Friday, January 22, 2021

Pizza Friday: Apple, Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Blue Cheese

Pizzas to blog

I have a huge backlog of pizzas from Pizza Fridays that I need to blog, including this one with sliced apple, bacon, caramelized onions and blue cheese. I know it sounds weird, but we love fruit on pizza, especially when the sweetness of the fruit is paired with salty goodness.

Apple, Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Blue Cheese Pizza

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1-lb ball of pizza dough
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
1 small apple (we like honeycrisp), peeled and thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

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, followed by the apple sliced, bacon and the caramelized onions. Dollop the blue cheese evenly on top.

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 fork handy to pop them during the first 5 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven. Cool for a few minutes, then slice.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Grapefruit Cake

Early in the pandemic I went on a baking spree because we needed all the comforting things. I also instituted 3pm dessert as a way for us to get out of our respective funks, gather in the kitchen and have something sweet. 

To blog

This grapefruit cake came about because Katie insisted that Steve buy a grapefruit on their last shopping trip together before the lockdown. She didn't want to eat it plain, so I Googled dessert recipes and came across this one. It was so, so, so good. Nice and flavorful from the grapefruit with a perfect sweetness thanks to the glaze.

Grapefruit Greek Yogurt Cake
As seen on Sally's Baking Addiction

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup plain, vanilla or citrus Greek yogurt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, strained
1 1/2 tablespoons grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean (optional)

Grapefruit Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, strained
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Once combined, whisk in the yogurt, brown sugar, oil, grapefruit juice, zest, vanilla extract, and (optional) seeds. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined.  Spread batter into the prepared loaf pan. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on it. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.

Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool before drizzling with glaze.
For the glaze, whisk the ingredients together and drizzle over cake. Slice and serve. 

Cover and store leftover cake at room temperature for up to 5 days or store it in the refrigerator.

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Monday, January 18, 2021

Sausage and Hasbrown Breakfast Quiche

I think by now you know how much I love make-ahead breakfasts. I'm not a morning person (understatement of the century) so it's nice to just reheat a delicious, hearty breakfast when I'm half asleep.  I've had Amy's recipe for Sausage and Hashbrown Breakfast Quiche printed for awhile now but there hadn't been a good time to make it.  

I finally got my act together recently and got it made. The biggest question was whether it would reheat well so I could make it in advance. I made this one the same day we ate it and my family almost died of starvation (sarcasm) waiting for it to bake. When we reheated the leftovers the next day it was even better than the first day, so I'm definitely making it ahead of time next time.

My quiche took a lot longer to cook than the original recipe stated and I'm trying to remember if I used a full pound of sausage vs. the half pound called for. I probably did, knowing how my mind works. Just be aware of that and keep an eye on it. I ended up covering mine at the end because it was getting super brown on top.

Sausage and Hasbrown Breakfast Quiche
As seen on Bellyfull

3 cups shredded Simply potatoes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper
8 ounces breakfast sausage
6 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 whole scallions, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl gently toss the hash browns with the butter to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Press the hash browns into the bottom and up the sides of the plate to form a crust. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

In the meantime, sauté the ground sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In the large bowl you used for the hash browns, whisk together the eggs, cream, cheeses, and scallions. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Add in the cooked sausage crumbles. Mix to combine.

Pour mixture on top of the hash brown crust. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until set. Let cool slightly, cut into wedges and serve.

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Pizza Friday: Veggies with Goat Cheese

Another delicious pizza I made a long time ago and haven't found a chance to blog. This is a great pizza to make with summer veggies, but it's good any time of year. The freshness of the basil goes so well with the goat cheese, and the crunch of the veggies is a great contrast to the doughy crust. 

Pizzas to blog

Pizza with Veggies and Goat Cheese
Modified from A Couple Cooks

1-lb ball pizza dough
1/2 cup pizza sauce (see below)
8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 yellow or green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
10-12 grape tomatoes, halved
8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, minced
4 ounces soft goat cheese
Kosher salt and pepper

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

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 pizza sauce, then the mozzarella cheese, then the veggies (peppers, onion and tomatoes). Sprinkle the basil and dollop the goat cheese evenly on top. Season lightly with salt and pepper

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 fork handy to pop them during the first 5 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly, then slice.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

{Restaurant Knockoff} Homemade Big Macs

Any time we pass a McDonald's Steve gets wistful about their burgers and fries. He knows if we actually stopped for food he'd be disappointed, but the nostalgia is strong. 

