bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Secret to a Crispy Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I recently tried making pizza with a cauliflower crust.  The flavor was really good, but the crust turned out a bit soggy.  Not a huge deal - we just ate it with a fork.  But, I wanted to see if I could get it a bit crisper and make a cauliflower crust that could actually be picked up.

Yes, it is possible.  Here are three things that I think made all the difference:
  1. Be sure to remove as much moisture from the cauliflower as possible.
    Steaming the cauliflower works better than boiling it, because there isn't as much water in the cauliflower to begin with.  Whichever way you cook it, be sure to drain it thoroughly and then use a cotton towel or several paper towels and squeeze as much liquid out of the cooked cauliflower as you can get.
  2. Use a pizza stone.
    The bottom crisps up better, and the crust seems to cook faster.  On the baking sheet, I think we should have cooked it longer than 15 minutes to brown better before we added the toppings.  On the pizza stone, it only needed about 12 minutes.  You will need to pat the crust out onto parchment paper so you can slide it onto the hot pizza stone in the oven, and so you can easily slide it out when it's time to add the toppings and remove the cooked pizza.
  3. Cool on a wire rack.
    This might be the most important one.  When you slide the pizza out of the oven and off the pizza stone, it will be nicely browned and crisp.  However, if you leave your pizza on a cutting board to cool slightly before cutting, it will begin to steam and get soggy in the middle.  I noticed mine was doing this and actually slid it back onto my hot pizza stone to crisp back up, then I put it onto a wire rack to cool, still on the parchment.  All that moisture then went down through the rack and onto the counter underneath, and my pizza was not sitting in it.
The result?  Nice crispy crust that we could pick up!

I was just going to have you visit my first cauliflower crust pizza post to get the recipe, but it will be easier just to have it here.  I updated it to reflect the changes.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
adapted from Dancing Veggies

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets, steamed, drained, and mashed
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. oregano
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the mashed cauliflower, egg, and cheeses. Add the garlic and oregano and stir well. Pat out on parchment paper to desired size and thickness.  Transfer to pizza stone and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
  3. Remove the crust from the oven and top with your favorite toppings and cheese.  We used a simple homemade pizza sauce, grilled chicken, onion, red pepper, feta, spinach, and mozzarella. 
  4. Brush or spray the edges of the crust with olive oil and then bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the cheese and crust are nicely browned.
  5. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Cut and enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chicken and Broccoli Salad Wraps

With warmer weather here, I'm always on the lookout for easy, cool meals.  I found this one in my recipe box a few weeks ago.  I don't know how long I've had it, but it had just kind of gotten lost in there, and I'd never tried it before. 

Thankfully I pulled it out this time, because this makes a great summer dinner.  I used chicken breasts I grilled on my George Foreman grill, but this would also be good with leftover rotisserie chicken.

Chicken And Broccoli Salad Wraps
adapted from an Azteca recipe

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 T chopped green onions
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 3/4 cup Miracle Whip or salad dressing
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • Cheese
  1. Add about 1 inch of water to a saucepan; bring to boiling.  Add broccoli and cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl combine broccoli and all remaining ingredients except tortillas and cheese; toss lightly. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. 
  3. To serve, spoon filling onto tortillas, top with shredded cheese, and wrap or roll up tortilla to enclose filling. Enjoy!

Makes 6 wraps.

I made some Lemon Spaghetti Salad to go with this, which was really good.  It also makes a good lunch (or dinner) with just some carrot and celery sticks on the side.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lemon Spaghetti Salad

I've made this salad a few times now.  It's very simple and makes a great side dish.  I really like it with these stuffed chicken breasts.  The original recipe uses  a 1 pound package of spaghetti, but I have cut it in half because that makes enough for 2 or 3 meals, since there are just the two of us.  I think it would be a great potluck offering, and in that case, I'd say go ahead and double this recipe.  You'll be able to feed a crowd.

Lemon Spaghetti Salad
from RockRecipes.com

  • 8 oz. dry spaghetti (or angel hair)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 T chopped fresh basil (fresh mint or tarragon can also be used)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Break pasta in half and cook in salted water according to package directions; drain.
  2. Whisk together the remaining ingredients to make the dressing, and then toss together with the cooked spaghetti.
  3. Serve hot or cold.

The original recipe calls for freshly grated Parmesan, which would probably make this even better. Unfortunately, all I usually have is the kind of Parmesan that comes in the green can - but that works pretty well, too.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pizza with a Caulilflower Crust

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month was Dancing Veggies, a blog with a focus on healthy, simple, and quick vegetarian dishes on a budget.  Amanda started cooking in high school when her mother declined to fix special meals for her.  If she wanted to eat differently from the rest of the family, Amanda would need to cook her own food.  Smart mom!   

