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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

Pi day Pie

Having a Math Nerd for a husband (and many Math Nerds as friends) means that there are little things my family may do differently than your average family.  Take for example Pi Day (3/14)…a whole day devoted to a number…or for me, a whole day of eating pie!

making the pie

I was really happy to finally use up the cherries that I canned over the summer.  I didn’t have enough of either sour or sweet cherries for a full pie, so I decided to  put them together to make one Super-Cherry Pie.  It made for interesting flavors.  I also, of course, made the vent in the shape of the Pi symbol, on Mike’s request.  It may be my very favorite part of the pie!

Slice of Cherry Pie

My friend Stephanie made a very delicious strawberry pie, which was beautiful, and tasted even better than it looked…I went back for seconds!

Stephanie's Strawberry Pie

Stephanie's Strawberry pie, detail

The second pie that I made (which of course I didn’t take pictures of….sorry!!) was a chicken/tomato/parmesan hand pie.  I know you can’t see what it looked like, but it was delicious!

Chicken Parmesan Hand Pies

  • 2 chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 batches of Pate Brisee (omit the sugar)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
  • ice water
  1. Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat.  Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the pan.  Saute garlic and onions until the onions are transluscent.  Add tomatoes, oregano, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes, bring to a boil.
  2. Place chicken breasts in sauce and cover pan with a lid.  Adjust heat to bring sauce to a simmer.  Simmer the chicken breasts in sauce until they are fully cooked.  Turn the chicken once or twice while cooking to coat in sauce.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and allow to cool on a plate.  Cool the sauce as well.  Cut chicken in thin strips against the grain of the meat.
  4. Roll the dough out to 1/8″ thickness and cut into 4″ circles (work in batches if needed).  Place the circles of dough in the frige for 30 minutes.
  5. Place dough circles on baking sheets.  Fill each piece of dough with a couple strips of chicken, a tablespoon or two of sauce and a sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan. 
  6. Dab ice water around the edges of the circles, fold one half of the circle over to the other side, and pinch closed with a fork or your fingers.  Make a small slit in the top or stab it a couple of times with a fork.  Refrigerate hand pies for another 30 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Place pies in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden (May take more or less time depending on your oven.  Go by the color, not the time!).
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before enjoying!

 Have you ever celebrated Pi Day?  or Pie Day??

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Tea and Chicken Soup

My apologies to everyone for the somewhat uninspired post today…I am sick at home today, spending my hours drinking tea and eating chicken soup.  My current obsession is Good Earth Tea.  I love it because it is a caffeine-free herbal tea that is still very rich tasting.

I thought today I would share an easy recipe for chicken soup…one that either you can make when you are feeling under the weather, or someone else in the house with less cooking experience can pull together for you when you don’t feel like cooking.  It is very simple, so it is kind to a sore tummy.

Chicken Soup

  • 1 carton of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 celery
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • pre-cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 1.5 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (only if using low sodium broth)
  • a few grinds of pepper
  • Olive oil

Heat about 1 teaspoon of olive oil in the bottom of a large pot.  Saute onion and garlic, constantly stirring until translucent.  Add broth and bring to boil.  While waiting for the broth to boil, chop carrot and celery into small pieces.  Toss into broth.  Cover and cook on low heat for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the veggies are soft.  Toss the macaroni and chicken into the broth, and cook for length of time indicated on the package.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Just a little reminder…take a couple minutes to leave a comment on My First Giveaway Post.  I will be sending a homemade necklace to one lucky reader…for free!!  Have a happy Wednesday!

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…has to be homemade pizza.  I try to make this once a week to use up some leftover produce and cheese.  It is a great, frugal meal, especially if you use ingredients you already have lying around from other meals.

Some people may get a little scared about making the crust, but please don’t be.  Nothing could be more forgiving!

I usually use a basic recipe (see below) and then add/switch out different things to make variations.  If I happen to have some white wine leftover, I will use some in place of the water (try about 1/4 – 1/3 of a cup).  Sometimes I will replace the sugar with some honey, or I will use whole wheat flour instead of the usual all purpose flour.  Do some experimenting to find a dough you love.  You could even add some dried herbs into the dough (such as oregano, basil, or thyme).

One of the best things about homemade pizza is each person can choose their toppings.  If someone in your family loves anchovies, by all means, go right ahead (just don’t let them touch my side)!  Another aspect that I love is it gets everyone in the kitchen.  The process is easy enough that each person can help roll out the dough and top the pizzas together.

Some of my favorite topping combos are:

  • Sun-dried tomatoes, fresh sliced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and goat cheese
  • Shredded chicken, red onions, BBQ sauce, cheddar and mozzarella cheese
  • Bacon, sauteed veggies (like onion, mushrooms and red bell peppers) with mozzarella
  • Butternut squash and prosciutto with pesto and ricotta
  • Fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella

Seriously though, anything goes.  Anything you have leftover in the frige could be delicious.

Basic Pizza Dough

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 t. sugar
  • 2 t. (one 1/4 oz. pk) instant dry yeast (bread machine yeast)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl

Place the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk ingredients together.  Add the water and oil to the dry ingredients.  Starting in the center of the ingredients, stir with a fork until it starts to get difficult.

Switch to using your hands.  Knead (with everything still in the bowl) until the ingredients come together to form a smooth dough.  It will be a little tacky at this point.

Lightly oil another large bowl with olive oil (I usually actually just use the same bowl by placing the dough on a lightly floured surface while I clean it out).  Roll dough around in the bowl a couple of times to lightly coat outside with oil.

Place in a warm place, with a damp towel or plastic wrap over it.  Allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in size.

When dough has doubled, punch down the center of the dough by pressing with your fist.  Fold dough over itself a couple of times, then cover it back up.  Allow to rise again for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to its highest setting (mine is 500 degrees).  Place a pizza stone in the oven while it heats (or, if you are like me and don’t have a pizza stone, place an upside-down cookie sheet in the oven while preheating instead).

Divide dough in half, setting aside one half for another time (you can refrigerate the dough for a day or two if you are not planning on using it right away, just bring it back to room temperature before rolling).  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/4″ (for thinner crust, roll to about 1/8″).  If you want, you can fold the dough over to form a thicker crust on the edges (see photo below).

Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper.  Distribute whatever toppings you see fit.  Move pizza to the cookie sheet or pizza stone.  You can do this by placing on a peel or another cookie sheet and sliding into the oven.

Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until brown and bubbling.  Remove from oven, again with another cookie sheet or a peel, and allow to rest for a couple minutes before cutting in.  Enjoy!

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