Wednesday, August 25, 2010


(Here's the finished product)

Here is a picture from family night some years back..   made a lot of varieties of pizza.. 

Ingredients for dough:
2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 pkg. dry yeast
5 - 6 cups all purpose flour

Ingredients for toppings:
2 - 15 oz. jars or cans of pizza sauce
Garlic salt
Parmesan cheese
4 - 8 oz. shredded mozzarella
1/2 pound pepperoni
1 - 4 oz. can drained mushrooms
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Any other topping you like, including sausage, bacon, ham, olives, chopped tomatoes, pepper rings or jalapenos  (use your imagination)

Place the lukewarm water in a very large bowl (preferably one that is microwavable). Add sugar, salt, and oil and stir to mix...sprinkle dry yeast on top and let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir yeast until completely dissolved and allow mixture to stand in a warm place for another 5 minutes.

Add the first 3 cups to the water/yeast mixture and stir until all the flour disappears. Let sit until bubbles appear on top of the mixture, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, add the rest of the flour until the dough becomes a little more like a big lump of dough.. On a lightly floured bowl, dump out all the dough and with clean, floured hands begin to knead the dough until it becomes a shiny, smooth consistency and a little more elastic. Add a little more flour, if needed, and be sure the dough is not sticking to your fingers. Add oil to the bowl and place the dough into the bowl, turning it once so that the dough is coated in the oil.

To activate the rising process, place the covered bowl (with kitchen towel) into the microwave. Set it for 5 minutes and if your levels are from 1 to 10 for cooking, set it for No. 1 (which is even below the defrost level). This will start the dough to rise without beginning to bake it. Let it sit in microwave until double in size (which usually takes an hour). Punch the dough down and knead a couple of times back into a ball, and replace it into the greased bowl, cover and let sit in a warm place until double again.

In the meantime, prepare  four pans by oiling them lightly and setting aside. This would be a good time to chop your vegetables, if that is what you're putting on your pizza,  and get the cheeses, sauce, and everything else  ready to go.

After it has doubled for the second time, now separate into four  balls, and keep them covered with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.  Put the first ball onto the floured table and flatten out with the palm of your hand and stretch it and turn it and stretch it again until it starts taking shape. You may also use a rolling pin, if you feel you need to in order to get it to the thickness you want. Quickly place the dough onto the greased pan and with your fingertips, continue to stretch and push the dough to the edges of the pan, making a rim so the sauce will not go over.

With a medium-sized spoon, spread the pizza sauce evenly until it covers out to the edges. At this time, I sprinkle parmesan cheese and a little garlic salt all around the crust area. This adds a nice flavor to the crust when it is baked. Sprinkle mozarella/Italian shredded cheese evenly and then build your pizza as mentioned above.

The oven should be preheated to 450 degrees. When it is ready, and your pizzas are all complete, put them in and check after about 10 may want to alternate the one on the top rack to the bottom and vice versa. I usually bake 2 pizzas at a time and watch very carefully so the bottoms do not burn. Total baking time for each pizza should be around 20 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the crust and the amount of toppings it has. The ones with all the vegetables sometimes takes a little longer. The main thing is, you should keep an eye on them and stay close to your oven. The crust should be golden brown and the cheese all melted and bubbly before removing.

(Before baking)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


   One thing about planning lunches and snacks for your child to take to school is that you need to make it nutritious, appealing, and yummy all at the same time.   Believe me, that’s really not that hard to do.  It’s all in your attitude.    When the children are little, (that’s between Kindergarten and Middle School), you can basically talk them into anything.    Now, it  gets a little harder when they move up to the High School years, and by then, they may very well be buying their lunches at school.   So, until then, here’s some tips and ideas.

      Nutritious----- This includes a well-balanced lunch with  all the major food groups   (protein, fruit, vegetable and grains).

            Here are some ideas for protein:  peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,  crackers and peanut butter, crackers and cheese slices, snack packs of  creamy cheese with crackers and even a little spreader,  beef sticks,  and string cheese.
    The fruits:  apples, pears, bananas as well as grapes, sliced oranges and melons in sealable plastic bags,  boxed raisins,  and gelatins with fruit/or without.  Don’t forget the ‘chewy’ fruit snacks.  A lot of them are filled with sugar, but there are some that are 100% fruit.
    Vegetables: carrots, sliced cucumbers, sugar peas, sliced red and green peppers along with the little disposable dip containers.
    Potato chips, pretzels, cheese puffs, and so many other salty snacks are readily available to take in the lunch bag or box  too.
    There are varieties of sweet  nutritional snacks that can be purchased in take-along bags such as:  cookies, graham crackers, grain bars with fruit and granola bars.
    And the drinks seem to be limitless:  pouches, boxes and even the yogurt drinks come in a variety of flavors and sizes.
    Boy, my kids would have thought they died and went to heaven with these lunches.  Believe me, I had to use much more imagination back then since I was making up to five lunches a day.
    I hope this gives you a little insight into planning these special meals for your children.  They’re out of your sight for a good portion of the day, and you still want to be able to have some input into their eating habits.  (And yes, I do know about trading lunches… but you just have to trust that  you’ll make them so great that they won’t even want to trade).
    How about the meals that greet them after school?    Here are a few ideas with recipes that are good “meals to come home to.”


1 pound of your choice of pasta
1 pound ground beef
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 medium onion (chopped)
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
Garlic salt
Black pepper
In a large pot, boil water to cook the pasta. When it is done, drain, rinse and set aside.
In a medium frying pan, brown the ground beef and chopped onions until lighty browned and drain the fat. Add enough water to cover the meat and let simmer for at least 20 minutes on low to tenderize.
Add the meat/onion mixture to the pasta along with the 2 cans of soup, 1 can of milk, 1 teaspoon garlic salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix carefully until blended. Pour into a greased rectangular baking dish. Cover with shredded cheese and a little parmesan cheese.
Bake in 350 degree oven uncovered for 15 minutes, then cover with foil tightly, turn down to 250 degrees and bake for an additional 25 minutes until bubbly. Turn off oven and keep warm until you serve.

