Friday, March 25, 2011

PIZZA! (like pizza hut)

Who doesn't love pizza!!!???!!!
Every Friday night our family does some variation of pizza and a movie... our kids LOVE it and look forward to it EVERY week!  But we were still trying to perfect our homemade crust... until NOW!  I got this recipe from a sweet sister who our family just adores, but i don't know where this recipe originally comes from.

The Crust

  • 1 1/3 C warm water
  • 1/4 C non-fat dry milk
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 4 C flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T yeast
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • additional vegetable oil for pans
  1. put yeast, sugar, salt and dry milk in a large (2qt) bowl.  ad water and stir to mix well.  Allow to sit for 2 minutes.
  2. add oil and stir again, add flour and stir until dough  forms and four is absorbed, turn out onto a flat surface and knead for 10 minutes. (I just put it all in my kitchen aid and kneaded for about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Then divide into three balls.  in three 9" cake pans, put 3 oz of oil (i used a bit less) and spread it evenly (I also didn't have 3 cake pans so i used on big rectangle pan).
  4. using a rolling pin, roll out dough to fit your pan(s).  place in pan(s).  spray dough with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 1-1 1/2 hours.
  5. cover with sauce, cheese, toppings, a little more cheese. (about 9 oz total cheese)
  6. pre-heat oven to 475 and bake about 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and outer crust is brown.
this makes a pan pizza crust like at pizza hut... mmmm, one of my favorites!

Make your sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed and minced
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • 1/2 t marjoram
  • 1/2 t dry basil
  • 1/2 t garlic salt
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1 T olive oil
  • dash of red pepper (optional)
  1. mix everything together... makes enough for two pizza recipes!
This made a PERFECT amount for our family of 5. and tasted DELICIOUS!

Like i said, i'm not sure where my friend got the crust recipe... and the sauce recipe I came up with after experimenting with lots of different kinds... enjoy and let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grilled Cheese and Creamy Tomato Soup

There's just something that says "COMFORT" in grilled cheese with tomato soup... now our family can NOT stand the tomato soup from a can... bleck. but this... now THIS is something else... delicious and scrumptious! Try it and let me know what you think! okay?

Ok, first off, the Soup recipe:

  • 2 t olive oil (or coconut oil :)
  • 3-4 onions quartered or sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled (or since i had it in the fridge, i used it, minced)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 freshly ground pepper
  • 2 (35 oz) cans of whole, peeled tomatoes, drained (or 4 lbs ripe tomatoes)
  • 8 flat-leaf parsley sprigs (extra for garnish)
  • 5 C vegetable broth
  • 1 C half and half
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  add the onions, garlic, salt, pepper; cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. transfer the onion mixture to a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker.  add the tomatoes and parsley sprigs.  pour the borth over the vegetables.  cover and cook until the flavors are blended, (4-5 hours on high or 8-10 on low) (OR in a sauce pan on your stove for about 30 minutes)
  3. discard parsley sprigs and pour the soup in batches into a blender or food processor and puree.  return the soup to the slow cooker or pot; which in the half and half.  cover and cook on low until heated through (about 30 minutes, or 5-10 on the stove) Garnish each serving with extra parsley sprigs.
This makes double what we need for our family (2 adults and 3 kids 7 and under) when we add our sandwiches... if it's your main entrĂ©e, it's enough for 6 servings :)

(because homemade bread makes THE BEST grilled cheese!)

  • 1 1/8 C warm water
  • 2 t active dry yeast
  • 2 T sugar
  • 3 C flour
  • 1 T vital wheat gluten
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T nonfat non-instant powdered milk
  • 1 1/2 T butter/margerine/oil  (I always use applesauce)
  • 1/4 C potato flakes (flakes... NOT pearls!)
  1. Add all the ingredients in the order listed into a mixer bowl (i use my kitchen aid)  with a dough hook and mix on low for 10-12 minutes. OR on the dough cycle in your bread machine.
  2. once dough is manageable with your hands, let rise 45 min-1 hour (My trick? i spray my bowl, add my dough back in, spray the top of my dough, cover with saran wrap, put in my oven... which while i was mixing i turned on to 350 for ONE minute... JUST ONE minute, then turned off... it makes it nice and warm in there! and shortens my rising time!) 
  3. punch down and put in your bread pan and rise until a bit over the top of your bread pan
  4. bake 375 for 20-25 (my oven goes more to the full 25 minutes)
  5. once bread is cooled, slice.  Butter one side of each slice and place on griddle or pan with a slice of cheese of your choice and cover with another slice... you know how to make grilled cheese, right?

This one is a FAVORITE in our house... and always gets everyone eating! like i said, when we pair it up with our sandwiches, the soup makes a TON! 

The cream of tomato soup comes from weight watchers slow good super slow cooker cookbook, and the bread recipe comes from (if you haven't already you should really check out crystal's site... a LOT of helpful cook from scratch tips and tutorials!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

rotisserie chicken... non-rotisserie style

I have been really craving those rotisserie chickens you can get at the grocery store... the hot n' ready ones that are warm and tender and just delectable! but they can be so expensive, and I read somewhere that you can put one in your crockpot and get the same taste and effect!

  • 1 rotisserie chicken (bought on sale makes it one tasty meal!... or two or three with leftovers:)
  • potatos (i like red the best:)

  1. wash, fork and wrap potatoes in foil, like baked potatoes. place in the bottom of your crockpot (i have an oval shaped one that fits it perfectly...)
  2. season your chicken with whatever you like, a suggestion was lowry's seasoned salt, but i found this rotisserie seasoning in one container at publix and LOVE it!
  3. place chicken on top of potatoes and set to high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-9 hours.
By putting the chicken on top of the potatoes you allow the chicken to get "crispy" for that rotisserie type of chicken, plus the potatoes get the chicken broth flavor.

I made mashed potatoes from the baked potatoes using some of the broth as well as some gravy too :) add some rolls and salad or another veggie and it's complete and enough so that you can use leftover meat for sandwiches the next day!

When it was done, the meat was cooked through and falling off the bone, but the skin wasn't as "crunchy" as i was hoping... it wasn't until i was trying to carve the bird when i couldn't figure out where all the white meat went when I realized that i cooked the bird upside down :)  don't make my mistake and i bet you'll get a better crunch! 

definitely a great meal worth repeating!!!! enjoy!