Saturday, January 29, 2011

Some fantastically yummy pizza!!

I have to admit, I've never been much of one for homemade pizza. I think part of that is that I'm a hamburger bacon pizza kinda girl, and that's really hard to replicate at home. Usually, with homemade pizza, the only way to make hamburger pizza is to put ground beef on top. And, really, it just doesn't have the same flavor as the good 'ol hut. And then, I broadened my horizons a little bit. Who says it always has to be typical toppings? I started experimenting with things like ricotta and chicken, sundried tomato basil, and things of that nature. Mmm, suddenly homemade pizza is a lot more appealing.

This is, by far, my favorite combination yet. Fresh mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, basil pesto, and fiesta blend cheese. Simple, unique, and so very tasty. Hubby loves this one too, even though there's no meat! So it's a win, all around.

Tasty Homemade Pizza : )

One homemade pizza crust (I use The Pioneer Woman's pizza dough recipe- very simple and tasty, plus you can make it days ahead of time! Nice.)
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Basil Pesto
Sundried Tomatoes (I like the packed in olive oil kind)
Pizza Sauce
Fiesta Blend Cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Spread your pizza crust out over your favorite pizza pan (I like using a pizza stone.) Dot the crust lightly with basil pesto, and spread evenly. Next, spread with pizza sauce. Sprinkle with just a little bit of the fiesta cheese. Evenly cover the pizza with torn chunks of fresh mozzarella. Don't make these pieces too big, or crowd them too close, or you will end up with soggy pizza crust. But don't skimp yourself either! ; ) Next, sprinkle with sliced sundried tomatoes, then top with another layer of fiesta cheese. Mmm...pop it in the oven for 15ish minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Happy Experiment

I was going to make a spicy, Asian inspired chicken and rice recipe for supper tonight. I got the chicken out to thaw this morning, which I rarely have the foresight to do, and was planning on it all day. But, sometimes pregnancy has unexpected consequences. Such as unplanned indigestion. Suffice it to say, spicy, Asian chicken wasn't sounding so great anymore. So, all the way home from work, I was brainstorming about what I could make with those chicken tenders. I finally decided to try to invent some sort of cream cheesey, alfredo-ey, chicken and noodles something or other. So that's what I did! And oooooh, was it ever good.

The chicken was impossibly tender, the sauce was mild yet flavorful, the noodles the perfect base for it all. Mmmmm. It's a new favorite in my recipe book for sure! It's pretty much going to be my new go-to chicken alfredo. Yum-o!

Creamy Garlic Chicken Alfredo

1/4 cup of butter
1/4 of a small onion, chopped
3 cloves of minced garlic
8 oz of cream cheese, cubed
3/4 cup of cream
1/4-1/2 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Sea salt to taste
6 chicken tenders
Cooked noodles

Melt the butter in a deep skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add cubed cream cheese, and stir until melted. Whisk in cream and as much milk as needed (1/4 to 1/2 a cup.) Whisk until creamy. Whisk in Parmesan cheese. Add salt to taste. When sauce is creamy and salted to perfection, add chicken tenders. Cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes. After 8 minutes (or when this side of the chicken has turned white and started to brown), turn chicken tenders and stir sauce. Simmer another 5-8 minutes, then check chicken for doneness. As soon as tenders are cooked through, slice into chunks and mix back into sauce. Serve over noodles.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Dough Day

We had a snow day on Monday. So, we decided to make doughnuts!! Actually, my peach of a husband made the dough for me the night before, so that we could have them the next day. He's pretty grand. : ) And a beautiful dough it was!

I was quite impressed. Then we spent the afternoon cutting, frying, and glazing the little beauties.

It was, honestly, quite time consuming, but it didn't matter, since we had all day.

The recipe made soo many doughnuts, we really had no hope of eating them all. But somehow they all managed to be put to good use. ; )

PW's Glazed Doughnuts

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tawny, Scrawny Lion Soup

Have you ever read The Tawny, Scrawny Lion? It's a Little Golden Book. "Once there was a tawny scrawny lion who chased monkeys on Monday—kangaroos on Tuesday—zebras on Wednesday—bears on Thursday—camels on Friday—and on Saturday, elephants!"
A family of rabbits end up teaching him to eat carrot stew so he doesn't eat them. I loved this book when I was a child. And every time I read it, I imagined the carrot stew being just like this Cheese soup that my mom used to make.

It was my favorite soup, and I still think of the Tawny, Scrawny Lion every time I eat it. :)

Cheese Soup

2 Carrots, chopped into 1 inch pieces (I always use baby carrots, I think they have a sweeter flavor)
1 1/2 cups of frozen, chopped broccoli
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups of water
2 chicken bullion cubes
2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of flour
10 ounces of cubed velveeta cheese

Put the carrots, broccoli, onion, water, and bullion cubes in a blender. Blend until chopped into small pieces. Pour mixture into a saucepan, and cook over medium heat until veggies are soft (I usually give it a good 20 minutes.) Meanwhile, blend milk, flour, and cheese in the blender until smooth. Add to veggie mixture and cook (stirring frequently) over low to medium heat until warm and bubbly.
Share a warm bowl with your little ones, while reading The Tawny, Scrawny Lion. : )

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Fizzy Peach

New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday. I think it's because it's the last hoorah before life returns back to the pre-holiday hum-drum. It's also because it's the most laid back of the holidays, simply all about hanging out with friends, playing games, staying up late, and eating massive amounts of insanely delicious junk food. Pure junk food. None of this full meal nonsense, just one whole evening of unabashed indulgence. There are some things I have to have on New Year's Eve. My mom's bacon wrapped little smokies...puppy chow...chips and dip...a baked brie (although, sadly, this year I had to forgo that one, due to my pregnancy- soft cheeses are not recommended because of their increased likelihood to carry bacteria), and our traditional sparkling grape juice toast at twelve o'clock. But I also like to mix it up a little each year, try out some new recipes, give us something different to enjoy. This year our culinary cameos were a drink I've dubbed "The Fizzy Peach" and some Cheesy Crescent Pinwheels.

The Fizzy Peach is quite simple, as all good drinks usually end up being. All you do is scoop some peach sherbet into a well-chilled glass (I am all about freezer chilled glass glasses for fun drinks...they're so much better that way), and then pour some Peach Citrus flavored Fresca over the top. Yum! It gives you something fun and special to ring in the new year, but with absolutely no effort! Tasty.

The Cheesy Crescent Pinwheels are hardly more complicated.

Simply roll out your tube of crescent rolls into a sheet, mix up some cheeses and a little bit of mayo and butter, spread the paste over the crescents, roll the crescents into one long log, then cut slices. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes, and voila, a tasty, fancy looking hors d'oeuvres. I used cream cheese, parmesan, and shredded cheddar, about 2 oz of each cheese, paired with 3 tbs each of mayo and butter.

Mmmm...these cameos may have to make a surprise comeback next year!!