Monday, March 29, 2010

Bowtie Chicken Caesar Salad

1-2 servings farfalle (bowtie) pasta, prepared as directed
1 pkg chicken breast pieces, plain
1 medium tomato, diced
mozzarella cheese, grated
caesar dressing

Prepare pasta as directed. Rinse with cold water until pasta is cool to the touch. Drain.

Wash, dry, then tear lettuce. Dice tomato and grate cheese.

Cut chicken into smaller pieces if desired. (The pre-packaged kind usually comes in fairly large strips, so we generally cut them down into smaller bite-sized chunks.)

Assemble and top with caesar dressing of your choice.

Comments from the cook: This is one of our warm-weather recipes of choice! When we were still in UT, my co-workers and I frequented a place called Pizza Factory for office birthdays. This was my favorite dish there (served with their classic bread-twist). When we moved, I realized that I could re-create it fairly easily.

No fancy ingredients and no extensive preparation required. You can dry your own croutons, whip up your own caesar dressing, and grow your own lettuce if you really want to...but this one's an easy summer meal that you should really try. We usually use romaine lettuce, but only had iceberg around. Would be tasty with spinach leaves tossed in as well.

If you're trying to save a few pennies (packaged chicken is usually about $2.50), use an old-fashioned frozen chicken breast and prep your own chicken pieces in a skillet. Add a bit of salad dressing right before they're done browning for extra flavor.

A CookieSheets&CakePans original...kinda. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Brian's Pizza Hut Pan Pizza & Breadsticks

1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
2 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp dry basil
1 tsp garlic salt

1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup non-fat powdered milk
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1 TBSP granulated sugar
1 package dry yeast
2 TBSP canola oil (for dough)
canola oil (for pan)
cooking spray

Pizza toppings:
mozzarella cheese

Breadstick seasoning:
2 TBSP parmesan cheese
1 1/2 TBSP garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp onion salt

Combine sauce ingredients and allow to sit for 1 hr.

Put yeast, sugar, salt, and dry milk in KitchenAid bowl (or mixer of your choice).

Add water and mix well using whisk attachment. Let rest for 2 minutes.

Add oil and stir again. Let rest 2 more minutes.

Now using the hook attachment, add flour and stir until dough forms and flour is absorbed.

Remove from bowl and knead by hand for about 1 minute. Put back in KitchenAid bowl and knead with dough hook on medium speed for 4-5 minutes.

Roll out to 1/4"-3/8" for one large pizza and one small pan of breadsticks. Turn large (14") deep-dish pizza pan over top of dough. Press down hard (cookie-cutter style) to cut the dough. Use knife if cut is not entirely clean.

Collect cuttings. Roll out to same thickness, and turn small deep-dish pan (round 9" cake pan will work) over cuttings to slice.

After cutting and before placing dough in pizza pans, spray sides of pan with cooking spray. Add a small amount of oil to the bottom of the pizza and breadstick pans. Original recipe calls for a large quantity (tastes better, but a lot more fat!), but a thin coating to cover the bottom of the pan is sufficient.

Add dough to both pans. Cover with foil. Place in oven heated to lowest setting ("warm", usually) and allow to rise for 1-1 1/2 hrs.

Add sauce and toppings as desired, and cook at 475° until outer crust is brown.

For breadsticks:

Sprinkle with seasoning, then cook at 475° until edges of crust turn brown.

Comments from the cook: We were on a real knock-off kick for awhile, and this has become one of our staple pizza recipes. While the crust is not quite as chewy as Pizza Hut's pan pizza, the taste is very similar.

One of the most important things about this recipe is the pan. You must (read: MUST) use a deep dish pan. Using a flat pizza pan obviously won't work, but you can get creative otherwise. We've made it in a 13x9 pan before (and it worked perfectly) and have made it in multiple 9" round cake pans before too.

Funny story. Brian and I had been married about a year, and went home to be with my family for Thanksgiving. They wanted him to make this pizza (my brother, Neil, is the 2nd biggest pizza fan ever...behind Brian, that is) and we needed a large deep-dish pan in order to make pizza for such a large crowd. So we set out to find one. We didn't find anything in the pizza pan section at Wal-mart, until my mom was walking away. There was a large metal deep-dish pan sitting there that was PERFECT for the job. We needed 2, but only found the one...and figured we'd just use cake pans for the rest. We got to the register to find out how much the pan was. It rang up $3. Score! Best part? The description was PET DISH. ha! Sturdy, metal, and perfect for $3. When we returned from vacation, we went and bought 2 for ourselves. Still use them to this day. :)

Originally found online and adapted by Brian, the pizza king.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Strawberry Hot Fudge Cake

1 chocolate fudge cake mix (prepared as directed for fluted/Bundt pan)
1 jar hot fudge topping
1 lb strawberries, sliced
applesauce (optional)

Prepare cake mix as directed. Substitute applesauce for oil - equal parts - if desired. (Makes for a super moist, lower-fat cake. If lower fat matters in a hot fudge cake, that is!)

While cake is cooking, rinse then slice strawberries. Allow to air-dry on towel until cake is ready for assembly. Pat dry if needed. (Wet strawberries will make hot fudge runny.)

Heat hot fudge for about 1 min in microwave or in small saucepan.

