Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

Garlic Naan Bread


At one of our recent trips to Whole Foods, I picked up a pack of Naan to serve as a side for our dinner. I was surprised how good it was…better than some restaurants I’ve even been to. Maybe it was because it was flavored with garlic & herbs. I’m not sure, but I fell in love. When I ran out and I didn’t want to go to the store to get more I hit the internet to see if Naan is hard to make. Of course, since I don’t have a traditional Indian Tandoori oven I knew it wouldn’t be exactly the same, but thought it was worth a shot. I found this recipe on the Budget Bytes Blog and thought it looked pretty simple, plus it called for all ingredients I had on hand. I modified it by adding some garlic & cheese so it would be like the kind I purchased at Whole Foods. I cooked it up on the grill and it tasted almost as good as if it had been made in the traditional way. I froze what we didn’t use and when I want to use it I just take out a piece or two at a time. It freezes really well so you can definitely make a big batch if you’re feeling ambitious. You can use it as a side to kabobs and rice or an accompaniment to any meal. You can also be creative and use it for sandwiches and pizza. For plain Naan, just omit the garlic and parmesan cheese.

 

Garlic Naan

Source: www.budgetbytes.blogspot.com

(Makes 16 servings; 1 Naan = 2 servings)

2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

½ cup water

3 cups flour

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup olive oil

1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (you can use either non-fat or low-fat)

1 egg

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

3 cloves garlic, mashed

Olive oil, for brushing (optional)

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir until the yeast and sugar dissolve and allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until it looks “frothy”.
  2. Add the oil, yogurt and egg and mix on very low speed (using the paddle attachment) until just combined.
  3. Switch the paddle attachment to the dough hook attachment. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the salt, garlic, cheese and 1 cup of floor. Continue to mix on low, adding ½ cup of flour at a time until a smooth ball is formed.
  4. Knead the ball of dough in the mixer for about 3 minutes. The dough should be smooth and very soft, but not sticky.
  5. Cover the dough loosely and allow to rise until double in size.
  6. After the dough rises, flatten the dough and cut into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball.
  7. Roll out the balls of dough to about 1/4 “ thick.
  8. Preaheat the grill to medium.  Brush the dough with olive oil, if desired, and place over indirect heat. Allow the dough to cook until brown and bubbles form. Flip the dough over and allow the other side to brown and bubble. Serve hot.
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Flour Tortillas


I wanted to make fajitas the other night for dinner, but had no tortillas. I didn’t want to run to the store so I just did a quick search on the internet to see if I could make them. After reading a few recipes, it was quite clear that these are so EASY!!! They were easy, they were quick and tasted great. Why didn’t I ever try to make these before???!!! I will definitely never buy flour tortillas anymore! I froze the leftovers…and they reheat great in the microwave!

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Flour Tortillas(Makes 12)

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tbsp. vegetable shortening

3/4 cups water

  1. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix in the shortening with your fingers or a pastry blender until the flour resembles cornmeal.
  3. Add the water a little bit at a time and mix until the dough is able to be made into a ball.
  4. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
  6.  Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll each dough ball into a thin, round tortilla.
  7. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  8.  Place tortillas, one at a time, into the hot skillet, and cook until bubbly and golden; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side.
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Ranch Chicken Grilled Pizza


Here is another delicious grilled pizza recipe. For this recipe I did not use my usual “go to” pizza dough recipe, but used one that is a little bit thinner and has a good texture for cooking it on the grill. It is so easy to work with and shape and it’s not sticky at all. When you put it on the grill it may puff up a little but this goes down and ends up nice and crispy. For the chicken you can pretty much make it however you want or use leftovers, but personally I like to make my Grilled Ranch-Style Chicken.  Also, you can use whatever cheese you like, but based on previous attempts at making this I think mild cheddar is the way to go, as it does not overpower or clash with the ranch dressing. Also, I’ve included measurements in the recipe, however they’re just guesstimates so just go ahead and adjust them based on your own tastes. Remember to follow the last step of completely removing the dough from the grill to add the toppings. If you do not do this you will run the risk of burning your pizza!!

 

Ranch Chicken Grilled Pizza

Pizza Dough:

  • 2 tsp. instant/rapid rise yeast
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 – 3 ½ cups flour
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

 ¼ to ½ cup Ranch Dressing

4 oz. cooked boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed (I use Ranch Style Grilled Chicken)

2-3 slices bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled

1 to 1 ½ cups of mild cheddar cheese, shredded.

  1. Combine all the pizza dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough on low-medium speed until well combined. Increase the speed and continue to mix until dough forms a smooth ball and no longer sticks to the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into four. Place on a baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes. (If you let it “rest” for longer it’s ok; it will not affect the end result of the dough)
  2. Meanwhile, gather and prepare all other ingredients. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
  3. After the dough has rested for at least 15 minutes, roll out each piece as flat as possible (be careful not to rip it).
  4. Place the four pieces of dough on the grill for about 2 minutes. Remove the dough completely from the grill (grilled side down) and add the ranch dressing, chicken, bacon and cheese. Return to grill for 3-4 minutes until dough is crisp, toppings are heated through, and cheese is melted.
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Fear of Baking Bread & Sandwich Roll Recipe


For some reason I always had this idea in my head that it was extremely difficult to make bread or rolls from scratch. Even though there is nothing better than homemade bread and rolls I stayed away from making them.

