Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Still Can't Believe the Rangers are in the World Series Pizza

I had intended on sending this last night however I fell asleep.  My intentions were good although I woke up to not only losing my original post, but the Rangers lost. 

Not that this morning was a bad morning, at least compared to yesterday morning when I was awakened by our daughter, at precisely 4:10 AM, telling me that her bedroom was full of water.  Yes, we had a flood.  Such a large one in fact that it has left my home full of commercial fans, humidifiers and men coming in and out of my house to assess the damage.  I'm stressed and tired and my house sounds like Love Field with the runways full of airplanes.  I wish I could get a flight attendant just to come by and serve me peanuts or offer me a drink as I sit in this holding pattern of bad weather.

But, there's always a silver lining in every cloud.  The Rangers will start winning and I will make (made) pizza.  All, in all, you may not have a good day, but sitting on the couch with your family, watching America's favorite pastime on TV with the volume decibel to 90 and eating homemade pizza make everything alright with the world.  Even amongst water damage and tornado-like winds, all the peanuts in the world couldn't change that.

Ingredients - Pizza #1

1 pre-made pizza dough (not Babboli's!) If you live in Dallas, make a trip to Jimmy's for their new pre-made doughs.  They're wonderful.  Or, buy at your local gourmet grocery store, typically in the frozen section
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup pureed mushrooms (get 1 lb of your fave mushrooms, with oo, add to Cuisenart with 2 cloves garlic and pulse until almost smooth)
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained of all water
6 oz fresh goat cheese
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Olive oil for drizzling

Roll out dough according to package directions. Place on pizza pan or greased cookie sheet.  Prepare pizza in the order of the recipe and bake on 425 for 15 minutes.  Drizzle with more oo if you want.

Pizza #2

Repeat first two ingredients
1/2 cup pre-made pesto
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 tbs chopped chives
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Olive oil for drizzling

Roll out dough according to package directions.  Place on pizza pan or greased cookie sheet.  Prepare pizza in the order of the recipe and bake on 425 for 15 minutes.  Drizzle with more oo if you want.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Homemade Meatballs - serves 4 and then some

My son put me up to a challenge the other day betting me that I couldn't cook meat.  I told him he had a bet only if I could challenge him not to roll his eyes or "huff and puff" the next time I asked him to do his chores.  Although I'm not a huge meat eater, I will occasionally cook meat just to keep the men sane in our household.  I guarantee there is more "huffing and puffing" going on in this house that there is meat cooked.  So, "game on" I said, and of course I received the roll of the eyes and a "yea, right mom."

Not to be beaten, I whipped up a batch of homemade meatballs to prove I was a player.  The kids and husband left to go rock climbing and I marveled in the fact that a) I was going to show them that I could withstand a challenge and b) they would return home to the wonderful aromas of baked meatballs and stewed tomato sauce as a teaser.  Sure enough, just as I was retrieving the last meatball onto a plate, they come barreling in the front door yelling "mom, what's for dinner, smells great!"  With the best game face I could muster I looked at my son's chalky face and dirty hands and into my son's eyes and said, "want to play hard ball?  Have a meatball."  Score: Mom 7, Son 0.

Ingredients - you can use a premade tomato/spaghetti sauce or check out previous blogs for my tomato sauce

2 1/4 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
3 lg eggs, lightly beaten
2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
1 pd ground pork
6 oz thinly sliced proscuitto, chopped fine
3 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 tbs minced fresh parsley leaves
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Place wire racks in 2 foil-lined rimmed baking sheets.  Adjust the oven racks to lower middle and upper middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine the bread crumbs, yogurt and mile in a large bowl and let sit, mashing occasionally with a fork, until a smooth paste forms, about 10 minutes.

Add eggs, beef, pork, proscuitto, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper to bread crumb mixture.  Using hands, gently mix until thoroughly combined.  Lightly form about 1/2 cup mixture into 2 inch round meatballs, repeat with remaining mixture to form approximately 40 meatballs.  (Freeze what you don't use for future dinners.)

