Cheese Steak Pizza

Cheesesteak Pizza

Like cheese steak sandwiches? Like Pizza? Why not combine the two? This pizza is the perfect marriage of cheese steak and pizza in one hot, bubbly, heavenly pie. What not to like about that?

What You’ll Need for the Pizza Dough:
1 cup of warm water (Note: You might need a bit more water later to help the dough form depending on humidity and such.)
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon of yeast
3 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
3 teaspoons of pizza dough flavor (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Make dough 1 and 1/2 hours before you need the pizza.

Measure 2 cups of warm water and add sugar and yeast. Stir to mix and let sit for 5 minutes or so until foamy.

In a large bowl (preferable glass) stir together flour, sea salt and pizza dough flavor until well mixed. Add olive oil and water and stir until dough forms. If you need to add a bit more water add it a tablespoon at a time until all the flour is incorporated in the dough.

Dust counter with flour and knead dough for a minute or so until springy. Place back in the bowl you mixed it in and let dough sit for 1 hour.

After the hour the dough is ready to use. You can also freeze this dough for use later and when you’re ready to use it, thaw and let come to room temperature to use then.

What You’ll Need for the Pizza:
Pizza dough (see above)
2 large steaks, cut of your choice, cooked to the level you like (Note: I’m a medium rare sort of girl.)
1 red onion, cut into strips
1 small package of mushrooms, sliced (Note: You can use button or baby bella, or whatever kind you prefer or a mix of different kinds.)
Extra virgin olive oil
Provolone
Mozzarella
Pizza seasoning or dried herbs like oregano and/or basil

Preheat oven to 425 F.

First cook you steaks the way you like. When you bake the pizza the sliced steak will cook through, but it’s fine to start from whatever stage you like. This is also perfect for left over steak. Cut steak into strips and set aside.

Cut onion in to strips in a little extra virgin olive oil and saute until tender. Set aside.

Slice mushrooms and also saute until tender. You can do this in the same pan you used for your onions to keep the level of dirty dishes down. Also set aside.

Spread dough out on to a pizza pan that has been very lightly oiled with olive oil. Top dough with a solid layer of provolone. Next top with steak, then onions, and then mushrooms. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top of the pizza and then sprinkle with pizza seasoning or dried herbs.

Bake pizza in your preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes: You could also add sauteed peppers to the pizza if you liked, as well as Parmesan.

Swedish Meatballs with a Twist

Swedish Meatball With A Twist

If you’ve been around Dianne’s Dishes for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about some of the things that were childhood favorites. Swedish Meatballs was one of those dishes. I’ve wanted to adapt that dish for a while now, but I just never got around to actually doing just that.

Last month I actually used ground chicken for the first time and I really loved it! I started thinking of other things I could use it for and many things started popping into my head…Burgers, chili, etc. But then I got the idea early this week that it would be fun to try and make Swedish Meatballs with the ground chicken in place of the ground beef, and not only was I really pleased with how this turned out, but I actually liked it better than the original version! That’s always fun when that happens!

This dish has three main part, the meatballs of course, a cream based soup or gravy and rice. I’ll cover the soup/gravy, which I made from scratch this go around and the meatballs. I think you guys can more than cover the rice! ;oP

So sit back, relax and let’s take a look at my Swedish Meatballs With A Twist!

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Cream of Mushroom Soup

What You’ll Need For The Cream of Mushroom Soup:
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 small portabella mushroom cap, chopped (Note: I like to just do little cubes.)
6-8 button mushrooms, chopped (Note: See note above.)
1/2 a large red onion, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 a quart of fat free half and half (Note: I love fat free half and half because it gives you the illusion of something much richer, but it’s not as many calories or fat as using cream.)

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Mushrooms, Onion and Garlic Ready To Cook

In a medium sized pot melt butter in olive oil. Add chopped vegetables, a generous pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook until just tender:

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Mushrooms, Onion and Garlic Cooking

Add flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in half and half and cook for a few minutes until thickened. (Note: It will continue to thicken when it bakes, so don’t go for too thick. You can always add a bit more half and half if it thickens up too much.)

