Saturday, October 16, 2010

Easy pizza

This isn't as easy as warming up a frozen pizza, but it's not as hard as making the dough from scratch. The lovely Alicia introduced me to the concept of buying pre-made fresh pizza dough in the refrigerated case at the grocery store. Originally, we used it to make pizza on the grill. Because I can't remember exactly how we did it (do you remember, Alicia?) and because we ran out of gas for our grill, I baked mine in the oven last night.

The best thing about buying this dough is that the baking instructions are on the bag. The second best thing is that you can break off a small chunk for your toddler to play with while you make the pizza. The third best thing is that you can put on any topping you want. All I had to do is roll out the dough flat, stick it on a baking sheet, and pile on the toppings. Here is what I put on the pizza:

- spaghetti sauce (because I was out of "pizza sauce")
- shredded mozzarella
- shredded parmesan
- minced broccoli coleslaw (we gotta get Charlie Jo to eat veggies SOMEHOW)
- minced ham (ditto on the proteins)
- quartered artichoke hearts (on one half only, because that would have been a deal-breaker for CJ)

Then, I brushed the edges of the crust with olive oil and shook on a light dusting of seasoned salt and grated parmesan. That turned out great! Corey, Charlie Jo, and Peter all loved the pizza. It was healthier than delivery pizza, but much tastier than frozen. We're definitely doing this again!

Here are my sous chefs:

And here is our creation, pre-baking:

I forgot to take a picture once it was all done because we ate it too fast. I made sure to get it out of the oven when the crust was still light brown. I simply cannot abide overdone crust.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dump Cake

SO easy. Does this even count as a recipe?

1 box white or vanilla cake mix
2 cans canned fruit or fruit filling
(We use light cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple. Do not drain!)
2 sticks butter

Layer in a 9x13 in this order-
Fruit, dry cake mix, then butter slices.
Bake at 350 for an hour.

As you can see, this is the perfect recipe to try with little people. Charlotte and I split it, so we each used a square pan (8x8 or 9x9). She then took hers home to bake for her daddy. Peter was very impressed with her skills.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dover Sole Gratin with Broccoli and Leeks

I made this last night for dinner and my 22 month old loved it, as did my husband who is a self-confessed 'meat and 2 veggies' kind of guy. I guess I can put fish back on the menu rotation again!

6 dover sole fillets (it was just under a pound in total and to be honest it made a little too much so I actually managed to put some in the freezer too).
2 cups of broccoli florets
1 leek
1tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese (or any other cheese you feel like)

1. Start off by making the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour to it. Cook for a couple of minutes. Then add milk slowly to make a creamy consistency (usually between 1 and 2 cups - it's not an exact science), stirring all the time. The sauce will thicken as it comes to temperature. Add the cheese and stir until it is melted in. Cover with some kitchen paper and put to one side.

2. Next, roughly chop a leek, add boiling water and bring to a simmer for about 8 minutes. Drain and then blend to a smooth consistency. Add to the cheese sauce.

3. Whilst the leek is cooking, you could also cook the broccoli florets until just tender. Blend to a chunky consistency and put to one side until the fish is cooked.

4. Next cook the fish. You can put it under the broiler but I prefer to fry in a tiny bit of olive oil. 3 minutes each side is more than enough for small dover sole fillets.

5. Once cooked, place the fillets of fish side by side on a casserole dish. Spoon a thin layer of the broccoli puree over the top of each piece of fish. Then top off with the cheese sauce. Put under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the top of the sauce.

I served with baked potatoes but I think it would go nicely with wild rice or even pasta too. Super easy and dinner from start to finish took 20 minutes! My kind of cooking :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Update: Eggs in a Tomato improved!

Almost a month ago, I posted the Eggs in a Tomato recipe, and I mentioned the watery-ness problem. I requested ideas to fix the issue, and several people came up with some great fixes. Jennifer L. pointed out that the salt would draw out the moisture in the tomatoes, so perhaps nixing that would work. I cooked this recipe again tonight, and leaving out the salt WORKED!! Granted, we needed to add salt before we ate the eggs in tomatoes, but the texture and moisture was absolutely perfect. JLo, you rule!

Ham and Cheese Quiche---and freezer meals!

Hi all- It's been FOREVER since I posted. We had a beautiful summer here in the Midwest and I did not spend my time cooking! But alas, fall is here. And soon there will be several feet of snow on the ground. Ugh. So....time to hibernate!!!!

I came across an awesome cookbook at the grocery store the other day that I had to share with you. It's one of the Taste of Home ones, that you see at the check out line, and it's called Fall Freezer Meals. Every recipe in it looks WONDERFUL, and EASY, AND KID FRIENDLY (so far we have tried 2 and love them) and the best part is: the recipes are written so that you have one to eat, and one to freeze. It tells you how to cook it right away, as well as how to freeze the second and cook it later. I love it.

So below is the one we had last night. Another one is in the freezer for another time! I figure if I make 1-2 new recipes a week I'll have a freezer full in no time!

Ham and Cheese Quiche

2 pastry shells
2 cups diced fully cooked ham
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
4 eggs
2 cups half and half cream
1/2 teaspoon salt (you can omit this probably with all the ham---we thought it was a bit salty with it)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Line pastry shells with a double thickness of tinfoil, bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.

2. Divide ham, cheese, and onion between the shells. In a bowl, wisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Pour into shells. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Or cover edges with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

To use frozen quiche: Completely thaw in the refrigerator. Remove 30 minutes before baking, and bake as directed.

Okay, so with 2 cups of half and half, it's not the HEALTHIEST recipe!!!!! But you could probably tweak it and make it healthier? Would milk work instead?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS makes 12 muffins, with enough left over to fill a couple tiny ramekin-cakes.

  • 3/4 cup white sugar (I subbed equal amount of dark brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin ( I use at least a full cup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (1/2 a cup? You're wasting my time. Make it 1C)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
  2. Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

I first made these with regular chips. The kids asked for minis, which I made yesterday. The consensus? Back to regular, please. I also used rounded spoons of spices, as my kids like the taste of a little extra. Makes the house smell GREAT! I took a picture of these. Do I get partial credit?