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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Homemade Fresh Pizza for less than Delivery or Carryout!

So we live in a small town where the only fast food place is a gas station, I was joking with my husband that we should open a pizza place since there is no Pizza Hut or Papa Johns. I took my joke to a new level when I decided to make my first ever homemade pizza from scratch. HA! So I bought bread flour, yeast quick rise, Parmesan cheese, pepperoni and cheese.

Here is my First Attempt at Pizza Dough Recipe
Pizza Dough: (This is a thick crust)

2 and 3/4 cups of bread flour
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 pinch of salt

(* Parmesan Cheese is optional, you can use 3 cups of bread flour instead)

In a large bowl mix the following:
1 cup of warm water
1pkg of yeast fast/quick rise
1 tablespoon of oil (I used vegetable all I had)
1 teaspoon of honey
 Stir to combine and let it sit 5-6 minutes

 Slowly mix the flour combo into the liquid I would suggest 1 cup at a time until it is smooth but slightly sticky. You won't use all the flour mixture. Turn it out onto a floured surface and kneed for about 3-5 minutes into a ball. use the remaining oil to coat another bowl and place dough into bowl and cover with saran wrap tightly. Place in a warm area to allow it to double in size. Takes about an hour.

Once it is ready, I rolled it out to fit on a 15 inch pizza plan, forming the crust around the edges like one of those fancy pizza chains. 

I used a jar of Ragu garlic and onion spaghetti sauce. I added 1 tsp of rosemary, 1 tsp of oregano, 1 tsp of basil, 1 tsp of garlic, 1 tsp of onion powder.

I then topped my pizza crust with sauce, then 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and covered it with pepperoni. I like mine extra cheesy, use less cheese if you don't

Preheated the oven to 450 and baked 10-15 minutes. Put it on 400 if you like a softer crust.

Once it was done, I melted some butter and garlic and brushed it on the crust.

Second Attempt at Pizza Dough PERFECTED!!!

2.5 cups of bread flour

In Large bowl mix the below ingredients and let it sit for like 10 minutes.

1 pkg of fast rise yeast
roughly 7-8oz of warm water
1-2 tablespoons of honey
1 tsp of salt (I did 3-4 shakes of the salt shaker)
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of oil
Spray butter for the pan

Slowly add the flour to the mix until it forms a dough. knead into a ball. Use 1 tablespoon of oil in a glass pan and spread with paper towel. Place the dough glass pan and if you have an warming zone on your stove, turn it on and place the glass bowl on the warming zone for 20-30 minute until it rises.
If you do not have a warm zone, place the dough in a warm area and let it rise for about an hour or two. Once the dough has risen, split it in half and roll out one half of the dough into a circle for your pizza pan. I use a large glass to roll out my dough. Spray the pan with butter. I rolled this one out thin and then formed the crust around the pan. Preheat your oven to 475 at this point.  You can either put the remaining dough in the fridge and use another night or roll it out for a second pizza.  It should last 3-4 days in the fridge.

Once you have the dough rolled out add the marina sauce and your toppings. 
I used Chicken and Jalapenos below

 Top with cheese

Bake on 475 for 10 minutes

1 5lb bag of bread flour was 2.00 at Food Lion (I still have pretty much the whole bag left)
1 bag of Mozzarella cheese was 2.00 at Walmart
Armour Pepproni was 2.18 at Walmart (I only used half of the package)
3 packages of yeast was 1.11 at Food Lion (still have 2 left)
Parmesan Cheese was 2.70 at Food Lion (I used just 1/2 cup)
Spaghetti Sauce was 1.28 at Walmart (I only used about 1/4 of the jar)

You could easily make 3 large pizza's for less than $4.00. It might be a little more depending on the amount of cheese you use! But look for those deals, sometimes if you buy cheese in bulk or when it is on sale, you could even save more!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Get your swag on and earn extra cash!

