Friday, July 19, 2013

Time Comsuming But Totally Worth The Effort Meals!

This week we went through my recipe book that I keep and picked meals from there that were our favorites.  Right now, a lot of my kitchen stuff is boxed up while we wait to move to our new home, so I try to make simple quick meals.  This time around, I really wanted to stick to the more time consuming meals!  Most of them are not complicated at all, but they have an added step like making the dough, allowing something to cook or sit for hours, etc.  I only did two meals this week since I had a work dinner one day, and date night tonight :)

One of Joe's and my all time favorite meals is Greek Pizza!  It is so good and healthy for you that we love to make it!  You don't have to make the dough from scratch and that makes it a much easier and very quick meal to make, but I love making my own pizza dough so it takes a bit longer!  Luckily, my bread machine has a dough setting so I just throw the ingredients in there and it is done in a couple hours without much effort from me!  Below is the recipe.

The other meal we did was home made Manicotti.  I'm not sure if this is the traditional way manicotti was made, but this is a unique recipe because instead of using the store bought noodles, you use crepe type pancakes to wrap up the stuffing.  I like this recipe much better because it is mainly eggs making it less carb loaded like most pasta dishes but it is also incredibly yummy! That being said,  the crepes take a long time to make and the mixture must sit for an hour before you make the crepes so it does take a long time. I tend to do this the night before to speed up the process.  The sauce also takes a long time because you have to wait for the water to evaporate but if the temperature is turned low enough it is simple to just leave it on the stove.  Below, you will also find this recipe!

Fresh Greek Pizza with Tzatziki

Tzatziki sauce:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
For the dough (makes 2lbs.):
1 3/8 cups lukewarm water (should be about 100 degrees)
2 ¼ teaspoons granulated yeast (1 packet)
2 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
½ tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

To Assemble:
1 pound Olive Oil Dough
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 fresh garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and medium diced
Cucumber, medium diced
Avocado, medium diced
Feta cheese, crumbled
Homemade Tzatziki
In a 3-quart lidded food container, mix together the water, yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil. Next, stir in the flour until no dry spots remain. Cover the dough with the lid, but do not seal it completely. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours, until the dough rises and then flattens on top. The dough can be used immediately following the rise period, or it can be refrigerated and used later. It can be stored in refrigerator for up to 12 days. For this recipe, half the dough portion for 1 pizza.

For the tzatziki sauce, Shred the cucumber or chop in food processor. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
Preheat a baking stone in the oven at 550 degrees. To prepare the dough, dust a 1-pound piece of Olive Oil Dough (half of the dough recipe) with flour and shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides, rotating the ball as you go. Using your hands and a flour-dusted rolling pin, gently flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out until you have a 12-inch circle. Generously sprinkle a pizza peel (or the back of a cookie sheet or cutting board) with cornmeal, and transfer the prepared dough onto the peel. Using your fingertips or a pastry brush, spread 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil across the surface of the dough and sprinkle with a ½ teaspoon of dried oregano. Use a fork to prick the surface of the dough to prevent large air bubbles from forming during baking.
Slide the pizza from the peel directly onto the baking stone that is already in the oven. Cornmeal can start to smoke at this high of a temperature, so you may want to turn on the exhaust fan while the dough bakes. Cook for 7-8 minutes until golden brown.  

While the dough is baking, heat ½ tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add in the chicken breast and season with ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side, until the chicken is golden brown and fully cooked. Transfer the chicken from the pan to a cutting board and cut into bite size pieces.

To assemble the pizza, place the desired quantity of Roma tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, feta cheese and chicken breast on the prepared crust. Drizzle with Homemade Tzatziki and serve additional sauce on the side for dipping.

Turkey and Beef Manicotti

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained
1-1/2 cups water
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
2 eggs
1 cup egg substitute
1-3/4 cups fat-free milk
1 teaspoon canola oil
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 slices whole wheat bread, cubed
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 cup finely chopped green pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
For sauce, place tomatoes in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan; add the water, tomato sauce, sugar, oregano and celery salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; gently simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours or until reduced to 4-1/2 cups, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, for crepes, beat the eggs, egg substitute, milk and oil in a large bowl. Combine flour and salt; add egg mixture and stir until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

For filling, in a large bowl, soak bread in milk for 5 minutes. Stir in the egg substitute, green pepper, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Crumble beef and sausage over mixture and mix well. Stir in mozzarella. Cover and refrigerate until assembling. 

Coat an 8-in. nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat. Stir crepe batter; pour 3 tablespoons into center of skillet. Lift and tilt pan to coat bottom evenly. Cook until top appears dry; turn and cook 15-20 seconds longer. Remove to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter, coating skillet with cooking spray as needed. When cool, stack crepes with waxed paper or paper towels in between. 

Spread about 1/4 cup filling down the center of each crepe; roll up and place in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish and an 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon sauce over top; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Cover and bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°.


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