DIY

DIY: Frozen French Bread Pizzas

by Shawnda on March 11, 2013

in DIY,Freezer Friendly,Hatch chiles,Pizza

Homemade Frozen French Bread Pizza

Before The Little was born, I went impressively overboard on a stock-the-freezer mission. It was part hoarding, part planning-for-the-apocalypse but I just knew I’d never ever have the time or energy to prep dinner again for the next 5+ years.

I wasn’t completely wrong.

Homemade Frozen French Bread Pizza

Most of it was your standard fare (enchiladas, pasta, soups, pizza dough, muffins, pulled pork, etc) – anything to help us feel like we had the ease of shopping in the freezer section for every meal without the calories, unpronounceable ingredients, and sodium bombs that actually come with shopping in the freezer section for every meal.

One of those “quick dinner” nights has resurfaced to become a favorite lately: Freezer French Bread Pizzas. Or as The Little refers to it, “pizza – but not circle pizza, I want long pizza.”

Homemade Frozen French Bread Pizza

Even quicker than homemade personal frozen pizzas, this one starts with a loaf of bread that someone else made. Then you bake the bread for a few minutes, top with your favorite freezer-friendly pizza toppings (no fresh tomatoes – wait ’til later for those), and freeze. My current favorite pizza: the pepperoni and hatch chile. Still.

When you’re read to eat, pop them back into the oven, adding any fresh ingredients (tomatoes go here!), and then enjoy your “long pizza” for dinner!

Freezer French Bread Pizzas

Homemade freezer french bread pizzas, healthier and fresher than store-bought pizza.

Ingredients

  • Loaf of french bread, split lengthwise and into manageable portions
  • Olive oil
  • Pizza sauce
  • Cheese
  • Toppings of choice
  • Gallon-sized freezer bags

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Place cut bread on a baking sheet (use a knife to cut and create a flat spot on the bottom of any bread piece that's wobbly).
  3. Lightly spray or brush the cut surface of the bread with olive oil and bake 7-8 minutes, until crispy and golden (but not overly browned).
  4. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Top with marinara, cheese, and freezer-friendly toppings like pepperoni, roasted peppers, etc. Save things like fresh tomatoes for topping just before and fresh basil or arugula for just after baking).
  6. Place back on the baking sheet and put in the freezer until frozen solid, 1-2 hours.
  7. Transfer the frozen pizzas to gallon zipper bags and freeze.
  8. To cook, preheat the oven to 425 and bake 12-15 minutes, until the edges of the pizza are very brown and the cheese is bubbly and melted.

Notes

Yields: Servings vary

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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DIY: English Muffins

by Shawnda on February 20, 2013

in Bread,Breakfast,DIY

Homemade English Muffins

“Dough! Are you making dough? I can have some dough?”

The clank of the mixer bowl snapping onto mixer sends The Little running to the kitchen from anywhere inside our fence line. She has always had super Spidey hearing. When she was a newborn, the sound of milk pouring over my cereal downstairs in the kitchen would be enough to wake her from a nap upstairs. Every single time.

Unless we’re talking about cracking eggs or making pizza/bread dough, she’s not overly interested in helping in the kitchen. And this is what it usually looks like when I ask “Do you want to help Mommy measure the flour/cut cookies/do anything else besides eat raw bread dough or crack a couple of eggs?”

do not pin

Lately, she’d rather paint or draw. Or wear a princess fairy dress.

It’s like we’re barely related some days :)

But the promise of a pinch or two of bread dough can cut a tantrum short and get my scattered toy mess of a living room picked up in no time. So we’re making a lot of bread lately.

King

English muffins are one of those bread things that are plenty easy enough to drop into your cart at the store but are so much more delicious when made at home, you just need to find a couple of hours on a weekend to let the dough rise and then some hands-on shaping and cooking time.

Just be warned – after eating Eggs Benedict or a breakfast sandwich on homemade English muffins, the store-bought variety will never even come close to living up to them. Even when drowned in all that magical Hollandaise sauce.

Need help deciding what to do with all those English muffins? We clearly vote for Eggs Benedict:

Eggs Oscar Eggs Trivette Eggs Benedict Burger King Crab Eggs Benedict Eggs Benedict Chipotle Hollandaise Sauce Buttermilk pancakes Eggs Spin-edict

Or this beauty that’s coming soon to a blog near you:

Homemade English Muffins

English muffins couldn't be easier to make and taste so much better than their store-bought counterpart.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups lukewarm milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) yeast
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • Oil for bowl and hands
  • Cornmeal for pans

Instructions

  1. Place milk in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and sprinkle yeast over top.
  2. Let sit for 10 minutes and then add the butter, salt, sugar, egg, and flour.
  3. Mix on low until the flour is incorporated and then switch to medium and beat for 5 minutes - dough will be very soft and sticky.
  4. Scrape dough out into an oiled bowl and cover, letting rise for ~2 hours.
  5. Keeping your hands well oiled to prevent the dough from sticking, pinch golf ball sized pieces of dough off (2 oz, if you have a kitchen scale), form a ball, and place on a griddle pan that is generously dusted with cornmeal.
  6. Lightly press down on the balls once on the pan (I could fit 8-10 on my griddle and then I put the remainder on a baking sheet to cook in two batches).
  7. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Turn burner or grill to medium low and cook until golden brown, ~12 minutes on each side. (If they brown too quickly, reduce the heat.)
  9. Carefully transfer the second batch to the griddle so as not to deflate them and cook until done.
  10. Let cool completely on a rack before splitting open with a fork.
  11. Muffins will keep fresh on the counter a few days and freeze well.

