Thursday, March 24, 2011

homemade hot pockets

icky picky rating: ***

Again, I got this idea from ourbestbites.com. You can find it HERE.

Instead of using their recipe for dough, I used our since I already know we like it. You can find my dough recipe HERE or you can try the one on Our Best Bites HERE.

So you take the dough and roll it out into a big square and use a pizza cutter to cut it into - they suggest about 16"x8" and cut it into 8 equal portions. Only I think I cut mine too small so we had something more like homemade pizza pockets!

{picture from ourbestbites.com}

I made half with sauce, cheese, and pepperoni and the other half with ham & cheddar cheese. You can really use anything you like. And don't put your fillings too close to the edges or else it will be too hard to roll it up. Then I folded in the two longer sides and rolled it all up, stretching the dough as I went, just like the picture below.

{picture from ourbestbites.com}

I sprayed a pan with Pam and then put the pockets on and baked at 425° for about 12 minutes and then brushed them with butter after they came out. 2 of my pizza ones did explode, but they were still edible.

I wasn't really making these for me, for some reason it grosses me out. I wanted to make them for my hubby and daughter to bring in their lunches for work/school. SO, I had the hubby try both of them - he liked both, but preferred the ham & cheese.

You can freeze these and then microwave them later, just like you would a real hot pocket, or you can pop them in the fridge and eat them cold. My hubby grabbed a ham & cheese one for breakfast this morning.

The nice thing is that you can put whatever fillings you want inside! I think I saw on Our Best Bites that she does a breakfast one with scrambled egg - that's what I want to try next for my hubby - scrambled egg, cheese, and salsa.

**EDITED - I am already upgrading this recipe from a 2* to a 3*! The kids came home from school and had a couple of these hot pockets for a snack! My daughter {6 years old} LOVES the pizza one and surprisingly my picky little boy {4 years old} is chowing down on the ham & cheese one! They've already asked me to make some more for their lunches tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

homemade pizza

icky picky rating: ***

This is one of my family's all time FAVORITE recipes. LOVE. IT. We've been using it since I was a kid.

PIZZA DOUGH

3/4 C water
1 + 1/3 TBS olive oil
1+1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 C flour
1+1/2 tsp. rapid/quick-rise yeast.

There a couple different ways to make it. My new favorite way is to use the dough hook on my mixer. Add the ingredients and turn the mixer on the lowest setting for like 5 minutes.

You could also use the dough setting on your bread machine.

You could also just knead it by hand for a good 5-10 minutes.

Once it's all mixed together and looking like a proper dough, you want to get a bowl, coat it with olive oil, place the dough in and turn it all around so your dough ball gets coated with the oil. Cover and let rise for at least 20 minutes.

I usually use the dough to make 3 personal size pizzas.


TOPPINGS
When you're dough is all rolled out into your desired pizza sizes, you'll need to add your toppings. My FAVORITE pizza sauce is Contadina Pizza Sauce. I prefer to buy it in a squeeze bottle but we just moved to Arizona and I haven't been able to find it in that form yet. It's also getting pretty tough to find! In Cincinnati, OH, I could only find it at Meijers. Once we moved to Arizona, we searched just about EVERY grocery store around and we've only been able to find it at Basha's.

So, yes. Contadina Pizza Sauce = yummy.

I also have a cheese preference. Yes. I am that picky. But the cheese has to melt the correct way or else it's just sickly. So I prefer either Precious Part-Skim Mozarella OR the Kirkland brand shredded mozarella cheese. I've had no problem with either and I can't tell the difference between them once the pizza has been made.

Other than that, pick the toppings of your choice! I prefer very little sauce and extra cheese. My hubby prefers a lot of sauce, a very light layer of cheese, pepperoni, diced green pepper, and then another light layer of cheese. Whatever floats yer boat.

You're going to preheat your oven to 425° and then bake for about 10 minutes-ish. Until it looks like a yummy pizza. And then enjoy :)

natchitoches meat pies

icky picky rating: *

I have been eager to try out a new recipe and settled on this one from Our Best Bites. It didn't have too much weird stuff in it and it looked relatively easy to make.


{picture from ourbestbites.com}

So first you need to make a pie crust. I have NEVER made a pie crust and was worried about this step. But I followed the recipe from Our Best Bites and it came our FABULOUS. And if I didn't mess it up, I'm sure you won't mess it up either. They also had a nice link about cutting in shortening, and I'm glad I read that because I had no clue.

9-Inch Single Pie Crust

1 1/4c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c.+ 1 Tbsp. shortening (I prefer butter flavored but either works)
Ice water (probably about 1/4 c.)

