Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (can be frozen!)

Every Friday night that we’re in town, we make homemade pizza together and watch TV shows. We used to do pizza & a movie, but we’ve discovered a couple of TV shows that we both really enjoy so since we don’t typically watch TV on other nights, we watch our shows together on Friday nights. A few of the shows change out from time to time, but for those curious, three of our favorites are Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and Brooklyn 99.

Anyway, I’ve shared our favorite pizza recipe on the blog before, but I realized just this week that I never shared the ultra thin whole wheat pizza crust recipe that we’ve been using almost exclusively for the past two years. Every now and then we’ll use a different dough recipe, but we like that this one (originally from Sally’s Baking Addiction) is a little healthier of an option. So I thought I’d share it with you guys!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (1).JPGBefore Rising

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (2).JPGAfter Rising

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (3)This recipe makes enough for two balls of pizza dough. We usually freeze the second dough ball and use it for the next week.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (4)We like the crust to be ULTRA thin, but it’s also really good if you make it with a normal thickness.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
3 1/4 whole wheat flour
Dusting of Cornmeal

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid mixer), combine sugar, yeast, and warm water. After the yeast begins to proof add olive oil, honey, and salt. Mix with whisk (or dough hook). Slowly add flour, 1 cup at a time until dough comes together.  Knead for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.

2. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Cover with clean kitchen towel and set in warm place to rise until doubled in size (about an hour). After the dough rises, punch it down to deflate and then cut dough in half. Shape into two balls and let each one rest in separate bowls for 20 minutes. Since I usually freeze the second ball, I skip this step with the one I’m freezing and just put it directly in a greased Ziplock bag and right into the freezer.

3. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Grease baking sheet with nonstick spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Flatten dough ball into thickness of your choice. Traditionally a 12″ circle, but we like to do a 12″x17″ rectangle since that’s the size of our biggest baking sheet. We like a really thin crust! Use a fork to poke holes into rolled out dough to prevent bubbling.

4. THIN CRUST: Pre-bake crust for 7 minutes (to help prevent it from getting soggy after adding sauce). Remove from oven and add sauce and toppings of  your choosing. Pop back in the oven for another 7 minutes or until cheese is melted. We usually finish it off with about 30 seconds under the broiler to get our fresh mozzarella bubbling. THICKER CRUST: If you decide to go with a thicker crust then you will need to pre-bake for 8 minutes and then put it back in for 8 minutes as well.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (5)We typically use fresh mozzarella because we prefer the way it tastes and you can see that Baby Girl still has me craving hot stuff with those jalapenos on part of the pizza. 😉

Do you have a favorite pizza crust recipe?
Are there any TV shows you try to keep up with?
Love Rach

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I love Mashed Potatoes!

When it comes to mashed potatoes, I am normally the peel-the-potatoes kind of girl. I love russet potatoes, gold yukon potatoes, red potatoes, and sweet potatoes. I like them with skins on and I like them peeled. I like them mashed with just a couple of additional ingredients (like the classic milk, butter, salt & pepper) and I like them with lots of add-ins as well. So when we first met our current group of friends back in 2011 and we kept seeing these AMAZING mashed potatoes show up at parties, I just knew I needed the recipe.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that these incredible mashed potatoes were made from a BOX mix of flakes. But you can’t argue with delicious. And these, my friends, are delicious. You can find the original recipe right here on the Hungry Jack website: Make Ahead Party Mashed Potatoes.

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Hungry Jack’s Make Ahead Party Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

1 (15.3 oz) package Hungry Jack Mashed Potato Flakes
No-stick cooking spray
6 cups water
12 tbsp ( 1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp onion salt
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, cubed and softened
2 cups milk
1 (16 oz) container sour cream
Paprika

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with no-stick cooking spray. Heat water, butter, garlic salt and onion salt to boiling in a 6-quart Dutch oven or saucepan. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese, milk and sour cream, stirring until cream cheese is dissolved.

2. Stir in potato flakes, mixing until all ingredients are well combined. Spread mashed potato mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with paprika and bake 1 hour or until bubbling around edges and golden brown.


These can, of course, be made with a different brand of potato flakes, but don’t get skimpy on the add-ins. There is a time and place for healthy mashed potatoes. This isn’t it. 😉

What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?
Love Rach

Sweet and Spicy

You know what we love? The combination of sweet and spicy. So today I have two delicious sweet & spicy recipes for you that are perfect for summer days!

First up, this recipe from Real Simple. I discovered this in 2011 and we have been making it regularly ever since. So yummy!

sweet and spicy chicken

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2lbs chicken pieces (legs, breast, thighs, etc)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine oil, chili powder, brown sugar, oregano, salt, and pepper.

2. Rub spice mixture into chicken. Place on roasting pan and cook 45-50 minutes or until cooked through.

NOTE: This can also be made on the grill which is our favorite way to have it!

Another favorite is homemade sweet potato fries! There are so many different ways to make them, but our favorite is to add fresh rosemary, garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt. YUM!

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries.JPG
Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato
Olive oil spray
Fresh rosemary, chopped
Cayenne pepper
Garlic Powder
Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice sweet potatoes into thin slices and lay out in a single layer on greased baking sheet. Spray fries with olive oil spray and then sprinkle with chopped rosemary, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Bake 15 minutes, then flip and bake another 15 minutes until fries are easily pierced with a fork.

