Friday, May 28, 2010

Way Better Than Frozen Pizza

Frozen pizza is gross and I don't know why anyone eats it.  Sure it's convenient, but it's not cheap and it's full of preservatives and who knows what.  This pizza here is cheaper, healthier, tastes better and is ready in the same amount of time it takes to go to the store and buy that frozen crap.  It might be even quicker than that.  Here's how its done.

To make the dough, throw together your flour, baking powder and salt. You can use whatever flour you like.  I often use a mixture of whole wheat and rye.  Add in any seasonings you may want if you want them.  Add in the water and oil and mix it until it's a nice soft dough. This takes about two to three minutes.  It may look shaggy at first like it's not coming together, it will.  Do not add more water.

This dough is super soft and rolls like butter.  Check those rolling skills I have, that circle is awesome.  This dough has garlic and basil in it.

Add whatever toppings float your boat.  This has sauce and cheese, mushrooms, red pepper, red onion, tomatoes and black olives.  I added garlic and Italian seasoning on top.

Pop this in the oven for 20 minutes, then 5 minutes under the broiler if you like.

Om nom nom. 

Super Quick Pizza Dough
2 Cup Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cup Warm Water
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Preheat oven 400F/200C
Combine dry ingredients, as well as any desired additional seasonings.  Add wet ingredients, mix until soft dough forms, 2-3 minutes.  (This step make take longer if you are doing it by hand, that's fine don't worry.)
Roll the dough out into whatever shape you would like.  Top and bake for 20 minutes.  Broil 5 minutes to finish it off.
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Donut Muffins

 If you walk downhill for a really long time, you will come to find that you have ass muscles you never knew existed and they will hurt like a bitch.  I found this out yesterday when I woke up and was walking like a bent over old man cause it hurt to stand up.  While I sat around feeling sorry for myself I decided sugar would make me feel better.  Donuts make me happy.  Donuts also make me really fat.  So here is the perfect solution.

Donut Muffins.  Muffins made from donut batter.  Pure awesome.  This recipe came once again from Hillbilly Housewife.  Seriously you guys if you haven't checked her site out please do.  It's full of so much awesome information and ideas, she's taught me a lot of what I know.  Her and my Momma.

Putting this batter together couldn't be simpler.  Combine your shortening and sugar, or in my case oil and sugar.  Add in your egg and mix that well.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and let her rip.   Put that in your greased or lined regular sized muffin tin. Or, fill up a mini muffin tin for cute little donut bites like I did.  The easiest and most mess free way to do this is to use a piping bag, like so:

I even used the star tip cause I'm fancy.  Actually I'm just really lazy and didn't feel like looking for the regular circle tip...

Now, at this point you can put some sugar or cinnamon or both on top before you bake them, do whatever floats your boat.  Stick them in the oven, 12 -14 minutes.

While they are baking, mix together your powdered sugar and cinnamon, melt yourself some butter.  As soon as these babies are done, pop them out of the pan and brush them with butter.  You could use spray butter if you want, that might even be better.  Throw them in a bag with the powdered sugar and shake it up real good.

And there you go, a powdered donut muffin.  But ya know what?  I say powdered donuts suck if they aren't filled with strawberry jelly.  The easiest way to do this is to just pipe it in from the bottom.  Make sure you do it after you powder them.

These are so good.  I ate like 5 of them and took a nap. It was so worth it.

Donut Muffins recipe adapted from Hillbilly Housewife
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 1/2 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
3/4 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
4 Tablespoon Butter, Melted
Jelly, any flavor (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F/175C

Combine Oil and Sugar.  Add egg and whisk until smooth.  Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Grease or line Muffin or Mini Muffin tin.  Fill cups 2/3 full, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar if you want to. 

