Get Off The Couch and Cook

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BBQ Chicken Pizza with Mushrooms and Bacon (Pizza Week!)

BBQChickenPizzaThere is just nothing that I don’t love about this pizza.  Heck, put anything with BBQ sauce and cheese and I’m pretty sure I’d try eating it so I MAY be a little biased.  But, honestly, you can trust a fat cook.  We usually know what tastes good. 😉  Just looking at that picture above gets me salivating.  All that sauce and all that cheese?  Good gawd… Yum!

This is better than the basic version of this pizza that I sometimes make, though.  This time I added bacon and mushrooms.  Sometimes I will add pineapple tidbits right before adding the cheese.  Onion would also make a tasty addition if you don’t live in an onion-free household (like I sadly do).

*Sigh*

BBQChickenPizza2If I HAVE to eat this without onion, though, I won’t complain.  It’s still pretty dang tasty.

One nice thing about this particular pizza crust is that if you have to let any of “resting” steps go beyond the times listed, it’s not going to hurt anything.  So don’t stress out if the chicken or mushrooms take a few minutes longer to cook.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Pizza: BBQ Chicken
By: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1 pizza
 
There is just nothing that I don't love about this pizza. Heck, put anything with BBQ sauce and cheese and I'm pretty sure I'd try eating it so I MAY be a little biased.
Ingredients
FOR THE CRUST
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (or ¼ oz packet)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 c warm water (hot water directly from tap)
  • 2½ c bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal
FOR THE PIZZA
  • 2 cups (16 oz) Honey BBQ Sauce, more or less depending on taste
  • 3 slices of bacon, cut into ½" pieces
  • 8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz sliced white mushrooms
  • 4 oz mozzarella
  • 4 oz Cheddar
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°.
  3. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in hot water, stirring gently to break up any clumps. Let stand until creamy and almost doubled, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the bacon to the hot pan and cook, stirring until cooked most of the way through, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel but reserve the grease in the skillet.
  5. With a large spoon, stir flour, salt and oil into the yeast mixture. Use hands to mix well. Form into a ball and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, add the chicken, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring, until cooked most of the way through, about 3 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and let drain on a paper towel.
  7. Lightly grease either a 12" round pizza pan or large baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with the cornmeal.
  8. Press dough to shape on the pan, making it as even as possible. (You can also roll it out on a floured surface first and then transfer it to the pizza pan or baking sheet.) Bake 5-7 min or until just starting to brown.
  9. While the crust is baking, cook the mushrooms in the reserved skillet, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel.
  10. Remove the partially baked crust from the oven. Let it rest while shredding the cheese.
  11. Spread BBQ sauce, bacon, chicken, mushrooms and both cheeses evenly on top of the crust, spreading to reach the edges then finish baking 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

 

candycorn

Did you do anything deliciously ghoulish for Halloween?

 

 

Italian Sausage and Mushroom Pizza (Pizza Week!)

Italian Sausage

I know that for the last 2 days, I have been teasing you with pics of this pizza and my mouth is watering just telling you about it!  When we have pizza night at our house, this is one of the standards that I make since I usually have most of the ingredients on-hand already.

Of course, the Italian sausage I made in my first recipe post on here is making an appearance. This won’t be the last time, either. 🙂  And look!  The pizza sauce from yesterday!

Italian Sausage Pizza

In the rare times I get to make pizza for just me, I also like to chop and cook some onion with the mushrooms.  I have one onion-hater and one onion-tolerator in my house so onions don’t happen as often as I would like.  Don’t like mushrooms?  Just leave them out of the recipe.  Weren’t able to make Italian sausage or pizza sauce ahead of time?  Well, that’s the nice thing about pizza: you can put just about whatever toppings you want on it.  Some toppings I don’t understand, like olives, but I don’t judge.  I’m just happy when someone gets their pizza on, especially when it’s as good as this homemade one!

