Thursday, March 13, 2008

Caprese Pizza

Using Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough as a base I chose the ingredients of fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and roma tomatoes. I was given a gift of a pizza stone/oven from a "secret pal" her blog is blonde ambition in the kitchen . You can use this on the grill or the oven. For this pizza I used the oven.

Comments: I have had trouble with this dough in the past and will not be buying it again. It is picky dough and can be "damaged" too easily. Pizza dough is better homemade and pretty easy. So I will stick with homemade. But the ingredients can't be beat

Cumin-Coriander Roasted Potatoes

One of my best side dishes by far is oven roasted potatoes. This is my go-to side dish with company often. It is simple to prepare and goes over great. As mentioned before I am still learning the intricacies of herbs and spices. I am starting to understand the flavors of cumin and coriander more and decided to try them on my roasted potatoes.
I made these a week or more ago so the amounts are a little from memory.

3 medium yellow potatoes, diced small
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
2Tbs Olive Oil (drizzled over top and then stirred all together)

Roast in a 425 degree oven for 60 minutes or longer to get desired crispness. Make sure you stir a few times through out the cooking process.

Stuffed Tilapia

I was inspired by the author of the blog Elly Says Opa.
She was discussing doing a flank steak stuffed with goat cheese and tomato. So in my search for "what to do with my tilapia"? I decided to put my take on the idea. I personally can't stand goat cheese. But did have fresh mozzarella and fresh basil in the fridge. So this is what I came up with.
I did a tapenade/pesto type stuffing with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes by running the ingredients through the food processor. I had butterfly tilapia filets, which made for easy stuffing (just fold it over). I sprinkled the tilapia with dry bread crumbs and baked for about 15 minutes at 350.

Comments: This turned out so good. I haven't been digging tilapia much lately, so this really brought me back to "team tilapia".

Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Brownies

So what makes basic brownies better?? How about more chocolate and peanut butter!!

Baker's One Bowl Brownies With a Twist
This is the recipe I used, modified slightly. Since I was adding sweetened peanut butter I reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup and did not add any nuts.

4 Squares of unsweetened baking chocolate
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Flour
3/4 Cup of Semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 Cup Peanut Butter (warmed slightly in the microwave)

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease a 13" x 9" with cooking spray.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and chocolate chips and mix well. Pour into baking pan. Drizzle the peanut butter over the brownie mix and take a knife and spread side to side to swirl the peanut butter.

BAKE 30 to 35 min.


Comments: The next time I make these I will mix the peanut butter in completely. I think they will stand up better. But the results with these are still VERY good.

Beef Barley Meets Wedding Soup

So I had some ground beef out thawing. I wasn't sure of the way I would go. I wasn't interested in a pasta and meatloaf just wasn't cutting it for me. So I starting thinking of beef barley combos. Most of the beef barley soups use stewing beef and not ground beef. I didn't want a chili type dish either. So I thought that making a barley soup and using the idea of wedding soup, with mini-meatballs would be the best way to go.

1.5 lbs of Ground Beef (I only get super lean)
Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 egg (beaten)

Mix all together and form into mini-meatballs and set aside

All soups I make (and most people make) start this way

1Tbs Butter, 1 Tbs Olive Oil
Add the butter and oil to a heated dutch oven (medium-high heat)

1 1/2 Cups of Diced Onion (I used a red onion)
1 Cup Diced Celery
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 Cup Diced Carrot

Add the onion and simmer for a minute or so and then add the celery. Let these cook for about 5 minutes. Add the S&P, Garlic and Carrots and sautee everything for about 10-15 minutes.

6 Cups of Chicken Broth
1 Cup of Water
1 Cup of Pearl Barley

Add the above ingredients and let the soup come to a little boil and simmer for about 45 minutes.

I am still learning how to use spices. So I added the following in various amounts until it achieved the right flavor.

Dried Basil, Salt and Pepper, Penzey's Italian Herb mix

Heat a large skillet with 1 Tbs Canola Oil
Cook the meatballs until lightly browned.
Add the meatballs to the soup and cook another 10-15 minutes.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Master Baker Challenge: Cinnamon

The "What's Cooking" Board on the Nest provides a ton of inspiration for cooking/baking. Many of the ladies on the board have amazing food blogs. There seems to be many blog challenges being posted lately. I found out about this one on the board as well as the other two I participated in this week.
Master Baker Challenge: Cinnamon

So the ingredient is cinnamon and the challenge is to make something with cinnamon. I was baking cookies this weekend and decided to do one of my favorites. There aren't many recipes that beat this classic. I doubled the recipe and added extra vanilla and cinnamon because I love the flavors of both.

Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups Quaker Oats

1 cup raisins (I always use golden raisins)

I baked on Convection Setting 350 for 15 minutes

Caprese Quiche with Mashed Potato Crust

What to do with leftover mashed potatoes? I was thinking something along the lines of hashbrowns. I decided to make a pie crust out of the mashed potatoes and then make a quiche. I had some small campari tomatoes so I thought those would be good.

1. Spread the leftover mashed potatoes into a 9" greased pie plate. Bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes until it forms slightly brown edges.

Reduce heat to 350

2. Place sliced tomatoes on the potato crust.
3. Pour egg mixture over the tomatoes.
4. Sprinkle with dried basil.
5. Lay sliced mozzarella slices over the top.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until set.