Thursday, September 13, 2012

Taco Pizza!

I'm linking this recipe up with Walking on Sunshine's Food Friends Friday....go take a look-see!

I made Taco Pizza a couple weeks ago when my daughter had some friends over.  It was a hit!  It was delicious, and easy, and I surely will make it again soon.

I make my own pizza dough, it's so easy, and if you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, or a bread machine, go for it!  Here's my recipe for Homemade Pizza Dough.  (this pizza dough recipes makes 2 large pizza's).  Enjoy!

Taco Pizza

Two loaves of Pizza Dough, homemade or store-bought
1 can refried beans
1 jar salsa
1 lb ground beef cooked and drained from all fat
1 can black beans rinsed
1 envelope Mexican seasoning
2 TBS water
4 cups Cheddar Cheese or Mexican Blend
sliced black olives - for garnish
1 small can chopped chili peppers - for garnish
chopped tomatoes - for garnish
Sour Cream - for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Brown the ground beef and drain from all fat.  Add the rinsed black beans to the beef, and the Mexican seasoning with 2 TBS water. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes on low. Let cool.

Spread the Pizza Dough on 2 GREASED large cookie sheets or stones. Make sure you let the pizza dough sit at room temp for about 1 hour before you spread it out, otherwise it won't spread easily.  Then pre-bake the pizza dough (without anything on them) in the 450 oven for about 5 minutes and no longer!

Once the pizza dough is pre-baked, take them out and start layering.  Spread the refried beans, salsa, cooked beef mixture, and cheese. 

All ready for the Oven!

Put them back in the oven at 450 for about 15 - 20 minutes being careful to rotate them so the top get crispy, and the bottom gets crispy.

Top the pizza's off with sliced olives, tomatoes, peppers, and serve with sour cream!  YUMMO!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Homemade Fresh Ricotta! So EASY!


What Beautiful weather we are finally having here in Northern New Jersey!  This morning when I drove my daughter to the bus stop it was a chilly 45 degrees, just beautiful!

Do you like Italian food?  Well I sure do.  I was raised on Italian food, homemade sauce, meatballs, eggplant parm, baked ziti, sausage and peppers, lasagna, you name it.  I love making it all, and usually have all the ingredients in the my frig or pantry.

I've read about Homemade Ricotta, and always wanted to try it.  So yesterday my Hubby and I gave it a try.  It was so easy, here's the recipe.

Homemade Fresh Ricotta

1 whole gallon of Whole Milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup Vinegar
2 TBS of Heavy Cream (if you want yours creamy, I didn't add this, but next time I will)

What you will need:

Crock Pot
Large Bowl
Large Strainer
Thin linen towel, or old clean white tee-shirt
Large spoon with wholes

In a crock pot add the whole gallon of milk, and 2 TBS of Heavy Cream you want, put the temp on HIGH, COVER, and forget about it (in my NY accent of course) for about 2 hours or so until the temp reaches 180 degrees. Check it with a thermometer after the 2 hours.

When the temp reaches 180 degrees, slowly pour the Vinegar and salt, very slowly stir for 10 seconds, keep the cover off, and forget about it for 20 minutes.  This is what it will start to look like.

Then after the 20 minutes this is what it will start to look like.  DO NOT STIR be gentle you don't want to break up the curds!

Get a large Strainer put it in a large bowl to collect the liquid known as the WHEY, and line it with a thin kitchen towel, or I used an old white tee-shirt. After the 20 minutes start carefully spooning the CURD into the strainer.

Now let the CURD strain for about 1 hour, if you like your Ricotta DRY, if you like your Ricotta a little creamy, let it strain for only about 1/2 hour.  Now you have Fresh Ricotta Cheese to make whatever you want with it.  This recipe will give you about 2 cups. 

Now you will have a lot of liquid/WHEY in the bowl, DO NOT THROW THAT OUT! Yes you can make MORE RICOTTA using the liquid. 

Take the liquid and put it into the same crock pot, you don't have to wash it, or just use a big pot on the stove, and reheat it to 200 degrees this time.  When it reaches 200 degrees, add another 1/4 cup of vinegar, and 1 tsp salt, stir for 10 seconds, and let it sit for 20 minutes again.  Strain just like before, you will get about another cup of fresh Ricotta.

