Monday, August 29, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

{Meatless Monday}

Hello, hello!!   I have got a SUPER yummy one for you today!  This one is off the Pioneer Woman's site.  I love it when she posts vegetarian ideas because I always know they will be amazingly delicious like everything else she cooks.

She actually grills the vegetables and therefore calls her recipe Grilled Vegetable Pizza.  But I don't have a I just ROAST! ; )  I also made a few other minor changes to the recipe.

I have fallen in love with roasted vegetables!  They are so flavorful...the roasting just really brings out the best flavor in the vegetable.  I have even tried Brussels sprouts...and they were SO good.  A LONG time ago, I posted the Roasted Vegetable Lasagna...if you haven't made that should!  Yum!

This is a simple pizza that I decided to make for my book club and it was so easy and such a great thing to make on a summer day.  I LOVE that it uses Pesto for the sauce.  We all love pesto and we always have our little frozen "pucks" ready in the deep freeze.  Here's the post about freezing our pesto. (Scroll down to the bottom for the pesto instructions.)

This was the first time I made her Pizza Crust recipe...and I really liked it.  It was easy and I liked the way it turned out.  I always use Whole Wheat flour that I grind at home and it wasn't too dry at all.

 Pizza Crust 
1/2 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast 
3/4 cups Warm Water 
2 cups All-purpose Flour 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 

3/4 cups Fresh Basil Leaves 
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese 
2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts 
2 cloves Garlic, Peeled 
Salt And Pepper, to taste 
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

2 whole Zucchini, cut diagonally
2 whole Summer Squash, cut diagonally
Olive Oil 
1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper 
1 whole Red Bell Pepper 
12 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced (I just used regular mozzarella cheese)
4 ounces, weight Goat Cheese 
Extra Basil Leaves, For Garnish 
Grated Or Shaved Parmesan Cheese

 Sprinkle yeast over 3/4 cups warm water. Let stand for a few minutes.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until the dough comes together in a sticky mass.  You don't want to add too much flour!  Just enough to be able to handle it a little.
Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Place ball in bowl and cover and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours.  ( I think I only had about 20 minutes and it turned out fine.)

 Add basil leaves, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to a food processor. Turn machine on, then drizzle in olive oil while it mixes. Continue blending until combined, adding additional olive oil if needed. Set aside.

 Brush zucchini and summer squash slices with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat until vegetables are tender and have nice grill marks. Set aside. (Or broil for 10 minutes, then turn and broil until done.)
Place whole peppers on grill (or under broiler) and allow to blacken. Remove from grill and immediately place in a large ziploc bag. Allow to sit for 20 minutes or so, then remove peppers from bag and peel off blackened skin. Deseed peppers, then slice into strips. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Arrange a rack toward the bottom of the oven.
To assemble the pizza: Roll out pizza dough on a floured surface; get it as thin as you can. spread a generous layer of pesto all over the surface of the crust. (You might have a little left over; if you do, store in the fridge.)
Lay slices of mozzarella all over the pesto. Arrange grilled zucchini, squash, and peppers in a pretty pattern on top of the mozzarella.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly (watch to make sure cheese doesn't get too brown.)
Remove from oven and crumble goat cheese all over the top of the pizza. Lay basil leaves on top, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve immediately.
This was most definitely a keeper!  I love that it uses zucchini and summer squash because we have been getting A LOT of those to use out of the garden!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Banana Crumb Muffins

This is a recipe that I found online this summer while visiting a friend in St. George.  She was gone to a dentist appointment and I wanted to use some bananas that I had brought with me.  I searched online and found this and it is a new favorite. 

Here's what you need:

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
4 mashed bananas
1 cup white sugar (I use about 2/3 cup)
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted (I use about 1/4 cup black bean puree, then top it off with the butter)

Crumb topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 T flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 T butter

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease muffin pan.

Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Add all at once: mashed bananas, sugar, eggs, and melted butter/puree.  Mix just until moistened.  Spoon into 12 muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 T flour, and cinnamon. Cut in 1 T butter until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle over muffin batter and bake at 375 for 16-18 min.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

This is a new muffin recipe that I got off of New Nostalgia and it has replaced our old 50/50 muffins my mom always made when I was growing up! (Sorry, mom! ; )

I have changed the recipe so that it make 18 muffins.  With my size family, 12 is just never enough! ;)

Here's what you need:
1 1/2 c. oats
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
Soak these together about 30-60 minutes before you make these ( I rarely remember that far in advance and they always turn out! Mine probably soak for about 10 minutes most days. ; )

1/2 c. shortening/oil--I use FULL substitution with black bean puree
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Cream together shortening (puree) with sugar and eggs.  Add in dry ingredients and stir.  Add buttermilk mixture.  Stir until moist.  Can add blueberries, if desired. 

Bake at 400 for 9-11 minutes.

These are so delicious right out of the oven with my favorite strawberry freezer jam.  My kids (who you might see as totally brainwashed ; ) think these are a total treat.  I make them a lot for their after school snack.

I do firmly believe that you can change your family's "sugar-meter"...if they aren't pouring Pixie sticks down their throats all the time, then something like this muffin can actually taste sweet to them. 
Just so you kids do enjoy a Pixie stick every once in a while! ;)  Just not very often.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Black Bean Puree

{The best oil substitute around}   Trust me!!

Over the years, I have tried many different techniques for cutting fat out of my baking.  For years, I used a lot of applesauce...which I believe works fairly well, but sometimes I wasn't happy with the change in texture that resulted.

Then, a couple of years ago I came across an online post about making brownies with black bean puree.  I tried it and really liked it and then I just started experimenting with most of my recipes.

