Homemade Pizzas

With five people in our house who all have different tastes, making a meal everyone can customize makes feeding a crowd easier. I use my bread machine to whip up a big batch of pizza dough and from there I can make large pizzas, individual-size pizzas and breadsticks. Everyone can pick their own toppings, from pizza sauce and plenty of cheese to meats, veggies and more.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. dry yeast

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. warm water

Place ingredients into the bread machine in the order they’re listed above. Run them on the dough cycle. Remove dough and store in a bowl or plastic bag drizzled with olive oil. Stretch the dough out thin onto a baking sheet and top with sauce, cheese and your favorite toppings!

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Quick and Easy Southwestern Chicken and Veggie Skillet

This delicious and easy-to-make dish is perfect for the whole family. You can serve it with some Mexican or Spanish rice, or just a loaf of crusty bread. It was a great excuse for me to use my mandoline slicer too.

Heat 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Dice two cloves of garlic and add them, plus salt and pepper to taste and 2 tbsp. of powdered Mexican or Southwestern seasoning mix to the pan. Dice a pound of chicken breast and cook it in the skillet until brown, then add a drained can of corn, 2 to 3 zucchinis, sliced thin, one small green pepper and one small red pepper, sliced. Cook the skillet, stirring frequently, until all the vegetables are cooked and everything has soaked in all the seasoning.

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Quick Southwestern Chicken and Veggie Skillet

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, diced

dash salt

dash pepper

2 tbsp. powdered Mexican or Southwestern seasoning

1 lb. chicken breast, cut into small chunks

1 can corn

2-3 zucchinis

1 small green pepper

1 small red pepper

Preparation:

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced garlic, salt, pepper and powdered Mexican or Southwestern seasoning and mix, then add the chicken breast. Cook the chicken until brown, then add the corn, zucchini, green and red pepper. Cook the whole skillet until all vegetables have cooked through and soaked up the seasoning. Serve with Mexican or Southwestern rice or some crusty bread.

Cooking with Kids – Super Bowl Lunch

My six year-old son loves cooking with me, so much that he has an Easy Bake oven and his own cooking set given to him for Christmas by his aunt and uncle. When I told him I was going to make some tomato soup from scratch for lunch on this #SuperBowlSunday, he couldn’t wait to help.

An easy recipe like soup is perfect for kids who want to help cook. I diced all the veggies and he helped pour everything into the pot and stir it. He loved using his measuring cups and spoons, and he was great at stirring it to keep it from burning or sticking to the pot. I got to try out my new immersion blender to blend it up until it was smooth and creamy, and he picked the accompaniments: saltine crackers and some Annie’s White Cheddar Bunnies.

Quick and Creamy Tomato Soup from Scratch

2 tbsp. canola oil

1/2 a medium onion, diced

1 medium garlic clove, diced

2 tbsp. flour

1 large can diced tomatoes

2 tbsp. tomato paste

3 cups vegetable broth

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp. Greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion and saute for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and saute for another minute to let the garlic soften, then sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and broth. Stir.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
  5. Add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir.
  6. Remove from heat. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or use a food processor or blender. Return to the pot.
  7. Add the Greek yogurt and whisk.
  8. Serve with cheese and your choice of crackers. Enjoy!

Warming Winter Tea

This quick blend will transform your tea into a winter-spiced pot of comfort. Slice an orange in half and squeeze a bit of the juice into your teapot. Dice the remaining pieces and drop them into the pot. Add in two tablespoons of star anise, a couple of cinnamon sticks and two tablespoons of grated fresh ginger. Steep the mix along with a pot of black tea and enjoy this delicious, winter-spiced tea!

Slow Cooker Cuban Beef

The trick to this delicious dish is a quick sear on both sides of your beef roast. Paired with rice and black beans, it’s a hearty, cold weather meal the whole family will enjoy.

Sizzle some diced garlic in about a tablespoon of oil, then sear your beef roast on both sides for about five minutes a side. Next, drop it into your slow cooker and add 2 cans of tomato sauce, 1 medium diced green pepper, 1 medium diced onion, 1 small can chopped green chiles, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook on low for eight hours.

About thirty minutes before the meat is done cooking, you can start the rice. Next, heat a tablespoon of oil and saute a medium red onion and 4 cloves of diced garlic. Add in two cans of black beans and a cup of warm water and bring to a boil, then turn the heat back down to a simmer. Add your spices:  1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder. When you’re ready to serve, dice some cilantro to sprinkle over and slice some fresh limes to squeeze on top.

