One Pot Chicken Alfredo

This easy and creamy One Pot Chicken Alfredo is ready in about 30 minutes – and tastes just as good as a dish that you’d order at your favorite Italian restaurant.  Even better?  Everything – including the pasta – is cooked in just one pot!

This easy and creamy One Pot Chicken Alfredo is ready in about 30 minutes - and tastes just as good as a dish that you'd order at your favorite Italian restaurant.  Even better?  Everything - including the pasta - is cooked in just one pot!

Holy moly, this is our new favorite weeknight pasta dish.  I’m constantly trying new recipes and every time I find one I like I have a tendency to say “this is our new favorite,” but in this case it’s true.  I found this one pot dish at Number 2 Pencil, and if you haven’t checked out Melissa’s site, you need to get on that, pronto.  She has soooo many good recipes over there, like these Cake Mix Orange Sweet Rolls and this perfectly gorgeous Tortellini Soup.

Anyway, the Tall Boy slurped this dinner up like nobody’s business, and I had a hard time resisting seconds (watching the waist-line and all that).  Paired with a nice salad and some garlic bread, this is such an easy dinner and is definitely family friendly.  Plus, you can have it on your table in less time that it would take you to pick up take out and drive home, AND you only have to wash one dish when you’re done cooking!

Winner winner, chicken dinner.

This easy and creamy One Pot Chicken Alfredo is ready in about 30 minutes - and tastes just as good as a dish that you'd order at your favorite Italian restaurant.  Even better?  Everything - including the pasta - is cooked in just one pot!

I attempted to make this a little more calorie-friendly by using a low-carb noodle, fat-free half-and-half, and turkey bacon crumbles, but if you feel like living dangerously, I highly recommend going whole hog.  But even with the fat-free half-and-half, this dinner was a.ma.zing.

I guess technically this isn’t a one-pot meal if you fry up your own bacon, but I happened to have some turkey bacon crumbles in the fridge and so I added those as an after-thought.  You certainly don’t have to add bacon; this one-pot chicken alfredo will be just a great without it.  Buuuuuuut, everything is better with bacon, right? 😉

This easy and creamy One Pot Chicken Alfredo is ready in about 30 minutes - and tastes just as good as a dish that you'd order at your favorite Italian restaurant.  Even better?  Everything - including the pasta - is cooked in just one pot!

If you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner, you’ll definitely want to give this one a try.

One Pot Chicken Alfredo
 
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1¼ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half (I used fat-free) or heavy cream
  • ½ pound spaghetti or fettuccine noodles, uncooked
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated (fresh is best)
  • for garnish: parsley and/or bacon crumbles
Method
  1. Warm olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of garlic powder, and add to warmed oil to brown, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add pasta, chicken broth and half-and-half. Bring the mixture to a boil; then cover pan and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. If the mixture is too thick, add more half-and-half as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with parsley and bacon crumbles, if desired.

 

XO, Ashley

 

 

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5-Minute Pizza Crust

With just a few minutes and two ingredients, you can have this 5-Minute Pizza Crust on the pizza pan and ready for baking! This is the perfect way to make weeknights extra special – and stress free!

With just a few minutes and two ingredients, you can have this 5-Minute Pizza Crust on the pizza pan and ready for baking!

Let’s face it: weeknights are busy, amIright?  Even if you don’t have kids, chances are you have a million things going at any one time.  And if you do have kids…well, if you’re like me, you haven’t had a free moment since the minute they were born.

But there’s no reason you can’t have {semi-} homemade pizza on a weeknight.  I’ll be honest: this whole wheat pizza crust is still my all-time favorite, but there is absolutely no way I can make it during the workweek.  And sometimes a weeknight just calls for a pizza-pie, you know what I’m saying?  And not one that comes from a take-out joint.

