Tag Archives: pizza

Quick Weeknight Meals

18 Jul

A new school year is just around the corner. I went into Walmart and picked up the kids supply list and it made me think of the busy year ahead. Everybody needs quick meals to make during a busy week. Here are a few of our favorites.

Spinach artichoke pasta

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

source: The Pioneer Women

Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 20 min.

Ingredients

6 Tablespoons Butter
4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
2 bags Baby Spinach
2 cans Artichoke Hearts, Drained And Halved
3 Tablespoons Flour
3 cups Milk
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1-1/2 cup Mozzarella Or Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
1/2 cup Chicken Broth (less Or More)
12 ounces, weight Penne, Cooked Until Al Dente
1/2 cup Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs
Crushed Red Pepper, To Taste

Directions:

 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot or skillet. Add garlic and throw in the spinach. Stir it around until it’s wilted, about 1 minute. Remove spinach from heat and set aside.

 

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same pot and raise the heat to high. Throw in the halved artichokes and stir it around until they get a little color, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the artichokes from the pot and set them aside.

 

Reduce the heat to low. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pot. When melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk until it’s combined. Pour in milk and whisk to combine. Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until starting to thicken. Add Parmesan, Mozzarella/Monterey Jack, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to melt, and if it’s overly thick, splash in chicken broth.

 

Add artichokes and pasta, tossing gently to combine. Gently fold in spinach, then pour the pasta into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with crushed red pepper flakes and plenty of Panko breadcrumbs for crunch.

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Pizza is one of our favorite meals to eat in this house. You can easily make the dough over the weekend. Split the pizza dough in two equal pieces. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag.

When you want to use the dough pull it out about an hour or so before you want to use it or the night before and place it in the refrigerator to defrost. Once defrosted make the pizza as you usually would. If you try and use the dough and its still frozen in the middle, just split it and let it sit out a few minutes more.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

A Punky original

I use this Pizza Dough recipe.

Ingredients:

A couple of cups of Leftover Chicken, Shredded

1/4 c Franks Red Hot

2TBS unsalted butter

Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 red onion, opitional

blue cheese crumbles, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500° with pizza stone place in the bottom half of the oven.

In a skillet over med heat, put franks red-hot sauce and butter in. Heat just until butter has melted. Add chicken and coat with buffalo sauce. Turn off heat and set aside. Press dough out into a pizza round. Dock center of pizza dough. With a slotted spoon remove chicken from skillet and place on pizza dough. You don’t want to use a lot of the sauce. If you do you will have soggy pizza. Top with Cheeses, and onions. Bake in a 500° oven for 8-10 minutes or until crust and cheese are golden brown.

 

asian noodle salad

 

Asian Noodle Salad and Egg rolls

original salad source: The Pioneer Women

I modified a bit for what I had on hand.

Egg rolls: A Punky original

Ingredients

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

1 package Linguine Noodles, Cooked, Rinsed, And Cooled
1 head Sliced Napa Cabbage (reserve half for egg rolls)
1 small head Sliced Purple Cabbage (reserve half for egg rolls)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Sliced Thin
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, Sliced Thin
1 bag Bean Sprouts (reserve half for egg rolls)
Handful of baby carrots,sliced thin (reserve half for egg rolls)

1 Chopped Cilantro, Up To 1 Bunch, To Taste
3 whole Scallions, Sliced (reserve some for the egg rolls)

_____
FOR THE DRESSING:
1 whole Lime, Juiced
8 Tablespoons Olive Oil
8 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons (up To 3 Tablespoons) Sesame Oil
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger Chopped
2 cloves Garlic, Chopped
2 whole Hot Peppers Or Jalapenos, Chopped
Chopped Cilantro

Preparation Instructions

 

Mix salad ingredients together. Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Mix with tongs or hands and serve on a platter.

Note: dressing keeps for up to three days before serving, without cilantro.

