Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ann's Italian sausage, hamburger, mushroom and red onion pizza

All of The girls in my cooking class, wanted to learn to make homemade pizza. A couple of them had tried to make it before, but didn't like the results.  I have experimented over the years and finally came up with my own version. It makes 2 large pizzas, so for 2 people you can have one for dinner and freeze another one for later. They freeze nicely. You can use any toppings you like, but most things should be sauteed before putting on the pizza. It cooks and softens the veggies and brings out the flavors. The exception is pepperoni, which can just be layered directly onto the pizza. Also, you can make plain cheese pizza, which is how my grandson likes it. My kids and grandkids always request this pizza when they visit or I go to see them. My favorite mix is hamburger and mild Italian sausage mixed together with mushrooms and red onions sauteed together and added on top of the meat mixture. THE MOST IMPORTANT thing is to spread the pizza sauce on thin!!! You should have about one half of a jar left. This pizza just says home, family and comfort food to the max!! The girls in the picture are from my May Cooking class. Good friends and good fun, You can't beat it!!

  1. 1 pkg. instant yeast (can use regular)

  2. 1 cup lukewarm water

  3. 1 TBLS. sugar

  4. 1 teaspoon salt

  5. 2 TBLS. oil(I like Crisco vegetable)

  6. 2 1/2 - 3 cups unbleached flour(I like Pillsbury or King Arthur)


  1. 1 jar Ragu Pizza Quick Sauce

  2. 1 12 oz bag grated 5 cheese Italian

  3. 1 12 oz bag mozzarella cheese

  4. pepperoni, sliced (If using instead of sausage/hamburger mix)

  5. 1 lb. Italian sausage and 1/2 lb. hamburger, crumbled and browned.
  6. about 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  7. 1/2 of an 8 oz. pkg. of mushrooms sliced 
  8. green or red peppers, sauteed(I prefer red cause they are milder)

In bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt amd oil. Mix well. Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth. Put a little oil in medium bowl, turn dough to oil both sides, and cover with a damp towel. Let rise until doubled in bulk.

Empty dough out on pastry cloth that has been floured and divide in half. Roll out thin and put each half in a pizza pan or on a pizza baking stone. (For grandkids, I use 7 inch cast iron skillets). Crimp the edges to hold toppings. Spread Ragu on very thin, covering surface and then almost 1/2 of the grated cheese from each bag(you will have a little left but you also can use it all). Put the meats on next and then veggie toppings. Bake at 400 degrees about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. So much fun to make with friends or family!!

Kathy's Fresh Strawberry pie

The grand finale to our cooking class was a pie brought by Kathy Neve. It is a very fresh Spring/summer pie made with fresh strawberries. I have made a followers of my class in using real whipped cream instead of Cool Whip. There is sooo much difference. We worked on whipping cream and I taught them how to not overwhip so it turns to butter. We all enjoyed this dessert. I garnished the slices with fresh mint and a fresh strawberry sliced with stem.

  1. 1 1/3 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers(about 42 wafers)

  2. 2 TBLS. sugar

  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla

  4. 5 TBLS. unsalted butter, melted

  5. 8 cups of hulled strawberries, divided(small ones work better)

  6. 2 TBLS. water

  7. 2/3 cup sugar

  8. 2 TBLS. cornstarch

  9. 1 TBLS. lemon juice

  10. 1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cookie crumbs, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and the melted butter; Press into a 9 inch pie pan. Bake 10 minutes or until set and barely beginning to brown. Cool the crust.

Slice 2 cups strawberries. Combine with 2 TBLS. water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil while mashing strawberries. Cook about 2 minutes. Push thru a sieve with a spoon. Discard solids that remain. Measure juice and water to equal 1 cup.

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in strawberry juice and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in remaining vanilla. Place 1/3 of the berries in pie shell; drizzle with 1/3 of the glaze. Repeat twice. Chill 2 hours or until set. Serve whith whipped cream. Serves 6-8. Wonderful on a hot summer's evening!

Spicy Cucumber Salad

Another recipe from our May cooking class brought to us by Carol Nystrom, as a side to the homemade pizza we were making. These are delicious and perfect for that summer picnic, now that cukes are coming in season. Thanks, Carol

  1. 3/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar

  2. 1/2 cup sugar

  3. 2 teaspoons Kosher

  4. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, can adjust according to how "hot" you like things

  5. 1 TBLS. plus 1 teaspoon finely grated, peeled fresh ginger

  6. 4 lbs. seedless cucumbers, halved crosswise

Whisk together vinegar, red pepper flakes, ginger, and sugar in a large bowl for dressing. Using a vegetable peeler, cut cucumber lengthwise into ribbons and add to bowl with dressing, tossing to combine. Salt to taste. Chill at least 15 minutes or more, stirring once before serving. Serves 8

Warm Bacon Cheese Spread

At my last cooking class here in Colorado City, we made this yummy appetizer. The ladies in the picture, holding the bread bowl are my friends from the class, Lisa Wachob on the right and Sue Phillips. Men love it too and it would be GREAT for that Super Bowl Party!!! It is from the Taste of Home magazine, that I love. Can make ahead and then heat it when ready to serve.

