Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

This was a really fun change from the regular pizza that our family eats. Our family really enjoyed being able to dip these in whatever sauce they liked. I liked the easyness of preparing the meal and the ease of cleanup. I also really liked that I can use the bread stick dough and Alfredo sauce that I usually make.

Stuffed Pizza Rolls                                        

Our Best Bites Mormon Moms in the Kitchen pg 164
Bread Stick dough allow to rise one time                                             
1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese                                             
Pizza toppings of your choice, we used Canadian Bacon, 
Pepperoni and Olives                                 
1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Marinara, Pizza Sauce or Alfredo Sauce                         

After the bread stick dough is done rising, roll it out on a surface you can cut on into a rectangle of about 12 x 8 inches.

Cut the dough into about 24 squares, I usually use my pizza cutter for this. I didn't cut these very well, cutting straight isn't one of my talents, but they still worked out. Place the toppings you've chosen onto the dough squares. Make sure to include about 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella, and that you'll be able to close the dough up so the toppings don't escape. Don't put the sauce in there, it's for dipping! Carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings and pinch to seal. Place the balls seam side down in a lightly sprayed cooking dish, I used two 8 x 8 square glass dishes. 

Brush the tops of the balls with the oil or the butter. Then sprinkle with the spices and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes. It's recommended to check these at 10 minutes and adjust accordingly, which is smart. Ours only needed about 12 minutes to cook. Serve right away, using warmed Marinara, Pizza Sauce, or Alfredo Sauce to dip the rolls in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Panera Summer Berry Poppy Seed Salad

Last summer when we were in St. Louis on our family vacation we ate the most amazing salad at a place called Panera (they don't have locations in Utah). This is a recreation of that salad using the Panera Poppy Seed dressing that you can buy at Target. I know this is a really summery salad, but it's also perfect for anytime that you want to eat something really healthy, tasty and the best part - low fat! I also like how versatile it is, you can serve it with chicken, or just the berries. Add a chunk of French Baguette or Peasant Bread and you have a meal just like they serve at Panera.

Panera Summer Berry Poppy Seed Salad
Panera Poppy Seed Dressing
Lettuce of your choosing - I used a mix of Iceberg and Romaine
Sliced Strawberries
Sliced fresh Pineapple
Nuts - I used slivered almonds, but you can also use pecans
Mandarin Oranges
Chicken - if desired

The first thing that I did was marinate the chicken. I use the Montreal Chicken by McCormick and then I just follow the recipe on the label for Zesty Marinade. I make the marinade in a gallon sized Ziplock bag and then stick it in the fridge for an hour or so. Make sure to turn the bag over to coat all the chicken evenly.

Break lettuce into bite sized pieces and mix in the poppy seed dressing. I love the way doing this sweetens up the lettuce and the fruit on top really doesn't need the extra sweetening.
Cook the chicken. I would have liked to have grilled ours, but this is the current view of our barbecue. I used our George Foreman grill instead. I use chicken tenders and they really only cook for a few minutes. In our George Foreman grill it took only 7 or 8 minutes. Slice the chicken as thin as you can. 

Place the lettuce on your plate. Top with nuts, berries, oranges and chicken. Serve with your favorite bread.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Easy Peasant Bread

This is one of my go to recipes for bread. It goes really well with soups. I love how quickly you can make it, too! The shape is also kind of unique to this bread. You simply pour the dough out onto your pan and allow to rise. So simple! If you've never really made bread or had good luck with other bread recipes, this is the bread for you. I don't think you could mess it up, even if you tried!

Easy Peasant Bread
Real Mom Kitchen by Laura Powell page 35

1 package dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
melted butter

Combine yeast, water, sugar and salt in a large bowl and stir until dissolved, I use my Kitchenaid mixer here, mostly because of laziness, but also because it makes life easier and I can just cover the bowl with it's lid when it's time to let it rise.

After the ingredients are dissolved, add the flour. With this recipe you just add the 4 cups and don't worry about it, it works out great! Stir the flour in, until combined and there's no need to knead the dough.

Cover the mixture and allow to rise for about an hour, or until the dough is double in size.

