Saturday, February 26, 2011

Honey Wheat Pizza Crust

I love the standard pizza dough recipe I posted last month, but I was looking for one that included wheat flour so I was happy when I stumbled across this one. So simple to make and it tastes yummy.

Honey Wheat Pizza Crust
Time: 5 minutes prep + 2 hours rising
Yield: 2 twelve inch crusts

1 t yeast (I use active dry)
1 3/4 C water
2 C white flour
2 C wheat flour
1 t salt
1/3 C olive oil
1 T honey

1. Pour the yeast over the top of your warm water. Don't stir....Just let it fall like snow.
2. Pour your wheat flour and your white flour into your stand mixer. Add the salt and stir it around a bit.
3. Pour the oil into the flour. Let your mixer combine it all up, nice and pasty like.
4. Add your honey.
5. Add the water and yeast mixture. Mix it all until it is combined. No need to let it knead for a long period of time. Just get it mixed up well. Cover it with some plastic wrap and let it rise for at least 2 hours. You can also put it in the fridge if you aren't planning on using it until later that day. You can actually leave it in the fridge for several days and it will just get better with age.
6. Divide the dough in half. Pour some olive oil onto a pizza stone, or any other kind of baking sheet. A stone is not required. Let the dough hang out there for about 5 minutes. Then stretch the dough out to the edges of the pan.
7. Cover with sauce and pizza toppings. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutest, or until the cheese is bubbly and the underside of the crust is golden brown.
Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up! 

What toppings are you putting on your pizza?

Friday, February 25, 2011

On my table this week...

I realized that today is Friday which for most people marks the end of the week, but in the Matthews' household today is our Monday. Friday is when Josh starts his five day stretch at work which means meal planning and grocery shopping for me. My challenge/theme for this week is to not purchase any "meat" from the grocery store and instead make dishes from whatever I have stored in my freezer. I'm also looking at this as an opportunity to clean out my tiny freezer and make space for some new stuff. Here's what I have planned for this week:

Enchiladas with Spanish rice and black beans -- this is yet another new enchiladas recipe. I'm kind of on a kick to find the best enchilada recipe out there. I plan to use my frozen chicken for this meal. Oh, and I can't forget to share my Spanish rice recipe with you!

Pizza -- yep, again! I found pizza dough hidden in the back of my freezer which will make for a super quick meal one of these nights. Plus I can add fresh veggies from my Wildly Organic delivery that just arrived.

Red Beans & Rice -- Ok, I'm cheating here. I'm not using anything from my freezer for this one but I needed a quick and easy recipe that I can make on a night that Josh is working til 9pm.

Boneless Ribs -- hm, not sure if they're pork or beef ribs since I didn't label them. Guess this will be a nice surprise. :) No recipe for this one. I'll probably bake these slowly for an hour then slather them with some BBQ sauce. Broccoli and cauliflower will join this meaty dish.

Pork Casserole with Biscuit Topping -- This was my sisters "birthday dinner" growing up. I recently found the recipe in my childhood cookbook that my mom put together for me a couple Christmas's ago. Natural ground pork was on sale a couple weeks ago so I bought some and froze it.

Add in a night of leftovers and we're covered until our next grocery shopping trip. I'll be sure to post my recipes as I make them so you can enjoy them too.

What do you have tucked away in your freezer that you could make this week?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cake Mix Cookies

I'm not going to tell you how many times I made this recipe in the past week...ok, fine, you convinced me...three times!!! But I promise I didn't eat all of the cookies myself. Funfetti cake was the best. It was difficult to add chocolate chips to the batter since it's so oily. Instead it worked better to roll the cookie balls then place the chocolate chips on top. Plus you can make cute designs with the chocolate chips that way, like flowers and Mickey Mouse ears. This is a great recipe to do with kids.

Cake Mix Cookies
makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup mix-ins (chocolate chips, coconut, m&ms, anything you want!)