With Original Bisquick Baking Mix, all you need to put together a quick and easy 5-minute pizza are just two ingredients, twenty stirs of a spoon, a few seconds to press the dough out on your baking pan – and you’re ready for toppings.  Easy-peasy!  Here I’ve just used a bit of my favorite simple tomato sauce, some Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, and a bit of freshly chopped oregano.

With just a few minutes and two ingredients, you can have this 5-Minute Pizza Crust on the pizza pan and ready for baking!

Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes – and voilà!  Dinner is served!

With just a few minutes and two ingredients, you can have this 5-Minute Pizza Crust on the pizza pan and ready for baking!

Any toppings will work fine on this crust – load it up with whatever your family loves.  And the great thing about this dough is that because it is so easy to make, it is no problem making individual pizzas for everyone.  That way everyone can have what they like – and moms like me don’t have to hear about how a pepper accidentally got on a slice of pepperoni.

With just a few minutes and two ingredients, you can have this 5-Minute Pizza Crust on the pizza pan and ready for baking!

Make your next pizza night a snap with this 5-minute pizza crust!

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5-Minute Pizza Crust
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups Original Bisquick Baking Mix
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • ⅔ cup simple tomato sauce (or store-bought pizza sauce)
  • salt and pepper, optional
  • ½ pound ground Italian sausage (turkey or pork)
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, diced
  • ¾ cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
  • fresh oregano, optional
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 450 and spray a pizza pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Precook your sausage - in a medium skillet, combine sausage, Italian seasoning, oregano and garlic, and cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain; set aside until you are ready to top your pizza.
  3. In a large bowl, combine Original Bisquick Baking Mix and ⅓ cup very hot water. Stir 20 times with a large spoon - do not overstir or your dough will come out tough. Turn dough out onto a pizza pan sprayed with non-stick spray, and press dough to form a 9" circle. Season your dough lightly with salt and pepper, if desired.
  4. Spread sauce over dough. Spoon sausage evenly over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border uncovered. Scatter with roasted red bell peppers and top with shredded Parmesan.
  5. Bake at 450 F until golden brown, about 9-10 minutes.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Betty Crocker via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

XO, Ashley

 

 

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Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

These little Pepperoni Pizza Muffins are packed with pepperoni and cheese, and are the perfect lunch box food or after school snack!

These little Pepperoni Pizza Muffins are packed with pepperoni and cheese, and are the perfect lunch box food or after school snack!

I’ve been thinking about these pepperoni pizza muffins for a long time.  But I live with a 7-year old, so it’s pretty much a given that any recipe I suggest making is initially snubbed {i.e., “gross,” “ewww,” and “yuck”}.  He also says that about anything that’s covered in cheese sauce {whaaaaa?}, so I don’t usually put much stock in his opinion.

I was convinced that Doodle would love these little muffins though, so I took a chance and made them anyway.  And guess what?  He liked ’em.

These little Pepperoni Pizza Muffins are packed with pepperoni and cheese, and are the perfect lunch box food or after school snack!

The awesome thing about these mini-muffins is that they freeze well, so if you can’t eat 36 of them right away {umm, I won’t tell you that we ate the entire batch of these over the course of a weekend}, just stock-pile them in your freezer.  For us, these are a great lunch box item or after school snack.  I’ll be honest and tell you I ate a number of these at room temperature, and they were still yummy!

We dipped ’em in pizza sauce {this one is awesome – but store bought works just fine, too}…and just kept dipping.

These little Pepperoni Pizza Muffins are packed with pepperoni and cheese, and are the perfect lunch box food or after school snack!

I can tell you that these little Pepperoni Pizza Muffins are definitely a fun finger food that I’ll be keeping on hand.  Believe me, when I find something that Doodle inhales like he did these, they’re going straight to the top of my “don’t run out of” list.

