Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

The Crust:
2 T. dry yeast
2 cup tepid water (100 degrees)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 T. olive oil
1/2 cup cornmeal
5 1/2 cups flour

In the bowl of electric mixer (like a kitchen aid), dissolve the yeast in the water.  Add the oils, cornmeal, and 3 cups of flour.  Mix for 7-9 minutes.  Put on dough hook and mix in additional flour until it makes a soft, non-sticky dough.  Knead with machine or by hand for several minutes.  Place in large, greased bowl and allow to double in bulk (about 30-40 minutes).  Punch down.  Press into large, deep-sided pizza pan (I actually use a large cast iron skillet) into bottom and up the sides.

The Filling:
1 large block mozzarella cheese
2 cups canned or fresh diced Roma tomatoes
1 tsp. each chopped basil and oregano
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
your favorite toppings (we like ground beef, cooked with onions)
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan
3 T. olive oil

Slice the mozzarella and place the cheese in tile-like layers around the bottom of crust.  Next, put in the tomatoes.  Sprinkle with herbs, spread garlic and seasonings evenly over tomatoes.  Then, add your favorite pizza toppings.  Finally, sprinkle top evenly with Parmesan and drizzle the olive oil over everything.  Bake at 475 degrees for about 35 minutes - the top should be golden and gooey and the crust edge should be light brown.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.  It is more like a huge slice of casserole than the pizza you are used to.  Serve with fork and lots of napkins!!

I'm Back, Baby!!

I guess blogs are becoming a bit passe, because everything goes onto Facebook so easily. However, Walt and I have really enjoyed posting our photos, art, and recipes on this WE'RE BACK! It seems we have 2 followers at the moment. Hopefully, that will increase. Check back frequently for yummy food, book reviews, and photos. Since we want to increase our impact, feel free to comment and share your own fun stuff. Here is a way to get you started: NAME ONE LOCAL RESTAURANT THAT YOU LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, BUT IS THE KIND OF PLACE THAT OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT DRIVE RIGHT PAST WITHOUT REALIZING HOW GOOD IT IS. My answer: El Charo in Cherry Valley, a store front in a strip mall that has GREAT Mexican food. Now, what is your answer??

Friday, June 24, 2011

Here are some spelling words...

We know English is a screwy language. What gets me is the fact that there are some common words that are misspelled or misused very often. To help you with this, we present the following link to The Oatmeal and the article "Ten words you need to stop misspelling."


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Life Intrudes

It has been a while since we have updated this blog. Life has a way of getting the way of your plans. The end of the school year is rapidly approaching. Mine ends Friday, Sheila's ends the Friday following. There are always a million things to do at the end, from getting final grades turned to making sure the classroom materials are properly stored.

It's a busy time, the month before school ends, but it's more than that. Blogging is only one of our creative outlets. We paint, scrapbook, draw, cook, journal, build models, and any number of related activities. That means that we don't always pay as much attention to this blog as others might to theirs. What free time we have may be devoted to other creative outlets than sitting here typing. If you have missed us, please forgive our reduced output and understand that there are other things that are taking our time.

If you continue to follow along, we will be posting some of our other creative endeavors here, so stay tuned!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Try These Recipes!!!

To the three or four people who actually read this blog, here are some EASY and DELICIOUS recipes for you and your family. Feel free to share them with others. The first two are ideas I got from going to Dream Dinners. I like DD, but can't afford the $200+ costs each month. I still love to cook, but I never seem to have/make the time any more, so I hope you like these as much as we do:

1. Meatballs Marinara from the freezer

Purchase several aluminum cooking pans from the grocery store - the kind that come with lids that you crimp onto the top of the pan. If you want a large serving, buy large pans. If you want to serve 2 or 3 people, buy small pans and you will get more from this recipe (which can always be doubled if needed). Buy the OMG large bag of frozen, pre-cooked meatballs from the grocery store. You will get a nice large bag from Costco or from Smart and Final. Buy a large jar (or two) of your favorite marinara sauce, and a large bag of shredded mozzarella cheese. Spray non-stick cooking spray into your aluminum pan and on the lid (it goes foil-side down and white side up). Divide the meatballs between the number of pans you got. Pour a generous amount of marinara sauce over them, and sprinkle with plenty of mozzarella. At this point, you can be done, or you can sprinkle onto the top any of the following: Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, garlic salt, sliced black olives, etc. Secure lid by crimping all the way around. Use a sharpie marker to label your entree and the date you made it. Put in the freezer. When you want to eat these, either thaw in fridge the night before, or pop them into the oven frozen. Leave the lid on. Cook at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes so they will heat through. Then, remove the lid and cook additional 10 minutes so the cheese gets bubbly. Serve alone with bread and salad, or make some pasta to go with them. They are also good in hoagie rolls for a meatball sandwich. Leftovers microwave well the next day for lunch. You can make plenty of these and enjoy any time!!

2. BBQ Chicken straight from freezer to oven

Following directions above, prepare as many aluminum pans as needed. Into the bottom of each, put frozen boneless, skinless chicken...use breast meat or the breast strips. Pour a generous amount of your favorite BBQ sauce over the top. Top with lid and crimp. These are best if you thaw overnight the day before you plan to cook them. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, removing the lid carefully for the last 10 minutes. Cut into a piece of chicken to be sure it is cooked and juices run clear. Be careful removing from oven, and the sauce can be quite sloshy. Serve with salad and mashed potatoes, or whatever you like.

3. Tortellini Minestrone Casserole (stolen from Betty Crocker)

1 package refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 12-oz package green beans or mixed veggies
1 15-oz can diced Italian-style tomatoes, undrained
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees, Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick spray. Put in everything except cheese and stir. Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, stir well, sprinkle with cheese, and bake additional 10-15 minutes.

I would add sliced black olives, mozzarella cheese, and some Italian dried herbs on top for that last 10-15 minutes, if it were me. I also think you could add mushrooms, drained artichoke hearts, a can of rinsed and drained small white beans, or other veggie of choice to the mixture, if desired. Super easy!!!

Hope this motivates you to get in the kitchen. And, I hope it helps save time as you prepare meals for you, your partner, or a whole bunch of kids!

Email me if you have any questions. If you try something, please leave a comment. I will give a special prize to all comments I get (which will take a week or two to order...but I really want comments!).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Science rules!

You must watch this Irish comedian. He understands how science works, and why pseudoscience doesn't.