The cold weather makes me crave warm, hearty, comforting soups. This particular pick is a very meaty and savory soup filled with, you guessed it, Sausage and Kale and white beans! I take delight in finally sharing this yummy concoction
Tag: hitchcock at home
I seem to have found myself on a bit of a tomato kick these past few weeks! I can explain! The tomatoes I have been growing all summer didn’t start producing ripe tomatoes until halfway thru August and have been going strong since! With the …
My husband and I both work full time jobs, so sometimes (always) by the end of the week we decisioned out. More than once we have argued about Friday night dinner. Sometime in the past year or so we have started having “Pizza Fridays” to make a Friday night dinner both simple and something we can agree on. Sometimes we go out, sometimes we order in, but more often than not we make out own!
I am a big fan of working smarter and making the pizza as easy as possible. For this reason, I love that this recipe makes more than enough sauce for this weeks dinner. I always freeze my leftover sauce in my favorite silicone ice cream trays. I can easily pull out four or five cubes, thaw them in the microwave, and have my homemade sauce ready for pizza faster than it takes for my husband to roll out the dough 🙂
Canned tomatoes are this recipes secret to speed. They really are a great value at the grocery store too, considering the cost of fresh as well as the time to prep and cook the tomatoes. I like to use one can of regular diced tomatoes and one can of ‘fire roasted’ diced tomatoes. I think the fire roasted goodness gives this sauce (and everything else) that little something extra. The fire roasted bit is really just a bit of char on the tomato skin. The fire roasted tomatoes should be easy to find at your grocery store, but they are of course completely optional.
The amount of garlic you will want to use needs to be determined by how big your cloves are. Today’s garlic cloves were extra big, so I only needed two, but I would consider them the same size as four normal cloves.
Also I measured the basil very loosely as I gathered it fresh from my summer garden. For comparison, the container is a one cup pyrex bowl. I would also compare this to using the .5 ounce storebought package (stems removed) found at most major grocery stores.
Seriously, this is such an easy recipe! If you have a blender and the ingredients, you too can make your own pizza sauce! Plus, it freezes and stores easily in ice cube trays waiting for your next pizza night!
30 Second Pizza Sauce
- 2 cans tomatoes (14.5 ounce each, see notes below)
- 2-4 cloves fresh garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon dry parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- fresh ground black pepper-5 turns
- Fresh basil, (0.5 ounce package stems removed, or 1 cup freshly harvested very loosely packed)
- Add all ingredients to the blender-I use the large smoothie cup that came with my Ninja Blender
- Blend to desired smoothness-I like 30 seconds for a very smooth sauce
- Add to pizza then bake/warm for Stromboli or breadstick dipping/freeze for future use
Pie is an American favorite food! It is incredibly rare that I meet someone that honestly does not like some type of pie. We all have a favorite, and many of us (myself included!!!) love the rich flakey pie crust just as much as what makes the pie filling.
I have to admit that I cannot pick a favorite filling between: a cinnamon-y apple pie, a well spiced pumpkin pie, and a sweet (canned) cherry pie. Sometimes what you like is what you grew up with, and I have never made a cherry pie I preferred over the canned-to-last-forever cherry pie filling from the store.
Regardless of your favorite pie, a great filling alone wont make the worlds best pie. You also need a fantastic pie crust recipe! Here is a super easy one that I grew up making with my mom! (Secret Time: growing up, if we had leftover pie, my Mom sometimes let us have it for breakfast since it had ‘fruit’ LOL-Thanks MOM!)
To start, you need a whopping four ingredients for a great flaky pie dough. And two of them are ice water and salt, so I promise this is an easy recipe! Total, you need 3 cups all-purpose white flour, 1 cup of fat (I prefer shortening for pie, but butter or lard are also work), 1 teaspoon salt, and approximately 10 tablespoons of ice water (optional: egg wash or milk to brush the crust before baking-assists only with the browning of the dough). This recipe will make enough dough for either two bottom crusts, or one bottom and one top crust. I almost always ‘lattice’ my pie crust and this dough works really well for it!
Once you have gathered your ingredients, you want to start by cutting your shortening into smaller pieces and spoon measure/knife level your flour. This is also where you want to add the salt (oops, I forgot a picture of this!) but you DO NOT want to add the water yet!
- I personally prefer the extra flakiness that shortening adds to this dough once baked. I also have never tried the ‘butter flavored’ shortening. Actual butter is absolutely an easy swap that can be made if you don’t have shortening! If I don’t have enough shortening (I almost exclusively use it for pie dough) then sometimes I do half shortening and half butter.
