easy and quick to throw together.  If nothing else, hit the stores tomorrow and stock up on the mint patties that are in Valentine's wrapping that will be marked down 50% and you will be set to make this refreshing mint treat any time the craving hits!

(recipe from Kraft Food & Family, Summer 2006)
printable version

2 cups milk (I use whole milk but you can use any)
1 cup cool whip topping, frozen
1 pkg (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding
4 small chocolate covered mint patties

Pour milk into blender base and add enough ice to measure 3 cups.  Add frozen cool whip topping, pudding and mint patties.  Blend on high speed until smooth. Serve immediately.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Serving Up {Cake}: Triple Layer Brownie Fudge Cake

Valentine's Day is just about here, and I'm just going to come out and say it....Chocolate says LOVE to a lot of people!  My husband is one of those that chocolate speaks to.  If you also have someone who's love language is chocolate, might I suggest this recipe for a very rich, very chocolate Valentine's Day treat.  Serve this with a couple of chocolate dipped strawberries as a garnish and I know that I would be swooning!

This recipe reminds me of something that would be served at a really nice restaurant.  One of those desserts that you order with two forks, because as good as it is, it's just too much for one person.  In fact, this recipe is just rich enough, and just chocolate enough, that my kids think of this cake as "mom and dad's chocolate cake".  And I am just okay with that :)

(recipe from Taste of Home)

1 1/2 cup butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
3/ tsp. salt

16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
milk chocolate bar, shaved (optional garnish)
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate; stir until smooth. Stir in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt.
Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting, melt chocolate in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Gradually stir in cream and sugar until well blended. Heat to a gentle boil; boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; transfer to a large bowl. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency, stirring a few times.
Remove from refrigerator and beat until soft peaks form. Immediately spread between layers and over the top and sides of cake.
Garnish with shaved chocolate if desired.
Store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Serving Up {Bread}: Easy Pretzel Bites

I have had a recipe for Pretzel Bites, made from scratch, in my "to try" file for a long time.  I still do.  I make bread of some sort each week, so I'm not sure what my hang up is, other than I sometimes want to make something and don't want to wait for yeast to activate and dough to rise, blah, blah, blah.

This recipe does still require some forethought, but because you begin with frozen roll dough (Rhodes is the only one in my opinion), it just seems easier.  My kids LOVE these pretzel bites as an after school snack.  Considering I have usually popped 4 or 5 into my mouth by the time they walk through the door, I guess I don't mind them myself :)


Rhodes Frozen Rolls, thawed
Butter, melted
Cinnamon Sugar -or- Parmesan Cheese & Garlic salt

Thaw frozen roll balls.  If using regular rolls, cut each roll in half.  If using Texas rolls, cut each roll into 3 or 4 pieces.  Place cut dough on a greased baking sheet and allow dough to double in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil.
Place a towel flat on the counter next to the stove with a paper towel on top of it.

Drop 8-10 balls of dough at a time into the boiling water.  Allow the dough to "cook" in the water for about 45 seconds.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on the prepared towel to drain and cool slightly.  Repeat this step with the remaining dough balls.

Carefully remove the dough from the towel and place on a greased baking pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush with melted butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture -OR- parmesan cheese/garlic salt mixture.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Serving Up {Chicken}: Outback's Alice Springs Chicken

I will admit that I have never ordered Alice Springs Chicken at the Outback Steakhouse - it is a steakhouse after all.  So with the caveat that I have no idea how close this recipe is to the restaurants version, I will nonetheless declare this recipe to be some delicious chicken.  Hello!  Bacon, mushrooms, cheese, honey dijon sauce - I almost forgot that it was a chicken dish under all that luscious yumminess!  Prepare to lick your plate on this one :)

(recipe from Karen S.)
printable version

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Bacon, cooked to crispy
Monterey jack cheese, shredded
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Fresh mushrooms, sliced
Salt, pepper, dash of paprika

Honey Mustard Marinade:
½ C. Dijon mustard
½ C. honey
1 ½ tsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. lemon juice

Combine the ingredients for the Honey Mustard Marinade.  Reserve a small amount of marinade and marinate the chicken in the remaining marinade for a few hours or overnight, if desired. Grill or broil chicken. Brush with the reserved marinade (not the marinade that had raw chicken in it). Season with salt and pepper and a dash of paprika.
Meanwhile sauté the mushrooms in butter until tender.
Cook bacon.
To prepare chicken, place cooked chicken breasts in a baking dish.  Stack two pieces of cooked bacon on each chicken breast. Spoon the sautéed mushrooms on top of the bacon. Place a generous amount of both kinds of cheeses on top. Bake in the oven to melt cheese.
Serve with honey mustard sauce on the side.

Honey Mustard Sauce:
½ C. honey
2 C. mayonnaise
1/3 C. Dijon mustard
Mix ingredients together in a small saucepan and heat (on low) until warm.
Serve over the cooked chicken.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Serving Up {Breakfast}: Five Grain Cereal

This is a recipe from the Blendtec recipe book.  I love hot cereal so this is one of the first recipes I tried and I make it at least a couple of times a week.  I love that I am grinding whole grains right in front of myself and then cooking them - no wondering what preservatives or additives are going into my morning breakfast cereal or that of my kids.
(recipe from Blendtec Fresh Blends)
printable version

1 cup oat groats
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup cornmeal

Add all the ingredients to the blender jar, in the order listed and secure the lid.  Press "speed up" to speed 4, running for 10-12 seconds.  Transfer the freshly cut grains to a resealable container.

To prepare hot cereal, add 1 cup water per 1/3 cup five grain cereal to a saucepan and whisk together.  Bring the cereal to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3-5minutes until thickened.
Top with a sprinkle of brown sugar or honey.  Serve.