ItalianSausagePizza-slice

Pizza: Italian Sausage and Mushrooms
By: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1 pizza
 
I'm happy whenever someone gets their pizza on, especially when it's as good as this homemade one!
Ingredients
FOR THE CRUST
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (or ¼ oz packet)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 c warm water (hot water directly from tap)
  • 2½ c bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal
FOR THE PIZZA
Instructions
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°.
  3. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in hot water, stirring gently to break up any clumps. Let stand until creamy and almost doubled, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the Italian sausage to the hot pan and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until crumbled and cooked most of the way through, about 7-8 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Reserve the grease in the skillet.
  5. With a large spoon, stir flour, salt and oil into the yeast mixture. Use hands to mix well. Form into a ball and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, lightly grease either a 12" round pizza pan or large baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with the cornmeal. Press dough to shape on the pan, making it as even as possible. (You can also roll it out on a floured surface first and then transfer it to the pizza pan or baking sheet.) Bake 5-7 min or until just starting to brown.
  7. While the crust is baking, cook the mushrooms in the reserved skillet, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel.
  8. Remove the partially baked crust from the oven. Let it rest while shredding the cheese.
  9. Spread sauce, sausage, mushrooms and cheese evenly on top of the crust, spreading to reach the edges then finish baking 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

 

What foods do you like that you don’t get as often as you’d like because of others’ dislikes?

 

Pizza Sauce (Pizza Week!)

ItalianSausagePizzaAfter you make a good crust, you need to have a sauce that will do it justice.  After a bit of trial and error, I finally came up with what I consider the perfect basic sauce for pizza.  It’s slightly chunky, a little spicy (just a little), and very versatile.  Also, did you know that a half cup of tomato sauce does count as a serving of vegetables?

AND it’s really easy to make!  It takes about 4 minutes to get it started then it just simmers for about 30 minutes.  After letting it cool, you now have enough sauce for multiple pizzas.  Not making multiple?  It freezes quite nicely for more pizza later.

Start….now!

Pizza time - goGet your ingredients…

Pizza sauce ingredientsSaute the garlic in oil for about 30 seconds and add the rest of the stuff.

pizza sauce endJust 4 minutes!  Now let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

Pizza sauceTake it off the heat to cool and store in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer for later.

This makes about 6 cups of sauce.  I like a lot of sauce on my pizza so I use about 2 cups of sauce per 16″x12″ rectangular pizza.  If you do the math, that’s 4 servings of vegetables per pizza.  Vegetables = healthy so pizza is healthy, right?  Right?  😉

Pizza SauceThis sauce will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks but you can store it longer in the freezer.  My suggestion would be to freeze it in 1 to 2 cup increments in quart-sized freezer bags so you can thaw just what you need.  By freezing it flat in bags, it won’t take up much room in the freezer and will thaw quickly under cold running water.

I know I mentioned that we have a freezer in the garage but it only holds the meat we buy in bulk.  Everything else is in the freezer atop our fridge so I like to keep things compact for easy storage.

Pizza Sauce
By: 
Recipe type: Staple
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 5-6 cups
 
Since I started making my own sauce, I can't do the jarred kind anymore. So I keep a few batches of this in the freezer for possible pizza emergencies.
Ingredients
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced or 1 heaping Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 28-29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 28-29 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan over med-high heat, heat your oil for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds or until tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness. The longer you cook it, the thicker it will get.
  3. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for a couple of months. Thaw for a day or 2 in refrigerator before use or run under cold tap water until thawed.
  4. Yield: 5 - 6 cups

 

 

Do you like a lot of sauce or a little on your pizza?

 

 

Quick Pizza Crust (Pizza Week!)

Pizza!

I know I seem to have a lot of “favorites” but pizza is, by far, my mostest favoritest food there is.  Even bad pizza is better than no pizza.  Well, maybe not quite but pretty darn close! For quite a while, we had “Pizza Monday” where we would either order or have frozen, depending on budget for that week.  That adds up pretty quickly, both monetarily and around the waist line.

