Archives for posts with tag: recipes

Almost any homemade pizza dough recipe article will say that their pizza dough recipe is easier than ordering pizza delivery. Few things in this world are easier than calling and ordering a pizza — I am not going to lie. However, this pizza dough recipe I got from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook is very easy and fun for kids.

You need 5 ingredients:
2 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of water
Olive oil for greasing the pan
Toppings of choice

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1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly add water to the dry ingredients and mix with a big spoon until incorporated with the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix and don’t knead the dough. You just need to form a ragged mass shaped like a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least three hours or up to 12 hours.

2. When you are ready, heat the oven to 500 degrees. Oil a rimmed baking pan or iron skillet. Stretch or roll out the dough and press it in the pan or skillet and add toppings. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven.

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This is a super easy way to make pizza at home. Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Oil an iron skillet. Press your favorite pizza dough into the skillet (I like Trader Joe’s dough). Add your toppings and cheese. Place in the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes and then serve.

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Homemade Mac and Cheese is a bit time-consuming; so, you have to plan ahead. But, it is really easy to make and really delicious.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish or other large baking vessel with butter.

2. Grate 2 1/2 to 3 cups or so of your favorite cheese (the more cheese the cheesier your mac and cheese will be) — cheddar, jack, mozzarella are all good choices. Feel free to use a combination of cheeses.

3. Fill a pot with water and some salt. Boil water. Add about a pound of your favorite pasta. Cook according to instructions on the pasta box. Drain pasta and set aside.

4. While to pasta cooks, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium-sized saucepan. When it melts, add 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook the flour on medium-low heat for a few minutes. Add 2 cups of non fat or whole milk. Simmer for 15 minutes. Take off heat and add 2/3 of the grated cheese.

5. Combine cheese sauce and pasta in the a large bowl or the pot you used to boil the pasta. Add half the mixture to you baking dish. Sprinkle some grated cheese on it. Add the rest of the pasta and cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining grated cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

I love the Pioneer Woman!  If you have not seen her blog, food network tv show, or cookbooks, I highly recommend that you check them out.  I like her recipes because they are good, easy, and she shows you step-by-step how to prepare the food.  On her blog she posted this recipe that she called, “Tortilla rollups.”  To me, they look like sushi if it were turned into a sandwich.  These are super easy to make, healthy, and really cute.  I am always looking for a quick lunch or snack recipe; and, this works well for both.  These take about 10 minutes to make and can be modified based on what you have in your fridge — as long as you have tortillas and cream cheese (or some other sticky spread like peanut butter, hummus, goat cheese, etc.).

So, first cut your veggies into matchsticks.  I used carrots, cucumbers, and turkey the first time I made these rolls.  I used carrot, cucumber, turkey, and avocado the second time.  Avocado was really good and held the roll together.

Spread cream cheese (or hummus, or peanut butter, etc.) on a large tortilla.

Place veggies, turkey, or whatever you have on the side of the tortilla.  The Pioneer Woman placed her filling in the center of the tortilla.  I tried that method and it worked as well.  The idea is to get a lot of filling into the tortilla (without breaking the tortilla) so that it is nice and round when you slice it into rolls.

Roll the tortilla as tightly as you can — like when you roll up your sleeping bag to try to get it back into that tiny sack it came  in — that tight.  At this point, The Pioneer Woman put it in the refrigerator for one hour.  I don’t usually have one hour to wait; so, I tried refrigerating it for 30 minutes — that worked well.  I also made one roll that I didn’t refrigerate at all — that worked as well.  But, if you have time, stick it in the fridge for a little while.  The roll is firmer and sticks together better if it has been refrigerated.

Slice into pieces.

Enjoy!  Feel free to improvise based on what you have in your fridge.  Let me know if you come up with some good combinations.

Sandwich Sushi

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

Soft cream cheese

Large flour tortillas (1 tortilla makes 6 rolls)

Turkey, shredded or thinly sliced length-wise

1 carrot (per roll), peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 cucumber (per roll), seeds scraped out and cut into matchsticks

1 avocado (per roll), sliced

Spread cream cheese on to a tortilla.  Add veggies and meat to the side or the middle.  Roll tightly and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – 1 hour.  Slice into 6 pieces.

