Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pizza Night

Every Friday night at my house is (homemade) pizza night. Period. So even with the oven out of commission, nothing was going to stop me from enjoying this (albeit new) tradition. But the task was not a difficult one, as a toaster oven is just a teeny, tiny, tabletop oven…right? Whatever the toppings, the crust is always the same. I found this recipe a few months back and absolutely love it. Made as it, it is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside and rises to heights that put some chain pizza restaurants to shame. I say “made as is” because I no longer make it as is. I am real big on whole wheat, so I simply replace the all purpose flour with whole wheat. I started doing half and half, then slowly whittled the ratio down until I was brave enough to try it all whole wheat. This crust still is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, but it doesn’t rise as much and has a nutty flavor to it. But that is to be expected. I still love it, though (I love whole wheat), and will continue to make it this way. I've included three pizzas in this post, a calzone, southwestern chicken, and oreo. There are no recipes, just a description of what I did.

For the calzone, I rolled my balls of dough out, topped half with cheese and turkey pepperoni and put some green pepper on one side for Justin (because I could only cook one at a time and neither of us was waiting to eat), folded the empty side over, and crimped the two sides together. I dipped mine in pizza sauce while Justin ate his without.

The next weekend I decided to make a southwestern chicken pizza. I first took a chicken breast and cut it into bite size pieces. I then sprinkled them with a little cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes before grilling. For the sauce, I (not all the way) drained a can of black beans and put it in the food processor with the same spices. When it was to the sauce consistency I like, I spread a little over a prebaked crust (which I had sprinkled with a little garlic powder and red pepper flakes before baking). I topped with a little cheese, the chicken, then a little more cheese. I baked it for about 15 minutes on 400.

I'm sure by now everyone has seen the commercial for Domino's new Oreo Pizza. If you can get past the disgustin Oreo beards on the actors, you see nothing but a glorious crust filled with crushed Oreos. When I first saw it I thought "that's my kind of pizza!" So tonight, though I have never had one, I decided that was going to be our dessert to go with the chicken pizza. I prebaked that same white pizza dough (I know, I know I said I use whole wheat, but I didn't think the Oreos would taste very well on ww dough) and topped with cream cheese frosting. I then crushed about 10-15 oreos and piled them on the crust, after which I drizzled with a powdered sugar/milk glaze. I put it in the ove just to warm everything, since the crust was already baked, for about 8 minutes. It also gave the powdered sugar and the oreos a little chance to brown, so it was really yummy. I will definitely be making this again (though not on a reguar basis because look at the sugar on that!).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Zucchini Chicken for one

I don't think I have ever had zucchini before (well, except in zucchini bread, but that doesn't count). But that didn't stop me from getting a big craving for it when I saw it in at the farmer's market. So of course I had to buy a big, beautiful one. It sat in my fridge a couple days before I actually figured out what I was going to do with it. I had seen this recipe on awhile back, so I figured this would be easy enough for me to whip up on a weeknight. Below is the recipe how I made it. Keep in mind that I made just enough for me.

Zucchini Chicken
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs plus 2 tsp
  • 1 teaspoon parmesan cheese
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, sliced (I actually used three slices cut on a bias)
  • 1 slice of tomato
  • 2 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Mix 1/4 cup bread crumbs with pepper and parm cheese. Coat chicken in buttermilk, then breadcrumb mixture.

In skillet, brown chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Saute zucchini slices until they begin to brown.

In a greased baking dish or pan, lay down zucchini slices down and sprinkle with leftover bread crumbs and tbsp of cheese. Layer tomato slice, then chicken. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes (I of course baked it in the toaster oven at 350 for about 30 minutes), then sprinkle with remaining cheese and cook for 10 minutes more to melt cheese.

I served this with brown rice mixed with little slices of sauteed zucchini.

The whole time I was putting this together I was talking to Justin on the phone, and I kept asking him if he liked zucchini. And if I like zucchini. And what did zucchini taste like. Turns out he's never had it either. Too bad he wasn't home to try it, because it was really good! I think I like zucchini now, but I can't really describe how it tasted in this. The chicken, though, was really moist and had a lot of flavor to not have a lot of ingredients. The only thing I didn't like was the tomato. But then again, I'm not very fond of tomatoes. But I will say that it added a nice sweetness to the dish that wasn't bad when eaten with both the zucchini and the chicken.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Salmon Patties

If I had to make a list of my all time favorite meals, this one would be right up there near the top. It is so simple, but I have always loved salmon patties! They are just so comforting. I would request it for my birthday dinner, when I came home from college, and it was even the meal I requested the first time Justin cooked for me.

