2.29.2012

Sausage And Peppers Flatbread Pizza

There is a sandwich shop here in downtown Atlanta that has the juiciest and greasiest Sausage and Peppers sub that I have ever had.  It is... in one word..


Amazingness....


But Lord knows I can't eat that stuff like I used to...


But I want too...


Really...


So I looked for a way to enjoy my sausage and peppers without the 1/2 cup of excess grease dripping from it but still the same delicious flavor.  And as luck would have it last night was pizza night in my house-so with the help of my executive chef/taste-tester (my 11 year old) and some marinara sauce- we made sausage and peppers flatbread pizza...And it was in one word..




Amazingness....





Sausage and Peppers Flatbread Pizza



What you need:

Flatbread Pizza Dough-( I used Pillsbury, but feel free to make your own)
11/2 cup of cooked Sausage ( I used Chicken Sausage)
1 cup of Marinara Sauce (you might not use that much-I like saucy pizza)
1 whole Red Pepper Sliced
1/2 Sweet Onion Sliced
1/4 Cup Spinach ( I sneak this in the pizza, my daughter has no clue she is eating spinach)
 Fresh Mozzarella thinly sliced (I used about 1 1/2 cup)
Olive Oil for drizzling 
Salt for sprinkling

Let's put it together:

Before I began I cooked my sausage in a sauce pan on top of the stove. As you can see I like my sausage a little on the "cooked" side.. My Granny used to say "you have to cook the Pig out of it" which I guess doesn't qualify here since I used Chicken Sausage-but after years of overcooking my sausage..well you get my point.

Roll/stretch out pizza dough. Lay it on pan drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes.
Remove pizza crust from oven. Spoon a desired amount of marinara sauce on the crust and spread it evenly. Top with Spinach and sliced mozzarella. Add cooked sausage then sliced onions and red pepper and just a little more mozzarella. 
Sprinkle again with a little salt, then bake for 15-17 minuter, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are deliciously bubbly.
Remove from oven. Cut into squares and serve immediately.



Amazingness!!!



2.26.2012

Tequila Lime Tilapia Tacos

So my New Year's Resolution was to eat better..... 


You know- 1 cup of sugar rather than 4... and half a sick of butter instead of 2. ( I could keep going but for the sake of time...I won't)


When I got a request to make some tacos this weekend, I immediately thought of my Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tacos- (sounds good non?.. I'll write about them soon). Then I thought no.. no.. Erika..they are too greasy and fattening and... mummm.. maybe I should seek help for my addiction to greasy food.


Moving on, I decided to make fish tacos because they say that's better for you..(see I'm trying)
and i found a really good marinade on The Food Network and because I'm a dork who just couldn't kick idea of Fried Chicken on my tacos, I add Panko bread crumbs to make them crunchy.


The End Result


Drumroll Please


Tequila Lime Tilapia Tacos....   (now say that fast 5 times) 



Tequila Lime Tilapia Tacos


Ingredients

For The Tacos

3 Tilapia Fillets
3 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
1/4 cups Flour ( I used all-purpose)
3 whole Limes, Zest Only
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
8 Whole Tortillas

Marinade

1/2 cup tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed Lime juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Salsa- I used Pineapple Salsa on my tacos... so yummy

2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup chopped red/ or green bell pepper (or both)
1/2 cup sweet onion
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 fresh pepper, seeded and finely chopped

For Optional Toppings:
Shredded Lettuce, Grated Monterey Jack Cheese, Cilantro, just whatever you like on your tacos.. J


Now let's make some Tacos:

Before you start combine the marinade ingredients in baking dish. Season fish with salt and pepper add to baking dish with marinade and put in the fridge until ready to make.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine panko bread crumbs,flour,lime zest and coriander in a bowl. Lay wire rack on baking sheet and spray it with non cooking spray. Remove fish from marinade and coat in panko mixture,pressing it so the bread crumbs adhere. Set fish on the wire rack (on baking sheet) lightly spray with non stick spray. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, flip fish and bake for another 10.

Hold on- almost there.

While fish is cooking make salsa by combining salsa ingredients in medium bowl.

Heat tortillas (I like mine warm), serve with fish, salsa, toppings and a spitz of lime.

