Tuesday, April 17, 2012

7up Biscuits

I am secretly a Southern belle tapped in a Yankee working mother body.   These biscuits make me want to toss on an apron, brew some sweet tea and speak with a slow Southern drawl.  I made them at Easter and while we're fans of ham, I secretly think these biscuits stole the show.  These should be a staple at your dinner table - even if you are a Yankee.    

2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-up soda
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 450.  Cut sour cream into biscuit mix, add 7-Up. Makes a very soft dough.  Sprinkle additional biscuit mix on board or table and pat dough out. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 9 inch square pan. Place cut biscuits in pan and then flip over so they are covered on both sides with butter.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with butter, fruit preserves or honey and enjoy.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

CPK watch out because now I'm armed with homemade pizza dough and I'm dangerous.  This was a perfect alternative to the boring toppings we're all used to and it was a snap to make.  Thai chicken pizza is my next recipe to tackle! 

1 batch of homemade pizza crust (makes two med pizza)
¼ - 1/2 cup Ranch dressing or enough for a thin layer over dough
6 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 grilled chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
(Note to the perpetually rushed like me - I splurged and bought a pre-cooked breast to save time)
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
4 green onions, chopped
1 1/2  cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 500° F. Allow the stone to heat for at least 30 minutes. In the mean time, cut a round of parchment paper the size of your pizza stone. (Alternatively, use a pizza peel.) Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal or semolina flour.

Divide pizza toppings in half and to make each pie.  Here's how!

Gently roll out the pizza dough into a large circle, leaving a thicker ring around the edge for the crust. Spread the Ranch dressing in a thin layer evenly over the unbaked crust. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Top with grilled chicken, tomato and green onions. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Once assembled, carefully transfer the parchment round and pizza to the preheated baking stone and return to the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned.  Break open a beer and dig in! 

Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats

Pizza Dough

For as much as I like to cook, I've discovered that I'm not naturally inclined in the baking department.  I believe there are two cooking tribes - those who creatively like to play it fast and loose with the measurements and change it up each time and the perfectionists who revel in the exact science of weighing, measuring and creating pure magic in the oven.  The later are not my people.  I don't sift things, I don't own a kitchen scale and therefore, I've not been the most successful or ambitious baker known to mankind.  But, I've found success with homemade pizza dough using this fairly simple method.   In fact, I got so excited, I went out and purchased a pizza stone, pizza peel and built an outdoor pizza oven last night.  Just kidding on the last one.  If using traditional toppings then you must make homemade pizza sauce to pay homage to the homemade crust! 

Pizza Dough

½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Add a bit more flour if dough seems very wet and sticky after mixing for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours in a warm place.

Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Get jiggy with whatever toppings float your boat! Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

Makes 2 medium-sized pizzas or 4 calzones

Recipe from Annies Eats