Remove from heat and set aside.

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Browned

What You’ll Need for the Meatballs:
1 pound of ground chicken
1 small potato, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 a red onion, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients except olive oil until completely incorporated. (Note: The best way to do this is just to get in there with your hands!) Shape mixture into balls. I like to make them just slightly smaller than a golf ball, but whatever size you want to do is fine. Take into account though that larger it is the longer it will take to cook.

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Starting to Brown

Heat a thin layer of olive oil and cook, turning the meatballs once or twice, until slightly browned:

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Browning

(Note: You aren’t cooking the meatballs done all the way through, you’re just browning the outsides.)

Place the meatballs in a baking dish that has been brushed with olive oil or sprayed with non-stick spray.

Now it’s time to put it all together!

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Ready to Bake

What You’ll Need to Put it All Together:
Browned meatballs
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Cooked rice

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Pour the Cream of Mushroom Soup over the meatballs and bake for 30-40 minutes until the meatballs are done through.

Swedish Meatball With A Twist: Baked

Serve over cooked rice.

Notes: I’m going to go out on a limb and say since this worked with ground chicken, you could do the same with ground turkey too. If you want you can used canned soup, but I really liked the fresh taste of the one I made myself.

Gluten Free Fried Chicken

Gluten Free Fried Chicken

Who says you can’t have fried chicken even if you can’t have gluten? This version is amazing and trust me, you’ll never miss the gluten! ;oP

What You’ll Need:
1 chicken, cut into pieces (Note: You can cut it yourself or get your butcher to do it for you.)
1 quart of buttermilk
1 cup of gluten free breadcrumbs (Note: I like Gillian’s version.)
2 1/2 cups of corn flour, divided (Note: Corn flour is NOT corn starch. They are made from different parts of the kernel and very different.)
3 tablespoons of Creole seasoning (Note: I used Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning.)
Sea salt
2 eggs, beaten

Place chicken in a large glass dish or bowl. Cover completely with the buttermilk and then cover the dish or bowl. Place in the fridge and let “marinate” for at least 4 hours, but overnight is better.

When ready to cook the chicken preheat oil to 375 F. (Note: I like to do this in a large stockpot on the stove top.) You want several inches of oil in the bottom of your pan. I usually use one small bottle of oil. This go around I used an Omega-3 version.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

While oil and oven are heating get the chicken and “breading” ready.

In a small dish place 1 cup of corn flour. Set aside.

In a large dish mix 1 1/2 cups of corn flour with the bread crumbs. Stir in Creole seasoning until incorporated. Set aside.

Beat two eggs and pour into a flat dish like a pie plate. Set aside.

Remove chicken from the fridge and drain off most of the buttermilk. You want a little coat of buttermilk to help the first coat and salt stick. Place on a plate.

Now set up an assembly line. First you want the chicken. The next step is the corn flour. Next up is the egg and finally the corn flour/breadcrumb mixture.

Now let’s start the assembly line! Once the oil is heated first sprinkle the piece of chicken with a little sea salt all over. Then coat with the plain corn flour.

Next dip them in the beaten egg.

After the egg give them a nice roll in the corn flour/breadcrumb mixture and then fry each piece for roughly 7 minutes or until a very nice golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels and then place in a baking dish.

Once all the chicken is fried place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. I like to do this to make sure the chicken is done all the way through. After baking serve immediately.

Notes: You could spice up your breadcrumb/cornflour mixture any way you liked. Cayenne pepper would be good. You could do simple salt and pepper. Paprika would be really good or Old Bay Seasoning would even work! Make it your own!

Loaded BBQ Baked Potatoes

Loaded Barbeque Baked Potatoes

We’re going to wind out the week with another quick, easy post. Hopefully my thumb will be more on the mend by Monday! It’s doing much better, but still very sore!

This recipe is a great way to use up pulled pork or chicken! You’ve got all the elements of a fabulous barbecue dinner all rolled into one! What’s not to like?

