Saturday, November 21, 2020

Sweet Potato Bake

Oh my word, friends. This dish is famous in our family as a holiday staple. It it a side dish? Is it a dessert? Who's to say! Regardless of what you call it this outstanding sweet potato casserole will quickly become a favorite with your family too. 

Sweet Potato Bake
For the filling:
1 large can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
5 teaspoons vanilla

For the topping:
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

To make 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice combine:
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
dash of nutmeg

Mix together filling ingredients. Pour into a prepared baking dish. 

In a medium bowl combine the topping ingredients. Crumble over top of potato mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. It will be a little jiggly when done. It will firm as it cools.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Detroit Style Pan Pizza

Early on in the lockdown of 2020 we got to talking about the great foods we were missing while in quarantine. One family favorite was the great Chicago deep dish pizzas we had last summer while on vacation. (We were a house divided between Giordano's and Lou Malnoti's) Since we had yeast and bread flour (a hot comodity!) we decided it was a great time to give it a whirl. 

Over the years we've had nothing but great luck with Peter Reinharts recipes. At the time we were making bread a few times a week from The Bread Bakers Apprentice so I went on the hunt to see if Peter Reinhart also had a deep dish pizza recipe. While this recipe wasn't the Chicago-style deep dish I'd been expecting we decided to give it a try.

On a Friday night in early April we had a family movie night where we watched Jurrasic Park for the first time and made this outstanding pizza. It quickly became a family favorite and has been a mainstay of Friday night pizza and movie nights since. 

Don't let the fact that this takes 2 days to make scare you off. It's so simple to make and the effort absolutely pays off. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Detroit-Style Pan Pizza


4 1/3 cups bread flour
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups cool water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil for stretching and folding the dough
12-16 ounces firm mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
Pizza sauce 
Mozzarella cheese for topping
Your favorite pan pizza toppings


Day one
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the yeast and 1 cup of the water. Let the yeast proof for a few minutes until foamy. 

Add in the flour, salt, and remaining water and with the mixer set on a low-medium speed mix to form a shaggy dough. Pour in the olive oil and continue beating for 30-60 seconds to combine. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. 

Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and mix for an additional 30-60 seconds. The dough should be soft and smooth and a bit sticky to the touch.

On a clean countertop spread 1 teaspoon of olive oil to cover about 15 inches diameter. Turn the dough out onto the counter. Stretch & fold the dough 2-3 times, then let the dough rest for 5 minutes, covered, on the counter.

Repeat the stretch, fold, and 5 minute rest process 2 more times, adding the olive oil in 1 teaspoon increments as needed. After the final stretch and fold place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refridgerator for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight, or up to 72 hours. 

Day two

5 hours before baking prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment and coat very lightly with oil.

Turn the dough onto the prepared pan and press to dimple the dough. Let rest for 20 minutes. Dimple the dough again, gently spreading the dough across the pan. Continue pressing the dough with your fingertips to dimple it, and rest for 20 minutes. It will take several rounds before it stretches to the full pan size. Don't rush, just enjoy the process!

Once the dough is covering the pan press the mozzarella pieces into the dough. Let sit for 3 hours for the final rise. The dough will swell up and surround much of the cheese.

Heat oven to 500 degrees then assemble your pizza. With Detroit style pizza the toppings and cheese go first and the sauce tops it all. 

Place the pizza in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake again for 7 to 9 minutes or the cheese is bubbly. 

Transfer the pizza to a heatproof countertop or board. Carefully remove the pizza from the pan using a spatula and slide it onto a cutting board. 

Slice into 3 or 4 inch squares and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread

Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread 

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs, beaten 
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups mashed pumpkin
1 12-oz bag cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the eggs, pumpkin, water, and oil.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Mix the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until evenly combined. Gently fold in cinnamon chips.

