Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Basic Pizza Dough

I don't know why but I haven't made pizza dough in a long time.  I came across Martha Stewart's recipe for a basic pizza dough (original recipe link here) and it was super easy.  This recipe makes enough for 2 large pizzas so I froze half the dough for a future pizza night.  Overall this Basic Pizza Dough recipe is great and you can make it without a stand mixer too.  Just stir everything together and let it rise, how easy right?  Enjoy!

Basic Pizza Dough

5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 ½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups flour (all-purpose)


Pour warm water into a large bowl or stand mixer.  Sprinkle yeast over water and let stand for about 5 minutes, until foamy.

Stir sugar, oil, and salt into yeast mixture.

If using a stand mixer, use dough hook.  Slowly add in flour and stir until a sticky dough forms.

Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and rotate dough so all sides are lightly covered with oil.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until dough has doubled, about 1 hour.  You may also store dough overnight in the refrigerator.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times before using.

Makes 2 large pizzas.


To freeze, you can wrap the dough in plastic and freeze it in a resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months.   

To bake, preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Place each dough ball on a baking sheet or pizza stone; using your hands, gently flatten, and pull into 8-by-10-inch ovals. Top as desired.  Bake until crust is golden brown and toppings are hot, rotating sheets halfway through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Strawberry Panna Cotta

I loved this Strawberry Panna Cotta!  I made a vanilla panna cotta before and I personally think the strawberry flavor is even better.  The fresh pureed strawberries are absolutely delicious in this panna cotta.  This dessert is light and refreshing and not overly sweet.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Panna Cotta

2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 packet gelatin (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)
3 tablespoons cold water
2 cups strawberries, pureed


In a food processor (or blender), puree strawberries.  Set aside.

In a bowl, add cold water and sprinkle the gelatin on top.  Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream and sugar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and 1 ½ cups strawberry puree.

Lightly grease 4 custard cups or 2 larger ramekins if serving as a mold.

Pour gelatin into panna cotta mixture and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.

Divide the panna cotta mixture into the prepared cups or ramekins.

Chill in refrigerator for 4 hours or until panna cotta is firmly set.  Feel free to chill overnight.

To unmold, run a knife around the edge of the panna cotta and flip onto a plate.  You may also serve as is in individual cups/ramekins.

Spoon remaining pureed strawberries evenly over each panna cotta.

Serves 2 to 4.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chicken Fried Rice

I had a request to make Chicken Fried Rice and I wanted to share this recipe.  It is delicious and easy to make as long as you have all the ingredients on hand.  I cooked the rice the day before since fried rice is best with leftover rice.   What I love about fried rice is how versatile it is, because it is a meal made out of leftovers.  This Chicken Fried Rice recipe is so simple and delicious.  It is also freezer friendly.  Enjoy!

Chicken Fried Rice

4 cups rice, cooked
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 to 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, diced
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
4 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 to 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
¼ to ½ cup soy sauce
salt and pepper


Season chicken with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, beat eggs with sesame oil.  Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large pan over medium-high heat.

Add in chicken and cook until light pink.

Stir in onions and cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Next, stir in frozen vegetables and cook for about a minute.

Stir in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Next, add in eggs with sesame oil.

Stir in oyster sauce.

Next, add in rice and soy sauce.

Stir to mix rice in with chicken and vegetables.

Serves 6 to 8.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies are absolutely delicious but I do have a weakness for cookies in general, I mean who doesn't right?   The cream cheese in these cookies give a slight tangy flavor and makes these cookies soft in the middle, with nice crisp edges.   I also loved the dark chocolate chips in these cookies.  I have been non-stop cooking and baking with all this free time I have, so thank you government shutdown.  I never thought I would say that I can't wait to get back to work.  At least I can enjoy these awesome Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, room temperature (1 ½ sticks)
¼ cup cream cheese, room temperature (I used Neufchatel cheese.)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips.)


In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat butter, cream cheese, and sugars until light and fluffy.

Beat in vanilla and eggs.

Slowly add in flour mixture until combined.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Note:  It is best to allow cookie dough to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours or longer.   

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

Drop the cookie dough by tablespoonfuls, well apart, on baking sheets.  

Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Makes 3 dozen cookies. 

Buddy wanted a cookie too, but he's not allowed.  He likes to hang out in the kitchen when he knows I'm cooking or baking :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Easy Bolognese Sause

As you can tell by the title of this recipe, Easy Bolognese Sauce...it is actually easy!  What is great about this sauce is that you can make it ahead of time and freeze it in portions.  I made this on a Sunday morning and had enough sauce for 2 meals, shared some of it and then froze the rest.  I probably would have added in diced carrots and celery if I had any on hand when I made this, so I will do that next time and see if it tastes any different.  Serve this Easy Bolognese Sauce with your favorite pasta and you will have a quick, delicious, and filling meal.  I made mine with spaghetti and it was so good.  Enjoy!  

Easy Bolognese Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
½ cup red wine
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped (I used 2 basil cubes by Dorot.)


In a heavy pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add onions and sauté until soft about 5 to 7 minutes. 

Next, add in garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add ground beef to onions and garlic.  Cook until meat is no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and red chili flakes.

Stir in red wine and milk.

Cover and simmer on low for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Stir in basil about 10 minutes before end of cooking time. 

Serves 6 to 8.