Macaroni and Cheese Pizza

December 04, 2011, this was our first pizza that we made in the pizza challenge.  It is the Wisconsin pizza.  I started my blog with this pizza.  I have made it a few times since then.  I finally remembered to take some photos last night.  You have got to try this pizza.  Believe it or not, it is really delicious!

Macaroni and Cheese Pizza

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Ingredients

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Elbow Macaroni, cooked
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 small onion, diced
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk

Directions

  1.  Melt butter on low heat in medium saute pan.   Add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes, until translucent.  Add flour and mix together.  Add milk, turn up heat to medium and stir until thickened.  Remove from heat.
  2. Boil water for elbow macaroni.  I put 2 cups of elbows in boiling water.  Cook according to directions.  (You could probably get away with 1 cup but I always like extra pasta!)
  3. Top pizza with roux, elbow macaroni, mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese.october 033
  4. Bake at 475 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Simple and very delicious!!

Tomato Soup – Simple and Delicious

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Splendid Table, this week.  She was interviewing Tom Douglas, a chef from Seattle.  While she was interviewing him he was making one of his favorite recipes; Tomato Soup.  That gave me the idea to make tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner tonight.  I went to my favorite store, Costco, to grab some artisan bread.  I picked up Rosemary Parmesan along with some Provolone cheese.  I had all the ingredients at home for the tomato soup.  This was a truly simple and delicious dinner.  All done under an hour. What an incredibly flavorful tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich!

Tomato Soup

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Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
5 cups canned whole tomatoes in juice (or 2-28 ounce cans)
1 cup water (I used beef broth)
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed (I did 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon celery seed (I did not add this ingredient)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon sugar

Instructions

1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, cream, salt, red pepper flakes, celery seed, oregano, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.october 041

2. After 15 minutes, use your immersion blender to puree the tomatoes in the soup.october 042  Then bring to a simmer for another 5 minutes.  If you don’t have an immersion blender then you need to remove from the heat and puree in batches in the container of a blender. Return the soup to the pot and reheat to a simmer, seasoning to taste with more salt and pepper.

3.  Serve the soup with a salad and/or your favorite sandwich.  I chose grilled cheese tonight.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup remind me of some lunches I had when I was little.  Campbell’s Tomato Soup and grilled cheese with American cheese.  This is a grown up version and just as simple and delicious.  Enjoy!!

Italian Salad Dressing – Simple and Delicious

I eat lots of salads.  Here is a very simple and delicious dressing.

Italian Salad Dressing

Ingredients

1 cup vegetable oil (Canola, Olive – whatever you like)
1/4 Red Wine Vinegar (or balsamic – depends on my mood – I do love my balsamics!!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions

Shake all ingredients in a tightly covered container.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Shake before serving.

Told you it was easy!!

Dill Potato Salad – Simple and Delicious

Martin wanted me to make a Dill Potato Salad.  He has this potato salad when he goes to The Cookery in Door County.  He wanted to see if I could replicate the recipe.  The salad I made was very good but not quite the same as the restaurant.  Each time it will get better and better.  I may even surpass the awesomeness of The Cookery!  Here is my recipe;

Dill Potato Salad

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Ingredients

3 pounds red salad potatoes (cut into bite size pieces before boiling)
1/2 cup Italian Salad Dressing
3/4 cup mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped scallions (the green part only)
3 Tablespoons chopped, fresh dill
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt (could have used more.  Next time 1/2 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions

  1.  Bring potatoes to a boil in large pot of water.  Cook until tender and drain.  Place potatoes in in bowl and put 1/4 cup of the Italian Salad Dressing over the potatoes.  Mix together and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool.
  2. While potatoes are cooling, in a large bowl, combine all above ingredients, including the other 1/4 cup of the dressing.  After 30 minutes of cooling, place potatoes in the large bowl and stir until coated.
  3. Place in refrigerator for a couple of hours for the flavors to blend together.

That is it.  Very Simple and Delicious.  Enjoy!!

Baked Apples – Simple and Delicious

Cool Fall day.  Sunday.  Time in my kitchen.  Love those kind of days.   For our Sunday gathering,  I made a Green Tea Cheesecake, Mekitsa, Dill Potato Salad,  tomato sauce,  fried up for some  breaded chicken to make chicken parmesan, opened that box of spaghetti (did you know spaghetti fits just right in a 12″ frying pan.  I boil the water in a frying pan and make my spaghetti that way. No broken pieces that way!) and of course, baked apples.  (I found the baked apple recipe here.)

Baked Apples

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Ingredients

4 medium apples (I used Honey Crisp)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 Tablespoon butter, cut into 4 cubes
1 cup hot water

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put rack in lowest position.
  2. Remove the core of the apples, cutting to within a half-inch of the bottom of the apple and creating a well roughly 3/4-inch wide. I used a melon baller.  You could use an apple corer or a paring knife to hollow out the apple.
  3. Mix the brown sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves in a bowl. Divide this mixture between the apples, pack firmly into the hollowed space.October 009
  4. Arrange the apples in an 8×8 baking dish (the apples fit perfectly!) and top each one with a pat of butter. October 011Pour the water into the bottom of the dish and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes and remove foil. Continue baking uncovered until the apples are soft and the brown sugar has melted into a syrup, an additional 20 to 30 minutes. You can test the apples by poking a paring knife through the oatmeal mixture and into the interior of the apple; it should slide into the apple easily with no resistance. The skin on the apples will also become wrinkled and soft by the end of cooking.October 013
  6. You can eat as is or serve with ice cream or whipped cream.  YUM!!