What You’ll Need Per Person:
1 russet potato, baked
Sea salt
1/3-1/2 cup of pulled pork or chicken, warmed
1/4 cup of barbeque sauce, heated
1 ounce of cheddar or Colby cheese, shredded
1 scallion, chopped
Sour cream (optional)

Slice open baked potato and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Top with pulled pork or chicken, barbeque sauce, cheese, scallion and some sour cream. Serve immediately.

Loaded Barbeque Baked Potatoes

Notes: Pair this with a salad and you’ve got the perfect meal! If you want to make it vegetarian you could use mushrooms in place of the meat.

Baked Buttermilk Chicken

Baked Buttermilk Chicken

Another easy one today…The thumb is still throbbing! It’s more of a hunt and peck deal than typing right now!

Katherine requested Fried Chicken for her birthday dinner so I put the chicken in to marinate the night before. When Nelson got sick and they couldn’t come I decided to see how it would bake up instead and it turned out great! The chicken was tender and the spices made it just perfect! If you are looking for a little different way to make chicken then this is the perfect method for you!

What You’ll Need:
Chicken with the bone in
1 quart of buttermilk (Note: You need enough to cover the chicken completely. If you are making more then you might need more milk, if you’re making less then you might not need the whole quart.)
Seasoning of your choice (Note: I used Old Bay Seasoning.)

Place chicken in a container an cover with buttermilk. Place in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Remove chicken from buttermilk and sprinkle generously on all sides with seasoning of your choice. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour or so until chicken is done through and browned on the outside. (Note: If you’re worried about it you can check the internal temperature of the chicken, but if it sticks tender with a fork it’s most likely done.)

Once chicken is done remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Baked Buttermilk Chicken

Simple, easy and delicious!

Notes: The buttermilk makes the chicken super tender. Thyme and/or rosemary with sea salt and black pepper would be good on this too. Cajun or Creole seasoning also would be fabulous!

Kicked Up BBQ Chicken

Kicked Up Barbeque Chicken

Barbecue chicken, a bit dull, but oh so good! But why not kick it up another notch? This takes regular barbecue chicken and makes it something more…It’s just perfect for when you want something quick, simple, but with a certain wow factor. What’s not to like about that?

This recipe is actually something I came up with when I was doing Weight Watchers several years ago and one of the many times I’ve done that over the years. By taking the barbecue chicken and adding a few elements you really get bang for your buck (or points as the case may be)!

It’s been a while since I’ve done Points (the last time I did WW I did the Zone plan), but let’s see if I can’t remember the basic break down…2 points for the chicken breast, 1 point for the barbecue sauce, 2 points for the cheese, 2 points for the center cut bacon and 0 points for the scallion…That brings you in at around 7 Points, if I remember my Points correctly, for a very hearty dish. Pair it with some fresh or steamed vegetables and you’ve got the perfect meal!

Note: As I mentioned it has been several years since I have done Points, so double check the numbers if you are actually doing WW! :o)

What You’ll Need Per Person:
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup of barbecue sauce
1 ounce of shredded cheddar or Colby cheese (Note: I used Colby Jack.)
1 piece of center cut bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled
1 scallion, chopped both green and white parts

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Bake chicken breast for 20-25 minutes until done through. Remove from oven and brush with barbecue sauce. Return to oven for 5 additional minutes.

Once chicken is done and barbecue sauce is heated remove from oven and place chicken breast on a plate. Top with shredded cheese, bacon and scallions. Serve immediately.

Kicked Up Barbeque Chicken

Notes: If you aren’t a fan of barbecue sauce you could simply add the toppings to a breast that has been cooked with season salt.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Slow Cooker Turkey: Ready to Slice

If you’ve been a reader of Dianne’s Dishes for a while you’ve seen me talk a lot about not heating up the oven that much during the summer. But not heating up your oven doesn’t mean you have to give up foods you would normally cook there, it just means you find a different way to cook them and a slow cooker is a perfect way to do just that!

The other day I got a turkey breast from South Mountain Creamery and I decided to see how it would turn out in the slow cooker. I mean you can cook chicken quite well in a slow cooker so why not turkey? I must say even though in theory I thought it would work I was very pleased with the result! The breast was tender, juicy and overall just very delicious and the whole process was beyond simple! I’ll most definitely be trying this again!