Pour hot fudge over cake. Cover with sliced strawberries.

Comments from the cook: An easy-peasy recipe that usually wows a crowd! This cake is easy, really tasty, and would be perfect to take to a BBQ or potluck.

A picture of this dessert was on my header in the early days of this blog (are we in the old days now?) and the recipe seemed a bit too easy to post. After making it again, I realized that there was no reason not to share it. How in the world could something be too easy!? Good grief.

The first time I made this, I overcooked the cake slightly, and it was too dry for my liking. Probably should've soaked the cake in milk before eating. :) But the second time was a huge hit, and it was delicious. Enjoy!

A CookieSheets&CakePans original
(if it's possible to take credit for assembling 3 ingredients...)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Easter Bunny Cakes

1 white cake mix (prepared as directed)
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1 tub store-bought frosting, flavor of your choice (vanilla for us)
food coloring
assorted candies

Prepare cake mix as directed for (2) 9-inch pans. Allow to cool.

Cover the back of a large cookie sheet or a large piece of cardboard with aluminum foil. Place one of the cooled cakes in center of sheet. This will be the bunny's head.

The other cake will be used as the bunny's ears and bowtie. Use the following diagram as a cutting guide for your cakes. Then assemble.

Frost with vanilla frosting. Edges of cake will be more difficult to frost, so use frosting generously in these areas. Warning...this step can be messy! (If you're looking for an easier solution, use a fluffier frosting. A whipped one would be perfect for the job...)

After fully frosted, press coconut flakes into frosting. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and a couple of drops of water to bowl of coconut and stir until evenly colored.

Embellish with jelly beans, licorice, and other candies. Cake shown above is coated in Oreo crumbs.

Comments from the cook: This is one of my favorite Easter traditions - something my mom started many years ago. I usually make a coconut bunny (my fave!) and a plain version (for Brian). I try to have a (BIG) group of people over to help eat them...though I'd rather do all of the work myself. :)

If you wanted to get all fancy-shmancy, you could make the cake from scratch, try different flavors, or even use that fluffy white frosting recipe. That would REALLY take this up a notch...and you would probably want to avoid having anyone over to help you eat it. :)

Check out a few other bunnies here. And if the whole project seems a bit too daunting, do what we did in 2007...and just make cupcakes!

Tradition started by Mom Sleight.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Have you?

Have you tried the honey-wheat bread found here yet?

I made it again last night. Takes about 2 hours start to finish. I'm telling you...if you haven't made it yet, you should.

Love. At. First. Bite.

Also, I have a picture/recipe for an Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana knock-off that we ate and LOVED. Do you want?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fluffy Lemon Cheesecake

32 graham crackers squares (16 full sheets)
2 TSBP powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine/butter, melted

Crush graham crackers to desired consistency. I prefer mine to be in larger pieces for this I crush them in a plastic bag with the rolling pin rather than with the food chopper.

Add margarine and powdered sugar. Line the bottom of a 9x13 pan with HALF of the mixture. Set the remaining crust mixture aside.

2 pkgs (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 small pkg lemon Jello
1 cup water

Add water to Jello and heat in microwave for 3 minutes. Stir until dissolved, and allow to cool to room temperature.

In the meantime, pour evaporated milk into a medium sized bowl -and trust me...choose one a little bigger than you think you'll need! Detach your beater(s) from your mixer and place it/them in the bowl, partially immersing it/them in the evaporated milk. Place in the freezer for 30 min or until evaporated milk starts to crystallize.

If you have a handmixer and a countertop can do this step while the evap milk is in the freezer and Jello is cooling. If not, skip this step and come back to the cream cheese after you're finished with the evaporated milk. Combine 2 softened cream cheeses in your countertop mixer and beat until smooth. Add sugar and whip until smooth. Once at room temperature, add Jello to cream cheese mixture gradually. Add 1/4 of the mixture, and beat until mixed. Repeat until finished.

Once your evap milk has crystallized, remove it from the freezer and reattach beaters to your mixer. Whip until stiff (took mine about 3 min and nearly outgrew the bowl before my eyes!).

Fold whipped evaporated milk into lemon/cream cheese mixture by hand with rubber spatula. Do not overbeat.

Pour over crust. Top with remaining crumbs.

Refridgerate (or freeze) for at least 2 hours before eating. Best when chilled overnight and served the next day.

Comments from the cook: Hello, springtime! This is the perfect dessert to usher in a season of light and fluffy desserts...when we bid farewell to hot fudge for a few months. :)

As you can see, this recipe requires a bit of choreography! If you have two mixers, you can do two things at once...which saves a few minutes. If you don't have two mixers, just finish with the evaporated milk, set it aside, and then work on the cream cheese mixture.

I cheated and added a few drops of yellow food coloring, because mine didn't look quite as yellow as my mom's does. Next time, I will probably add 2 lemon Jello packets to bump up the flavor. And if you're not a fan of lemon, try another Jello flavor! I'm sure strawberry or raspberry would be fantastic, and orange might even be tasty.

I used one low-fat and one fat-free cream cheese. I also used fat-free evaporated milk and my lemon Jello was sugar-free. Certainly full-sugar and full-fat ingredients will taste a LOT better, but this combo slashes the calories and fat. More guilt-free!

Originally shared by my Grandma Tibbitts.
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