Pepperoni Pizza

A few weeks ago, as I was standing in the check-out line at the grocery store, my eyes saw this delicious looking pizza on the cover of a magazine. I couldn't help myself, I picked up the magazine and turned to the recipe. I decided I'd better buy the magazine. It turned out to be worth the $2.79 I spent. :)

I also want to introduce you to a wonderful product that I always use for my pizza sauce. My sister, Shannon introduced me to Shirley J products last year. I only have 2 products, but the ones that I have I love.
This is the easiest marinara sauce that you will ever make. You just add 1 Tbsp. to one 8 oz. can of Tomato Sauce, mix and you've got marinara sauce. Super easy, right?
Interested in some Shriley J products take a look at their website: Shirley J

Alright, now onto the pizza. The recipe asked for Mozzarella cheese, but I used a mixture of Muenster and Mozzarella cheese. My sister, Shannon once told me that some well known pizza places use Muenster cheese on their pizzas, so that is what I use now.

Photo Courtesy of Familycircle.com
The pizza turned out great, it passed my husband and son's taste test. :) I really liked the texture of the crust. It had a nice crispy crust (not crispy like over-done crispy...good crispy).
Next time I make this I might season the crust a little and then when it comes out of the oven I will butter the crust with a nice garlic-parmesan butter.
So there you go, a new pizza recipe for you to try. Surprise your family tonight with some warm yummy pepperoni pizza. And if you do try this let me know what you think or if you have a better pizza recipe. :)

Sicilian-style Pepperoni Pizza
from October 2010 Family Circle Magazine

Basic Pizza Dough
Makes: 8 servings

1 C. Warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 Pkg (.25 oz) dry active yeast
2 3/4 C. All-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Place water in small bowl and stir in yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 Cups of the flour, sugar, and salt. Make well in the center and add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir until dough comes together and forms a ball. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding as much of the remaining 1/4 c. flour as needed (I used my kitchen-aid to mix and knead). Form into a disk and place in a bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Turn disk over and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Remove dough form bowl and punch down. Roll out into desired diameter.

Marinara Sauce
Makes: 2 Cups

2 Tbsp. Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes, crushed by hand (I'm sure you could just use a can of crushed tomatoes)
1 tsp. Sugar
1/2 tsp. dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. dried Basil
1/2 tsp. Salt

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring so the garlic doesn't burn. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, oregano, basil, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cook with a lid ajar, for 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

Sicilian-style Pepperoni Pizza
Makes: 12 slices

2 pounds pizza dough, at room temperature, or use Basic Pizza Dough recipe given above
1 C. Marinara Sauce
1/2 tsp. dried Oregano
2 C. shredded Mozzarella Cheese (I didn't measure, I just used as much cheese as I wanted :). And I did Muenster and Mozzarella.)
2 oz. sliced pepperoni (about 1/3 C.)

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Coat a 15 X 10 X 1 in. baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough onto a 15 X 10 X 1 in rectangle. Gently roll up onto a lightly floured rolling pin and unroll onto prepared pan. Push dough into corners.
Spread sauce evenly over dough to within 1/2 of edge. Sprinkle oregano over sauce. Scatter cheese over top. Place pepperoni slices over the cheese. Bake at 500 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned on bottom. Remove from oven. (We also added cheese on top of the pepperoni.)
Cool slightly and cut into 12 slices; serve and Enjoy!!


Lasagna Roll-Ups

While we lived in Hawaii I found this recipe and made it. We really liked it, but I haven't made it ever since. I do that quite a bit, find a recipe that is great and never make it again. :)
While planning our meals for the week I decided it was time to make them again.

I'm really glad that I finally got around to making this again because it was really good. Maybe it was so good because I was really hungry tonight, but all I know is it really hit the spot. :)

Just some notes:
We like to make our lasagna with cottage cheese, so that is what we use (the original recipe did say cottage cheese), but you can replace it with Ricotta if that's what you prefer.
If you want a quicker dinner...use jarred spaghetti sauce instead of making your own. But seriously this sauce wasn't hard to make at all. The thing that took the longest was the noodles.
Speaking of cooking the noodles...another shortcut, if you can find the raw lasagna noodles you could use those, then you don't have to cook the noodles before hand. I looked for those, but our grocery store didn't have them. Sad, huh? (They'll be in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.)

So there you go a new take on Lasagna. Put it on your menu for next week and Enjoy!!

Lasagna Roll-ups
from allrecipes.com with a few of my additions & changes

1/2 lb. Ground Beef
1/4 C. Chopped Onion
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 (16 oz.) can Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. dried Parsley or 1/2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 Bay leaf
1/4 tsp. Sugar (this helps neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes and will bring out the flavor)
Dash of Cayenne pepper
1 1/4 C. Small-curd cottage cheese, drained
1/4 C. grated Parmesan Cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. onion powder
Dash of salt
6 Lasagna noodles (make sure they aren't cracked or broken)
1/2 C. shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your lasagna noodles.
While your noodles are cooking, in a skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic until the meat is no longer pink (I seasoned my meat with a little salt, pepper, and Ms. Dash); drain. Add the tomatoes, salt, oregano, parsley, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, sugar, and cayenne (I also added a little pepper to the sauce). Let simmer for 10-15 minutes (I let my sauce simmer while the noodles cooked.)
Spoon some of your sauce into the bottom of a greased 9-in. baking dish.
Combine the cottage cheese, Parmesan (I also added a little mozzarella as well), egg, parsley, onion powder and a dash of salt. Spread 1/4 C onto each noodle and carefully roll it up (the reason I underlined 'spread' is because I just noticed it said that, I didn't spread my mixture onto the noodle. I just spooned some onto the noodle and rolled it up. oops)  Place the roll-up seam side down into your baking dish. Top your roll-ups with the remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

**I think I would spread a little bit of the cottage cheese mixture onto the whole noodle and add a glob at the end and roll it up. Even though I didn't spread mine all over the noodle it was still really good.


