Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pizza Pockets

I was preparing this post and stumbled across this same idea, except to use homemade roll dough (mixed and kneaded in the bread machine). Since my bread machine is getting a workout these days, I am going to try that idea next week instead of the store-bought biscuits. You could also use ground beef/turkey and mix up the flavors - sloppy joe, Italian, etc.

Don't forget to visit Carol for more Saturday Stirrings recipes.

Pizza Pockets

Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 10 minutes
Yield: 10 pizza pockets

14 oz jar prepared pizza sauce
1 cup frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/2 cup 2% shredded 3-cheese mix
1/4 cup finely chopped pepperoni
2 cans (7.5 oz each) refrigerated biscuits
1 egg, slightly beaten with 1 tsp water

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Combine 1/2 cup pizza sauce, broccoli, cheese, and pepperoni, if using, in a medium bowl.

3. Flatten each biscuit into a 3-inch circle, and top half of each with a heaping tablespoon of broccoli mixture. Fold empty side over the mixture. Press the edges with a fork to seal.

4. Place pizza pockets on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush each with egg mixture, and pierce a small hole in the top of each. Bake 10 minutes, or until golden. Serve with remaining pizza sauce.

Per serving: 139 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 527 mg sodium, 24 mg cholesterol
(as seen in Parenting magazine, September 2007)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Four Foods on Friday - Baking

Thanks to Val for hosting this fun meme every week! Here are this week’s four questions. This week they’re about baking.

#1. When you need to serve desserts, do you buy them or make them? Because I have such a sweet tooth, I prefer to make my own desserts. I will buy cookies occasionally in I'm in a time crunch.

#2. When baking do you use butter, margarine or something else? I try to use what the recipe calls for. I like to use butter for the rich taste, but margarine gives a crispier texture.

#3. What meats or veggies do you cook in the oven? I love to roast veggies in the oven; I've even roasted spaghetti squash (one of my faves!). We eat a lot of baked chicken too.

#4. Share a recipe for anything that is cooked in an oven. This muffin recipe makes A LOT. I usually make 3 dozen regular size muffins and 4-5 dozen mini muffins with one batch. And I love all the variations. These are the carrot/raisin muffins.

Master Muffin Recipe - from my friends at The Duckabush Blog

* 5 cups flour (use up to two cups whole wheat, crushed cereal, or packed rolled oats if desired)
*2 to 2 1/2 cups sugar (experiment with the amount - can also vary types of sugar used)
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 Tbs.(3 tsp) baking powder
* 2 cups buttermilk (you can use part yogurt for the milk)
* 1 c. oil or melted butter (or substitute 1/2 cup apple sauce for half the oil)
* 3 eggs

Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to blend. Place wet ingredients (oil, eggs, milk) in blender and blend well.

Make a well in dry ingredients in bowl, add wet mix from blender and pour into well. Stir gently to mix, add fruit and fold and stir in. Do not beat, batter should be a bit lumpy. Over stirring muffins makes them tough.

This will make 24 to 30 muffins depending on size of pans. Grease muffin pans or use muffin liners fill almost to the top and sprinkle with any of the following: sugar, cinn. sugar, chopped nuts and sugar, coconut, rolled oats and sugar etc.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 min. Cool on racks. Freeze these in Ziplocs for quick breakfasts or easy snacks.

The wonderful thing about this Master Mix recipe is it comes with an amazing list of add in possibilities. Here are the muffin variations:

Apple cinnamon: Use 3 - 4 apples (just peel and cut in chunks and throw in blender with wet ingredients, don’t over process, or chop by hand), 2 tsp cinn. and 1 cup chopped pecans.

Apple raisin - same as above but add 1 cup raisins (plump first by covering with liquid and nuking for a couple minutes. Kathy likes to use part rolled oats with the apple muffins and sprinkle the tops with a little oatmeal and sugar. )

Carrot raisin - same as above but use 5 or 6 carrots chopped in blender with wet ingredients instead of apple. Add 1 cup chopped nuts if desired.

Carrot raisin pineapple - Same as above but add one large can crushed pineapple and reduce milk to 1 1/2 cups.

Strawberry - cut up 3 cups strawberries and mix in Strawberry/White Chocolate, same as above, but add 1 cup white choc pieces

Strawberry pecan - same but add 1 cup chopped pecans

Tollhouse - add 2 cup choc chips (1 12 oz bag), 1 cup chopped nuts, walnuts or pecans, use brown sugar and add 2 tsp vanilla.