Now Listen closely because this is the most important part...
Take the remaining bottle of Tequila, put in blender with margarita mix and ice. Pour in a pitcher and bring it with you on your way to the table... 




2.22.2012

Spiced Apple Pancakes







Hey there lovely people.... 




How was your weekend? Mine was good just to short…
Anyway, I'd like to talk about something near and dear to my Hips -Pancakes and how I could eat them all day everyday…Blueberry, banana, nutella, even peanut butter pancakes.
One of my News Year’s Resolutions was to eat better. And they say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Soooo.. hummm what about apples smothered in cinnamon and spices and mixed in with pancakes.. Does that work the same?…I hope so because that would keep the doctor away and make me happy!!! So my dear friends pull up a chair.. Syrups on the left…and enjoy my Spiced Apple Pancakes…



Spiced Apple Pancakes

Ingredients


2 Apples peeled and chopped (I used Granny Smith)
1 Tablespoon Apple Pie Spice
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Tablespoon of butter (or margarine) 


For Pancakes


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cup milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted


Directions


Melt butter in skillet over medium heat; add apples, apple pie spice, and cinnamon- Sauté for 5-10 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
In large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth. Then add apple mixture; mixing until combined.



Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.



Look at the butter melting on that bad boy.....



2.19.2012

French Quarter Beignets

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!" 



It's Mardi Gras Time... you ready to party!! 
Once –In my "Hot Young Days"-I dated a guy from New Orleans (he called me“Cher”). He was tall and gentlemanly and just everything that I (at the time) thought would be prefect in a husband. We dated for a while… and one day he told me that we were going to see his mama. So we made plans to take a road trip to the N.O and the events that played out during that excursion I will save for another time. But I was soooo excited- so much so... I called my mama and told her where I was going and that –you know- it could only mean one thing- I was getting married soon, and I started going on and on about my dress and the cake for the wedding when my mama said- “Honey, slow down- isn’t it like an 8 hour trip-maybe he just needs you to help him drive” Harsh-but it brought me back to reality.
Anyway- during the trip down T.J (Thomas James- that was his name) told me all about “Mama Dee” (his mama) and how she could cook anything and she made the best gumbo and Blah-Blah-Blah. I was excited and happy- until we pulled up to the house and Mama Dee ran out to hug her son and looked over at me with this sneer and made some comments in a low voice about a “Fille”
We stayed and I met all of his Cousins and Aunts and Uncles. But Mama Dee kept her distance from me- she also asked me to call her “Mrs. Dee” (which I thought was strange because everyone else was calling her Mama Dee-why not me) Anyway- the best thing was the food.. It was Heaven… then she brought out some “Beignets” that were out of this world.. I remember asking for the recipe. The response.”Hupmh!!! and she walked away. Well T.J and I eventually parted ways but still remain friends.. he's married with kids now and every time me and the fam go down to "Nawlins"- we get together. Once- I told his wife Janet this story and she looked and me with a stunned expression and told me how onetime her and Mama Dee were in the kitchen and she was trying to learn how to make her pecan pie.. Janet told me she said cooking just ain’t her thing and Mama Dee turned to her and said “Humph, at least the last  “jolie fille” wanted to learn how to cook”. Guess who that was.. ;) So here is my recipe for French Quarter Beignets… Take that Mama Dee…




Ingredients

1 ½ cups of lukewarm water
½ cup of granulated sugar
1 envelope of active dry yeast
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 ¼ teaspoon of salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour (now this recipe make a lot of dough-feel free to cut back the portation)
¼ cup shortening
Non stick spray
Oil for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions
 Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

 In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour.

Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. 

Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Add the confectioners' sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.




Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners' sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.


Dear Lord... Give me bread..then fry it in grease... then add sugar... Amen..





