Saturday, January 19, 2013

BBQ Pizza

The dough is best made a day or two ahead, but great the same day as well.
1 whole recipe for pizza crust (mine makes two crusts)
2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup Barbecue Sauce
Olive Oil for drizzling
Salt for sprinkling
16 ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thinly
1/2 whole Red Onion, cut in half and sliced
Chopped Cilantro, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
For chicken:
Salt chicken breasts on both sides, then place in an ovenproof dish. Pour BBQ sauce over the breasts and turn them over to coat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove from oven and cut into a fine dice. Set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.
Roll/stretch out one pizza crust. Lay it on a sheet pan or pizza stone drizzled with olive oil. Drizzle a little olive oil on the crust, then sprinkle on a little salt.  Spoon a couple of tablespoons of extra BBQ sauce on the crust and spread it evenly. Top sauce with half the sliced mozzarella. Sprinkle on half the diced chicken and thinly sliced red onion.  Sprinkle again with a little salt, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle on plenty of chopped cilantro. Cut and serve immediately. Repeat with other crust and other ingredients, or save for another time in the fridge.

Basic Pizza Dough

We make this dough almost weekly!

1 tsp. instant or active dry yeast
1-1/2 c warm water
4 c. all purpose flour or you can do half white and half whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c olive oil

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.
Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it.
Note: it’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.
When you are ready to make the pizza, grab HALF the pizza dough (recipe makes 2 crusts) and squeeze the dough toward the bottom to form a nice, tight, pulled ball. You can roll out the pizza with a rolling pin if you’d like, but sometimes it’s just as easy to throw it around and pull and stretch till it feels right. And when the crust is nice and thin, lay it on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and spread it with your fingers. Very lightly sprinkle some salt on the crust.
Top your crust with your toppings of choice. Then bake for 15 to 17 minutes at 500 F., or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.

For the NY style baked pizza dough in pic above:
I preheat oven to 500 F. with the pizza stone heating and then when it's very hot, evenly with metal spatula, evenly coat stone with corn meal and skip oiling process above.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is so easy and kid friendly!

1 lb. cooked chicken, cubed
3 c. of your preferred veggies( I use carrots, potatoes, peas, green beans and corn the most)
1 can of chicken broth
Pillsbury pie crusts

Boil chopped carrots and potatoes. At the same time, sautee 1 medium onion and a couple sticks of celery in a generous amount of butter.  Add flour little by little to make almost a paste in your saute pan. Whisk in chicken broth (about 1-2 cups).  Let broth simmer while putting chicken (I used a rotisserie one) in the bottom of a already made pie crust. 
Dump in frozen veggies.  Pour some sauce over.  Add carrots and potatoes.
Pour rest of sauce over everything. Put the other pie crust on top. 
Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes give or take.

Tortilla Espanola

(This recipe can be adjusted according to the size of your frying pan.  This is for a 12 inch pan.)

3 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced1 small onion, diced6 eggsSalt and pepper to taste 
Olive oil for frying (NOT vegetable oil)

Mostly cover the bottom of a frying pan in olive oil.  Heat on medium.  Add potatoes and onions.  Cook thoroughly and stir as needed with a spatula (20 min).  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Remove potatoes/onions from pan and put in a separate bowl.  Don't need to be super careful about draining potatoes well (of the oil).  Drain oil from frying pan, but don't wipe clean.  In another bowl, beat eggs until frothy.  Add eggs to potatoes.  Stir just til potatoes are coated.  Heat about a tbsp. more of oil on medium heat in frying pan.  Pour mix into frying pan.  Cook 3-4 min. on first side until eggs are mostly cooked.  Place plate over frying pan.  Here's the fun part!!!  Flip tortilla over onto plate and slide uncooked side back into pan.  Cook about 3 min or until tortilla is cooked through.  Slice into pie wedges.  Serve immediately.  Chill remaining tortilla and eat leftovers either chilled or reheated. 

Soft Pretzels

Makes 6 – 8 pretzels
Prep (30 minutes) + Cook (12 – 15 minutes)
We originally got this recipe from a bakery called Just Cakes in Bethesda, Maryland, where a friend learned to make gourmet pretzels, cookies and breads, in addition to cakes, during a summer cooking camp.
2 packages active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp. sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for the counter)
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
Mustard, honey mustard, or melted butter or Cheddar cheese for dipping
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the sugar. Let it stand for about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the flour followed by the salt and the remaining 2 cups of flour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread a thin layer of flour on the counter or a pastry board (or on individual cutting boards or baking sheets if you have many little bakers). Transfer the dough to the counter and knead it for about 10 minutes, or until it becomes elastic and shinier. (This can also be done in a mixer for 4 – 5 minutes but that takes away some of the fun.)
Divide the dough into 6 – 8 equal parts.  Stretch each part into a long thin rope, about 2 feet long and about ½-inch thick, and then twist them into a pretzels shape (or whatever shape you like).
Place the pretzels a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make an egg wash by beating the egg with 2 tsp. of water. With a pastry brush, brush the surfaces of the pretzels with the egg wash.
Bake them for 12–15 minutes until they are golden brown.

Brush them lightly with butter.  Sprinkle them with a little kosher or sea salt or cinnamon and sugar, if desired.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Grandma's Whole Wheat Bread

1 1/3 c. water
3 T. oil
3 T. honey
3 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. powdered milk powder
1 T. gluten
2 t. salt
2 t. yeast

Combine all ingredients, knead for 10 minutes in a mixer, 15 minutes by hand (great exercise!).  Form into loaf.  Place in greased bread pan and let rise until double.  Bake at 350̊ for 30-35 minutes (original recipe said 40-45, but I don’t like overdone bread).

It is okay to do without gluten, but if you are going to make much bread, you should be able to find gluten in the baking section of your grocery store.