Friday, January 21, 2011


I like pizza. Okay, I love pizza, but I hate how expensive delivery pizza is. So I thought I should try and see how much better homemade pizza would be. Obviously it's much cheaper to make, but some people do like convenience enough to pay extra for it. I'm not one of those people. I'm a huge advocate for making convenience items at home as a way to save money, especially since you can also learn a lot of useful skills by making things at home, and have a lot of fun at the same time.

The dough recipe I used was out of the Fannie Farmer cookbook. Best cookbook investment I've ever made. I've yet to try a recipe from this book that wasn't wonderful. Anyway, back to the dough. This dough takes about 3 hours to make, including the rising time. It makes yields enough dough to make 3 14-in. pizzas. I just made one pizza, and put the rest of the dough in the freezer for another time. See? That's convenient, right?

This dough was very good; not very light, though. I may try out some other doughs in the future to see what I like best, but this was a good, simple dough, excellent for first-timers as well.

For the sauce, I just used canned plain spaghetti sauce and added some traditional Italian herbs to it, which you can do to your own taste. I then added some mozzarella, Parmesan, and turkey pepperoni. I know, boring... but it was very, very tasty!

Cost-wise, the ingredients used for the batch of dough which yields three pizzas would cost me under $1.00.
The toppings I used for one pizza was about $2.50. (I used 1/4 can spaghetti sauce, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, about 2 teaspoons Parmesan, and about 1/5 package sliced turkey pepperoni).
So total I spent about $3.00 for one "medium" pizza. And making it was rather fun to do, so I saved a lot of money and had a fun project! Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Fannie Farmer Cookbook Pizza Dough

1 1/3 cups warm water (divided)
1 package dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
3-4 cups flour
Olive oil
2 tsps. salt
3 cups pizza sauce
3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
24 slices pepperoni

Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Add about 2 cups of the flour, 2 Tbs oil, 1 cup warm water and the salt, and beat. Add more flour, mixing well, until the dough holds together in a rough mass. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put the dough in an oiled bowl to rise, covered with plastic wrap. When the dough has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, punch it down and divide dough into thirds. Let rest for 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Roll the dough with a rolling pin or stretch it over your fists until you have 3 14-inch circles. Place on pizza pans or cookie sheets and pick all over with a fork. On each circle, spoon 1 cup pizza sauce; sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella and place 8 pepperoni slices on each pizza. Drizzle each pizza with about 2 teaspoons olive oil. Let rest another 10 minutes and then bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. To test for doneness, lift an edge - if the bottom has turned golden, it is probably done.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


  Hutspot? What is that, you say? Deliciousness would be the answer to that question. I found this recipe while I was browsing Kayotic Kitchen, which is a fantastical blog, by the way, and this caught my attention, for I had never really heard or seen any recipe like it. So of course I had to try it.

 This recipe I actually stuck to the original ingredients and instructions, if you can possibly believe that. Hutspot is basically a potato/carrot/onion mash, which you serve with sausage and gravy. While this recipe wasn't really difficult, it was kind of time consuming with all the chopping/boiling and created quite a few dirty pots. But all in all I'd say it's quite worth it. It's a fairly healthy recipe, and it's definitely budget friendly.

  I'll give you the steps briefly, then I shall link you to the original recipe, where she has a lot of pretty pictures to go with the instructions, because she is not as lazy as I am.

  First off peel and chop the potatoes into quarters. Peel and chop the onions and carrots into large pieces. Put the potatoes in a pot, and cover with lightly salted water.
  Saute the onions in a large pot in 1 Tbs. butter, then add 1 tsp. curry powder and cook for no more than 60 seconds, then add the carrots and stir well. Then add about 3-4 cups of water (enough to cover the veggies) and add two chicken, vegetable or beef bouillon cubes (I used chicken).
  Start the heat on the potatoes and bring both pots to a boil. Boil the carrots/onions and the potatoes for about 20 minutes each until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
   Drain the carrots (reserve about 1 cup of the liquid) and drain the potatoes. Combine them and add a pat of batter, a little salt and lots of black pepper. Mash, using the reserved liquid if the mash seems dry.
   Whip up some gravy, cook your sausage and eat up!

Original recipe for Hutspot:

Bonus for the people who actually scroll to the bottom of my boring posts:

My little helper Lulu, who is always has to be where she can get some attention, or as I am sure she thinks: to make sure I'm doing what I'm supposed to, which is taking pictures of her, obviously!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


  I'd never made jambalaya; in fact I'd never even tasted it. The reason for this being that I've always heard that it is spicy, and as anyone who knows me will attest to, I do not like spicy food. But I do like foods that have rice mixed up with a bunch of other stuff, and hubby loves spicy food, so I figured jambalaya could be a spicy food I could at least give a try.
  I will say that is a good food for cold weather; it's one of those cozy foods I guess.
  I got the original recipe from a blog called 'Friday Delights', but of course I changed a couple things. I used white rice instead of brown, Andouille sausage instead of plain smoked sausage, I used only 1 jalapeno instead of 2 to cool it down a touch, and I substituted ground red pepper for the cayenne powder (simply because I didn't have any cayenne on hand).
  This is another recipe with A LOT of ingredients, but I wouldn't leave anything out, for the end result was quite delightful and complex. It wasn't a terribly arduous task to make it either (it only takes one pot, one cutting board and a good chef's knife), so this one might become a regular go-to recipe for us.

