Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Sort-of Homemade Pizza with Sausage & Zuc
Serves: 4-6

OBJ: TCW be able to make pizza that is uniquely hers while taking a few short-cutsJ


Quick Sauce:
1 14.5 oz  can plum tomatoes
3 TBS olive oil
½ of a small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp dried parsley
4-5 fresh basil leaves, optional but highly recommended
S & P
1 store-bought dough, left out for at least 3 hours in a covered bowl to rise
2 green zucchini sliced to ¼ in rounds
2 sweet or hot sausages
1 Cup  low moisture shredded mozzarella cheese
2 TBS olive oil
S & P
Grated parmesan cheese

** Pizza Stone**

Make sauce:
1.      In a large- medium sauté pan, heat oil over medium flame
2.      Add onions, garlic, parsley and 1 tsp salt & pepper
3.      Keep flame on medium-low and sauté veggies for about 5-8 minutes, or until onions are translucent
4.      Using your hands, rip the plum tomatoes into chunks and add them all and juice to sauté pan
5.      Add a pinch more S & P and bring to boil
6.      Once boiling, cover, turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes
7.      After 15-20 minutes, turn off flame, uncover sauce, add torn basil and let sit for about ½ hour, stirring occasionally (this allows the sauce to thicken slightly)

1.      Preheat oven to 425 degrees (Place pizza stone in oven at this time to start heating)
2.      In a medium sized bowl, toss the sliced zucchini with olive oil and 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper
3.      Spread on baking sheet and let roast for 20-25 minutes
4.      Place the sausages in small baking dish and cover  with foil, roast in oven for 30 minutes, when there are 10 minutes left, uncover the sausage so that they brown
5.      After sausages have been taken out of oven, let cool a bit and slice

1.      Roll out dough to about 10 inches across
2.      Carefully take your pizza stone out of oven and transfer dough to stone
3.      Spread sauce over dough, you don’t have to use all the sauce, it depends on your level of sauce-liking
4.      Spread the mozzarella around, push the cheese into sauce a bit
5.      Top with sausage and zucchini slices
6.      Sprinkle with grated cheese
7.      Place in oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and cheese is bubbling
8.      Take stone with pizza on top out of oven and place on cutting board
9.      Bring to table, slice and serve

*** I like to assemble my pizza on the stone because I find it quite difficult to transfer an assembled pizza onto a stone, but if you feel inclined to do that, go ahead and good luck! You don’t NEED a pizza stone to make this but I really really encourage you to use one, it makes a world a difference. A baking sheet could easily be the replacement. Also, you don’t have to serve the pizza on the heated stone but I have been doing this for years and it has changed my idea of eating pizza. I used to think the first slice was the best because it was the hottest and crunchiest and everything thereafter was luke-warm and soggy. Now, I can slowly eat my pizza and each slice is piping hot and crunchy! ***

Monday, May 23, 2011

1-2-3 Fried Shrimp Salad

1-2-3 Fried Shrimp Salad
Serves: 2

OBJ: TCW be able to used pre-fried & frozen shrimp to jazz-up a simple spinach salad

4- 5 frozen battered shrimp ( Sea-Pak brand is what I used, I highly recommend)
3-4 Cups baby spinach
¼ Cup chopped carrots
4 slices tomato, chopped
¼ C shredded cabbage
3 TBS chopped almonds, toasted
3 TBS creamy balsamic dressing ( I use Ken’s Reserve, Balsamic with Honey,  its awesome!)
S & P Salt and Pepper

1.      Bake shrimp according to package directions (place your almonds on foil during this time and let toast for 10 minutes)
2.      In a large salad plate/shallow bowl, toss the spinach and cabbage
3.      Spread the carrots, tomatoes, and almonds around
4.      Top salad with shrimp
5.      Drizzle with dressing and S & P
6.      Serve & EnjoyJ

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken Quesadillas
Serves: 4-6
OBJ: TCW be able to use leftover chicken, both dark & white meat, in a favorite Mexican dish of hers and hubbyJ