Another good thing about turkey is that you can do many things with the leftovers too! How about Turkey Avocado Salad or Turkey Noodle Soup or Turkey Salad…You can also use turkey in just about any recipe you would use chicken instead. How is that for versatile?

Slow Cooker Turkey

What You’ll Need:
1 turkey breast (Note: I used one that had the bone.)
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dried rosemary

Place turkey breast into the bowl of your slow cooker. Drizzle with olive oil. (Note: You want a few tablespoons max.) Flip the breast over to make sure you get olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and dried rosemary. Place lid on slow cooker and turn heat to high. Cook for 6-7 hours.

Slow Cooker Turkey: Sliced

Halfway through the cooking process flip the breast once. Once cooked bring out of the slow cooker and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately.

Slow Cooker Turkey: Leftovers!

Notes: Any dried herb you like will work. Thyme would be fabulous!

Stuffed Pork Chops

Stuffed Pork Chops

I get bored with food. More specifically I get bored with the food that Jamison will eat. How he eats such a bland diet and does so over and over is beyond me! I can’t even begin to explain to you how much I love him, but I get bored with his food quickly! ;o) So sometimes when I’m thinking of what to make for dinner I’ll make something plain he’ll eat (in this case a pork chop) and kick it up a bit so that I’m not having to eat the same things over and over and over. In my mind life is too short not to try different things!

A while back I saw Tyler Florence stuff a pork chop. I don’t remember exactly what his had in it, but it had another form of pork (either pancetta or ham) and some sort of cheese, then again maybe it wasn’t Tyler and maybe there was no cheese, but I specifically remember thinking “Really? Pork twice?” and then I started thinking about hardening arteries and heart disease and life in general…See how that works? See how I just get sidetracked like that?

Where was I? Oh yes….Stuffed pork chops!

Anyway, the other day I decided to try my hand at stuffed pork chops, but I decided that two forms of pork was just a bit much. So I started thinking of things that go well with pork chops and apples were the first thing that came to mind. Then I started thinking about something that would meld well with the apples and immediately thought of blue cheese and thus these babies were born!

Stuffed Pork Chops: The Inside

Once baked the flavors just combine perfectly! The apples soften and meld with the blue cheese and the whole overall taste is just superb! Pair the chops with a little wild rice and a steamed vegetable and you’ve got a wonderful meal that is sure to wow! These chops take the ordinary and very easily make them extraordinary. What’s better than that?

What You’ll Need Per Person:
1 thick cut pork chop
1/4 of an apple, cut into thin rounds
1 ounce of blue cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. (Note: I actually baked these in my toaster oven.)

First you want to cut a pocket into your thick chop. You do this by cutting in to the thickest part of the chop. Insert the knife and make a clean cut, making a pocket, but do not cut it alll the way through. You want a pouch, not two separate pieces of pork.

Once the pork chop is cut, then cut an apple into thin rounds and place the rounds inside the pocket:

Stuffed Pork Chops: Apples Slices

Next top the apples with blue cheese:

Stuffed Pork Chops: Blue Cheese

After you add the cheese you want to secure your chop. I used cooking twine, but you can use toothpicks if you want:

Stuffed Pork Chops: All Tied Up

Brush the top of the chop with a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until pork is done through. (Note: I know some people advocate baking pork like beef, but not me! Pork has to be well done. If it is not well done then don’t eat it! Trichinosis anyone? Didn’t think so!)

Stuffed Pork Chops: Baking

Remove from oven, untie and serve immediately.

Notes: You could use goat cheese and pears if you liked instead of apples and blue cheese.

The Best Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Roast Beef

Pot Roast is one of, if not the, quintessential comfort food of all time. When you cook a pot roast in a slow cooker you end up with a tender, moist roast that literally falls apart. You can cook it alone and make some mashed potatoes and a side salad to accompany the meal, or you can throw in some cut up potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc to make a wonderful one dish meal.

Any way you make it, this is bound to become a family favorite! And the best part is this is simple and easy to throw on in the morning and have a hot, hearty dinner ready for the evening. Pot roast isn’t just for Sunday dinner anymore!

