Cast Iron Pizza

DSCN0018*** This recipe is made up of actually three separate recipes, I will post all three here with the links back to where I got them from. I made this last night for the first time and it came out amazing!***

Fail-Proof Pizza Dough is found here at Lauren’s Latest. It is pretty easy and it does never fail! I have made this recipe many times and honestly it has worked out every.single.time. I love those kinds of recipes!

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

1 cup warm water

2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 TBS honey or sugar

2 tsp. salt

2 TBS olive oil

3 cups of bread flour (give or take a 1/2 cup due to heat and humidity)

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into the warm water.

Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. This tells you that the yeast is alive and kicking. 

Pour in the salt, oil, and half the flour and mix.

Once the flour is totally incorporated, start adding flour bit by bit until you get the dough as you want it. It should be slightly tacky and does not stick to your hands.

Once you reach this stage, knead for 6 minutes. Turn on a timer and walk away. The dough should be smooth and easy to work with after that. DO NOT stop before 6 minutes.

Put the dough in a slightly greased bowl and cover with plastic, let rise for 1-2 hours.

THIS RECIPE MAKES 2 DOUGHS!

 

Cook’s Notes: I did not have any bread flour on hand and  used regular self rising flour last night and it came out great! Also, when she talks about using a stand mixer and kneading, I turn mine on high and let it knead for 6 minutes. I always keep an eye on it because my stand mixer does ‘walk’ on my counters. You can also do this by hand, but it takes more work.

 

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients:

15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

To this I add garlic powder, Italian seasonings, oregano, salt and pepper to taste.

 

Cook’s Notes: You can put what ever you want in with the crushed tomatoes to your own taste. That is why there are no amounts. I just throw stuff in and do not measure it at all. I also do not cook this. I put it on the dough and when the pizza cooks so does the sauce. I like crushed tomatoes because there are some pieces of tomato you can also use tomato sauce if you do not like the pieces of tomato.

 

Cast Iron Pizza

Not really sure where I got the recipe for the cast iron pizza. So, here is the recipe as it is written.

Cast Iron Pizza

Ingredients

I batch of pizza dough and one batch of pizza sauce

8 ounces of mozzarella

pizza toppings as desired

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

If you want more of a hand tossed crust style, lightly coat the cast iron skillet with olive oil. If not place the cast iron skillet into the oven for 30 minutes to preheat.

Divide the pizza dough into 2 equal halves. Spread the dough out to roughly the size of your cast iron skillet.

If using the skillet pre heated be careful when placing the dough into the skillet as it will be hot! Spread out in the pan making a lip around the edge.

Smear about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sauce on the dough.

Top with cheese and toppings of your choice. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.

Repeat with the other piece of dough.

Cook’s Notes: I did not preheat the skillet, I used it like the hand tossed style and it was great! I know it seems like a lot in this recipe, but it is really not that difficult.  

DSCN0017

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Home Made Tomato Soup

**** My friend Daniel Mancini posted this totally amazing tomato soup recipe on QVC and you can find the original recipe here. He is also the man behind the company Mama Mancinis and you can find them on FB  and their website. I made this last night and I have to say that  honestly that was the best tomato soup ever! Now, it will not exactly taste like what you are used to with the canned stuff, but it is so much better for you and so healthy! ****

Ingredients:

1 28 oz can of whole Italian plum tomatoes

4 TBS unsalted butter

4 cups of chicken stock

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. fresh black pepper

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup minced onion

2 minced garlic cloves

1/4 tsp. dry oregano

1/4 tsp. dry thyme

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Directions:

in a 4 quart sauce pan or soup pot on a medium heat, add the butter, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and sauté on low heat for 10 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent.

Add the tomatoes and all the juice, oregano, thyme, and put on medium heat.

Bring this to a boil, cover and lower the heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature

Once it is at room temperature, add the soup to a blender and puree it.

Put the soup back into the pot and bring to a boil, turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream and parsley.

Serve.

 

Cook’s notes: I did not use the onion as I am allergic but I did add a tablespoon of onion powder into the soup. I also did not use the parsley because mainly, I did not have any on hand. I did add another splash of cream as well. I made grilled cheese sandwiches on Italian bread to complete the meal and it was so good! My 2 year old loves the soup and you do have enough to take it to work the next day for lunch!

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

** I got this recipe here and it is amazing! If you love chicken Parmesan, you will LOVE this recipe! I was not sure about some of the ingredients because, it seemed strange to me, but it totally works! I made this last night and my family gobbled it up! Almost none left! **

Ingredients:

1 (28 ounce) jar of marinara sauce

3 cups cooked chicken, cubed

2 1/2 cups garlic croutons, semi crushed

1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes or to taste

kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with non stick spray.

Evenly spread out garlic croutons in the baking dish, then cover with cubed chicken.