Notes

Yields: 16 muffins

Slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

Estimated time: 3 hours

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White Chocolate-Peppermint Chunk Cookies

It’s a cookie hangover kind of Monday.

Yesterday I took 6 dozen cookies to a cookie exchange… and came home with 6 dozen different cookies. Chocolate-covered cherry cookies, chocolate-peppermint sandwich cookies, peanut butter truffles, chocolate-ginger cookies, cinnamon-chocolate chip…

In between baking and packaging up 6 dozen cookies and the tummy full of deliciously sweet shame that I have now – bottomless glasses of Prosecco. We kind of know how to party. And by kind of, I mean our hostess is a rockstar.

My contribution this year was White Chocolate-Peppermint Chunk Cookies from Pink Parsley. I couldn’t find the Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips that she used (but there was plenty of the regular chocolate & green mint kinds everywhere), so I made my own with white chocolate baking chips, crushed peppermint, and peppermint extract.

White Chocolate-Peppermint Chunk Cookies

The resulting chunks were creamy but still had little crunchy bits of candy in them. Folded into a chocolate chip cookie dough base, they made a deliciously chewy and festive cookie perfect for a boozy cookie exchange.

White Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies

A festive, chewy cookie studded with white chocolate peppermint chunks.

Ingredients

  • For the white chocolate peppermint chunks:
  • 12 oz bag white chocolate baking chips
  • 16 peppermint candies, unwrapped
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • For the cookies:
  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups white chocolate peppermint chunks

Instructions

  1. Line a dinner plate or small tray with plastic wrap.
  2. Finely crush/grind the peppermint candies until most of the candies are very small pieces.
  3. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl and microwave at 70% power for 1 minute.
  4. Stir and microwave another 30-60 seconds until smooth.
  5. Add the crushed peppermint and give a few stirs.
  6. Sprinkle the peppermint extract over top and give it a few more folds - your texture is going to go from flowy to something that looks feels more like buttercream frosting.
  7. Transfer the white chocolate mixture to the prepared plate and use a spoon to spread it around to an even thickness.
  8. Lay another piece of plastic wrap on top and use your hands to smooth and spread the white chocolate.
  9. Refrigerate ~15 minutes until solid.
  10. Turn the white chocolate disk out onto a cutting board and cut into small chunks.
  11. Preheat the oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.
  12. Stir flour, salt, and baking soda together and set aside.
  13. Beat butter and sugars together on medium-high 1-2 minutes until mixed (I usually just let the mixer run while I'm gathering and measuring out dry ingredients and such).
  14. Scrape down the sides and add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until uniform.
  15. Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
  16. Add the white chocolate chunks and let the mixer run a few more seconds until incorporated.
  17. Drop heaping tablespoons onto the prepared pan and bake ~18 minutes until the edges begin to brown, rotating sheets halfway through.
  18. Let cool on the baking sheet and transfer to an airtight container for storage.

Notes

Yields: ~20 cookies

Slightly adapted from Pink Parsley

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Homemade Pecan Pumpkin Butter

by Shawnda on September 19, 2012

in Condiments,DIY,Pumpkin

Updated from the archives.
Homemade Pecan Pumpkin Butter

No trip to the mall is complete without a 20-minute detour into the shiny, overpriced gourmet kitchen store. We like to slowly creep along the aisles, ooohing over fancy salts, aaahing over delicious oils and gourmet chocolates, and shaking our head disapprovingly at $100 pairing knives.

Six (!) years ago, we bought our first few jars of Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter at that shiny store and used it for holiday baking. If you’ve never had it, you’re missing out. It. Is. Terrific. It’s good in pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls (stay tuned!) as pumpkin pie filling, and on brie. Oh my goodness, the brie (slather it on a wheel of baked brie, add walnuts or pecans, wrap it in puff pastry and devour).

And I’m not the only fan! But at $12 for less than 2 cups, it’s a wee bit cost-prohibitive to load up on it for a marathon baking session or to just stand there and eat it with a spoon (a serving suggestion that I highly recommend).

Homemade Pecan Pumpkin Butter

The ingredients which make up the store-bought pumpkin butter couldn’t be easier to obtain: pumpkin, pecans, sugar, lemon juice, and spices.

5 years ago, I whipped up my first batch of homemade pecan pumpkin butter based (mostly) on those ingredients and took a pretty unattractive picture (photographing brown food sucks) and posted it to the internet. Because every year around this time it becomes one of the top recipes on the blog, I decided that bowl of brown stuff needed a new photo. So here’s a new picture. Of a jar of brown stuff :)

Pecan Pumpkin Butter

A homemade version of the gourmet kitchen store favorite, fragrant and flavorful pecan pumpkin butter.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 15 oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg*
  • 1/4 tsp allspice*
  • 1/8 tsp cloves*
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger*
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Can replace with 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and roast for 7 minutes, until browned and fragrant.
  3. Run the pecans through the food processor until finely ground - they'll start to take on a pasty consistency (pecan butter!).
  4. In a 2-qt sauce pan over medium heat, combine the citrus zests and juices and dark brown sugar. Stir until warmed. Add pumpkin, nuts, and spices and reduce heat to low, simmering for 20
  5. Turn heat down to low, simmering for 20-30 minutes, until thickened and the color darkens.
  6. Stir and taste for seasoning and sweetness occasionally, adding additional spices as necessary.
  7. The pumpkin butter will keep 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Notes

Yields: ~2 cups

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 40 minutes

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