scratch pizza

I love making pizza from scratch, but I don’t do it terribly often as it is a lot of work. My latest foray, however, I believe was my best effort since leaving behind my convection oven in Gilroy.

I have developed a set of steps for making pizza, which I adapted from the instructions that came with a Chicago Metallic pizza pan. This is just about right for a 12-inch pan.

Scratch Pizza


  • ⅝ cups warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 ½ tsp (1 packet) yeast


  1. Mix ingredients in a stand mixer (KitchenAid, of course).
  2. Let rise 1 to 1 ½ hours, punch down.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Grease pizza pan with olive oil, roll out dough.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes on middle rack.
  6. Add sauce and toppings.
  7. Bake 15 minutes on lowest rack.

For the sauce I use a Spicy Pizza Sauce recipe from Cooking Light. I drained the canned tomatoes and (roughly) doubled the tomato paste which made for a thicker sauce without the liquid that I had experienced previously. I like a smooth sauce so I blended it using my immersion blender.

I used Provolone for the cheese and topped the pizza with bulk sausage from the service meat department, fresh white mushrooms, and sliced black olives.


scratch pizza

Tandoori chicken kebabs

Tandoori Chicken KebabsI’m always happy to have a new recipe for my NuWave oven, and I love Indian food. I’m not sure where I came across this recipe for Lean Tandoori Chicken Kebabs, but I had added it to my database at some point. It nicely covered both categories, so I decided to make it on a recent Saturday.

The first thing I did was to make the marinade the evening before in order to give it a full 24 hours. That was the right thing to do.  The chicken came out very flavorful. I followed the recipe for cooking times plus a couple of minutes, and I think it was a bit too long. The chicken was a tad dry. But I put both a lemon and a lime on our plates, and drizzling on the citrus made up for any dryness and added a little zing.

The basmati rice on the side worked well.

It made for a great Saturday dinner.

it turned out after all

I follow the posts from the kitchn in my news reader each day so I see all of their new content. They publish some interesting recipes, and when I saw their recipe for One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni it caught my attention. I saved it and added it to my database.

grillers crumblesWhen I was ready to make it I decided that Terry and I had gone rather heavy on meat that week. So instead of using ground beef I used a 12 ounce bag of Morningstar Grillers (soy) Crumbles. The recipe also made way more than we needed (it was written to serve 10 to 12), so I cut back on the quantities. I pretty much followed the recipe with respect to the veggies, canned tomatoes, seasonings, and pasta. I didn’t add the soy crumbles until near the end, however, and I seasoned them with Cajun seasoning. I was beginning to think I had a disaster on my hands, and so I held my breath as I mixed in the shredded cheddar cheese.

I put the dish on plates and brought them to the table. Terry really liked it, and I thought it was pretty good as well.



fajitasI always enjoy making (and eating) fajitas, so a recipe for Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas caught my attention. I planned on using this method of fixing the fajitas, until I thought through a couple of things. First, the recipe called for two pounds of beef, enough to serve six. I only needed to serve two, so I bought a half pound of flap meat. Second, the liquid that was necessary to cook the meat in the slow cooker was salsa. I enjoy salsa, absolutely, but not as a central ingredient in my fajitas.

What I ended up doing was cooking the meat and bell pepptortillaser in my cast iron skillet, but I used the homemade fajita seasoning specified in this recipe. The result was delicious, so I have to give Shannon at FitSlowCookerQueen full credit for that.

I served the fajitas with tortillas that were a combination of corn and wheat, something that I pick up at Sprouts. They are quite tasty, and they are less inclined to fall apart than the normal supermarket corn tortillas. They are also larger than the normal corn tortilla.

It made for a really good dinner.

Thai Basil Chicken Stir-Fry

stir fryA recipe for Thai Basil Chicken Stir-Fry had been sitting in my Living Cookbook database since it appeared in the June 2015 issue of Cooking Light. I was looking for something simple to make for a recent dinner and I realized that it had been too long since I had pulled out the wok. This one filled the bill on both counts.

In a manner rather unusual for me, I actually stuck very close to the recipe as it was published. It turned out quite well. I forgot to add the lime juice at the end, which would have given it a little extra zing. I might have served it on top of rice, but I think we did fine without the extra refined carbohydrates.

It was a nice meal.

quick shrimp sort-of paella

paellaTerry found a recipe in the current Cooking Light for Shortcut Shrimp Paella. I decided to give the recipe a try on a recent Saturday, but as usual I cannot leave well enough alone. My version varied a lot from the original.

Quick Shrimp sort-of Paella

serves 2


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 Serrano chili (optional)
  • frozen  peas
  • 18 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cooked
  • butter
  • saffron
  • garlic powder
  • Old Bay seasoning


  1. Put the rice on to cook with 2 cups water.
  2. Chop the bell pepper and the Serrano chili.
  3. Remove the tails from the shrimp.
  4. Add a few threads of saffron to the rice.
  5. Add the bell pepper and the chili to the rice.
  6. Add the frozen peas.
  7. Heat a pan with olive oil, add the shrimp, and season with Old Bay.
  8. Add butter with garlic to the pan.
  9. Put the rice on two plates. Put the shrimp on the rice and drizzle with the butter.
  10. Serve.

As the original recipe pointed out, paella usually has several kinds of seafood and additional protein such as chicken. It takes several hours to make. But this is a nice shortcut. I deviated from the original recipe in a number of ways. It called for instant rice, which is against my religion. It specified turmeric as a substitute for saffron, but I had saffron on hand, and so used it. The original said to cook everything in one pan; I cooked the shrimp separately.

The result was a very tasty Saturday dinner.

smoky fish chowder

Terry doesn’t always pay attention when I’m watching one of my DVR’d cooking shows, but when I was watching Sara’s Weeknight Meals, Sara Moulton’s recipe for Smoky Fish Chowder caught her attention. In fact she even made a trip thirty minutes south to get the required smoked trout at Trader Joe’s.

smoky fish chowderOf course I deviated from the recipe as I usually do. I excluded the onions as Terry is allergic. I chopped the celery and potatoes and put them in the saucepan, then covered them with the liquids, rather than the other way around as Sara did. I added granulated onion. I used regular bacon (of the applewood variety) as opposed to Canadian Bacon because I failed to get Canadian Bacon at the store even though it was on my shopping list. I thought the applewood gave the soup a nice taste, though perhaps it fought with the smoked trout for precedence in a way that Canadian Bacon would not have. My version turned out a lot thicker and chunkier than Sara intended, I believe.

I topped my chowder with green onions from Terry’s container garden and I added garlic cheese bread on the side for both of us, not part of Sara’s recipe.

The bottom line, however, is that Terry loved it. That’s what really counts.