Pour the batter into three greased 3x4 bread pans. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool before slicing.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Dutch Oven Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is the ultimate comfort food. This version is hearty and delicious and oh so tender. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Dutch Oven Beef Stroganoff

2 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 2 inch chunks
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced portobella or baby bella mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp thyme
1 cup white wine
2 cups beef broth
1 cup sour cream
1 package egg noodles, cooked to package directions

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl or gallon bag coat the beef with flour. Remove from the flour and set aside on a plate.

In a large dutch oven melt the butter and add the oil. Brown the meat in small batches and set aside.

In the remaining butter/oil cook the onions until soft and slightly browned. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute until garlic is lightly golden. 

Deglaze the pot with 1 cup of wine and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add the beef to the pot, sprinkle in the thyme, and cover with the beef broth. 

Cover and place in the oven for 35 minutes or until beef is soft and tender. 

Stir in the sour cream until smooth. Serve over egg noodles.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas

These carnitas came to be when the chicken I planned to use for a different dinner was still frozen. I have successfully cooked shredded chicken from frozen in the Instant Pot, so I started to brainstorm what I could do with shredded chicken. A glance in the pantry led to tortillas and there it was! 

The crazy easy cooking process of the Instant Pot is aided by placing the chicken under the broiler to crisp a bit. Adding the thickened sauce keeps the chicken moist and lick-the-plate flavorful.

Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas
2lbs chicken breast
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
3 cloves of garlic crushed 
2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon corn starch

Place the chicken and onion in the instant pot. In a small bowl combine the garlic and seasonings, leaving out the corn starch. Cover the chicken with the seasoning mixture. Pour the broth, lime juice, and lemon juice over the chicken.

Set the instant pot to high pressure and cook for 15 minutes and natural release for 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon remove the chicken and place on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the chicken under oven broiler for 5 minutes. Stir and place under the broiler 5 more minutes.

While chicken is under the broiler set your instant pot to sauté. Whisk the corn starch in to thicken and bring to a boil. Stir until thickened.

Once you remove the chicken from the oven pour some of the sauce over the chicken and toss to coat.

Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go Espresso Banana Smoothie

If you're looking for a fast, easy, and delicious breakfast that also peps you up for the day, look no further. Filling and tasty, the addition of espresso (or coffee, should you choose) brings you a caffeine jolt to start your day right.

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go Smoothie

1/ 1/2 frozen bananas broken into chunks
2 shots espresso
1/2 teaspoon vanilla coffee syrup or maple syrup
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon almond butter
milk of choice

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Add milk of choice until you get the texture desired.


Friday, April 24, 2020

Weeknight Butter Chicken

Like many busy families we are always in search of fast, delicious dinners that the whole family will eat. This recipe hits the bill for most of those requirements. While one member of the family won’t eat it (10 year olds, right?) the rest of us love it! It’s become a regular in our dinner rotation.

Weeknight Indian Butter Chicken
Serves 4

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 2-inch even pieces.
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
1/2 teaspoon ginger 
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of cayenne pepper* 
15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream

In a large Dutch oven melt 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté the chicken until cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter and the onion and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute. Add the spices to the pot and stir. 

Place the chicken back into the pot cover with tomato sauce and heavy cream and stir until evenly combined. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Salt to taste.

Serve with rice or naan.

*Note: As written this dish is pretty mild. If you prefer more heat you can increase the cayenne up to a half teaspoon depending on your preference.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Creamy Italian Sausage and Tomato Gnocchi

This creamy gnocchi is super quick to make and so easy! It’s hearty, delicious, and speedy, making it the  perfect weeknight dinner!

Creamy Italian Sausage and Tomato

1 lb chopped Italian sausage
1/2 small onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1/2 cup dry white wine (e.g. sauvignon blanc)
1 (14 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 pounds uncooked potato gnocchi
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon basil pesto
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven sauté the sausage and onion until cooked through and onions are translucent and soft. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute, until garlic is fragrant.

Add the wine to the pot and stir. Simmer until wine has reduced. Add the tomatoes and cream and bring to a low boil. Add the gnocchi and cook according to package instructions.

Stir in the pesto, parmesan, salt and pepper, and serve.