By now, your beef should be soft and tender. Shred it and serve the meat with the rice and beans. You can also do like I did and pack it for lunches for the week!

 

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Memorial Day Feast

In its evolution from a day of remembrance to honor those who fought in the Civil War, to a memorial for soldiers who gave their lives in World War I, then to memorialize American soldiers lost in all wars, this day has a long, proud history as a purely American day. We honor all those who have fought and lost their lives to protect our freedom. Memorial Day also marks the informal beginning of the summer. Swimming pools open for the season and all across America grills are fired up to cook delicious meals.

The best way to cook a steak on the grill is to marinate it all day. I use a marinade of vegetable oil, balsamic vinegar, diced garlic and steak seasoning.

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A “hobo pack” of squash, zucchini, shallots, thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice can be thrown on the grill as well and cooked over charcoal. Just make sure it’s fully secured so none of the juices leak out into the grill.

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You can grill ears of corn still in the husks. Just peel them back, remove the silks and coat the ears of corn with butter and whatever seasonings you like. We prefer salt, pepper and Old Bay. A tray of garlic knots and a boxed pasta salad round out this Memorial Day Feast.

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The end of our meal was a sweet red, white and blue berry trifle.

Ingredients: 1 quart strawberries (diced), 1 pint blueberries, 8 oz. package cream cheese at room temperature, 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, 2/3 cup whipped cream, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 small pound cake cut into squares

Directions:

  1. Put several of each kind of berries aside for topping.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla, then a third of the whipped cream. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream.
  3. Cover the bottom of a trifle dish or glass bowl with a layer of diced pound cake pieces. Add 1/3 of each type of fruit, then cover with 1/3 of the cream cheese/whipped cream mixture. Alternate adding diced pound cake, fruit and cream cheese/whipped cream, then top with a thin layer of whipped cream. Sprinkle the reserved berries on top. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

 

Enjoy your Memorial Day with family and friends. What are your favorite Memorial Day foods?

Healthy Meal Prep – Turkey Taco Salad and Tuna Sushi Roll Bowls

We’re all looking for ways to eat healthier, and meal prepping is one method I’ve found that helps me to save money by avoiding eating out, as well as eating healthier since I’m planning and preparing my own meals.

Turkey Taco Salad is a great recipe that lets you customize your meal for whatever type of diet you follow. If you’re going low-carb, leave out the corn and tortilla chips. Only add vegetables you like. Customize the level of heat in your salsa, and add guacamole if you like, or just plain avocado (or none!).

Simply brown a pound of ground turkey, drain any excess fat and add a packet of taco seasoning (or make your own!). Prep your bowls by adding 1/4 cup of corn and 1/4 cup of black beans to each bowl. Add 1/5 of the turkey to each bowl, then top with shredded cheddar or any other cheese you like. I like to bag my cold ingredients so I can heat up the turkey and let the cheese melt, then mix in the other veggies so the lettuce doesn’t wilt. Throw into sandwich bags your choice of lettuces or other greens, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado or a spoonful of guacamole, a spoonful of salsa and a spoonful of Greek yogurt. Add a dollop of southwest ranch dressing if you like. Each day, pack one bowl and one bag for your lunch. You can take a bag of tortilla chips with you to crumble over the top if you choose.

For the Tuna Sushi Roll Bowls, mix up a quick marinade of Japanese ponzu sauce, a couple drops of sesame oil, 1 tsp. grated ginger and 1 diced garlic clove. Marinate the thawed tuna steaks for at least thirty minutes while you prep the rice. I use a rice cooker so I can “set it and forget it.” White or brown rice is fine – I make enough for three cups cooked. Once the rice is done, it needs to sit out at room temperature to cool down. Whisk in a bowl 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 1/3 cup sugar or agave and 1 1/2 tbsp. salt. Once all the sugar and salt has dissolved, use a wooden spoon to mix the vinegar mixture into the cooled rice. Lay down a layer of rice in each of your bowls, then dice avocado and cucumber and add to the bowls. When your tuna has cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it cool a bit, then add a piece to each bowl. Crumble dried seaweed over each bowl and sprinkle a few dashes of soy sauce (or add that later when you warm your bowl up to eat).

Grab a bowl each day and you’ll have a healthy, inexpensive lunch!

How do you meal prep?