Homemade Pizza-Best Pizza Ever!!!

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I make the bread dough in the bread machine.  If I am cooking pizza on a day that I am at work then I set the bread machine to delay start so the dough will be ready when I get home.  Eat one, freeze one!!!

Pizza Dough for 2 pizzas or 1-13×9 inch pizza
In the bread machine place:
1 cup water
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast
Put on Dough setting.

Here is an easy no cook recipe for the Pizza Sauce. This is enough sauce for 2 pizzas or 1-13×9 inch pizza.
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
4 tablespoons tomato paste
Mix and spread over pizza. Top with cheese, pepperoni and mushrooms (or your favorite toppings). Cook at 425 for 25 minutes.

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Venison Swiss Steak

All I can say to this one is yum!!!  This is a great way to cook backstrap!

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  • 1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes (use can and add 1 can of water)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • all-purpose flour for dusting
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds venison backstrap (see Note)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into strips
  • 1 medium bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Cooked rice
  1. Cut steak into serving-size pieces. Season, to taste, with garlic powder and salt and pepper. Dust meat with flour. In heavy skillet, brown both sides of meat in vegetable oil. Transfer to Dutch oven. Combine garlic, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and 1 tomato-can measure of water. Pour over steak and simmer over low heat until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours adding water, if necessary to keep meat partially covered. Season, to taste, with additional salt and pepper. Hint: Cook this in a slow-cooker, according to manufacturers instructions, on low for a most fabulous dinner. Low heat on a slow cooker is about 200 degrees F and high heat on a slow cooker is about 300 degrees F.
  2. Note: to ensure tenderness, it is necessary to have the butcher run the round steak through a cuber.

Oh Deer!!

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It is deer season.  Venison isn’t one of my favorite meats to eat but I will eat it if hubby brings one home.  I try to cook the venison in spicy dishes so I don’t taste the wild taste as much.  It usually works.  We had some summer sausage made this time with jalapeno and cheese in it.  It turned out really good.  We got a lot of hamburger and I need to be creative, thinking of ways to cook it besides using it in chili and spaghetti.  I decided to cook it in a Taco Pie.  The seasonings are spicy and I never would have known I was eating deer.  If you aren’t a fan of venison and have some meat, give this recipe and try.

Venison Taco Pie

1 can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 lb ground venison
3/4 cup chunky salsa
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
1 cup shredded cheese
shredded lettuce, as desired
diced tomato, as desired
Extra chunky salsa, as desired on top
Sour Cream, as desired on top

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll dough, separate into triangles and place into an ungreased pie pan. Press over the bottom and up the sides to form the pie crust. Brown venison over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked. Stir in salsa and taco seasoning mix; simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon venison meat mixture into the crust-lined pan; top with cheese. Bake 15-18 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted. Top with lettuce, tomato, salsa, and sour cream, as desired.

Just a short update

4th of July

I have been doing well on my diet.  I have lost almost 11 pounds.  I have been eating Special K Chocolately Strawberry Cereal for breakfast.  It is so good and it satisfies my chocolate cravings.  I also enjoy a cup of Teavana tea in the mornings while sitting out on the patio.  My favorite teas right now are Youthberry and Wild Orange Blossom Herbal Tea.  For lunch I have been eating a Lean Cuisine frozen dinner.  They are low in calories and they are tasty too.   On this diet I can snack around on just about any fruit or vegetable.  I can eat as much as I want of them.  Luckily it is summertime and there is plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from.  Lately I have been eating watermelon.  I have been fixing about the same main dishes for my family for dinner.  I eat a very small portion of meat.  Then I add a salad with low fat dressing or I stir fry up some vegetables to go along with it.  I stay away from the potato salads, mashed potatoes, baked beans etc. that my family generally loves.  I cook it for them but I just don’t eat it.