Making the Dough
Combine flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add shortening in small cubes.

Cut in shortening (room temperature) until you get pieces that are about pea-sized.

Now, this is where it gets a little tricky, but don’t be scared. Start sprinkling the ice water by about a tablespoon at a time over the flour/shortening mixture.

Very, very gently, turn the dough with your fingers so it gets exposed to the water. You’re NOT mixing, just trying to moisten all of the flour/shortening mixture. Gradually, all of the flour mixture will be moistened. Gently pat the dough into a ball (it should come together easily but not be sticky).

Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

Rolling the Dough
When you’re ready to roll out your pie crust, lightly flour your work surface and place the dough ball on the surface. One of the keys in making pie crust is to handle the dough as little as possible. Don’t freak out TOO much; like I said, this recipe for crust is pretty forgiving, but at the same time, the less you touch it, the more tender and flaky it will be. Starting in the center, roll the dough out into a circle shape, about 1/8″ thick. When you’ve reached your desired thickness, place the rolling pin in the middle and gently fold the crust over the rolling pin. Lift the dough onto your pie plate and unfold it (gently; notice a theme here?).

I made the crust and didn't roll it out until after I had finished making the meat stuff.

Recipe by Our Best Bites, adapted from Chef John Folse

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2+ tsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (it’s the cheapest, best, and widely available)
Tabasco sauce to taste (start with about 1/4 tsp.)
1 can beef broth
Pie Crust, tripled
1 egg
1/4 c. cold water

In a large skillet, brown ground beef and ground pork, breaking the meat into small pieces. When it’s about halfway cooked, drain excess fat (if necessary) and then add green and red peppers, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent. Add 2 tsp. Tony’s and 1/4 tsp. Tabasco. Add beef broth and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with additional Tony’s and Tabasco if necessary, keeping in mind that the seasonings will mellow in the pie. You can refrigerate this mixture for 3-4 days before baking the pies.

Prepare pie crust and roll the entire ball onto a floured surface. For large (meal-sized) pies, I use a bowl that’s about 6″ across the top; I just invert the bowl onto the dough and trace a knife around it to cut the dough.

Place about 1/4 c. of the meat mixture onto one half of the dough circle, keeping about a 1/2″-1″ margin from the edges.

Fold the other side over and gently pinch the edges shut.

For the decorative edge, you could crimp the edge with a fork or use your fingers to flute the edges. You could also use a calzone or empanada mold (used in these pictures).

Preheat oven to 400 and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place prepared pies onto your baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and cold water and brush over the pies.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool a few minutes and then eat as soon as humanly possible. So good. There are…no words.

Makes about 12 6″ pies or lots and lots of small (biscuit cutter) pies.


The only thing that went wrong was that I could NOT for the life of me make a pretty edge for my little pie crusts. I was lucky if I could even get them to stick closed. The ones on the Best Bites site look so pretty! Oh well.

SO... the verdict. The Meat Pies were a big fat FAIL. So disappointing.

I always have my husband taste something first and then tell me if I will like it or not... well he gave me the go ahead that no gagging should be involved. The first bite was tough knowing that there was ground pork mixed in there. SICKNAST. But I was brave and took a bite. It wasn't disgusting but wasn't great either. The pie crust was FABULOUS. I was so proud of that. But the meat mixture was pretty *meh*. The hubby and kiddos didn't care much for it either.

It could be very well due to the fact that I didn't season the meat enough. I can never tell if things are seasoned correctly. I'll think it's not and then add MORE and then it will still taste wrong and add MORE, but then my husband will tell me that it's WAY too over-seasoned and that was the problem in the first place!

So, go ahead and try the recipe! Let me know what you think.



Sunday, March 20, 2011

WHY

Many of you are probably wondering WHY on earth a picky eater would have a food blog! Well, picky eaters like to eat, too! And sometimes it's hard finding a new recipe that you want to try. My whole family isn't picky, though, and I'm on the hunt to add some more recipes to our repertoire - recipes that satisfy both the picky and non picky, the young and the old :)

Not only am I a picky eater, but I am a HORRIBLE cook. I seriously burn something just about every time I cook. When I'm lucky it's just a side dish that we can do without, but more often then not we've ended up picking up a pizza because of my failure in the kitchen!

So here you go... here are some tried and true recipes that I LOVE and some new recipes - both good and bad. And most of them meet my "4 ingredients or less" rule... well, maybe not exactly, but usually a long list of ingredients scares me away!

Join me as I try to brave the culinary world!