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 10.75 oz can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese
  • ½ cup chopped turkey pepperoni
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups all-purpose baking mix {store-bought or make your own
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine soup, cheese, ¾ cup water, pepperoni, and seasoning in a large bowl. Add the baking mix, and stir just until moistened (the batter will be lumpy--that's totally fine).
  3. Divide the batter evenly among 36 mini muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake 17 to 20 minutes, or until the muffins turn light golden brown.
  5. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping, if desired.
  6. Allow the muffins to cool in pan 5 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely.
  7. You may wrap the individual muffins in plastic wrap, and freeze in a zip-top plastic freezer bag up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature or microwave 30 seconds.

This recipe is from Emeals Healthy Lunch plan – I love using EMeals to help with my menu planning {NOT an affiliate link – I just really love ’em}.

XO, Ashley

 

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Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.  

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

I don’t know about you, but thinking up side dishes is one of my least favorite things ever.

Another one of my least favorite things?  Being in the kitchen preparing food while everyone else is visiting around the grill, drinking ice-beverages on the patio, and watching the kids play on the slip and slide.

So yeah, pasta salads are one of my favorite, easy, make-ahead dishes for summer entertaining.  I can throw it together in the morning {which gives the flavors time to meld anyway}, hand the meat and the bread to the Tall Boy for grilling, and my work is done. 😉

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

What I love even more about pasta salads is that you can load ’em up with whatever veggies float your boat.  Since I went with a sort of Tex-Mex theme with this version, I used loads of bell peppers, corn, red onion, and cilantro.  I realized after I shot this that I forgot to add in the black beans, and I totally recommend that you do that.

Along with some sour cream, Greek yogurt, lime juice, and spices, I added in some Lowry’s Baja Chipotle Marinade to make a quick and easy dressing {NOT sponsored, I just really like using their quick marinades}.  You can find Lowry’s in your grocery store next to the salad dressings.

#sogood

I crumbled some Queso Fresco {Mexican crumbling cheese, found in the refrigerator case–I get mine at Wal-Mart} on top just before serving, but cubed cheddar would work just fine here, too.

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

Since grilling season is just around the corner, I’m looking for new side dish recipes to try.  What are your favorites?

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces small pasta
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ cup Baja Chipotle Marinade
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used half green pepper and half red pepper)
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • optional: queso fresco cheese, for topping
Method
  1. Boil pasta until tender, 7 to 9 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, combine the sour cream, Greek yogurt, marinade, lime juice and spices in small bowl.
  2. When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Place pasta in a large bowl and add the bell pepper, corn, black beans, red onion, tomatoes, and cilantro. Add the sour cream/yogurt mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Keep covered in the refrigerated until serving. Just before serving, top with crumbled cheese.

XO, Ashley

 

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Chicken-Bacon Alfredo Pizza Rolls

Chicken-Bacon Alfredo Pizza Rolls make a quick and easy dinner any night of the week – and it’s one that kids and adults alike will gobble up!

Chicken-Bacon Alfredo Pizza Rolls make a quick and easy dinner any night of the week - and it's one that kids and adults alike will gobble up!

Can I tell you about my Tuesday night?  It was one of those days, if you know what I mean.  You know, one of those days when nothing goes as planned.

I was attempting to photograph my Apple Butter Ice Cream in the short window of time I had between work and no remaining natural light.  Simultaneously, I was melting some chocolate for a snacky recipe I’m hoping to share next week, and trying to finish dinner prep.

First, the ice cream melts into a soupy mess before I get any good shots.

While I was fooling with the ice cream, I lost track of the chocolate.  I left it over the heat for too long and it completely seized up.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s wasting good chocolate.

And to cap off my good luck, when I checked my crock pot, the liquid had all completely evaporated, leaving my beef roast a tough, dried up disaster.

Fortunately, I was at least able to salvage meal time by using a can of Pillsbury pizza dough to make these Chicken-Bacon Alfredo Pizza Rolls.

Chicken-Bacon Alfredo Pizza Rolls make a quick and easy dinner any night of the week - and it's one that kids and adults alike will gobble up!

