Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

There's something about making your own pizza dough that just makes you feel domestic.  But, the beauty of making pizza dough in the bread machine, is that you can start it, go for a run, clean-up, prepare all your ingredients, and all that's left to do is bake it!  I used the recipe that came with my bread machine.  Ever since I had a barbecue pizza at a local pizza place I have craved it- and this recipe was satisfying!  Tim was a little hesitant.. "Barbecue sauce, on a pizza?!"  But now it will become one of our favorites.  I hope you enjoy!
  • Pizza dough (store bought or homemade)
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
    • 1 cup room-temperature water
    • 2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Gouda cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Assemble pizza dough ingredients in bread machine and use dough setting (Mine takes about 1 1/2 hours to make).  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Meanwhile, grill chicken until cooked through, set aside for about 5 minutes, then slice .  Remove dough and shape onto pizza pan.  Top with barbecue sauce, then layer chicken, cheeses, and onions.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Sprinkle with cilantro.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Italian Baked Chicken and Orzo

What's not to love about this dish?  Chicken, pasta, tomatoes, cheese all covered with a crispy breadcrumb crust.  It's delicious.  I absolutely love having fresh herbs from my patio garden, too.  This recipe was originally from Giada on Food Network but I found it on Lauren's Kitchen blog.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 cup orzo pasta (or any small pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Simple Sausage and Okra Gumbo

My husband really enjoys gumbo, which I have to admit, I have never made from scratch.  When I saw this recipe on food gawker, I knew I needed to try it.  The vegetable to meat ratio was a little too high for my husband's taste, but I really enjoyed a "greener" gumbo.  It's a winner in my book.  But, I may add a little more meat and rice next time.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 3-4 strips bacon
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1-15 oz. can chopped tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 bag frozen okra, thawed
  • 1 package fully cooked turkey sausage (14 oz) cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (I just used a seafood seasoning I had in my pantry)
  • 1 tsp Tony Chachere's seasoning (I used Cajun spice I had in my pantry)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
Cook rice according to package directions.  In a large dutch oven, heat the bacon over medium heat and render fat.  Remove the bacon and set aside.  Add onion, pepper, and celery and cook 7-10 minutes or until onions are slightly translucent.  Add tomatoes, okra, seasonings and chicken broth.  Add the bacon back to the pot (whole slices).  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Add sausage and rice.  Simmer 10-15 minutes.  Remove the bacon and bay leaves. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sour Cream Sauce

It's no surprise that I LOVE Mexican food.  It's a love-hate relationship as I usually devour an entire meal's worth of chips and queso before even ordering my entree.  But, the beauty of cooking of Mexican food at home is A) if you don't buy tortilla chips and queso you can't eat an entire meal's worth and B) you can make simple substitutes that could save you a few calories.  This dish looked delicious and simple when I saw it Let's Dish Recipes  and it is so easy to put together if you buy a rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store.  (money saver!) I used corn tortillas instead of flour, used reduced-fat sour cream, and used less of it.  Yum!  I hope you enjoy!

8 soft taco size flour tortillas 
2 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese, divided
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
Chopped, fresh cilantro for garnish 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.  Mix the chicken together with 1 cup of the cheese. Distribute the chicken and cheese mixture evenly among the tortillas.  Roll up and place seam side down in the prepared pan. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, whisking until smooth. Continue cooking over medium heat until sauce is thick and bubbly. Stir in the sour cream and diced green chiles. Pour the sauce in an even layer over the enchiladas.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with cilantro just before serving.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs 2012

I can't take full credit for this year's beautiful natural-dyed Easter eggs.  After last year's success with natural dyed Easter eggs using just onion skins, my friend Natalie wanted to try other color combinations.  For all the colors, choose your favorite plants from your garden, and press onto raw eggs that have been brought room temperature.  Secure them with panty hose that has been cut up, and then tie with a twisty tie.  Add eggs carefully to different pots, then bring to a boil, boiling for approximately 15 minutes.  You may need to add water to each mixture so that the eggs are fully submerged in the liquid. Here are the different color options:
Paprika: Simmer 2 tbsp paprika into 1 cup boiling water.  Add 2 tsp white vinegar.
Coffee: Add 1 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup strong coffee.
Yellow onion skins: Simmer the skins of about 6 yellow onions for 15 minutes, then add 2 tbsp vinegar.
Turmeric: Add 2 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup boiling water.  Add 2 tsp white vinegar
Blueberries: 1 cup frozen blueberries to 1 cup water, bring to room temperature.


Whole Wheat Buttermilk Waffles

This recipe looked particularly delicious, when I spotted it on Food Gawker, so I thought I'd give it a try for breakfast this morning.  I added fresh blueberries to mine for some added flavor.  Apparently it's from a weight watchers magazine, so it has to be good for you, right?  Maybe not after adding real maple syrup.  Anyhow, this is another tasty waffle recipe to add to my collection.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fat-free egg substitute (I just used 2 eggs)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat waffle iron.  Mix whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg substitute, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla until smooth.  Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until combined.  Mixture will be slightly lumpy.  Spray hot waffle iron with cooking spray.  Ladle about 1/2 cup batter onto waffle iron (depending on the size of your waffle iron) and cook until golden brown about 4 1/2 minutes.  Place leftover waffles in a zip-lock freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and freeze up to one month.

Spinach, Mushroom, and Cheese Stuffed Shells

I had some leftover jumbo shells from my shrimp-stuffed shell recipe a few weeks ago, so I came up with this recipe with things I had in the fridge.  It was delicious, although I have to admit that Tim asked me where the meat was.  I think it's a man thing to always eat meat at dinner.  I used the fresh oregano, basil, and parsley from my garden, which made a huge difference in taste.  I hope you enjoy!

  • About 12 jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 1 box (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed, drained and excess water squeezed out
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh herbs (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small skillet, heat about 1 tbsp olive oil.  Add garlic and saute about 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, cook jumbo pasta shells according to package directions, cooking until al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water until cool enough to work with.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, spinach, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, herbs, egg, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in mushroom and garlic mixture.  
  4. Lightly oil a 9x9 casserole dish and spoon pasta sauce on the bottom.  Spoon-fill cheese mixture into jumbo shells and place in the casserole dish.  Top shells with pasta sauce and any remaining cheeses.  
  5. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cooked through.  You may need to cover with foil if edges of jumbo shells begin to get crispy.