Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup

Cheeseburger soup? Really? What's that?

My husband and I are addicted to Diners Drive-ins and Dives on Foodnetwork. Late last night we watched an episode where the diner made a cheeseburger soup. Husband says "You have to make that." And my wheels started turning. The recipe they gave was fairly vague and used a few ingredients not readily available. I was at the store this morning, and grabbed the few ingredients I didn't have on hand and started my experiment today during nap time.

Some how, some way - I made a (at least in my opinion) pretty good cheeseburger soup on my first try! It's super thick, very tasty, and simple. I wanted to make it a one-pot meal, with normal, everyday ingredients.

This is a good starter recipe for creative cooks. You could add so many different ingredients or cheeses. I think this is something I will make often, with different ingredients each time.

Cheeseburger Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion diced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/3 cup cooked bacon pieces
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef in large pot. Drain all but 2 tbsp of grease. Add diced onion and cook until onions are soft. Sprinkle a few table spoons of flour on the meat/onion mixture and stir. Add the flour until all grease is absorbed.

Add half and half, stock and can of diced tomatoes – do not strain tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add cheese, bacon and lettuce and stir until cheese is melted. Simmer for another 10 or so minutes.

Possible additions:
mustard, pepper cheese, bleu cheese, mushrooms, bbq sauce, etc

Braised Beef Short Ribs

I wanted to make something special and different for Valentine's day for my husband and I. I went back and forth between short ribs and beef bourgingon and finally decided on the short ribs. I am REAL glad I did. These were so flavorful, fall off the bone tender, and not nearly as difficult as beef bourgingon. It took 45-60 minutes of prep/cooking and then it was in the oven for 3 hours. Not too bad at all. Another Pioneer Woman recipe - I have yet to find one I don't like. I served it on a bed of PW's creamy mashed potatoes - which I'll post separately.

For this recipe, make sure you get a good cut of meat. You want the ribs to have some fat, but not too much. You can use chicken or beef stock, and white or red wine. I used chicken stock and red wine because that's what I had on hand. I also used bacon instead of pancetta, and forgot the shallots. woops! Still delicious!

With dinner we had a bottle of our favorite wine. It's been in our wine fridge for a few years waiting for the right meal/occasion. It's from Napa Valley - Conn Creek Anthology. Amazing!

Pictures are not that great on this one because we ate after dark.

Braised Beef Short Ribs

8 whole Beef Short Ribs
Kosher Salt & Pepper To Taste
¼ cups All-purpose Flour
6 pieces Pancetta, Diced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
3 whole Carrots, Diced
2 whole Shallots, Peeled And Finely Minced
2 cups Red Or White Wine
2 cups Beef Or Chicken Broth (enough To Almost Cover Ribs)
2 sprigs Thyme
2 sprigs Rosemary

Salt and pepper ribs, then dredge in flour. Set aside.

In a large dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until complete crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove pancetta and set aside. Do not discard grease.

Add olive oil to pan with the pancetta grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.

Add onions, carrots, and shallots to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits of glory. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.

Add broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs (whole) to the liquid.

Put on the lid and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 325 and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone. Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. At the last minute, skim fat off the top of the liquid. (Can also refrigerate mixture, then remove solid fat from the top.)

Serve on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes.

Strawberry Margarita Pie

We were invited to a friend's house for game night and a Mexican fiesta. I had this recipe bookmarked for summer, but decided a frozen pie would be just as good in the middle of a snow storm.

The recipe was easy to follow, and didn't take all that long. However... I used just about every piece of kitchen equipment I have. Food processor, mixer, zester, juicer, springform pan, bowls, measuring cups and spoons, etc. The mess was huge. But the dessert was amazing.

Strawberry Margarita Pie

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
6 tbsp. tequila
1/4 cup triple sec
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
Zest of one lime
2 cups heavy cream

Fresh strawberries and lime slices or wedges

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the parchment, as well as the sides of the springform. In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter and toss with a fork until well combined. Transfer the mixture to the springform pan and evenly cover the sides and bottom of the pan with crumbs (use the bottom of a ramekin to even the bottom crust). Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, combine the strawberries, sugar, condensed milk, tequila, triple sec, lime juice and lime zest in the bowl of a food processor. Process until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer to a large bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add one third of the whipped cream to the puree and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Stir in the remaining cream.

Pour the filling into the crust, cover, and freeze until firm at least overnight. To remove the springform sides, wrap a towel soaked in hot water around the outside of the pan for 10-15 seconds. Carefully remove the sides of the pan. Before serving, garnish with fresh strawberries and lime slices as desired. To serve, slice with a hot, dry sharp knife, wiping the blade between slices.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rainbow Cake

This post is going to have more pictures than most, because this cake was so pretty right from the start. I cheated on this one and used box mix and canned icing. It was for my son's 2nd birthday so I figured half would be on the floor anyway, so no use going all out. I saved that for the cake for the adult guests.

