bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Overnight Coffee Cake

I've been making this coffee cake for a long time.  It's so convenient - mix it up the day or night before, refrigerate it overnight, and bake it in the morning.  Warm fresh-baked coffee cake for breakfast or brunch.  What could be better than that?

Actually, I think I may have just figured out how to make this coffee cake even better - after all these years!  Add banana!  I don't know why I never thought of it before, but this past weekend I added a layer of chopped banana between the cake batter and the topping.  It baked up ooey gooey and yummy.  I may just be adding bananas from now on.  For now, I'll leave the bananas as optional - while I let my imagination go wild thinking of all the other fruits I can add and should have been adding all these years.

Overnight Coffee Cake
adapted from The Best of Mennonite Fellowship Meals

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
    and/or 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  1.  Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Stir in buttermilk.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Stir into butter/sugar mixture and mix well.
  3. Spread batter into greased 13x9" pan.  OR divide between 2 round cake pans.
  4. Mix all ingredients for topping and sprinkle over batter.  Variation: cut up 2 bananas and spread over batter before adding the topping. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  5. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

I usually make this in the 13x9" pan. This time I wanted to try the banana but I wasn't sure I wanted it on the whole cake, so I used the 2 round pans.  I spread a layer of banana on top of the batter in one of the pans before sprinkling the topping on, and I did the other pan like normal.  I should have just used 2 bananas and gone with the whole 13x9" cake.  It was that good!

When the kids were little I used to bake this cake in the two round pans all the time.  We'd have one to eat, and I'd freeze the other one for later.  If you use the disposable foil cake pans, one of them will fit nicely into a gallon zipper bag.  My cake pans won't fit, so we just had to eat both cakes.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana & Peanut Butter Bites

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month was Not Enough Cinnamon.  Born and raised in Paris, Marie now lives in Sydney, Australia.  Her blog is full of unfussy recipes you can actually make, with simple ingredients you probably already have. I love that approach! Many of Marie's recipes also focus on health and using real, unprocessed ingredients.

There were so many yummy sounding recipes to choose from!  Some that caught my eye were:
I'm pretty sure I will be trying several of those recipes!  But the second I saw this recipe for Chocolate Covered Frozen Peanut Butter & Banana Bites, I knew I had to try it.  To be honest, I wondered why I'd never thought of it.  You're wondering the same thing right now, aren't you?  Three perfect flavors together, frozen, in bite-sized pieces. What could be better? 

Frozen Chocolate Covered  Banana & Peanut Butter Bites
from Not Enough Cinnamon

  • 3 medium-ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 10 oz dark chocolate
  • coconut oil (optional)
  1. Slice bananas and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat.
  2. Put peanut butter on half of the banana slices and place a second slice on top.  Place in freezer and freeze for at least 1 hour.
  3. Break chocolate into pieces and put 2/3 of it in a double boiler or place a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan filled with simmering water. On low heat, stir chocolate until melted. (Or place chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on medium power for 30 seconds, stir, then repeat at 15 second intervals until the chocolate has melted.) Add the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate and keep stirring until it is fully melted. This is to allow the chocolate to have a glossy texture and to set correctly.
  4. Remove bites from the freezer and dip them in melted chocolate. Working quickly, so bites don't begin thawing, dip one bite at a time in melted chocolate and roll it to cover all sides. Use one fork to remove bite from chocolate and a second fork to remove excess chocolate and arrange bite back on baking sheet. You may want to leave most of the bites in the freezer and work with a few at at time so they don't start getting mushy.
    Note: I have not worked with chocolate much, so I had some issues with this.  The frozen bites made my chocolate stiffen up so that I couldn't coat any more of them.  I added about a T of coconut oil, stirring that into the chocolate, over low heat, until it was smooth and shiny again, and then I could coat the rest.  Only use coconut oil as needed.
  5. Once all the bites have been coated in chocolate, return them to the freezer and freeze for at least 3 hours.  Slide a butter knife under each of the bites to remove them from the baking sheet without losing any of the chocolate and store in a covered container in the freezer.  Enjoy!

Oh yum!  I pretty much always have frozen bananas in the freezer.  Yes, they're great for making a batch of banana muffins, but they're also the perfect snack on a hot day.  Add some peanut butter and chocolate, and it's even better!  The hardest thing is going to be not eating all these at once.

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