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Friday, November 25, 2011

Sweet and Savory Turkey

It's the day after Thanksgiving and I bet you can guess what I put on my pizza this week... :D  Actually I have been looking forward to Thanksgiving Pizza all week! Yes, Thanksgiving was wonderful; my sister came to visit, we had a great time! The meal was wonderful; I made my very first turkey ever and we'll be eating turkey for 2 weeks! But as I planned each dish of our Thanksgiving meal I couldn't help but think about how it would taste on the pizza the next day.

Like I said, my sister is in town. This is extra good news because it means I had to make two pizzas!

The first one I'll call Cranberry Delight. For this pizza I took my Sweet Potato Roll dough and rolled it out (one recipe made enough for both pizzas). I put my Mango Cranbango sauce through the blender so I had a smooth sauce to spread (texture thing - you can leave it chunky if you want but it sure made it easier to spread). After that it was just chopping chicken and sprinkling cheese (mozzarella). The pizza was simple and good. If you try this one I would recommend getting a sharp, flavorful cheese like brie or blue cheese. If you do use standard mozzarella, make sure you don't skimp (did I mention I'm trying to cut back on fats? Ya, I need to quit doing that to my pizzas. More Cheese!!).

Before I move on, let me just mention something about this Mango Cranbango sauce. This is another of Chef John's recipes but I had to alter it. First of all, I'm very nervous about adding too much heat to my food. I don't do hot. So I replaced the ghostsauce with a couple jalapenos that had been carefully seeded to strip out the heat. I put these in at the same time that I added the cranberries. I really don't know enough about how to use jalapenos to know when I should have put them in, but it worked. The, now mild, jalapenos gave it a great flavor. However, if you like heat, go with the ghostsauce! The other thing I had to change was that I couldn't find garma masala and wasn't sure about adding Indian Curry to my cranberry sauce, nor could I find a star of anise so I left these two spices out. I would like to try it again with these spices sometime. This was an easy and beautiful addition to our Thanksgiving table.

The second pizza I think I'll call Savory Stuffing. Again, I used the sweet potato bread dough and I spread our leftover gravy on this one. Topped with a Vegetable Stuffing Bake and Turkey then smothered in cheddar cheese (I didn't skimp this time!), this one was a big hit. I blame the gravy. Did I mention it was curry gravy? Oh ya! Just add some regular American curry to your turkey gravy. I love curry in our gravy.

I still don't have my cord, so hopefully I'll get pictures up soon.

The kids watched The Happy Elf but I was taking care of something else and was unable to join them tonight. You can stream it on Netflix if you're interested.

A few other thoughts about Thanksgiving leftovers: I love them!

Tomorrow morning we are having homemade orange rolls that I made with the Sweet Potato Roll recipe. I'm really looking forward to them. Just roll out the dough, spread with melted butter, sprinkle with the zest of an orange mixed with 3 or 4 Tablespoons of sugar (I lost track). Roll it up and cut into rolls. Let rise for an hour or until doubled and bake until done (don't I make baking sound easy? It's just because I don't know how). For glaze mix powdered sugar with the juice from that zested orange and pour over the rolls.

Sunday night I'm making Turkey soup. I have boiled and stripped the carcass and put that soup base in the fridge so the fat will separate and I can skim it off. I'll be tossing in an onion, some celery, carrots and of course, sweet potato and serving it up with some grilled cheese sandwiches. Does anyone want to come to dinner with us?

If you need some more ideas, I came across this website for leftover turkey recipes. I have not tried these recipes nor do I endorse the website, but it looked useful and thought I'd share it. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!! Happy Holidays!

I can't believe I let the whole go by without writing about my pizza! Our first Pizza and Movie knight in our new home. I had my rolling pin and my good pizza cutter and I was loving it!! We had Chicken Parmesan. Does it sound good? It was!

Do you remember the Caramel Chicken I posted about a few weeks ago? Now, do you remember that Chef John from whom I got the recipe? Well, a friend of mine posted a Chicken Parmesan recipe from him that looked so good I just had to give it a try. Admittedly, the first try didn't go over so well. If you watched his video you are now asking yourself, "How could she mess that up? It looks pretty easy and straight forward." Well, it is, but I forgot to buy croutons so I used stuffing, I didn't use enough sauce, and I didn't use near enough cheese. I know, it's terrible that I scrimped on the cheese, but I'm really trying hard to cut back on the fat in our diet. So, I made it again, and the second time it was WONDERFUL!! So try it. But don't scrimp on the cheese!

The pizza was just as easy and straight forward. Crust, (I don't remember which one I used probably Jay's Signature Pizza Crust from allrecipes) sauce (I used a jar had canned myself), chopped Parmesan Chicken, lots of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

As for the movie, sadly I don't even remember what we watched!! It was from redbox and we forgot to take it back so we were charged for two days and I don't even remember what it was! Oh, hooray for Hubby, he just walked in and told me it was Hoodwinked Too. Obviously it made a big impression. I do, however, remember two things that Granny said (now that I remember the movie) that I really liked. Both are rather cliche, but every line in that movie was. She said, "A person can never really fail unless they give up." and "Once a Sister, always a Sister."

Hopefully I'll find my cord soon and can upload the photo. Have a great week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

What to do when I can't make a pizza?