This week the Edamamemonster visited a local preschool to do some cooking with a classroom of 2-3 year olds.  I tried to find a good recipe; but, it is hard to find a recipe that children this young can do by themselves.  So, I invented fruit pizza.  The idea is to spread some low-fat cream cheese on a tortilla, add some finely chopped fruit, and sprinkle with shredded coconut and/or sesame seeds.  Then, a grown up helper can cut the pizza into slices.

I used low-fat cream cheese (you could also use strawberry cream cheese or other flavors to add flavor and color).  I finely chopped strawberries, grapes, and watermelon.  I also put out blueberries.  The kids had a lot of fun!  They were really proud that they could make a pizza all by themselves.

The fruit pizza can easily become a fruit burrito by rolling it up.  This is a fun and safe activity for preschoolers.  I think older kids would also have fun making this healthy snack.

Fruit Pizza

Ingredients

Finely chopped fruit

Shredded coconut

Sesame seeds

Tortillas

Cream Cheese

Materials

Paper plates

Plastic knives

Saran wrap

Masking tape or stickers (to write names on)

Permanent Marker

Knife

1.  Put the cream cheese containers on a table with a plastic knife in each container.  Put the fruit into bowls and put them on the table.  Put the shredded coconut into bowls.  Put spoons in all the bowls so that the children can take the fruit, coconut, etc out and put it on their pizza.  Put a paper plate on the table for each children.  Place a tortilla on each paper plate.

2.  Let the children put the cream cheese on their tortillas and put fruit, coconut, and sesame seeds on their “pizza.”    Take a knife and cut the pizza into slices.  Put the child’s name on a sticker or masking tape on his/her plate.  Cover with Saran Wrap.

It is raining, it is cold, and I keep reading about hot pots on two of my favorite Japanese food blogs — The Japanese Food Report and La Fuji Mama.  I tried to make a traditional Japanese Sukiyaki with beef and vegetables.  I didn’t really like it.  I think I overcooked the beef.  Then, I decided to work with food that is more in my comfort range — vegetables, noodles, and tofu.  I found various recipes on the internet and looked around my kitchen and came up with this recipe.  It turned out really delicious.  And, it is very versatile; so, think of this as a good recipe to use to just clean out your refrigerator.  It also is good to make if you are cooking with people that have strong opinions about what goes into their meals (i.e. people on special diets, kids, etc.); because, you could make a couple of small pots of  this soup and let everyone put what they like in their pot.

I started by chopping and slicing all the vegetables I had in my refrigerator.  I think it is important to have some mushrooms (here I used fresh shiitakes) and some onion.  The other vegetables are optional and can vary based on what you have and what you like.

I also drained and cubed some firm tofu.  Soft tofu would also be good.  You can add any other protein you like. If you are using leftover meat that has already been cooked — add it at the end to just heat it up.  If you are using uncooked meat, add it at the beginning with the mushrooms and onions.

Boil four cups of water with four tablespoons of light soy sauce, two tablespoons of mirin, mushrooms, and onions.  Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.  For extra umami, you can add a piece of kombu (dried seaweed).  The kombu is optional; but, if you can find some (Whole Foods, Japanese market, etc.) it adds a nice texture to the soup.

Add your the rest of your vegetables.  I also added some dried rice noodles.  Let it simmer until the noodles and vegetables are cooked.  Season with salt to taste.  Simmer for another minute and remove from the heat.

Enjoy!

I sprinkled a bit of shichimi togarashi on my soup.  Shichimi togarashi is Japanese seven flavor chili pepper.  It typically contains:  red chili pepper, black and white sesame seeds, orange peel, ginger, Sichuan pepper, and nori.  It really adds a lot of flavor to this soup.

I liked this soup so much that I made it again the next night.  I was out of fresh shiitake mushrooms; so, I used dried shiitakes.  I added a piece of kombu, udon noodles, and roasted chicken.  I soaked the kombu and dried shiitakes in warm water for about 20 minutes in the pot before starting the soup.  I kept the soaking water in the pot and took out the shiitakes to stem and slice them.  I returned the mushrooms to the pot with some onions (and the kombu that was left in the pot).  I simmered this for 5 minutes.  Then, I added my remaining vegetables, the pre-cooked udon noodles, and the roasted chicken.