Bake 25 minutes for full sized muffins, 12-14 minutes for mini muffins.  Remove from pan immediately and brush with butter.  Combine Powdered Sugar and Cinnamon in a large plastic bag.  Add muffins to sugar mixture and shake until coated.  Fill with Jelly if desired.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Granola Bars

I'm going hiking tomorrow and this is the perfect thing for me to bring.  I need to eat pretty often and bringing a backpack full of food makes me feel like a heffer and I don't want to carry it anyway.  These are compact, full of super good stuff to keep me going and are low enough in sugar per bar that I won't be taking a nap on a rock somewhere.  They are super yummy and I've had to remove them so I don't keep eating them and regret it. This recipe is tailored specifically for my benefit, so if you make it feel free to remove or add what you would like.  Here's how it's done.

First things first, toast your hazelnuts.  Put them in a dry pan on medium heat until the skins crack like you see there.  Once they crack, put them on a dish towel and give them a good rub to remove the skins.  Toast the sesame seeds too while you're at it.

 Put the hazelnuts in a bag and take a hammer to them.  You could use less violent methods, but this one was quite therapeutic for me.

Combine your dry ingredients, as well as the nuts and fruit.  Then combine your wet ingredients separately and add them to the dry.  Mix really well to fully coat everything.

 If you want thicker bars like mine, smoosh all of the granola mixture into a greased 9x13 pan.  If you want thinner, less chewy bars, press the mixture into a rimmed cookie sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let them cool completely.  Remove from the pan and cut or break into bars.  Resist the urge to eat the entire pan.

They are so, so good.

Granola Bars - My Adapted Recipe
1 1/2 Cups Muesli
1 Cup Quick Oats
3/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Dry Milk Powder
1/4 Cup Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Raisins
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Hazelnuts, Toasted and Crushed
1/4 Cup Sesame Seeds, Toasted
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Low Carb Honey 
1 Egg
1 1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract

Preheat oven to 350F/175C

Line a 9x13 baking dish or cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.

Toast hazelnuts and sesame seeds.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, muesli, flour, dry milk, protein powder, brown sugar, raisins, cranberries, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, salt and pumpkin spice.  In a smaller bowl, blend oil, honey, egg and almond extract.  Pour into the flour mixture and mix until evenly coated.

Press into prepared dish, really pack it down.

Baked 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden.  Cool completely in pan before turning out onto a cutting board and cutting into bars.

Original Recipe from
2 Cups Quick Oats
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Raisins
1/2 Cup Wheat Germ
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Egg
2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350F/175C

Line a 9x13 baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, raisins, wheat germ, salt, cinnamon and walnuts.  In a smaller bowl, blend oil, honey, egg and vanilla.  Pour into the flour mixture and mix until evenly coated.

Baked 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden.  Cool completely in pan before turning out onto a cutting board and cutting into bars.
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Crustless Quiche

Quiche is a really awesome dish because you can make it any way you want to.  I usually make my quiches without crusts because honestly that's just fat and carbs none of us need.  If I make it for breakfast there is toast.  If I make it for dinner there are potatoes.  Crust is also a pain in the ass and time consuming to make and makes a mess for me to clean up and I hate cleaning.

Not only is quiche yummy, it's super easy. It's so easy that I'm not even going to bother with production pictures.

I made a crust-less cheeseburger quiche.  I browned and seasoned the burger, drained it and set it to the side.  I then did a quick saute of red pepper and an onion.  I then grated cheese.  I cracked 6 eggs and whisked them with a cup of skim milk.  I added the meat, vegetables and cheese.

Throw this mixture in a quiche or pie plate.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Stare at your finished masterpiece.

Toast one of those awesome bagels from yesterday, cut yourself a slice and enjoy.

Crustless Cheeseburger Quiche

200 grams (little less than 1/2 lb) Hamburger
1 Small Red Pepper, diced
1 Small Onion, diced
1 Cup Cheese, shredded
1 Cup Milk (I use skim)
6 eggs
Seasonings  (I used salt, white pepper, onion/garlic powder, grill spice and red pepper flakes)

Preheat oven to 350F/175C

Brown and season hamburger.  Drain and set aside.

Saute pepper and onion in same pan. Set aside.

Combine eggs and milk, season and whisk.  Add hamburger, vegetables, cheese.  Combine.

