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.