A bit of shichimi togarashi sprinkled on top.  Delicious.  I am looking forward to further experiments using this basic formula.  This soup is quick, delicious, easy to make, and a good use of leftovers.

Slurp-o-licious!

Vegetable Sukiyaki

Note:  Feel free to substitute other vegetables, noodles, and meat into this dish.  If you are using meat that has already been cooked, add it at the end with the noodles to just warm it up.  If you are using raw meat, add it at the beginning with the onions and mushrooms.  Roasted chicken worked well in this dish.

Ingredients for 2 servings (you can double this recipe)

1 cup fresh or dried shiitakes (soaked in warm water for 20 minutes), sliced

1/2 cup of chopped kale (or bok choy or chard or nappa cabbage)

1/2 cup of sliced red pepper

1/2 cup of tofu (cubed)

1 small onion, sliced

a handful of dried rice noodles or udon noodles (or whatever noodles you like)

4 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoon of mirin

kosher salt

Shichimi togarashi (optional)

1 piece of kombu, rinsed, dried with a towel, and soaked in warm water for 20 minutes (optional)

Boil 4 cups of water with the soy sauce, mirin, mushrooms, onion, and kombu (if using).  Let it simmer for 5 minutes.  Add red pepper, kale, tofu, and noodles.  Let simmer again until the noodles are soft.  Season with some salt.  Cook for another minute.  Remove from heat.  Remove kombu.  Season with shichimi togarashi.

I got the idea from Martha Stewart to make granola for the grandmothers this Mother’s Day.  This turned out to be a great project because granola is one of those things that just requires a lot of dumping and stirring.  It is a fun cooking project for the kids and you can get a bunch of photos of them making the granola that you can add in the package to grandma.  Add a cute bowl and a nice spoon; and, voila you have a great gift for grandma.

I used the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for granola and added some cinnamon and nutmeg.  But, really, the cool thing about granola is that it is oats, shredded coconut, honey, vegetable oil, and any nut or dried fruit and any spices that you want or happen to have around the house.  So, you can modify the recipe based on the recipient’s tastes.  The ingredients I used are:  canola oil, oats, almonds, honey, sweetened shredded coconut, dried figs, dried cherries, dried apricots, dried cranberries, cashews, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

This is super easy.  Just preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Then, mix the oats, coconuts, and almonds in a large bowl.  Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl.

Pour the honey and oil mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well.  Spread on a baking sheet.

Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown.  This will take about 20-30 minutes.  Granola cooking is really scent-based.  So, you want to stay by the oven while the granola is cooking.  When it is done or almost done it will smell like toasted nuts.  If you start to smell something burning take the baking sheet out immediately .

Let the oats, almonds, and coconuts cool.  Then put them in a bowl and mix in the dried fruit and cashews.  To complete the present, put granola in a nice jar, add a bowl and spoon, and a pretty napkin.  You can also include pictures of the children making the granola or use the pictures to make a Mother’s Day card.  Feel free play around with the recipe.  Dried mango, dried papaya, or dried apples would be nice.  You can also add some other spices like ground ginger, ground cardamom, allspice.  What mother or grandmother wouldn’t want a nice bowl of homemade granola for breakfast?


Homemade Granola

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  Feel free to experiment with different types of nuts, seeds and dried fruit.  You can also play with the spices.  A bit of ground cardamom, ground ginger, ground allspice, or ground clove would be nice in this recipe as well.

Ingredients

4 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut

2 cups chopped almonds

3/4 cups canola oil

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 1/2 cups small-diced dried apricots

1 cup small-diced dried figs

1 cup dried cherries

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together.  In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and honey.  Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated.  Pour onto a 13 X 18 inch baking sheet and sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg on top.  Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.  Stay by the oven so you can smell the granola cooking.  If you smell the granola burning take it out of the oven immediately.