Banana - Reduce milk to 1 cup - add 5 or 6 bananas to blender - add 2 tsp vanilla and 1 cup nuts

Banana/Strawberry 1- Same as above but fold into batter, 2 cups cut up strawberries.

Banana/Strawberry 2 - Add 1 cup strawberries to the blender with 4 or 5 bananas. Stir 2 cups of cut up strawberries into batter.

Banana/Strawberry 3 - Follow either banana or banana strawberry 1, but add 1 pkg strawberry jello to wet ingredients.

Banana Choc chip - same as above but add 2 cups mini chips and 1 cup nuts if desired.

Blueberry /Orange - Peel the orange skin off one orange in very thin pieces using a potato peeler and put in the blender with the other wet ingredients. Remove the white peel remaining on the orange and cut orange into 4 or 5 chunks. Pick out the seeds and put the chunks in the blender. add the remaining wet ingredients reducing milk to 1 3/4 cups, if you are using regular milk do not add lemon juice. Blend well. Proceed as directed stirring in 2 1/2 to 3 cups blueberries.

Cranberry Orange - Same as above (no blueberries) except add 1 1/2 dried cranberries (plumped in microwave by covering with liquid and nuking for a couple minutes). Can also add 1 cup chopped nuts

Orange Pineapple - Same as above (no blueberries) but add 1 large can of crushed pineapple and reduce milk to 1 1/2 cups.

Hawaiian - Same as above but add 1 cup coconut - sprinkle tops with a little coconut.

Peanut Butter and Jelly - This is for the kids, into blender container put milk, 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky, you can add extra chopped peanuts if you like) and only 1/3 cup oil. Use 4 eggs and mix as usual. Fill muffin tins 1/2 full and put 1 tsp jam or jelly in center of each cup. Fill with batter almost to top and bake as usual. Chopped peanuts sprinkled on top is a nice touch.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread

I have been making our bread for the last month or so. And I've been looking for good bread machine recipes. I haven't tried this yet, but will later this week. Here is my standard wheat bread recipe. (Can't remember where I found this recipe, so I don't know who to give credit to.)

If this tempts your tummy, head on over for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread

Add the ingredients as they are printed into the bread machine pan.

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups water (add more if dough is too dry in 1 tbs increments)
3 TBS butter
1/3 cup honey
2 TSP salt
1 1/2 cups white bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 TSP active dry yeast

Place all the ingredients in the pan, using the least amount of liquid and adding more if needed, as seen below. Select Medium Crust and press start.

Observe the dough as it kneads. After 5 to 10 minutes, if it appears dry or stiff, or if the machine sounds like it's straining to knead it, add more liquid 1 TBS at a time until dough forms a smooth, soft, pliable ball that is slightly tacky to the touch.

After the baking cycle ends, remove bread from pan, place on cooling rack, and allow to cool 1 hour before slicing.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

Are you being over-run with zucchini? Here's another idea of a yummy dish. I found this on Dawn's Daily Life.

Don't forget to check out I Throw Like a Girl for more Saturday Stirrings recipes.

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (15 ounces) Italian Style tomato sauce
1 medium green pepper, chopped

Place zucchini in strainer; sprinkle with salt. Let drain for 10 minutes. Squeeze out moisture. Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cheddar and 1/2 mozzarella cheese. Press into a greased 9x13x2 inch baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over baked zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses and green pepper. Bake for 20 more minutes.
Makes 6-8 servings

Friday, July 18, 2008

Four Foods on Friday - The Sniff Test

Time for FFOF hosted by Fun, Crafts, and Recipes. Today's theme is all about your sniffer!

#1. Fruits and veggies. Do you prefer them peeled or not? I prefer them unpeeled, because the peels have tons of great nutrients and fiber. We all need our fiber, don't we?

#2. What’s your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable smell? My favorite fresh fruit smell is peaches! And they're in season now! (Fresh strawberries are a very close second.)

#3. What’s the worst food smell you’ve ever smelled? It would have to be a dish that I smelled while in Japan in 1993. I was a short-term missionary, didn't speak much Japanese, and a lot of people I met were very eager to share their favorite dishes with me. I liked a lot of the things I ate, but a few did make me a little green.

#4. Share the recipe for the dish that you love to smell cooking in your oven. Since I have such a sweet tooth, and I love cookies, I'll share my snickerdoodle recipe.

1 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups self-rising flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1.Mix the cinnamon with the sugar in a bowl and set aside.
2.Mix the margarine, sugar and eggs.
3.Add the dry ingredients and form small balls.
4.Roll the balls in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
5.Place on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart (they spread as they bake).
6.Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 F.
7.Remove from the tray immediately.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Crockpot Mac-n-Cheese

Stephanie, the Crockpot Lady, had this posted on her blog. You do read her blog, don't you?