  1. 1 Round loaf Sourdough bread(Can use wheat or multigrain, etc., Whole Foods has several choices)

  2. 1 - 8oz package cream cheese, softened

  3. 1 1/2 cups(12 oz) sour cream

  4. 2 cups(8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese(sharp is best)

  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons Worchestershire Sauce

  6. 3/4 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled(Applewood Farms smoked is great!)

  7. 1/2 cup chopped green onions

  8. Assorted crckers bread cubes from loaf

Cut the top 1/4 off the loaf of bread; carefully hollow out the bottom, leaving a 1 inch shell all around. Cut the removed bread and top of loaf into cubes; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese. Add the sour cream, cheddar cheese and Worchestershire Sauce until combined; stir in the bacon and green onions.Spoon into bread shell. Wrap in a piece of heavy duty foil(about 24 in. by 17 in). Bake at 325 degrees for 1 - 1 1/4 hrs or until heated thru. Serve with crackers and reserved bread cubes. Yield 4 cups

Italian Cream Cake

Before moving to Colorado, I had never heard of Italian Cream Cake. There is a large Italian contingent in Pueblo and many of Italian descent around Southern Colorado. Some of my friends, who are Italian, put me onto this wonderful cake. It is one of my top 2 most requested and I made it for several graduations this year, by request. If you like coconut or carrot cake, this would be in the same family, only BETTER. The cake in the picture, I made and decorated for a special friend's birthday. All of our gorgeous lilacs were in bloom then. Know you will love this if you try it!!!!

  1. 1/2 cup Crisco( I use 1 cup butter flavor Crisco at high altitudes!!! and leave off the butter)

  2. 1/2 cup butter

  3. 1 2/3 cups sugar

  4. 5 Eggs, separated

  5. 1 cup buttermilk

  6. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt

  8. 2 cups unbleached flour, sifted (I use Pillsbury or King Arthur)

  9. 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla

  10. 1 cup pecans, toasted and then chopped

  11. 1 - 3 1/2 oz. can flaked coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

  2. 1/4 cup butter, softened

  3. 1 lb. Powdered sugar

  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla

  5. 2 TBLS. or more whipping cream(can use milk)

  6. 1 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Cream butter and Crisco, add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add buttermilk alternately with dry ingredients starting and ending with flour. Stir in vanilla, pecans, and coconut. Fold in stiffly-beaten egg whites. Bake in 3 greased and floured pans that also have a round of parchment or wax paper on top and then grease the paper too. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until done when checking with a toothpick. Cool in pans for 20 minutes and remove. Ice with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with toasted pecans.

To make frosting: Cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, ending with cream to make the proper spreading consistency.

Eileen's Italian Cream Cake

Supreme Double- Coconut cream pie

I love this pie!!! I just found this recipe again and I remembered it is the best ever. While the original coconut cream pie I have on the website is good, this is heavenly. It uses both cream of coconut and flaked coconut. Wait until you taste it!!!!

  1. 3 Egg whites (I use 4 or 5 to make a high meringue, just use heaping measures of the sugar and cream of tartar)

  2. 1/4 cup cornstarch

  3. 2 cups milk

  4. 3/4 cup Cream of coconut

  5. 3 beaten egg yolks

  6. 2 TBLS. butter or margarine

  7. 1 cup flaked coconut

  8. 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

  9. 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

  10. 1/3 cup sugar

  11. 2 TBLS. flaked coconut

  12. 1 baked 9 inch pie crust(recipe found on this website)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile for filling, in a medium suacepan combine cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir in 1/4 cup of the milk, with a wire whisk, until smooth. Stir in remaining milk and the cream of coconut. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot filling into the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Pour egg yolk mixture into remaining hot filling in the saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted. Stir in 1 cup flaked coconut and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Keep warm...

For meringue, in a large metal mixing bowl combine egg whites, remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and the cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on fairly high speed for 1 minute or so until soft peaks form(soft peaks are when you pull up meringue with mixer(not on) and the peak "droops", stiff peaks are when they stand straight up in the air). Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, 1 TBLS. at a time, beating on high speed 4 minutes or more, until mixture holds stiff peaks. Spoon hot filling into baked pie shell. IMMEDIATELY spread meringue over hot filling, carefully sealing to edge of crust to prevent shrinkage. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 TBLS. flaked coconut. Bake for 15 minutes, watching carefully, until meringue and coconut are nicely browned. Cool for 1 hour. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving. However, I like to bring to room temperature to serve. Think it tastes the best!!