2.14.2012

CPK BBQ Chicken Pizza


CPK BBQ Chicken Pizza




My first California Pizza Kitchen experience was several years ago. I met a few friends there for lunch one day because it was close to my office and I used to hear people rave about how good the pizza was, well one particular type of pizza. Of course -at the time that earned a huge eye-roll because about every different person has a place that has “THE BEST PIZZA EVER”. It was a beautiful day and we sat outside and began gossiping and other non sense when the food came and a hush descended across the table and we dug in. Quickly, I back tracked on my eye roll as I devoured 5 (yes 5-this was before the kids) slices of BBQ Chicken pizza. It was delicious and still is today, now before you go and call the pizza police on me, I am not crowning this “The Best Pizza Ever” but I am going to give it a nice little Tiara (and maybe “Miss Overall Beauty”- I know I am not the only one who watches Toddlers and Tiaras so you know what I am talking about). More to the point- here is my take on this deliciously wonderful pizza.


BBQ Chicken Pizza
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman




1 Pillsbury Flat bread Pizza dough
2 Whole Boneless Chicken Breast
1 cup of BBQ sauce ( I used Honey BBQ because I love sweet and spicy)
Salt For Sprinkling
Olive oil- For Drizzling
16oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Thinly sliced
½ Whole Red Onion, Cut in half and sliced thin
Chopped Cilantro, for topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Salt chicken breasts on both sides, pour BBQ sauce over the breasts and turn them over to coat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove from oven and cut into a fine dice. Set aside.
Roll/stretch out pizza dough Lay it on a sheet pan drizzled with olive oil. Drizzle a little olive oil on the crust, then sprinkle on a little salt.
Spoon a couple of tablespoons of extra BBQ sauce on the crust and spread it evenly. Top sauce with half the sliced mozzarella. Sprinkle on half the diced chicken and thinly sliced red onion.Then top with remaining chicken and mozzarella. 
Sprinkle again with a little salt, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle on plenty of chopped cilantro. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Yummy Goodness!! 



Mummmm yes Pizza..Pizza is Good!!

2.12.2012

Chocolate Cupcakes w/ "Tiffany Blue" Icing





All I want for Christmas… No wait… All I want for Valentines is something shiny in a nice box. Let’s try again. Honey, all I want for Valentines is something shiny-perhaps set in platinum that would look nice on my wrist-in a distinctive Teal blue colored box with a white bow. Sigh- That is how descriptive I would have to be to get my point across to my other half without actually coming out and saying it- and well....I...I couldn't just SAY what I wanted because I would want the gift to be something he thought of-you know?. . Anyway, I was watching TV the other day and I saw this “Tiffany Inspired” theme wedding- first I thought why didn’t I think of that. Then I got the idea of how to get my point across with food.  His Favorite- Chocolate Cake with icing-simple enough. Let’s take that a little further and make Chocolate Cupcakes with “Tiffany Blue” Icing.  And well, if that doesn’t do it… it’s ok honey I still think you’re the best man in the world. Smooches!!!


Chocolate Cupcakes w/ "Tiffany Blue" Icing





Ingredients

I used Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake Mix and French Vanilla Icing.

Directions.

Make cupcakes according to directions on the box

For the icing- I used 6 Blue Drops and 2 Green Drops of food coloring to get the teal blue color.

Can you say SIMPLE....  :) 

2.07.2012

Red Velvet Cake Hearts with Cream Cheese Filling



With the up and coming Valentines holiday vastly approaching my daughter begins her yearly brainstorm of how she can out do everyone and have the “BEST” Valentine treats to pass out to her class.  This being her last year of elementary school (to quote her) it “Like has to be the best “LIKE EVER” this time mom-REALLY!” (the word like was used a lot more in that conversation but I’m LIKE not going to even get started on that), there is also a dance-yes, for 5th graders (7pm-9pm on a Saturday night- That’s like a date-right?), which threw me off because I thought that was a more middle schoolish event- so I made it clear to my daughter there will be NO dancing with boys… She just laughed at me… “of course we don’t dance with the boys mama”-, this dance worries me-so I did what any mother who wouldn’t let their daughter ride the bus until she was in the 5th grade would do- I signed up to be a chaperone- Hey, I have to bring the dessert  anyway-so I might as well stay. Okay,Okay- forgive me I’m rambling.... Moving on to yesterday when we were at the market and she brings me a magazine with a beautiful cake on the front. (a wedding cake) and said- “I think this would be perfect!!”- After quickly explaining how inappropriate it would be to bring a wedding cake to a 5th grade valentines dance, we continued our shopping while looking for inspiration.  On a whim I came up with the master plan to make Red Velvet Whoopie Pies..

