Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Parmesan Breadsticks and Pizza Dough

Cheesy Parmesan Breadsticks from Pizza Dough.....
Homemade Pizza and breadsticks.....a great Monday night quickie dinner! 
I used this recipe to make some pizza tonight at home. I had some leftover Parmesan cheese from making chicken alfredo the other night. It is great on breadsticks too. So I used half of the recipe for a medium sized pizza for the hubs and I, and the other half I made some mini breadsticks that will will go great with some cream of broccoli soup tomorrow. (that's not sayin they will last till tomorrow!) tee hee....
Gather your ingredients, start with WARM water to sprinkle the packet of yeast into.  

These are the things I put on top of my cheesy-garlic Parmesan breadsticks! I keep Parmesan in the freezer in the baggie it comes in. I bring it out when needed and that way it is always fresh. It is GREAT on Italian green salads and also in pasta dishes of any sort! 

I just LOVE these little Skookie cast-iron pans I got for my birthday a few years back from my son Jeff and daughter-in-law Wendy. They are perfect for individual pan pizzas!  WOOT! Here is a link for the pans HERE.

Added the sauce and then topped with cheese.....easy peasy.....

Homemade Pizzas and breadsticks ......make it tonight! 
The Weekday Chef loves breads. It's sadly, my downfall. And Pizza and buttery breadsticks are kind of the devil. (stupid buttery morsels of delight....stupid things....) sounds of sniffing....

Here is the recipe. It is from Jamie Cooks it UP! (I love her!)

1 C warm water
1 T sugar
1 T yeast (I use Active Dry Yeast)
1 t salt
3 T vegetable or canola oil
2 1/2 – 3 C flour

I just pour a cup of warm water in my mixer and then dump in the yeast and then sugar and leave them to bubble up for 5 minutes while I gathered the pizza ingredients. Then I added the teaspoon salt and 3 Tablespoons of oil. (Olive oil works great too) and added 2 cups of flour slowly and then about 2 3/4 when it was about done. Just add enough so it isn't sticky anymore and pulls away from the pan. 
Roll out the pizza dough onto a pizza stone brushed with oil. 
Breadsticks from Pizza Dough...I let them rise a little before baking.....then I painted melted butter on them with a silicone soft brush and topped them with Parmesan Cheese and Johnny's Garlic Salt Mixture.

 I used a little more than half of the dough on my pizza stone and rolled it out and then let it set while I grated the cheese. Then I used the other half, rolled it out in a short rectangle about 1/3 of an inch thick. Then I cut rectangles, twisted them and layed them in my little mini pizza pans. They rise while the pizza is cooking. 
I add PREGO spaghetti sauce for my pizzas and top with Mozzarella cheese and pineapple bits, bacon, tomato slices and green peppers and purple onion. Sometimes I add mushrooms and olives too if we have them on hand. It's yummyrific! 

Homemade Pizza  and Parmesan Breadsticks made from a really EASY PEASY Pizza Dough! 

Add favorite toppings to pizza and cook at 475 for 8 to 12 minutes depending on your oven. 
This is one of the easiest and quickest dinners around....homemade pizzas and breadsticks! 
Homemade Pizza dough breadsticks topped with butter and Parmesan cheese!
Maybe we'll start having pizza nights every Monday! mmmhmmm....

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Homemade Soft Pretzels,

I love those to get one of those soft pretzels from the Pretzel Shack in the mall. Their soft pretzel bites and pretzel dogs (mini pigs in a blanket) are soooooo yummy I had to try to make some at home!
Here's my yummy soft pretzels! 
They took some time but were easy to make, and VERY light and soft. 
 I found a recipe from Smitten Kitchen HERE.  She adapted her recipe from Martha Stewart's. Then I looked at 3 more recipes and read comments for about an hour. Then I looked up recipes on the Food Network and All  I chose this recipe because of all the positive comments. It is from the FOOD NETWORK. It is Alton Brown's recipe and there was also a video. The link is HERE.
Then I watched a few you tubes on pretzel making and Martha Stewart had a video too. Those are THE BEST ways to learn how to cook something! You tube videos!! I adapted this one after making it.  My recipe has a little more sugar and less salt. And I did not bake mine as long. I like them lighter and soft, not hard on the outside so I added DOUGH ENHANCER POWDER.
My dough mixed up and ready to cover.....
 Mix the warm water and sugar and then sprinkle on the yeast packet. Let it sit until it is foamy. They call that "proofing" the yeast, it will take 5 minutes. Then add the salt and melted butter and put your dough hook on your mixmaster. Add a cup of flour to start. 
Add the rest of the flour and some dough enhancer.  Knead for a few minutes.  
The Dough Enhancer makes bread softer and doughier. You can get it from Bosch bread making supply store.  They were easy and yummy and kinda fun! 
Soft Pretzels (my recipe adapted from Alton Brown)
1 package instant dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons melted BUTTER
1 teaspoon dough enhancer (optional for softer pretzels)
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
Mix, knead, let rise for an hour, then roll out and make your pretzels. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheets and bake for 6 to 7 minutes at 425 degrees.
Now we are ready to roll the pretzel dough has puffed up quite a bit....
 Always use less flour to start on any bread recipe. Then slowly add in by cupfuls.  This dough was smooth, not really very sticky at all. 