So last October I was looking to earn a little extra cash from home to help out with Christmas. I came across this website called swagbucks and at first I thought this was a big joke but after signing up and completing a few surveys, daily polls, and watching some videos, I quickly achieved 500 swagbucks. I redeemed the 500 swagbucks for a $5.00 gift card to Sears because before I spent my valuable time completing endless surveys I wanted to make sure I was really going to get the gift card and it would actually work. So I placed my order through the rewards store for the Sears electronic gift card and waited the 10 days for it to process and then applied the electronic gift card to my layaway at Sears and OMG IT WORKED!!!! I was a happy camper. Now I am a little addicted. LOL

I have racked up thousands of points over the past few months and I am hoping to do this all year so I can have enough to buy all of Christmas for this year 2014. They have more than just gift cards you can use your swagbucks on. You can donate to charities, gas cards, travel and music/entertainment. They also have swagstakes where you can use your swagbucks to enter drawings for even more prizes including cash, prizes and endless amounts of swagbucks.

Now your ready to Sign up! Please click here!

If you have any questions about this website and how it all works please do not hesitate to ask me.  I will do my best to help you guys out.

Zuppa Toscana Soup Silmilar to Olive Garden

I love trying to copy those famous dishes that chain restaurants almost to a point that is annoys my husband because at dinner I'll start guessing at what ingredients that used to make the dish. Then it is like a game to try to copy the dish. So here is my copy cat recipe for Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana Soup.

Items Needed:

1lb of Hot spicy Italian Sausage
2-3 Potatoes thinly sliced
2-3 cups of Kale (no stems)
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
1 cup of heavy whipping cream (I use half and half for lower fat) * increase depending on portion
3-4 cups of chicken broth + 1 cup of water or 4 chicken bouillon cubes and 5 cups of water (please vary this depending on your portion size) I made this for 2 people.
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of garlic
1 small onion or 2 tablespoons of onion powder
1 tsp of black pepper

You can either cook this in a crock pot on low for 4-6 hours or on top of your stove in a large pot. I let mine boil/cook for about an hour. I brought it to a boil for about 20 minutes then let it simmer for reminder of the time.

So delicious!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

Happy New Year from all of us! My little owl was celebrating the New Year with her father so she missed out on our photo booth, but I saved everything and tonight she will be ever so glam in the booth with her brothers. Can't wait!!!

Living in the south there are a few New Year traditions that still ring true one is you must eat black eyed peas or you are never going to have any good luck according to my grandmother.  And two cabbage better be in a pot somewhere on your stove. Most of the time I put black eyed peas in potatoes and green beans with butter and some sort of broth but this year I made it a little different. I decided since my son ate an entire jar of jalapenos that we will make them spicy! HA!

First up: Cabbage Rolls

I like my cabbage rolls in the crock pot but since we went hunting New Years Day and I didn't want to get up at 4am to make them, I decided to put them in the oven. (I will tell you, MAKE THEM IN THE CROCK POT MUCH BETTER)

Items Needed:

Head of Cabbage
1 pound of meatloaf meat (This is a blend of pork and beef usually)
Rice (cooked according to package)
1 tsp of garlic
1 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of rosemary
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of salt and pepper
** If you like your roll to appear more like meatloaf then add some breadcrumbs and a egg, I don't like mine like that so I have omitted it in this recipe.

For the Sauce:
1 jar of tomato/spaghetti sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of vinegar
1/2 cup of water mixed with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch

So first separate the cabbage leaves and boil them in hot water for 3 minutes or so.  Then cook the meat with all seasonings until brown, cook the rice according to package. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce and mix well.

In the bottom of the crock pot add about 1/4 cup of the sauce. 

Stuff each cabbage leave with meat and rice mixture and add a tsp of sauce and roll cabbage leave similar to a egg roll. I sometimes roll them in a square. and place them seam side down in the sauce. Repeat until you have completely filled the crockpot or have run out of cabbage leaves/meat.

Pour remaining sauce over the top of the cabbage rolls and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Spicy Black Eyed Peas

1 package of black eyes peas
8 oz of diced ham, you can also add bacon.
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 jar of jalapenos diced or 1-2 fresh jalapenos diced and seeded
1 small onion or use onion powder
1-2 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of black pepper
1 tsp of cumin
2 cups of broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 cups of water

You can either throw all this in a crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or in a pot on the stove and let it simmer on low-medium for a few hours.