I almost always have pre-cooked/shredded chicken hanging out in my fridge, so I filled my rolls with a little of that, some pre-cooked Hormel bacon (one of my new faves – we’ve been buying it in bulk at our local Sam’s Club), and some mozzarella cheese – and served them with a side of Alfredo sauce for dipping.

Doodle loved them!

Chicken-Bacon Alfredo Pizza Rolls make a quick and easy dinner any night of the week - and it's one that kids and adults alike will gobble up!

I’ll be honest, the true taste-test around our house is whether or not it’s kid-approved.  If the photo below (totally not posed, Doodle stuck his hands in the picture while I was still trying to photograph) gives you any indication, he really, really liked them!

Chicken-Bacon Alfredo Pizza Rolls make a quick and easy dinner any night of the week - and it's one that kids and adults alike will gobble up!

Chicken-Bacon Alfredo Pizza Rolls
 
Ingredients
  • 1 roll refrigerated Pillsbury pizza dough
  • ¾ cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • 5 slices Hormel bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Alfredo sauce
Method
  1. Preheat oven to the heat specified on your pizza dough package. Unroll the dough and, using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into 15 squares.
  2. Sprinkle each square with chicken, bacon and cheese - don't overfill or you'll have a hard time rolling up your dough. Carefully fold up the corners of the pizza squares and pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut. Place the rolls seam-side down in a lightly greased pie pan.
  3. Brush the tops of the rolls with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and then sprinkle with the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Place pan into preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are golden brown.
  5. Serve with warmed Alfredo sauce for dipping.

XO, Ashley

 

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Easy Cheesy Turkey Chili Mac

This super quick Easy Cheesy Turkey Chili Mac comes together in 30 minutes with the help of Ragú Traditional Sauce.

This super quick Easy Cheesy Turkey Chili Mac comes together in 30 minutes with the help of Ragú Traditional Sauce.

I’m not sure how or when I got the idea stuck in my head that as soon as Doodle got a little bit older, things would get “easier” around my house.  I mean, surely when you’re no longer sterilizing bottles or changing diapers, you end up with all kinds of free time on your hands, right?  And bonus free time when your kiddo can get himself through the shower, into pajamas and teeth brushed all on his own.  With all of this “extra” time, I can now sink into my favorite flower chair for a quiet 30 minutes after work.  Maybe read a few pages of a good novel, casually sip a glass of red wine.

Other parents of school-aged children are probably chuckling as they read this.

In the approximate 30 minutes of “free time” I have after work, we’ve got to fit in first-grade homework, after-school snack, changing clothes (Doodle, not me), and driving to karate class.  Four.nights.a.week.  By the time we get home, it’s 6:45, and preparing a time-consuming meal is out of the question – not just because of my growling stomach, but for my sanity as well.

This Easy Cheesy Turkey Chili Mac can be on my table in just 30 minutes, and is a crowd-pleaser for parents and kids alike.

This super quick Easy Cheesy Turkey Chili Mac comes together in 30 minutes with the help of Ragú Traditional Sauce.

And despite our crazy schedules, we make it a priority to always sit down at the table and eat as a family.  Ragú is one of those comfort foods for me – it brings me back to my own childhood, sitting around the table with my family, dishing about our day with a healthy, yummy meal.

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Ragú has the authentic Italian taste that families love, and there is always a variety of great tasting, quick and easy to make family favorite recipes with it.  Moreover,  each jar of Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is made with 11 juicy tomatoes, making it its richest, thickest recipe.

If you’re looking for more quick, easy and delicious recipes, visit  Ragú on Facebook, and check out their wonderful dinner ideas. 

