Homemade Pizza Dough

Here's a recipe my family loves, but only consider it if you have plenty of time, as it takes an hour for this dough to rise.

1 package dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups flour

In glass measuring cup, dissolve yeast in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in olive oil. In medium bowl, mix together sugar, salt and flour. Add yeast mixture and knead until smooth. Put into a greased bowl, cover with towel and let rise in warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour. When ready, spray 1 large pizza pan or 2 medium pans and set aside. Punch down dough and roll to fit pan/s. Let stand 10-20 minutes. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Fill with Zesty Pizza Sauce (recipe HERE) and toppings. Bake another 15 minutes until done.

Toppings to consider: chopped onions, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, chopped onions, chopped green bell peppers, sliced mushrooms and lots of mozzarella cheese!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Gail Pallotta's Polynesian Sweet Potatoes

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. Gail’s a former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, a 2013 Grace Awards finalist and a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Book Award winner. She’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. To learn more about Gail and her books visit her website at http//gailpallotta.com.

Gail's Latest Book Release - Hair Calamities and Hot Cash

What happens when a New York stockbroker crashes his car into Eve Castleberry’s North Carolina beauty shop...on the same day the young widow’s defective hair products are causing wild hairdos? Soon Eve finds herself helping the handsome stranger hunt the thieves who stole his client’s cash...and hot on the trail of two of the F.B.I.’s most-wanted criminals! Romance blossoms amid danger, suspense and Eve’s hair-brained plan to get back the money. Buy the book on Amazon HERE.

Gail's Polynesian Sweet Potatoes

This is an easy recipe. If we want to have this dish for dinner on a day we’ll be out and about, I cook the sweet potatoes ahead and then warm them up and add the ingredients when we get home. Sometimes if we use small potatoes, we add a salad, but if the potatoes are large enough, it’s a meal for us. My husband named them Polynesian Sweet Potatoes because I put pineapple in them.

Four sweet potatoes (medium sized)
One container pineapple chunks cut in bite-sized pieces
One package spinach (wilted)
Twelve deli turkey slices (honey or maple)
Butter or margarine to taste
White cheese, such as Colby or fontina (optional)

Bake sweet potatoes at 325 degrees for three hours or until done. Cut in half and add butter, pineapple pieces and wilted spinach to taste. Bake turkey on low heat for five minutes or so, just to warm, and top the potatoes with turkey cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with cheese.

*Large potatoes could require a longer baking time and additional amounts of ingredients

Springerle Cookies


Last Christmas I made these hard, licorice-flavored cookies for the first time and had such fun learning about the history of them. I hope you will enjoy them as well. You may browse "House on the Hill" Springerle molds HERE.

3 eggs
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup salted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon anise oil--if using extract, you may want to increase this amount
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
3 3/4 cups sifted cake flour

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored, about 15 minutes. Slowly beat in powdered sugar, then the softened butter. IN a small bowl, whisk together baking powder and water. Add to butter mixture along with anise oil and orange rind. Gradually beat in enough flour to make a stiff dough. (May reserve 1/2 cup of flour to use while kneading.) Turn onto floured surface and knead to make a good print without sticking. 

Roll dough 3/8" - 1/2" thick (deeper molds require a thicker dough). Brush powdered sugar on the mold image, then press mold onto dough, working from center outward. Trim cookie and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for each cookie. (If you press multiple cookies at one time, you may distort the images, so it is best to do each one-at-a-time, and remember to brush molds with powdered sugar each time as well.)

Allow cookies to dry uncovered for 24 hours before baking. Drying preserves the images during baking. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 225-300 degrees. You may want to test your oven temperature on one cookie. The smaller the cookies, the lower the temperature. Cookies may "bubble" while baking. Check once or twice during the baking process and simply press them down. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until barely golden on the bottom. Allow to cool on wire racks and then store in tin containers. They will keep for months this way and improve with age. Makes 12-24 cookies, depending on size of molds. 

*It is said that in the past bakers would make these cookies after Thanksgiving to give as gifts at Christmas, insisting that the cookies are stored in tin containers for at least 2 weeks (1 month was preferred) before allowing anyone to eat them. You will find that the licorice flavor mellows with time as does the hardening "cracker" tops. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Oat Rolls


Here's a recipe that is one of our family favorites. Easy and soooo good.

2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups boiling water
2 packages yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
5 1/2 - 6 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl combine oats, brown sugar, butter and salt. Add boiling water and stir. Cool to 100-115 degrees. In small dish, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand for five minutes. Add to oat mixture along with two cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto lightly floured surface. Divide into 20 pieces. Place in greased 13x9 baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Serves 20.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin


Here's a recipe I made based on an Italian "Rosa di Parma"--which is so wonderfully tender and delicious you have to try it! Treat yourself to an Italian dinner and serve this as a Secondi or meat course.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 pork tenderloins, trimmed
8 thin slices Prosciutto or ham, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, combine oil, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

Double butterfly the tenderloins to flatten--make two long horizontal cuts, one on each side, which will divide the tenderloin into thirds, without cutting all the way through. Open up so that you have a large rectangle of meat. Using the heel of your hand, gently flatten the meat to 1/2" thick. Repeat with the second tenderloin.