Then one day I planned to make sandwiches for dinner, but forgot to pick up some rolls. I guess I can thank my laziness for sending me on to the internet to look at some recipes for homemade sandwich rolls. There was no way I was getting back in the car and driving a whopping 2 minutes down the street to go to the store yet again. Somehow my warped mind thought driving back to the store would be much worse than the grueling task of making rolls from scratch. The fear was there that this may not be something I should get into, but I gave it a shot….and to my surprise it was pretty easy. Since then, I’ve tried all kinds of breads: sourdough, Italian, white bread, whole wheat, French bread, dinner rolls, garlic bread, etc. And each time I make them I am always impressed that it wasn’t too difficult to make and that they turned out really good!

This past weekend, while eating lunch at my mom’s house, I brought some of these yummy rolls for our sandwiches. I said to her, “how come you never told me it was so easy to make bread?” She just laughed and proceeded to tell me a story of how my Grandmother used to make such large batches of bread, my Grandfather would have to come and punch the dough down because it was too much for the women in the kitchen. Well, lucky for me I only cook for two people and I own a Kitchenaid Mixer! Which does all the kneading for you so this makes it even easier. But don’t worry even if you have to knead the dough by yourself (or maybe if you have some kids put them to work) it is not bad…I have done it before and lived to tell about it! (Of course, that was before I actually understood how all the features on my Kitchenaid worked :))

So what is the moral to this story? If you are like I used to be and think that it’s difficult to make bread or rolls….you should get over it and try it for yourself. You’ll never want to buy rolls or bread from the store or a bakery again!

Mandy’s Marvelous Sandwich Rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)

1 packet active dry yeast

2 tbsp. white sugar

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp. salt

4 1/2 cups flour

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy 5-10 minutes.
  2. To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt and 2 cups of flour and combine until a dough forms.
  3. Stir in the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Knead the dough. Using the dough hook of your mixer, knead for about 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 8 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat all sides with the oil.
  6. Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm dark place and allow dough to rise for about 1 hour.
  7. After the dough has risen, deflate it by gently punching it down in the bowl.
  8. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and separate into 12 pieces, forming them into round balls.
  9. Place dough balls on a non-stick baking sheet at least two inches apart and cover with a damp cloth. Place in a warm dark place and allow to rise for about 40 more minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  11. After second rising, bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 14-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

A Few Tips & Suggestions:

  • If you divide the dough into 16 rounds, the Weight Watchers Points Plus will be 4. You’ll have a smaller roll, but this is more of an appropriate portion size.
  • If you do not want to make all 12 or 16 rolls at once, after the first rising, only make the amount you need and freeze the remaining dough. When you are ready to use the rest of dough thaw it and allow to rise for about 45 minutes and follow original baking instructions. It is best to freeze dough before the second rising.
  • You can also divide the roll into 24 balls and use as buns for “Sliders” or use just as a dinner roll.
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Pizza Dough


Pizza, Food Processor Pizza Dough

Pizza made with "Food Processor Pizza Dough"

Recently I had been tossing around the idea of doing some sort of cooking or baking blog. I really didn’t know where to begin, so of course I kept dragging my feet. So who knew that my excitement over finally finding a good pizza dough recipe would light the spark!?  I have tried many pizza dough recipes over the years…too thick, too bread-like, too soft, too hard, and on and on.  Then one night , a bout of insomnia had me watching a cooking show at three in the morning and I saw what looked pretty easy to make and appeared to come out the way a pizza crust should be. So with that my first blog post is a recipe for pizza dough.

I have to admit my excitement and high hopes for this recipe were moderately frightening, but I’m sure all of you out there who have tried and tried to find the perfect recipe for something, can relate. The recipe is from Sara Moulton, which you can find  on her website, www.saramoulton.com. This dough is made in a food processor and although I do not have a very big or good food processor (it’s actually just an attachment for my blender), I could see right away that this recipe was going to be a winner!  When it was time to take it out of the food processor it had a smooth and beautiful surface and shaped into a ball very easily.Image In the past, I could barely get to this step…the dough would be too sticky or wouldn’t form into a ball, etc. After the rising time, I cut it in half and rolled it out really thin.ImageImage I was able to make two fairly large pizzas (not round, but more oblong, as I’m not really all that skilled with making and shaping dough), one with various meats and one plain cheese, since my husband and I have much different tastes when it comes to pizza. It came out very thin and crispy and one pizza would have definitely been enough for the two of us, but like I said, the hubby and I have very different tastes when it comes to pizza….but, we were able to agree on one thing…that I had finally made a great crust!

So here is the recipe and my first blog! Yay! To make your pizza just add your favorite toppings and pop into the oven at 400 or 450 degrees.  I usually pre-bake my crust for about 6-8 minutes, then add the toppings and put it back in for about 10 minutes.

Food Processor Pizza Dough (Source: Sara Moulton)

2 ½ c. flour

1 package rapid rise yeast

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

¾ c. warm water (125 degrees F)

  1. In a food processor, combine 1 ¾ cup flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Pulse once or twice to combine all the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the water and oil and process until a soft dough forms.
  3. Add the remaining flour ¼ cup at a time until the dough is manageable.
  4. Remove the dough from the food processor and shape into a ball.
  5. Place the dough into a bowl with oil and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rise for about 35 minutes, until double in size.
  6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, to desired thickness.
  7. Add toppings (i.e. pizza sauce, meats, veggies, cheese, etc.) and bake in a 450 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through; or use the dough as called for in any pizza recipe.
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