Thursday, January 09, 2020

Chicken Pizzaiola

This chicken pizzaiola is another one of those recipes that I've looked at countless times over the years and bypassed time and time again. Who knows why; it's not like it's a complicated recipe. My only note is to make sure you use plenty of pepperoni so you can really taste the flavor.

Chicken pizzaiola

Such an easy, delicious weeknight meal. I made my own quick pasta sauce but jarred would be fine, too.

Chicken Pizzaiola
From America’s Test Kitchen, modified from Pinch of Yum

3 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (or make your own, see note)
1 cup shredded Parmesan/pecorino cheese
4 large/6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 ounces sliced pepperoni (see note)
1 cup sliced mozzarella
8 ounces spaghetti or other pasta

Heat the oven to 450. Spread pasta sauce into a 9×13 baking dish (I had 6 chicken breasts so I needed another small baking dish). Spread Parmesan/pecorino in a shallow dish.

Put one chicken breast at a time in a plastic food storage bag and pound to an even thickness. You don't want it too thin but it should be the same thickness throughout. Season all the chicken with salt and pepper, then coat with Parmesan/pecorino. Lay each piece of chicken on top of the sauce in a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes.

While the chicken bakes, cook pasta. Drain and toss with some olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside until the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken from the oven and top each breast with a few slices pepperoni and mozzarella. Increase oven to 475 and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

Spoon some sauce from the baking dish into the pasta pot and toss to combine. To serve, put some pasta on a plate and top with a piece of chicken and some sauce.

NOTES:
1. It's really easy to throw together a quick pasta sauce. I usually just heat up a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes (rinse the can with some water and add to the pan so you get all the sauce from the can) and season with plenty of oregano. I had half an onion in the fridge so this time I minced that up and sauteed it in oil with some salt and pepper before adding the crushed tomatoes.

2. I hate excess grease on my pepperoni so I put three layers of paper towels on a plate and top with a single layer of pepperoni slices. Top with two more layers of paper towels and microwave 15 seconds, then another 15 seconds (don't do 30 seconds before the pepperoni can burn). Blot the grease off with the top paper towel layers.
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Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole

I'm always on the lookout for new make-ahead breakfast casseroles. I love them for holidays because you do all the work the day before and then you get to enjoy a delicious breakfast with minimal effort the next morning. Just make sure you plan ahead because most of them need to bake for about an hour. My family is always hounding me to make the hour go by faster because they're starving.

Everything bagel casserole

I have a lot of Everything But the Bagel seasoning in my spice cabinet but if you don't, just use everything bagels instead of plain bagels.

Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole
Adapted from Home Made Interest

5 plain bagels, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 oz. bacon, cooked and diced
8 oz. Jarlsberg cheese, shredded
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
Everything But the Bagel seasoning, to taste
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Add half the bagel cubes to the casserole dish. Top with half the bacon, half the Jarlsberg and half the cream cheese. Sprinkle Everything But the Bagel seasoning evenly over the top. Repeat with another layer of bagel cubes, bacon, Jarlsberg, cream cheese and Everything But the Bagel seasoning.

Combine eggs, half and half, salt and pepper in a 4-cup measuring cup. Whisk until thoroughly combined, then pour evenly over the bagel pieces, making sure to cover all of them.

Cover the casserole with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the cling wrap and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes.
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Friday, October 25, 2019

Pizza Friday: Hawaiian Pizza

We recently went to Southern California to visit my dad and stepmom. On the way home we were lucky enough to fly out of John Wayne Airport in Orange County, which despite being a very small airport has a surprising number of decent eateries. At least compared to Newark Airport. Ugh. I will never forget the truly awful, inedible bagel sandwich I had on the flight out. Blech.

Pizza to blog

Anyway. Steve and Katie decided to split a Hawaiian pizza from California Pizza Kitchen and immediately asked me to recreate it at home. I've been making Hawaiian pizza for years. It's Katie's all-time favorite and I usually make it with cubed ham and caramelized pineapple, which is freakin' delicious. But they asked for this version, with thinly sliced ham and larger slices of pineapple, so I acquiesced.

Hawaiian Pizza

1/2 ball pizza dough
1/2 cup pizza sauce (we love Don Pepino)
8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
8 pieces of very thinly sliced ham, cut in half
small can pineapple rings, each ring cut in half
dried oregano
garlic salt

Place a pizza stone in your oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Lay a piece of parchment paper the size of the pizza stone on a work surface. Dust lightly with flour and roll out the pizza dough into a 14-inch circle. Spread the pizza sauce in a thin layer over the dough, leaving a half-inch margin around the outer edges. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the top, then add the pieces of ham and pineapple. Dust with some oregano and garlic salt, to taste.

Transfer the pizza on the parchment paper to the pizza stone. Bake for 15 minutes, checking often to make sure there are no bubbles forming. I keep a poking stick handy to pop them during the first 5 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
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Friday, October 18, 2019

Pizza Friday: Edamame with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese

I've mentioned this before but one of my favorite things to do is scour the Jules Thin Crust menus for Pizza Friday inspiration. One of our favorites pies is their Veggie #12: Organic edamame, ricotta cheese, organic goat cheese, caramelized onions, fresh mint, mozzarella, lemon vinaigrette. I've been recreating it at home for awhile and this was one of the best iterations so far.

