Monday, June 30, 2008

Pizza Week

Right now, this is where we get all our pizza. That's why I declare this week Pizza Week. Join us.

This week, from July 1st (Tuesday) until July 8th (Tuesday), please post your favorite pizza recipes! Ann Dee and I have agreed; we will try EACH and EVERY one of them. I'm in search of the easiest, most delicious pizza so that I can be that cool mom who "makes the best pizza ever." I want to be a cool mom SO BADLY. Help me.

Is this a contest? Maybe. I will decide later. Until then, post like it is. Post these recipes like you want to win whatever prize I might offer. It's a good one I'll bet. And Jeni, thanks for inspiring the idea. We will count yours as the first recipe of Pizza Week. Oh, and if you only read this blog but have a great recipe, let us know! We'd love to have some new contributors. Especially
during Pizza Week.

I'm ready to start baking; post away.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

BBQ Chicken Pizza

For some reason my family won't eat normal pizza with marinara sauce. They love BBQ chicken pizza. So last week I decided I would try making our own. I had never made pizza dough but there are enough recipes out there that sound easy enough (even though cooking with yeast scares me a little). It takes a little time, but really no more hands-on time than other recipes. There's just more waiting time as it sits. So here's what I found.

Pizza Dough

Makes enough for one small, thin crust pizza. Double it if you like your pizza thick and bready.

1 ½ cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Stir yeast into warm water, let sit. Stir dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add water/yeast mixture and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.

Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl (a spritz of cooking spray perfectly does the trick) where you had mixed it — one-bowl recipe! — dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size. (If your kitchen is cold, warm up your oven for a few minutes, turn it off, put the bowl of dough in there to sit and double).

Dump it back on the floured counter and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under that plastic wrap for 20 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to its top temperature. Roll out the pizza, toss on whatever topping and seasonings you like.

Bake it for about 10 minutes until it’s lightly blistered and impossible to resist.

For the BBQ Chicken recipe I sauteed some onions, chopped some cilantro, cooked some chopped up chicken in some bottled BBQ sauce (or you could use the sauce from the salmon recipe), covered the pizza with the bottled BBQ sauce and cheese and voila!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Sweet Pork Salad with Cilantro Dressing

If you like all the "fresh mex" restaurants (i.e. Costa Vida, Cafe Rio, Bajio), you'll love this recipe. I got it from one of the many recipe blogs that I love to patronize: Picky Palate

2-4 lb pork roast
1 ½ Cups Coca Cola
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Seasoning Salt

1 Cup Coca Cola
1 Cup ketchup

1 jar Herdez Salsa Verde (mild tomatillo salsa, I get it at Walmart, any size)
Equal amount of prepared ranch dressing (Hidden Valley)
1 Bunch Cilantro

10 inch wheat or flour tortillas
Shredded green leaf lettuce
Black beans, I just used canned
Cilantro lime rice (steamed rice with chopped cilantro leaves and fresh lime juice, as much as desired)
Diced tomatoes, cheese, guacamole….etc
Crispy Tortilla Strips (flour tortillas cut into thin strips and fried in vegetable oil until browned)

1. Place roast in crockpot with Coke; season with salt, pepper and garlic seasoning. Cook on low overnight, until tender. Remove roast from crockpot, discard juices. Shred pork into bite size pieces and place back into pot on low.
2. Place Cola and ketchup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Heat to a low boil. Pour over shredded roast. Cook on low until ready to serve.
3. For dressing, place equal parts salsa verde and ranch dressing into food processor or blender. Add Cilantro leaves and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. To serve: Place tortilla onto a large bowl or plate. Layer with lettuce, beans, rice, pork, dressing and tomatoes, cheese and guacamole. Cheese, guacamole and crispy tortilla strips not pictured, but really good in it!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Tung Tong ("Money Bags")

These are Thai appetizers that will knock your socks off. Literally. Alloy ma! (very delicious)

Portions: Makes 12

Preparation: Preparation Time 10-15 minutes

Cooking: 5-8 minutes

120g pork, mince
2 water chestnuts* see note
1 garlic clove, finely crushed
1/2 tsp. Thai fish sauce
12 wontons wrappers
1 pinch white pepper
Oil for deep frying
2 tbsp. caster sugar
4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. fish sauce
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 small green chilli, finely chopped
To Garnish
1 carrot grated
1 tbsp. crushed peanuts
Place the pork, garlic, water chestnuts, fish sauce and pepper in a bowl and mix together thoroughly.Lay the wontons out on worktop & place a teaspoon of the mixture in the middle of each wrapper; gather up the corners and pinch together to make a small bag. Place them on a floured container or plate, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.Heat the oil in a deep fryer, wok or large saucepan to 180° C (a cube of bread when dropped in the oil will brown float to the top when the correct temperature is reached) Deep-fry the wontons until they are crisp & golden and drain them on a paper towel. Keep warm until ready to serve. Sauce: In a small saucepan dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and boil rapidly, stir occasionally until you pale gold syrup. Add the fish sauce and chilies. Allow it to cool before serving. To Serve: Place the moneybags on a single plate or on 4 individual plates with a little grated carrot garnished with crushed peanuts and a bowl or individual containers of the sauce.The Sauce may be replaced with Thai sweet chili sauce, with a little fish sauce & rice wine vinegar.Water chestnuts are sold in cans at most supermarkets and East Asian food storesAdvance Preparation: Money Bags may be prepared & frozen up to 1 month in advance. Defrost in the fridge 3 hours before cooking.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Favorite Food Blog

So, I like to check out blogs. The kind of blog varies. I always check family and friend blogs, but I rotate around between food blogs, design blogs and craft blogs. I found this blog through my stepmom's niece and I have to say,


The author frequently enters cooking and baking competitions. I believe she most recently won a burger competition sponsored by the Rachael Ray show. The thing I like about it is she uses fresh ingredients and tries to do things inexpensively. Check it out.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Really Yummy Chinese Cabbage Salad

Mill - I hope this is the salad you requested. It is super easy and really yummy. It is a great side dish for any Asian meal.

I ate this salad years and years ago at the Knudsen's house and I still make it often. I especially love it this time of the year - I take it to the park or pool for lunch and it is very refreshing.

2 1/2 cups finely shredded cabbage (purple or green, purple is pretty but over time it tends to bleed onto the rest of the ingredients)
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup diced or julienne red or green bell peppers
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS soy sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
dash of chili or hot pepper sauce
1/3 cup chopped p-nuts
1TBS sesame seeds

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Fresh Thai Spring Rolls and Peanut Dipping Sauce

Sorry I have no picture - I told KT that she is in charge of finding one and posting it. To make the Spring rolls you may want to find a good Asian market, in Provo I always loved Chaos on University.

If you ask the employees there for the wrappers and noodles for Fresh Spring Rolls, they will show you exactly what you need. Some nicer grocery stores these days have well stocked Asian sections and you may be able to find everything there. The following recipe includes a list of suggestions for things to fill the rolls with - you can use as many or as few as you would like and really there is not limit to the variety of what you can put into these rolls. Just make sure everything is cut nice and thin.

1 package Fresh Spring roll wrappers
1 package bean thread noodles
red and yellow bell pepper julienned
Carrot julienned
Bean sprouts
zucchini julienned
yellow squash julienned
green onion cut in long strips and julienned
whole shrimp deveined and tail removed
whole basil leaves or whole mint leaves

You will need to find the wrappers, they are called "Spring Rolls Skin" and they are clear, thin and very brittle. Next, you need the noodles which are typically called "Bean Threads" and they are also a clear noodle that come in a package often wrapped in pink netting.

Follow the directions on the package to soften the noodles.
Soak the wrappers in warm water until they are softened, transfer carefully to a plate and in the center of the wrapper place a pile of noodles. From here you can begin piling your shrimp and vegetables in any order that you wish. Do not fill too much, roll two ends in to meet one another and carefully roll the next two sides into a roll. The more times you do it the easier the rolling will become. The trick is to not rip the wrapper in the process.

Peanut Dipping Sauce
The sauce I use is a variation of one from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook

1 cup real p-nut butter(not hydrogenated brands like Skippy)
1/2 cup warm water
3-4 cloves fresh garlic minced
large handful of fresh cilantro chopped
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs rice vinegar
cayenne to taste
1 tbs brown sugar
salt to taste (if p-nut butter is not salted)

Add water to p-nut butter and stir patiently until the water in incorporated. Add the rest of the ingredients. You may add more water if you want the sauce runnier for dipping.