- The idea behind spooning the flour into your measuring cup then using a knife to level it out is this method makes precision easier for you. Scooping the measuring cup into the flour itself can overly compact the flour and affect the results just as not leveling the measuring cup can by having you add too much flour into the recipe.
I use a pastry blender to cut the flour into the shortening, but you likely have a few other items in your kitchen that can easily substitute for this unitasker. If you do not have a pastry blender, you may also be able to use a potato masher or a larger serving fork. Basically, you are trying to combine the shortening and flour into equal, small sized pieces–say the size of a green pea or smaller. By hand, this is at most a five minute activity. If you do not mind cleaning extra dishes (a pet peeve of mine) then your standard food processor can also do this job very quickly–about 30 seconds using the pulse setting!
Now that the first three ingredients have incorporated into a loose floury mixture, you may add the water. The water is a hard bit to measure and say with 100% confidence how much you will need until you start working the dough. I typically use around 10 tablespoons in this recipe, but sometimes 8 is enough, sometimes I need 12 or 13 tablespoons. What you want to do is start with 5-6 tablespoons, then hand mix and add more as needed until the dough comes together and you are able to form a dough. You want the dough to be firm enough to stay together without flaking (we don’t want flaky dough until AFTER it has baked!) and the dough should be soft enough to roll with a rolling pin. Tip: if the dough becomes sticky at any point, you may have added a bit too much water and can counterbalance by adding a tablespoon or two of flour.
Yes, you will get a bit messy doing this, so it might be a good idea to roll up your sleeves and take off any nice rings and/or bracelets before you start hand mixing 🙂
One of the secrets to that super yummy flaky pie dough is the temperature of the dough when it goes in the oven. We want to ensure the shortening is still cold when the baking magic starts, so after we have hand mixed (and warmed the dough) it needs time to rest and chill in the fridge. I recommend 2 hours minimum, but overnight is perfectly fine too!
When you are ready to continue, you will flour your rolling mat and start rolling half of the dough. Remember, the full recipe is enough for two bottom crusts–for a pumpkin pie or any pie you want with a streusel topping–or for one bottom crust and one top crust. I use a nine inch pie plate and make sure that the dough is rolled to about 11 inches diameter, or enough to fill the dish bottom/sides with a bit of extra over hang, which will be trimmed before baking.
Now you may fill your pie with your desired topping and bake! Or alternatively, bake the pie crust empty for a yummy cold pie, such as a chocolate pudding pie or a peanut butter delight pie! Look for an upcoming post with more info about how to lattice a pie!
Four Ingredient Flaky Pie Dough
- 3 cups all-purpose white flour
- 1 cup of fat (I prefer shortening for pie, but butter or lard are also work)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- approximately 10 tablespoons of ice water
- (optional: egg wash or milk to brush the crust before baking-assists only with the browning of the dough)
- Gather and measure your ingredients
- Cut your fat of choice into smaller pieces. Measure flour using spoon and level method. Add salt.
- Cut the flour/salt into the shortening using a pastry blender (or large serving fork or potato masher) until mixture is crumbly and biggest pieces are the size of a green pea or smaller
- Add 5-6 tablespoons of water, incorporate by mixing with hands, then add additional tablespoons as needed until dough forms.
- Form dough into a ball, wrap tightly, and refrigerate minimum 2 hours.
- Dust your workspace with flour, roll only half of the dough out at a time
- Either fill the pie shell and use 2nd half of dough as the topping and bake (optional egg wash) at 425 degrees
- Or bake empty at 400 degrees if using for cold pies
- The optional fifth ingredient is your choice of an egg wash or a bit of milk to brush the finished pie with prior to baking. What it will do for you is help the crust get that pinterest worthy soft brown finish as it bakes!
- If your dough is too sticky, you may have added too much water. Counterbalance this by adding one tablespoon of flour at a time.
- At this time I do not recommend using alternative flours with this recipe. I know from experience that coconut flour will make for a crumbly and dry dough. Check back and maybe I’ll have the answer for you here one day!
- A useful example of lard could be leftover bacon grease–I would only use it in a pie recipe if you first strained the bits of bacon out of the grease before you store it. Otherwise your pie might taste a bit too salty and/or like bacon, which could be a happy surprise depending on your filling.
- Dough scraps? Bake them with a bit of cinnamon and sugar for an easy and quick treat!
