Thursday, February 28, 2013

Homemade Pizza Sauce (Cake Boss)

Buddy Valastro's Pizza Sauce
Photo and recipe courtesy of the Rachel Ray website,
 and Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss)


  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, mostly drained, left just a little wet
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Kosher salt


Pass the tomatoes through a food mill set over a large bowl.
 Add the oil, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano and sugar to the bowl,
season with salt and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour to
give the flavors a chance to develop. The sauce can be refrigerated
 in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pizza or Calzone crust (From Buddy Valastro/Cake Boss)

Buddy Valastro's Pizza Dough

Courtesy of Rachel Ray's website, and Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss)


  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • About 15 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 3 1/4 cups)
  • About 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Yields: enough dough for three 8" to 10" pizzas


Put the yeast in a small, heatproof bowl. Warm 1/4 cup water in a small
 pot over medium heat and pour it 
over the yeast. Stir with a fork and let proof for 10 minutes.
Put the flour, water, salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of a
 stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the yeast and paddl
e on low speed until the mixture comes together. Switch to the doug
h hook attachment and continue mixing, on medium-low speed, until the
 dough comes together in a ball, another 3-4 minutes. Check the dough:
 If it’s too dry, mix in a bit more water. If too sticky, add more flour.
Lightly flour a clean work surface. Turn the dough onto the surface and
knead until smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.
 Grease a medium mixing bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil,
 set the ball of dough in the bottom of the bowl and rotate to coat with
 the oil top the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a slightly damp kitchen
towel. Let rest in a cool, dark place until the dough increases by about
 half its size, 30-45 minutes.

Clean and re-flour your work surface and transfer the dough to the
 surface. Press down on it to deflate it. Cut the dough into thirds
 (or desired portions), and form into tight balls to press out the
excess air.

At this point, you may place the balls of dough on a 
floured baking sheet covered with oiled plastic or a damp
towel, and let rise for 1 hour if you plan to use the dough
 on the same day. Alternatively, you may place the dough
 on a lightly floured sheet, cover with a piece of plastic wrap
 moistened on the underside with oil, and refrigerate overnight.
 Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 
minutes before shaping/baking.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
Photo and recipe from Taste of Home


  • 4 celery ribs, chopped (I usually omit this)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 2-1/2 cups water, divided
  • 3 Italian turkey sausage links (4 ounces each), casings removed (I use ground beef)
  • 1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (I use fresh Basil)
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 cups hot cooked spaghetti
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional


  • In a Dutch oven, combine the celery, onion, green pepper and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are tender and water is reduced.
  • Crumble sausage over vegetable mixture; cook until meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, garlic, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt, pepper and remaining water.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with spaghetti. Garnish with cheese if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

Photo and Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen!

Don’t use ground beef that’s fattier than 93 percent or the dish will be greasy.
  • 1 1/2pounds 93 percent lean ground beef
  • 2tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2cup milk
  • 1large egg yolk
  • 8scallions, green parts only, sliced thin
  • 2teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1onion, chopped
  • 4ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
  • 1tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2garlic cloves, minced
  • 2tablespoons Madeira or ruby port
  • 2tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4cups beef broth
  • 2teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1bay leaf
  • 2carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1. Toss beef with 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and baking soda in bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  • 2. Meanwhile, place potatoes in medium saucepan; add water to just cover and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are soft and tip of paring knife inserted into potato meets no resistance, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Return saucepan to low heat and cook, shaking pot occasionally, until any surface moisture on potatoes has evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and mash potatoes well. Stir in melted butter. Whisk together milk and egg yolk in small bowl, then stir into potatoes. Stir in scallion greens and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
  • 3. Heat oil in broiler-safe 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just starting to soften and dark bits form on bottom of skillet, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and garlic; cook until bottom of skillet is dark brown, about 2 minutes. Add Madeira and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add broth, Worcestershire, thyme, bay leaf, and carrots; bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, add beef in 2-inch chunks to broth, and bring to gentle simmer. Cover and cook until beef is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring and breaking up meat chunks with 2 forks halfway through. Stir cornstarch and remaining 2 teaspoons water together in bowl. Stir cornstarch mixture into filling and continue to simmer for 30 seconds. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 4. Adjust oven rack 5 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Place mashed potatoes in large zipper-lock bag and snip off 1 corner to create 1-inch opening. Pipe potatoes in even layer over filling, making sure to cover entire surface. Smooth potatoes with back of spoon, then use tines of fork to make ridges over surface. Place skillet on rimmed baking sheet and broil until potatoes are golden brown and crusty and filling is bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.