Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Basic Calzone Dough

I love calzones. This is a very easy and delicious recipe. The dough comes out crispy and chewy at the same time. We fill ours with all sorts of stuff: BBQ sauce w/ chicken, cilantro, and beans; traditional pepperoni, olives, onions, and tomatoes; or an italian basil, parmesean, and ricotta. They all turn out wonderfully. For those of you unfamiliar with calzones, they're an enclosed pizza, so maybe that will spark some ideas.

1 c lukewarm water
2 1/4 t active dry yeast
1 t salt
1/2 t sugar
3 c flour, plus extra for dusting
1 T extra-virgin olive oil

In a bowl, combine the water, yeast, salt and sugar, and stir to dissolve. Set aside for 15 minutes, then add the flour, and mix until smooth. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and knead for 10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary. The dough should feel smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a bowl, and place dough inside. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Quarter the dough, and shape each piece into a ball. Cover, and let rise another 15 minutes. Makes enough dough for 4 calzones.

Seal by crimping the edges of the dough with your fingers or the times of a fork. Brush calzone with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 teasponns water). Trim the excess dough, make a small incision on the top, and bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Caramel Popcorn

I was always in charge of making the caramel popcorn for our Friday movie nights growing up. My mom threw away the recipe book that I used for this, so I go by memory now and this is what I think it is. I'm going to try it again soon with a different cream of tartar amount and see if it changes anything.

1/2 c. butter/marg
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. karo syrup
1/2 t. salt
1/4-1/2 t. cream of tartar
1 t. vanilla

Mix butter, sugar, and syrup in a pan and bring to a rolling boil. Add salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla and stir. Pour over cooked popcorn and mix thoroughly (so most of it won't go to the bottom of the bowl). Keep a wet rag handy for kids!

I've seen recipes where they bake the popcorn to make it crispy, but I personally like this gooey version. You can bake this recipe too I'm sure...whatever you prefer.

Mulligatawny Soup

I know it's the middle of summer, but I made this at the end of May when we had that freakish cold week. It was fabulous. Chad and the boys devoured it...no problem. I do love Indian food and this is a good recipe to start with if you're not sure. I used cooked rice that was left over from another recipe instead of waiting for it to cook in the recipe. Oh, and you have to cook the chicken ahead of time too...that's unclear in the recipe. Also, I don't think the cream added much to the recipe, so it's definitely optional.

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup white rice
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half - cut into cubes
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch dried thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream, heated

1. Saute onions, celery, carrot, and butter in a large soup pot. Add flour and curry, and cook 5 more minutes. Add chicken stock, mix well, and bring to a boil. Simmer about 1/2 hour.
2. Add apple, rice, chicken, salt, pepper, and thyme. Simmer 15-20 minutes, or until rice is done.
3. When serving, add hot cream.

Chicken Salad

I have been using this recipe since we first got married 5 years ago and still love it more than others I've tried. The texture is fantastic and it works on croissants, pita bread, lettuce, crackers...pretty much anything. I forgot to take a picture when I recently served it at a baby shower, but all who tried loved it and ate another. Often I leave out the pecans because I don't have them on hand usually, and I have left out the peppers before too and it still tasted great.

4 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup chopped celery
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise with paprika and seasoned salt. Blend in dried cranberries, celery, bell pepper, onion, and nuts. Add chopped chicken, and mix well. Season with black pepper to taste. Chill 1 hour

Friday, July 11, 2008

French Bread

This bread is fabulous and is relatively easy. I always have problems getting my homemade breads to rise enough, but this recipe always works. It makes two loaves and tastes incredible--even reheated the next day. If you have a kitchenaid, it's really pretty simple because you just use the dough hook and it does the work for you! I will add more recipes in the next few days when I have more time. I thought I better put up a couple for Marta. :)

2 T or pkgs dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
2 c. hot water
3 T sugar
1 T salt
1/3 c. shortening, melted
5-6 c. flour (approx.)
1 egg, beaten with 2 T water

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. warm water for 10 mins. Meanwhile, combine the hot water, sugar, salt, shortening and 1/2 the flour in a large bowl; beat well. Stir in dissolved yeast. Stir in remaining flour and mix well. Allow to rest for 10 mins. Stir vigorously. Allow to rest again for 10 mins. Repeat this procedure 3 more times (this is called "pestering"). Turn out dough onto floured board and knead twice. Divide dough in half and roll each hafl into a 9x12 rectangle. Starting at long edge, roll as for jelly roll. Place both rolls, seam side down on one large baking sheet, greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Gash top of each loaf diagonally 3 times with a sharp knife. Brush with beaten egg. Let rise 30 mins. Bake at 375 for about 20 mins (until golden brown).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I know I have been terrible about posting lately and I've made so many new things these past couple months and forgot to take pictures of them all, so I'll try to remember to post as many as I can in the next few days.

This can be a dessert or a fruit salad and is a treat either way. You can also vary the amounts of each layer. Sometimes I make the cream layer with two packets of cream cheese, sometimes one. Sometimes I add another cup of water and an additional small package of strawberry jello to make the jello layer thicker. So anyhow below is the basic version. Any way you make it people will eat it quickly. :)


1 1/2 c. crushed pretzels

1/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. melted butter

Combine and press into 9x13 pan and bake for 8 mins at 350. Cool


8 oz pkg cream cheese

8 oz cool whip

2/3 c. sugar

Combine until soft peaks and spread on crust.


6 oz. strawberry jello

2 c. boiling water

20 oz. frozen strawberries

Stir until starts to thicken and pour on top of filling. Refrigerate until stiff.