I tried making pizza at home, using premade crusts, jarred sauce, preshredded cheese, packaged pepperoni and jarred mushrooms.  It was… okay.

I then figured out how to make my own pizza sauce (which I will share tomorrow).  That helped.  The next secret was a quick and easy pizza crust.  This seriously takes 30 minutes from the time you start it to the time you have pizza in your mouth.  That’s less time than the pizza delivery places around here.  Cheaper, too!

First, mix your yeast, sugar, and water.  Don’t be scared!  As long as you use hot water (as hot as possible… let it run for a few minutes)  from your tap, yeast is not a scary thing to work with!  I promise.

While it is bubbling and growing, work on shredding your cheese, cooking your meats or veggies, etc.

quickpizzacrust-started

Add in the flour and other ingredients, form into a ball and let it rest for 5 minutes.

quickpizzacrust-resting

Get your pan ready then either press it into shape with your hands or roll it out first.  For me, it depends on how lazy I’m feeling. 🙂

quickpizzacrust-rolled

Bake it for 5-7 minutes, add your sauce, toppings and cheese and bake it again for about 10 minutes.

Ta da!  Pizza in about 30 minutes!

ItalianSausagePizza

Quick Pizza Crust
By: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1 pizza crust
 
You can make a quick and easy pizza in about 30 minutes, less time than delivery! I found the original recipe over at allrecipes.com and tweaked the directions just a bit.
Ingredients
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (or ¼ oz packet)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 c warm water (hot water directly from tap)
  • 2½ c bread flour or all-purpose flour OR 1½ c bread flour (or AP flour) + 1 c white-wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the hot water, gently stirring to break up any clumps. Let stand until creamy and almost doubled, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Use hands to mix well. Let stand and rest 5 minutes.
  4. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Press dough to shape on the baking sheet, making it as even as possible. Alternatively, you could also roll it on a floured surface to your desired size and transfer it to the baking sheet.
  5. Bake 5-7 min or until just starting to brown slightly. Add sauce, toppings and cheese then finish baking 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.
Notes
If you double the recipe, use it to make 3 crusts unless you like thick crust. You may need to bake for longer the first time in the oven to cook it all the way through.

 

What’s your favorite kind of pizza?  Do you make your own?

 

Honey BBQ Sauce

Honey BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce should be a major food group.  It is around my house, anyway.  We are a condiment-happy household to begin with but homemade BBQ sauce is one of those things I have to keep on hand or else I’ll have mutiny.  I make a few different kinds, depending on what other plans I have for it, but for just an all-purpose sauce, our favorite is this honey BBQ sauce.

It is incredibly simple to make, too!  It takes literally 5 minutes of hands-on time.Honey BBQ start time

Honey BBQ end time

Just mix these 10 ingredients…

Honey BBQ ingredients

honeybbqsaucetreadytostir

let them simmer for 30-45 minutes…

honeybbqheating

and you have a delicious sweet and tangy sauce!  The longer you let it simmer, the thicker and more concentrated it will be.

This is a great sauce for just about any kind of meat as well as a dipping sauce for things like chicken nuggets and even my beloved oven fries.

Honey BBQ Sauce
By: 
Recipe type: Staple
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: Makes 3-4 cups
 
Sweet and a little spicy, this Honey BBQ Sauce is a staple at our house for cooking or just dipping!
Ingredients
  • 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • ½ c balsamic vinegar
  • ⅔ c honey
  • ¼ c Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Mix together and whisk over med-high heat until it boils then turn it to med-low. Let simmer about 30 - 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until it reaches the desired consistency. Let cool in pan off the heat then store in air tight container for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
  2. Makes 3-4 cups, depending on how long you let it simmer.
Notes
For a less sweet, more classic BBQ sauce, reduce the honey to ⅓ cup. Increase the onion powder to 1 Tbsp. Leave out the ancho chile powder and add 1 Tbsp chili powder and ¼ tsp ground cayenne.