Season chicken with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and sprinkle chopped basil over the top

Place baking dish in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving

Cook’s Notes: I did not use the 1/3 cup fresh basil, instead I used 1 1/2 tsp. dried basil and that was enough. I also did not have cooked chicken on hand, so I cubed up some chicken breasts and cooked them before making this casserole. I just threw them in my cast iron pan and cooked the chicken in melted butter really quick. You can also use any kind of left over chicken you have on hand which would make this dish even quicker! I mixed all the seasonings together and sprinkled on the chicken at once and that was really good, so you are not getting a mouth full of salt or basil, it was all mixed.

Pizza Pasta Bake

** I made this Tuesday for the first time. I can not remember where I got this recipe, but it is really good and very kid friendly! You can also customize this as you want or need, this recipe is that versatile! As usual, I will tell you what changes I made in the Cook’s Notes at the bottom of this recipe.**

Ingredients:

12 ounces of uncooked medium pasta ( I used penne)

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 pound of Italian sausage (mild or hot) removed from casings if using links

1/2 pound lean ground beef

3 cloves garlic

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

1 can ( I used the normal sized, I think it was 10.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained

2 tsp. oregano

4 cups pasta sauce

3 cups mozzarella cheese

28 slices of pepperoni ( I used Hormel, the already packaged you can find near the pizza sauce usually)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cook pasta according to package directions, making sure it is el dente, rinse under cold water and drain well.

Brown onion, garlic, sausage, and beef in a large pan over medium heat. Drain any fat. Add in red and green peppers cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add oregano, drained tomatoes, and pasta sauce, stirring together until well mixed.

Place the cooked pasta into a 9×13 pan. Pour the meat mixture over pasta and top with cheese and pepperoni slices.

Bake 35-40 minutes uncovered or until the cheese is melted and the pasta is heated through.

 

Cook’s Notes: I did not use the onion or peppers, mainly because I am allergic to the onion and do not like the peppers. I did not have any sausage on hand, so I used a full pound of ground beef. It was so good! My 2 year old loved it! He had 2 servings of it. I loved it because it was quick and easy. Perfect for a week night dinner. You could add any kind of pizza ingredient you like such as mushrooms as well, it is easily customizable.

Baked Ziti

**I made this last night and honestly think this is the best baked ziti recipe I have ever had! It is amazing and moist! My only thing is that you need to pay attention to the amount of pasta you make, the recipe calls for a whole pound and that is what you need to actually make. I did not pay attention and made less because the box I made was not a full pound.**

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground beef

2 cans or jars (26 ounces) of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 jar (16 ounces) garlic alfredo sauce

1 box (1 pound) of penne pasta

1/2 yellow onion diced (optional)

1 bag (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×13 baking dish with non stick spray.

Prepare pasta according to package directions

In a medium sauce pan, brown ground beef with onion (if using). After beef is brown and crumbled, drain excess grease. Put back in pot and pour in one (1) jar of spaghetti sauce. Keep mixture on low until the pasta is done.

When the pasta is done, drain excess water from pasta. You want the pasta as dry as possible. Put pasta back in large pot (with heat off) and pour jar of Alfredo sauce. Combine until pasta is coated thoroughly. 

Pour past mixture into bottom of 9×13 dish. Cover pasta with spaghetti sauce mixture.

** Don’t put that pot you used for the spaghetti sauce mixture in with the dirty dishes just yet. Keep that pot out and start heating up the second jar of sauce on low heat. Put a cover on it to keep warm until ziti is finished baking.

Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Let rest for about 5 minutes after taking out of oven. Serve portions onto plates and pour some of the heated spaghetti sauce on top.

** At first, I did not think I would need the second jar of sauce, but you really do! The pasta soaks all the sauce up and you need to add more. I did not use the onions because I am allergic. This came out really good.**

Easy Lasagna

** I am making this for dinner tonight, so if I remember I might have a photo of it. I got this from my Just a Pinch website. I will pair this with a quickie homemade garlic bread and salad.**

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds of ground beef

1 egg

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 large container cottage cheese

1 TBS. parsley flakes

2 packages of Mozzarella cheese

1 package lasagna noodles

3 cans of Hunts 4 cheese pasta sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil noodles until just under done as they will continue to cook in the oven.

Brown the ground beef. In a bowl combine cottage cheese, parmesan, egg, and parsley flakes and set aside.

When the meat is cooked through, add one can at a time to decide how saucy you want your sauce.

in your 9×13 pan, spread a spoonful of the sauce on the bottom of pan. Start your layers of noodles, layer of cheese spread, mozzarella, meat sauce. Continue layers until you have built your lasagna.

Bake until heated through, about 1 hour depending on how your oven works. Add some more shredded cheese on top and bake 5-10 minutes more until cheese is melted and bubbly.

COOKS NOTES: I personally will not use the cottage cheese. Also, I do not like the canned sauce, it has that ‘flavor’ so I use jarred. I think this recipe only needs maybe 1 to 1 1/2 jars, but that is up to you. You can also use ricotta cheese, I do not like it much because of the grainy texture.