Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sheet Pan Pizza

Last year, one my Christmas gift requests was a subscription to Cook’s Country magazine.  My mom purchased it for me and the magazine is always full of helpful hints and tasty recipes. I love Cook’s Country. I love the show, watch it every time it’s on, and I watch reruns! They never get old. I plan to try a lot of their recipes on this blog.

I came across this pizza recipe in one of their issues and have wanted to try it for a while. Pizza is one of my favorite Friday night meals to fix and I love trying different pizza recipes. This recipe is a simple sheet pan recipe that doesn’t require a pizza stone. The pan requires a lot of olive oil so that it “fries” the crust and gives it a crisp, browned exterior. Combine that with a simple homemade sauce, rich mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, fresh basil and the toppings of your choice and you have one satisfying piece of pizza.

Sheet Pan Pizza
Cook's Country-Issue: April/May 2013


1 3/4 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1/2 cup plus one tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce and Toppings:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup) of parmesan cheese, grated
12 ounces (3 cups) mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Toppings of your Choice (I used Italian Sausage) or leave it plain!

1. Dough: Combine water, 1/4 cup oil and sugar in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Using stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flour, yeast, and salt on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium low, add water mixture, and knead dough for 3 minutes or until uniform in texture. Transfer dough to bowl greased with one tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature* until doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours.
2. Brush 1/4 cup of olive oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough in a 16x12 inch rectangle. Transfer dough to cookie sheet and press dough into corners. Brush dough with one tablespoon olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise for approximately 20 minutes.
3. Sauce and Toppings: While dough rises, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic, oregano and pepper flakes for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste and cook until light brown, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer until reduced to three cups, about ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Uncover the dough and make small indententions all over, using your fingers. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese and bake for 7-10 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Remove crust from oven. Spoon sauce over crust leaving a 1-inch border. Bake until sauce is deep red and steaming, 7-10 minutes.
5. Remove pizza from oven, Sprinkle with Mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheese and top with desired toppings. Bake until cheese is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Top with freshly chopped basil and serve.

*Speed up the rise time by preheating your oven to 150 degrees. Once it reaches temperature, turn off the oven and open the oven door to let some heat escape. Once the oven has a cooled a bit, place your bowl of dough onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven. This creates a warm environment to accelerate the yeast. Be careful the oven is not too warm, hot temperatures can kill the yeast.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ranch Dip

We had a family get-to-together over the weekend. Our town has a huge fall festival and my husbands family always has a big family reunion. One of my contributions was a veggie tray and dip. I wanted to use fresh herbs from my garden for the dip so I scoured the internet for a good recipe. I came across Pioneer Woman's ranch dressing recipe. It was exactly what I was looking for. Of course, hers is for a dressing but I left the milk out and it made the perfect dip. It's a very versatile dip, as you can add the herbs you would like. I kept it simple with parsley, chives and a pinch of dill.  It was bright, fresh and the perfect compliment for the tray.

Ranch Dip
From Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 cup real mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup flat leaf Italian Parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, smashed and finely chopped
Dill to taste*

Smash and chop the garlic until a fine paste. Finely chop the parsley and chives. In a small bowl, mix garlic, herbs, mayonnaise and sour cream together. Add salt, pepper, and dill to taste.

*I didn't have fresh dill so I used dry. I added two pinches of it and it was perfect. You will have to adjust accordingly for fresh dill.
Note: To make ranch dressing, mix all ingredients together and stir in milk or buttermilk until desired consistency.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cappuccino Cake

Here is a quick post for an easy recipe. One evening, I came across this delicious recipe while watching "Lidia's Italy in America." This cappuccino cake, or "pie", is the perfect ending to any meal. It's very easy to prepare and can be done a day ahead. If you like coffee and chocolate, this is a dessert for you!

Cappuccino Cake
from Lidia's Italy in America


12 chocolate graham-cracker sheets, crushed (2 1/3 cups)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
Pinch kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


1 quart coffee ice cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup of sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, grind together the graham crackers, sugar, espresso, and salt until fine. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a 8-inch pie plate. Bake the crust until set, about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely before filling.

Remove ice cream from the freezer to soften a bit. Using a stand or hand mixer, whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Gently whisk in the sour cream until combined.

Spread the ice cream in an even layer in the cooled pie shell. Spread the whip cream evenly over the ice cream, add chocolate shavings if desired. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until cream is frozen, at least 4 hours or overnight. To Serve, remove pie from freezer and allow to set at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Cut with a knife dipped in hot water and serve immediately.

*Note: The original recipe called for twice the whipped cream. I thought it sounded like too much so I halved it and I thought it was the perfect amount. Use your judgement though, if you like a lot of cream, double the amount of heavy cream, sugar and sour cream.