Easy Cheesy Turkey Chili Mac
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2-3 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • ¾ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. dried basil
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
  • 1 can (15-ounce) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 can (15-ounce) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
Method
  1. Brown turkey with minced garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes. Drain; then add in Italian seasoning, onion powder, basil, and red pepper flakes (if using). Sauté spices with the meat for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce and diced tomatoes to the meat mixture and
  3. bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and add macaroni and kidney beans. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Stir occasionally.
  4. When the macaroni is tender, sprinkle with cheese, replace cover and let stand until cheese is melted.
Tell me…how do you feel about a trip to Italy?  You can hop over to http://www.ragusweeps.com/ to enter the Ragú Sweepstakes for a chance to win great Authentic Italian themed prizes and a grand prize trip to Italy for a family of four. 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older.  Ends 5/6/14.  To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, alternate method of entry, and prize descriptions, visit www.RaguSweeps.com.  Void where prohibited.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ragú®. The opinions and text are all mine.

XO, Ashley

 

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Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family’s favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy – better than anything at any pizzeria!

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!

Last week when I shared the recipe for my favorite pizza sauce, many of you said you were interested in my whole wheat pizza crust as well.  Today, I’m sharing with you how I make my family’s favorite crust.  It does take a little time, but the finished product is SO worth it.  You can’t get pizza like this in any pizzeria around, and we love the fact that we can all make and top our own pizzas.

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!

Making pizza from scratch isn’t a quick process, but it’s not difficult.  There is actually very little hands-on time; you’ll spend most of your time allowing the dough to rise and/or rest.  We like to make our homemade pizzas on Sundays, since we’re often around the house doing laundry and watching sports.

Lazy Sundays = my favorite.

Whole wheat dough can be a little tricky – it can often bake up heavy and dense.  This recipe has the perfect amount of whole wheat flour for my family’s taste – it comes out perfectly soft and chewy, with just the right amount of nutty flavor.

Freezing Instructions: this recipe makes enough dough for two 12-inch pizzas.  If you wish to make just one pizza, you may freeze half.  Prepare as directed, through step 3.  Place one dough ball in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and seal.  You may freeze the dough for up to 2 months.  When ready to use, thaw at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours prior to using.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza
 
Serves: 2 12-inch pizza crusts
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2½ teaspoons quick-rise yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I use either Kosher salt, garlic salt, or a mixture of the two)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1¼ cups warm water (about 110 degrees), plus extra if needed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing crust prior to baking
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Method
  1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitting with the dough hook, combine your flours, yeast, salt and sugar. With the mixer running, slowly add in the water and the olive oil in a steady stream until the dough comes together in a rough mass. If you do not have a stand mixer, you may combine the ingredients together by hand with a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula. If your dough does not form into a ball, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water and mix again. Let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then mix again until the dough is tacky to the touch, but not sticky.
  2. Transfer your dough to a lightly floured surface (I use a baking mat) and form into a smooth ball. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and toss to coat. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in size in a warm spot, about 1½ hours. You may speed this process up by bringing your oven to 200 degrees, turning it off, and placing the dough inside with the oven opened just slightly.
  3. After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface and punch it down. Divide your dough into 2 equal pieces and shape each piece into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Place baking stone in your oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Please read in my tips below why I prefer to use a baking stone. If you do not have one, you may use a baking sheet or a pizza pan. If using a baking sheet/pizza pan, grease your pan and set it aside.
  5. If using a pizza stone, lightly dust your pizza peel with flour or cornmeal. Coat your hands lightly with olive oil. Shape the dough directly on the peel (or pizza pan, if using) by pressing the dough outward with your palms and fingers. The edges should be slightly thicker than the center. If you have difficulty shaping your dough, or if it becomes too elastic and shrinks back, cover it with a clean towel and allow it to rest for 15 more minutes. This allows the gluten in the dough to relax so that the dough is more workable.
  6. After you shape your dough, cover it and allow it to rise for 15 minutes. This step is important because this second rise allows your dough to develop some volume so that it does not bake up dense and heavy!
  7. Next, lightly brush your crust with a bit of olive oil. I sometimes like to sprinkle my dough with a bit of extra kosher salt and pepper to help bring out the flavors of the crust.
  8. Add you favorite pizza sauce and toppings. Using a pizza peel, slide the pizza onto your baking stone and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. If using a pizza pan, you may need to bake it a bit longer, about 15 minutes total.
  9. Remove from oven, slice pizza, and serve!
Notes
recipe from Pizza and Other Savory Pies

I’ve shared a photo tutorial with you below, with some of the tips and tricks I use when baking this dough.