Lightly brush insides with herb-oil mixture. Cover each tenderloin with 4 slices of the Prosciutto, then spread 1/2 cup of the Parmesan over the ham, leaving a one-inch border. Starting with the long side, roll up each tenderloin so that the stuffing is in a spiral pattern. Tie the roasts with kitchen string every 2 inches. Lightly brush roasts with remaining herb-oil mixture.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet with oil. Add the roasts and cook, turning to coat the outsides until browned. Transfer the pan to oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from heat and tent with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes. To serve, remove the string and cut into 1" slices. 
Serve with your favorite Chianti wine.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Chicken Pot Pie


Here is a recipe we enjoy at our house often during cooler weather. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cube chicken bouillon
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 double pie pastry crust
1 egg and 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large saucepan, add first six ingredients. Cook vegetables until tender. In small bowl, mix flour and water to make a paste. Gradually stir into broth to thicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper according to your taste. Divide pie pastry in half. Spread bottom pastry to fit the bottom of the greased 9x11" baking pan and up the sides. Pour chicken mixture over the bottom crust, then add the top pastry spreading to the sides. Poke 6-9 steam holes with your knife to allow sauce to breathe. Whisk egg and water to make egg wash; spread over pastry. Sprinkle crust with salt and pepper. Bake on bottom rack for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to set for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6. Yum!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Carole Brown's Tuna Salad Mix


Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? Learn more about Carole HERE.

Carole's Latest Book Release: Toby's Troubles 

Everyone loves Toby Gibson. A co-owner of Undiscovered Treasures, a unique shop of antiques, collectibles, and junk, Toby is friendly, generous to a fault, the director of the local plays in Appleton and supports his church's youth functions. But the minute his sister, Caroline and her new husband, take off for their honeymoon, a “ghost” begins to haunt the shop—or maybe it's just an intruder. If so, Toby has no idea for what the thing is looking. To add to his troubles, he suspects Amy, not only is bidding for the property he's wanted forever but is in love with him. And he's not interested.

Amy Sanderson who owns the only flower shop in Appleton—Bloomin' Life—is drawn into capturing Toby's “ghost” when her own business is damaged by a destructive intruder. Having loved Toby since a teenager, she's more than willing to join forces with him. But she has no interest in being his best friend or a sister to him. And if she has to resort to schemes of outbidding him at his frequent auction attendances to get his attention, then so be it. She can be just as stubborn as the man who's determined to ignore her love.

In between the break-ins, destruction of property, thefts and personal competitions against each other, Amy and Toby work together to find the thief who seems so determined to find a valuable item, he'll stop at nothing. Buy the book HERE.

Carole's Tuna Salad Mix

A delicious Tuna Salad from The Coffee Shop in Toby's Troubles that has a light kicky tartness (due to the dip and lemon juice), but is utterly delicious. I like to encourage those who try this recipe to experiment with the ingredients. Start light with some of the ingredients, then add more to satisfy your taste. Or switch an item with a different, special touch you crave.  Be inventive.

Tuna Salad Mix:
Fresh tuna, chopped (or 1 can – 5 oz. – chunk Tuna, light)
2 tablespoons of Spinach dip
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup Mozzarella cheese (or your choice of cheese)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Lightly mix these ingredients together. Then choose one of the following:

Swirled wheat bread, buttered, lightly toasted and sliced in half
Warmed flour tortilla shells
Eat on top of chilled and halved cucumber slices with centers scooped out
Eat as a salad on a plate with crackers or tortilla chips or Fritos

Then add:
One thick slice of tomato
Spinach leaf(s)
A dash of Parmesan cheese on top

Homemade Gnocchi in Creamy Pea Sauce


Here's a recipe for my first try at making homemade Gnocchi. I have since purchased a gnocchi board, which makes this process even more simple. Enjoy!

3 large baked potatoes, halved and peeled
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 cups flour, as needed

Press hot baked potatoes through a potato ricer. (Using a potato ricer when the potatoes are still hot will produce a fluffier, lighter gnocchi.) Spread riced potatoes onto a large work surface, spreading them out to cool completely. 

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Gather the cold potatoes into a mound with a well in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the well and begin kneading with both hands, gradually adding the cheese and enough of the flour to make a smooth but slightly sticky dough. It should take 2-3 minutes to form--the longer the dough is kneaded, the heavier it will become. Scrape your fingers and work surface to clean the dough as you knead. 

Lightly dust remaining flour on a clean work surface. Cut the dough into six equal parts and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Roll one piece of dough and shape it into a 1/2" rope, flouring the dough as needed. Slice rope into 1/2" thick rounds. Repeat until all of the ropes have been sliced. Cover the sliced dough to keep it from drying out.