2.  Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally.  Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews.  Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

Yakisoba is Japanese for fried noodles.  They are fried in only a bit of oil; so, I think of them as stir fried.  This dish came to Japan from China and is very similar to chow mein.  I used yakisoba noodles that I got from my local Asian market, 99 Ranch.  You could also use the Chinese egg noodles that are available at most grocery stores.  Or, you could use spaghetti noodles.  The only problem is that spaghetti noodles take 10-12 minutes to cook and yakisoba noodles, or other cooked Asian noodles, take only 2 minutes to cook.  Then, there is the issue of meat.  In Japan, this dish is typically made by cooking thin pieces of pork in a pan, removing the pork,  and then adding the other ingredients.  I’m not a bit fan of cooking meat; so, my yakisoba has only vegetables and noodles.  You could cook some thinly sliced pork or chicken in the pan and remove the meat before adding the vegetables.  Then, at the end add the meat to all the other ingredients.

Back to the recipe.  First, I prepared my veggies.  I chopped an onion and two cloves of garlic.  I thinly sliced some baby carrots.  Then, I removed some napa cabbage leaves from the stem and thinly sliced the leaves.  I heated a large pan on high heat and added all the vegetables.

Then, I assembled my sauce.  The sauce was a mix of:  dark soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, toasted sesame oil, chili garlic paste, and agave.  The dark soy sauce is thick and adds a richness to the sauce; however, you could just use 5 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce and skip the dark soy sauce.  I let the vegetables cook until they were soft and I removed them from the pan.  I added about 2 cups of water to the hot pan and let the water boil on high heat.  I added the noodles to the boiling water, stirred them,  and let them cook for about 2 minutes.  I drained the noodles.

I put the noodles, vegetables, and sauce into the pan and cooked it over high heat for a few minutes.  I stirred all the ingredients until they were completely mixed together.  Then, I sprinkled some sesame seeds on them.  I love toasted sesame seeds so I went a bit crazy with them — add as much as you like.

I put the noodles in a bowl and added more sesame seeds.

Yakisoba (or Japanese Stir Fried Noodles)

Ingredients

8 ounces of soba noodles

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of chili garlic sauce

1 teaspoon of agave nectar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 small onion, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 carrots or a handful of baby carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 head of napa cabbage

1 tablespoon (or more) of toasted sesame seeds

1.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add the vegetables and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften and brown slightly.  Remove the vegetables from the skillet or wok.

2.  Mix the soy sauces, Worchestershire sauce, chili garlic sauce, agave nectar, and toasted sesame oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.

3.  Add 2 cups of water to the hot skillet or wok.  Bring water to a boil over high heat.  Add the noodles and stir continuously until the noodles have separated from each other and are cooked — about 2 minutes.  Drain noodles.

4.  Return vegetables and noodles to the skillet or wok and cook over medium-high heat.  Add the sauce and mix well until noodles and vegetables are covered in the sauce.  Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top.

I love Korean food and I assumed it would be hard to make a good Korean dinner at home.  I saw a recipe for Seasoned Vegetables by Soon Young Chung on the New Asian Cuisine website and I decided to give it a try.  As I began to cook, I realized why I love Korean food — they are not afraid of garlic!  I modified the recipe based on the ingredients I had at home.  I had baby spinach, cremini mushrooms, extra firm tofu, and (YES) lots of garlic.

First, I blanched a ton of spinach in salted boiling water for a couple of minutes.  Then, I put the spinach in a bowl of cold water and drained it.  I mixed the dry spinach with a lot of crushed garlic, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and tahini.

Then, I blanched the whole cremini mushrooms in the same boiling water.  I drained them and thinly sliced them.  I mixed the sliced mushrooms with a similar combination of ingredients that I used for the spinach and added some black pepper.  I then sauteed the mushrooms in a bit of vegetable oil until they released their liquid and were golden brown.  I drained and diced some extra firm tofu and served the vegetables and tofu over steamed sushi rice.  I really like the sticky consistency and sweet and sour taste of sushi rice.  But, you could serve this with any other type of steamed white or brown rice.

The food smelled so good while I was making it that I forgot to get a picture while everything still looked nice on the plate.  This picture shows a messier version of the dish with a generous amount of sriracha sauce swirled on top.

