Farm Fresh: Hearty Butternut Squash Soup

Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

I’m quite a bit behind on my “Farm Fresh” posts for the year. Luckily, the early fall produce we received in our CSA shares at the end of the season will be available for a few more months.

I’ve never had much of an interest in squash. With the exception of a newly discovered affinity for acorn squash filled with butter and brown sugar, I still don’t enjoy it much. Receiving two large butternut squash in our CSA share felt like the universe challenging me to really give it a chance. My mother taught me to try at least one bite of everything put in front of me, and I’ve learned through experience that tastes change and it’s possible to find at least one method to make almost any food edible (and sometimes even enjoyable). Apparently, butternut squash was made for soup! This one is smooth, creamy, rich, slightly spicy, and extremely flavorful. It is one of my favorite soups. I made one batch to try, and a second days later to freeze. We finished up the last of it a few days ago and I’m making yet another batch for the freezer. This soup has become a staple in my house!

Ingredients
1 pound Italian sausage
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 medium Red bell pepper, chopped
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 large Butternut squash (about 5 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package (16 ounces) Frozen cauliflower
4 cups Chicken broth
1 cup cooked great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup frozen corn (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Light cream and minced fresh parsley (optional)

In a large pot, cook the sausage, onion and red pepper over medium heat 9-11 minutes or until the sausage is no longer pink and the onion is tender, breaking the sausage into crumbles. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Remove with a slotted spoon; discard drippings.

Add the squash, cauliflower, and chicken broth to the same pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes or until squash is tender.

Remove from heat and cool slightly. Process in batches in a blender until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot. Add beans, tomatoes, salt, pepper, sausage mixture and corn (if desired); heat through. If desired, drizzle servings with cream and sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 12 servings (4-1/2 quarts).

Freeze option: Freeze cooled soup in wide-mouth quart-sized jars. To use, partially thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if necessary.

Adapted from Hearty Butternut Squash Soup in Taste of Home September/October 2013, p3-6.

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Farm Fresh: Vegetable and Beef Stir-Fry in Peanut Sauce

I made this for Boyfriend to take for lunch, hence the sad tupperware.

I made this for Boyfriend to take for lunch, hence the sad tupperware.

I’ve been out of college for just over a year, but I still remember the days of monotonous dining hall food quite clearly. I have to admit that Bates College is better than most, but the same recipes week after week and month after month do get boring and old. Many of the students created a variety of concoctions to combat the boredom and the college eventually took notice, creating a ‘Bates Chef’ competition so the students could show off their creations and compete for the top prize. I had plenty of my own creations (chocolate crescents, garden pesto pizza, Chana Masala chicken wraps, etc.), but my favorite by far was the winner of ‘Bates Chef’ during my senior year. My friend and fellow psychology aficionado, Mikey Pasek, created a recipe for Peanut Sauce Tofu.

Garden Fresh Vegetables

Ultimately, his recipe inspired this one over a year later. Our CSA this week included beets, lettuce, carrots, summer squash, snap peas, potatoes, dill, and small cloves of garlic. I’ve been struggling to use all of the produce some weeks, but I hate throwing it away, so I’m trying to be much better about squeezing veggies into our meals whenever possible, and what better way to use a lot of vegetables than in a stir-fry? I would usually toss in a bit of sesame oil and teriyaki sauce into my stir-fry, but I was out. As much as Boyfriend tries to put up with my healthy cooking, I knew he wouldn’t go for straight up vegetables over rice so I needed another sauce, and that is where Mikey’s peanut sauce came to mind!

Sauteed Veggies

Ingredients
1 Cup Creamy peanut butter
1/3Cup Soy sauce
3/4 Cup Hot water
1 Tbsp Brown sugar
2 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch Curry powder
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Sesame oil or butter
1 Cup Squash, cut into 1×1/2″ pieces
6 Small to medium carrots, cut in half
1 Cup Sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 lb Thinly sliced beef, optional
2 Cup Cooked Jasmine rice, prepared according to package directions
Toasted sesame seeds, optional
Minced chives, optional

In a small sauce pan, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, water, sugar, red pepper flakes, and curry powder over medium-low heat. Stir until fully combined and creamy; cover and set aside.

In a large skillet, add 1 Tbsp of the sesame oil and heat the pan over medium heat. Add the squash spread in a single layer, cooking over medium heat; turn it after 4 minutes. As soon as the squash is started, add the remaining sesame oil and the beef to a medium skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fully browned. When the squash is turned, add the carrots and continue cooking the vegetables for 4 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Add the snap peas and cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.

