Sunday, April 15

Stuffed Crust Pizza & Cheese Filled Buttery Garlic Dippers

So last night I was in the mood for some homemade, legit stuffed crust pizza and bread sticks and didn't have all night to spend making something. In my mind, I wanted a soft, slightly chewy middle with a kind of crisp and flaky outside that would just melt into a wonder piece of deliciousness. Beginning with the fundamentals of Chef Rider’s recipe at All Recipes  I tweaked it to meet the pizza and bread sticks I had mentally envisioned.  This recipe makes approximately 1-12 inch stuffed pizza and 12 bread sticks or dippers. 

Pizza Crust
2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
5 cups flour
1/4 olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
Mixture of Mozzarella and Colby cheeses
1 jar of your favorite pasta or pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 5-10min. Stir in flour and salt. Once flour is worked in, add oil and knead mixture until smooth (about 2 min). Let rest for 5 minutes and cover with saran wrap. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Use 1/3 of the dough for the bread sticks and the rest for the pizza crust. Using your pizza pan for measurement, stretch dough onto a lightly oiled pan until 2 inches of dough drapes off the sides. Sprinkle cheese along the edge of the pizza pan and fold dough over the cheese sealing to ensure that the cheese does not leak. 
*We like our crust on the crisper side so will pre-bake it for about 7 min. After crust has pre-baked, spread sauce, toppings and cheese over middle and bake at 450 degrees F until cheese is a golden brown. 

Spreading sauce on my pre-baked crust

Complete Pizza

Bread sticks
Divide remaining dough into 12 pieces. To make cheese filled sticks, flatten each piece into a small rectangle (the length should measure a little short of what you want the final stick length to be. Place your cheese pieces down the middle of the dough and then fold the dough over lengthwise to seal. Pinch the ends and then place in a lightly oiled pan. Continue until all dough has been used.

Garlic Butter
3 Tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon or more of garlic powder

Melt butter and garlic together in the microwave, pour over breadsticks before baking and turn to coat. Bake in a preheated oven at 450F for 10-15min or until golden brown.

Bread sticks ready to bake


Tuesday, April 10

Sausage Tortellini Soup

This flavorful soup is simple, quick and so versatile. I recently began a freezer meal kick and this soup was on my top list. Last night I served it with J.P's Big Daddy Biscuits at All Recipes. An absolute marvelous paring. As I was out of shortening I substituted butter and cut back on the salt by 1/4 teaspoon (I had to justify all that butter somehow). But anyway, here is my recipe for the soup.

1 medium onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons of butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Approx 5 carrots, thinly sliced
1/2-1lb Italian sausage
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
2-quarts of chicken broth or make your own with chicken bullion and water
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup frozen spinach or a couple good handfuls of fresh
1- 19 oz package of frozen tortellini

Brown Italian sausage in your soup pot until cooked through, discard grease and transfer sausage into a bowl. In same pot, saute onion, butter, garlic powder and carrots until carrots are almost soft. Add sausage to the onion carrot mixture along with the chicken broth, rosemary, spinach, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a gentle boil and add tortellini, then reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked.

If going the freezer route, add everything except the spinach and tortellini and freeze the broth mixture. When ready to prepare the soup, allow broth to thaw in fridge and then heat until a gentle boil occurs on the stove. Continue to prepare as directed.

Monday, April 9

Make Ahead Mashed Red Potatoes

Nothing spells comfort food more strongly than homemade, creamy mashed potatoes. This dish is great to make the night before, throw it in a baking dish and then pop it in the oven the next day for a yummy compliment to your favorite meat.

Here is the recipe...

4lb red potatoes washed and scrubbed
1 stick of butter
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
approx 2/3 cup milk

Quarter potatoes and cook in boiling water until tender. Drain potatoes and transfer them back to the dish they were cooking in. Add the butter and mash until melted. Add remaining ingredients and continue mashing until potatoes are smooth. Transfer potato mixture to a covered oven safe baking dish and refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to bake, remove potato dish from the fridge 15 min before placing in the oven. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for approx 40-50min or until potatoes are heated through.

Friday, April 6

Lime Cilantro Tuna Patties

There is something deliciously intriguing about the simple tuna patty.When done right, a crisp outer opens the door for a flaky and flavorful middle all melding into one delightful morsel. After a good number of tuna experiments, my husband and I both agree that these are the best we have ever tasted. I think you'll enjoy them too.

Lime Cilantro Tuna Patties

2-6 oz cans of tuna
1 small plain bagel torn into small pieces
1/4 of a lime (including the zest and juice)
1 dash of salt
A couple turns of pepper
Approx 2 teaspoons barbecue sauce (I used KC masterpiece)
1 raw egg
1 Tablespoons oil  (I prefer canola or olive)
1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro
3 Tablespoons minced onion

Oil to cook patties in

Combine all ingredients and form 4 patties. Cover and place patties in the fridge to chill for 1 hour. Chilling helps prevent the patties from crumbling while cooking. If in a hurry you can cook the patties without chilling them first. Heat about 3 Tablespoons of oil in a cast iron skillet. Cook patties for about 3-4 min on each side. After removing them from the skillet place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. 

I love serving these patties with a lemon garlic pasta and crisp buttery corn.