Pour mixture into baking dish and bake 25 to 30 minutes.  Let it rest 5 minutes, serve.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010


Bagels are so simple and quick to make at home that there is really no reason why you should ever go buy them.  I mean sure, nothing beats a bagel from that one place in NYC, but I can't exactly hop on over there any time I want to.  These are a close second, especially warm out of the oven while they are still fluffy.  Here's how you do it.

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of your mixer, or in whatever bowl you're using. Combine and knead for ten minutes or until its smooth and soft.

When your dough is soft, cut it into 8 pieces and roll them into balls.  Cover these and let them rest for 20 minutes.

After they have rested for 20 minutes, stick your finger through the middle and stretch them into good sized circles like you see here.  Don't be afraid of overstretching, they will fill out when you boil them.

Boil the bagels three or four at a time, 30 seconds on each side.  Transfer these directly to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

The bagels will look wrinkly and unfortunate looking after they are boiled.  Don't worry, they will get real pretty when you bake them.

Brush the boiled bagels with an egg wash, which is one beaten egg with a splash of water in it.  This step isn't necessary, but I highly recommend it.

After the egg wash, add whatever toppings you would like.  I used sesame and poppy seeds both separate and together.  I left two plain as well.

Bake for 20 minutes and there you have it.





4 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Yeast
1 1/2 Cups Warm Water

Preheat oven to 425F/220C

Combine all ingredients in bowl or stand mixer.  Combine well and knead ten minutes or until smooth.  

Separate dough into 8 pieces and shape into balls.  Cover and rest 20 minutes.

Use your finger to put a hole through the center of the dough ball and stretch out into bagel shape.

Boil bagels 30 seconds on each side then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush bagels with egg wash, add toppings if desired.

Bake 20 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool.
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Blender Cupcakes

These cupcakes..oh my god.

As a baking enthusiast, I did an award winning happy dance when I pulled these babies out of the oven.  I mean seriously you guys LOOK AT THEM.  Look at the dome!  It's the most beautiful cupcake I have ever seen.  You know what the best part is?  I made them in the blender and dirtied exactly 0 dishes.  So how is it done?  Very simply.

You put your flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt in the blender and let her rip.

Add in the hot water, oil, vanilla and egg.
Just don't be like Bellamy and completely miss the blender.

Try again....Great success!

Let that baby rip until it's well blended, you may have to scrape it down once.

Fill up your tray, you may get more than me but I made them big.  Once that is done employ your professional bowl licker to clean up the remnants.

Bake these suckers up and you're done!  I filled mine with mascarpone cream and topped it with strawberry jam.  Absolutely delish.

Go make them!

Emergency Blender Cupcakes recipe by Abby Dodge of Fine Cooking

1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Hot Water
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 Egg
1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Line or grease muffin pan.

Put flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt in blender.  Blend.
Add hot water, oil, egg and vanilla.  Blend well, scraping as needed.

Divide batter evenly into prepared tray and bake 15-17 minutes.
Cool in pan ten minutes,  then transfer to rack and cool completely. 

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fish Chowder

I absolutely love this recipe.  I found it a long time ago over on Hillbilly Housewife.  I highly suggest you check out her site, it's chock full of fantastic stuff.  Her recipes have become staples in my house, and this is my definite favorite.  It's creamy and full of flavor and only takes about 35 minutes start to finish.  This is a slight adaptation, but I didn't stray too far, just added in a few things.  Here's how you do it!

Chop up those veggies, then saute the celery and onion in butter.  Add in some salt and pepper just for shits and giggles.  Once those are softened up and smelling nice, add in your potatoes and 2 cups of water.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

After simmering the potatoes for ten minutes, add in the carrots and simmer 5 minutes more.

Once the carrots have done their thing, add in your fish.  I used fiskeballer (otherwise known as fish balls) and cod.  You can use whatever combination of fish you would like.  Gently stir this then cover and simmer 5 minutes.

At this point you will add in your milk and spices.  I put in Old Bay, Parsley and Dill.  You can use whatever floats your boat.  Add in your water/flour mixture, stir, and bring to a slow boil. Stir until thickened well and you're done.