While we don't eat a vegetarian diet - my husband would complain loudly if he didn't get his meat! - I think adding more veggies to our diet will always be a good thing.  Amanda's blog is a wonderful resource full of interesting and tasty vegetarian recipes I will definitely be trying out in the future.   A couple that caught my eye were the Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese and these Twice Baked Potatoes – Samosa Style.  We did make a version of the grilled cheese, which was super yummy, but when my son mentioned that he'd been wanting to try a cauliflower pizza crust, I decided to check to see if Amanda had one on her blog.  Yes, she did, so we worked together and made an amazing pizza with a cauliflower crust.  We did add chicken to our pizza, so it wasn't vegetarian, but I think it would have been just as good without it.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
adapted from Dancing Veggies

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets, steamed and mashed
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. oregano
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the mashed cauliflower, egg, and cheeses. Add the garlic and oregano and stir well. Pat into the bottom of a pizza pan or cookie sheet; bake for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove the crust from the oven and top with your favorite toppings and cheese.  We used a simple homemade pizza sauce, grilled chicken, onion, red pepper, feta, spinach, and mozzarella. 
  4. Brush the edges of the crust with olive oil and then bake for an additional 15 minutes (or longer), until the cheese and crust are nicely browned.

The flavor of this crust is absolutely amazing!  All that garlic!  Great call, Amanda.

 It's so good my son said he was going to marry this pizza.  We are already thinking of ways to improve it, though.  We were in a hurry, so we didn't remove enough of the moisture from the cauliflower after steaming it.  Some recipes mention squeezing it out in a dish towel.  I don't know that we'll go to that extreme, but the crust did have a little more moisture than we liked, so we'll take that extra step of draining it thoroughly, at least, next time.  Also, we cooked it on a cookie sheet with parchment paper - instead of on the pizza stone that I have right there in my oven.  So, I will be using the pizza stone next time, and maybe cooking the crust a bit longer before adding the toppings.  We're hoping those little tweaks will get the crust just a bit crisper on the bottom.

This is definitely a recipe I will be using again.  I'm so glad my son was wanting to try it and willing to help me.

Update:  I tweaked it a bit and we had cauliflower crust pizza you can pick up and eat!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Simple Pizza Sauce

In the past, when I wanted to make a pizza, I would usually just open a jar of spaghetti sauce and use some of that for my pizza sauce.  It's pretty much the same thing, right?  Of course, I never needed the whole jar of sauce for a couple of pizzas, so we'd always have to have spaghetti later in the week.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but...

Recently I started making this super simple pizza sauce.  The original recipe called for a larger can of tomato sauce, but I find that an 8-oz. can makes just the perfect amount for 2 pizzas - which is what I usually make if I'm making pizza.  So, it's perfect.  And the flavor is pretty good, too.

Simple Pizza Sauce
from closetcooking

  • 1 tsp. olive oil.
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a sauce pan.
  2. Add the garlic and and oregano, and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add tomato sauce and simmer until it thickens, about 10-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I'm also a huge fan of the garlic sauce from the Chicken Garlic Pizza, which might be why I use just as much garlic in this sauce as the original recipe, with only half as much tomato sauce.  If you're not as big a fan of garlic, simply adjust. 

Between the two sauces, there are all kinds of pizza options.  How about you?  Do you have a favorite pizza sauce?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mediterranean Tuna Noodle Skillet

I made this for dinner the other night. It's a tasty twist on a tuna noodle casserole.

Mediterranean Tuna Noodle Skillet
from Mueller's Pasta

  • 1 T oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 8 ounces noodles, uncooked
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-1/4 cups water 
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can tuna (5 oz.) in water, drained
  • 1 jar (7.5 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, liquid reserved, chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until onion starts to soften, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in dry noodles, tomatoes, water, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add tuna, artichokes and reserved liquid to noodles; toss together and heat until hot. Top with cheese and sprinkle with additional Italian seasoning.

I do not usually buy artichokes, but I bought a large jar a while back with the intent to try making some Spinach Artichoke Dip.  We always love it at Applebee's, and I figured it was worth trying at home.  So far I haven't tried the dip, but I decided to open the jar for this tuna skillet.  So... I'm not sure exactly on the measurements.  I measured out about a cup of artichokes, cut them up, and then added liquid to make 8 ounces.  That being said, artichokes may have to become a staple in my pantry because I really liked the flavor they added to this dish.

The leftovers heated up really well, too.  This is definitely something to make again.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Southwestern Black Bean and Barley Salad

I've had a thing for barley recently, and really love this Curried Chicken and Barley Salad, though my husband mentioned that he isn't a huge fan, so I went looking for another kind.  I came across this one on Pinterest and just had to try it.  I'm a huge fan of all these flavors together, so I'm hoping he'll be liking it too.  Now that the weather has started to warm up, I need some good salads to serve for dinner - instead of the soups I rely on in the winter months.

I made this to take for a potluck, so I haven't done much more than just taste it - to adjust for seasonings, of course - but the couple bites I had were amazing.  So good!

Southwestern Black Bean and Barley Salad
adapted from BetterRecipes

  • 3 cups cooked pearled barley
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn, rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced small
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded & finely chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Juice & zest of 1/2 Lime
  1. Toss cooked barley, diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, red pepper, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro in large bowl, 
  2. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder. Add lime zest and juice and mix thoroughly.
  3. Taste and add more salt as needed. Refrigerate.

I used more barley than the original recipe called for.  Did I mention that I'm a huge fan?  I also used garlic powder and salt instead of garlic salt - mainly because I couldn't find the garlic salt when I looked for it.  I didn't think it needed any additional salt when I tasted it, but it's still a good idea to taste it and adjust according to your tastes.  I'm thinking this will be really good served with some tortilla chips, for some crunch and a little added salt.  Also, I bet this would be great wrapped up in a tortilla. With avocado.

Serve with some grilled chicken - with taco seasoning - maybe?  So many options.  He better like this stuff.

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