So...what are you still here for? Go start making some yummy jambalaya!

Louisiana Jambalaya

Smoked Sausage (I used ground Andouille tore up in little bite-size chunks)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
4 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup green onions
2 jalapeno, chopped (I used one)
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. sweet basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, more if desire (I substituted ground red pepper)
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cloves (I used 1/4 tsp)
1/8 tsp. allspice (used 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp chili powder
4 cups of water
2 cups brown rice (I used white)

Slice the sausage and saute in oil and butter over low heat . Add the onions, green peppers, parsley, garlic, jalapeno, and green onions and saute slowly until vegetables are tender. Stir in the tomato sauce, honey, seasonings, rice, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until rice is fluffy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

White Bread

 I had a sudden urge to make bread yesterday, and I guess it was a good thing, since we had just run out of our store-bought bread. So I set to scouring the internet for a new bread recipe to try and I happened upon a recipe for Julia Child's White Bread at It sounded quite delicious, so I got out my yeast and bread flour and set to work.

Of course, a lot of the instructions in this recipe were, 'put such and such in your electric mixer with the dough hook...'  which in my kitchen translates into, 'put the such and such in your large bowl and get out your elbow grease, cause you're going to need it!'.

Without a electric mixer, this whole process took me about 3 1/2ish hours. But boy, oh boy was it worth it. There really is nothing like hot, fresh bread right out of the oven, spread with sweet cream butter. I had a very hard time being patient enough to take pictures of the loaves before I started devouring them.

After having two sandwiches using the bread, the hubby declared that I did indeed do a 'very good job' baking it!

The most interesting part of the making of this bread was kneading the butter in a tablespoon at a time. Again, if you have an electric mixer, it won't be nearly so fun, for while it was a very greasy process, the smell was..what's the word....rapturous.

So all in all, I am most definitely keeping this recipe, for it one of those recipes that is a lot of work, but is also a very delicious reward for said work. Bon Appetit!

 Julia Child's White Bread (makes 2 loaves)

2 1/2 cups water (105-115 F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
7 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter softened, plus more for greasing the loaf pans

Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and mix with yeast and sugar til foamy. Let it sit for 5 minutes until creamy. Put the yeast mixture, rest of the water and 3 1/2 cups of the flour into the mixer with the dough hook. Mix slowly until blended then add the rest of the flour.
Increase speed and scrape down the sides til the dough comes together. (If it doesn't add a tbsp of flour at a time til it does.) Add salt and mix at medium speed for 10 minutes (or do half in mixer and half kneading) til dough is smooth and elastic.
Back in mixer add butter 1 tbsp at a time (dough may come apart, but mixing will pull it back together). Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball then place in a large buttered or oiled bowl. Turn dough so it is completely coated in the fat, then cover in plastic for 45 minutes to an hour, til it has doubled in size at room temperature.
Butter 2 loaf pans. Deflate the dough, cut in half and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle.
With the short end facing you, fold the dough into thirds like a sheet of paper to go into an envelope, creating a roll. Pinch the seam closed, and pinch the ends enough so it will fit in the loaf pan. Drop in the loaf pan seem side down, and repeat.
Cover the loaves with buttered plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place (80°F) for 45 minutes, until they double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes til they are honey brown.
Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack to cool.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Beef Rice Bowls (I'm Finally Back!)

   Okay, so I'm finally back! Some of the madness of working for the USPS during the holidays has slowed down, so now I actually have time to cook again, which has improved my mood greatly.
   Today I wanted to keep it fairly simple, though, since I did have errands to run and I had to take down the holiday decorations down and what not. So I made a beef/rice/cabbage bowl thingy, inspired by a recipe I found on 'A Box of Kitchen' blog. I basically took her recipe and screwed it all up and made it my own, you know, like I usually do.

   It's a pretty simple concept, caramelize some beef cubes, saute some cabbage, steam some rice and fry, or poach (what the original recipe called for) some eggs. I fried the eggs for my version, since neither I or my hubby find runny egg yolk very appealing.

    This combination is pretty awesome, since you can use the same pan for the beef, cabbage and eggs. So just heat your skillet pretty hot, cook the beef. Remove. I added some sesame oil and a little water to the skillet and then sauteed the cabbage. Remove from the pan. Then fry up your eggs and your all ready. This can all be done in the time it takes to steam the rice.

   Then you layer the ingredients in a bowl, adding rice, and topping with the cabbage and beef, and then setting the egg right on top. Yum. The end.

   It's good to be back on here, and I hopefully will be updating much more often now that the holidays are over (thank the heavens!).

   Beef and Rice Bowls (Serves 3-4)

1/2 pound beef of your choice, cut into bite-sized cubes (I just used Round London Broil)
1/2 head green cabbage, roughly chopped
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Powdered Ginger
Steamed rice

In a hot skillet, caramelize the beef cubes until fully cooked. Remove from pan. Add about 1 Tbs of sesame oil (more if desired) and about 3 Tbs. water to the hot skillet and add the cabbage. Season with salt, pepper and ginger to your taste. Cook this until the cabbage has wilted some, but still has some crunch to it. Remove from the pan. Fry the eggs.
Put the steamed white rice into bowls and top with the beef, cabbage and a fried egg. Serve with soy sauce.