If you are using canned beans, you have two choices.  You can totally just take the whole can and dump it in a blender.  It works great.  Or you can drain off the thick liquid on the top and fill it with tap water...and throw it all in the blender.

Either works great.  It makes it just about the same consistency as oil.  I store whatever I have left in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.  After it sits in the fridge, it thickens up into a paste-like consistency.  I simply stir in a little water just before I want to use it to make it a little runnier again.

You can use your own soaked beans just have to play around with the amount of water to get the right consistency.  I have had to learn how much water to put with my own canned beans...but it's all good in the end!

I use it in tons of recipes: brownies, cupcakes, muffins, cakes.  Each of them needs a little different substitution.  Some of them can take a full substitution and some of them can only take about 1/2 substitution.  I have just learned by trial and error which ones work well and I will be posting all my recipes that work great with this puree.  As I post each one, I will put a link on this post so they are all in one place.

I love using this puree.  I just LOVE cutting out so much fat in my recipes.  AND adding protein--but NOT adding sugar (like applesauce)!  Most of the recipes that I use it in actually turn out better than ever.  They are so moist and delicious.  Try it...and see how you like it!

Recipe Ideas:

Banana Crumb Muffins
Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Veggies

{Meatless Monday}

This is another great one from Better Homes and Gardens!  This was actually the winner for the Weeknight Vegetarian category in their January 2011 issue.  I have just recently learned how to buy good asparagus and how to cook it correctly, so I am loving this recipe!  I hated asparagus as a child...but I think my mother boiled it.  I love it now....sauteed with a little olive oil and garlic!  Mmmm. 

Here's what you need for this one:
I doubled this recipe and used 8 oz of regular linguine and 8 oz. of whole wheat.

8 oz. dried fettuccine or linguine (I totally prefer the linguine)
1/2 c. dried tomatoes, not oil packed, chopped
4 T butter
1 T olive oil
4 oz. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
4 oz. fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
8 fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 T flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
2 tsp shredded lemon peel

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding dried tomatoes the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain and return to saucepan; keep warm.  I used half regular and half whole wheat and really liked it!

 Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  I chose to roast my Brussels sprouts with a little olive oil and salt and pepper before tossing them in the skillet.  I just put them under the broiler in my oven for about 15-20 min.

Mmm...see those little browned edges on the sprouts...those are my favorite parts!

Remove vegetables from skillet; set aside.

In the same skillet melt remaining butter over medium heat. Stir in flour. Cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Gently stir in pasta and vegetables. Stir in additional milk to reach desired consistency. Sprinkle with lemon peel and additional shredded Parmesan cheese.

 This was so yummy with all the different vegetables.  I am starting to be obsessed with asparagus....  It is so yummy when cooked well!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Gratin

{Meatless Monday}

Sorry for the multiple breaks I have taken from posting my weekly recipes.  I have had a wonderfully full summer.  We have enjoyed wonderful vacations.  I just spent the last hour clearing all photos off of my camera and sorting/deleting them.  Here's a few of my favorite from this summer:

            This is all but 5 of my parents' grandchildren at our Family Reunion in California.

 I LOVE LOVE LOVE this little beach area.  This is where I grew up camping every summer and I am SO glad that my kids are going to have memories at this exact same place.  It is so beautiful and peaceful!

 My two youngest got to enjoy their first day ever at Disneyland and it happened to be my birthday!  It was probably the best birthday I have ever had as a Mom!  I love Disneyland and what better gift to a Mom than to have all 5 kids happy and content the whole day?!?

 This is those same little ones at the end of the day konked out in bed.  So cute how they were cuddling.  I wish that happened more often when they were awake! ;)

Here's all of my kids waiting to go on Buzz Lightyear.  Have any of you been on this ride?  Are you good at it?  Well.....I STINK!!! And I mean REALLY STINK.  Even my little four year old got over 16000 points and I got about 1400.  I am not kidding.  I don't know what it is about me, but I did just as poorly the last time we came here!

And this is my four girls (after Dad had already taken the tired boy back to the resort) waiting in line for Big Thunder Railroad.  My 7 year old just wasn't too sure about if she really wanted to ride it.  I think it scared her pretty badly, but it ended up being the thing that she is the most proud of.  She has been telling everyone about how she rode it!

And here's two more of us at the beach in Oceanside, CA.  It was so beautiful and so relaxing!

Now...on to our recipe....

I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen site.  I have only tried a few recipes off of there...but each one has been well-loved!  I don't normally love Brussels sprouts, but a friend had given me hers out of her Bountiful Basket, so I went searching for a good recipe.

Here's what you need:

¾ heads of cauliflower, cut into small florets
¾ pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed, quartered lengthwise
1 teaspoon salt 
4 tablespoons butter, divided 
3 tablespoons flour 
2 cups hot milk 
½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 
1 pinch ground nutmeg 
¾ cups grated Gruyere, divided     --I just used Medium Cheddar--SO not the same, but it's cheap!
½ cups grated Parmesan 
¼ cups bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain. Throw the cooked cauliflower into the bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking any further. Bring the pot back up to a boil and put in the quartered Brussels sprouts and cook for 3-4 minutes. While the sprouts are cooking, the cauliflower should be completely cooled. Drain them and set aside.

After the Brussels sprouts are done, throw them in the bowl of ice water and ice.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.

Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.
Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 x 11 x 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower and brussels sprouts on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned.

 I really LOVED the top...who doesn't love crispy browned parmesan cheese with bread crumbs and a creamy sauce.  Oh, and yeah, I guess the vegetables were good too! ;)
So the next time you get some Brussels sprouts...give them a try.  I have never had them taste so good!