Let the Robot War Begin!

On October 28, 2012, in Family, Featured, by Chris Baccus
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Our son Theo told us about a year ago that he wants to be a “robot builder” and race car driver, when he is not building robots.  Oscar decided to join in the idea too.

Fortunately, our move to California br0ught us a 10 minute drive to a Rolling Robots store where robot building can happen at age 6.  We signed up a for a Sunday morning robot workshop where Theo made “Robo6” and Oscar made “Robot1.”  The robots took about 2 1/2 hours to build ending in a robot battle where claws were used to try to pullout each others robot wires.

The boys had a great morning building and playing with their robots.We’ll definitely be back.

 

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#SundaySupper Spooky Kid Pizzas

On October 28, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
52

So when I originally imagined doing some Halloween inspired pizzas for our twin boys Oscar & Theo I was thinking something a bit more spooky than a pumpkin.  Of course, the spooky factor kind of suffered since my “spider legs” were to be built form slices of green peppers. Sadly I failed to double-check we still had a bell pepper in the fridge.  We did not when it came time to make this week’s Sunday Supper.

Instead of spooky, we have a bit more of a ridiculous look. Fortunately, the boys didn’t mind and loved their jack o’ lantern pizzas. I just simply took some slices of carrot and triangle cut a tomato slice for eyes and noses.

 

Tomato Pizza Sauce

28 oz. can crushed plum tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (avoid canned)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 small or 1/2 med. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, or 1 tsp. dried 1/4 tsp. each: salt, black pepper, sugar, dried oregano,
red pepper flakes

Mix together. Sometimes I sauté the garlic and onions in a little olive oil first. It depends upon what else I’m putting on the pizza. I sauté them if the toppings are more mild, and I don’t if the toppings are more aggressive. Basically, whatever you like.

 

Pizza Dough
(makes 2 — 12” rounds)

2 packets “rapid-rise” active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 – 110 degrees)
2 teaspoons sugar 6 cups all-purpose flour*
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil

In a bowl, proof the yeast by mixing yeast, warm water and sugar. Let stand until it becomes foamy. This will take about 5 minutes.

In a mixer or large food processor, mix the flour and salt. Add the proofed yeast mixture and combine. Add olive oil and combine until the moisture is well-mixed into the flour. Add as much additional warm water to produce a dough which is smooth and not sticky. When dough is smooth and can be formed into a ball, it has been sufficiently kneaded.

Place the ball of dough into an oiled bowl; turn to coat all over with oil; cover with a towel, or plastic-wrap, and set in a warm place. Allow it to double in size, which will take about 10-15 minutes, or 1 hour with regular yeast.

When ready to proceed, preheat oven to 450.

Punch dough down; cut into halves; form each half into a ball; roll-out each ball into about a 12” round. Oil pizza pans lightly, and place dough onto pans. Push the dough up slightly around edges to make a border to hold the fillings.

Top pizzas with desired fillings, and moisten top by drizzling on some olive oil. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until dough is golden-brown and fillings are slightly bubbling.

Spooky Kid Pizzas

Pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
Pizza sauce, homemade or store-bought
Mozzarella cheese
Toppings: Tomato triangles and carrot sticks for the mouth and teeth

Assemble pizzas with a layer of sauce and plenty of shredded mozzarella.  Then make your “spooky” or Halloween inspired masterpiece using toppings.

Heat in a toaster oven or oven at 400 degrees cooking for 15 minutes.

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For more Halloween cooking ideas checkout this week’s #SundaySupper recipes

Bewitching Brews

Ghoulish Gruel: 

Haunted Snacks: 

Spooky Sweets: 

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day, this Sunday (October 28th) during #SundaySupper.  We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about all things Halloween.  All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat.

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Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Casserole

On October 27, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
2

My wife and I were sitting around Saturday morning with her looking through the January 2009 Martha Stewart Living. She pointed out two recipes that looked good for me to try. Hint, hint… The one that really caught my eye was a Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Casserole (pg. 45) that just looked like some amazing comfort food on a Michigan day in the mid-teens outside.

It was a very nice surprise. Just a couple notes really improve the original recipe. One add about a 1/4 teaspoon of Rosemary to help enhance the flavor. Be careful not to over salt too. This dish can get fairly salty with the chicken stock. Speaking of stock, make sure you use a good quality chicken stock. I use Better than Bouillon stock that can be found at most markets these days. And lastly, use a good quality whole grain bread. I bought some Sprouted Multi-Grain bread at Trader Joe’s.

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Casserole
Serves 4-6

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 if making it for 6 people)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, coarsely chopped and rinsed well
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2-inch dice
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved if large
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons dry sherry
2 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
3/4 cup whole milk
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon Rosemary
8 slices dense multigrain bread, crusts removed and cut once into triangles
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan Reggiano
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook until golden brown on 1 side, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip, reduce heat to medium and cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a plate, and return pan, with drippings, to medium heat.

2. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in pan. Add leek, celery, mushrooms and pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. (Reduce heat if vegetables brown to quickly.) Stir in flour, and ccook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add Sherry, stock, milk, rosemary, and bay leaf, and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with pepper. Discard bay leaf.

3. Arrange bread on bottom of a 2-quart oval baking dish, overlapping slices slightly. Spoon half of the vegetables an sauce over bread. Slice chicken crosswise, 1/2-inch thick, and arrange on bread. Top with any accumulated juices from chicken. Spread remaining vegetables and sauce over chicken, sprinkle with parsley and Parmessan Reggiano, and bake until golden brown and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

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Chicken Taquitos

On October 24, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

 

I love tacos, but I also love taquitos. My favorite Mexican food growing up was basically a deep fried taco. Our family did a lot of restaurant dining when I was in my early teens and a popular favorite spot was Chi-Chi’s. Though the thought of eating chain restaurant Mexican food today sounds like an awful proposition, it was fantastic then since I had never experienced real Mexican food.

 

The recipe I went with is from a cookbook I have recommended before and will highly recommend again, Rosa’s New Mexican Table.

I also finally found some decent made that day tortillas from the Super A Foods Mexican grocery store chain here in California. Their corn tortillas are the perfect size and integrity for taquitos.

Recipe is from the cookbook: Rosa’s New Mexican Table.

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