The cake was not difficult at all and the results were great. It's perfect for a kid's party.

You start by making a white cake mix. Like I said, I used a box - just followed the directions as printed. Then I used a 1 cup measuring cup and divided the batter into 5 disposable bowls. There was a little bit leftover but I just tossed it because it wasn't quite enough for another color. Using food coloring, dye each bowl to your desired color. I used the regular food coloring and it took 1/3 to 1/2 of each bottle to get them this bright.

Next, I took a 6 inch round cake pan and poured in about half of the blue, half the green, etc. This is where I think I went wrong. There was waaaaaaay too much batter in the pan and they took nearly 50 minutes each to bake. (I only had one pan)

Once the cake was cool, I transferred it to a cooling rack and started the second layer. This time I put red on bottom, then orange, etc.

The next day - after storing in plastic wrap in the fridge - I shaved off the top of the bottom layer, added a layer of icing and placed the second layer on top. I didn't shave that layer off because I liked the rounded top look. And again, as a result of putting too much batter in the pan, they puffed up super tall, and if I would have leveled it off I would have lost a lot of cake.

I am not a cake decorator. So I did the best I could with canned frosting, my mom, and an aerosol can of decorator icing.

I couldn't wait to cut into it to see if it had turned out. did. It was perfect!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

This has become one of our favorite meals. I have changed it a little from the original by using cooked turkey sausage instead of andouille and increasing the amount of meat. Using the smoked sausage cuts out some fat, some cook time, and it's easier to find in most stores.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Adapted from:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion - diced
2 ribs celery - diced
1 green bell pepper - diced
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 cups rice
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 lb Turkey Smoked Sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces

Heat oil in large pot. Add vegetables and garlic until soft. Add rice, broth, sausage, cayenne, bay leaves and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in chicken. Cover and simmer until chicken is just done. Usually 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 2 minutes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Carmelized Onion and Spinach Risotto

Ive been wanting to try risotto for a while now. I just hadn't found a recipe that really called to me until now. I am not a fan of mushrooms and it seems that many risotto recipes include mushrooms.

What I do love is caramelized onions. I could eat them in just about anything. When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it, and it did not disappoint. It took a while. And I had to stand at the stove the majority of the time, but the finished product was soooo yum.

My only problem with this recipe is there seemed to be too much liquid. I didn't add the last ladle of broth and it was still a little runnier than I thought it should be. Most other recipes that call for 1 cup of rice call for much less liquid. Next time I will try cutting it back. And there will be a next time. And a next and a next...

Caramelized Onion and Spinach Risotto

1 large onion sliced thin
3 cloves garlic minced
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (2 tbsp for the risotto and 2 for the onions)
1/4 cup dry white wine
5 cups low sodium chicken broth, warmed
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup fresh chopped spinach
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Caramelize the onions with butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir until golden brown, and then add the minced garlic.

Add the rice; stir for 1-2 minutes, browning the rice. Add the white wine and stir until it is absorbed. Add the chicken broth 1 ladle-full at a time, letting it fully absorb before adding more. Stir constantly during this part. If you stop stirring, the rice will stick to the pot.

When your final ladle of broth is halfway absorbed, add the cheese, spinach and the two tablespoons of butter one tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Fake White Castles

A friend of ours brought these to our SuperBowl party last year and my husband fell in love. Ok, Ok, so I really like them too. I made them again last week for a get together we had to watch the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. They are a delicious and hearty appetizer. You could also thin it out a little with some milk or water and serve it as a dip in a crock pot with slices of party rye.

Fake White Castles

1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet onion soup mix
1 lb Velveeta
24 slider buns

Brown beef in skillet and drain fat. Mix in soup and soup mix. Cube up Velveeta and add - keeping heat low and stirring continuously.

Spoon onto buns and serve. You can bake them at 350 for 10-15 minutes if you want to crisp up the bread.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I saw these cupcakes on foodgawker and thought they would be perfect for Valentine's Day. As usual, I kept a few and sent the rest to my husband's office. This was my first time making red velvet and cream cheese frosting.

I was pretty pleased with the result. I wanted to frost them prettier, but the frosting was just too soft and wouldn't hold it's shape. The cake and frosting were both delicious.

I did have a little trouble with the frosting. The cream chees was lumping up a little bit. I was told if you beat the cream cheese with the sugar and then add in the butter, that helps. I will try that next time.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tablespoons red food coloring
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put cupcake liners into two cupcake pans. The recipe says it makes 24, but I got 30 large cakes.