3# Ground beef (preferably chuck)
1# pasta - your choice (spaghetti, rigatoni,  shells)
Large (29 oz.) can tomato puree
Large (29 oz.) can tomato sauce
12 oz. can tomato paste
2 T. garlic salt
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
Or a combination Italian seasoning may be used
8 oz. can parmesan cheese

Cook pasta during this process, drain  and set aside until needed. In a large (6 - 8 quart) stockpot, empty all tomato sauces and pastes. Rinse out the cans of puree and sauce with water (about half way)...with the tomato paste can...rinse out with 3 cans of water  getting all the paste still inside.  Mix all sauces until smooth.  Add 2 tablespoons garlic salt, the black pepper, and the oregano and basil. (When adding the oregano and basil, put into the palm of your hand and rub between palms This releases the flavors.) Also add about 1/2 of the parmesan cheese into the sauce and stir...Cook on medium heat about 2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. 
While the sauce is slightly bubbling and boiling, roll ground beef into meatballs (whatever size you like) and drop them  "RAW" into the sauce. DO NOT STIR AT ALL YET! This will cause the meatballs to crumble. Wait for at least 30 minutes and stir very, very carefully. Turn your heat to low and cover with lid and allow to simmer at least 2 more hours (stirring occasionally). Remove lid and cook 1 to 2 more hours and allow to thicken. (This will help you decide as you look at the sauce, if you want it thicker). At this point, you may want to taste the sauce to see if you want or need any more garlic salt or even more parmesan (this is one of the secrets of its unique flavor). 
Pour sauce over the already cooked and cooled  pasta and place the meatballs on top and lightly toss, mixing the sauce throughout. Keep this on warm on your stove top with lid on (or in warm oven)  and let sit at least another 30 minutes  because the sauce needs to soak into the pasta. Sprinkle  with parmesan cheese and serve with warm garlic, parmesan bread.

1 package English muffins (split to make 12) or however many you need.
Jar of  Italian sauce
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, peppers

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Split the English muffins and place inside up on a cookie sheet. Put into oven for 5 minutes. Remove and then spread sauce evenly on top and make them with whatever toppings you like. Cheeses first,  then toppings. Browning them a bit first before you top them helps them keep the sauce from soaking into the muffin.

Bake in oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until nicely browned and crunchy and cheese melted and bubbly.
For a switch, make mini pizzas out of pita bread. Much lower in carbohydrates and in fat and you have a nice mini pizza to enjoy.

Well, good luck and have fun and enjoy these years, believe me, they go by much faster than you could ever imagine.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Whenever I make wings, I bake them in the oven instead of frying.   My family loves them and I hope you will too.

4# or 5# bag disjointed chicken wings (small better)
Garlic Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley, seasoned salt, seasoned pepper (anything you like)
Hot sauce
Cooking Spray (Pam)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a VERY large cookie sheet, using a spray, lightly cover the pan  and then place all the
chicken wings leaving little space between each. Lightly spray the wings with the spray so seasonings will stick and
wings will crunch better.
According to your taste, sprinkle desired seasonings on top of the wings. I prefer seasoned pepper, garlic salt,  crushed
 parsley leaves, a touch of cayenne pepper and anything else I have in the cupboard.  Do your own thing--experiment!

Bake in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Check them periodically to be sure they are beginning to brown. 
Bake an additional 30 minutes, at which time, you remove the pan and using a metal spatula loosen the wings and turn them over.
Return the pan to the oven for another 30 minutes. This is where the eye is better to discern than the clock. The wings should
begin to look crunchy and brown on top as well as bottom. IF NEEDED, turn them over again and return to the oven when
 you know they are just about ready and put the broiler on (WATCHING CAREFULLY) and brown the tops of the wings.

You may need to use the metal spatula again to remove them. Place them on another cookie sheet and cover with paper
 towels to absorb the grease. Although these are still high in fat, you do NOT have the additional fat that they are normally
 fried in.
(Place in a microwave-save bowl and toss
them to get the flavor you desire.)
If you desire to have a sauce to dip them in, mix about 6 – 10 ounces of a Louisiana  hot sauce along with 1 stick of melted  margarine. Heat together in the microwave and stir... You may pour this on top of your wings or use the sauce to dip them  into. Either way... or just plain... you will have the best tasting "low fat" wings ever. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I always made scalloped potatoes and added leftover ham before I found this recipe.  It is really very tasty and not so hard to make.  I hope you enjoy it.


    1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced, about 4 to 5 cups
    2 cups diced ham
    4 tablespoons butter
     1/2 cup chopped onion
     1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
     1/4 cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper
     3 tablespoons flour
    2 cups milk
      1/8 teaspoon pepper
    2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
     salt, to taste (if ham is salty, cut back on salt)
    1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish (or 2 9x9 inch dishes) Heat oven to 325°.

(Dice ham before hand)

In a large saucepan, melt butter; add onion and celery and sauté until tender. Add bell pepper and sauté for 1 minute longer. 

Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Add seasonings and salt, to taste.  Continue cooking, stirring, until thickened. 

Add sliced potatoes and diced ham and stir to combine. 


Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish. 
(Cheese is added after it's baked and potatoes are tender.)

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer, or until potatoes are tender. 
Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of the casserole and bake
 for a few minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.
(Finished product on top).

Great flavor...  I make one 9x9 pan and share the other with a friend.