Posts from the ‘Lazy Cooking’ Category

Breadmaker pizza dough

I just had to share. I think I’ve blogged before about making pizza with leftovers. There was a time where as long as I put it on a crust and called it pizza, the kids would eat it. We had sesame chicken pizza, taco pizza, and more that I’ve forgotten. Anyway, last night I decided to make a pizza again and was too lazy to go find my dough recipe. As I was googling, I came across this one.

Breadmaker pizza dough

It was amazing. And easy. When the dough came out of the breadmaker it was the perfect consistency. I did my best pizza tossing (which I’m grateful no one witnessed) and put some leftover barbecue sauce, bacon, and pineapple on it with Italian cheese blend. The crust was amazing.

My sister, the pizza expert, says to poke the crust with holes before you bake it. And I’m glad we did because the dough would have bubbled up and made a pizza volcano. Which could be fun. But hard to eat.

Christmas 2011

Dear family and friends,

Once again, I did not come even close to getting cards out this year.

Struggling to find that balance between work, school, extra curriculars and family, I count myself lucky to have such problems. ūüôā

I have a job that I love, as hard as it is somedays. This year, in addition to teaching general music, I am the district middle school choir director. As weird as it sounds, I had forgotten that I like choral music and this has been a wonderful opportunity to rekindle that. John’s been an amazing help with the new schedule. Did I mention that the choir is at 7 am? He juggled his work schedule so he can take the kids to daycare in the morning. Love that guy.

Both kids are in school! The boy is loving kindergarten. If you ask him what he’s learned this year he will tell you, I am very good at being quiet. Heh. It amazes me how fast they grow once they start school. He’s reading now. He doesn’t love that as much as his sister, but I bet that will come with time. The girl is a third grader, 9 going on 35 somedays. She reads all the time now, even holing up in the bathroom sometimes. (Mom, Dad, sound like anybody you know?). She is such a hybrid between John and I. It’s so strange seeing yourself in your children. It’s like they are a fun house mirror of who they are and what we’d like them to be.

The girl is still in Children’s Chorale. It is very weird being the mom waiting in line at drop off. I think I’ve been in all the roles now. Singer, grad, assisstant, and now mom. It’s so cool to see her up on stage at Boettcher Hall. The boy spends most of his afternoons playing with the cousins and the neighbors. Again, we are fortunate for the kids to have such wonderful playmates!

And if 2011 has been anything, it’s been a year for family. I often tell my children how wonderful it is that they have gotten to spend so much time with their cousins, but truthfully, its been wonderful for me too. I love having my sister and her family nearby. We are a weirdly wacky bunch and I will miss them when they move back south.

We’ve been preparing for Christmas round our house. We’ve got Christmas lights up, half of which quit working after the first freeze, but amusingly enough, the light tree dad built twenty years ago is still going strong. The kids have been to their grandparents to make cookies with them and their cousin. My sister has made probably two batches fudge and I don’t know how many cookies. With everyone else making cookies I made a lot of Sprucehill’s pumpkin gingerbread and some homemade limoncello. We may or may not have tasted it this morning. At 9 am. After making apple fritters. Heh.

Anyway, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Love, Nicole

PS. Did you know you can follow Santa on google maps? Crazy world we live in!


Penne with roasted tomato sauce

So my friend Lindsey gave me a bunch of tomatoes that have spent a lonely week on my counter. Today I decided to do something about it, so I perused my cookbooks and found a simple roasted tomato sauce in “The Best of the Best” by Food and Wine magazine. I adapted it to what I had lying around and am very pleased by the results.

Basically, you stick your your tomatoes (the recipe calls for 3 lbs. I used as many as would fit on my toaster oven pan, adding two cooked chicken sausages I found in the meat drawer.) under the broiler with a drizzle of olive oil until the tomatoes are cracked open, hot, and even blackened a bit. Meanwhile, cook a pound of pasta. I had penne, the recipe called for orrechiete. When the tomatoes are done, smash them in a bowl with a ton of fresh basil (i used about 40 leaves), the chicken sausage, and a spoonful of chopped garlic (I used the jar kind). The hot tomatoes will wilt the basil. Stir in the pasta and serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. I do think I added about a teaspoon of salt and a couple cranks of pepper to the sauce. It was very yummy. You should serve it with garlic bread. I served it with bagel thins, because that’s how I roll. And that’s what I could find on the counter.


Slow Cooker Enchilada Chili Remix

I am completely enamored by A Year of Slow Cooking.  And one of my favorite recipes over there is her Enchilada Chili.  The original is VERY yummy but I will admit, I almost never have exactly everything I need.  So last night, I was playing Pantry Iron Chef and came up with this:

1 lb of green chili chicken sausage, frozen

1 can of Rotel tomatoes

1 can of fire roasted tomatoes

1 can of corn

1 can of red beans

1 can of kidney beans

1 can of green enchilada sauce

1 can of red enchilada sauce

1 T celery flakes

1 T onion flakes

Sour cream or plain yogurt

The only can I drain is the corn. ¬†Dump all the cans in the slowcooker with the dried celery and onion. ¬†Stir. ¬†Submerge frozen chicken sausages (mine were all stuck together) and let it cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 4-5. ¬† When it’s done, cut up the sausages with a pair of kitchen shears and serve with a dollop of sour cream or maybe some sprinkled cheese.

If you’re looking at the original recipe, I completely omitted the chili powder and cumin. ¬†As is it above, it’s at the top of the spicy meter for my kids. ¬†I love it. ¬†They tolerate it. ¬†Heh. ¬†With lots of sour cream. ¬†And cheese. ¬†And a roll.

You say Zucchini and I say Courgette: Zucchini Recipe Challenge!

One of the many advantages of being in Planina, is having friends who garden.  It just so happens this year has been a great year for a certain skinny green squash.  After making jokes about sneaking their zucchinis INTO the grocery store and leaving them in the produce aisle, it was proposed that we have a ZUCCHINI CHALLENGE!  Please Join Us!  Post on your blog or Facebook.  It will be a Zucchini Revolution!  Well not really. (Always looking for good ways to use them.)

So today I bring you:

Zucchini Oven Chips

The original recipe came from the Cooking Light website but I changed it up quite a bit.

Preheat oven to 425.  (I used the toaster oven.  It was 98 degrees today! Plus my toaster oven is a convection oven so it cooks just a bit faster.)

Slice the squash. ¬†Dredge in a little bit of milk than in a combination of cornmeal and seasoned salt. ¬†I didn’t measure. ¬†I suggest a 1 to 8 ratio of salt to cornmeal. ¬†Mine was closer to 1 to 3 and was way too salty for me. ¬†Everything else, texture, doneness, was pretty good. (Including kid friendliness). ¬†Place the coated squash on a wire rack sprayed with cooking spray and bake for about 20 minutes for done, 30 min for crispy. ¬†Kids dipped them in ketchup. ¬†But seriously. ¬†What DON’T they dip in ketchup?

Nutella Pancakes

Inspired by this¬†at bell’alimento, ¬†I took my pancake recipe, minus chocolate chips and sugar/agave, added maybe 1/4 cup Nutella, and made this.


Applesauce on the brain

So I’ve been absent again. December is a crazy months in the music world.

Anyway, it’s winter break now and one of my first orders of business is baking! I made chocolate chip zucchini bread fro the cooking light cook book and sarah’s now infamous pumpkin gingerbread.

My lazy cooking tip for baking is to buy the snack sized no sugar added applesauces. Each portion is 4 oz which is just about right for most baking projects. A lot of quick bread recipes call for up to a cup of oil which I replace all or some with applesauce. Better for you and nobody can tell. Sneaky. I know.