In a small bowl, sift the cake flour. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each.

In yet another small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but be careful not to overdo it. Stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda in a separate bowl, and add to the batter, mixing well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and make sure everything is mixed well. Divide the batter among the cups.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool, first in the pans, then on a wire rack.

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract, then add powdered sugar and beat until it is all incorporated.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sausage, Corn and Potato Chowder

Yummmmmy.... warm.... mmmmmmm

This is the second time I made this soup and won't be the last. This time I served it with Beer Cheese Bread

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, because I didn't feel like washing the food processor. So I tried to use my immersion blender. Not such a great idea. I got splattered with hot soup. I think next time I will just use a handheld potato masher to smash up some of the potatoes. My husband and I both liked the soup better with some bigger pieces of potato in there. However, the first time I made it, I didn't puree it at all so the broth was still too broth-y. I think to get the right consistency you really need to puree it somehow.

I couldn't really take a pretty picture of this, so this is what you get!

Sausage, Corn and Potato Chowder
From: Sing for Your Supper

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup diced onion
2 cups diced Yukon Gold potatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups fresh corn kernels from 2 ears (or frozen)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper or cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
6-7 cranks of freshly ground black pepper
2 cups low-fat milk
1/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 package fully cooked turkey sausage (about 1 pound – you can use more or less if you want)

In a deep pot over medium-high heat, melt butter. Saute onions for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add potatoes and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; add corn kernels, cayenne, salt, and black pepper, and stir well. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the milk, cheddar cheese, and parsley. Turn off heat and allow chowder to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Puree soup in two batches until smooth, and return to the pot over medium-low heat. Stir in cooked sausage and warm until thoroughly heated. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Secret's in the Sauce!

I hate vegetables. Really, I do. I'm a thirty-year old that doesn't like vegetables. I do eat a few, but mostly the starchy, unhealthy ones. I decided to try to trick myself by hiding veggies in my pasta sauce. Not 'healthy' per-say, but healthier than not having them. Right? Right.

The verdict? Yummmmmm. The carrots gave a little sweetness to the sauce and the peppers, spinach an onion blended right in. I don't think I'll make plain spaghetti sauce again!

This is a versatile recipe - you could really add just about any veggies you want to this sauce, this is just how I made it, with what I had on hand. You can also serve over and pasta you want. I used a whole wheat thin spaghetti

Veggie Pasta Sauce

1 lb Italian sausage - could use any meat really - turkey, chicken, hamburger
2 carrots, grated
1 large onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 1/2 cups baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 tbsp oregano
1tbsp basil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan brown and crumble sausage. Drain all but 1 tbsp of the fat. Add in onion, pepper, spinach and carrot. Saute until veggies are soft. Add in garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce and spices.

Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve over pasta.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beer Cheese Bread

We're about to get some snow and when I think of snow, I think of soup. So dinner tonight is soup and bread. I didn't want to mess around with a yeast bread, so I decided to give this recipe a go. It was super easy and super tasty. I would recommend buying a block of cheese and grating it yourself - the pre-shredded stuff has a powdery stuff on it and it won't incorporate as well in the bread.

I *may* have snuck a piece before dinner - hey I can't blog it if I haven't tried it right? - and it's delicious. I love that it took less than 10 minutes to get it in the oven and that included grating cheese. Try this bread soon - you won't be disappointed!

Cheesey Beer Bread

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
12 oz beer
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter - melted


Preheat oven to 350. Butter a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and garlic powder. Add cheese. Slowly pour in beer and mix gently until all ingredients are moistened.

Spread dough in loaf pan and pour butter over top. Bake for 55-60 minutes.

Soft Pretzels

One of our favorite snacks is soft pretzels. It is my go-to snack at a sporting events, concerts, etc. Give me a big soft pretzel and a cup of warm nacho cheese and I'm in heaven.

Not too long after I got my stand mixer I tried making them for the first time. About half-way through making them I declared 'These things better be good cause I'm never making them again!' Well they were more than good. And I've made them countless times since then.

The recipe is not quick or easy, but the final product is worth every minute. This recipe is from Alton Brown - one of our favorite TV cooks. The only change I made from his original is to boil the pretzels for 1 minute instead of 30 seconds. I also usually shape them into sticks instead of the traditional pretzel twist.

Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside. Place a cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 1 minute. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Place them on the cooling rack in the baking sheet.
Once cool enough to touch, transfer pretzels to the parchment lined baking sheets and brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with nacho cheese, spicy mustard or any other dip.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pop Tarts!

I found this recipe a while back on foodgawker and bookmarked for a weekend morning. It came together really quickly and easily. I cheated and used store-bought pie crust. I might try making my own next time, if I get super motivated.