Egg Rolls

Ingredients:

1 pkg Egg Roll wraps

1 lb ground beef, pork, or turkey

the reserved vegetables from the salad

2 TBS soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

2 TBS cooking sherry

1 tsp ground or fresh ginger

2 TBS corn starch

1 TBS oil, to saute vegetables

oil for frying, at least a couple of inches worth

salt and pepper, to taste

little bowl of water, so that you can dip your fingers in to seal the egg rolls

Directions:

In a large skillet brown meat, when done browning drain off fat. Set meat aside. In a measuring cup or bowl mix soy sauce, sesame oil, cooking sherry, ginger and cornstarch. Mix well so that there are no lumps of corn starch.

In the same skillet add 1 TBS oil over medium/high heat. Once oil is hot add vegetables to the skillet. Saute vegetables for a couple of minutes. Add the meat back to the skillet. Pour sauce over meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper as needed. You wont need a lot of salt because of the soy sauce.  Warm for a minute or so. Turn off heat and set aside.

Pull out egg roll wraps from the refrigerator. Spoon 2-3 TBS of filling in the middle of the wrap and seal egg roll with a bit of water on your fingers. In a large heavy bottom pot over medium high heat add a couple of cups of oil, at least enough to go up the side of the egg rolls. Once oil is hot enough, about 350°, place only enough egg rolls in the pot seam side down being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry till golden brown and flip carefully. This doesn’t take very long. Once fried remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate.

This can be done ahead of time and you can freeze finished egg rolls. On the evening you want to eat them heat oven to 375° and bake for about 20 minutes or so.

eggrolls

 

 

Eggplant baked pasta

 

Eggplant Baked Pasta

a Punky Orginal

Ingredients:

5 TBS Extra virgin olive oil

1 eggplant, cut into cubes

1/2 box of mini penne pasta (or rotini, penne, ziti, or farfalle pasta)

1 small white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2-2 c. Mozzarella cheese

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Lightly spray a 13×9 baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

Turn on oven to broil.

In a large pot cook pasta according to package until pasta is al dente. Once done drain off water.

In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the diced eggplant and cook for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add onion, garlic and spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning to the pot. Simmer sauce for about 8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add cooked pasta and about half the cheese to the pot. Stir to combine. Pour pasta into the baking dish. Shred fresh Parmesan cheese and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Place in oven and broil just until cheese is nice and brown. Maybe about 5 minutes, watch carefully you don’t want burnt cheese.

Serve with garlic bread.

shrimp fra diavolo

 

Super Quick Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

as seen on my sisters blog.

Ingredients

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes *I used a 28oz can
1 cup dry white wine *I omitted this because I didn’t have any, you can use chicken broth or omit all together if you use a big can of tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves * I used about 1/2 dried Italian seasoning
3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions:

 

 Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat, add the red chili flakes to the oil. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, add the salt and toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with more salt, to taste, and serve.

 

Hope these recipes turn into your “go to” weekly recipes. I know they are ours. Happy eating.

Quick Weekend Dinners and Sewing

14 Oct

Just wanted to make a quick post and show you what I’ve been up too. I really should be sewing Christmas gifts but for those of you that know me personally you know that I tend to have Craft ADD ;). Anyway I made a peasant dress for my daughter this week using this tutorial. I was super easy to make and turned out super cute. Next time I make it I will be increasing the flare and making it long sleeves so that she can wear it this winter.

I also whipped up a cute skirt using a headband that I bought at WalMart for $1 and some orange polka dot fabric that I had in my stash.

For dinner this weekend I wanted something quick easy and good. Every weekend the kids request pizza but this week I decided to make pan pizza. So good and easy. The only problem is the pizza is limited to the size of cake pan that you have. I used a 9″ cake pan for one pizza and then I made a hand tossed pizza so that we would have extras for lunch the next day.

I used these recipe for the pizza dough and the sauce. The only change is that you oil your 9″ cake pan, I used extra virgin olive oil, and preheat your oven to 400°.  Stretch and press the dough into the pan covering the bottom and up the sides. Top with sauce and toppings and bake for 30-35 minutes.

On Saturday night we had BBQ Chicken Taquitos. These are so good. I tried the original but wasn’t impressed but once I found the BBQ version over at Pink Parsley I was hooked. You can use pork or chicken. I used leftover rotisserie chicken. I think it would be good with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving too.

