Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Trader Joe's Pizza

I call this Trader Joe's Pizza because it's one thing you can make from "scratch" that you can buy all of the ingredients for from Trader Joe's- but it's a good idea to buy 2 packs of pizza dough since you'll end up with leftover tomatoes, cheese and basil.
Shopping List:
2 bags of TJ's Pizza Dough (I used the regular but they have other flavors)
1 box of tomatoes
1 bag of pre-shredded mozzerella cheese
1 bunch of basil
1 garlic bulb
Olive Oil

1. You need to let the pizza dough rest for 20 minutes at room temperature before you start beating it into submission. While it's resting, slice your tomatoes (2-3), dice your garlic (1-2 cloves) and get out your pizza stone or cookie sheet and coat it with a moderate amount of flour.
It's VERY important to create your pizza on the stone or sheet because if you make it, say, on a cutting board and then try to transfer it once you are done you will not be able to get it off the cutting board- trust me.
2. Once the dough is ready, pull it out of the bag. It's very sticky so make sure your hands and your stone or sheet are floured. I put the dough in the middle and then start smashing it and punching it to spread it out. You can try picking it up and throwing it, but that's at your own risk. It won't come out round, but that's OK. Just keep kneading, pulling, and punching until it's about 1/2" thin all around and the size you want.

3. Spread some olive oil on top of the dough, leaving about 1/2"-1" space around the edges for the crust. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Spread cheese all over the top, leaving space for the crust.

5. Now put on your tomatoes and garlic. Then slice up some fresh basil and lay it on top as well. You can add more after baking if you want.

6. Bake according to the instructions on the dough bag and you're all set. Then, make another one with your other bag of dough so you can use up the rest of your tomatoes and basil before they go bad.

Friday, January 9, 2009


I labeled this as risotto and not shrimp and edamame risotto because you can do so much with it. In fact, it usually just has edamame but I threw shrimp in because I had some. Risotto is so great, but it does require a lot of attention (stirring) so this isn't something you can make on your own unless you have done all of the prep work in advance- once you start the cooking process you really need to stay at the stove. Please see my notes at the end for other ingredients to add.

3 cups chicken broth- warm
1 cup warm water
1 tbs. butter
2 tbs. olive oil
1 cup risotto rice
1/2 cup diced regular onion (white or brown)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2-3/4 cup shelled cooked edamame (frozen is fine)
12+ shrimp
3 Laughing Cow small cheese wheels (the kind in the red wax you used to make fake fingernails out of)

OK, so if you are cooking on your own dice everything and measure out the chicken broth and water now. Add the water to the chicken broth so you have 4 cups of liquid.
Cook the edamame according to the package and set aside.
Cook your shrimp and set aside.
In a medium skillet (I use a 12" non-stick skillet) melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until they are translucent (3-4 min.). Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes or so until it's kind of translucent too.
Now for the fun part!
Set your kitchen timer for 20 min. Pour one cup of chicken broth/water mix into the pan. Stir constantly until the rice has absorbed the broth. Continue to add chicken broth/water 1 cup at a time until the rice has absorbed it and looks creamy (it takes about 20 minutes). Stir constantly!
Remove from heat, stir in cheese (I usually break it into chunks) until it melts, then add edamame and cooked shrimp.
Mmmmmm, this serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side.
*** Other Options***
Don't have edamame and shrimp laying around? You can put just about anything in risotto. I like asparagus and prosciutto with lemon zest, plain edamame with no meat, experiment with other veggies and see what you like. It's easy, just pre-cook your added ingredients and add them in after the cheese part.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Whirled Peas

OK, not really. But I liked the name. This recipe was a pasta dish from Real Simple October (?) but after making it I think it's better off as a side dish than over pasta. It's got very light flavor and actually makes peas taste good!

2 tbs. butter
2 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper
1 tsp. meyer lemon zest (the original calls for regular lemon but I found it to be quite bitter)
1 bag (11 oz. or so) frozen peas

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add in green onions and cook until soft, about 3 min. Season with salt and pepper (maybe 1/4 tsp. each). Add in 1/2 cup of water, peas and lemon zest. Cook covered for 5 min or until the peas are heated through. It actually took awhile for the peas so keep an eye on them to avoid over cooking.

Chicken Stir Fry

This recipe is from the October (I don't know, I can never tell what dates magazines are from, it could be January 09 at this point) Real Simple magazine. I love bok choy, but never had a recipe to use it on so I was excited to try this. It's really easy and has so few ingredients that I can actually just write out the recipe for you instead of trying to find the link. I did make a change to it, I used Soy Vay Hoisin sauce instead of BBQ sauce because that's all I had. It came out great, I am definitely adding this into our chicken dish rotation.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite size pieces
4 green onions, chopped
3-4 bok choy things, quartered lengthwise
1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. Jarred BBQ or Soy Vay Hoisin sauce
Salt and pepper
White rice

OK, cook the chicken in some olive oil over medium-high for 6-10 min. Season with salt and pepper. The recipe says 5 but my chicken must be really thick because that never works. Anyway, just cook it until it isn't pink and then set it on a plate.
Put the bok choy into the pan you just removed the chicken from, add 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Cover and cook for 3-4 min. until the veggies are soft.
Mix the green onions, soy sauce and BBQ or Soy Vay together. Pour that into the pan with the bok choy, bring to a boil. Add chicken. Cook and stir 2-4 min. until the chicken is heated up again.

Serve over white rice- or with any side you prefer.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Red Pepper Sauce

My husband had a "team building" thing for work where they learned to cook. One of the recipes was for Potato Gnocchi with Red Pepper Coulis. In my unending mission to translate "fancy" food words for the normal folk (like myself) I replaced the Coulis with Sauce since that's basically what it is.
The gnocchi recipe was great, but unless you have a few hours and a need for 1,000,000 gnocchi blobs stuck to your countertop I find the store bought kind to be just as tasty as homemade- and your kitchen won't be coated in flower and potato slime.

*note- you don't have to chop things very well, you're going to puree them before this is over

2 Red Bell Peppers (chopped, about 2 cups)
2 small white onions, the boiling kind, chopped
4 Cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer)
1 tsp. salt
Pinch of pepper
Olive Oil

Put some olive oil in a pot or pan, cook peppers and onion over medium heat for about 3 min. Add in the chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by about half.
Carefully puree what you have left by using a stick blender (my favorite) or a blender. Be careful, that sauce is hot! When you are done, spoon it over the cooked gnocchi. That's it!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stir Fry Sauce

Here is a quick and easy recipe for a stir fry sauce. I used what I had on hand for a beef stir fry with bell peppers and onions. You can use any vegetables or meat you want with this great sauce.

1/2 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
3 Tbs. Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
1 Tsp. Powdered Ginger (you can use fresh ginger if you want, maybe 1/2 tsp)

Mix this all together and set aside. Cook your stir fry and add the sauce at the end. Cook for 1 min. and serve over rice.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Long Awaited Garlic Aioli Recipe

Yeah, probably not but I said I'd post it and I am now. It's ridiculously easy, but tastes so good you'll want to have it with everything- especially freshly steamed asparagus. Mmmmmmm

3-4 Garlic Cloves finely diced
1/4 C. Mayonnaise

Add the garlic to the mayo, cover and let it sit in the fridge for 10 min. or more. Keeps for a few days, the flavor is better the longer you wait! Goes great with tuna steaks, asparagus, artichokes or anything else you can think of except maybe ice cream.