Home Cookin ~ Canning ~ Baking

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Warm You Up Soup | Throwback Thursday

Brrr! Just as I was adjusting to the heat of Summer the weather changed to a high of 35! Really? Brrr!!! I always crave warm comfort foods when the weather is cold, soups are among my favorites! So of course I searched the blog for a yummy hot soup to warm me up and decided on my Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. Mmmm, so good! For this recipe click here! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Chicken Artichoke Pizza

A couple weeks ago my sister-in-law bought a chicken artichoke pizza from Papa Murphy's for everyone to enjoy. Although I will admit I was a little nervous to try the pizza, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! The amazing combination of creamy garlic herb sauce, roasted chicken, spinach, artichokes, bacon and cheese meshed together amazingly! I knew I just had to try and make this pizza from scratch, with healthy fresh ingredients. And my friends, I did just that! And boy was it good!!! I did do one mistake however, I made my pizza (shown in the photo above) with a regular crust. Next time I will defiantly be using a thin crust as it will compliment the pizza much more. Makes 1 pizza.

Chicken Artichoke Pizza

1 large pizza crust, thin crust is best (Try my recipes! Whole Wheat, Easy Pizza Crust, Herb Crust.)
1/2 stick of butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, plus more for seasoning
1/2 pint heavy cream, about 1 cup
2 Tablespoon shredded Parmasen cheese, divided
2 teaspoons corn starch
a little water
5 slices of bacon, chopped
1 chicken breast, sliced
salt and pepper
handful of fresh spinach
canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (I used about half a can)
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare pizza crust if making from scratch.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-small sauce pan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and Italian seasonings; sauté for once minute. Slowly add the heavy cream while whisking. Bring heat down to medium-low and cook to a simmer. Add 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese. In a small bowl mix the corn starch with a little cold water until smooth. Add mixture to the cream mixture. Simmer while stirring until cream starts to thicken. Once thickened turn of the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile cook the bacon in a small skillet until crisp. Drain and set aside.

Cook the sliced chicken in a little olive oil in a medium skillet. Season chicken with a little Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook until slightly brown and cooked through. Remove from heat.

Layer ingredients as follows onto the prepared pizza crust. Ladle the garlic and herb cream mixture onto the pizza crust spreading it out evenly. You might not use all the cream depending on how much you want on your pizza. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese and half of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover the entire pizza with a layer of fresh spinach. Layer of the cooked chicken and then artichokes. Sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. Then top off with the remainder shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is slightly golden. Remove, slice, and serve. Enjoy!!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

I decided to spruce up my Easy Pizza Crust recipe for a healthier twist ...and from that Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Crust was born! I am really happy with how this recipe turned out and love knowing that my family are eating healthy on pizza nights. I simply swapped out more than half of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour. I am still using 1 cup of all purpose so that it is not too over whelming of a change, but if you would like to use all whole wheat flour then I say go for it! My kids both ate 2 slices each with this crust and never muttered a word of the change. And although my husband and I could taste and see the change in the pizza curst it wasn't enough to detour use from eating it. I love this new healthier recipe and hope you and your family do as well!

Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

1 Tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
about 1 Tablespoon olive oil 

Combine yeast and warm water and let stand about 3 to 5 minutes or until yeast grows. Add salt, sugar, and vegetable oil to the yeast mixture. Mix well.

In a large bowl mix together both flours. Add the yeast mixture and combine with electric mixer with a dough hook, such as kitchen aid. When using a dough hook mix for 1-2 minutes until a ball forms. (If you do not have a kitchen aid mixer you can mix by hand. Mix until a ball forms and then knead for 10 minutes until dough is smooth.) Turn dough into a greased bowl, turning dough to coat. Cover with a towel and let rise 30 minutes or until double in size. Don't punch down. 

Cut dough in half. Roll out each portion into desired shoe and to about 1/3 of an inch thick. Keep in mind the dough will rise in the oven. Pinch the outer rim of the dough inwards to form the crust. Makes two medium-large pizza crusts. 

Cook the pizza crust on a pizza pan or cookie sheet for about 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Thake out of the oven and add toppings as desired. Brush the visible (outer rim) curst lightly with olive oil. Bake an additional 20 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and cheeses are melted. Do not over cook or the bottom will burn. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Perfect Summer Pie | Throwback Thursday

Well summer is here, kids are out of school, and the summer BBQ's and get togethers are being planned. The weather has turned from warm to HOT and that means everyone will be looking for cool treats to quench their tastebuds and cool them off. One of my favorite pies for summer does just that! What is it you ask? Why Banana Cream Pie of course! I LOVE this pie! Its is so creamy and sweet. Its like heaven in a bite! Bonus: It is super easy to make!!!! See the recipe here: Banana Cream Pie

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Healthy Pork Stir Fry

Stir fry's are a wonderful healthy menu option! Not only that but they are easy to throw together and are packed full of flavor! This specific meal is full of fresh vegetables and pork. The sauce is full of flavor and uses a very little amount of sugar. My family really enjoyed this meal! Serve over white rice or dress it up a bit with fried rice!

Healthy Pork Stir Fry

1 pound boneless pork chops, cut into thin stripes
1 bell pepper, cut into thin stripes (I used orange but use which ever you would like)
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/2 carrot, cut into then slices
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, diced
5 green onions, chopped (separate the greens from the whites)
1/3 cups soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 cups prepared white rice

Drizzle some olive oil in a large wok or skillet to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium-high heat. Add the pork stripes and cook until slightly brown. Add a little more olive oil if needed, then add the bell pepper, broccoli, and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but crisp, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and whites of the green onion. Cook 1-2 minutes, contenting to stir. 