 

 

 

Baked BBQ Pork Taquitos
inspired by these Baked Chicken Taquitos (which are from Our Best Bites)

3 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature (reduced-fat is fine)
1/3 cup bbq sauce1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (I omitted this, I didn’t have any on hand)
pinch red pepper flakes
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup diced onion
3 scallions, thinly sliced (I omitted this, I didn’t have any on hand)
2 Tbs minced fresh cilantro or parsley (I used a sprinkle of dried parsley, because I didn’t have either of these fresh on hand)
hot sauce (optional)
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked pork or chicken
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (I used Colby Jack)
8-10 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas (I used flour)
cooking spray ( I used Extra virgin olive oil spray)
Ranch Dressing and/or BBQ Sauce, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the bbq sauce, paprika, garlic powder, mustard, brown sugar, liquid smoke, chile powder, red pepper flakes, cilantro, scallions, onion, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.  Fold in the pork and cheese.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Add hot sauce if you like things spicy!

Take 8-10 (6-inch) flour tortillas, wrap them in plastic wrap and microwave for about 30 seconds, just to make them pliable.

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly.  Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown.  Serve with bbq sauce and ranch dressing for dipping.

Hope that everybody had a great weekend. Now I have to head back to my sewing room and get going on all the Christmas gifts that I have to make.

 

Every night should be pizza night!

15 Jun

I love pizza, and before we started make it at home I’m sure that we had spent a small fortune on pizza delivery. When we first got to Oklahoma it was hard to get by on one income. We were used to my paycheck. I was offered  a job back in November but once we calculated the pros and cons it just wasn’t worth it financially. My whole pay check would go straight to daycare for our three kids. So I made staying at home my job. One of my many responsibilities is to manage the finances. We used to eat out at least three times a week and you know what? I do not miss it at all. Once I found out how much money we were spending going out I could’ve hit myself. Plus I learned that there was more than just the benefit of saving money, the food tastes so much better when you make it at home. Yes it might take a little bit more time and effort but it’s totally worth it when I know that I made a delicious home cooked meal for my family and have a little extra cash in our pockets. One of the many things that I probably wont order out for again is Pizza.

The key to a good pizza is a pizza stone. A few months ago I found a pizza stone at Ross for $40. It’s one of my favorite things in my kitchen (one of my other favorites is my KitchenAid mixer that I got for Christmas from my husband, no more kneading pizza dough by hand). Before we got the stone I was baking our pizza on a round metal pizza pan with cornmeal as a pizza peel. The pizza was good but OH MY GOODNESS once I made Pizza on the stone we were hooked. We have pizza night at least once a week. I ask my husband and the kids if they are tired of pizza yet but they insist that I should make it more often.

I did try a couple of pizza dough and sauce recipes before I found the perfect ones.

 

Pizza Dough

Yield: enough dough for 2 pizzas

Ingredients:

½ cup warm water

2¼ tsp. instant yeast

4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting

1½ tsp. salt

1¼ cup water, at room temperature

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture.  With the mixer on low-speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil.  Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.  Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on low-speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.  (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.)  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.  Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal*.  Shape the dough with lightly floured hands.  Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil.  Top as desired.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

* I place a piece of parchment paper on my counter and shape the pizza on there. No need for cornmeal, just slide the parchment onto a pizza peel and transfer the whole thing to your warm pizza stone.

** If you don’t plan to use the dough right away, divide dough into 2 equal portions after it has risen. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and place each wrapped dough in a freezer safe bag. The day that you need to use the dough, remove it from the freezer and place it on the counter for a couple of hours or place in the refrigerator the morning of the day you plan to use it. It tastes just as good as the fresh dough.

Source: Baking Illustrated

Pizza Sauce:

1 (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. oregano

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.

I use a couple of big spoonfuls per pizza. There is plenty of sauce leftover, I put extra sauce in Ball freezer cups and place them in the freezer for future pizzas. We don’t like a very saucy pizza so we end up having enough sauce for at least 5 freezer cups.

 

 

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