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Friday, April 20, 2012

BACON.


The pizza before adding the LT...lots of bacony goodness!
Oh, how I love thee!  As a matter of fact, I don't trust people who don't like bacon.  There has just gotta be something wrong with them I figure.....hahaha!

I'm feeling a little guilty.  Guilty and nervous actually.....I made this pizza this morning for Mike and Jon at WHMI this morning for the radio show but it took me three tries to make it - you see, I kept eating the bacon.  It's just sooooooo darn good!  Then there wasn't enough for the pizza, so I cooked more - ate another piece or two.  Ugh.  Cook more bacon.  That's the guilty part.

The nervous part?  Well - I am participating in the the Team Fitness Challenge at my gym and it just started last night - and I go eating bacon like an addict on the first day?  Right about now the other women in the challenge are looking at their teammate rosters praying that I'm not on their team, hahahaha - sorry for whomever is stuck with me!!!  I'll do better.  Starting....right NOW!!!

This yummy pizza is from one of my Main Dish Summer Salad classes and even though it's not a salad in the technical sense, it's a great addition to a summer menu and really quick and easy to make.   I also used this recipe in my Middle School Chef Camp and found that not only did the kids love making it, they loved eating it.  What's not to like right?

BLT SALAD PIZZA

A perfect bite of BLT Salad Pizza!
1 prepared pizza crust – either Boboli style or Pillsbury roll style
3/4 cup ranch salad dressing
2 cloves pressed garlic
½ cup finely diced onion
8 slices cooked, crumbled bacon
2 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar, or any combination
2 cups chopped or shredded lettuce
1 cup diced roma tomatoes
½ cup ranch salad dressing

Preheat oven to 400.  Place pizza crust on baking stone or sheet.  Pour ranch dressing in center of crust, press garlic into ranch and mix well, spread to within ½ inch of edges.  Sprinkle with onion, bacon, and cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes for softer crust or 20 minutes for crispy crust.  Remove from oven, top with shredded lettuce and tomatoes.  Drizzle with remaining ranch dressing.  Slice and serve.

RECIPE TIP:  Mayo or Miracle Whip can be substituted for the ranch dressing in this recipe if you prefer.

RECIPE TIP:  A great way to cook a large quantity of bacon is in the oven!  Preheat the oven to 375 and place bacon in a single layer across a baking sheet.  Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until desired crispness.  Drain on paper towel.

Doesn't that sound like a quick, easy and delicious recipe?  It's definitely one of our 'go to' recipes.  I'm in the habit of having a pizza crust on hand in the fridge or freezer and I almost always have the rest of the ingredients on hand.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Friday, April 13, 2012

FRIDAY PIEDAY!

If only every day could be a pie day!!!  Today I am bringing you a touch of late spring and early summer with my Strawberry Pie!  Today for Foodini Friday on WHMI, I wanted to bring something to the guys to promote some upcoming appearances - next Monday I will be at Howell Carnegie Library at 7:00 doing a presentation on Foods from the Hunger Games - their new book selection for Livingston Reads....and then  next Tuesday I am going to be at Carriage House Designs in downtown Howell from 6-9 with appetizers to support an Autism Awareness fundraiser.  I also wanted to tie in my new #1 Vacation Destination.......The Jello Gallery and Museum in New York!!!

Soldier Girl's new digs!  You should see the size of the pantry!!
Mr. W and I went to visit Soldier Girl this past week and helped her move and get settled into her new house outside of Ft. Drum, NY.

Such a cool old house - it's in the beautiful farm
country of upstate eastern New York state.

So, we traveled through Canada and into New York state and lo and behold there is a huge billboard advertising the World Famous Jello Museum and Gallery - I was very excited!  Mr. W just laughed and laughed and drove right past the exit.  Oh well, maybe next time!!

Crystal Restaurant - a blast from the past!
We got to see a lot of the area around Ft. Drum and where Soldier Girl lives and works.  While she was working day we tooled around and got to eat at the oldest dining establishment in Watertown.....Crystal Restaurant - it was a tinned ceiling, wooden booth, high bar and tile floor kind of place - so freaking cool!  I had a full roast turkey dinner for lunch, Mr. W had a full fresh trout dinner and two coffees and the bill was $16 - and it was soooo good and soooo homemade - awesome!





Soldier Girl is at Ft. Drum , doing something vastly different from her Chemical Corps and Drill Sgt. gigs...she's in Public Affairs, Broadcast Journalism and doing a lot of filming and reporting of activities at the post - cool stuff!  She recently did a feature story of the maple syrup production at Ft. Drum - I will share it on Facebook and try to figure out how to post the link here - I still have to listen carefully - she sounds so different as a reporter than at home!!
 