Add the beef and sauce to to the pan of vegetables and stir to combine. Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds and chives if desired.

Homemade Microwave Chicken Pot Pie

I love mug cooking, but with the exception of macaroni and cheese, I can’t find many savory recipes. Most of them are great for breakfast (Blueberry Muffin in a Mug) or dessert (Minute Brownie in a Mug), but not for dinner. I started hunting for a microwave recipe for chicken pot pie, but apparently no one has been quite that brave. Even after broadening the search to any single-serving microwave pie, I still came up empty handed. The few that called themselves “pie” were actually little more than fruit with some oatmeal crumb topping.

I knew that it had to be possible. Connie Stewart finally gave me the information I needed to figure it out. I have to admit that this isn’t a true microwave recipe because I finished mine up in the oven to get the golden brown color I’m used to seeing on a crust. However, that’s not absolutely necessary and it tastes great either way.

It works! Homemade chicken pot pie can be made in the microwave!

It works! Homemade chicken pot pie can be made in the microwave!

I’ve been making white sauce on the stove since I was knee high to a grasshopper, but I wanted to make this as simple as possible so every part of the recipe can be made in the microwave. I used leftover chicken and frozen vegetables to speed the process, but you could cook chicken in the microwave while you dice up fresh vegetables and prepare the rest of your ingredients. The recipe includes the crust, white sauce, and filling. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it really comes together quickly.

Ingredients:
Crust:
1/2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut in pieces
scant less than 2 Tbsp ice cold water

In a small bowl, stir together flour and salt. Add in cut butter. Work the butter through your fingers, massaging it until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pieces no larger than the size of small peas. Drizzle ICE COLD water over the flour butter mixture and swirl the bowl around until the water is coating everything. Gather the dough together and press it into a rough ball, don’t really knead it, just gather and flatten once or twice. It’s easy to overwork the dough at this stage because it is very crumbly and seems like it can’t be right. Trust me, it works; don’t gather and flatten it more than 2 times.

Flour your board or counter and dump the dough onto it. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and let it sit for 10 minutes. If you’re kitchen is warm you may want to let it do the sitting in the fridge.

While the dough is chilling, make the white sauce and assemble the filling.

Making the RouxWhite Sauce:
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a microwave safe 1 quart bowl on high for 15 to 30 seconds. Stir in the flour until blended and smooth. Stir in the milk, salt and pepper.

Microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Stir and microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes more or until thickened.

Filling:
1/2-2/3 Cup diced mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen
1/2 Cup cooked chicken (may substitute canned, drained)
1/2 Cup prepared white sauce

Place the vegetables in a microwave safe bowl with just enough water to cover the bottom, and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Drain the vegetables.

Combine the vegetables, chicken, and white sauce, and set aside.

Pie CrustTo roll out the dough: keep the parchment paper on the dough and roll or press the dough into a rough rectangle. There are going to be bits and pieces of dough falling everywhere-its ok, just stick them back in and keep on doing your thing. Fold over one side of the dough into the middle like a letter . Cover with parchment again and press back into a rectangle. Repeat this with all four sides, folding in and rolling out-you don’t need to roll out a lot just enough to make the whole thing look like a rectangle again. By the last fold your dough will come together and look like something you can work with. Then roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness. For more help with the crust, check out the pictures at The Purple Spoon.

If you plan to brown your crust in the oven, preheat it now to 350°.

Chicken Pot PieUse your container (I used a ramekin) to cut out a circle for the bottom and top. Place the bottom in the ramekin, then use the remaining pieces to fill in the sides. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just make sure it’s all covered. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Pour in the filling and cover with top crust. Pinch together the edges with a fork, and use a knife to cut several vent holes.

Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes until the top crust is dry to the touch. Place your pie in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes, until the crust turns a light golden brown.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

Method adapted from Fruit Pies made in the Microwave by Simply Simple Stamping.
Pie crust adapted from Perfect Pie Crust by The Purple Spoon.
White Sauce adapted from Microwave Basic White Sauce by JupiterLady63.

Curried Chicken with Apples and Raisins

Curried Chicken with Apples and Raisins

I absolutely love to eat curry. I don’t love the amount of time that it takes to make. Some recipes take up to 2 hours including the prep, marinade time, and cooking. I have to admit that it’s well worth the effort, but sometimes I don’t have a lot of time to cook and I want something delicious that comes together quickly.