 Let me tell you – I have NEVER made Red Velvet anything before so this was my first attempt at it and being the ambitious cook that I am- Hey let’s make them from scratch. EPIC FAIL!… they came out tasting good but they did not look pretty AT ALL-LOL! So they were quickly eliminated from the list of possibilities.
We moved on the 2nd recipe on the list- Red Velvet Cake Hearts- they turned out to be delicious (thanks to Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix) and are now #1 on the list.- She still has hope that I will make that wedding cake. So I’ll close this post with her words… “Think of how wonderful a wedding cake would be for Valentines.” 

Love is in the air my friends… breathe it in. 






Red Velvet Cake Hearts with Cream Cheese Filling



Ingredients



1 box Red Velvet Cake mix ( I used Duncan Hines)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cup confectioners sugar
Garnish: confectioners sugar

Directions

Spray a 15X10 baking sheet with non stick baking spray. Line with parchment paper.
Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a cutting board and cool completely. Using a 2in shaped heart cookie cutter, cut out 24 hearts. Cut hearts in half horizontally.
For the Filling- In large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.
Turn hearts, cut side up. Pipe filling into center of 12 hearts and top with remaining 12 hearts. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Garnish with confectioners’ sugar as desired.

And there you have it. Simple Right? 












2.06.2012

Grilled Chicken Caprese Panini






So the weather yesterday turned out to be beautiful after all. That made me soo happy and put me in the mood for summer-and to celebrate the sun in the sky and the warmer weather, my daughter and I made Panini’s and lemonade-put on our flip flops and went outside to enjoy the weather while the boys stayed in to watch the game.





Grilled Chicken Caprese Panini



Now we LOVE mozzarella and the cheesier the sandwich the better. Feel free to change the portions as you see fit. J



Grilled Chicken Caprese Panini
Recipe adapted from Sparkpeople



Grilled Chicken- (I used some that I had left over from another dish)

2 Slices of any bread, (we love sourdough bread in my house)

1 roma tomato, sliced

Shredded Mozzarella (or 1 slice of fresh mozzarella)

1 tbsp olive oil for drizzling

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
 salt & freshly ground black pepper , to taste

Directions

makes 1 medium sandwich

Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil and place on panini maker or in hot pan

Layer chopped grilled chicken on slice of bread

Layer desired amount of shredded Mozzarella

Layer tomato slices on top and the fresh basil on top of tomato slice

Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.


*I added one more layer of shredded mozzarella*.

Top with second slice of bread and drizzle with olive oil
cook until sandwich is toasted on both sides and cheese is melted. About 3 minutes in panini maker, 5 minutes total in hot pan.


 Transfer the sandwich to a cutting board and cut in half.

Serve immediately.


2.05.2012

Strawberry Mascarpone Cupcakes



Yesterday was kind of gloomy here in GA, it was a perfect day to just be lazy-which is exactly want I did- Well, as lazy as my kids would let me be. J
Today however is the Big Game… and as I look out the window the prospect of sunny skies does not look promising…
Oh Well
On to sweeter thoughts-like my recipe for these lovely cupcakes. With all the amazing possibilities out there for GAME DAY food, I wanted to find something that could be enjoyed at any Super Bowl Party as well as kick off the “Month Of Love”

For the month of February there will be plenty of recipes for you to make for the sweetheart in your life-And most importantly, they will be EASY


Strawberry Mascarpone Cupcakes

Recipe Adapted From Food Network

1 Box Vanilla Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe French Vanilla)
1 (8-oz) container Mascarpone Cheese-chilled
½ cup of strawberries
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla Extract
Confectioner’s sugar to sprinkle on top J

Special Equipment- 1 muffin tin – I used a really neat Filled Cupcake Muffin Pan

Directions


 
Make cupcakes according to package instructions. Lightly grease the muffin tin and fill the batter almost to the rim of each cup. Bake according to package directions and let cool.

In a food processor- combine the mascarpone cheese, strawberries, ¼ cup sugar, and lemon juice. Process the mixture until smooth. Transfer the strawberry mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small tip. Push the tip gently into the bottom of a cupcake and squeeze in the strawberry mixture until the cupcake plumps. Continue process with the remaining cupcakes. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.     

Voila…so good!