Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Central Market Pizza Dough

This past weekend, for the first time in who knows how long, The Hubs and I were at home all weekend with nothing to do.  And it was lovely.  Until Saturday afternoon when we got bored.  After nixing the idea of going to see "The Help" again,  The Hubs turns to me and says, "Hey, do you want to go to Central Market?"  Now you're speaking my love language!  YES!

So off we went to one of my happy places.  It's also my land of impulse buys.  It never fails that I walk out with something I don't need or "just wanted to try."  This trip's impulse buy turned out to be one of my all time favorite Central Market purchases - Fresh Pizza Dough.  OH-MY-HEAVENS!  It is some kind of wonderful.  If you live anywhere near a Central Market, go get some today and make yourself a pizza.  You'll thank me later.

A couple of quick notes before I get to the process/recipe:  In this recipe, I talk about a pizza peel and a pizza stone. While these two items will help make you pizza especially perfect, they aren't a must-have.   If you don't have them, see the notes at the bottom.


  • Central Market Pizza Dough
  • Your favorite pizza sauce
  • Your favorite pizza toppings
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese 


1. A couple of hours before you're ready to make your pizza, lightly oil & flour a large bowl.  Take your dough out of the container and drop it into the bowl.  Allow it to rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size. 

2.  At least 45 minutes before you're ready to bake your pizza, place your pizza stone on an oven rack in the lowest position in the oven.  Preheat to 500 degrees.

3.  Once your dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.

4.  Using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten out the dough to a 9" to 12" round.  No need to be a perfectionist.

5.  Lightly dust your pizza peel with flour and carefully transfer the dough to the peel. Give your peel a quick jerk.  If the dough moves around on the peel easily, you're good-to-go.  If if sticks, take it off and add a little more flour.  Reshape the dough, if needed.

6.  Spread a layer of pizza sauce around the dough, leaving a slight edge.

7.  Top generously with your favorite toppings.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top.

(Now come the dangerous/tricky part - hence there are no pictures.  I didn't have enough hands to take pictures and transfer a pizza to a 500 degree oven carefully at the same time).

8.  Leaving the pizza stone in the oven, line up the far edge of your pizza peel with the back of the stone.  Jerk the peel gently to get the pizza moving off the peel.  Once it starts to come off, carefully ease the rest of the pizza onto the stone.  Once it's on there, don't move it.  Let it be.  Your fingers will thank you.

9.  Bake pizza for 7 minutes for a perfectly crisp crust.  Using a large metal spatula (or 2), scoop the pizza off the stone and transfer to a cutting board.

10.  Slice.

11.  Enjoy!

My Tid-Bits:

* If you don't have a pizza peel or stone, you can just use two rimless baking sheets instead.  Put one on the oven to preheat and use the other just like you would the peel.  

* At our Central Market, we found the pizza dough in the prepared foods section in the refrigerated case with their pre-made salads.

* Note: This dough is ALIVE!  It will grow.  Even if you leave it in the refrigerator.  When it starts to ooze out the sides of the container (and it will) just give it a gentle push back into place.

* This dough would be perfect for an easy make-your-own-pizza party.  Just divide the dough into smaller, individual sized portions before rolling out.  

* Oh, and those hands slicing the pizza? They belong to The Hubs.  While my hands may not be dainty, they aren't that manly. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Are You Ready For Some Football?!

...Friday Night Lights starts tonight.  
...College Football kicks off in 6 days.  (WHOOP!)
...The NFL begins their regular season in 2 weeks.
I'd say football season is definitely here.  (And The Hubs and I could not be more excited for this season of Aggie Football). 
In honor of football season kicking off, I thought I'd share some ideas for watching parties & tailgating.
(Click the names to view the recipes).

Buffalo Wings

Easy Taco Soup

(Okay, you may want to save this one for later in the fall).

Old Bay Steamed Shrimp

 Yummy Corn Dip

Tortilla Chips & Scout Salsa

Reindeer Food

Pumpkin Ale Bread


Monday, August 15, 2011

Peach Crisp

Lately, every trip to the grocery store has found peaches in my shopping cart.  I'm trying to make the most of them while they're still in season and affordable.  (On sale for $0.87/lb at HEB this week for all you Texans that live south of DFW).

Last weekend, two of my three college roommates came to Houston for a girls weekend.  (The third currently live in Italia and couldn't make the trip, so Skype had to suffice.  We missed you, Court!).  

Everyone knows that no girls weekend is complete without lots of food to munch on while catching up on life, gossip, reality TV and old memories.  So before my friends arrived, I ran to the store to stock up on snacks and stuff to make a delicious dessert....Peach Crisp!  

This treat, which is very similar to the apple crisp I make every fall, has a sweet peach filling and oat crumble topping.  It's pretty much irresistible.  (The Hubs may or may not have dug into it before the girls arrived).