Banana Pancakes

Every November we head down to Vegas for a week for a convention that my husband attends. While we're there we get to visit with our good friends, Adam & Lindsay. One year while we were there we all went out to breakfast to The Pancake House.
As I was reading the menu I saw 'Banana Pancakes' and had to try them. I don't know where my obsession with banana pancakes started maybe it was after hearing Jack Johnson's song 'Banana Pancakes'. All  I know is that I really wanted to try some Banana Pancakes. :)
I'm so glad I ordered them, they were delicious! Pancakes with big chunks of banana, mmmm....you can't go wrong with that (well, unless you don't like bananas, like my hubby).
So, ever since I had those bananas I have been craving them. I kept thinking about them, wanting to try making them, but never actually tried.....until a few weeks ago.

Josh was gone camping and I was craving Banana Pancakes, so the next morning the kids and I made these for breakfast. Soooo good. I do have to say, I'm sorry to any of you who don't like bananas, you are really missing out! :) But if you like bananas you have got to try these. Enjoy!!

Banana Pancakes
original recipe found here

2 large Eggs
2 C. Buttermilk
6 tbsp. Butter, melted (unsalted)
1 1/2 C. Flour
1/4 C. Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 C. Diced Bananas (2 large bananas)
1/4 C. finely chopped pecans (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and the salt.
Then add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. There may be a few lumps, but don't worry. Then stir in the bananas and nuts (optional)
Lightly grease a large skillet. Heat until hot and then spoon 3 tbsp of batter per pancake. Cook until the tops look dull and a few bubbles pop. Turn over and cook for another minute.

Tip: These freeze well and make a great 'instant' breakfast. Place pancakes in groups of 3 in idividual freezer bags. Just reheat in your toaster oven or microwave.


Snickerdoodle Blondies

You read that right, Snickerdoodle Blondies!
I get email updates from the fabulous Brown Eyed Baker and this happens to be one of her many tasty recipes. A few months ago I got one of her emails and the subject of this email was 'Snickerdoodle Blondies'. I couldn't pass that up, so I opened that email right away. We were going to a party and had to take a treat, I knew this was what I was going to take (yep, never tried them, but I have faith in the Brown Eyed Baker).

 And of course these babies did not dissapoint! My platter was empty, every single blondie was devoured.

 So, is that enough convincing?? Are you going to make these delicous little Snickerdoodle Blondies?? I sure hope you do, because who wouldn't? Alright....get cookin'.

Snickerdoodle Blondies

from: Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 24 blondies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 25 to 30 minutes

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Beat, scraping the bowl, until thoroughly combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Give the dough a final stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to make sure the flour is incorporated.
4. Spread the dough evenly into the pan (I found an offset spatula was the best tool for the job, as it’s a thick batter). Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

(Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction)


Country Apple Dumplings

I was in a 'Fall' mood the other day and wanted to make a new fall treat. So I searched on Allrecipes and found this Apple Dumpling recipe.
When I read the recipe I wondered if it was really going to be as good as all the reviews said. I made it today for dessert and all I have to say is, YUM!!!
These dumplings are so easy to put together, and they taste delicious....especially with vanilla ice cream

 When I made these I was worried that the butter,cinnamon,sugar, Mt. Dew mixture was going to be too much, but it cooked down and turned into a wonderful sauce. (You'll see what I mean when you make these, I thought these were going to turn into a soggy mess).

And there they are. Oh baby, come to Mama!! hahaha I think I'm going to go have another one as soon as I'm done with this post. :)
Alright, enough talking, now it's time for some cookin'. I hope you try these dumplings....soon.  Enjoy!

Country Apple Dumplings
from: Allrecipes.com

2 Large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
2 (10 oz.) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 Cup Butter
1 1/2 Cups White Sugar
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 (12 oz.) can or bottle Mountain Dew

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 in. baking dish.
Cut each apple into 8 wedges and set aside. Seperate the crescent roll dough into triangles.
Roll each apple wedge in crescent roll dough starting at the smallest end. Pinch to seal and
place in the baking dish.
Melt butter in a small saucepan (or in the microwave using a microwave safe bowl) and then
stir in the cinnamon and sugar. Pour over the apple dumplings. Then pour the Mountain Dew over
the dumplings.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown. (Mine only took 25 minutes, so keep an eye
on them when making these.)

**I also saw a recipe where they added 1 tsp. vanilla to the butter. And instead of adding the cinnamon into the butter, sprinkle it on top of the dumplings after the Mountain Dew.