Mekitsi (Bulgarian Fried Dough)

I make Mekitsa quite often.  I originally posted this recipe in 2011.   I have noticed I get quite a few hits for this recipe.  I pulled it up today and realized that my original draft was difficult to understand.  I am hoping my revisions will make it easier to follow my recipe and enjoy the end result. Martin enjoys Mekitsa stuffed with feta cheese.  He is the one who always asks for these so I make them to his preference.  However, if you sprinkle with confectioners sugar or cinnamon and sugar they are quite delicious too.  Martin is from Sofia, Bulgaria. He moved to Green Bay when he was 11.  I try to make some of his favorite foods that he enjoyed when he lived there with his grandparents. Food can bring back the best memories, wouldn’t you agree??  I know when my house smells like garlic it brings back many holidays spent at my grandparents in Syracuse NY.  You would enter their home into the kitchen.  You would immediately be hit with the aroma of that anticipated delicious meal.  Great memories!!

Mekitsa

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Ingredients

1 yeast packet or 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1/8 cup of warm water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup yogurt
3 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon oil (I use Sunflower oil if I have it.  That is an oil that is use frequently in Bulgarian foods.  You can always use canola oil)
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Peanut Oil for frying (you can use canola oil also.  Peanut oil has a nice flavor but is also a great oil to use for high heat.)

Directions

1.  Start the yeast in the warm water and set in a warm place for 10 minutes.
2.  In a separate bowl add yogurt and baking soda, stir together (this will bubble) and set aside.

If using food processor:

1.  Place 3 cups of flour in your food processor bowl.
2.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together until a ball forms.  It takes about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Remove from food processor.  Make into a ball.
3.  Place dough in lightly oiled bowl.  Let rise 60 minutes.  Ready for frying!!

If you want to mix by hand:

1  Place flour in a bowl. Make a well in center of the flour and add the yogurt, yeast mixture, oil, vinegar, sugar and salt.  Using a wooden spoon, mix well to form a soft dough.
2. Turn out onto a clean, unfloured surface and lightly knead for about 10 minutes.  Put in a glass bowl and let rise for 1 hour.
3.  They are ready to fry or transfer to plastic bag and refrigerate for 1/2 day or overnight.  If you refrigerate and make later, take out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you are going to fry.  That will get the dough to room temperature.

Let’s fry them up:

1. Heat peanut (or vegetable) oil.
2. Cut off a golf ball size piece of dough and with moist hands pull the dough into a flat disk about 3-4 inches in diameter. (The shape can be irregular, no need for a perfect circle).
3.  Fry in oil being sure to turn the dough when the first side is brown.  When both sides are brown, remove from oil and place on a paper towel.  For a sweet treat, when cool sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar or powdered sugar.

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4.  For a savory treat, I most always  stuff with feta cheese.  To do this you make the disk, put crumbled feta cheese in the middle, december 013december 014fold over and fry in peanut oil.  december 017Get one side brown, the flip over and brown other side.

5.  Place on paper towel to drain. december 018 Watch it when you eat these as the cheese can be very hot in the middle.

Let them cool a little bit before taking that first bite!  Sweet or Savory, these are a delicious treat!

 


Apple Spice Cupcakes – Simple and Delicious

It is October!  Fall!  Cool weather!  Apple time.  I had some apples and had to do something with them.  Why not make some Apple Spice Cupcakes?!  Simple and DELISH!!

Apple Spice Cupcakes

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Ingredients

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
8 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup grated apple (whatever apple you like.  I had Macintosh today)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees
2.  Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
3.  In a separate bowl whisk melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.  Add grated apple and stir together.
4.  Whisk in flour mixture until just combined.
5.  Divide batter among muffin cups.  Bake until tops spring back.  15-18 minutes.  Transfer to rack and let cool 5 minutes.  Remove the cupcakes to the rack to cool completely.

Frosting

Ingredients

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoons vanilla
2 Whole Milk
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger

Directions

1.  Mix butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until creamy.  About 3-5 minutes
2.  Add rest of ingredients and beat on high 2-3 minutes.
3.  Frost cupcakes.  Sprinkle with Cinnamon!

YUM!!!

Chicken Pot Pie – Simple and Delicious

Moved this recipe up the feed.  I made Chicken Pot Pie this evening.  Super simple and very delicious.

Chicken Pot Pie

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6 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons flour
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, diced (I parboil my diced potatoes.  If you dice them small enough you wouldn’t have to do that.)
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half
1 # chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
2 – 9″ pie crust (I use Pillsbury ready made.  Makes my life easy.) (NOTE:  I prebake the bottom crust at 400 for 20 minutes.  I cover the entire crust with aluminum foil.  I use pie weights when I remember them! 😉 – this makes for a much crisper pot pie.)
Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1.  Melt butter in large saute pan. Add onions and celery and saute for 5 minutes.  Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
2.  Stir in flour and mix well.
3.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
4.  Add half and half and simmer for 3-4 minutes.  Sauce will thicken.
5.  Add the carrots, potatoes, peas and chicken. Mix well together.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
6.  Spray 9″ pie plate with cooking spray or lightly grease with butter.  I used a round, glass pie plate.
7.  Line pie plate with pie crust.   (As noted above, I precook the bottom crust at 400  for  20 minutes.)
8.  Fill pie plate with filling.  
9.  Place pie crust on top and use fork to poke holes on top crust. Fold excess under and form an edge. Crimp the edges and place on baking sheet.
10.  Place in 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, until top crust is golden brown. When you remove from oven let cool for 5 minutes.

You will love this!    Great for leftovers too!!