Another reason I like salmon patties, atleast when it comes to me making them, is that they are so easy! And as we all know, I like easy meals!

Salmon Patties
  • 1 can pink salmon, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt & pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and form into 6 patties.
At this point I would normally pan fry in a little bit of oil, but this last time I just sprayed the pan with Pam and cooked them until golden brown without any extra oil. Each side took about 5-7 minutes.
I actually cooked half of the batter for me, then added a small chopped onion in the rest for Justin.

These must always be served with the same thing : macaroni and cheese and french style green beans. I served mac 'n cheese this time, but I never have canned vegetables, so I served it with steamed broccoli.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sugar Rush

So I needed some sugar therapy this afternoon and wanted to bake something. Of course, I was too lazy to make anything difficult. So I decided on the easiest cookie I know - 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies. I have been making these since I was little and never make any other peanut butter recipe because they are so simple and tasty. But today I decided to change them up a bit - I made them in to chocolate chip peanut butter s'more cookies.

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of sugar (I used brown because that is all I had)
  • 1 cup peanut butter

Mix ingredients together. I added in a handful of chocolate chips this time. Roll into balls, flatten slightly, and bake for 8 minutes at 350. Of course, in the toaster oven they take more like 14 minutes :)

Now for the s'more filling. I'm not exactly sure how much filling is needed for this recipe because it makes a small batch, so I am going to tell you how I normally make it for a normal batch (I usually do this with chocolate chip cookies). The directions might not be the clearest, but it is the easiest way I can think to explain.

S'more Filling

  • 1 jar of marshmallow fluff
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar, plus more

Mix marshmallow fluff with sugar, then dump out on counter sprinkled with powdered sugar. Knead in more sugar until you get a smooth consistency. Pinch off pieces and roll into balls, size is up to you, then sandwich between two cookies.

Let me just tell you - these were sweet. But so good! And since I ate it hot out of the oven, it was practically melting as I ate it. Yay for ooey gooey cookies! I made mine a little on the large size, so one was just enough for me. Oh - and you might want to try these with a large glass of milk to wash them down :)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

No stove? No problem.

Who needs a stove? I don't. When I decided I wanted tacos, I made tacos. Forget the stove top skillet. I have an electric griddle, and that is all I need.

The griddle actually worked reallly well to brown the meat. There is a well at the bottom that has a hole right in the center, so I was able to just tip the griddle, and all the fat went down to the well, in the little hole, and into the box underneath.

The I started wondering what I should do about the step where I add the seasonings and water to the pan? Then the lightbulb went off in my head and I decided that I should put the meat, seasonings, and water in a bowl with the water and microwave it. Let me just tell you it didn't work. So I just gave up and poured it back on the griddle. Luckily the griddle was still pretty hot so the water just cooked off pretty fast.

But regardless of the different cooking method, my tacos turned out fine. But then, how can you mess up tacos?
I don't use the little packets of seasonings, but rather the recipe Taco Seasoning I from, minus the paprika and salt. I use half the amounts for a half pound of turkey.


So Friday morning I decide I am going to make french toast with cherry sauce. I put the cherries in a saucepan with a little water and wait for them to heat up while I gather everything else I need. A few minutes later I realize they pretty much still look the same (they were frozen, by the way) so give them a few more minutes. About ten minutes after I turned on the burner, I realize the cherries are not warm. At all. In fact, my burner is now ice cold from the cherries. We tried the fuses. Nothing. Everything else is still working. The next day my uncle came to check it out, and it seems the wall outlet the stove is plugged into isn't getting all the power it needs. So until we get an electrician out here, it is no stove/oven for me.

But for some strange reason it isn't bothering me. My mother, on the other hand, is worried to death that we're going to starve or something. Believe me, that isn't going to happen. I'm actually looking at it as a little adventure to see what all I can make on my array of small applinces.
So, what about the french toast you ask? I just baked my french toast in the toaster oven. Then came lunch later that day. But my plans for lunch were not hindered, as Rachael Ray's Rosemary Corn Cakes with Prosciutto and Chicken Sausages with Hot and Sweet Peppers do not require a stove. I simply used my toaster oven to cook the sausage (I use hot italian turkey sausage), which took about 15 minutes for two. And I used my electric griddle to cook the corn cakes and peppers (I just use green bell peppers by the way). The only problem I have with this recipe is that if you add all the milk, the batter is really runny. I would cut it back some, if not all, of it. I've actuallr forgotten the milk before when making it and it was fine.