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitting with the dough hook, combine your flours, yeast, salt and sugar. With the mixer running, slowly add in the water and the olive oil in a steady stream until the dough comes together in a rough mass. If you do not have a stand mixer, you may combine the ingredients together by hand with a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula. If your dough does not form into a ball, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water and mix again. Let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then mix again until the dough is tacky to the touch, but not sticky.

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!

Transfer your dough to a lightly floured surface (I use a baking mat) and form into a smooth ball.

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and toss to coat. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. You may speed this process up by bringing your oven to 200 degrees, turning it off, and placing the dough inside with the oven opened just slightly.

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!

After about 1 1/2 hours, your dough will have doubled in size and should look similar to this:

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!

After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface and punch it down, like so:

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!

Divide your dough into 2 equal pieces and shape each piece into a smooth ball.  Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.  I’ve provided freezing instructions below if you are making only one crust.

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!

Place baking stone in your oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  I prefer using a pizza stone because it mimics the intense heat of a brick oven.  Most commercial pizza ovens reach temperatures in excess of 700 degrees, so the pizza stone will help absorb and retain heat.  Pizza stones are available in many locations: I purchased mine at Bed Bath and Beyond for around $15.

If you do not have a pizza stone, you may use a baking sheet or a pizza pan. If using a baking sheet/pizza pan, grease your pan and set it aside.

If using a pizza stone, lightly dust your pizza peel with flour or cornmeal. Coat your hands lightly with olive oil. Shape the dough directly on the peel (or pizza pan, if using) by pressing the dough outward with your palms and fingers. The edges should be slightly thicker than the center. If you have difficulty shaping your dough, or if it becomes too elastic and shrinks back, cover it with a clean towel and allow it to rest for 15 more minutes. This allows the gluten in the dough to relax so that the dough is more workable.

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!

After you shape your dough, cover it and allow it to rise for 15 minutes. This step is important because this second rise allows your dough to develop some volume so that it does not bake up dense and heavy!

Next, lightly brush your crust with a bit of olive oil. I sometimes like to sprinkle my dough with a bit of extra kosher salt and pepper to help bring out the flavors of the crust.

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!
Add your favorite pizza sauce and toppings. This Simple Tomato Sauce is our favorite.

simple-tomato-sauce-3

Using a pizza peel, slide the pizza onto your baking stone and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. If using a pizza pan, you may need to bake it a bit longer, about 15 minutes total.

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!
Remove from oven, slice pizza, and serve!

This Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is my family's favorite: it has a great nutty flavor, and bakes up soft and chewy - better than anything at any pizzeria!

XO, Ashley

 

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Simple Tomato Sauce

Make this Simple Tomato Sauce in just five minutes – trust me, your pizza night will never be the same again!

Make this Simple Tomato Sauce in just five minutes - trust me, your pizza night will never be the same again!

We love making homemade pizzas on Sundays.  With a picky 6-year old in the mix, it’s so nice to be able to have everyone decorate their own pizza pies.  Then there is no whining about onions or mushrooms “touching” their slice.

Our favorite crust is actually the whole-wheat version I’ve pictured above.  I don’t have this recipe on the blog – yet.  But this version uses enough whole-wheat flour to give the crust a rich, nutty flavor, but no so much that it bakes up heavy and dense.   It’s our absolute favorite and is super easy to make.

What are your feelings on whole-wheat pizza crust?  Yay or nay?  I’ll get a tutorial up if there are other whole-wheat crust lovers out there like me. 😉

Make this Simple Tomato Sauce in just five minutes - trust me, your pizza night will never be the same again!

But back to this sauce…it’s super simple, uses ingredients you already have in your pantry, and comes together in a flash.  Since the recipe does use canned tomatoes, you’ll want to season your sauce with just a pinch of salt to start and then gradually add more to taste.