Tonight I am cooking my Chicken Fried Steak and I am going to try not to put much gravy on it.  Then I will fix myself a salad.  Everyone will eat some corn on the cob and the others will enjoy some baked beans.  On the 4th of July I am cooking Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork and Gourmet Potato Salad.  Yumm-O  I will have to be careful about my portions here though.  I am also baking Patriotic Jello Cookies.  I just might try one of those just to see how they taste.  Friday night we will probably have leftovers as we are having company coming in on Friday night.  Saturday night I am cooking Baked Spaghetti, tossed salad and garlic bread for our company.  I am going to make the Baked Spaghetti ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator.  I will bake it an hour before we want to eat.  This way I won’t be spending all my time in the kitchen when our company is here and I can visit.  Sunday they are leaving so Sunday evening we will probably be eating leftovers again.  Actually the Baked Spaghetti tastes better the next day.  All those wonderful flavors seem to be even more enhanced.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July.  I will post a few updates here and there of my weight loss progress.  I have come across some good family meals that are diet friendly and I will post those later.

Shakshuka

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4 slices bacon, cut 1/2 inch thick crosswise
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chilies in adobo
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 large eggs
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Tortilla chips, for serving (optional)

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add garlic and chilies to rendered fat in skillet; cook, stirring, until garlic is just golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Add tomatoes and juice; simmer over medium heat, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon and stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low. One at a time, crack eggs into a small bowl or cup, and slide onto sauce in skillet, spacing so that all eggs will fit. Cover; cook very gently until egg whites are just opaque (yolks should still be soft), 6 to 9 minutes.

Spoon into four serving bowls; sprinkle with feta and bacon. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.

Bangers and Mash

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8 Russett potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds beef sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 (.75 oz) packet dry brown gravy mix
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F. Place potatoes in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook potatoes until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, then mash with 4 teaspoons of the butter and enough milk to reach a creamy consistency. Continue mashing until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Remove sausage from skillet and set aside. Add remaining butter to skillet, and add onion, rosemary, oregano, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir until tender. Whisk together gravy mix and water as directed on packet, then add to skillet with onion and mushrooms. Simmer, stirring constantly, to form a thick gravy.

Pour half of the gravy mix into a medium sized casserole dish so that the bottom is coated. Place sausages in a layer over the gravy, then cover with remaining gravy. Top with mashed potatoes.

Bake bangers and mash uncovered in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until potatoes are evenly browned.

Hobo Casserole

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This dish is a family keeper. It is so quick and easy on busy weeknights. The ground beef isn’t even pre-cooked in this dish. It cooks right along with the casserole!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, sliced (if your family doesn’t like onions then leave it out)
2 medium potatoes, sliced (don’t peel them)
1 1/2 cups shredded Velveeta
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1/8 cup milk
1 1/2 cups French-fried onions
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat ground beef into 8×8 pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If using, slice onion on top of beef. Slice potatoes onto onion layer, salt and pepper. Layer with shredded Velveeta cheese. Mix soup and milk together and spread over the cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender. Remove foil and top with french fried onions and brown for about 5 minutes.

What to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers: Slow Cooker Turkey and Dumplings

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I usually make Turkey Soup the day after Thanksgiving but I changed my mind.  I have been having a craving for Chicken and Dumplings so I thought, why not?  I will just make it into Turkey and Dumplings.  This was a winner with the family.  I think I will be making this every year instead of the Turkey soup.  It was soooo good on a cold Fall night.

Here is the recipe:

I put the turkey carcass in the slow cooker and filled it up with water until the carcass was covered.  I didn’t add anything else to it.  The turkey was flavoring enough.  I cooked it on LOW for 8 hours.  At the end of the 8 hours I removed the carcass and all bones.  Set the carcass out to cool off.  Skim the fat off the top of the broth and discard.  Then pick off all the meat and put it back in the slow cooker.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk and stir.  Turn slow cooker to HI.  While the slow cooker is heating up, make the dumplings.

