Margherita Pizza

Margherita pizza is one of my favorite summertime foods. It tastes the best with garden fresh tomatoes and basil. Generally, I am overrun with basil and looking for ways to use it. This year I bought a mint plant and a chocolate mint plant. They were both impulse buys since I have absolutely no clue what to do with them besides use them for photo props and making mint tea. Maybe I will learn how to make a mint julep this summer. Any suggestions for using it up in cooking I’d love to hear. Sorry, I kind of drove off course didn’t I? Back to the margherita pizza.

I have seen this made several different ways. Some use a red pizza sauce, some use white sauce, others garlic. I like mine best with a garlic infused olive oil base with juicy red or yellow tomatoes providing the tomato flavor. I make my own garlic infused oil by slicing 2 or 3 garlic cloves thinly and putting it in 3 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven proof small dish, like a ramekin. I place this dish in the oven as it is preheating for the pizza. I take it out when I can smell the garlic.

In the winter when the tomatoes aren’t so juicy and delicious, I add a spoonful or so of pizza sauce to the base. (Or I skip it altogether and go with a regular pizza.)

Any pizza crust will do too. I prefer my thin pizza crust recipe for this recipe, but have been known to use the prepackaged ones when I am being lazy or just don’t have time. Continue reading “Margherita Pizza”

Italian Beef

Here I go again with another recipe designed to cure a craving for a food that I can’t seem to find outside of the Chicago area.  There, Italian beefs were easily accessible at almost every pizza or hot dog place.  You can search high and low outside of that area and never find one.  Finding a good Chicago style hot dog is also another challenge.

These are nowhere near an original Italian Beef that can easily be found in that area.  Those are made with beef roasts cooked to rare in a flavorful broth, then sliced into thin perfection pieces of meat.  The meat is dipped back into that wonderful broth and slapped onto a sturdy Gonnella roll (which are unfortunately only available in and around the Chicago area grocery stores). Continue reading “Italian Beef”

Versatile Pasta Sauce

Spring officially started at my house a month or so ago.  It had nothing to do with the date, the slew of singing birds in the area, the baby bunnies the dog loves to chase, or the budding trees.  Spring at my house gets started with the first potted fresh herbs sitting on the patio table.

Unfortunately, they had to spend their first night in their new home hiding under the patio table since we had tornadoes in the area.  Tornadoes are more of a spectator sport in Oklahoma, but tender young plants don’t do so well in gusty winds, heavy rain, and hail.

It has been a chillier than normal spring and none of the herbs have done so well this spring.   Fresh basil and parsley are key ingredients for my lasagna and spaghetti sauce. At this point, it will be weeks (maybe months) before I can harvest enough of both for a huge pot of sauce.  I like to keep a healthy supply of sauce (and other things) in the freezer for quick meals on busy nights.  It helps break up the monotony of sandwiches.  Continue reading “Versatile Pasta Sauce”

Orzo with Asparagus

Orzo with Asparagus is an easy recipe that can be altered to suit the meal you plan to serve it with. I have successfully used beef broth in place of chicken broth for beef based main dishes.

Parmesan can be added, but I don;t find the extra calories or sodium necessary.  Slow simmering provides all the creaminess and the flavored borth provides all the flavor you will need.

I have changed out vegetables without an issue as well. You could even add some protein and turn it into a one pot main dish.

This version of orzo looks like you worked hard and kind of reminds me of risotto without all the hard work.

When I think of risotto I hear Gordon Ramsey in the background talking about incompetence. His shows may have scarred me for life and scared me away from ever attempting to make risotto. I’ll stick to orzo.

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Chicken Marsala

Disclaimer: I do not claim that this recipe is authentic, or tastes like anything you get in a restaurant. This is simply the way I make it at my house and the way we like it at my house.

This version of Chicken Marsala is a great way to change up the monotony of chicken in my house. I cook a ton of chicken. Well, maybe not a ton since that would be 2,000 pounds. Chicken with rice, chicken on salad, chicken in soup, chicken parm, grilled chicken wings, baked chicken wings…..

On second thought, maybe I have cooked at least one ton of chicken in 30 years, that’s a little more than 1 pound a week. But I digress, I’m not the mathematician in the family (that would be Ron, math and science are his thing).

I like to cook this recipe because it is fairly simple and is something I can start and simmer until it’s time to eat. The slower the simmer, the longer it can sit. It’s easily served with angel hair mixed with a little olive oil and garlic, orzo and asparagus, or even wild rice.

Continue reading “Chicken Marsala”