Mix all the ingredients together.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes, or until set in the center.

So happy to have found this recipe at Cafe Zupas

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mushroom Bourguignon

I know I've told you about my love for mushrooms, so I decided to try this mushroom dish the other night and let me tell you, it was DELICIOUS! I was so stuffed by the end of the meal. I ate two huge helpings which was disappointing only because there wasn't any left for lunch the next day. If you love mushrooms, please give this recipe a try. Mom and Dad, I think you could easily make this a vegan dish!

Mushroom Bourguignon
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds portabello mushrooms, sliced into ¼ inch slices
½ carrot, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup full bodied red wine
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup pearl onions, peeled and thawed if frozen (optional)
Egg noodles, cooked

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a medium dutch oven or large sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms for about three or four minutes or until they start to darken. Before they begin to release much liquid remove from heat and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add in another tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the carrots, onion, thyme, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the wine to the vegetables and turn the heat back up. Reduce it by half, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any bits that are stuck. Add in the tomato paste and the broth. Remove the thyme sprigs (if using fresh) and add back in the mushrooms (and any juices that have collected) and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are very tender. Add in the pearl onions (if using).

Combine the tablespoons of butter and flour and stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and has a nice consistency. Spoon the mixture over egg noodles. 

I found this recipe at A Cozy Kitchen

What's your favorite mushroom dish?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicken and Rice Casserole

I love this recipe. I found it over a year ago and make it at least one a month. I love chicken and I love mushrooms so this is perfect in my opinion! It looks like a lot of work because the recipe is so long, but trust me, it's not as difficult as it may look. Enjoy!

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe
If you are avoiding cooking with alcohol, skip the sherry and deglaze the pan with a 1/4 cup extra of chicken stock. Depending on how salted your stock is, you may need to more generously salt this dish. Can always salt to taste at the table.
You can make this entire dish on the stovetop instead of the oven if you want. Just use a large sauté pan with a tight cover, cook on low when all is assembled, low enough to keep a simmer, but not so high that you burn the rice.

2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces, patted dry
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine
1 1/3 cups* chicken stock**
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cream
1 cup raw, medium or long grain, white rice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each of Italian seasoning and poultry seasoning (or 2 teaspoons of one of these herb mixes, or 2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and basil)**
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
*This recipe assumes the rice requires approx 1 1/2 cups liquid per cup of rice to cook. Some rice varieties, such as brown rice, require more liquid (and a longer cooking time). Adjust recipe accordingly.
**If you are cooking gluten-free, use homemade stock or gluten-free packaged stock, use gluten-free packaged herbs and spices.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high or high heat (hot enough to brown but not burn). Sprinkle a dash of salt on the bottom of the pan. Season the chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces on two sides, about 1-2 minutes per batch. Add a little more salt to the pan (and more olive oil if needed) after every batch. This will help prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan. Remove chicken pieces and set aside in a bowl. Note that the chicken does not have to be cooked through, only browned.

In the same sauté pan add 1 Tbsp olive oil, lower the heat to medium, add the onions, and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cook 30 seconds more. Remove onions and garlic to a shallow (9 x 13 x 2) casserole dish.

Raise heat to medium high, add the sliced mushrooms. Dry sauté them (no need to add butter or oil), allowing the mushrooms to brown lightly, and release some of their moisture. Add the mushrooms to the casserole dish.

Add 1/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine to the pan to deglaze the pan, scraping off the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. (At this point, if you are making ahead, reduce the sherry to 1 Tbsp and pour off into the casserole dish. Refrigerate cooked onions, garlic, mushrooms, and browned chicken pieces until you are ready to make the casserole.) Let the sherry reduce to about 1 Tbsp, then add the chicken stock, and remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, the cream, and the sour cream. Add the raw rice to the casserole dish. Then pour the stock, sherry, cream, sour cream mixture over the rice. Add the Italian and poultry seasonings (or fresh herbs) and paprika to the dish. Stir the rice, onion, mushroom, herb mixture so that they are evenly distributed in the casserole dish.

Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice mixture (in a single layer if you can, they will be crowded). Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil. If the casserole is still too liquidy, let it cook a few minutes more, uncovered, until the excess liquid has evaporated away.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving. Serves 6 (with leftovers)

Recipe found at

Friday, February 11, 2011

Update Food Challenge: Shrimp

I couldn't decide which shrimp recipe I wanted to make so I let Josh decide. He chose Gnocchi with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Pesto. It took me a few days to find Gnocchi since Albertsons was out of it but I ended up buying it at Cost Plus World Market. I went with the mini gnocchi since they take only 2-3 minutes to cook. I can't say this recipe was a total winner because both Josh and I weren't a fan of the asparagus in the dish despite how much we love asparagus. We started brainstorming other alternatives like zucchini. Since it only takes minutes to make the gnocchi and shrimp cooks so quickly, this meal was ready within ten minutes. 

Gnocchi with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Pesto
2  quarts plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1  (16-ounce) package vacuum-packed gnocchi (such as Vigo)
4  cups (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 1 pound)
1  pound peeled and deveined large shrimp, coarsely chopped
1  cup basil leaves
2  tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2  tablespoons preshredded Parmesan cheese
2  teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2  teaspoons bottled minced garlic
4  teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
1/4  teaspoon salt

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add gnocchi to pan; cook 4 minutes or until done (gnocchi will rise to surface). Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Add asparagus and shrimp to pan; cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Drain. Add shrimp mixture to gnocchi.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon water, basil, and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping sides. Drizzle oil through food chute with food processor on; process until well blended. Add salt and basil mixture to shrimp mixture; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Recipe found at

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I've been on an enchiladas kick recently. I have three new recipes that I plan to try over the next few weeks. I made this recipe last week. It was delicious but it took a little more time than I had planned. Next time I make it, I plan to cook my chicken earlier in the day and omit the chipotles (it was timely to seed them.) I also served my favorite Spanish rice recipe that I'll share with you soon.

Chicken Enchiladas
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 canned whole green chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
16 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
1 cup shredded Cheddar and Jack cheeses
Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes

Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, garlic powder and Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool.

Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender. Add corn and chiles. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes, saute 1 minute.

Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to saute pan, combine with vegetables. Dust the mixture with flour to help set.

Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Coat the bottom of 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place 8 enchiladas in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, scallion, sour cream and chopped tomatoes before serving. Serve with Spanish rice and beans.

Recipe found at Food

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Food Challenge: Shrimp

This week Josh was too busy to get creative and come up with a food challenge for me so I picked one for myself: Shrimp! I have a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer and I want to come up with a new way to use it rather than my old stand-by recipes.

The other night I made a new enchiladas recipe (which I will post in the next few days) and what I learned was that I need to change my focus on food. My food goals are 1. timely meals and 2. healthy food (less heavy cream and butter, more fresh veggies and spices.) I'm looking to Cooking Light and Rachael Ray for help in my new found goals. Cooking Light is an obvious choice for finding healthy meals and Rachael Ray is known for her 30 minute meals. I have a lot of resources at my disposal so finding recipes should be pretty easy. All of the shrimp recipes that I'm considering I found from Cooking Light and Rachael Ray. Here's what I'm considering:

Shrimp and Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes and Romano Cheese by Cooking Light
Gnocchi with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Pesto by Cooking Light

Shrimp Arrabbiata by Cooking Light
Red and Green Pesto with Pasta and Lemon Shrimp by Rachael Ray
Venetian-Style Paella by Rachael Ray
The Devil's Shrimp by Rachael Ray

I'm leaning towards one of the Cooking Light recipes but waiting to find out what I'll recieve in my Wildly Organic Pak to make a final decision.

What are some of your favorite shrimp recipes?