I’ve been collecting curry recipes on Pinterest, and I look through them occasionally to see what I’d like to make. In a recent search for something I could cook with the limited ingredients I had hanging around the house, I found this one. I have never seen a curry recipe with apples before, so the idea intrigued me.

Although I finally got around to grocery shopping today, I decided to stick with my dinner plans and make this with some Jasmine rice. Boyfriend gave this recipe 3 forks because the chicken was a bit dry and not as flavorful as it could have been. Next time, I think I’ll just barely brown the chicken instead of trying to thoroughly brown it on all sides before simmering.

Sauteing onion, apple, raisins, garlic, and ginger

Sauteing onion, apple, raisins, garlic, and ginger

Curried chicken with  apples, raisins, onion, and spices simmering in coconut milk and chicken broth

Curried chicken with apples, raisins, onion, and spices simmering in coconut milk and chicken broth

Curried Chicken with Apples and Raisins

Curried Chicken with Apples and Raisins

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 apple, peeled and cored, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1/2 Cup chicken broth
1/4 Cup light coconut milk
1/2 Cup of frozen pea
plain yogurt
naan/rice (optional for serving)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, apple, raisins, and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in curry powder and cinnamon (optional). Push the apple mixture to one side of the pan, add more oil if needed, then brown the chicken on all sides (chicken will not be fully cooked).

Stir chicken and other ingredients together then add broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, add peas, then cover and cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Top with yogurt and serve with rice or naan.

Adapted from the Mommy games.

Butter Chicken

Tuesdays are quickly turning into ‘India Night’ at my house. Boyfriend and I both have ridiculously busy schedules and this is the one night each week that we actually get to spend together. I usually try to put together a meal that’s just a little bit nicer than usual, and Indian food usually fits the bill. Besides, we both absolutely love it.

Today, he got called into work so we would be starting our evening together a bit later than usual. I was looking for a recipe that would taste great, but wouldn’t take up too much time. A lot of Indian recipes have quite a few steps and can take a while to prepare the first time until you figure out the best sequence. However, this one looked relatively easy, didn’t have too many ingredients, and sounded wonderful.

Butter Chicken over Jasmine Rice

Butter Chicken is an entry point for many people into Indian cuisine, but after over a year of eating (and LOVING) Indian food, I had yet to try it. I don’t know how authentic this version is, but it tasted wonderful regardless. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Thanks to Mique at Thirty Handmade Days for the inspiration.

(Since I so often refer to Boyfriend’s opinion of my dishes in this blog, he requested his own rating system. From now on, you will see the boyfriend rating on most recipes. He scores from 1 to 5 forks, with one being the worst and 5 being the best.)

BOYFRIEND RATING: 4 forks

Ingredients:
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder (optional)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 C chicken broth
1/2 C half and half
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 C butter
lime wedges
cilantro, chopped

In a large pan saute the onion, ginger and jalapeno pepper in oil. Stir until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, garam masala, and chili powder (if desired). Saute for 2-3 minutes more.

Flavorful Sautee

Put the mixture into a blender. Add in the tomato paste and chicken broth, and blend until smooth.

Blending the Sauce

Pour the mixture back into the pan and add the cream. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

In another pan heat 1 Tbsp butter over high heat and add in chicken that has been salted and peppered. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Add in the sauce and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes more. Add in 3 Tbsp butter and stir until melted.

Melting Butter

Serve over rice. Squeeze lime juice over the mixture and garnish with chopped cilantro.

NOTES: I hate cilantro, so I left it off.

Chicken and Spaghetti in a Tomato Cream Sauce

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

Boyfriend and I have radically conflicting schedules and the only real time that we get to spend together is on Tuesday afternoons/evenings. Except for the occasions when he decides that he wants to cook, I always try to make something just a bit fancier than our usual fare. Dinner time rolled around and I still didn’t have any brilliant ideas, so I decided to go with something pasta-based.

I had chicken thighs in the fridge, so I just needed some sauce and veggies. I usually add in fresh spinach and grape tomatoes, deglaze with white wine, and add in a bit of parmesan cheese and garlic. It turned out that I was missing the spinach and the wine, so I had to change gears midway through the cooking process and use what I had on hand, and this wonderful dish came to be. I’m definitely keeping this one!

Chicken an Mushrooms

Saute garlic, chicken, and mushrooms in olive oil until chicken is cooked through and mushrooms are soft.

Tomatoes Added

Add diced tomatoes and stir to combine.

