Pizza, Anyone?

I came across a recipe for homemade pizza dough that I just had to try. Partially because this woman’s recipes are very easy to follow and have always turned out great for me, and partially because I’m sick of paying those prices for Domino’s to make pizza for me.

Now before you go defending Domino’s or suggesting Pizza Hut or Papa John’s or some other place, please don’t.  I’m not saying those places don’t have good pizza–they do! Even if I disagree with the political leanings of some, I can’t really knock their product based on quality or flavor or EASE.  However, there is something to be said for the joys of doing it yourself. Not to mention the feeling of hearing your family say “We like this BETTER than theirs”…aaahhh…such sweet words! 😀

This recipe is so easy and so good. I can’t stop smiling when I think about it.  It would also make really good garlic bread sticks too—Olive Garden?? Who needs them anymore? Not this girl!

Now let me tell you where I had some sticky moments as I made this one and I’ll also tell you what I did about it.

The recipe isn’t completely Laine-proof clear about the butter in the dough.  I didn’t know if I should melt it, soften it, or keep it cold.  I opted to melt.  If that was wrong, the end result didn’t show it.

I used my Kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook to mix and knead the dough.  Once the 2 minutes of kneading was done, the dough was still a tad sticky. I didn’t think that was right, so I added a little more flour (about a tablespoon at a time) and cranked the mixer up again until it incorporated and the sticky feel was gone–about another minute of kneading.

I didn’t know if my counter would be warm enough for the rising, and since I was cooking the meats and veggies for the toppings, I put the dough into an oiled Pampered Chef mixing bowl, covered it with cling wrap and set it on the back burner (turned off, of course) while I cooked the toppings.  Once that was done, I removed all the pans from the stove and turned on 2 burners (med/low heat) and left it to keep the area warm until the dough rose.  This took about 45 minutes total, but that ball of dough that didn’t even come up to the 2 1/2 cup mark on my mixer bowl, blew the cling wrap off the top in that time.

I spread a little cornmeal on my Pampered Chef large stone, plopped that dough on there and it worked itself to the edges with very little effort from me.  I even had a ‘lip’ on the edge–just like the ones we order.

I followed her directions the rest of the way–adding a little of that yummy garlic butter all over the crust and not just the edges.  Topped it with my homemade sauce (I’ll share that recipe in another post soon I promise) and all that yummy meat and vegs.

Baked it at 400 for 27 minutes (I always jot down the time when I’m doing something new–for next time).  When it came out of the oven, I slathered some more of that yummy garlic butter over the crust edge and let it get happy for about 5 minutes before I cut it.

Lots of lip smacking was heard all over my house during dinner last night.  This is my new GO TO pizza recipe.  I can’t wait to give this dough a try with the garlic bread stick idea.

Please do check out that blog:  Forkful of Comfort.  You will not be disappointed!

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I just baked bread!

I am always ready to call myself a great cook because I know it to be true and have had enough experience and comments from others to back me up, so I’m confident labeling myself that way.  However, I would NEVER even joke about calling myself a baker–even a novice baker.  Baking is not my THANG.

As a Southerner, it pains me to admit that I use Bisquick for my biscuits and have been known to resort to frozen biscuits and rolls and sometimes even the “whop ’em” variety.  I think it is my killer tater salad and my fantastic mac N cheese that keeps the Southern Cook Society from revoking my membership entirely.

I noticed this little recipe on Pinterest today

(http://penniesandpancakes.blogspot.com/2012/09/grandmas-country-white-bread.html  )

and decided since I had all the ingredients in the house, I’d give it a try and am I ever so glad I did!! 😀  I followed the directions almost exactly (I cut the recipe in half to make just 1 loaf instead of 2) and used her tutorial description to make sure I was doing it the way  I was supposed to do it.

The bread came out of my oven in exactly 25 minutes just like the recipe says and it was oh so good!! Crusty on the top and light and fluffy in the middle.  I will definitely be baking more bread–especially this recipe.

I will try to post some pix of mine as soon as the kid unit gets home from school so she can take them for me, but in the meantime, just take my word for it..this bread is GOOD! And easy enough that even I couldn’t screw it up! 😀

Until I make something else new….