 

 

Menu Planning

On a few different occasions, a couple of my friends have asked how I know what to cook for dinner or what to buy.  They said they buy random things at the grocery store in an effort to cook more at home but then they aren’t sure what to make for dinner or they have nothing thawed when it comes time for cook.

There are many, many ways to plan your dinners and make your grocery lists; this is just the way that works for me and my household.  My friends were surprised that it didn’t take as much time as they thought which is helps motivate to actually do it and stick with it.

Because I do the grocery shopping on Friday, our weekly menu runs Friday – Thursday.  On Wednesday, during my lunch break at work, I first check my calendar to see what we have going on for that upcoming menu week and mark that down right away.  Okay, so I rarely actually look at an official calendar.  I keep track of stuff in my head, but we sound way more important busy if I have to actually consult something.

I then make a mental list of what we have in the freezer that I could use.  Because we live in a house, we have an upright freezer in the garage.  We almost always have chicken breasts and lean ground beef (from Zaycon Foods) in there but there may also be something from a prior week in the small freezer in the kitchen that didn’t get prepared for some reason or if I saw something on sale while shopping the week before.

I try to prepare chicken as our protein for every other meal so I start there and figure out which days I want to make chicken.  I also try to do something with ground beef once a week.  I then quickly flip through my 2 recipe books for things I want to make.

What 2 books?  Well, I have a binder for recipes that I want to try:
OmNomBookAnd one of recipes that I’ve made and definitely want to make again:RecipesI have a good idea what’s in both so it doesn’t really take long to find yumminess.  Also, when figuring out my meals, I make sure I include one or two vegetables and a starch.  Being an avid lover of potatoes, those are definitely my main go-to but my household also loves pasta and rice.

As I write down each meal, I also make a list of what we’ll need for the recipe that I don’t already have on hand..  If I’m not sure if I have something or not, I put a question mark (?) next to it so I can check when I get home.  By the end of my lunch break, I have a good idea of what we’re going to have for dinner and a rough draft of my grocery list.

Yes, I make a rough draft.  Here’s why I do that:

  1. I need to double-check what we have on hand at home.
  2. I like to rewrite my list in roughly the order it’ll be at the store.  Yeah, I’m a little OCD about that but it *is* the way that I do it.  Mileage may vary. 😉

When I get home from work Wednesday, I do my double-checking and add anything that’s been written on the white board we keep on our refrigerator for when we run out of things.

At some point between Wednesday night and the end of my work day on Friday, I rewrite my grocery list.  I also write the menu on the pad I made just for our menus.  I keep that on the fridge so everyone can see what we’re having and to remind me when I need to take meat out of the freezer or of any prep work I can do ahead of time.

Here’s the menu pad and my crossed off grocery list for that week.

menumywayLike my stickers on my laptop? 🙂

I also have a spot on my menu pad for those things I need to make ahead of time for some meals.  With the particular menu, I ended up taking about an hour on Sunday to make the 2 sauces and salsa and my bread machine did most of the work for my dough for the buns.  Those will be upcoming posts.

Writing this out, I can see why this may seem like a lot of work but it really isn’t.  I also realize I do a little more than the average person, like rewriting my list.  That is completely not necessary, especially when there are a number of apps you can put on your smartphone for grocery lists.  I’m kinda old school with my list making.  But taking that extra time to plan out our dinners helps keep us on track for eating delicious meals at home.

As a gift for you, I also created pages for menu planning and making a shopping list that can be cut off.

menuHere’s how my menu and shopping list from above looks on the sheet:

usingPDFI made one for different start dates of the week.  Just pick whichever one works for you!

Just click on the day of the week you want your menu to start on to download the .pdf file.

Do you plan your menus?  What’s your method?

 

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