In the Sauce

Add heavy cream and parmesan cheese, and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is combined, then add pasta and swirl until coated.

Ingredients:
1/3 pkg thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced (I love garlic, but you can reduce this if you don’t)
1 lb boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cubed
8 oz button or crimini mushrooms
1 can(16 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. While waiting for water to boil, begin assembling the sauce as directed below. Do not drain the pasta.

In a large skillet, saute garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium and add chicken. Saute until the chicken is no longer pink, 6-8 minutes, add the mushrooms, and continue cooking until mushrooms are soft, about 5 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. Stir gently to combine. Using a pasta scoop, add the pasta to the skillet and swirl until the pasta and sauce are fully combined. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Bourbon Chicken with Steamed Carrots

The Bourbon Chicken recipe was another Pinterest discovery. I made a few modifications to the recipe originally found on Quick & Easy Recipes. Happily, it is completely wheat and dairy free!

Bourbon Chicken

Ingredients
1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 tbsp olive oil
3/4-1 lb baby carrots
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 C apple juice
1/3 C light brown sugar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 C water
1/3 C soy sauce*
2 tsp corn starch*
Cold water

 

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned. While chicken is cooking bring an inch of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. When the water is boiling, add the carrots in a steamer basket, cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Remove chicken.

To the chicken pan, add next 9 ingredients, heating over medium Heat until well mixed and dissolved. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Combine the cornstarch and a small amount of cold water and stir to combine. Remove the chicken from the skillet and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir to combine and simmer for 2-3 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Serve over rice with carrots and cover with Bourbon sauce.

* If you are gluten sensitive, double check your soy sauce and corn starch. Some brands contain traces of gluten.

Orange Chicken

Today’s post is courtesy of Eating well…Living thin…. I originally found this recipe on pinterest, and I’ve been looking forward to trying it for over a month now. I finally got around to it last night, and it was well worth the effort.

I love Chinese food almost as much as I love Indian food, and I am always looking for versions of my favorite dishes that I can make at home. This dish has the perfect balance of sweet, sour, savory, and spicy. My favorite part is that it is dairy and gluten free. I served it over some Jasmine rice with Orange Teriyaki Steamed Vegetables.

Orange Chicken 1

Ingredients:
Marinade:
1/2 C orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce*
1/4 tsp sesame seed oil
1/2 tsp salt

1 pound chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch chunks

In a medium bowl combine orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt. Add chicken tenders and stir to coat. Allow to marinate for 25-30 minutes.

Sauce:
3/4 C orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 C low-sodium chicken broth*
5 tsp sugar
4 tsp honey or agave
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce*
2 tsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp cornstarch*
Kosher salt

In a small saucepan combine orange juice, orange zest, chicken broth, sugar, honey, soy sauce, oil, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil; lower heat to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by 1/4. Season with salt to taste. Stir the 2 teaspoons cornstarch with a small amount of cold water and add to the sauce. Bring back to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Set aside, but keep warm.

Other Ingredients:
1/2 C cornstarch
2 Tbsp canola oil
Sliced green onions
Sesame seeds

In a large bowl or ziploc bag add the 1/2 cup of cornstarch. Drain the chicken and toss with the cornstarch, shaking off excess. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high. Add chicken and cook until golden and meat is cooked through. Gently toss cooked chicken with the sauce and serve. Makes 4 servings. (About 1/2 cup each.)

* If you are gluten sensitive, double check your chicken broth, soy sauce, and corn starch. Some brands contain traces of gluten.

Chicken Tikka Masala with Roasted Cauliflower

Growing up, I had a little bit of exposure to ethnic cuisine, but not much. We ate Chinese food pretty regularly, and I remember going to a Japanese restaurant once. Most of my exposure has come as an adult, and it usually takes me a while to get up the courage to try something new.

Last April, after I finished writing my college Honors’ thesis, my Advisor invited all of her students out to dinner at a local Indian restaurant. It was some of the best food I had ever eaten. Since then, Boyfriend has become the Indian cuisine specialist in our household. He doesn’t cook often, but when he does…WOW!

Out of an absurd need to prove myself, I knew I had to make this recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala as soon as I saw it on Pinterest. Boyfriend not only ate it, he asked for seconds and thirds, so I think I did pretty well.

CTM Ingredients

Ingredients:
Marinade and Chicken:
2 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ginger juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 pounds chicken, breasts and thighs, diced small

In a bowl, blend the yogurt, lemon juice, cayenne, cumin, gingers, cinnamon, salt as needed and pepper. Once well mixed, add the chicken and allow the meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Do not over marinate.

