Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Homemade Pizza

We are pretty spoiled & buy take out pizza a lot more often than we should, but the quality of pizza here in Tennessee leaves a LOT to be desired, so we've recently tried out making it ourselves. I use a pizza stone that has to go into the oven for 15 minutes to heat up before you put the pizza on it. I make the crust and put it on a cookie sheet, then when the pizza stone is HOT I transfer it off the cookie sheet. Since my pizza stone is round, I make a round pizza.

I got this GREAT pizza crust recipe from my friend Lisa

1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cornmeal
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Mix ingredients. Knead or use mixer. Let stand 10 minutes. You can roll the dough into two 9x13" pizzas (great for kid's lunches!) or into two medium pizzas or a large pizza and an order of breadsticks. Parbake the crust with a drizzle of olive oil on it at 450 degrees for ten minutes. Remove the crust and add sauce and toppings. If making breadsticks, add your breadsticks now. Place into the oven for another ten to fifteen minutes or until golden and bubbly.

I use leftover spaghetti sauce & whole milk mozzarella (takes less cheese & tastes extra yummy!) then either cooked Italian sausage or pepperoni or BOTH with another light layer of cheese over the top. Fresh garlic is also GREAT on pizza.

Monday, January 26, 2009


My family LOVES meatballs. They would gladly eat them as a main course and I sometimes accommodate that by making meatball sandwiches. But most of the time when I make meatballs, I serve them with spaghetti.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground mild Italian Sausage
1 T Italian Seasoning
1 T minced garlic
1 t salt
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
2 slices white bread or 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 eggs

I get the bread a little wet and crumble it up, then mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

When it is well combined, form into balls. I make them about the size of a golf ball. They can be cooked in a frying pan on top of the stove, but I usually cook mine in a baking dish in the oven @375 for about 30 minutes, remove from the oven & turn them over, then cook for an additional 15 minutes

Let them sit for a few minutes to cool, drain the grease & add them to the spaghetti sauce. I like them to sit in the sauce for at least an hour before serving.
These are also great for making ahead in bulk, I cook several batches, let them cool, then freeze in large ziplock bags. I add them, frozen, to my spaghetti sauce in the crockpot when I start the sauce.

Menu Plan Monday

We had snow last week!!! That is unusual for us, we are in Tennessee. This week our menu will be mostly winter comfort foods. The temps here are expected to be back in the teens & twenties, so warm filling foods will be just what my family needs.

Monday...Beef Stew

Tuesday...Spaghetti & meatballs

Wednesday...Chicken & Dumplings
Thursday...Meat pies

Friday...Pizza (GREAT crust recipe)

Sunday...Meatloaf & Mashed potatoes

Stop by Menu Plan Monday on to see what everyone else is making this week, if you link your menu on her site, you'll also be entered in a giveaway she is having.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


This is one of my FAVORITE foods. Unfortunately, Hubby won't eat it. He has an aversion to ricotta cheese. However, all of our kids LOVE it, recently I have been making my Italian sausage and penne pasta casserole for Hubby when I make lasagna for the rest of the family. They compliment each other well and it has been a perfect solution.

1 lb Italian Sausage
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
1 egg
2 cups shredded Mozzarella
2 26 oz cans spaghetti sauce
8 lasagna noodles
salt & pepper
Italian seasoning

Brown Italian sausage, then drain. Heat both cans of sauce and add garlic, basil and Italian seasoning. Boil lasagna noodles until pliable but not too soft. In a small bowl combine ricotta cheese with 1 egg & season with salt & pepper. Coat a 13 X 9 baking dish with non stick spray. Spread Italian sausage in bottom of pan, cover with generous layer of sauce. Arrange 3 to 4 lasagna noodles to completely cover the sausage. Spread the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles, then cover with an additional layer of noodles. Pour remaining sauce over noodles, top with grated mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake @ 350 for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake additional 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Meat Loaf

This is one of those traditional average American family recipes....pretty much everyone I know has a version of meatloaf. At one time, I thought all meat loaf was the same, but over the last few years I've discovered that there are some HUGE differences.

Here is my basic recipe:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 egg
2 slices bread
1/2 cup ketchup
Salt & Pepper
Worcestershire Sauce

I combine the meat, egg, slices of bread and ketchup, then liberally sprinkle with the spices & last add a couple splashes of Worcestershire Sauce. Put it in a loaf pan & add a stripe of ketchup down the center. Bake @ 350 for 40 minutes, then drain off all the grease. Bake an additional 20 minutes. Drain any additional grease and remove from the pan immediately, then let it sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

A variation that my family is very fond of is to use 1/2 cup of chunky salsa instead of the Worcestershire Sauce.

I have also used 1 lb ground beef with 1/2 lb of ground pork.

When I was a kid (yes, I'm OLD)....everyone used a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix as the seasoning, but since nobody in my family eats onion that has never been an option here (don't tell them the salsa I use has onions)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I've fallen off the wagon of doing this for a few weeks. Time to get back in the groove. Because it is soooo cold outside, I'm making a lot of comfort foods this week.

Wednesday...Red beans & Rice w/hot smoked sausage

Thursday...Hamburger & Rice

Friday...Chili and cornbread muffins

Saturday...Meatloaf & mashed potatoes

Sunday...Lasagna and garlic bread

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie to see what the rest of the world is eating for dinner this week.