Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pizza Party

Tonight I hosted my first pizza party. I believe it was a success. I tried to made pizza a few months ago... but to my dismay the dough didn't rise and it was nothing like I had expected it to be. I went out and bought a pizza stone and a paddle and I was totally going to be awesome at making pizza... or so I thought. Well, I didn't give up and last minute this afternoon I decided to throw a pizza party. I used a fail-proof dough recipe (In my head I was thinking, this will be embarrassing if a fail-proof recipe doesn't turn out.) I made 4 batches of pizza dough and they all turned out. The first batch I cut in half and used to make cheesy bread sticks for an appetizer while everyone was making their pizzas. Everything tasted great. 
The fail-proof recipe came from Lauren
Cheesy breadstick recipe:

1/2 recipe of fail-proof dough (recipe below)
2 tablespoons softened butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone inside.
Mix butter and garlic in a small bowl and set aside.
Spread the butter and garlic mixture over dough and top with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Top with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper, if desired.

Sara and Andy's pizza. Can you tell it's supposed to look like a skull?


Christy and Brett's pizza. I think the Canadian bacon and pineapple was a hit.

John and Crystal's pizza. They made a hidden pepperoni pizza. This was taken before it was cooked and before they topped it with cheese.

The Fail-proof dough recipe:
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one .25 oz packet)
1 tablespoon honey {or sugar}
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 cups bread flour {give or take 1/2 cup…depending on the heat & humidity}

In a large mixing bowl, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. This tells you that the yeast is alive and kicking. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix.

Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it it doesn’t stick to your hands. Then knead the dough for 6 minutes. (After kneading 4 pizza doughs my arms were tired.) The dough will become a little more firm by the time you reach the 6 minute mark. It should progressively get harder to knead.

Lightly grease the bowl & the dough so it doesn’t dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours. That’s it!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken Curry

My husband said this is the best Indian dish I've made. We had company over and we ate all of it. My girlfriend was a little skeptical to try it because she's never had curry before but she enjoyed it, at least I think she did because she had seconds. Even her picky 2 year old ate it. Now that's saying something.

The lighting in this picture is not very good. I used yellow saffron rice underneath the curry. It almost looks like scrambled eggs though.

My husband even ate it with his hands like he did when he lived in India. 

I got this recipe from Thegreatbalancingact

Crock Pot Chicken Curry: 

Cube and brown 4-6 chicken breasts in a pan.
Cube 2-4 medium sized potatoes, slice 2 small onions( I only used 1/2 of an onion and it was fine.), and add them to the slow cooker.( I would recommend adding the potatoes during the last 3-4 hours of cooking. They were a little too soft)
In a bowl, combine:
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp curry power
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Kashmir chili powder (or cayenne)
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste ( I had combined all the ingredients in the bowl and when I got to the tomato paste, I turned my cupboards upside down and did not find any. So, I used 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce instead. I think it would taste great either way though.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tortellini and Vegetable Bake

For all you vegetable lovers out there, this dish is for you. I felt so healthy after eating this. I usually don't put this many vegetables into one meal but my husband loved it. He was pushing around the tortellini and chicken to put the vegetables on his plate. That rarely happens! This is also a great dish for those of you who have gardens and don't know what to do with all of your vegetables. I wish I had a garden. Sadly, a garden isn't really possible in our apartment. Instead, we have grown an entire avocado family. If anyone is looking for an avocado tree to plant, let me know. They need good homes. Now on to what you've all been waiting for, the recipe.
This recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens

  • 10 ounces dried cheese-filled tortellini (2-1/2 cups) or two 9-ounce packages refrigerated tortellini
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, halved crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon margarine or butter
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh oregano or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese or light cream cheese (Neufchatel), cubed and softened
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small red or green sweet pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cook tortellini in boiling salted water according to package directions, adding the carrot during the last 5 minutes of cooking and the sugar snap peas during the last 1 minute of cooking; drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat margarine or butter in a 12-inch skillet. Add chicken and mushrooms, and cook about 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from skillet. I would recommend adding some salt and pepper to the chicken here when cooking it. The chicken had a lack of flavor in my opinion.
3. Shake together chicken broth, oregano, flour, garlic salt, and pepper in a screw-top jar until smooth. Add to skillet along with milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; add cream cheese. Cook and stir until cream cheese is smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice. Add pasta mixture, chicken mixture, tomatoes, and sweet pepper. Toss to coat. Turn into an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking dish or shallow 3-quart casserole.
4. Bake, covered, in a 350 degrees F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Stir mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Transport in an insulated carrier. Makes 12 main-dish servings. After sprinkling it with Parmesan cheese I put it in the broiler for 3 minutes to melt and slightly brown the cheese. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Artichoke Chicken

This dish was so delicious I should have doubled the recipe. I have been in an artichoke mood lately and this totally hit the spot. I got the recipe from All Recipes but I changed a few things. 
1 can quartered artichokes (14 oz) drained
3/4 cup graded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 dash garlic salt
4 (4oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

In a bowl, combine the artichokes, cheese, mayonnaise and garlic powder. Place chicken in a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Spread with artichoke mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. I salt and peppered the chicken breasts and dipped them in flour. Then I cooked them in a skillet with a little bit of oil until the chicken breasts were lightly browned on each side. Then I placed the in the bottom of a backing dish and placed the artichoke mixture on top.

