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Best Ever Pizza Dough!

This recipe provides foolproof, pizzeria-quality, homemade pizza. I don’t care what your previous homemade pizza experiences have been, with this recipe you’ll be a pizza boss!

Where has this week gone? Today, I’m re-sharing my Best Ever Pizza Dough recipe. For years, yeast dough and I have had a love-hate relationship. This was the first recipe to ever work the first time I made it, and every time since! Thanks to this pizza dough, I gained some confidence and branched out to other yeast dough. Sadly, not all of them have come out nearly so perfectly as this recipe does.

So, I am going to share the recipe and some pictures of how it looked when I made it Wednesday. Leave 2-3 hours prep time the first time you make this, then you can adjust it accordingly. I speed my rising time up a little by putting it in my oven with the lights on. Although I list the brands of the items used, I receive absolutely no compensation for of this. They just happen to be the brands I’ve found reliable with this recipe.

Lets Get Started!

I show my weighing the flour and water here, but I have made it without weighing it and it comes out fine. Since my scale only shows even amounts of grams, I use 152 grams of one flour and 154 grams of the other.

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Antimo Caputo “00” Flour

 

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King Arthur Organic All-Purpose Flour

 

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I even weigh the water. I use filter water from my fridge, then microwave it 30 seconds to take the chill off it.

 

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This might be my secret ingredient. I use Italian pizza yeast (resources at the end).

 

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Water, oil, and yeast mixed. I use Avocado Oil instead of Olive Oil.

 

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Sometime I start with the beater hook until its mixed, but I was lazy and use the dough hook from the beginning. I did stir it with a spatula first.

 

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Once combined, knead with dough hook or by hand for 3 minutes. Then let it rest 15 minutes, then knead another 3 minutes. My tip: don’t add extra flour and the dough should feel smooth, like the inside of your cheek.

Ready to Rise

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Allow to rise, cover in a bowl with a damp towel or oiled plastic wrap. I let it rise in my oven with the lights on. It gets pretty warm in there so it’s usually ready within 60 minutes. If you let rise at room temperature, it might take 2-3 hours.

 

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Treat the dough gently when shaping. I usually start by gently patting it between my hands until it flattens, then stretch it out with my fingers. Then its ready for toppings!

Time to Bake

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I prefer to place the pizza on parchment paper, then slide it on to a pizza stone, but mine broke recently. I use my oven’s Pizza mode, which is a convection mode of 400 degrees F.
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All done! I used white alfredo sauce instead of red sauce for this pizza.

Now for the recipe:

Best Ever Pizza Dough

  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp of 00 Flour (153 grams)
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour (153 grams)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (200 grams)
  • ¾ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water and olive oil. Wait a minute or so, then pour it into flour mixture. Stir ingredients together, then knead with your hands or a stand mixer with dough hook, for about 3 minutes. Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Knead rested dough by hand or in stand mixer for 3 minutes. Cut into 1 large or 2 small equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth or plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature, or 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)
  4. To make pizza, place each dough ball on a lightly floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it gently, then your hands to shape it into rounds or squares. Top your favorite toppings, and bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes individual pizzas and 20 minutes or so for a full-size.
My Special Tips:

You can use all-purpose flour for this recipe, but the pizza crust is much lighter with the 00 and all-purpose flour mixture. I microwave my pepperoni and salami toppings on paper towels for about 30 seconds before adding them to the pre-baked pizza. This helps cut down on oil accumulation on the top of the baked pizza.

Resources: 00 flour is also called pizza flour and is available in many gourmet markets and on Amazon. I got my last bag of 00 flour from Neighborhood Market. I buy the pizza yeast on Amazon.

Let me know how this recipe works for you by posting a comment below.

Italian Meatball Casserole Dinner

Since it came out terrific, I had to share the recipe for this week’s Italian Meatball Casserole. I started a new series here on the blog called Weekly Meal Plans (see HERE). This recipe was listed for Thursday night. It is one of the best low-sodium meals I have made so far!

I used a recipe from Modern Low Carb Recipes as the basis for the meatballs, but modified the sauce and toppings. What I loved about their meatball recipe is that the meatballs tasted so close to Italian sausage, minus all the salt and fat.

Assembling The Casserole

Make the meatballs first, so that the flavors of the seasonings and the ground pork can meld together in the fridge.

Missing from photo – the red wine!

 

I mixed the ground pork with the seasonings and red wine in the clear bowl, then put it in the fridge for a few hours.

Then, I assembled the meatballs, placed them on a cookie sheet, and returned to the fridge until I was ready.

 

 

Next, I turned to creating the sauce.

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My favorite starter for marinara sauce

 

The sauce cooking

 

Browned the meatballs

Assembling the casserole

 

Ready for the oven!

15 minutes later, I added the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, basil, and parsley, then returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes.

And it’s ready to eat!

The Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 container Pomi strained tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Italian cheese blend
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, small balls or slices into 1/4″ slices
  • 8 oz. fresh ricotta cheese
  • 3 cloves minced garlic, divided
  • 1/2 chopped onion, divided

Instructions

Combine ground pork, red wine, and the next 4 spices in a medium bowl. Mix with your hands and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Use a melon baller to scoop meatball mixture into similarly sized meatballs and roll by hand into a round shape. You should have 18-20 meatballs. If not making right away, return to refrigerator on a cookie sheet until ready to use.

In a medium saucepan, add Pomi tomatoes, Italian seasoning, 1 clove of minced garlic, and 1/4 cup of chopped onion. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened.

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add meatballs to skillet and brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To assemble the casserole: add half of the sauce to the bottom of a 13 x 9″ low-sided casserole dish, then place meatballs on top of the sauce, evenly spacing them in the dish. Pour remaining sauce over the meatballs and top with Italian blend cheese. Bake, uncovered for 15 minutes.

Remove casserole from the oven, place mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese in spaces between the meatballs. Top with chopped parsley and basil. Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Without pasta

 

With pasta for the hubby

 

This turned out to be a delicious meal! I couldn’t wait to share it with my readers.

Lasagne – Ultimate Comfort Food! Made Low-Sodium and Gluten Free.

Lasagne is one of the most-loved Italian dishes out there. It is sinfully delicious with its layers of cheese, meat, and pasta. I consider it one of the ultimate comfort foods! I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for a new lasagne recipe.

The Lasagne Challenge

My challenge was how to make it lower in sodium. I decided to take it a step further and use gluten-free pasta. Go me, huh? But, I think I accomplished my goal. Low-sodium, gluten-free lasagne that looks and tastes delicious.

The Players

This recipe calls for no-salt added canned goods: diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. I have been successful in locating no-salt added canned foods at my local Vons (Safeway), Wal-Mart, and Trader Joe’s stores.

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I wanted a really rich sauce, so I decided I would let the sauce simmer for 3-4 hours on the stove. What I like to do is to take out a few cups of the sauce (without meat) for the bottom of the pan and to put on the top. So, I cook the ground beef and half of the onions separately and add them to the sauce before I assemble the lasagne.

Chop the onions and add them to the dutch oven to cook on medium-low heat for about 6-8 minutes.

 

Once the onions were translucent, I added the tomatoes,

then tomato sauce, and tomato paste

It’s all ready to simmer. I added the lid and left it on my stove on around 3 hours.

After  3 hours of simmering, I browned the meat along with the rest of the onions. I pulled out two cups of sauce, added the browned meat to the sauce, along with 1 cup of red wine, brought it to a boil and cooked on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes to burn off the alcohol.

 

Second String

Ricotta, egg, and parmesan cheese mixed together.

 

I got so wrapped up in putting together the lasagne, I forgot to get pictures of the assembly!

Ready for the oven…

 

And here it is! Hot and puffy, and oh so delish!

Lasagne

Put it together with a green salad or maybe some hot garlic bread and you have a wonderfully, comfort dish for dinner.

The Recipe

  • 1 cup of onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cans of 14 oz. no-salt diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can of 8 oz no-salt tomato paste
  • 1 can of 8 oz no-salt tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 cup of red wine (or 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 package of gluten-free no-boil lasagne noodles (I got mine from Target)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated or shaved)
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
Directions

Brown onions in olive oil until almost translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and spices, bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer, add lid, and let cook at least 45 minutes. Check periodically and add a little water, if necessary.

Remove 2 cups of sauce and set aside for later. Brown ground beef in a skillet on medium heat. While ground beef is browning, mix the ricotta cheese, egg, and parmesan cheese together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. When the ground beef is browned and drained, add it to the pot of sauce, along with 1 cup of red wine or 1/2 red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil, then turn down to med-low and cook for 15 minutes (to burn off the alcohol).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add 1 cup of the reserved sauce to the bottom of the 9″ x 9″ lasagne pan. Layer your lasagne noodles above it. Alternatively layer your lasagne noodles with the ricotta cheese mixture, meat mixture, and mozzarella cheese, then ricotta cheese and meat again. When you have added the last layer of lasagne noodles, add the last cup of sauce and the rest of the mozarella cheese on top.

Add foil to the top of the lasagne pan (spray the foil with cooking oil spray first so it doesn’t stick) and seal on all sides. Cook for 20 minutes then remove foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking. The lasagne is done when it is golden and bubbled on the top, including the center. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Lasagne

Enjoy!!

Let’s Make Some Blueberry Hand Pies

I have always struggled with baking. I believe it’s because although I had the desire, I didn’t have the  knowledge to create delicious baked goods. Thank heavens for technology! You can watch a You Tube video on how to do or make anything.

Several years ago, I discovered Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen, which really helped take my kitchen skills to a new level. Have you seen their television shows on PBS? If not, you should check it out. They’re amazing. I still struggled in the baking arena, though. Then I began using King Arthur Flour and visited their website (http://www.kingarthurflour.com) to take a look at their recipes. It is now my go-to website for baking. Not only do they have hundreds of great recipes but they have video’s, too! Through their website, I’ve learned how to make a sourdough starter, french bread, and now Blueberry Hand Pies!