Mix 2 cups of flour, 1/3 cup of shortening, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt until just combined. Slowly add up to 1 cup of milk until a soft dough forms. Sprinkle your work surface and rolling-pin with flour. Roll dough as thinly as possible, between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick. Cut into squares with a knife or pizza cutter.  Let the dough dry a little.  Then drop the dumplings into the broth and continue cooking on HI until the dumplings are done, about 15-20 minutes.  Season turkey and dumplings with salt and pepper.

I served fresh Bread Machine Challah Bread with it.

7 Meals in 2 hours including the shopping!!

I thought I would give this slow cooker recipes for the freezer a try.  You know the kind.  Dump some food in a freezer bag and freeze it.  Thaw it out and cook it in the slow cooker.  Sounded easy enough for me, so I thought I would give it a whirl.  First thing I did was surf the Internet for recipes and there sure are a lot of recipes.  I had to decided which recipes I would fix.  I decided to make 7 dinners.  It took me about 2 hours to put them together and that includes the shopping.

First meal was putting spare ribs and barbeque sauce in a freezer bag.  Squish it together and freeze it.  When you are ready to cook it, take it out of the freezer the night before and thaw it in the refrigerator.  The next morning put it in the slow cooker and cook it on Low for 8 hours.  Cheesy Hashbrown Potato Casserole would be good with the ribs.  It is a freezable dish.

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Second meal I cooked was Poppyseed Chicken.  I went ahead and started cooking that for dinner now and decided not to freeze it mainly because it has sour cream in it.  The recipe didn’t say this but lightly salt and pepper the chicken before placing in slow cooker.  I know the chicken isn’t salt and peppered in the picture but do as I say, not as I do.  Still this dish needs something else.  I think I might try a slice of bacon on top of the chicken next time and see if that adds to the flavor.  I don’t know maybe it’s just me but I thought this dish was a bit bland if cooked according to the recipe.

The third and fourth meals were Chicken Delicious.  I made two bags of that and put it in the freezer.

The last chicken meal I made was Dijon Chicken.

Then I made 2 more meals using ground beef, Casserole Spaghetti and Mexican Casserole.

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OK, so step 1:  I labeled all the freezer bags.

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Step 2:  I put all the meat in the bags.

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Step 3:  Poured barbeque sauce in with the spare ribs and froze the bag.  By the way, the Head Country Barbeque Sauce in the picture is the best sauce hands down, just sayin’.
Step 4:  Cut up all the green peppers and added it to the dishes.
Step 5:  Cut up all the onions and added it to the dishes.
Step 6:  Cut up the celery and added it to the dish.
Step 7:  Added any canned goods to the meals.
Step 8:  Added any seasoning to the meals.
Step 9:  Seal the bags, squish the bags and freeze!

And I was done, easy, easy, easy!  Now I hope my family likes them.  This will be great to have on hand for the busy holiday season that is coming up.

Here is a great article on 31 Things You Can Freeze.  I think I am going to get busy and start freezing!!  First thing may be making up a batch of waffles!  Yum!

Oh I forgot to add:  do not buy the frozen chicken breasts for slow cooker recipes.  Only buy fresh chicken breasts to use in the slow cooker recipes.  The frozen chicken usually has a layer of ice around it and it will produce too much liquid in your dish.  Your dishes will turn out too watery.

Baked Chicken

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This is such a good and easy recipe.  I have had this recipe for a long time.  It was given to me by my mother in law when I got married and I have fixed it many times since then.

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Cut up a whole chicken.  Take the skin off all the pieces.  (I left the skin on the drumsticks.)  Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides.

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Put the other parts of the chicken such as the back, wings, etc. into a freezer bag and freeze for use later.  Could be the beginning of a great chicken soup later on.

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Roll each piece in sour cream.  I put 1 cup of sour cream on a plate.  It was just enough for one chicken.

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Crush 1 package of potato chips.  I just smash the chips right in the bag.  Then I put the chicken (after it has been rolled in sour cream) right in the potato chip bag and shake it up.

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Put some foil in the bottom of a pan with a little oil.  Place the chicken in the pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

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This is so good served with scalloped potatoes and green beans.  The scalloped potatoes can be baked with the chicken and they both will be done at the same time.