I am going to be making this dish again very soon. I've been craving it ever since I made it. When that happens, then you know it's got to be good.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Southwest crock pot chicken

I love quick and easy dinners for those busy days. This recipe only has 5 ingredients and most of it I already had in my cupboard. I got this recipe from Larson Lingo

1 bag frozen chicken breasts ( I only used 4 breasts)
8oz block of cream cheese (do not use fat free)
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of corn, drained
1 can of Rotel
Put chicken in crock pot. Add the cream cheese, black beans, corn and Rotel. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. I cooked mine on high for two hours and low for 6 hours. The mixture didn't come out runny when I cooked it on high first. Then, I shredded the chicken in the crock pot and put the mixture on tortillas with lettuce and rice. It was a really quick, easy meal and the leftovers were even better the next day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I had spinach artichoke dip for lunch today. My days are so crazy. I eat breakfast and then go to work until about 2. Then I run errands and clean the house, and then all of a sudden it's too late to have lunch and too early to have dinner so I end up just having a little snack and waiting for my husband to get home to eat. So today, my snack was spinach artichoke dip. I had to put it away it was so addicting. This recipe is great as an appetizer or a snack food. I just reheat it throughout the week and dip either bread or chips in it.  The recipe is on All Recipes
Spincah Artichoke Dip


  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (can be substituted for sour cream- but if you use sour cream, cook about 10 mins longer)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (I used mozzarella cheese here)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt ( I love garlic. I used 1/2 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a small baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mushroom Chicken Piccata

Sunday meals are always a little interesting. In my family growing up, my mom would make a really big lunch around 3 pm and then that would serve as both lunch and dinner. Then later on that evening when we got hungry we would make some sort of desert such as cinnamon rolls, brownies, cookies, etc. So, when I got married, this is what I did. I planned a big dinner for Sunday afternoon when we got home from church and then that was it. But, my husband doesn't agree. He's one of those healthy people that doesn't think you can have brownies as a meal. Ok, I guess I agree. So tonight was one of those nights where I didn't want to make anything but I found this recipe online and I had mushrooms that were about to go bad. This recipe is pretty simple and only takes a few minutes to make. click here for more mushroom recipes.

Oh, and as a side note, I had to figure out what dry white wine meant.... I used to avoid recipes that said this because I wasn't sure what that meant. I'm actually a little ashamed to say that I've looked for a spice that says "dry white wine" a few times in the grocery store. Anyway, dry white wine means that it has less sugar. Most cheap white wines are dry. I use chardonnay. Some other good ones to use are: Riesling, Chenin Blanc, or Sauvignon Blanc.

Mushroom Chicken Piccata 

Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 minutes
Serves:  4

4 chicken cutlets (4 ounces each)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
12 ounces crimini mushrooms, quartered
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 lemon ( I didn't have lemons so I used about 1 Tbsp lemon juice- I would recommending about 1.5Tbsp)
2 tablespoons capers, with juice

Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil and warm briefly, then add chicken and cook until nicely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and cover.

In the same pan, warm the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add a single layer of mushrooms and cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms become red-brown on one side. Flip mushrooms, add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add wine and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Bring to a boil and add stock, then return heat until it is bubbling nicely. Slice 4 very thin slices of lemon and add to the pan along with the juice from half of the lemon. Add capers and continue cooking sauce till it becomes a glaze, about 2 more minutes. Add the chicken to the sauce and heat through, then serve.

199 Cals, 6g Fat, 2g Fiber

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cafe Rio pulled pork burrito- Enchilada Style

Tonight I braved Cafe Rio's pulled pork burrito's. I am always hesitant to invite company over for dinner when I haven't tried the recipe before but I did it anyway and they thought it was really yummy. I made 2 pounds of shredded pork and there was none left over. That's always a good sign. I used the recipe from Family Favorite Recipes. I put pulled pork, black beans and garlic and herb instant rice, from a box, inside the burrito. Then I rolled it up, poured green mild enchilada sauce on top, sprinkled some mozzarella cheese on top and put my burrito in the broiler for about 2 minutes. Everyone loved the enchilada style burritos. I think I'm going to make this again soon. Pictured below is the pulled pork in the crock pot. I like to use Reynold's crock pot bags. If you have not used them before, I would recommend using them. It makes cleaning the crock pot 10 times easier.You can get crock pot bags here.