Happy Friday, friends!
Love Rach

Maternity Photos {33 weeks}

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Maternity Photos (4)

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Maternity Photos (1)

Maternity Photos (3)

Maternity Photos (2)

Photo credits goes to my sweet friend, Lyndal! 🙂

Love Rach

Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Last week I shared with you guys our favorite all around pancake recipe. But through all that research we discovered that the Pioneer Woman’s Pancakes were incredible when you added chocolate chips to them. They are a bit too rich for just a normal stack of pancakes (or even blueberry ones), but when you add chocolate chips to them, they are awesome! Like eating dessert. YUM!

Pioneer Woman Chocolate Chip Pancakes (1)

Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp Cake Flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl.

2. Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined.

4. Melt butter and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine. Stir in more milk if needed for thinning. Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

5. Cook on a greased skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown. Serve with butter and pure maple syrup.

Pioneer Woman Chocolate Chip Pancakes (2).JPG

Ah, delicious! Thanks for putting up with all of my random recipe posts lately. My family thinks this is my way of nesting – trying to figure out the BEST recipes since I know I won’t have tons of time to be trying out different recipes with a newborn. You know, they might be on to something… 🙂

Love Rach

All the Pancakes!

Over the years I’ve made and shared lots of delicious pancake recipes on this blog, but recently I wanted to know which ones were truly my FAVORITES. So I went on a pancake-making frenzy and made 6 different recipes (and then made blueberry and chocolate chip versions of three of those landing us with at total of 12 different types of pancakes) and gathered my best taste testers (Christopher and Kelsi) and we ate ALL THE PANCAKES. I actually then made my favorite recipes three more times tweaking them along the way to make sure I had the absolute best results. So I’ve made a ridiculous number of pancakes over the past couple of weeks, ha!

all the pancakes

The three biggest things I learned were these:

1. Buttermilk is a must. I love almond milk and still like pancakes made with almond milk or even regular milk, but buttermilk really just takes it to the next level.

2. Cake Flour makes a world of difference. I learned this from the Pioneer Woman who’s recipe we did like, but was a little too rich for us overall. All purpose works just fine, but if you want to really kick your pancakes up a notch, go with cake flour.

3.  Don’t over-mix! I think nearly every pancake recipe I tried emphasized this point. And it’s really true. Lumps are okay in your batter. And allowing your batter to sit for a few minutes before you start cooking the pancakes gives it even more time to bubble up which makes for fluffier pancakes.

The Best Pancakes! (2)

The Best Pancakes! (3)

The Best Pancakes! (4).JPG

The Best Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar in the raw
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in the raw.

2. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.

3. Gently combine liquid ingredients into flour mixture until just combined. Don’t over-mix. It’s okay if there are small lumps in the batter.

4. Let batter sit for about 10 minutes while griddle heats up. Melt some butter on the griddle and then spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the hot griddle. Cook until batter bubbles around the sides and then flip. Cook until lightly browned on both sides. Makes approximately 12 pancakes.

5. Top with butter and pure maple syrup and serve fresh from the griddle!

While the chocolate chip version of these pancakes was scrumptious, there was one other pancake that held up to the chocolate chips even better. I’ll share more about that later!

And finally, I have to tell you guys that we really loved the Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes that I shared on the blog a few years ago as well. But they are a really dense-type of pancake. Definitely delicious, but not fluffy like you typically think of pancakes. Just thought I’d give them an honorable mention. 🙂

Do you have a favorite pancake recipe?
Love Rach

Our Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

spaghetti dinner comparison

When I say that I’m sharing my FAVORITE version of a recipe with you guys, I’m not kidding. Lately especially I’ve been tweaking my favorite recipes to decide which my ultimate favorites are. For example, I had three great spaghetti recipes that I loved. So I made all three at once and we picked out what we loved most about each one. So I made tweaks to the recipes and made three more for us to try. After all of that, I finally have my most favorite spaghetti recipe just absolutely perfected!

The BEST Spaghetti Recipe (1).JPG

Our Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
1lb ground sweet Italian sausage or ground beef (we made it both ways and loved it equally)
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28oz) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 (6oz) can no-salt-added tomato paste
2 tbsp basil
1 tbsp oregano
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 bay leaves

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large pot and add garlic. When garlic starts to turn golden add chopped onion and Italian sausage or ground beef. Cook until onions are translucent and meat is cooked through. Drain off grease.

2. Put meat mixture back in pot and add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, oregano, white wine, sugar, ground red pepper and bay leaves. Stir thoroughly.

3. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes, but ideally more like 3 hours. The longer it simmers, the richer it becomes. You can even do all of this in a crock pot and put it on low to cook all day!

The BEST Spaghetti Recipe (2).JPG

If I’m being real with you, this is more what my spaghetti looks like when I actually eat it. I like it all mixed together and thoroughly coated. And served in a bowl. It’s so much easier to eat! 🙂

Do you have a favorite spaghetti sauce recipe? 
Have you ever made multiple recipes trying to pick a most favorite?
Love Rach