Sprinkle the rounds with flour and roll each piece into a ball. With the tip of your thumb, press the dough lightly against the tines of a fork and roll it downward, making a deep indention on one side and a ridged surface on the other. Set on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Repeat until all rounds are formed. At this point, you may freeze the gnocchi or cook it immediately. 

To cook gnocchi:
In a large stockpot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a vigorous boil on high heat. Drop half of the gnocchi into the boiling water a few at a time, stirring gently with a wooden spoon. Don't crowd the gnocchi--cook in batches if necessary. Cook until tender, about 1 minute after they rise to the surface. Remove gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon, draining them well and spread out on a baking sheet coated with butter--or directly into the pea sauce. 

Creamy Pea Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
10 oz. frozen peas, thawed
6 oz. creamed cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare the cream sauce while the salt water is boiling. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. melt the butter, then add the stock and cream. When it begins to boil, add the peas and return to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese. Toss the cooked gnocchi into the sauce just to coat, adding a little pasta water if needed. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan before serving. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Green Bean Casserole

Here's a delicious recipe to serve at your next potluck or family gathering.

2-16 oz frozen green beans, whole
16 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Cook green beans in microwave according to package directions. Transfer to serving dish. Meanwhile in large skillet, heat oil and butter. Add mushrooms and onion and saute until tender 4-6 minutes. Mix in flour, and then slowly add milk, stirring until it thickens 3-5 minutes. Stir in thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour over green beans and top with sliced almonds. Serves 10-12.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ Milk Street Tuesday Nights


From one of Epicurious' Greatest Home Cooks of All Time, deliver creative and delicious weeknight dinners with this quick and easy cookbook for beginners and foodies alike.

At Christopher Kimball's Milk Street, Tuesdays are the new Saturdays. That means every Tuesday Nights recipe delivers big, bold flavors, but the cooking is quick and easy--simple enough for the middle of the week.

Kimball and his team of cooks and editors search the world for straightforward techniques that deliver delicious dinners in less time. Here they present more than 200 solutions that will transform your weeknight cooking, showing how to make simple, healthy, delicious meals using pantry staples and just a few other ingredients. Here are some of the fresh, inventive meals that come together in minutes:

  • Miso-Ginger Chicken Salad
  • Rigatoni Carbonara with Ricotta
  • Vietnamese Meatball Lettuce Wraps
  • Peanut-Sesame Noodles
  • White Balsamic Chicken with Tarragon
  • Seared Strip Steak with Almond-Rosemary Salsa Verde
  • Chocolate-Tahini Pudding

Tuesday Nights is organized by the way you cook. Some chapters focus on time--with recipes that are Fast (under an hour, start to finish), Faster (45 minutes or less), and Fastest (25 minutes or less). Others highlight easy methods or themes, including Supper Salads, Roast and Simmer and Easy Additions. And there's always time for pizza, tacos, "walk-away" recipes, one-pot wonders, ultrafast 20-minute miracles, and dessert. Buy the book HERE.

Indian Fry Bread - Indian Tacos


Here's a recipe based on some Indian tacos we once ate in Oklahoma. Enjoy! 

Indian Fry Bread:
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons shortening
Canola Oil

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small saucepan, heat milk with shortening until shortening starts to melt. Add milk to flour mixture and mix to form a soft dough. Place on a floured surface and pat into 1/4" - 1/2" thickness. Cut into circles or triangles. Fry in 1" of hot oil, turning to brown on both sides. Serve with honey, powdered sugar, or with Indian Tacos (see recipe below).

Indian Tacos:
1 1/2 pounds ground hamburger
14 oz. kidney beans
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water

In a large skillet, brown burger. Add refried beans, tomato paste, onion, and seasonings. Add water and cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes until water has cooked out. Serve on top of fry bread with lettuce, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and hot sauce. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cinnamon Bread

Here's a delicious yeast bread recipe sure to delight your taste buds!

5 1/2 - 6 cups flour
2 packages active dry yeast
2 cups milk
1/3 cup butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, beaten
Cinnamon Mixture:
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 tablespoons cinnamon

In large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour and yeast. In small saucepan, heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt until warm (115-120 degrees), stirring until butter almost melts. Add to flour mixture. Add in eggs. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover and let rise for an hour until double. Punch down dough and turn out on a lightly floured surface. Divide in half.

For each half: Roll into 12-14 inch rectangle. Spread with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Press down into dough. Fold dough in half and pinch edges to seal. Roll once more into 8-10 inch rectangle. Spread with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Shape into loaf. Place in greased loaf pan. Repeat for second loaf. Cover and let rise for 30-40 minutes until doubled. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 35-45 minutes until top tests done. You may want to cover the tops with tinfoil the last 10-15 minutes of baking to prevent from getting overdone. Remove from pans to cool. Makes 2 loaves.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.