The original recipe called for 2 eggs, which I used the first time I made this recipe. It definitely makes it more souffle-like. This week, I only used one egg. It is definitely creamier. So use 1 or 2 eggs, whichever you prefer! It was yummy to me both ways!

You can customize your cheese blend as well. I have used all cheddar, or a combination of cheddar and velveeta. You could also try cheddar and gouda or something fancy like that. In my opinion, you definitely need to have cheddar as part of the equation. Experiment! Have fun!

For more Saturday Stirrings recipes, visit Carol at I Throw Like a Girl!

Crockpot Mac-n-Cheese

--1/2 pound macaroni or hearty pasta
--4 cups of milk
--1 egg
--4 cups cheese
--1/2 t kosher salt
--1/2 t black pepper
--1 T dried mustard

The Directions. Spray crock well with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, whip egg and milk together. Stir in spices. Add cheese and noodles, and stir well to combine. Pour the mixture into the crockpot.It will be very liquidy.Cover and cook on low for 2-5 hours, or on high for 1-3. The cooking time will vary depending on what size crockpot you are using, and how quickly it heats and cooks.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Crockpot Chicken n Dumplins

Well, that's how I say it! I have to admit that last week was the first time I had tried to make chicken n dumplins all by myself. This is more of a southern dish, so I didn't have this growing up. I've always enjoyed chicken n dumplins when someone else made it.

I found this VERY easy crockpot version of chicken n dumplins, and Hubby RAVED! He has requested that I make this OFTEN! So I think that qualifies it for "Family Favorite" status.

Don't forget to check out Pam's Random Thoughts for more Random Recipes!

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

Put frozen chicken breasts into crock pot.
Add 2 cans of chicken broth. (I did add a bay leaf and some Lawry's Seasoning Salt as well.)
Cover and simmer on low for 8 hrs or high for 6 hrs.

Twenty minutes before dinnertime, turn crockpot to high and mix 2 cups Bisquick mix and 2/3 cup milk. Drop by small spoonfuls into broth. Cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. (I took the lid off for a few minutes before serving.)

The dumplings are doughy and squishy, which is just the way that Hubby likes it! Serve with a salad or other veggie.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Four Foods on Friday

I've missed a few weeks of FFOF, but I wanted to jump back in. This is a fun meme - thanks to Val at Fun, Crafts, and Recipes for hosting!

#1. Name your biggest cooking influence. Definitely my mom! And thru her, my grandma who was a farm wife with a very simple approach to cooking.

#2. What is your ultimate comfort food? My mom's potato dumplings. There isn't a recipe that she follows - it's in her head. And every time I try to write it down from memory, I leave something out. If I try to make dumplings myself, I inevitably have to call her ask for help!

It's similar to this recipe that I found on Yahoo Answers: (We leave out the nutmeg, then finish them by sauteing with butter and onions and melting American Cheese on top. Also, we don't work the dough, we just drop them by spoonfuls into boiling water.)
900 g (2 lb) potatoes
300 g (10 1/2 oz) white flour
1 egg
A pinch of nutmeg

Cook the potatoes in plenty of salted water or steam them; peel and press them through a sieve while still hot (or you could use a mouli legumes).Mix them with the flour, the egg, a pinch of salt and a pinch of nutmeg on a lightly floured work surface. Work the dough at length.If there is too much flour in the dough, the dumplings will be hard. If you put too much potato, they will disintegrate in the saucepan. The doses in this recipe are indicative, seeing that the balance depends on the "flouriness" of the potatoes, their absorbency capacity and the quality of the flour used.Let the dough rest for a quarter of an hour. Then roll it into long fingers and divide them into cylinders about an inch long.Dust lightly with flour and, with your thumb, press them gently, one by one, along the back of a grater or a fork.Arrange them on lightly floured dishes without putting one on another one.Cook in plenty of salted boiling water. They are cooked as soon as they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon.Dress them at once as you wish.

#3. Name one must have tool that you think every kitchen should have. A crockpot. They're not just for keeping your food warm! Yes, you can COOK food in your crockpot!

#4. Share a time saving tip. Because I have a 13 month old woddler (baby-toddler) and the fact that I love to bake cookies, I often make bar cookies. It saves on the time of scooping the dough onto the cookie sheet and shuffling multiple cookie sheets in and out of the oven. I love making oatmeal bar cookies - almost like a chewy granola bar!

Happy 4th of July everyone!