Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

My sister Stephanie called me (or I called her) this past weekend and told me about a very delicious pizza that she had made and so of course I had to try it.  This Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is it!  I loved making this pizza.  The dough was so lovely to work with, it made me very happy (a good dough will do that too me).  I know I've said this before, but I love having a sister who loves food like I do and who sends great recipes my way!

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza


3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 cups water, room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons softened
1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil


2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated onion
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper


1 pound whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)

FOR THE DOUGH:  Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until incorporated.  Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally.  Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.  (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on.  When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)

Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula.  Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.

FOR THE SAUCE:  While dough rises, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted.  Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to a simmer.  Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes.  Off heat, stir in basil and oil, and then season with salt and pepper.

TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH:  Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees.  Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rectangle.  Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges.  Starting at the short end, roll dough into tight cylinder.  With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle.  Cut rectangle in half crosswise.  Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball.  Repeat with remaining half.  Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40-50 minutes.

Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each.  Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick.  Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan.  Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides.  If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again.  Repeat with remaining dough ball.

For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough.  Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce.  Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

*I need to buy 9-inch round pans that have higher sides.  My rolled out dough went above the rim of my pan, so I folded it down a bit to make the dough more level with the rim of the pan.

This recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen

Monday, August 29, 2011

Apple Slices with Peanut Butter and Granola

Since school started last week, I'm in the afterschool snack mode.  There is nothing incredibly special about this snack; it's just simple and really good.  These apple slices with peanut butter and granola have definitely earned a spot in the afterschool snack lineup.

Apple Slices with Peanut Butter and Granola

Apples, cored and sliced
Peanut butter (I use crunchy)

Core and slice apples.  Place some granola on a plate.  Spread apple slices with peanut butter and then press peanut butter layer against the granola so that the granola sticks to the peanut butter.

*My Aunt Traci gave me my first taste of one of these apple slices and I went right home and made plateful for me and my kids to share.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No Bake Cookies

These no bake cookies are a favorite afterschool snack for our family (even the neighbor boys love them)!

No Bake Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

Melt butter in saucepan.  Add sugar, milk, cocoa, and salt to melted butter.  Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Place oats in a large bowl and pour chocolate mixture over oats, stir to combine.  Drop spoonful’s (I use an ice cream scoop) on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate until cookies firm up a bit (I love them really cold).  Eat!  Keep any extra cookies refrigerated.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fish Tacos

I love these tacos!  They make me and my mouth happy!

Fish Tacos

Beer Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup beer

White Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 lime, juiced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon minced capers
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2-1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 quart oil for frying
1 pound cod fillets, cut into 2 to 3 ounce portions
Corn tortillas
Cabbage, finely shredded (I like to use red cabbage to add color)

To make beer batter:  In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.  Blend egg and beer, then quickly stir into the flour mixture (don't worry about a few lumps).

To make the white sauce:  In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise.  Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny.  Season with jalapeƱo, capers, oregano, cumin, dill, and cayenne.

Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees.

Dust fish pieces lightly with flour.  Dip into beer batter, and fry until crisp and golden brown.  Drain on paper towel and lightly salt. 

Heat corn tortillas on skillet (I like to butter one side of the tortilla and heat that side first) and keep warm. 

Place fried fish in tortilla, top with shredded cabbage and white sauce, eat and eat again and maybe again!

Adapted from Alllrecipes

Monday, August 15, 2011

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches

I made these key lime pie ice cream sandwiches for a family party.  When it was time to serve dessert, my cute little sister Savannah and I left some hidden in the freezer so that there would be more for us!

Lime Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons lime zest
1/2 cup lime juice

Whisk together or blend (using a hand blender) milk and sugar until sugar nearly dissolves.

Add cream, lime zest and juice.

Add mixture to your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.

Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container and freeze for several hours or, ideally, overnight.

To assemble:  Generously scoop the ice cream onto a graham cracker.  Gently push down with another cracker to make a sandwich.  Wrap each sandwich with saran wrap and freeze for several hours before serving.

Recipe from One Hungry Mama

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Graham Crackers

School is starting soon and my little ones love these graham crackers dunked in milk for an after school snack.

Graham Crackers

2 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
7 tablespoons butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup mild flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons milk, full-fat is best
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Make the Dough:  Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Pulse or mix on low to incorporate.  Add the butter and pulse on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract.  Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together.  It will be very soft and stick.  Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick.  Wrap it, the chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.  Meanwhile, prepare the topping, if using, by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and setting aside.

Roll out the crackers:  Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator.  Sift and even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.  The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary.  Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide.  Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers. (This makes a traditional graham crackers shape, I made mine smaller.)

Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping.  Chill until firm, about 30-45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer.  Repeat with the second batch of dough.  Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Decorate the crackers:  Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough (again, this is for the traditional cracker shape). Using a toothpick or skewer (I like to use the blunt end of a wooden skewer for more dramatic dots), prick the dough to form tow dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.

Bake for 15-25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch.  Let cool and eat with milk.

Recipe is from Smitten Kitchen 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Santa Fe Burger

The first time I made this burger was for a date night at home and it is one delicious cheeseburger.  Along with the cheeseburgers we had homemade onion rings, what can I say, we were trying to watch our calorie intake and this meal seemed to fit the bill!

Santa Fe Burger

1 large poblano chile
1 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean)
4 hamburger buns, spilt, buttered, and toasted
Blue corn tortilla chips

Queso Sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
8 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the chile on a rimmed baking sheet, rub with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven until the skin of the chile is blackened, about 15 minutes.  Remove the chile from the oven, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let the chile steam for 15 minutes.  Peel, stem, and seed the chile and then coarsely chop it.

To make the queso sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add the milk, increase the heat to high, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese until melted; season with salt and pepper.  Keep warm.

Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each).  Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb.  Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.  Cook the burgers on the grill.

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and top each with a few tablespoons of queso sauce, chips and some of the poblano.  Cover with the bun tops and serve immediately.

*The queso is great as a dipping sauce for extra tortilla chips.

Adapted slightly from Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes

Friday, August 5, 2011

Smore Krispie Treats

Smore Krispie Treats

1/2 cup butter
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
5 cups crisped rice cereal
9 sheets graham crackers (yields 2 cups crumbs)
1 cup milk chocolate chopped or chips

Butter 9" square pan

Crush graham crackers to create crumbs.  Keep some pieces larger so you'll have bits of graham crackers to bite in to.

In a large bowl combine the rice cereal, graham crackers, and chocolate chips.

In a large pan melt the butter on medium heat.  The butter will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.  Stir frequently and don't take your eyes off the pot because once it starts to brown, it can burn quickly.  Once the butter has browned, turn off heat and stir in marshmallows and salt.  Stir until marshmallows have melted.

Add the marshmallows to the cereal mixture and stir to combine.  Press firmly into prepared pan and set aside to cool.  Cut, serve, and enjoy.

Adapted from Not Without Salt

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 pint fresh blueberries-rinsed, drained and patted dry
2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray the top of a muffin pan with non-stick coating and line with paper liners.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, 1 1/4 cup sugar and salt until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Mix together 1 3/4 cup of the flour and baking powder.  Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated.  Combine the blueberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and fold into the batter.  Scoop batter into muffin cups and sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and tops spring back when lightly tapped.  Serve warm with butter.

*Don't forget to use paper muffin liners!  The first time I made these muffins, I just used Pam and it was hard to get them out of the tin.

Adapted from the Best of the Best Blueberry Muffins off of Allrecipes