Ft. Drum Mountain Brigade
I drove her nuts with pictures!!
                       Working!




















It was great to see and learn about Ft. Drum and the area - we are excited to go back!!  So, after a relaxing drive home, and yet another pass at the Jello Museum and Gallery, but a short stop at Niagara Falls.....

Horseshoe misting on the right, American on the left.
And we are back to business on this wonderful Friday Morning!  So my dish this morning involved one of the key foods from Hunger Games....with my Almost Cool Jello Experience.....and is my Strawberry Pie!  It is a light and refreshing strawberry filled pie using a jello mixture as the filling binder - how does it look?


Yep - it tastes pretty terrific too!!
Jon said it was pretty good - here is a blurry pic of him testing it.....and right before the whipped cream can made it's radio debut!!

Mmmmmmmm......blurry but good!!


Nice ripe berries are so delicious!

STRAWBERRY PIE 

1 baked pie shell
Cleaned and hulled strawberries
   (1 to 2 lbs, depending on crust size)
1 ½ cups cold water                             
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup sugar (or more)                 
3 oz pkg. strawberry jello

Slice or halve strawberries and place in baked pie shell, mounding to the center.

Mix water, sugar and cornstarch.  Cook over medium heat until boiling.  Reduce heat and boil for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes clear (except for bubbles).  Add jello and stir until dissolved.  Cool slightly and carefully pour over strawberries in shell.  Let cool at room temperature then refrigerate.  Serve with  whipped cream.

RECIPE TIP:  To reduce the amount of sugar, you may use sugar free jello. You still need to have the additional sugar for consistency and thickening functions.

With strawberry season right around the corner - I'm hoping this recipe finds it's way to your kitchen!


Friday, April 6, 2012

YES, IT WAS A ...GOOD FRIDAY!!! A GG'S CHOCOLATE CHIPCAKE FRIDAY!

Jon pouting - couldn't have any until after labwork....
I don't know if you had a chance to listen to last week's Foodini Friday program on WHMI - but if you did, at the very end, if you listen verrrrrry carefully....you will hear a whisper......'chocolate'.  Subliminal?  Nah.  Mike and Jon were requesting chocolate - definitely one of their basic food groups!

The recipe that I took in today is one of the most chocolatey recipes I have in my collection and it actually hails from my grandmother - we called her GG for Great Grandma!  When I asked her what the name of the recipe was, she didn't know because it really wasn't a cookie, not really a cake and not really a pie - so we just simply came up with GG's Chocolate Chipcakes and that's what they were called
Dunker Mike....gloating because he could!

in my Decadent Desserts class!

I baked a lot of these goodies yesterday and took some
with me as I made my rounds......I took some to our
accountant's office as I dropped off our taxes (yeah, I
know we are always at the last minute on these....)

I took some to Howell's MainStreet Winery to share too!

Gotta spread the joy!!

Mike and Sandy at Howell's MainStreet Winery




















Close up of melty, chocolatey goodness!
GG's CHOCOLATE CHIPCAKES



1 stick butter, softened     
6 T sugar  
6 T brown sugar    
½ t vanilla   
1 egg   
1 c plus 2 T unsifted flour   
½ t salt
½ t baking soda

Filling:
 ½ c brown sugar
1 egg
1/8 t salt
½ t vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
½ c chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy.  Add egg.  Sift together flour, soda and salt – blend with wet ingredients.  Drop by tablespoon into 16 paper cups.  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set down hard…you want the centers to fall a bit – see photo.

While baking, blend filling ingredients:  sugar, egg and salt beating until thick, stir in vanilla, chocolate chips, and nuts.  Spoon mixture evenly over hot baked crusts.  Return to oven and bake for another 12 minutes until barely set.  Remove from oven and cool. 

Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream or let cool and take with for an outstanding lunchbox or party treat.

RECIPE TIP:  Nuts can be optional in this recipe - and you can even 'customize' it by using various flavors of chips including peanut butter - milk chocolate - dark chocolate - white chocolate - whatever floats your boat!

Sound good?  Hope so!  If you are thinking of making them for Easter, go ahead and pop a Peep on top for a little decoration - maybe a jellybean or two.....

I wish you all the most wonderful Easter holiday - from my kitchen to yours!

Coming out of the oven....
When the center falls after the 'drop'
All lined up and ready to deliver!
Enjoy!