Friday, May 27, 2016

Homemade Pizza with Easy Crust...


Crust Ingredients:  (makes 2)
2 cups warm water
2 packages of yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons from jar)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon honey
5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Toppings:
sauce (I had bottled spaghetti sauce on hand, it was fine)
mozzarella cheese, grated
onion, sliced
green bell pepper, sliced
black olives, sliced
green olives, sliced
Italian sausage, removed from casings and browned
pepperoni
cherry tomatoes, halved


  • Add water, yeast, and sugar to a bowl.  Stir and let proof for about 5 minutes.
  • Add salt, honey, and about 2.5 cups of flour.  Mix by hand.
  • Add remaining flour a half cup at a time until it doesn't feel 'sticky'
  • Knead a few times
  • Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise at least 30 minutes, the longer the better
  • Preheat oven to 425° F
  • Pat dough out to fit pizza pan or cookie sheet
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Add sauce, cheese, and toppings, then bake at 475° for 15 minutes
My notes:  Any combination of toppings can be used.  These were what I had in the fridge today, and it turned out so delicious.  I forgot to pre-bake the crust, and it still turned out fine and cooked through.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Strawberry Fluff...



Ingredients:
  1 angel food cake (store bought or homemade)
  1 14 ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
     (may substitute one 3.4 ounce pkg of instant vanilla pudding 
      prepared as per pkg directions)
  1 cup of sour cream
10 ounces of frozen sweetened strawberries (thawed)
  1 8-ounce container of Cool Whip topping (thawed)

Directions:Tear angel food cake into large-ish bite-sized pieces and put into a deep bowl.  Mix sweetened condensed milk (or vanilla pudding) and sour cream.  Pour over torn cake.  Pour strawberries on top, and spread to cover.  Top with Cool Whip topping.  Refrigerate until served.  Can be made a day in advance.

My notes:  You may notice my helper and I got the steps out of order a little.  It doesn't really hurt anything.  This kind of recipe is not an exact science.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Chicken Spaghetti Especiál...


Ingredients:
12 ounces spaghetti, cooked al dente as per package directions and drained
4 Tablespoons butter
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons Chicken bouillon
4 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 15 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded chicken (left from Crockpot Chicken Tacos)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Cook spaghetti as directed on package, and drain.

Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter in non-stick skillet.  Saute onion and green pepper till softened.  Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chicken bouillon, and stir through.  Add flour and stir to coat vegetables and cook flour a bit.  Pour a cup of milk into pan, and stir to make a sauce.  When the sauce is smooth and thickened a bit, stir in the diced tomatoes.  Stir in sour cream, Gruyere cheese, and about 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese.  

Pour this over the cooked spaghetti, and stir to blend.  Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Pour the spaghetti into the casserole dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

My notes:  The combination of using the chicken taco meat, making homemade sauce rather than using condensed soup, the fire roasted tomatoes, and the Gruyere cheese (which was in the fridge and needed to be used up) really upped the game of my usual run-of-the-mill chicken spaghetti.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Virginia's Taco Soup...

Ingredients:
2 lbs of ground beef, browned
1 can of whole kernel corn (*drain)
2 cans of Pinto beans (*drain)
1 can of Kidney beans (*drain)
1 4 oz can of green chilies (*drain)
1 pkg of taco seasoning
1 pkg of dry Ranch dressing
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes  (or 2 15 oz cans)
2 cans of Rotel tomatoes
2 cups of water

Directions:
In a large pot, brown the ground beef.  Drain excess grease if necessary.

*Drain the cans of corn, pinto beans, kidney beans, and green chilis together in one strainer (I do not rinse) and add to the pot.

Add crushed tomatoes (with its liquid), Rotel tomatoes (with its liquid), and water to the pot.

Add the taco seasoning and the dry ranch seasoning to the pot, stir to mix, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer till ready to serve.

Serve with crackers or cornbread.