CTM Marinade

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the cauliflower and sauce.

Ingredients:
Cauliflower
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp Garam Masala, or other Indian spice blend such as tandoori spice, or a curry spice blend
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
1 head cauliflower, rinsed, cored, cut into 2-inch pieces (or 1 bag frozen cauliflower, thawed)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the oil and spices, and whisk until blended. Toss in the cauliflower and use a spatula to coat completely with the butter/spice mixture. Distribute evenly on a lined baking sheet, and roast for 35-45 minutes, or until the stems are tender, and the edges are browned. If using frozen cauliflower, roast for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Ingredients:
Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons jalapeno or Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups tomato puree
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
Chopped green onions and cilantro, for garnish
Special equipment: fourteen to sixteen 6-inch skewers

Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with cumin, salt and paprika. Stir in the tomato puree, heavy cream and sour cream. Simmer on low heat until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

CTM Sauce

While the sauce is simmering, prepare a grill to medium-high heat. If, like me, you decide to make a recipe that calls for a grill during a snow storm in Maine, heat a grill pan on the stove-top to medium-high instead.

Thread the chicken on the skewers. Grill the chicken on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and repeat cooking on the second side. Once cooked on the second side, brush both sides with the prepared sauce. Allow the sauce to warm and then serve, garnishing with greens of choice.

NOTES: I served mine over jasmine rice. I also left off the greens because I absolutely hate the taste of cilantro.

ChickenTikkaMasala

Recipes courtesy of Robert Irvine and John Mitzewich.

‘Pizza Hut’-style Pan Pizza

Pizza

When I was young, my family ate out most Friday nights. One of my favorite outings was going to Pizza Hut for their pan pizza. I loved the crunch on the bottom and sides of the crust with the thick doughy center under delicious layers of sauce and gooey cheese.

Now that I am all grown up, I have a different set of values. I’m trying to be more like my great grandmother, cooking from scratch, using whole ingredients, and avoiding heavily processed foods. That all but eliminates things like take-out pizza. Then, I found this amazing recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff that claimed to replicate the crunchy, chewy goodness at home. I couldn’t resist trying it out.

(I’ve recently started cooking by weight because it’s more accurate, so I’ve included the weights in parentheses.)

Dough
Pizza Dough:
1 package dry yeast
1 Tbsp (0.44 oz) sugar
1/2 tsp (0.1 oz) salt
1/4 C (0.75 oz) non-fat dry milk
1 1/3 C warm water (105 degrees F)
4 C (17 oz) all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp canola oil (for dough)
9 Tbsp canola oil (for pans)
Cooking spray

Put yeast, sugar, salt, and dry milk in a large bowl. Add water and stir to mix well. Allow to sit for two minutes. Add oil and stir again. Add flour and stir until dough forms and flour is absorbed.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Divide dough into three balls**. In three 9″ cake pans, put 3 Tbl. of oil in each making sure it is spread evenly. Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball to about a 9″ circle. Place in cake pans.

Spray the outer edge of dough with cooking spray. Cover with a plate. Place in warm area and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Refrigerating the dough for 1 hour after it finishes rising helps to prevent sinking when the toppings are added.

(**In my household, three 9″ pizzas would be way too much, so I rolled out two crusts and let the third ball rise before freezing it.)

Crust

Six Sisters’ Stuff recommends the following sauce (simply combining all of the ingredients), but I have an obsession with Classico Marinara with Plum Tomatoes, so I simply processed that in the blender until it was uniformly smooth and used that in place of the Six Sisters’ sauce.

Sauce:
1 can (8 ounce size) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Other Ingredients:
Mozzarella cheese (or an Italian blend), shredded (1 1/2-2 C)
Desired toppings

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Spoon 1/3 C of sauce on the dough and spread to within 1″ of edge. Distribute 1/4 C of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce. Place toppings of your choice in the following order: pepperoni or ham, vegetables, meats (cooked ground sausage or beef). Top with 1/2 C of mozzarella cheese. Cook until cheese is bubbling and outer crust is brown (between 10-15 minutes).

Slice

This pizza turned out wonderfully and brought me back to my childhood. My roommate, Jon, is the consummate take-out pizza aficionado, and he raved about what a perfect duplication it was. Even my significant other loved it, and he’s usually skeptical about homemade versions of popular foods. I would call this experiment a success!