Pizzas to blog

Over the years I've decided to leave off the ricotta so the goat cheese can shine. I'm also realizing that I forgot the little spritz of lemon and/or shaving of lemon zest. I'll have to remember for next time.

Edamame with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese Pizza
Inspired by Jules Thin Crust

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1/2 ball of pizza dough
1 cup shelled edamame
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4oz goat cheese
fresh mint, minced, to taste
zest of one lemon

Preheat a pizza stone in a 500-degree oven for at least an hour while you assemble your ingredients.

Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Allow the onion to cook slowly - you want it to get brown without burning. Lower the heat if the onions are browning too quickly. If the pan seems dry, add a splash of water. The onions should take about 20-30 minutes to turn a nice, caramel color and become soft.

Lay a piece of parchment paper the size of the pizza stone on a work surface. Dust lightly with flour and roll out the pizza dough into a 14-inch circle. Drizzle some olive oil on the dough and rub around so all the dough is lightly coated.

Top with the mozzarella cheese. Dollop the goat cheese by the tablespoon over the cheese then add the caramelized onions and edamame.

Transfer the pizza on the parchment paper to the pizza stone. Bake for 15 minutes, checking often to make sure there are no bubbles forming. I keep a poking stick handy to pop them during the first 5 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven. sprinkle the fresh mint and lemon zest on top and slice.
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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Strawberry Summer Sheet Cake

I know strawberry season is long gone but if I don't blog this Strawberry Summer Sheet Cake now it'll sit in my draft folder for years and never see the light of day. So just agree to save this for next spring/summer, OK? Great.

To blog

I went through a baking phase this summer, fueled mostly by all the amazing produce (fruit) available. We'd buy way more than we could eat in a week, so by Thursday I'd be Googling recipes for overripe fruit. We shared all the spoils with friends and they seemed very happy about it, so it was a win-win.

This cake was so good. Oof. Just looking at the photo again is making me wistful. It wasn't overly sweet, which we loved. The berries really shone through and the cake itself was moist and delicate. We didn't do this, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be perfect on top of a slice. Or a dusting of powdered sugar. Or whipped cream.

Strawberry Summer Sheet Cake
From Smitten Kitchen

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 pounds of the freshest, even a touch overripe, strawberries, hulled and halved
Vanilla ice cream, powdered sugar or whipped cream, for serving

Heat your oven to 350°F.

Lightly coat the sides and corners of a 9×13-inch pan with butter or nonstick spray, and fit the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat butter, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat until combined. Add milk and mix until (updated) combined; it may look a little curdled but don’t fret, it will smooth out in a minute. Sprinkle baking powder evenly over batter and beat into batter for 20 seconds longer than will seem necessary — this ensures it’s perfectly distributed. Scrape down the bowl. Add flour and beat or stir until just combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Arrange strawberries cut side down, as snugly as you can get them to fit. If you have extra, nudge them in anyway. Leave no strawberries behind. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar — it will seem like a lot but helps the strawberries get jammy and gives the cake a great texture.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out free of wet batter (gooey strawberries are a given and doesn’t mean it’s under baked) — about 45 to 48 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into squares and serve.

Do ahead: Cake is even better a half- to a full day later, when the strawberries marry with better with the cake.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Green Tea Ice Cream

This is one of the recipes I found in my draft folder that had never been published. It was from one of the themed dinners we used to do with our friends, Chris and Tracie. I posted the other recipes from this meal back in 2015 (!!!) but not this one. I wish I knew why. It was an Asian-inspired meal and we made: Pork and Shrimp Dumplings, Fried Rice, someone brought sushi and someone else brought some sort of meat dish. Forgive me, it's been 4+ years.

This is what I wrote at the time:

One of T's contributions to our Asian meal was Green Tea Ice Cream. I've never had it before and couldn't wait to try it.

Asian night
(all photos by T. Casey)

Just look at that color - I love it!

Asian night

Green Tea Ice Cream
As seen on Annie's Eats
Yield: about 1 quart

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
4 teaspoons matcha (green tea powder)
6 large egg yolks

Combine the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until warmed through. Meanwhile pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and whisk in the matcha. Set a fine mesh sieve over the bowl.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and continue to cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens slightly (it will register 170-175˚ F on an instant read thermometer). Immediately remove from the heat and pour the mixture through the mesh strainer into the bowl with the cream mixture. Whisk the mixture vigorously to dissolve the green tea powder. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

Once the mixture is thoroughly chilled, transfer it to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

This is another recipe that I made a lot last year and apparently never found the time to blog. Sorry about that, folks. It's from the ever-popular Ree Drummond, a.k.a., the Pioneer Woman, so you might have already seen it over on her blog. It's an easy, comforting weeknight dinner that we all love.

Sour cream noodle bake

If you aren't sure how you feel about cottage cheese, never fear. It combines beautifully with the other ingredients and makes the whole thing taste insanely good. Trust me.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake
From The Pioneer Woman

1 1/4 pounds ground beef
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bag egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13" baking dish with cooking spray.

Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain fat, then stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add scallions and stir.

To assemble, add half of the noodles to the baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted. Serve with salad and crusty French bread.
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