Then place dough ball in an oiled pan and cover for an hour to let it rise. Then I rolled it out on my surface.  Make a big rectangle shape. My dough was about 1/2 inch thick, maybe a little less. 
I rolled pretzel dough  into a rectangle.....
Get your pizza cutter and cut the dough down the middle, then 2 more times to make 4 sections. Then cut each section into 3 or 5 strips, depending upon how large or small you want your pretzels. 
Cut Soft Pretzel Dough into 4 sections with a pizza cutter, and then cut each section into 5  skinny make 20 pretzels.
If it is for a party I recommend the 5 strips. This will give you 20 good, 3 inch bite sized pretzels. If you do the larger (palm sized thick pretzels) 3 strips will make 12 big and soft 5 inch pretzels. 
                            Here were my ingredients....and my cute new RACHEL RAY PAN! It is oval, and orange, with a soft, rubber handle and with a pour spout. SO CUTE right? I love her stuff! I got it on sale at J. C. Pennys! Only $15 bucks and I had a 20% off coupon if I opened a charge (yes I'm a sucker for a coupon!). 

(Mix a bath of 5 cups hot water to 1/3 cup baking soda in a deep fry pan. Set on warm on stove for after pretzels are made and formed.) 
I mixed up the baking soda and water hot bath....left it on low on the stove and then formed my pretzels....
They take less than a minute each in the hot water bath...just like a bagel!
I played with my dough making all kinds of would be so fun for kids to do too! 
Roll it, flip it twice around, then turn each end up and pinch...
To roll them I made a long snake, 12 to 16 inches long, and then make make a loop, then twist it once again and take the tails and flip them up to the round loop and press them down. Then I turned each one over. 
Soft Pretzels.   That's it!  
Then drop them in the baking soda and hot water bath....just for like 45 seconds each...

Pick pretzels up with a slotted spoon and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper on it..
More playing with soft pretzel
Oh boy is this fun! I got about 3 cookie sheets full...About 20 pretzels....

Top each pretzel with a sprinkle of kosher salt before baking. (not much, or too salty!)
Sprinkled on the salt....
Then ready to bake! 
Bake in 425 oven for 5 1/2  to 71/2  minutes. Watch them as each oven is a little different. My top shelf cooked them faster than my bottom shelf too, so I had an extra minute on the lower shelf of pretzels.
Here they are just hot out of the oven....soft and yummy....If you like them hard on the outside just do an egg wash and cook them a bit longer in the oven...they will have a stiffer, smooth and chewy outside.....
Add the melted butter on with a silicone brush....
When they come out of the oven brush them with melted butter and a silicone brush. EAT! They are lightly crisp on the outside and buttery chewy inside. Yummy! The hubs loved them! He loves anything salty. 
Oh yeah....that's what I'm talkin about!  I brought them to my classroom the next day
for our little cast party....we are doing 4 little fairy tale plays....I brought O.J. to go with them...yum! 
Dip them in chili, mustard,light cream cheese with raspberry homemade jam, or cinnamon and sugar or just plain. Next time I'll try putting a 1/4 slice of hot dog inside each one and make pretzel dogs! That would go great with mustard.... mmmm.........

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Downton Abbey Premiere Party

Let's have some Downton Abbey Party Fun
I decided to make some "tea cakes" and have a dinner "viewing party" for the return of Downton Abbey Season 4 tonight. Surprisingly, the hubs is not that excited....(sounds of snickering). He's more of a football fan.
Mini Donut Maker was fun to try out! 

I got this new Mini Donut Maker for Christmas so I thought I'd put it to good use. Too bad I gave away my English chocolate bisquits  at a White Elephant gift party on New Year's Eve! That would have been a great addition!
I think the more colors and flavors of icing you have the prettier your plates of treats will be on these donuts....
I made some chocolate icing and then used a tub of lemon icing and frosted and used lots of different sprinkles. Super fun! Kids would LOVE doing mini donuts and they are really easy using the little donut maker. It's like making mini waffles. 
Little donut treats for the Downtown Abbey Premiere Party. Lemon and chocolate iced "tea cakes".

Buffet table decorations.....too bad I don't have a maid and a butler.  (whaaaa.....why don't we have maids and butlers anymore huh?) 
Butterscotch Rice Crispie Treats! I just dumped butterscotch chips on top...real imaginative they are really good! 

I cut these up and added them to the dessert plates full of donut "tea cakes". 
Cranberry Cilantro Cheese dip with chips and crackers.....This is good anytime.... My recipe is HERE at Weekday Chef.
Raspberry Spinach Salad with candied pecans.....
Cream of Broccoli Soup.....Yummy.....Check out my recipe HERE at my foodie blog.

My old English Bone China Tea Set I bought when I was 18.... and Silver place card to get them out for a centerpiece....
I have lots of decorative tea pots I put here and there....

These didn't  really "taste" like a donut, more like a cupcake with the icing. 
I had fun decorating them with all of my sugars and sprinkles! 
 Now you are gonna want to have something to do during the commercials. How about a fun BINGO GAME? Your prizes could be little English things like Macaroon cookies, Herb Teas, Chocolates, "tea towels" for the kitchen and maybe some little English Lavender soaps in cute shapes.
Downton Abbey Bingo | Paste Magazine. We are so playing this on Sunday!
Anyhoo check these Downtown Abbey Bingo Cards out HERE on Paste Magazine.I think there are 4 cards total but you could make multiple copies.

Sparkling Cider for those that like a little "bubbly"
Now you've got to have some bubbly too. I happen to like this flavor of Sparkling Cider! Cheers!

Downtown Abbey
Some really cute Tea Party and Food Printables for the party are HERE at a Night Owl.

It's fun to get a group of Downtown Abbey Addicts together for yummy food and to watch the Premiere on T.V. together. So keep calm and Abbey On!


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