Fish Chowder  from Hillbilly Housewife

2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Onion, Diced
2 Stalks Celery, chopped   (I used 3)
5 Potatoes, chopped  (I used 3)
2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Cups Water
1 Pound Fish
4-5 Cups of Milk  (I used 4 cups if Skim)
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt 
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
(I do all seasonings to taste, and add additional seasonings)
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Cold Water

Saute celery and onion in butter.  Add potatoes and 2 Cups of water.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
Add carrots, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Add fish, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Add milk and all seasonings, stir. 
Combine flour and water, whisk well. Add to pot.
Bring to a slow boil and stir until thick.
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quick Saffron Scented Focaccia with Garlic, Onion, Lemon and Rosemary

Bread is a wonderful thing. It's super simple, endlessly versatile and gives you a sense of accomplishment that no other dish can give you.  I feel that everyone should know how to make bread, and I'll take it upon myself to show you the ropes.

The focaccia I've made today is not at all 'traditional'. To achieve the correct crumb and texture of a traditional focaccia requires long fermentation or a poolish with long risings and I just don't have the patience for that today. This is a quick, simple version to start with.  The reason I chose to do a focaccia as my first bread post is because it's the only bread I can think of that can be made into any flavor you can possibly imagine without compromising the base of the dough.  You can also put any flavor combination on top and it won't turn into something different.  It's definitely a bread to make if you have never attempted bread baking before.  So, here we go!

You're going to need Flour, Salt, Yeast, Saffron and Water.

The very first step is to prepare your saffron.  Heat your water to almost boiling in a pan or the microwave and stir your saffron into it until it's dissolved.  You'll end up with some pretty amber colored water.  Let it cool down a bit while you throw together the dough.

Combine your flour, salt and yeast.  Mix it up well, then pour in your cooled saffron water.  If you are using a stand mixer, go ahead and run it with your dough hook for 5-7 minutes.  If using a bowl and kneading manually,  you'll want to stir the dough until it comes together, then turn it out onto a floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes until you get a soft, smooth dough.

 The dough on the top is what your dough should look like when it is properly kneaded.  When it's reached this point, smooth it into a round ball like you see on the bottom.

At this point you are going to put your dough in an oiled bowl, cover it and let it rise for about 1 hour or until doubled.

While it's rising, make the topping.

Olive oil, Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon, Onion

There is no right or wrong way to do this, just use as much as you like.  I zested the whole lemon, grated half of the onion, pressed two garlic cloves, one small palm full of rosemary and 1/4 cup of olive oil.  You can either mortar and pestle the ingredients and then stir them into the oil or combine everything in a food processor.  I used a food processor since I have my mortar and pestle packed away already and it did just fine.

Grab the dish you are going to bake your bread in, oil it well and put a good bit of cornmeal on the bottom.

When your bread has risen properly, take it and throw it into your prepared baking dish.  Use your hands and flatten it to fit into the pan.  This dough is very flexible and will do what you want without any real effort.  Cover and rise for about a half an hour.

After it has risen again, use your fingers and poke holes all over the surface. You can poke them pretty deep, it will rise out while baking.

 At this point you will want to add your topping.  Don't be shy, really throw it on there.  Top it off with a bit more rosemary and some sea salt.



Saffron Scented Focaccia with Garlic, Onion, Lemon and Rosemary

Preheat oven to 425F/220C

3 1/2  to 4 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoon Yeast
1 2/3 Cup Water (13.5oz)
1/16 Teaspoon Saffron (I used the very tip of a spoon handle)

Dissolve saffron in very hot water, cool to lukewarm.  Combine flour, salt, yeast.  Add water, knead 5 minutes in a machine or 10 minutes manually.  Rise one hour.  Press into pan prepared with oil and cornmeal.  Rise 30 minutes.  Poke holes, add topping.  Bake 25-30 minutes.

Garlic, Lemon, Onion and Rosemary Topping
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Zest of 1 Lemon
2 Cloves Garlic, Pressed
1/2 Onion, Grated
1 Teaspoon Rosemary

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined.  If using a mortar and pestle, combine lemon zest, garlic, rosemary and garlic and then add mixture into oil.

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