We’re finally getting around to using some of wedding gifts. We received the Old Stone Oven Rectangular Pizza Stone off our Amazon wedding registry.
I never made pizza dough myself so I opted to go for a store bought version. It was the perfect opportunity to try the Trader Joes Garlic and Herb Pizza Dough that I’ve been eyeing. The dough was fairly easy to roll out. The end results were great and I highly recommend using this flavorful pizza dough.
We decided to make a meat lovers, mushroom pizza. We whipped up a quick homemade tomato sauce and topped it with shredded mozzarella cheese, ground beef, pepperoni, chicken sausage and mushrooms. Another shout out to Trader Joes for their Jalapeño Chicken Sausage. I don’t eat Italian sausage, but I will definitely be trying out more chicken sausages. It had the perfect amount of flavor and heat. We followed the pizza stone instructions, which were to place the stone inside the oven, while preheating the oven to 450F. Our pizza was topped and ready to go into the oven, but that’s when we ran into some problems. How do we transfer the pizza onto the sizzling stone? We ended up putting the pizza onto a floured cookie sheet with the hopes of having it slide off onto the stone. It was a struggle, but we were eventually able to get the pizza onto the stone. I probably should have researched this prior to trying to make pizza. I later googled that we should have made the pizza on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Then using the cookie sheet, slide the parchment paper and pizza onto the stone. That would have made clean up alot easier too.
Overall, the pizza stone worked great to give us that crunchy crust that we were looking for. We could hear the sizzle as soon as the dough hit the stone. Going forward, I’m going to try out the cookie tray and parchment paper technique. Here’s to many more future pizza nights!
Lately I’ve been watching America’s Test Kitchen at the gym. They featured a new and improved way of cooking Chicken Parmesan. There were 3 techniques that they tried that I would have never thought of.
1. They brined the chicken breasts to keep the chicken juicy.
2. They combined the egg wash and flour during the dredging process.
3. They broiled the Chicken Parm with just the cheese and spooned on the tomato sauce at the end. This was to prevent the crust from getting soggy.
I decided to test out 1 and 2 because I personally like to bake the chicken with tomato sauce.
So, how’d it turn out? It was worth the extra time and effort of brining the chicken as it made it more juicy and tender. I also thought it was a genius idea to combine the egg wash and flour. One less step and one less dish to clean. It also provided a more even coat of egg and flour. The mixture is a little thick, so make sure you take off any excess (see photo below). America’s Test Kitchen, you guys were definitely onto something!
2 pounds chicken breast
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup Panko
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Butterfly the chicken breast and cut in half. Pound the chicken breast in between plastic wrap until they are ½ inch thick.
- Place chicken into a bowl and cover with about 6 cups of water (or until the chicken fully submerged) and ¼ cup salt. Let the chicken brine for at least 1 hour.
- In a pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic cloves. It the garlic cook for about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for about 20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- In a bowl combine the Panko and seasoned breadcrumbs.
- In another bowl, combine the egg and flour. Add a little water to loosen the mixture.
- Remove the chicken from the brine and pat down with paper towels.
- Combine the Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese and set aside.
- First, dip the chicken into the egg mixture and then the Panko mixture. Set aside on a wire rack.
- Heat vegetable skillet on medium high heat. When the pan is hot, place chicken into the pan. (2 pieces at a time to prevent crowding) Cook chicken for about 4 minutes on each side. When the chicken is done cooking, place it back onto the wire rack.
- Spoon tomato sauce onto each piece and then sprinkle with cheese.
- Broil the chicken on high for 3 minutes.
- Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into.
What’s better than Thanksgiving dinner? The leftovers! Two things I look forward to the most post-Thanksgiving are turkey jook (rice porridge) and turkey pot pie. I have yet to attempt making my Grandma’s turkey jook, so maybe I’ll save that recipe for next year.
For the past few years we’ve been getting our turkey from Popeye’s. Yes, Popeye’s. I comes preseasoned and frozen; pop it in the oven for a couple of hours and there you have it. It’s a Cajun turkey and surprisingly flavorful and juicy. The turkey leftovers from the Popeye’s turkey gives this pot pie a little bit of a kick, but feel free to use any leftover turkey that you have on hand.
For this recipe I made mini pot pies, but you can definitely make one large one if you prefer.
Mini Turkey Pot Pie
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup carrots, cubed
1 ½ cup potatoes, cubed
2 cups shredded or cubed cooked turkey
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 pie crust
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Bring 2 cups of the chicken stock to a boil and then add the carrots. Lower the heat to medium and cook the carrots for 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes to the carrots and cook for another 10 minutes until the vegetables are soften.
- Turn the flame off and add the turkey, peas, milk, flour and spices. Stir until it is fully incorporated.
- Roll out the pie crust and cut into circles to cover the tops of the ramekins.
- Fill the ramekin with the turkey mixture and top with the pie crust.
- Beat an egg and brush the tops of the pie crust.
- Place ramekins on a baking sheet to prevent spillage and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
Guest blog post written by: Wesley!
It’s no secret that I love meat. Meat on top of meat with a side of meat is my ideal meal. So when it comes to entertaining and if I’m feeling lazy I like to make something that requires minimal effort. Ribs fit that description pretty well. This recipe is a bit non conventional but I do think that it works well. Someday I’d love to get a smoker but until that day comes these will have to do. Some people boil their ribs for tenderness and quicker cook time but it releases the juices into the water and robs the ribs of flavor. Others just bake it low and slow but I feel like I can never get it as tender as I like. This recipe kind of meets the two methods in the middle.
1 rack of ribs
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
about 3/4 cup BBQ Sauce
- Remove the silver skin from the back of the ribs.
- Apply your dry rub of whatever spices you like. We used salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. (Front and back)
- Place Ribs on a baking rack and pour about a cup of water underneath. (You can substitute vinegar if you like)
- Cover the rack with aluminum foil
- Place in the oven at 350 degrees for about 3.5 hours.
- Remove the ribs and brush a generous amount of BBQ sauce on top of the ribs. You can make your own but we both love sweet baby rays.
- Place ribs back in the over under the broiler until the sauce caramelizes.
- Remove ribs and let them sit before cutting. Enjoy!
Most people know that my least favorite day of the year is day light savings. Who enjoys when the sun goes down earlier? No one. With day light savings and the colder weather this weekend, I was craving a stick to your ribs type of meal. For some strange reason, all I wanted was to eat chili. I’m not even a huge fan of chili, probably because I never grew up eating it.
The original plan was to make chili and add brisket on top. However, I could only find thin cut brisket and ended up changing the recipe. We let the brisket braise in the chili and it turned out to be a delicious mistake. The BBQ sauce added a smoky component and the sugar helped bring the acidity down. I give this protein packed recipe a thumbs up!
Beef Brisket Chili
1 pound ground beef
1 ½ pounds thin cut brisket; cut into 1-1 ½ inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
28-ounce canned diced tomatoes
5.5-ounce 1 can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 can kidney beans (15-ounce)
1 can black beans (15-ounce)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons BBQ sauce (Our personal preference is Sweet Baby Rays)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 jalapeno, chopped (You can remove the seeds depending how spicy you want it. )
Chedder cheese, shredded
- In a large pot, brown the ground beef on medium heat, about 4 minutes. Remove the ground beef and discard the excess fat.
- In the same pot, brown the brisket on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
- Add the ground beef back into the pot with the brisket.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, black beans and water. Once combined, add the chili powder, garlic powder, BBQ sauce, sugar and jalapeno.
- Simmer on low heat for 2 ½ hours.
- When you’re ready to serve sprinkle with the shredded cheese.