Tomorrow is moving day and and we've got the house all packed up and ready for the morning. Of course, this means I'm not making dinner, let alone pizza. So what do we do. Cici's.

When I was in Utah, I'd see these Cici's commercials and drool. They always make it look so good. But, they don't have a Cici's in Utah, so I was left to drool at the TV. During our move across the country, we found one on our way and stopped there for a meal. Sadly, it didn't sit very well and we all had tummy aches that night. (Of course, who wouldn't have a tummy ache after gorging on pizza then sitting in a car for another 4 hours?) Now we are settled in our new city and there is a Cici's just up the road. Sadly, I have eaten more Cici's pizza than I care to recall.

Their pizza is marginal, their prices have been better, their salad leaves much to be desired. So why then, do I keep going back? Well, my 2 youngest eat free and often I have a coupon so the oldest eats free, too. That's real nice; especially when daddy is working late and I don't want to cook. I can feed the rest of us for about $6 and they can eat as much as they feel like of whatever is there. That's nice. They have a BBQ pizza that I think they must spike with something because I am so addicted. But if I had to point to one thing that keeps me coming back for more, I'd have to say, it's the cinnamon rolls. I crave them, and no, I'm not pregnant! But that the problem. they really AREN'T that good, so I can't figure out why I think they are. They are dripping butter and don't have quit enough cinnamon sugar. But they are so soft and gooey and melt in my mouth....mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Oh sorry, a little Homer moment there. Anyway, no gourmet pizza tonight (unless you count the Philly Cheese Stake, Kansas BBQ, and Taste of Italy pizzas that I gorged myself on). In fact, we didn't even get a move (unless you count cartoon network that the children stared at over my shoulder while I ate way too much). But, we're fed, kids are in bed, and I've got a little more packing to finish up. So, have a good night and I can't wait to tell you about the first pizza I make in my new house next week.

Friday, November 4, 2011

green pizza to go with a green ogre

Have you ever called someone and left a message for someone else then that first person calls you back two weeks later and you end up inviting her and her daughter over for pizza and movie night? That is what happened to me as I was chopping chicken for my Pesto Pizza tonight. And I'm glad to say I made a new friend, and so did my son. Of course, it's easy to make friends when sharing gourmet pizza on homemade crust (my first attempt) and watching Shrek. I mean, really, Shrek brings everyone together. :D

Pesto Pizza. Easy enough. We had Pesto Pasta last night with a store bought pesto and those oil packed sun dried tomatoes. I made sure to save enough sauce and sun dried tomatoes, and I cooked up a little extra chicken. I made my own crust from scratch, sautéed some onions using the oil from the sun dried tomatoes and topped it with mozzarella. The only thing I would change is the Parmesan cheese. How can I not have Parmesan cheese in my house? My new friend brought a salad and we finished with a slice of home made pumpkin pie - from fresh pumpkin that I bought at the last farmers market of the year! It couldn't have been a better meal.

The pizza is pretty self explanatory (pesto sauce, tomatoes, onions, chicken, cheese) so I'll post the crust I tried. (Sorry, Mir, I couldn't find the one you linked - would you please link it again?)

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes (I used the quick rising yeast, so I didn't do this, I just mixed everything together).
Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

We liked this crust, though, frankly it was a little too much crust for me. I have to have a thin crust, but this was REALLY thick. You could cut it back (and if you follow the link to they'll do it for you) but this was the right measurements for one packet of yeast, so *shrug*

We enjoyed our green pizza while watching Shrek's FinalChapter, amid the children running in and out, playing with the Hulk gloves (yes the ones that make noise) with their new friend. The kids pick the movie ever week, but they almost never watch it to the end, and with new friends around, who can focus on a movie?

Anyway, Shrek makes the comment that his life was so perfect. Donkey comes back with, "Then why did you wish it away?" The simple answer that I hope I can learn from him and not have to learn it myself: "I didn't know it until I lost it."

This should probably go on my rambling blog but here's my pizza night ramble: I've got the baby climbing on me and trying to eat MY pizza, even though she has a plate of her own right next to me; children are running in and out, punching each other with stuffed gloves, laughing, crying, and even fighting over the toys when they are supposed to be sitting down watching a move; pizza that I have picked up off the floor at least 4 times is on the floor again and the baby still won't eat it; and on and on. Part of me feels a lot like Shrek did at the beginning of the movie. Same thing day after day week after week, no break, no nice "mud bath" for me. And sometimes, I just feel so exhausted. But as Shrek found out, This. Is. The. Perfect. Life. I am so blessed to have a great husband, great children, a great new friend, and soon, a great new house. Life is good. Sometimes you just need a reminder to show you just how good it is. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month (what? not Christmas? - Hush you! Thanksgiving is first!) I remind myself how blessed I truly am. I am thankful that my children are healthy and able to run through the house yelling and punching and laughing and crying. I am thankful for daily opportunities to meet new people and make new friends. I am Thankful for a sink full of dishes and a stove covered in pots and pans because it means we've eaten several times today (good food, too, if I do say so myself). I am thankful for the piles of dirty laundry in every corner of my house because we have clothes to wear and keep us warm. I am thankful for the roof over my head and the soft warm bed I have to sleep in. I am thankful for my family and friends, far and near. And most of all, I am thankful for the Gospel of JesusChrist and hope and direction that it gives me.

Ok, I'll stop rambling. Enjoy your Pizza!!