Seasoned Baby Spinach & Cremini Mushrooms with Tofu

Adapted from Korean Cooking Made Easy:  Simple Meals in Minutes by Soon Young Chung

Ingredients

Spinach

2 cups of water

Pinch of salt

16 oz fresh baby spinach

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons sesame paste (or tahini)

Mushrooms

10 fresh cremini mushrooms

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame paste (or tahini)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Accompaniments

Steamed rice (see sushi rice recipe below)

Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)

1.  Prepare the spinach by bringing the water and salt to a boil over high heat in a saucepan.  Blanch the spinach for 1-2 minutes (until the spinach is wilted) and remove from the heat.  Rinse the blanched spinach in cold water and drain well.  Squeeze out the excess water from the spinach.  Combine the spinach with all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix until well coated.  Set aside.

2.  To prepare mushrooms, return the salted water to a boil over high heat and blanch the mushrooms for 15 seconds.  Remove from the heat, rinse in cold water and drain well.  Remove and discard the stems, then thinly slice the caps.

3.  In a bowl, combine the mushroom slices with all the other ingredients, except the oil, and mix well.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes (until they release their water and are golden brown).  Remove from the heat and set aside.

4.  Serve vegetables in a bowl on top of steamed rice.  Top with hot sauce such as sriracha.

Sushi Rice

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of Sushi Rice (I like Nishiki brand)

2 cups of water

1/4 cup of rice vinegar

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1.  Put rice in a colander and rinse it in cold water several times until the water comes out clear.  If cooking on stovetop — Combine rice and water in a medium saucepan.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.  If using a rice cooker — Combine the rice and water in the rice cooker.  Set rice cooker on sushi setting or regular setting.

2.  Meanwhile heat the rice vinegar in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Stir in the sugar and salt.  When the sugar and salt have dissolved take the saucepan off the burner and let the sauce cool.

3.  Let the rice cool for a few minutes.  Stir in the vinegar sauce.

For many years I have been searching for a macaroni and cheese recipe that is as quick as the stuff in the box.  I had some rules for this mac and cheese recipe.  First, I wanted to make the cheese sauce while boiling the noodles; so, the sauce had to be quick.  Next, I wanted a recipe that included milk, butter, cheese, flour, and noodles — no weird spices (that my kids would notice and reject) and no weird milk products.  Many recipes I found had ingredients like dry mustard or condensed milk.  I gave up for awhile.  Then, I came across this recipe from Simply Recipes.  Their recipe has lemon juice, ham, and black pepper in it; which, I didn’t use.  But, the genius part of this recipe is that they toss the grated cheese with corn starch to prevent the cheese from clumping up and to quickly thicken the sauce.

So, you need the basic ingredients I mentioned with the addition of corn starch.  The beautiful thing about this recipe is that you probably have all this stuff in your kitchen already.

Toss corn starch in the grated cheese (genius).

Boil whatever pasta shape you like.  If you are making this with kids you may want them to pick the pasta.  If they pick the shape of the pasta, it is more likely they will eat this.

To make the sauce, you melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add some flour and heat the flour.  Then, slowly add milk and allow the sauce to thicken over the heat.  Then, you add the cheese.

Drain the pasta, and put the pot on the stove over low heat to incorporate the sauce and the pasta.

Put in the appropriate serving vessels.

Enjoy!  If you want to get some of this good stuff you better grab a bowl before your kids devour it.  I love macaroni and cheese and I really love macaroni and cheese that takes less then 20 minutes to make.  So, throw out the boxes of mac and cheese (yes, even the relatively healthier one with the bunny on it)!  You can now make your own mac and cheese that is just as fast and even tastier.

Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese

adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

2 quarts of water

1 tablespoon of salt, plus more to flavor sauce

2 cups uncooked pasta

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups of cheddar cheese, grated

1 teaspoon of cornstarch

2 teaspoons of flour

1 cup of milk

1.  In a medium sized bowl, mix corn starch with grated cheese, so that the cheese is coated, set aside.

2.  Boil water with one teaspoon of salt.  Add the pasta and cooked according to instructions on the box.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat.  Whisk in the flour.  Slowly pour in the milk, while whisking until the sauce is smooth.  Slowly add the grated cheese, while whisking, until smooth.

3.  When pasta is done, drain it, and put it back in the pot.  Add the cheese sauce.  Cook over low heat until the sauce is incorporated with the pasta.