because chefs like to cook and bake by “eyeing” the ingredients, adding a little bit of this or different amounts of that. It’s tedious to stop and measure everything. So here is a picture of my latest “secret” recipe - a Nutella-Banana-Reese’s tartlet, because I honestly have no idea how much Nutella or milk I used or the size of the circles I measured for the puff pastry and if it was 1/4” thick or 1/8” thick. But it was a yummy, gooey treat!
I was very excited when I found this recipe in the Food Network Magazine I purchased on my way home from my sister’s wedding. They are extremely easy to make and on the Food Network website, they have the other varieties of homemade hot pockets.
1 cup grated gruyere cheese (about 3 ounces)
1 cup deli-sliced ham, chopped (about 4 ounces)
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 11-ounce tube refrigerated French bread dough
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the gruyere, ham, mustard, nutmeg and cayenne in a bowl until combined. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands to make it compact.
Brush a baking sheet lightly with vegetable oil. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and fill the dinner pockets. Step-by-step directions.
Place the pockets seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Beat the egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl; brush the pockets with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
With the weather in Malibu turning colder as it gets later into the year, I found a soup recipe in the October issue of Food Network Magazine that would be the perfect way to warm up. The only difficulty I had was that I could not find canned lentils at the grocery store, but improvised by using dried lentils and putting them in earlier. I put in an entire bag, but next time I will either add one to two more cans of broth or only add half of the bag. The broccolini made the perfect side dish, boiled for two minutes then sauteed in olive oil and garlic served with Parmesan cheese on top.
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 1 piece cheese rind (optional)
8 ounces orecchiette or other small pasta
2 14-ounce cans lentils (1 undrained; 1 drained and rinsed)
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
Crusty bread, for serving (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove 1 tablespoon of the flavored oil and set aside. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth, 4 cups water and the cheese rind, if using. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add the lentils along with the liquid from one of the cans; reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the pasta is tender, 10 to 12 more minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk 1 tablespoon parsley and 1 tablespoon water into the reserved flavored oil. Stir 1/4 cup parmesan and the remaining parsley into the soup; remove the cheese rind (if using) and add salt to taste. Ladle into bowls; drizzle with the flavored oil and top with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan. Serve with bread, if desired.
In the spirit of Oktoberfest, I decided to make Oktoberfest pretzels for a friend’s party. The recipe seemed almost too simple, but after a trip to Costco to buy massive amounts of flour, baking soda, and active dry yeast (I figured I should just purchase large bags for use in the future since the recipe required so much of the ingredients), I was set to make the pretzels. I was concerned about the dough being so dry and added a small amount of extra oil and water, but the dough needs to remain that dry so the pretzels come out with their typical texture. They were great fresh out of the oven and a hit at the party later that evening.
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.
Lindsey gave me a gift card to Williams-Sonoma for being her maid-of-honor in her wedding. For one of the items, I selected mini springform pans, hoping to make mini cheesecakes. However, as I looked through the description, I realized that I could also make mini deep dish pizzas. As I was preparing to get the ingredients together to make the mini pizzas, I thought to make even more pizza I could use the large springform pan that I use to make cheesecake. I found this recipe online from Williams-Sonoma. The dough was a little much for the four mini pans but still turned out great, and I make a second batch of the dough for the large springform pan, which was the perfect amount. The baking time calls for 35 minutes, but I just watched them until the crusts were a rich golden brown (which was far less time). This recipe includes the filling for a sausage pizza, but I made up my own. I sauteed garlic, white onion, red onion, and diced bell peppers for a filling. We used mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, plain tomato sauce that I seasoned with Italian spices, dried basil, pepper, and garlic powder, and loaded it up with pepperoni (except for my pizza). Once again, buying the large quantities of flour and yeast at Costco were useful, as the recipe required large amounts of flour. Instead of continually buying individual yeast packets, I store the package of yeast in my freezer so it stays cold and isn’t exposed to light and measure 2 1/4 tsp per packet that is called for. This pizza is great for having guests, an alternative to the summer grilled pizzas, where they can design a pizza with their own toppings.
For the dough:
1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (105° to 110°F)
1 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 tsp. salt
For the topping:
3 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
2 red or green bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
4 slices provolone cheese
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 cups tomato pizza sauce
To prepare the dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yeast, water and sugar and whisk by hand until dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add the vegetable oil, flour and salt. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on low speed until smooth and pliable, about 5 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Knead each piece by hand for 30 seconds, shaping the dough into a ball and dusting with a little flour if needed. Dust a baking sheet with flour and place the dough on the sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the topping: In a fry pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the bell peppers, salt and pepper, and cook until soft and lightly caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl.
Return the pan to medium heat, add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a separate bowl.
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450°F.
Divide the remaining olive oil among 4 mini deep-dish pizza pans (about 2 tsp. per pan), thoroughly greasing each pan. Place a dough ball in each pan and, using your fingers, press the dough in an even layer across the bottom and up the sides of the pans.
Place 1 provolone slice on each dough round. Top with the mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, bell peppers and sausage, dividing evenly. Using the back of a spoon, spread 1/2 cup of the tomato pizza sauce on top of each pizza. If desired, place more toppings on the sauce.
Bake the pizzas until the crusts are golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the pizzas from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 4 mini deep-dish pizzas.
This Giada de Laurentiis recipe is perfect when you want to make a meal that is simple and will have leftovers. The shells are filling and tasty while it is easy to make ahead and freeze, or bake all at once and have leftovers for a few days. I did not use the Arrabbiata sauce as the recipe calls for but instead used my own sauce made from crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and Italian herbs.
1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells (recommended: Barilla)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce, recipe follows
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is slightly golden and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of Arrabbiata sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells. Drizzle the remaining Arrabbiata Sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 day and up to 1 month.
To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups jarred or fresh marinara sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.
This past summer after getting a farmer’s market share, I ended up with more zucchini that I knew what to do with. It was enough to probably make at least four or five batches of bread. I found a Paula Deen recipe that was very easy to follow, adding a little extra of the spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) to really bring the flavors out. The result was a moist bread with a crusty top that disappeared before the day was over.
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.
I made these cupcakes for our “final”/cookout in my Ethics and International Politics class. They weren’t too difficult to make, but I would air on the side of less apples so that there is more batter in the cupcakes. They aren’t the prettiest when they come out of the oven, but that is easily covered by the icing. Refrigerate them about an hour before you are going to serve them so the cupcake can come to room temperature. The recipe is a winning recipe from Cupcake Wars on Food Network.
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 apples, cored, peeled, and chopped (recommended: 2 Granny Smith and 2 Fuji)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 regular size cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer on low speed, combine the sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract until blended. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing on low until blended. Stir in the apples.
Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter and bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched with your finger, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pans for a few minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Either pipe Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting onto the cupcakes using a pastry bag and your favorite tip, or spread each cupcake with the frosting. Drizzle each cupcake with caramel syrup.
This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (8-ounce) bar cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
4 cups powdered sugar (about 2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla bean paste until smooth and thoroughly blended. Slowly add the powdered sugar and salt. Mix until smooth.