I think I rolled the dough too thin, otherwise these were a great alternative to the boxed who-knows-what's-in-them kind. If you use the store-bought crust, I wouldn't roll it out much more than it already is. Also, I would recommend letting them cool a lot before drizzling the icing over them or it just melts right off.

If anyone tries this recipe with any variations let me know. I think it's a decent recipe but there is a lot of room for improvement.

Homemade Pop Tarts

pie crust - home made or store bought
jam or preserves
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 425. Roll out pie crust and cut into rectangles. Be sure they are all the same size. I used a pizza cutter to cut the dough and it worked great. Gather up scraps and re-roll until all dough is used.

Put about a tbsp of jam on half of the rectangles. Top with another crust and crimp edges - I used a fork to do this. Place on baking sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes. Watch them because they go from done to oozing quickly.

Mix together 1 cup powdered sugar with just a little bit of milk until a thick syrup forms. The thicker it is, the better it will hang on to the pastries.

Allow pastries to cool before drizzling with icing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Maple Bacon Shortbread Cookies

I know, I know - bacon cookies??? Using bacon in cookies and desserts sounded like a strange trend to me, but there are so many people blogging and raving about it, that I decided I had to try it.
I sent a few recipes to my husband and some friends asking what they thought. Everyone pretty much said the same thing. It sounds gross, but intriguing. After looking at several chocolate chip bacon cookies and bacon cupcakes, I decided on this recipe. I wasn't sure if I (or the people I'm cooking for) was ready for the chocolate/bacon combo. I thought a savory shortbread cookie might just be fantastic.

The cookies took a while to come together since you have to bake the bacon first and let it cool, then make the dough and chill it. I ended up letting the dough chill overnight, making it a 2 day process.

They turned out REALLY good. I could have just eaten the uncooked dough, but they were even better baked. They were a little too flour-y for me so next time I will probably cut back the flour a little bit. Over all they were great though. Definitely worth a shot!
Without further ado!
Maple Shortbread Cookies with Candied Bacon

Candied Bacon:
10 slices of thick cut maple bacon
brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400F
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the bacon strips down and top with brown sugar. Bake for 10 minutes.

Transfer bacon to clean sheet of parchment paper and throw away the used one. Flip bacon over and top the second side with brown sugar. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Let bacon cool on cooling rack. Once bacon has cooled, dice it into small pieces. At this point you can bake it again for another 4-6 minutes for extra crispy bacon.

3 sticks unsalted butter - softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Add maple syrup and vanilla. Add flour one cup at a time. Add diced bacon. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Turn out onto waxed paper. Roll into logs and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Cut into slices 1/4in thick. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet for 11+ min. (15 in my oven) until lightly golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack

Cajun Chicken...Pizza?

So a few years ago, my husband decided to make me a special dinner for Valentine's day. I was pregnant that year and craved pasta all. the. time. He found a recipe for a cajun chicken pasta that we both fell in love with and have continued to make regularly.

I will blog that recipe next time I make it.

But last night I decided to change it up a bit and make a cajun chicken pizza. I was pretty much wingin it on this one and using stuff I had on hand. I also 'cheated' and bought a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. I love getting one of those and chopping the meat for several meals.

I used a whole wheat pizza crust recipe from GoldMedal Flour. It's pretty good and gives us a few whole grains with our meal.

I wish I would have taken more photos along the way, but I only have one of the finished product. It was SOOOO good and tasted almost exactly like the pasta.

Cajun Chicken Pizza

(makes 2 pizza crusts)

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm (100-110 degree) water
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar

Add water, yeast and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes until foamy. Using the dough hook, turn mixer on low and add olive oil and salt. Add flour in slowly. Once mixture is combined increase the speed and knead the mixture for 3-5 minutes.

Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to a bowl. Once dough is formed, move it to the bowl and roll it around to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, non-drafty spot for at least an hour.

Topping - for 1 crust:

1-2 chicken breasts - diced and cooked
cajun seasoning
1 red pepper - diced
1 green pepper - diced
3 stalks green onion - diced
1 cup alfredo sauce
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Mozarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
olive oil

Preheat oven to 425.

Add a tbsp or less of olive oil to a skillet. Dice up the peppers and onion and add to oil. Sautee until vegetables are soft. Add chicken and cajun seasoning to taste. We use about 1 tbsp of cajun seaoning. Cook until chicken is warmed through.

In a small sauce pan mix alfredo sauce with basil, lemon pepper, black pepper and salt. Heat through.

Punch down dough. Use half for this pizza and refrigerate the other half or top with other ingredients. Roll out dough into 12 inch circle. Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal to avoid sticking.

Spread sauce on dough. Add chicken/veggie mixture and top with cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes.