Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Easy Homemade Pizza Crust (You Will Never Need Take-Out Again)

Our family spends wastes a lot of money on eating out!

After a LONG day of school, Bible quizzing, cooking, cleaning, and on and on and on, that phone number to the local pizza place is so TEMPTING! I know that with just the push of a few buttons dinner will arrive fast and hot. However, my bank account will take a hit that it was not expecting and I will have to figure out where that money is going to come from.

ENTER Easy Homemade Pizza Crust! With a just a few ingredients and a little bit of time, I can save some DOUGH (you saw that one coming right?) by making DOUGH!

Easy Homemade Pizza Crust (original recipe)

1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1 heaping tablespoon sugar

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

 Add water, salt and vegetable oil to a large bowl.

Add bread flour, sugar and yeast, mix with a spoon until a soft dough forms.

Put dough onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Then roll out dough, on floured surface, until a little larger than your pizza pan (I use a stone from Pampered Chef). Place the dough onto your pan and roll up the edges to create a lip that will keep your sauce on the pizza while it bakes. Using a fork prick holes in the dough.

Pre-bake your crust in your pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Take out and top however you like.

Return pizza to the oven and bake another 10 minutes. ENJOY!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Melt In Your Mouth Buttermilk Biscuits

I have finally found a biscuit recipe that I can make (EVERY TIME) and they always turn out GREAT! I have also learned a few "secrets" to making fluffy, soft, EDIBLE biscuits that I will share in the recipe!

I am not sure if it's the recipe that is "fool" proof or if the "tricks" are what make this recipe work but either way it has taken me 17 years of marriage to be able to make a Homemade Biscuit that is worth eating.

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits (original recipe
Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups bread flour
8 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 heaping tablespoons sugar
1 stick COLD butter, cut into pieces
1 - 2 cups buttermilk (may need more or less, depending on flour)

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in bowl of Kitchen-Aid Mixer. (If you do not have a Kitchen-Aid, or some other type of stand mixer, you can try this recipe using a hand held mixer).

Using your Kitchen-Aid mixer cut the butter into the flour mixture. Mix just until the butter becomes "pea" size.

Add just enough buttermilk to make a heavy, workable dough. I have found the drier the dough the more stable the biscuit.

Knead the dough lightly (still using your Kitchen-Aid), only enough for everything to stick together. DO NOT OVERKNEAD!

Dough Folded Over
Pat dough out onto a well floured surface to around 3/4-inches thick. Fold dough over so that it makes a "double" biscuit.

Use a floured glass or mason jar ring to cut dough into circles.

Place on an un-greased baking sheet (I use one of my Pampered Chef Stones). If you leave the edges touching it will make for a softer biscuit. If you want your biscuits to have a crunch, space them out a bit more.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for between 10 and 12 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack (we actually eat them straight from the oven)!

Buttery, Flaky, Goodness

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chicken Pasta Salad

As you may remember my children are Bible Quizzers and that means that once a month we head out of town for a Bible Quizzing Tournament. We normally will go to wherever the tournament is the night before so that our children are assured of getting plenty of rest. Nothing like trying to remember 300 scriptures while dozing off at the quiz table!

And as we are a one income family, week-end getaways once a month do not really fit in with our budget. So I cut the costs as much as possible. We ALWAYS stay in a hotel that offers free breakfast. This enables us to sleep-in a little longer and also saves us money. And we ALWAYS stay at a hotel that offers Government Employee discounts (Thank You USPS).

I also pack our lunch to eat during the quizzing tournament. I do this for two reasons. One, to save money. And two, because sometimes we have 20 minutes in-between quizzes in which to eat our lunch. Not very conducive to getting in the car, driving somewhere, ordering, eating, getting back in the car, and making it back to the church before the next quiz. 

And so I pack sandwiches, potato chips, snack cakes, grapes, and I ALWAYS take Chicken Pasta Salad! WHY? Because it is AMAZING, that's why! And I'm going to share the recipe with you! WHY? Because I like you, that's why!

Chicken Pasta Salad

Amazing Chicken Pasta Salad

2 to 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked and cut into bite size pieces)
1 box corkscrew pasta
6 green onions, thinly sliced (the original recipe calls for only 3 but I like them so I add more)
1 medium green pepper, diced

Mix in a large bowl.

So Yummy!

1 1/2 cups Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Toss with chicken mixture.
Refrigerate overnight. (The original recipe says 2 hours but I like it better the next day). Also, if you are like me you will think that 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt is just too much but trust me and go ahead and follow the recipe exactly. When I tried to cut back the flavor was just not as great.

Shared On:
Homemaker's Challenge