Now you can throw out the leftover WHEY, or use it to do whatever you want, I have no use for it at this point, I tried to make another batch of Ricotta with it, but it didn't work. 

I will be using my Fresh Homemade Ricotta tonight for Baked Ziti.  Enjoy and So YUMMO!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Homemade Bisquick....YES BISQUICK!!

I'm linking this recipe up with Walking On Sunshine's Friday Linky Party.  Go take a look-see!

Well we've survived the first day of school for both my kids yesterday and today.  Davey had a good day at his new school, meeting new friends, and I met new moms.  It can always be hard going to a new school for a kid and the mom. 

My daughter Becca had a great day in school.  She's in her Junior year, and I just can't believe it, where did the time go!

So the kids are back in school, it will be busy again, homework, reports, activities, and I'm excited for the school year!

I love Bisquick.....yes Bisquick!  It makes the best pancakes.  Now I've made pancakes from scratch, but I do think Bisquick pancakes and waffles are better. 

The price of Bisquick is CRAZY!  For a big box it's about $ I went online and found this "Clone" for Homemade Bisquick, I made a batch just enough for breakfast for that one morning, but you can make up a large batch and keep it in an air-tight container, and keep it for up to 2 months in your pantry or frig.  

I just don't use Bisquick for pancakes and waffles, I also use it when I'm in a pinch for biscuits, even though I like my homemade better, and for an Impossible Cheeseburger Pie recipe that my mom use to make when we were kids...I must post that soon. 

I hope you try it, it's so easy, and tastes like the real thing.

Homemade Bisquick

This recipe is enough for 3 cups of Bisquick like if you're making pancakes or waffles....when I used this to make pancakes, I had to add a little more milk to the mix for the right consistency. 

2 5/8 cup flour
1 1/3 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. 
Store in an airtight container in the pantry for 2 months, or in the frig for 4 months.
I used this amount for when I made pancakes, see how easy it is to put together, just add the eggs and milk. 
Or if you want to make a big batch like a "box full"  here are the ingredients for that:
10 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
5 1/4 tablespoons baking powder
1 3/4 tablespoons salt
1 3/4 cups vegetable shortening
Follow the directions above and store in an airtight EASY! YUMMO!

Use whenever your recipe calls for "Bisquick mix".

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Twice Baked Potatoes.....

I'm linking this recipe to Walking On Sunshine's Friday Linky Party.  Go take a look-see!

Well, today is my little boy Davey's first day of school.  He was very excited today when he left the house.  He started a new school this year, and I know he is missing all his little buddies.   It poured all night long, and we hardly even got any sleep the thunder was just so loud!  When we went into his school, it was pouring buckets. When I left him, he looked nervous, and I am a little worried right now, but I know all will be well....I hope! 

He requested his favorite meal for tonight, Meatballs with Brown Gravy, over egg noodles, and corn bread! 

I made these great Twice Baked Potatoes over the weekend when we had friends over.  They are from Pioneer Woman, but of course I made them my own.  They are easy to make the day before, and just bake them off the day you want to eat them.  Try them, you will love them!

Twice Baked Potatoes

6 large Idaho Potatoes scrubbed
2 sticks butter cubed
1 cup sour cream
6 sliced bacon cooked until crispy
2 TBS chopped scallions
2 tsp Season Salt or more if you want
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese for the filling
1 cup reserved for the topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, put the potatoes on a large cookie sheet, and bake them for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, do not wrap in foil, this will make the skin crisp.

When a sharp knife can be inserted easily, the potatoes are done.  Take them out of the oven, and slightly cool.

Very carefully cut the potatoes in half, length-wise, and scoop the potatoes out into a large bowl being careful not to break the skins, and you want to leave a layer of potato left so the skin isn't so "weak", and they are kind of like "cups or shells".

Add the butter, and start mashing the potatoes, add the sour cream, season salt, pepper, cheese, it's OK to have some lumps, stir in the bacon, and scallions.  Taste it, what does it need, more salt, pepper?  Always taste your food!

Fill the potato skin "cups" with the filling, Put them in a large casserole dish or cookie sheet, and cover with the remaining cheese.  Now you can put them in the frig for overnight, or bake them right away, covered for 20 minutes, then uncovered for 10.  Enjoy!