Laine


Taco Rice

(Thanks Kid Unit for the picture)

Taco Rice is a recipe I found on Pinterest via PlainChicken.com

Now, normally, when I find a new recipe, I’ll follow it to the letter the first time, but sometimes I tweak it for our tastes from the get-go. That’s what I did here, so the recipe I’ll post is with my tweaks.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 1 (8 oz.)can tomato sauce
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can chili style diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 Cups rice
  • 3 Cups chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 packet Goya Sazon
  • tortilla or corn chips
  • your favorite taco toppings – salsa, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, etc

Cook rice in chicken stock and/or water with the Sazon. Use your favorite method for rice. I use my Pampered Chef Rice Cooker because I fail at rice any other way! LOL
When the rice is almost done, brown the meat in a skillet over medium high heat. Be sure to drain off any fat.  Return the meat to the skillet; add the taco seasoning and beef stock (or water if you don’t have any on hand).  Stir well and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, pinto beans and rice.   Heat just  until everything is heated through.   Serve with tortilla chips, wrap it in a tortilla, over a bed of lettuce, however you like it best. Top it with your favorite taco toppings and you are good to go! 😀

This is a very quick, easy and inexpensive meal.  Easily suited to your own tastes. The tomatoes are optional as the original recipe calls for 2 cans of tomato sauce.  You don’t like pinto beans? Use black beans instead.  Toss in some black olives. Whatever you like. It is very versatile and can just as easily be given an Italian flavor with a mix up of spices.

Try it and see how you like it. Let me know how it works out for ya and above all, ENJOY your time in the kitchen and with your family.

Until next time…

Happy Munching!
Laine


In Search of…

…an Apron. Sounds easy, don’t it? Well…

Is it really too much to ask to find a decent looking apron these days?  I did a search on amazon.com and came up with a few that struck at my fancy, but a few of them were down-right obscene!

Do the people who buy those things actually COOK? Or is that some man’s idea of putting an idea into his wife’s hardworking head? I won’t dignify that with pictures, you can search them out yourself if you are so inclined.  But please do me a favor, if you purchase one, DON’T tell me and for God’s sake, don’t SHOW ME!

Now I’m off to see if I can find a good easy recipe for brain bleach. Those images really need to be erased from my mind! LOL

Y’all have a good one! I’ll be posting some more recipes later if my migraine lets go. 😀


Orange Chicken

Image(Photo of how mine turned out. Taken by the Kid Unit with her digital on ‘food’ setting–handy little thing, huh?)

Someone sent this recipe to me a few months ago. It sounded good and so I filed it away and forgot about it–until last week when I had a hankering for something just like this.  I pulled the recipe out and gave it a try.  For the most part, we all liked it.  I do know how I’ll tweak it for the next time, but I wanted to share it with you all as I made it for my family.

 Orange Chicken

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg (beaten)
oil for frying

1 1/2 cups water
3 Tablespoons orange juice (fresh)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (fresh)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons orange zest (grated)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger root (minced)
1/2 teaspoon garlic (minced)
2 Tablespoons green onion (chopped) Plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes Plus more for garnish
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water

*Combine flour, cornstarch, salt & pepper. In another bowl add the egg. Dip chicken in egg mixture and let excess drip off. Dredge in flour mixture, shake off extra flour. Preheat oil to 375 degrees F in deep fryer, wok, or large skillet. I used just about an inch or two of oil in a large skillet and rotate the chicken until all browned about 4 minutes per side. Drain on wire rack over paper towels.

Meanwhile in a large sauce pan combine water, orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes.  Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger root, garlic, and green onions. Bring to boil. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water until well blended. Slowly stir in sauce until sauce thickens. Pour sauce over chicken. Top with more green onions and red pepper flakes if desired. Serve w/ white rice

Next time, I’ll cut back on the brown sugar as it was a TAD too sweet for our taste, but overall, this recipe is definitely a keeper.

I just wish I could remember where it came from so I could give proper credit. If you know, please let me know.


Hello! Welcome to my kitchen…

I love to cook! Finding new recipes is something of a hobby for me.  My method is to follow a recipe to the letter the first time (most of the time) and then ‘fix’ it to fit my family’s tastes and preferences.

I’ll share that with you all here. What we liked, what we hated and why on both.  Come on back often. You never know what you’re going to find.


Mexican Stuffed Shells

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo of my dish just after it came out of the oven. Thanks to the Kid Unit for snapping this one for me)

This recipe comes from The Way To His Heart

We had this for dinner last night and let me tell you, it was just about TOO good, if that’s even possible.

This recipe was a Pintrest find (oh what a great time sucker that site is, but so far, so worth it!) The photo looked so yummy I just had to try the recipe.  No one in my house was disappointed with it–even the Kid Unit who normally doesn’t care for my Mexican dishes as much as some others.

Normally I’d follow the recipe to the letter the first time, but I did improvise this one a little. The recipe I share here is with my substitutions.  Be sure to check out The Way To His Heart for more great ideas and recipes.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

 Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 package low-sodium taco seasoning
4 oz. cream cheese
14-16 jumbo pasta shells
1.5 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350°.

In a frying pan cook ground beef; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions.  Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and cool completely.  While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board/baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.

Pour salsa on bottom of 9×13 baking dish.  Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells in 9×13 pan open side up. Cover shells with taco sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes, with the foil removed.  Top with any condiments you’d like (green onions, black olives, etc.) Serve with sour cream and/or more salsa.