This recipe makes enough sauce to cover two 12-inch pizzas – with some left over for dipping!

Simple Tomato Sauce
 
Serves: will cover 2 12-inch pizzas, with some left over for dipping!
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt, to taste
Method
  1. Heat olive oil in a small saute pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is warm, add minced garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Keep a close eye on the garlic; if it becomes brown or scorched it will taste bitter.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine garlic oil mixture with the remaining ingredients. Season with salt to taste. Use immediately. May refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

XO, Ashley

 

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Homemade Enchilada Sauce

This easy homemade enchilada sauce takes just a few minutes to make, and tastes worlds better than anything you can buy in a can.

This easy homemade enchilada sauce takes just a few minutes to make, and tastes worlds better than anything you can buy in a can.

You know how much we love eating Mexican food around my house, right?  I mean, nearly every recipe I posted last week was Mexican-inspired.  Oops?

If you’re not a Mexican food fan (??), try searching my main dish recipe index for some other ideas.  And never fear, Wednesday we’re talking double chocolate muffins.  Skinny double chocolate muffins.

But today we’re talking Homemade Enchilada Sauce.  Now, before we get too far into this…yes.  I know that authentic red enchilada sauce doesn’t actually contain tomato sauce, and instead gets its flavor from guajillo and/or ancho chili peppers.  Here’s the deal, though.  I needed a version that did not require a trip to the specialty foods market {these peppers are difficult for me to find at my local grocer}, was fast and easy for work nights, and got the thumbs-up from my 6-year old.

This version was it.

This easy homemade enchilada sauce takes just a few minutes to make, and tastes worlds better than anything you can buy in a can.

I can make this sauce with staple ingredients from my pantry in less than 20 minutes, and it tastes a million times better than the canned version I get from the store.  Plus, I know exactly what it contains.

Score.

What’s your favorite enchilada recipe?  If you’ve got some, link ’em up below!

This easy homemade enchilada sauce takes just a few minutes to make, and tastes worlds better than anything you can buy in a can.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce
 
Serves: makes about 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
Method
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and cook until just browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and oregano and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Sauteing your spices for a few seconds will give your sauce a fuller flavor.
  2. Add in the tomato sauce and chicken stock. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat, and strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the onion to extract the sauce. If I am making enchiladas or something similar, I'll add the reserved onions to my filling. You may discard the onion if you wish.
  4. Keep refrigerated for up to one week. Makes approximately 2 cups.
Notes
adapted from Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

XO, Ashley

 

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Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

This slow cooker spaghetti sauce is the perfect solution for busy nights.  Filled with lean beef and lots of Italian flavors, this sauce just screams comfort food!

This slow cooker spaghetti sauce is the perfect solution for busy nights.  Filled with lean beef and lots of Italian flavors, this sauce just screams comfort food!
The secret to a great sauce is allowing it to cook and simmer for quite awhile, so that the flavors meld and deepen.  But let’s get real – how many of us have time during the workweek to wait around for hours while your sauce cooks?  Not me, that’s for sure!

I typically use a lean ground beef in mine, but I think this would be fabulous with a combination of beef and Italian sausage, or even ground turkey.  What’s fantastic about this sauce is that after you brown your meat, you just dump the rest of the ingredients in your slow cooker, and you’re good to go!

This slow cooker spaghetti sauce is the perfect solution for busy nights.  Filled with lean beef and lots of Italian flavors, this sauce just screams comfort food!

This recipe makes a lot of sauce – enough for my family of three to enjoy over multiple meals.  It freezes great, too, so this is perfect for making and storing ahead.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 14-ounce cans diced Italian tomatoes, with juice
  • 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Method
  1. Brown meat and onion in saucepan; drain. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low heat for 7 hours. If your sauce appears too runny, remove lid and allow to cook uncovered during the last hour.

XO, Ashley

 

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