  *  1 Pre-made, frozen pie crust
  *  6 large peaches, peeled & cut into very thin slices
  *  1/4 cup + 1/2 cup brown sugar
  *  2 Tbsp + 1/2 cup flour
  *  1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  *  1/4 cup of butter (half a stick), cut into small pieces


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the filling, place sliced peaches in a mixing bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of brown sugar.

2.  Add 2 Tbsp. flour to the mixture and stir to combine.

3.  To make the topping, mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour & 1/2 cup oats in a bowl.  Add in pieces of butter.

4.  Using two forks or a pastry blender, cut butter into sugar/flour/oat mixture until crumbly.

5.  Pour peach filling into the frozen pie crust.

Try not to eat the filling out of the pie.

6.  Spread crumble topping evenly over the peaches.

7.  Place pie on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until top is browned and filling is bubbly.

6.  Let cool on a wire rack until ready to serve.  Serve alongside a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Blackened Fish Sandwiches with Coleslaw

Every week, I try to use a variety of proteins in our dinners.  Not only does it keep me from repeating the same (or similar) dishes every night, it also allows The Hubs & I to get a wide range of nutrients.  (If it was up to The Hubs, we'd eat beef at least 3 days a week).  

I try to use chicken, beef, shrimp, fish (and occasionally pork) every week.  Fish night is always one of my favorites because there are a million different types of fish and ways to cook it.  A couple of weeks ago, I made these tasty blackened fish sandwiches and topped them with coleslaw.  

This recipe has 3 components, but it's easy...I promise!

Blackened Seasoning


  *  1 1/2 tsp Salt
  *  1 tsp Oregano
  *  2 tsp Onion Powder
  *  1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  *  1 Tbsp Paprika
  *  1 tsp Thyme
  *  1 tsp Cayenne (Red) Pepper
  *  1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper


1.  Combine all seasonings in a container with a lid.  Shake well.



  *  2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
  *  3 Tbsp Mayo
  *  1 1/2 tsp Sugar
  *  1/2 tsp Celery Seed
  *  1/2 tsp Salt
  *  1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  *  Juice from 1/2 lemon
  *  2.5 cups Cole Slaw Mix (shredded cabbage)
  *  2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
  *  1/4 Onion, thinly sliced


1.  Whisk together first seven ingredients.

2.  Stir in the shredded coleslaw mix, onion & cilantro.

Blackened Fish Sandwich


  *  Blackened Seasoning (above)
  *  Fish Fillets (mahi, tilapia, sole, cod, etc)
  *  2 Tbsp. EVOO
  *  2 Tbsp. Butter
  *  Sandwich rolls
  *  Coleslaw (above)


1.  Place 2 Tbsp. blackened seasoning in a shallow dish.  Dredge fish fillets in the seasoning, adding more seasoning to the dish, if needed.

2.  Heat EVOO & Butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add fish fillets and cook until done, about 6 minutes per side.

3. When done, place fish fillets on sandwich rolls (buttered & toasted, optional, but tasty).  Top with coleslaw.

4.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Grill Basket & Grilled Veggies with Basil-Garlic Vinaigrette

This is my grill basket...

You've seen it before here on my blog.  It's the best grilling tool I have ever purchased, hands down.  I bought it at HEB for about $8 or $9.  As far as grill baskets go, that's cheap!  

The Hubs & I use the basket at least once a week (but lately its been more like 2-3 times per week).  I love it because it makes grilling veggies and shrimp SO much easier.  No skewering or worrying about pieces falling through the grates.  

Since we grill the same mixed veggies at least once a week, I try to switch up the seasonings to give us a little more variety.  Last week, I made Southern Living's Basil-Garlic Vinaigrette to toss the veggies with before grilling.  It was DELICIOUS!  

So, go get yourself a grill basket & give this recipe a try.


  *  1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  *  1 garlic clove, minced
  *  1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  *  1/4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
  *  1/2 cup olive oil
  *  3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil 
  *  seasonal veggies, coarsely chopped (squash, zucchini, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, etc).


1.  In a bowl, whisk together first 4 ingredients until blended.  Gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth.

2.  Stir in basil.  Cover vinaigrette and chill 30 minutes.

3.  In a separate bowl, toss the chopped veggies with 1/4 cup of Basil-Garlic Vinaigrette.  

4.  Transfer veggies to your grill basket, season with salt & pepper and place your grill basket on a grill headed to medium-high.  (Be sure to place a plate under the grill basket so you don't drip on your way to the back yard).

5.  Grill veggies until they are done to your desired tenderness, 10-14 minutes.  If you're using tomatoes, add them half way through, as they take less time to cook.

6.  Serve with a salad, using the extra vinaigrette as a salad dressing.