2-3 Cups shredded white or dark meat chicken
3 TBS canola oil
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
2 small yellow onions, sliced thin
2-3 Cups shredded extra sharp cheddar
S & P – Salt and Pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4-6 burrito size tortillas
For side/garnish:
1 Cup sour cream
2 Cups Medium salsa

1.       In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat
2.      Add onions, peppers (red and green), 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and red pepper flakes, stir
3.      Heat over medium-low heat uncovered for about 15-20 minutes, until juices form on bottom on pan and veggies are soft
4.      Add shredded chicken and mix to combine, after a minute or so to heat through, turn off flame and cover until ready to use (Can be refrigerated for a later use)
5.      Lay out your  tortillas
6.      Working in an assembly line fashion, scatter ¼ cheese over half of each tortilla, top each half evenly with chicken/pepper sauté, scatter an additional ¼ C cheese on top, and a pinch S & P
7.      Close each tortilla and place something heavy (such as a plate) over each to allow to set for about 5-10 minutes
8.      Meanwhile, heat a large griddle pan over medium heat
9.      Add tortillas and replace plate to weigh down each quesadilla, flip after 5-8 minutes or until bottom is golden brown
10.  Leave the second ½ un-weighted (it will steam) and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes or until golden and crispy
11.  Serve alongside sour cream, salsa, chips and guacamole if desiredJ

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dad's PB Birthday Cake

Dad’s PB Birthday Cake
Serves: 8-12

OBJ: TCW be able to bake up a scrumptious chocolate cake for her Dad using his favorite candy- Reese’s and save some mula by not going to the local bakery!

1 Box Devil’s Food Cake, batter made according to box directions
1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, coarsely chopped
2 tubs Milk Chocolate Frosting
½ C Creamy Peanut Butter
Chocolate syrup

1.      Preheat oven to box directions, the grease 2 -8 inch cake pans
2.      Divide the chocolate batter into 2 even amounts and pour into pans
3.      Melt the peanut butter in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds, or until melted 
4.      Going back and forth, pour ¼ C peanut butter over each cake
5.      Using a butter knife, cut through the butter in the opposite direction, forming peanut butter swirls
6.      Bake cakes according to box directions, let cool completely
7.      Place one cake, upside down (so that PB swirl is on bottom) on a serving tray, this will allow for a flat surface, if too wobbly trim PB side so it sits evenly (but a little wobble is okay, the next step and other cake will weigh it down enough:)
8.      Spread ¾ of all the chopped Reese’s PB Cups over the cake
9.      Top with other cake, regular (PB) side up
10.  Using an offset spatula spread the frosting all over cakes, sides and top
11.  Sprinkle the remaining ¼ of Reese’s PB Cups around the edge of cake, drizzle with chocolate syrup along edges if desired
12.  Slice and serve!
Above:What cakes should look like after baking

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sweet Basil Cheesecake

Sweet Basil Cheesecake
OBJ: TCW be able to transform a normally dessert namesake into a sweet & salty appetizer by following the recipe from her idol, Giada


Butter, for greasing the pan
1/2 cup (4 ounces) ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup (3 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
Pinch fine sea salt
1/2 packed cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
****Special equipment: 4 1/2-inch diameter springform pan, about 2 1/2 inches tall.****(These are hard to find, I found them at Sur La Table after searching for it on the internet)
1.      Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2.      Butter the bottom and sides of a 4 1/2-inch diameter springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with a piece of heavy-duty foil.
3.      Place the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and goat cheese in a food processor. Pulse until mixed.
4.      Add the sugar, egg, egg yolk, and salt and blend until smooth.
5.      Add the basil and pulse until incorporated. Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared pan.
6.      Place the pan in an 8-inch by 8-inch square baking dish.
7.      Pour enough hot water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
8.      Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the cheesecake will become firm when chilled), about 50 minutes.
9.      Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
10.  Remove the springform pan from the baking dish and remove the foil.
11.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes. I usually leave it out for 2 hours, this allows it to get very creamy!
Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the cheesecake with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with assorted crackers.