Meanwhile mix the soy sauce, water, and sugar in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the stir fry. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. Turn off the heat and add the greens of the green onions. Serve over white rice. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Easy Peasy Taco Rancheros

Are you looking for an easy week night meal? How about these bad boys? Packed full of shredded chicken, black beans, and then smothered with melted cheese and enchilada sauce; this fast and easy dinner taste nothing short of homemade deliciousness!

Easy Peasy Taco Rancheros

1 store bought roisterer chicken, (or you can make your own)
16 ounce can black beans, drained 
2 teaspoon dry oregano
2 teaspoons taco seasoning
1 package of 12 corn taco shells, the kind in the box
28 ounce can of red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Optional Toppings:
shredded lettuce
sour cream
black olives

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Shred the roisterer chicken. Place shredded meat into a large bowl. Add the drained black beans, dry oregano, and taco seasoning; mix well. Season with salt and pepper if needed. 

Stuff the chicken mixture into the tacos shells. Place the stuffed taco shells into a 9x13 inch cake pan. I was able to fit 6 shells into each pan. You could layer the tacos if you do not have a second cake pan. 

Cover the tacos with enchilada sauce, being sure to cover all the tacos. Sprinkle with cheese. 

Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and filling is hot. Serve with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!!! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hearty Vegetable Soup

One of my favorite childhood soups was alphabet vegetable soup. It was always my go to for lunches when I was just learning to make my own meals. There is something so homy and comforting about this soup. Then again it may be my body singing with joy that I am actually putting something healthy into it! Nah, that can't be it. ;)

 I really do love this soup and finally decided to come up with my own version! For my version I did not include the alphabet noodles, but feel free to include some if you want to! I love this vegetable combination, but feel free to make it your own by replacing some of the vegetables with your favorites. I love making this soup over the weekend and then distributing it into single serving containers for my lunches throughout the week! Serves 6.

Hearty Vegetable Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-small onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
salt & pepper, to taste
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 - 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups water
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large potato, cubed
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1 - 14.5 ounce can green beans, drained

Heat a large stock/soup pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion, garlic, Italian seasonings, and salt & pepper. Sauté until onions are translucent and tender.

Add broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and water to the pot. Stir to blend and bring to a boil. Once boiling add the remaining ingredients. Bring back to a low boil and cook for 20 - 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Serve hot with bread or crackers. Enjoy!

For bread ideas to go with this soup check out some of these yummy recipes!
Dinner Rolls
Gruyere Rolls
Italian Bread
Easy Bread Sticks

Healthy Food = Healthy Happy Life

My family and I had a real eye opener this past week about what we were consuming and putting into our bodies. It all started with the excitement of the upcoming school year and the transfer our family will be making in enrolling our children into a Waldorf inspired charter school. We knew there would be some big changes coming to our little household, including less technology and eating healthier. But to what extent "eating healthier" meant to us was still to be discovered. And discovered it was this past week. We knew that the school had strict rules on what type of foods and drinks the children were aloud to pack for their lunches; for example: no sweets, no drinks other than water,  only reusable lunch supplies (which meant no wrappers, bottled water, or ziplock baggies), healthy foods including fresh fruits and vegetables encouraged, and last but not least try not to use food with preservatives. Preservatives? Really? They are in everything! And reusable containers I could do, but what about all my Costco buys of fruit snacks, granola bars, and crackers? I can no longer use those due to the many wrappers I would have have to throw away. So what can I use. Well obviously the only choice would be to make my own.... This was only the beginning.

I decided to "test run" new recipes on my children over the summer so I could see what it is they like and don't like before their new adventure at the new school began. When researching recipe ideas my sister-in-law introduced me to an amazing and life changing website called 110 Days of Real Food. I was absolutely engrossed into reading every page of content on this amazing blog. Wow! I don't know how else to explain but with "Wow" and "Eye Opening". This blog really got me thinking about what I was putting into, not only my own body, but my families. I am absolutely amazed by how many items I bought everyday at the grocery store that were junk, pure junk full of empty calories and lots of preservatives and ingredients that sounded like they belonged to a different planet! Did you know I never read the back of food label until this week? Its true! Sad, but true. Even things I thought were healthy, like the whole wheat bread I bought my family, was junk! Let me say it again, eye opening!!!

Needless to say my family and I have rethought our lifestyle and have decided to eat and live healthier! We will be cutting out as many preservatives as possible. Which means no more meals from a can or freezer unless I prepared it myself! To accomplish this I will be making most of our daily intake of foods. Freezing meals for nights when I just don't feel like cooking. And canning my own sauces and preserves when possible. We will be eating more fresh ingredients such as fresh produce and locally raised meats. We will only be drinking 100% juice, milk, water, coffee or tea (sweetened with honey), and to stay sane the occasional glass of wine or beer. I mean come one we have to live a little!

I am just so excited about our new life change that I had to share with everyone! I think the key to living this lifestyle is to make your own meals, from scratch! I already do this, but will be doing it a lot more! Which means..... You got it! ....more recipes for me to share! Heck I have 3 new recipes I made just today I need to blog! I can't wait to start sharing these recipes with my amazing followers! Thank you all for reading my little ole food blog! And as always, Enjoy!