I have been busy planting my back yard herb and vegetable gardens and I am not so patiently waiting for all of the plants to grow! One summer favorite veggie I am looking forward to are my zucchini plants–I have five in my garden right now! My mom always grew them in our garden when I was a child, but lets just say I have a much better appreciation for the green squash now!
This past week, I was rummaging in my fridge for something to make, with no real goal or specific inspiration. So naturally, having just taken stock of my fridge contents, this is when I pull my phone out and look for a new recipe online! I came across a baked zucchini recipe that looked good, sliced my entire singular zucchini, then realized that I had sliced them entirely too thin on my mandoline! Looking at the ultra thin pieces, the only other thing I thought it resembled was a noodle!
Knowing I had a tub of ricotta cheese in the drawer and plenty of mozzarella cheese (always on hand for pizza Fridays!) I started what I like to call a “Concoction Meal.” This is a name I borrowed from a friend. I think everyone has had one of these at some point in their life. It seems like a skill all Mom’s seem to have–finding a way to make a meal out of ingredients that seemingly do not go together. This is a great skill to have and an excellent way to save $$$ while cutting down on food waste by finding creative and *hopefully* delicious ways to use those odds and ends!
Anyway, the recipe that inspired my concoction meal was fairly basic and called for sliced zucchini with a seasoned bread crumb topping to be baked at 350 degrees. When I added my few extras I was really able to transformed this starting idea into a really great concoction meal that I proudly want to share!
As always–begin by first preparing and organizing everything that you will need to cook with! It is much easier to have it all handy than to have a food covered hand touch all the cabinet pulls in your kitchen looking for the baking dish!
First, I started with combining the bread crumbs, paprika, and thyme (I used freshly harvested thyme from my herb garden) with olive oil. I stirred it until the oil and ingredients were equally distributed with the bread crumbs.
Once prepped, I started with a touch of olive oil in the bottom of my baking dish. I used a 9×9 square dish. I then layered two rows of zucchini slices in nice even layers. Then I salted and peppered the Zucchini.
Next, I added dollops of my ricotta/ parsley mixture, about a third. I also added a layer of mozzarella cheese (half of the quantity), which naturally I forgot to take a picture of…
In the spirit of a true layered lasagna, I added another two even layers of zucchini slices! Again, salt and pepper the layer, then dollop another third of the ricotta/parsley mixture, and cover that with the other half of your mozzarella cheese.
On top of the last layer of mozzarella, I added my last layer of zucchini slices by spreading them evenly into just over one full layer. The last third of the ricotta goes here, as evenly as possible. Again, a bit more salt and pepper!
Add your well mixed bread crumb topping to the top of your zucchini lasagna-like casserole, then top with parmesan cheese!
Your zucchini concoction meal is ready for the oven! Bake for about 30-45 minutes, depending on how much of the crunchy texture you want the zucchini to retain. Cool and Enjoy!
Zucchini Lasagna-Like Casserole
Zucchini sliced thinly (3 small or 2 medium)
8 oz Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
16 oz tub Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
2-3 Tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
8-10 fresh sprigs Thyme
3-4 fresh sprigs Parsley
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
Salt and Pepper
- Assemble ingredients and cooking supplies. Shred Cheese, mandoline Zucchini into thin slices, chop parsley, de-stem thyme leaves,
- Set Oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine bread crumbs, paprika, thyme, and 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil (as needed) in a small cup/bowl. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
- Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to baking dish followed by two even layers of zucchini slices. Salt and pepper
- Combine chopped parsley and full container of ricotta cheese until well mixed.
- Dollop 1/3 ricotta mixture evenly on zucchini followed by 1/2 mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat zucchini layer with salt and pepper, then repeat another 1/3 ricotta mixture and other 1/2 mozzarella cheese.
- Layer the last of the zucchini, dollop last 1/3 of ricotta mixture, and top with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
- Bake 30 – 45 minutes depending on how much ‘bite’ you prefer in your zucchini, cool slightly, and enjoy!
P.S. In the spirit of a true concoction meal, I think the following ingredient alternatives would also make for a super yummy casserole!
- Panko bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs
- Crumbled Ritz crackers instead of bread crumbs
- Yellow squash instead of all (or some) Zucchini Squash
- My husband also suggested crumbled bacon be added to the bread crumb topping because “Everything is better with bacon”
Is there a more universally goes-with-everyuthing side dish than mashed potatoes? I don’t think so. This is why you can find mashed potatoes from your favorite diner all the way up to Michelin star restaurants. Mashed potatoes can be dressed up so easily with ingredients …