White Pizza

We have made it a tradition to have homemade pizza every Friday night and the topping can vary greatly.  We enjoy pepperoni, sausage, ham and pineapple, buffalo chicken, bbq chicken or pork with jalapeno and red onion, and various others.  But they all contain meat and that’s a no go for us on Fridays during lent.  So, I was very happy to see this white pizza recipe over on Pink Parsley.  I’m sure we’ll enjoy it long after lent too.

Sorry about the terrible picture!

White Pizza

Source:  Pink Parsley

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough – I follow the instructions on Fleishmann’s no-rise pizza dough yeast, posted about here

White Sauce

  • 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs heavy cream
  • 1/2 large egg yolk
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tsp minced fresh oregano – I used dried
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves – I omitted
  • 1 scallion, minced, plus more for garnish – I omitted

Topping

  • 1/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Pecorino-Romano cheese

For the sauce: Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

To bake the pizza:
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, and adjust the oven rack to the lowest position.

Coat the dough with flour and flatten into a 12-inch disk.  Use a rolling pin if necessary.  Transfer to a pizza pan.

Brush the outer edge of the dough with olive oil.  Use a spatula to spread the white sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the outside.  Sprinkle the Pecorino cheese over the white sauce, followed by the mozzarella.  Using a 1/2-teaspoon measuring spoon, drop the ricotta over the mozzarella.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, browned, and bubbly, rotating the pizza halfway through.  Remove the pizza and sprinkle with the reserved scallions.  Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Peanut Butter Cookies with M&M’s

I’ve had a hard time finding the perfect peanut butter cookie in the past.  Everything I tried turned out too flat and crisp for my taste.  These cookies are quite an improvement though.  They are thick and soft and the m&m’s add the perfect amount of chocolate taste and crunchy shell.

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

Source:  Pennies on a Platter

Yield: 2 – 3 dozen cookies

1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening (or butter for a flatter cookie)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 large bag of M&M’s – about 2 cups

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the shortening, sugars and peanut butter.  Stir in the egg, vanilla and milk.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Using a wooden spoon, carefully stir in the M&M’s.

Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheet and lightly press down with a fork to barely flatten cookies.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

I’ve become a little obsessed with ice cream lately!  It has officially been added to the list of foods that I’ll never buy pre-made or store bought again.  🙂  Also on that list:  granola, granola bars, waffles, pizza dough/frozen pizza, and applesauce just to name a few off the top of my head.

This ice cream is wonderfully creamy and almost fluffy.  You don’t even taste the sour cream, just sweet sweet strawberries.

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

Source:  So Tasty, So Yummy

Ingredients:
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and rinsed
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vodka
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cut up the strawberries and mix with the vodka and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well until the sugar dissolves. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Add the sour cream, heavy cream and lemon juice to the strawberry mixture. Mix to combine, macerating the strawberries {this step can be done if a food processor if you like smaller strawberry pieces}.

Refrigerate for one hour, and then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

 

Beef Short Ribs Braised in Tomato Sauce

As I mentioned previously, short ribs were a part of our enormous beef order and I had no idea what to do with them.  After searching some blogs and googling, I kept coming back to this recipe.  Overall we were pleased with it, but I thought the ribs were a little fatty and greasy.  Because of this, I don’t think I will intentionally buy short ribs in the future, but its fine that they come with our 1/2 cow.  I’ll just have to try out a few different recipes to experiment before I completely rule on this one.

Beef Short Ribs Braised in Tomato Sauce

Source:  So Tasty, So Yummy

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 to 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
salt and pepper
1 ounce pancetta, diced – I used 4 strips of bacon
½ onion, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup porcini mushrooms – I just used button mushrooms, sliced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup red wine
1 (14.5 ounce) cans whole tomatoes with their juice – I used diced tomatoes

Season the beef ribs with salt and pepper.  In a 5-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it flows like water when the pot is tilted.  Add the beef ribs and cook, for 2-3 minutes per side, until richly browned on all sides.  Remove the ribs from the pot.  Lower the heat to medium and add the pancetta to the pot.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is crisp.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to the plate with the short ribs. Drain all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pot. Add the onions and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned on the edges, 6-8 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, mushrooms, and oregano; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Pour in the wine; scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot.  Stir in the tomatoes, beef ribs, pancetta, and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove the cover, increase the heat to medium-low, and simmer for up to another hour, until the beef is tender.