Start Rising
Pour the dough from the bowl onto a cookie sheet that you've sprinkled with cornmeal. I like to put parchment paper on the cookie sheet, because it saves you from having an extra dish to wash (laziness again!), but you can also grease the cookie sheet. You want to be sure to pour out the dough into two circles using about half of the dough at a time. Allow to rise on the cookie sheet for about an hour.
Finished rising

When the hour's about up, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Brush the loaves with melted butter. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for 15 more minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

This is one of my family's very favorite soups to have. It's been so cold here (single digits at night) that I've wanted warm food for nearly every meal! I love the combination of flavors in this soup, the basil makes the soup super yummy and I love the Parmesan cheese in her too! I also really like how fast and easy this soup is to put together. You just throw together the tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery and broth in your slow-cooker in the morning and allow to cook most of the day. Then the roux goes together pretty quickly and heat the milk at the same time. This time I tried something new with my soup, running it through the blender to get rid of the big chunks, I'm really glad I did! The soup was so creamy and it really brought out the flavor of the basil. This recipe comes from the blog of one of my friends, you should check it out,, she has some really amazing recipes and an amazing cookbook too!

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, don't drain
The ingredients
1 cup finely diced celery (you'll notice in the pictures there isn't celery, soup's still great without! I simply add a few more carrots and onions to balance it out)
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
4 cups chicken broth
If you have 1 tablespoon fresh oregano and 1/4 cup fresh basil to chop up, you'll add it here too, otherwise just add dried spices at the end with the roux, milk and Parmesan.
1/2 bay leaf

This is what they look like in the slow-cooker

Place these ingredients into your slow-cooker and set to low. Cook for 5 to 7 hours to soften vegetables and blend flavors. 

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (milk works great too)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tsp dried oregano (if you didn't use fresh)
1 Tablespoon dried basil (if you didn't use fresh)
1 cup Parmesan cheese

After adding the roux

About an hour before serving make a roux by melting the butter and stirring in the flour.  Cook mixture for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat and slowly stir in 1 cup of the hot soup. Add another 3 cups of hot soup and stir until smooth. While I'm making my roux, I'm also heating up the half and half in a sauce pan on medium-low. Add the roux, Stir. 

Blend time!
This is when I decided to blend the soup. You have to be kind of careful when blending hot liquids, because the lid of the blender won't close. Start with a small amount of liquid and blend slowly. 


Also add warmed half and half, Parmesan, dried spices, and salt and pepper to the slow-cooker, I usually give this a quick stir before replacing the lid. Cook for one more hour on Low, until you're ready to serve. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Crunchy Parmesan Baked Chicken

One of our favorite shows to watch is The Food Nanny. It's on BYU TV, and the whole point of the show is that Liz Edmunds, The Food Nanny, goes to people's homes to help them learn how to have dinner as a family. I knew I had to have her cookbook, which is super amazing. This is a recipe that I found in her cookbook, and it's our family's favorite way to make chicken. We have a daughter that will not touch breaded chicken of any kind, except for this recipe. You should make it, you won't regret it!

Crunchy Parmesan Baked Chicken
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner page 40

2/3 cup buttermilk or buttermilk ranch dressing
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 pounds chicken breast tenders
1/3 cup butter

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. 

Pour buttermilk or dressing into a dish that is wide and shallow so you can dip the chicken in easily. Mix together the panko, Parmesan cheese and garlic salt in another wide shallow dish.

Roll each chicken piece first into the buttermilk or dressing and then into the panko mixture to coat the pieces evenly.

Place chicken into prepared baking dish. Melt the butter in a glass measuring cup (this helps with pouring) in the microwave. Then pour butter over the chicken. 

Bake for about 30 minutes. With chicken, the whole goal is that the inside of the chicken is no longer pink when it's done. You can sprinkle with salt if you feel the chicken needs extra flavor. 

I love this chicken, I've served it as is with potatoes or rice. I've used it in Chinese dishes like sweet and sour where you want a breaded chicken. It's also really yummy to dip this chicken in Sweet Chili Sauce. However you serve it, you'd better make a lot! This chicken gets eaten quickly!