My notes:  This is the easiest recipe in my repertoire.  I almost always have everything in the pantry, and can throw it together in minutes, and as soon as it is warmed through it is ready to eat.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easy Pineapple Cake...


It truly is easy.  E.  Z.  You don't even need a mixer for the cake, just stir it together.  The texture after baking isn't light and cake-like, it is very dense and moist.  

You don't really need a mixer for the frosting either, but I used my hand mixer today.

Easy Pineapple Cake
Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs (beaten)
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice (do not drain)

Preheat oven to 350° F.  

Stir together the dry ingredients, then add the eggs, vanilla, and pineapple with its juice.  Stir by hand till mixed well.  Pour into a greased 9" x 13" pan.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, till golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely.

Frosting for Easy Pineapple Cake
Ingredients:
1 (8 ounce) brick of cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1 stick butter (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup pecans (chopped)

Stir (or mix) together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla.  Add the powdered sugar and stir (or mix) till well incorporated and smooth.  Stir in pecans.  Spread frosting evenly over cooled cake in the pan.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Beef Koftas and Yogurt Flatbread...


Ingredients:
1.5 pound ground beef
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tblsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Tajin Fruit Seasoning (ground chile & lime)
1 egg

Directions:
(If making Yogurt Flatbread, prepare dough and set it to rest while preparing Beef Koftas.)

Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add diced onion and minced garlic, and cook just till transparent.  Add cumin and Tajin, and stir to mix.  Place ground beef in bowl, add the onion, garlic, and seasonings, and 1 egg.  Mix well by hand.  Shape into sausage shapes.  Place non-stick skillet back over medium-high heat, and place the koftas in pan, turning to brown all sides.  When evenly browned, place koftas into an oven safe dish with cover, and put in 325° F oven to cook through while cooking flatbreads.

Serve with Yogurt Flatbread, mixed salad greens, diced tomato or halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, ripe olives, and yogurt dressing.


Yogurt Flatbread Ingredients (makes 6):
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp salt
1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add in yogurt, and mix with hand till well blended.  Knead in bowl for another five minutes.  If sticky, add a little more flour.  Wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for thirty minutes while preparing koftas.

Divide into six even portions.  On floured surface, and with a floured rolling pin, roll very thin.  Place non-stick pan over medium high heat and spray with olive oil cooking spray.  Place a dough round into hot pan, cook for 40 to 60 seconds till bubbled up and bottom is nicely browned, then turn and cook second side for a further 40 to 60 seconds.  Continue with remaining dough.

Yogurt Dressing Ingredients:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Tajin Fruit Seasoning
salt, pepper, and garlic to taste

My notes:  These were based on Lamb Koftas and Yoghurt Flatbread from Homemade Takeaway by Julie Goodwin and blogged about by Joolz.  I made some accidental and some necessary substitutions.  Even so, they turned out quite tasty, so though I still want to make them like Joolz did, I also didn't want to forget how I made them tonight as they were a big hit with the family.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting...

Original cake recipe found at The Novice Housewife.
I changed the pan type and cooking time and added frosting.



Ingredients:
● 3 cups  all-purpose flour
● 2 tsp baking soda
● 1/2 tsp salt

●● 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
●● 2 cups sugar
●● 2 large eggs
●● 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups bananas (mashed, I used 5 very ripe bananas)
●● 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
●● 2 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:
● Place flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk together.

●● In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugar until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.  Add bananas and mix until well blended.  Add half of the dry ingredients, mix well; the sour cream and vanilla, mix well; and then the rest of the dry ingredients, and mix well.  Pour into a greased 9” x 13” pan.  Bake in a 350° F oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in the pan.  When completely cool, spread cream cheese frosting over cake.


Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
½ cup butter (softened)
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract


Cream butter and cream cheese together well.  Add vanilla and powdered sugar and mix till smooth.

My notes:  I got distracted and left mine in the oven for an hour.  It got a bit overcooked on the bottom, but it tasted fine.