Let’s Get Baking!

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Blueberry filling

 

What’s a hand pie? Well, I wondered the same thing. It’s just like a turnover, except its square. And, it’s like a pie except it fits into your hand so it’s easy to eat. These hand pies are about 3 1/2″ inches square.

I decided to make the filling first, so it would have plenty of time to cool off. The crust took a little longer than I expected. It’s summer here and my kitchen is usually around 78 degrees or more if I’ve been cooking. So, I needed to pop the pastry into the fridge frequently to keep it firm after cutting and before filling.

 

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Cooling off

 

These pies turned out even better than I expected! I was definitely looking forward to taking them to our family’s 4th of July get-together. One of the best things is that the recipe only made 8, so there wouldn’t be lots of leftover temptations!

 

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Ready!

 

I would definitely recommend this recipe. If a baking-challenged person like me can make them, you can, too! They were a real hit with my family, especially my granddaughter. She loved the blueberry filling.

 

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Delicious!

 

Head here to get the recipe: Recipe or view it step-by-step on their blog: Here. This post is in no way affiliated or supported by King Arthur Flour, I just happen to love their website and products!

Life Sure Gets in the Way! What I Have Been Up To…

I’ve been preoccupied for the last week or so with school work, specifically finishing up my final projects for class. In case you didn’t know, I’m an online college student. Next week is the beginning of my last semester! You have no idea how excited I am about finishing my BA in Early Childhood Development. It feels like it’s been forever since I decided to return to college but I can say this journey has been life changing, in a really good way.

Guess What? Our Steam Oven Finally Works!

The big news in my household is that after over a year we have a working steam oven! Mind you, I have zero experience with steam ovens. Actually, this is a convection steam oven. When we were doing our kitchen remodel (HERE), I saw the Thermador steam oven in a few kitchen galleries. I was told that the convection steam oven could do everything a microwave could do except reheat coffee and pop popcorn.

From the beginning, the convection steam oven was a lesson in frustration. Every time I tried to use the steam only function it never seemed to work right. Everything else about the oven worked fine, so I assumed I was doing something wrong. I got distracted with life, and it wasn’t until March that I realized that the oven, and not me, were the issue. After many twists and turns, including having the oven replaced with a new one, we found out that the electricians had not followed the electrical specs and the issue was the wiring to the oven.

I can finally say that steam ovens ARE amazing! Most restaurants utilize steam ovens in their kitchens. Often, they prepare much of their meals ahead of time and use steam ovens to reheat the food when it’s ordered. Steam ovens are able to reheat foods so that the food tastes freshly made. We have used it a number of times in the last week and love the results! I will definitely be sharing some steam oven recipes and experiences with you in the coming months.

Back to the 80s!

I took a little time out from schoolwork on Sunday and Monday for an out-of-town concert at Vino Robles in Paso Robles, CA. We went with my sister and her husband. It was a blast back to the 80s (at least for me, further back for some others) with Don Felder, from The Eagles, REO Speedwagon, and Styx. Here are a few photos we took:

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My hubby and I with my sis and her hubby
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Don Felder from The Eagles
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Styx was amazing!
It’s What’s For Dinner

Since I discovered that most corn tortillas have no sodium, I have been making more Mexican food. Tonight, it was Beef Taquitos (baked!) and the night before it was Chicken Tacos. I’ve already gone through a container of Mrs. Dash’s Fiesta Lime Seasoning. Pasta is another item that I discovered has no sodium. So look for more pasta recipes in the following weeks, along with foods from the steam oven.

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Beef Taquitos with Guacamole
It’s Time for “Worth the Splurge?” Again

I’m working on another installment of “Worth the Splurge?” I’m still trying to narrow down the possibilities on what the post will be about. Should I do it on clothing? A handbag? An appliance? Household décor? Makeup? Haircare? Put your requests in below!

Hello There and Welcome!

Welcome to The Feathered Nester

Hello there! I’m Renae…a wife, mother, grandmother, college student, and sister. I’ve been an empty nester for over 10 years now.  To say it was hard adapting would have been a major understatement. I’d spent most of my adult like as a mom, always on the go, doing for others, and putting myself last. Now that our girls are grown, married, and mothering their own children, we have the time and means to really enjoy life and put ourselves first.

More About Me

I enjoy cooking a delicious meal  while sipping a glass of wine and visiting warm, tropical islands. I’m not really into fashion, but I have a weakness for Louis Vuitton handbags. When I want to relax, I reach for my Kindle. I’ve almost completed my BA in Early Childhood Development. Did I say I love children? Well, I do. I have three darling test subjects who are perfect for my school assignments. My grandkids: Mason is 2 1/2, Dillon is 2, and Makenna is 7 months.

Hummm…Let’s see…

I really enjoy people. Getting to know them, sharing ideas, getting feedback, and learning from one another. My blog will focus on things I am passionate about: food & wine, travel, family, home, and style! So, take a look around (the menu bar of my topics is above) and let me know what you think.

Tell me a little about yourself below. Follow my blog, just enter your email address to the right.