What You’ll Need:
1 roast (Note: You can chose shoulder, rump, whatever you like.)
Water
Sea salt
Black pepper

Place roast in the bottom of you slow cooker and cover with water until just covered. Add a very generous pinch of sea salt and a lot of freshly ground black pepper and believe it or not that’s it!

Now for cooking. You can do it one of two ways. You can cook it on high for 5-6 hours or you can cook it on low all day long. You’ll know it’s done when you stick the roast with a fork and it sort of shreds.

Once the pot roast is cooked remove it from the slow cooker and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing. I usually let it rest on a cutting board or in a glass dish. When you start to slice the roast it will normally just sort of fall apart. Once in a blue moon you may get a roast that does not, but it’s very rare. 9.9 times out of 10 when a roast is cooked like this it just falls apart and is very tender.

Slow Cooker Roast Beef

If you want to add in vegetables then layer them on the bottom of the slow cooker and then lay the roast on top. After that follow the same directions as above.

If you want you can make gravy with the broth that forms from the cooking of the roast by taking 2 cups of the broth and placing them in a stock pot. Take about 1/4 a cup of broth and mix with 1-2 tablespoons of flour until smooth and add to the pot. Stir the broth/flour mixture in to mix and then cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. There is no need to add salt or pepper as the broth already has both. You can also reserve the left over broth for soup.

Notes: If you want you can add in a sliced onion on top of the meat or throw in 6-8 garlic cloves, but it’s not necessary unless you just want to. The salt and pepper bring out wonderful aspects of the meat itself. You could also add in some rosemary and/or thyme.

Brining A Turkey

Brining a Turkey 101

Years ago I discovered the process of brining a turkey and I was immediately hooked! A brined turkey makes a luscious, juicy bird when cooked and once you go down that path you just don’t want to go back! Strangely I’ve never tried this with a chicken, though it’s supposed to work just as well.

Anyway, up until this year I’ve always used a big bucket. The only problem with this method is that you’re basically taking up half your fridge with a big bucket for 12 to 24 hours and that can be a long time to tie up the fridge when you’re trying to prepare for Thanksgiving. A few weeks ago I came across the notion of a brining bag from the Pioneer Woman Cooks and decided to try that method instead.

I thought briefly for a moment today I might have to go back to the bucket method. I ordered brining bags from Williams Sonoma several weeks ago, but they were back ordered. I received an email earlier this week saying they had shipped and would be here in time for Thanksgiving, BUT the UPS man came and went this morning with no bags and it turns out though WS claims they were shipped via 2-day shipping to arrive in time, UPS claims that they haven’t received them yet! So what’s a girl to do?

I finally found some very large sealable bags at the store and I am using one of them instead. So whether you use a bucket or a bag, I highly recommend brining a turkey! You can’t go wrong with this method, and you’ll have a delicious turkey that you’ll love!

What You’ll Need:
1 bucket or very large brining bag
1 turkey (Our turkey this year is 22 pounds)
2 cups of sea salt
Water
Sage
Bay leaves
Black peppercorns
Rosemary
Citrus (Note: Lemons, limes, oranges and/or grapefruit, etc. all work fine.)

In the bucket or large brining bag dissolve 2 cups of salt in some water. Add turkey. Add fresh herbs, citrus of your choice and peppercorns.

If you are using a bucket cover the turkey with water. If you’re using a bag, cover fill the bag to where the turkey is half covered. In a bucket the turkey is submerged, so you don’t have to do anything. In the bag, you’ll need to flip your turkey ever 2-3 hours.

Place in the fridge. Let brine 12-24 hours. Remove from brining solution and discard. Cook turkey as you normally would.

Brining a Turkey 101

Cook turkey as you normally would.

Notes: My version of brining involves cold brining in that I never heat the brining solution. I’ve seen it done both ways, but I prefer cold brining. Any herb or seasoning you want to toss into the mix will work. Sea salt works better for this solution over table salt. If you’re using table salt cut back to 1/2-3/4 a cup as it’s a different consistency than sea salt.