One time Colton made a really yummy chili dipping sauce for spring rolls. I usually just boil a bunch of sugar in water and when it becomes syrupy I add a couple big scoops of store bought garlic, chili sauce but ask Colton for the real recipe.

I know this post is an eternity long but these recipes are fun and once you try these spring rolls you will love them and seriously - call me if you attempt this and have questions!

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Billy Joel's Favorite Meat Loaf and ours, too

Do you like meatloaf? Neither did I until I made this. It's Billy Joel's wife's you know it's got to be good. And with a few exceptions, most of this is lying around the pantry. Or not. But you can buy it at the store. See how nice they look? Of course her meatloaf is good!
Even Tod likes it and Tod is anti-meatloaf. Kristi enjoyed it and she is also anti-meatloaf. Perfect when you have leftover hamburger. And it looks good. Tastes better. Plus protein. Enjoy.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium red pepper, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray lightly with oil.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and bay leaf until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook until the red pepper is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and thyme and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and let the onion mixture cool. Discard the bay leaf.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of ketchup, the Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and the cooled vegetables. Use your hands to mix everything together.

Transfer the mixture to the center of the baking sheet and form into a loaf. Coat the meat loaf with the remaining 1/2 cup ketchup.

Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (depending on the shape of your loaf), until the meat loaf is firm. Let set for about 5 minutes before slicing.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Coconut Shrimp whith Pineapple Salsa

This is a recipe I found in Cooking Light and have adapted just a bit to suit me. We Love it!!!. I serve it with crusty bread, a simple salad, rice pilaf and some in-season fruit or just the left-over pineapple from the salsa. I usually end up eating mostly shrimp though. It takes some time to peel all the shrimp, dip them in corn starch, egg white, and coconut, so I try and make it with a bunch of people helping. Kids love to dip the shrimp (obviously wash hands really well afterwards).

Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

28 large shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds) NOTE:I like to use 50-60 count shrimp because I love the crispy coconut.
1/3 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 large egg whites (I like using egg white powder)
1 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
Cooking spray

Salsa: (I always make at least a double batch to have with chips, on tuna sandwiches, or whatever)
1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion (red onion is pretty, but we like the taste of sweet onion best)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup pineapple preserves (I just use apricot or peach because that is what I have on hand)
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare shrimp, peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Rinse shrimp in cold water; drain on paper towels until dry (use sturdy paper towels so you don't get bits of paper on your shrimp).

Combine cornstarch, salt, and red pepper in a shallow dish; stir with a whisk. Place the egg whites in a medium bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until frothy (about 2 minutes). Place coconut in a shallow dish.

Working with one shrimp at a time, dredge in cornstarch mixture (to coat them faster we like to put about 1/2 the cornstarch mixture and 1/2 the shrimp in a ziplock and shake it). Dip in egg white; dredge in coconut, pressing gently with fingers. Place shrimp on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat the procedure with remaining shrimp, cornstarch mixture, egg white, and coconut. Lightly coat shrimp with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until shrimp are done, turning after 10 minutes. (with the smaller shrimp the cooking time is a bit shorter and you may not have to turn them) Best served hot.

To prepare salsa, combine pineapple and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; stir to combine.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 7 shrimp and about 1/4 cup salsa)

CALORIES 397 (26% from fat); FAT 11.4g (sat 8.4g,mono 0.7g,poly 1g); IRON 3.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 194mg; CALCIUM 80mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45g; SODIUM 753mg; PROTEIN 29.9g; FIBER 2.2g

Cooking Light, APRIL 2002

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tortellini Pesto Salad

This is SOOOOO good. I have taken it to a lot of summer gatherings and everyone loves it. You could add any vegetables you like. YUM!!!

1 (9 ounce) package cheese tortellini
1 small red bell pepper, julienned
3/4 cup fresh broccoli florets
1/3 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup pitted green olives
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch fresh spinach leaves

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place tortellini in the pot, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain, and cool.
2. In a large bowl, mix the cooked tortellini, red bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, olives, and garlic. (I like to chop up the veggies really small so that it's easier for my kids to eat)
3. Prepare pesto and pour over the tortellini and vegetables, and gently toss to coat. Cover, and place in the refrigerator 1 hour, until chilled. Serve over spinach leaves.

(I add the spinach leaves to the salad and stir it all together)

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