Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

What?! That's right, no flour. Scott and Abel tried this at a friend's party recently and told me about it. It sounded too interesting and good not to try! She sent us the link to the recipe and we gave it a whirl.

This is a great gluten free recipe and definitely worth it for people who are looking for a pizza dough substitute or as a way to get more vegetables on your plate. We made a white pizza variety and a run o the mill pizza. My one piece of advice is to let it cool very well before slicing and the texture will be great.

So try the crust recipe above and top with whatever you like. For the white pizza I brushed olive oil over the pre-baked crust added diced garlic and onion, parmesan, sliced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers, and mozzarella.... yummmm. The other one had red sauce, bacon, tomato, and mozzarella. Abel was our taste tester and diplomatically declared a tie. :)



Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rustic Oatmeal Scones

Our Gram loves to bake and share special desserts with the ones she loves. I like to bake too, if I'm in the mood. It's bad. I've been baking waaaay too much lately. I'm dangerous when there are baked goods in the house. Add blueberries and I'm lethal. Just don't know when to say, "When!!"

I've made two batches of these in one week...

Mangia (in moderation)~

1 large egg
½ cup vanilla yogurt
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
Pinch of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
10 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, grated on a large grater or cut into small pieces
¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries
Drizzle of milk if dough is dry

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Combine the egg and yogurt in a liquid measuring cup. Stir together; set aside.
Whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter to the bowl and toss. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture so that the mixture is crumbly. Pour the egg and buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a fork just until incorporated (the mixture will be sticky). Fold in the berries just until incorporated (be particularly gentle if using fresh berries). Gently knead the dough just until it comes together into a sticky dough. Portion the dough out into 8-12 scones, depending on the size you prefer, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until golden -about 10-15 mins.

Adapated from Annie's Eats.

Here's my little helper, anxiously awaiting the fruits of our labor:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Warm Tortellini Salad with Goat Cheese and Roasted Garlic

Some friends came over and we made these two sides with some chicken, grilled tomatoes, and crusty bread. Great meal to end a busy week.

Goat cheese is so nice and mild and it melted into the warm pasta and garlic beautifully. Roasting garlic is just an easy way to make your house smell good before guests arrive. Most people would prefer something like apples and spice, for me it is garlic scent. Think we could market that? There are a few ways to roast garlic and if you're interested in an easy one then check this out.

I promise that the end to the roasted veggies is coming with warmer weather, but don't think we have asparagus up here yet. This is one vegetable that when roasted often converts non-asparagus eaters instantly.



Warm Tortellini Salad

5-6 cloves of roasted garlic chopped
1/2 lb goat cheese crumbled - this is how much I bought but I used less, just eyeball it
2 T chopped fresh chives
1 T chopped fresh flat parsley
salt and pepper
Cook 1 lb of mini-tortellini just before you are planning on eating so its still hot, mix with prepared ingredients above. Drizzle with olive oil on individual plates.

Roasted Asparagus

Preheat oven to 425
Wash and clean asparagus by cutting the tough end off (about 1.5 inch of the end)
Dry well and lay in single layer on cooking sheet
Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat, sprinkle with a generous amount of pepper, some salt, and garlic powder.
Cook for about 10 min, asparagus should be cooked through but not wilted.
I sprinkle a little parmesan over the top before serving.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spiced Chicken & Cous Cous

I'm always looking for new ways to prepare chicken. This recipe that I found online had spices I already had on-hand and it called for braising the chicken - a method I'm not accustomed to since it always necessitates more time. I had some extra time on my hands this particular day so I thought it would be the perfect dinner. The prep is so easy, and the oven does all of the hard work! Added perk: the house smelled of a far-away place as it bubbled away in the oven.
The result: spicy, smokey, flavorful, moist chicken, and a sauce you could pour over anything to make it taste great!

This would probably be great with any starch - Vi prefers couscous.

1.5 lb pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Salt and pepper

3 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cumin

4-5 tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips (i used one red and one orange)

1 onion,

1 can of diced tomatoes (will use fresh, seeded when in season)

1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and brown on both sides for a few minutes in olive oil. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, paprika, curry powder, cinnamon, salt, cumin and 3 tbsp olive oil. Whisk together until well combined. Once browned, remove the chicken to a plate. Toss in sliced peppers and onions and cook for a few minutes until they start to become soft. Add chicken back to pan and brush the tops of the chicken pieces and veggies with the spice-olive oil mixture (use all of it). Add tomatoes. Move chicken and veggies to a baking dish (if your pan is not oven proof) - pour the chicken broth around the edges. Place in preheated oven to bake for around 1 hour. After about 30 minutes of baking, remove from the oven, flip the chicken pieces over, toss the vegetables, and spoon some of the cooking juices from the bottom of the dish over the top of the chicken. Check the chicken for doneness - either remove the chicken if it's cooked through or return the dish to the oven to bake for 10-30 minutes longer.