Homemade Big Mac

At the beginning of the pandemic I decided to make homemade Big Macs to satisfy his craving. I Googled a sauce recipe, made super thin burger patties, shredded some lettuce, minced white onion and even carefully cut burger buns into thirds. 

These were absolutely perfect and certainly better than what we could get from McDonald's.

Better-than-McDonald’s Big Macs

1-lb ground beef
Salt and pepper
10 slices American cheese
5 hamburger buns
Big Mac sauce (see below)
Toppings: finely shredded romaine lettuce, very finely minced white onion, dill pickle chips

Separate the ground beef into 10 equal balls (approximately 1 1/2 oz each). Flatten into patties. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, then add half the patties. Don't crowd the pan; you want the meat to have room to brown. Press the meat with a spatula to make sure they're nice and flat. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side. After you flip them over, top each patty with a slice of American cheese. Remove the patties to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining patties. 

While the burgers are cooking, cut each top burger bun in half so you have three buns per burger. Make the sauce (recipe below) and prep your toppings.

Once all the burgers have been cooked, assemble the burgers. Spread some sauce on the bottom bun, top with minced onion and pickles. Add one burger patty and top with one piece of the cut top bun. Spread more sauce on top and add shredded lettuce. Top with a second burger patty. Spread more sauce on the top bun and place on top. Serve with fries.

Big Mac Sauce
From the Kitchn

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread

If you didn't bake bread sometime in the last 10 months were you even living through a global pandemic? Back in March and April, yeast and flour were in short supply because everyone was suddenly making their own bread. I'll admit to jumping on that train for many of the same reasons everyone else had - I've always been afraid of yeast and now I had nothing but time to overcome that fear. 

To blog

My go-to recipe was the simple no-knead Dutch oven bread that comes out perfectly crispy on the outside and pillowy on the inside every time. Honestly, what changed me from a person who feared
yeast to someone who uses it regularly was my Thermapen. Being able to accurately measure the water temp so I didn't kill the yeast was a game-changed. Can't recommend it highly enough (and no, they didn't sponsor this). We've had many thermometers in our time but none hold a candle to this one.

One of these days I'll add herbs and/or garlic to this recipe.

No-Knead Bread
As seen on the Kitchn

1 pound all-purpose flour (be sure to actually weigh it) plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (110-115 degrees)

Place the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center, and add the water into the well. Stir until it forms a shaggy dough. 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size and bubbly, 6 to 8 hours. 

Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto it, folding it over on itself at least once while you do so. Quickly shape the dough into a round ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour more.

About 30 minutes before the hour is up, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Place a large Dutch oven with its lid on the rack. Heat the oven to 450°F. 

Using the parchment paper as a sling, carefully transfer the loaf, still on the paper, to the Dutch oven. If desired, make a slash or shallow cut on the top of the dough with kitchen shears or a sharp knife so that the bread can expand while baking.

Place the lid on the pot and put it in the oven. (Careful, the lid is hot!) Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes more. You can be extra-sure that the bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the top or side registers 210°F.

Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and use the parchment paper to transfer the bread to a wire rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing the bread.

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Friday, January 08, 2021

Pizza Friday: The Works

This pizza is one of our favorites. I'm not sure I've ever seen it actually called "The Works" on a pizzeria menu, but it always reminds me of a pizza I used to love at Pizza Hut, back when I'd get the Book It rewards and go there for dinner with my dad. 

Pizzas to blog

The Works contains pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onion, green pepper and black olives. Use as much or as little of each as you want. In case you're new here, I like to load up our pizzas with toppings. 

The Works Pizza

1-lb ball homemade pizza dough
1/2 cup pizza sauce (recipe below)
8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
sliced pepperoni, to taste
2 links of cooked Italian sausage (see note)
4 white button mushrooms, cleaned and cut into chunks
1/4 of a small white onion, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 of a green bell pepper, cut into chunks
1/2 cup canned black olives, sliced
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 pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onion, bell pepper and olives. 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 fork 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.

Homemade Pizza Sauce


1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil/1 teaspoon dried basil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix everything together in a bowl. I like to use a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes and make multiple portions of sauce at once, then store it in 1-cup measurements for future pizzas.  

NOTE: To cook the Italian sausage, first remove the outer casing and discard. Break the sausage meat into bite-size pieces, or crumble it. It's up to you what texture you like. Heat a small skillet with about a teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until it's no longer pink.

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