Transfer the ribs to a plate; shred the meat.  Meanwhile, if the sauce is too thin, increase the heat to medium-high and simmer until it reaches the desired thickness.  Stir the meat back into the sauce.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary, and serve over mashed potatoes or polenta.

Parmesan Knots

Oh man, I wish I knew about these little babies sooner.  They are quite irresistible and so darn cute!  They would be perfect appetizers for a party, or served with any bowl of soup.  Actually they’d be great with just about any meal that I can think of!  And they are so easy!  I’ll definitely entertain with them in the future and I bet nobody will know that they are made from canned biscuits.  🙂

I had a little extra topping left over, so I’ll cut back on those amounts next time.  And I used oil as directed, but I think melted butter would be much better.

Parmesan Knots

Source:  Taste of Home; Aug/Sept 2009

Ingredients

  • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/4 cup canola oil – I recommend using melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Directions

  • Cut each biscuit into thirds. Roll each piece into a 3-in. rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under. Place 2 in. apart on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; add the warm knots and gently toss to coat.  {I just brushed on the topping with a pastry brush, going over each knot twice.}
  • Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Red Beans and Rice with Kielbasa

Here’s the other recipe that calls for dried beans that I mentioned below.  I really should have cut this recipe in half because it serves 8!  We’ll be eating it for awhile, so much so that we’ll be sick of it and I’ll probably never make it again.  But oh well, it was good.   Again – very hearty and intensely flavorful.

Red Beans and Rice with Kielbasa

Source:  Relish Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1  pound dried red kidney beans
  • 1  tablespoon olive oil
  • 1  pound turkey kielbasa, cut into ¼-inch thick rounds
  • 1  cup chopped onion
  • 2  celery ribs, chopped
  • 2  cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2  cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons hot sauce
  • 3/4  teaspoon salt
  • 4  cups hot cooked white rice

Instructions

  1. Rinse beans. Place beans in a large bowl or Dutch oven. Cover with water by several inches. Let soak for 8 hours.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add kielbasa and cook until browned on both sides. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook until onion is tender. Drain beans and add to pan. Add chicken broth and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add parsley, hot sauce and salt.
  3. Cook beans until tender, 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours. Add more water if needed. Serve over hot rice.

Ham and Bean Soup

I recently found 2 recipes that I was greatly interested in that called for dried beans so I thought I would give it a try.  I had never used dried beans, so I figured it was time to go for it.

It’s certainly not difficult to use dry beans, it just takes a little planning.  Every recipe says to “soak beans overnight” and it wasn’t clear to me if that meant soak them overnight and ALL of the next day while I was at work, or if an 8 hour total soak was sufficient.  So after some googling, I determined that I would start the soaking time in the morning before work and then cook them that night.  It worked out great.

The soup’s flavor was very good, almost creamy from the texture of the beans.  Very hearty and filling too.

Ham and Bean Soup

Source:  adapted from Relish Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1  pound dried navy or great northern beans, rinsed and picked over
  • about 3/4 pound piece of ham
  • 2-1/2  quarts water
  • 1  tablespoon butter
  • 1  small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large celery rib, chopped
  • 1  teaspoon salt- I omitted
  • 1/4  teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Soak beans for 8 hours in water.
  2. Rinse and drain beans.  Combine them in a large pot with ham and water. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender.  Stir occasionally and add more water as necessary.
  3. Remove ham; when cool, remove and discard skin, bone and fat. Cut meat into small pieces and return to soup.
  4. In a medium skillet, melt butter. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until lightly browned.  Add to soup along with salt {if using} and pepper and stir, pressing down with the back of a large spoon to break up some of the beans and thicken soup.

Serves 6

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