Cooking with Kids {Basic Pizza Dough}

I love cooking with kids, my mom cooked with me, I cooked in my classroom and my two girls have been in the kitchen with me from early on. Now I am not going to say it’s easy, cooking with children. What’s easy is taking a picture of your child cracking an egg and then once the picture is taken it’s like “okay, you’re getting it all over, get out!” Am I right? The key is to go in knowing it is going to be messy and if you have multiple kiddos then there is always going to be a fight. BUT, it’s good for them, good for their brain and if you have your wine glass full, a little easier on you!

Kaili picked a pizza dough recipe out of her cookbook and read me the ingredients.

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup water

1 package yeast

2 tbs olive oil plus 1 more for the bowl

2 tbs sugar

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

Combine sugar, water and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

Pour yeast mixture and oil in well and stir into dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.

If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled.

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How simple is that? Now the hardest part is a toss up between the clean up or the refereeing.—> Take a big sip of wine!

Once I put the dough on a hot baking sheet, they slathered on store bought pizza sauce {it was a weeknight meal y’all} and cheese. Anything else in their mind is “gross”. Side eye.

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And voila! A cheese pizza that they both ate and didn’t kill each other over!

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Tzatziki

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When I was younger, Trader Joe’s Tzatziki was a staple in my refrigerator. As I have gotten older and really learned my way around the kitchen, I found it’s much more delicious homemade. As most things are.

A creamy greek yogurt sauce with garlic and cucumber, its a great partner to a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Or to just dunk a warm piece of pita bread in.

I used this as a topping to some chicken shawarma pitas. Easy to make there is really no excuse to buy it, sorry Trader Joe’s.

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INGREDIENTS

3/4 English cucumber, peeled and grated

4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled, finely minced

1 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs chopped fresh dill

1 tbs GOOD Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cups Greek yogurt

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

After the cucumber is grated allow to sit in a fine mesh strainer, sprinkle with a dusting of kosher salt and let sit, this will bring out the moisture in the cucumber.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt,  garlic, lemon juice and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Chill.

Squeeze as much liquid out of the cucumber as you can using cheese cloth, dish towel or aheavy duty paper towel. Add to the yogurt mixture and combine well. Chill until ready . Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

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Asparagus with Pesto and Burrata

How have we been eating asparagus without pesto for all these years? Fail! The compliments these two give each other is something from a love story, a perfect pairing.

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Topped with creamy burrata, this is a perfect side dish to anything.

Ingredients

1-2 bunches of asparagus

1/2 lemon

2 Tbs. Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Burrata

Pesto, you’re favorite homemade recipe.

Directions

Begin by making your pesto and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425. Place asparagus on sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper.

Roast for 15 minutes.

Top with burrata and a few spoonfuls  of pesto. Break open that ball of creaminess and dive in.

 

*recipe adapted from The Londoner

 

 

Shrimp in Thai Coconut Sauce

Thai and Coconut, probably two of my favorite things but when you mix them together with some spice, its pure harmony. Most of the time we have a bag of Kirkland raw, peeled, tail on shrimp in our freezer. No fuss and cooks up in minutes, perfect for a weeknight meal. If you can prep everything, cut all the veg and make the sauce…. or as the French say, “mise en place” then this dish comes together in no time.

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Ingredients

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on or off, your preference)
4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided (you can use vegetable oil)
2 gloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
½ onion, peeled and sliced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
½ orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
½ yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cup coconut milk
3-5 tablespoons high quality fish sauce (start with 3 tablespoons and add more to taste)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
Serrano pepper sliced for the heat lovers

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Directions

Place the shrimp in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil, garlic, ginger, kosher salt and red chili flakes. Toss to coat and let marinade for 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

Heat a good sized skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the peppers and onion to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the shrimp for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until opaque, transfer shrimp to a plate.

In a medium bowl whisk the coconut milk, fish sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, brown sugar and stir well. Transfer the cooked onion and peppers to the skillet and pour the coconut milk mixture of the peppers. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp to the skillet with the basil and cilantro and toss to coat.  Garnish with more cilantro and basil, chopped green onion and sliced Serrano. Serve over rice, noodles or riced cauliflower.

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*Recipe adapted from Foodie Crush

Israeli Style Hummus

I love hummus, we all love hummus. I pay way too much on store bought brands so I started making my own. As much as I love to make meals from scratch, avoid the big chains, drink local coffee and support small businesses, I am also human. I have been using gasp canned garbanzo beans for my hummus. Okay, canned is still better than say, Sabra’ right? I even used a packaged hummus mix that had everything but the beans and it was pretty darn good. This time I wanted to really make hummus, legit Israeli hummus.         I used Bon Appetit’s recipe found here.

It’s no more work than using canned beans and it’s cheaper, win win!

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I am not sure it tasted too much different than using canned beans but it was definitely creamier. No reason to look back, no reason to buy store bought. Next time I am going to throw in cilantro and a few serrano’s, actually I am going to do that now.

Roasted Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese

When I roast a chicken it tends to be in the oven anywhere from 75 minutes to 85 minutes, depending on size. Then factoring in rest time, it’s not the quickest meal…but it’s the best way to cook chicken.

When I came across this goat cheese roasted chicken recipe, at first I thought “how come I didn’t think of this?” and then quickly noted to make it this week.

Kaili gets out of school at 3:45 and once we walk home it’s after 4:00. Knowing I didn’t want to spend much time prepping the dish, I went ahead and bought herbed goat cheese. I put a head of garlic and some lemon in the cavity of the chicken and shoved as much goat cheese as I could under the skin. A drizzle of olive oil and a shower of salt, I had it in the oven before I left to pick her up. Normally this wouldn’t work if the husband wasn’t home, hello…not trying to burn the house down. But since he was, it worked out great.

Averi was eating it as I cut it up, I had to slap her little hands away. Kaili gobbled it up but demanded more salt and after dinner we didn’t have much left over.

Such an easy and delicious meal!

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Recipe adapted from: How Sweet It Is

Farro, Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad

A few weeks back we had a very nice lunch in Little Italy. Aside from a couple of delicious pies we also ordered a farro, watermelon, tomato and feta salad with mint and arugula. It was AHmazing. I have been thinking about that salad ever since. I almost made it for Thanksgiving but wasn’t sure that was the best audience to try it out on. Safely back in my own kitchen, I set to work.

In all actuality it’s a fairly easy recipe. If you make the farro ahead of time then you shave 20 minutes off of your prep work. The end result is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, chewy, and a tad spicy, but the punch of mint is the real winner.

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1 cup whole grain  farro
2 cups medium dice heirloom tomatoes
2 cups medium dice watermelon
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 cups baby arugula
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled                                                                                                                             3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat, stir in farro, reduce heat to medium and simmer until farro is al dente, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain then spread onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

While the grains are cooling, make the rest of the salad. Combine tomatoes, watermelon, 1 tablespoons of the olive oil, a pinch of salt, and some freshly ground black pepper, stir then set aside until flavor is intensified, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Combine remaining olive oil and vinegar in a small jar, close, and shake until well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then mix with the cooled farro.

When tomato-watermelon mixture is ready, drain off any juices and add the mint then stir the mixture into the farro, add the arugula and feta and stir through. Serve immediately.

*recipe adapted from Aida Mollenkamps Salt & Wind