My chicken finished within 30 mins because the thighs were small. I removed the chicken but cooked the veg for another 30 mins or so. The longer you cook the veggies and sauce the better. I actually put it back on the stove top after baking in the oven and simmered the sauce and veggies for about 20 mins more to reduce the sauce just because I had some more time to kill.

Vi wanted me to take a pic of her plate too: ;)



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Steak with Green Beans, Mushrooms, Onions, and...

Steak has always intimidated me. My dad, and everyone else in my family for that matter, grills it perfectly. When I started cooking a bit I always avoided steak because it always came out dry. Then we figured it out. We were cooking it too long. Imagine.
Also, we were buying the cheaper cuts and I wasn't marinating it, or preparing it in any way. Chewy steak, blah. Now I think we have it down, at least better. And since we come from a family of beef eaters it makes sense to know what your doing.
So thanks to Scott's lovely Aunt Sue who sends us a box full of great steaks for Christmas every year. The best present. These were the filet mignon. (Luckily, they were perfectly done, no second chances!)
As I was cutting the onion for the veggies I realized I had way too much so another side dish was born....

The only thing that could possibly make filet mignon better? Garlic, onion, jalapeno, and cheese fries, of course!
So sub in whichever cut of meat you would like, season it, and find the correct cooking times and mangia!

Veg Fry
Handful of blanched green beans per person
Med onion sliced
1 can of stir fry mushrooms
splash of olive oil
salt and pepper
pinch of garlic powder
Saute onion for a couple of min and add blanched green beans and mushrooms, just cook until heated through and season. I made them in the pan that we cooked the steak with for a little extra flavor

Cheese Fries
Bake the desired amount of fries according to the package
Dice 2 cloves of garlic very fine
Dice 1 small onion very fine
Dice 1/2 pickled or fresh jalapeno
mixture of mozz and cheddar cheeses shredded

Layer toppings through already baked fries and put in oven with broil setting for a few min just as cheese is melting and you can smell the garlic.

Lazy Saturday Lunch

Ah, the breakfast sandwich. Nice to see you. One of those perfect meals with all that energy giving stuff packed in an english muffin. Sometimes I pay for a restaurant-made breakfast sandwich because they are so wonderfully delicious that I can't pass them up. Even if I know I could make it at home for much less. Just something about them. But once in a while I'll remember to grab all the stuff at one time at the store and then its breakfast sandwiches all week!
To make it a lunch sandwich I just add lettuce and tomato, nice color too. And don't ever forget the Frank's!

Toasted english muffin
1 fried egg per sandwich
slice of real cheese
hot sauce
meat if you like

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Meatball Soup

My mom has a few posts in the pipeline, one of which is her homemade chicken noodle soup. I'll never pretend I make soup as well as my mom, grandmother or grandfather. We do try, however, to make soup frequently. Rich's clam chowder is soooo good. I tried to convice him into posting it. It obviously hasn't worked yet. ;( This meatball soup recipe is one that we ate variations of throughout our childhood and I have to say it was my favorite (next to the chicken noodle).

I've only made homemade broth a few times and hope to make more in the future (Tracey makes amazing turkey broth each year after Thanksgiving...Trac - I think you should schedule a post for this in 2010!). I've found the organic, low-sodium brands to be flavorful and a viable substitute.


Meatballs: Prepare your favorite meatball recipe (or purchase ground, sweet sausage) and roll into tiny meatballs. Saute in olive oil in a single layer until browned.

While meatballs are browning:
In a soup pot: Saute 1 med onion, three stalks celery, 3 carrots - chopped in drizzle of olive oil until soft.
Add 6 cups broth, bring to a low boil and lower to a simmer. Add favorite veggies (I had fresh green beans, diced tomatoes, fresh spinach). Add cooked meatballs and simmer until veggies are desired doneness. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add some of your favorite pasta (I cook the pasta separately so that the pasta doesn't become soggy in the soup - trick my mom taught me). Vi likes the mini-bow ties because they look like Hello Kitty's hair accessory. ;)

Chicken Chili

I know the weather has topped out at 83 degrees this week - not traditionally "chili weather". I made this a few weeks ago, but I really wanted to share the recipe (even if you file it away for fall ;).

I crave chili. My favorite fast food lunch is Wendy's chili. I eat chili often...and this recipe for me is pretty near perfect. I used a rotisserie chicken to save time, and Vi and Rich made the corn muffins. ;)