Spray the wire racks with nonstick cooking spray and place meatballs, evenly spaced, on racks and roast until browned, about 30 minutes, rotating trays from front to back and top to bottom halfway through. 

Add meatballs to your simmering sauce, covered, for about 30 minutes or until firm.  Serve with your favorite pasta.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pan Seared Shrimp with Gnocchi and Arugula Pesto - serves 4

Life has been nuts.  I'm not complaining however a few of my followers have been.  So, consider this an apology.  When I quit my corporate job to pursue my passion for cooking, I knew I'd be busy.  What I didn't expect was being busier.  Our family life is quite hectic now that school is in full throttle, my son is going through the 11 year old "phase" and my daughter wants to experiment every possible sport that's available. And then there's my husband.  He's a landscaping maniac and has grass coming out every part of his body.  I see him mainly before I go to bed at night and watch his tail lights disappear in the mornings as I return from my early morning runs.  So yes, we're busy.  I haven't even touched on my business to add to the mix, let alone the insane, bread stealing, poop machine, dog I have to keep at bay. Therefore, dinner has to be last minute and quick. 

You can use any kind of pesto... I chose this because I still have remnants of arugula growing and am trying to still get rid of it. You can get gnocchi, which are potato dumplings, at just about any grocery store.  Jimmy's in Dallas has them as well, only frozen.

All I can say is what my mom said to me not too long ago, "I hope they grow up to be exactly like you so you know what I went through."  No, not that.... "Enjoy them while they can before they grow up."  Take your time and enjoy your dinners, you'll thank yourself for the time.


1 pd shrimp, peel and deveined
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 jar of pre-made pesto of your choice
1 pkg of gnocchi
2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

Prepare gnocchi according to package directions.  (Be sure and not to overcook as they are ready once they begin to float.)  In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil until shimmering.  Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.  Add shrimp, tossing to coat, and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Meanwhile, drain gnocchi.  Serve accordingly in pasta bowls and top with shrimp/tomatoes.  Add a dollop (or more) of pesto and serve.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Zucchini with Penne & Herbs - serves 4 with leftovers

I was having a somewhat good day until my sous chef decided to eat his way through my kitchen.  Yes, the most expensive house dog not only ate 2 loafs of high fiber bread (at 7 grams of fiber PER slice) but 36 tortillas as well.  He's so bloated now that his stomach looks like that of a person in National Geographic Magazine.  I have now quarantined him to the outdoors for fear of the obvious; a nuclear bomb that may clear miles of Lake Highlands neighborhoods in one sitting.

So after you've pondered on that thought, I decided to blog about a high fiber meal as well.  Should you have the need to up the ante on your fiber intake, I recommend Barrilla Wheat Penne Pasta.  It doesn't taste like cardboard like a lot of the wheat pastas and doesn't have an aftertaste.  Grab some fresh herbs, zucchini, lemon and Parmesan and you have a meal in under 20 minutes.  The kids and I enjoyed it as I sulked over celebrating my 13th anniversary alone, without a card and a dog who's going to have some serious digestive problems come morning.  My husband and dog will look cute quarantined together, don't you think?


1 13.5 oz box of Barrilla Wheat Penne Pasta, cooked according to package directions, reserving 1/4 cup pasta liquid
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs olive oil
2 zucchini, washed, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 white onion, sliced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juic
1 tbs fresh basil, chopped
1 tbs fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil and garlic.  Saute garlic for about 1 minute and add sliced onions.  Saute until onions start to become translucent, about 3-4 minutes.  Add zucchini.  Saute until zucchini starts to brown, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, drain pasta and add to zucchini.  Stir well and add lemon juice and pasta liquid.  Add herbs and Parmesan, mixing well to incorporate.  Season with salt and pepper and enjoy.