Summer Sausage and Arugula Pasta

A quick and easy Summer meal idea!

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What you’ll need:
– Pasta
– Olive oil
– Garlic. minced
– Red pepper flakes
– Fresh basil, torn
– Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
– White onion, chopped
– Arugula
– Mozzarella cheese, grated
– Sausages, spicy or regular Italian

In a pot:
– Bring water to a boil
– Cook Pasta
– Drain
– Toss in olive oil

Meanwhile, in a frying pan:
– Cut sausages out of casing and put into pan with a bit of olive oil
– Once sausages are cooked, throw in onion and minced garlic
– Once onions have started to brown, add tomatoes
– Simmer until tomatoes have softened
– Use red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to season to taste

In a large bowl:
– Combine pasta and sausage mixture
– Tear up basil leaves and mix
– Add olive oil as needed for “saucier” result

To plate:
– Top with a handful of fresh arugula and grated Mozzarella cheese
– Enjoy!

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Easy Homemade Pizza

pizza

I have finally mastered the easiest pizza and I felt the need to share! This entire process only takes about 30 minutes of actual “work” time in the kitchen and the result is the fluffiest yet crispiest pizza I’ve ever been able to make. It also makes an easy week night dinner, as it freezes and thaws flawlessly. Enjoy!

What You’ll Need:

Pizza Dough:
– 1 1/2 cups of water
– 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) of active dry yeast – pizza yeast is best (always check expiry date)
– 3 1/2 cups of bread flour (can also use gluten free or all purpose flour)
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 tsp salt
– 1 tsp sugar

Pizza Ingredients:
– olive oil
– cornmeal (to slide the pizza onto the stone/pan and prevent sticking)
– mozzarella cheese – grated
– vegetables
– peperoni, sausage, or salami, or not at all
NOTE – the thinner you slice your veggies, the less chance of a soggy pizza you have

Other:
– large mixing bowl
– pizza stone or baking sheet
– pizza wheel or cutting board

ingredMaking the Dough:

– In a large bowl, add the warm water, sprinkle in the yeast, and allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until the yeast is dissolved. Stir occasionally to speed this up.
– using a mixer (or, the old fashioned way, your hands) mix in flour, salt, and sugar and a low speed (also known as human speed) Knead the dough until it is elastic and smooth, about 5-10 minutes. If the dough seems wet or too sticky add, more flour.

– place the ball of dough a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl until it is also coated. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until it doubles in size – about 1-1 1/2 hours. TIP: If you don’t have a warm spot in the house, heat the oven to 150°. Turn off and let cool. Place dough in the oven and let sit to rise.

Preparing the Pizza(s):
– pre-heat the oven to 450° for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour
 remove plastic cover from dough and punch dough down so it deflates a bit.

The Best Part! At this point you can separate your dough into two balls. Freeze one to use for a quick week night dinner. (Take the frozen dough out in the morning. Place in a bowl that has been lightly coated in olive oil. Roll the frozen dough in the oil so that it is also coated. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let sit for the day. When you come home your dough will have risen again and will be ready to prepare for dinner!)

– prepare your toppings – remember that you want to keep them thin and sparse so that your pizza doesn’t end up a soggy mess. 
veg

– working on a lightly floured surface, flatten the dough with your hards. Starting at the centre and working out, use your fingers to press the dough until it is about 1 1/2″ thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let the dough relax for 5 minutes and then continue to stretch until it reaches maximum size. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough – pinch the edge if you want a more defined crust.
– brush the top of the dough with olive oil to prevent sogginess. Use your fingers to press dents in the dough to prevent bubbles. Let rest another 5 minutes.
– sprinkle your baking sheet with cornmeal – this will stop the pizza from sticking. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. If the dough has  lost its shape, lightly adjust it.
– spoon on your tomato sauce then alternate toppings and cheese until it is sufficiently covered. Remember that toppings can be used sparingly for a crispier pie.
– place pizza in oven and cook until cheese is browned and the dough is crisp – about 10-15 minutes.
– take pizza out of oven and let sit for another 5-10 minutes – serve and dig in!

This recipe yields 2 10-12″ pizzas.

 

Warm Winter Salad

I find one of two things happens in the winter: 1. You stop cooking entirely, turning only to take out and/or meals cooked by others or 2. You start cooking only comfort food – things that are baked, cheesed, and ultimately terrible for you.  OK, two of two things happen. Let’s be honest.

As the temperatures have begun to drop, I have decided to take a summer staple, the spinach salad, and add a bit of a winter twist: warm potatoes and grilled steak. You get that same warm in your belly feeling without the giant brick in your belly feeling (and no baked on mess – hurrah!) The beauty of this recipe is that it is fast, it can be quickly modified for different group sizes without much extra effort, and an easy clean up makes it perfect for weeknight entertaining. In addition, adding the strips of steak as you plate your salad is a great way to provide the same meal option for vegetarians as well.

salad 1

What you’ll need:

Small, oven safe dish
Salad Bowl
Butter/Margerine (1 large “dollop”)
Olive Oil – about 2/3 of a cup
Fresh Garlic – 1 large clove, pressed
Dijon Mustard – 1 tbsp
Spinach
Red Onion – diced
Cherry Tomatoes – halved
Goat Cheese – crumbled
New Potatoes – halved
Flank Steak or Striploin

Preheat oven to 400° – place butter in dish and melt. Place sliced potatoes in melted butter, coat, and place back in oven, turning periodically

Toss spinach, tomatoes, cheese, and onions in a bowl; In a measuring cup: mix olive oil, garlic, and dijon mustard

salad 2

Check on your potatoes – when you feel that they are about 20 minutes from being done (browned, but not crispy) preheat your BBQ

Grill steak to medium rare (about 15 minutes) and slice against the grain – this will ensure your steak is not tough

Taking potatoes out of the oven, toss them into your bowl and mix

Lightly coat your salad with dressing – the taste is strong so you will not need a ton

Plating your meal, top each serving with a few strips of steak, serve, and enjoy!

salad 6