Friday, February 29, 2008

Taco Salad

This is one of our favorites for a fast and easy dinner. The trick is with this to find how your family likes it best. Here is how I make it.

1 onion
5Tbs. (ish) minced garlic (I use pre minced garlic- but you can substitute powder to taste- but add after tomatoes)
one green pepper
1lb of ground beef (I use extra lean)
This is a good place to add extra veggies and grains also. I generally add chopped zucchini and quinoa.

When veggies are cooked through and beef is browned add:
2-3 cans of tomatoes
1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can of corn
taco seasoning to taste
simmer until it's cooked through

Serve over lettuce and chips and top with sour cream, cheese, guacamole and olives. I like to add ketchup to mine- which my husband finds disgusting, my kids like it with ranch, which I can't stomach. I like to make mine with lettuce on the bottom and then crush just a few chips on top for crunch without adding too many calories.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Breadsticks (twisty style)

We ate at a pizza place several months ago that had THE BEST breadsticks. I've fiddled around with a way to copy their recipe. I use my pizza crust dough- usually I make two pizzas and then use the rest of the dough to make breadsticks.

You'll need food safe dowels- I get them in the cake decorating aisle (of a craft store or Walmart).
I start soaking the dowels in warm water when I make my dough- so they soak for at least an hour while the dough rises and I make my crusts for pizza.

Then roll out pieces of dough into long 'snakes' as my kids call them, roll out all your dough so that the first ones are 'resting' while you roll out the rest, this will make the dough easier to roll onto your sticks.

Then wind them up around the soaked sticks and lay on a cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter and either sprinkle with garlic salt and basil, or brush with butter and then roll in a cinnamon and sugar mix. (Don't sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar- you'll end up with a burnt, smoky mess).

Here is the rolled out dough and the first couple of one's ready for the oven:
Here is a close up of the oven ready ones (before adding spices):
Here they are out of the oven :

Brush with butter as they come out of the oven while they're hot- this will keep them soft. Baking them on the sticks keeps them moist. They turn out fabulous (and eating them off the sticks is just fun).

And these are my lovely assistants/taste testers:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pizza Sauce

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1-2 tsp sugar

Spices to taste:

Mix all ingredients and heat to a low boil. Turn down and simmer until combined and the same consistency/texture throughout. You can run it through the blender for a smoother sauce.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pizza Crust

This is a recipe from a friend who used to own a pizza restaurant. My biggest problem with homemade pizza used to be the crust- it was always 'bready' and too often undercooked (gross!) So there are several secrets to this crust being fabulous.

2 Tbsp Yeast
2 Tbsp Sugar
2.5 Cups warm water
2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil
5-6 cups of flour

Mix all ingredients together- kneading until flour is incorporated. Let rise overnight for the dough that's easiest to handle- or let rise on counter until double in size. But you can make the dough up on Monday and not use it for several days if you want.

Press the dough out into circles (about 10 inches works well) and then rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and oregano. Par bake the crust in a pan on the stove until it bubbles and is golden brown (flipping to par bake both sides). Remove from pan before it's cooked all the way through. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings and put it in the oven (preheated to 500 degrees) directly on the rack until the cheese is melted.

The par baking and high temperature baking helps to avoid the soggy crust.