OK, I have to admit I kind of enjoy going to the dentist. My old dentist in WA was great, I could watch my favorite movie while they worked, and I researched my new dentist in IA with that same prerequisite, too. Then again, it might just be the nitrous oxide talking! But after my trip to the dentist earlier this week I was actually looking forward to an easy diet. Sore mouth usually equals eating less food, which is a good thing since it's tough to exercise with all the ice outside right now!
But the problem became clear when I looked back at the recipes I've made the past few days- I thought I wouldn't be eating very much, so I figured I could eat whatever I wanted! We had Spinach Artichoke Dip (Though this one is easy and yummy, Steph Fischer actually makes a better one!), and Bean Dip for New Year's Eve. Later I made an awesome Lemon Cheesecake, and tonight topped it off with a homemade pizza! Toppings: chicken, artichoke, bacon, tomato slices. Sauce: garlic Italian Alfredo. Crust: whole wheat. (Please note if you make the cheesecake: I recommend stirring the batter with an electric mixer for a very long time, because it will make the cheesecake very light and fluffy. But also note that this cheesecake recipe makes way too much cheesecake for the crust, I used about 60% of the cheesecake batter to fill my 9inch spring form pan, and then just used the extra batter to make mini cheesecakes in my jumbo muffin pan with a new batch of crumb crust. Also simplify the water bath for your cheesecake as my sister-in law Deb taught me: while you preheat the oven, put a large 9X13 pan filled with water on the lowest rack. This lets humidity build up and keeps the cake from cracking, if you also don't open the oven to check on your cake! I had to bake my cake a bit longer as well, and opening the oven before it was done did crack the top of the cake a bit.)
Did I mention we all have colds right now? We're getting better, but as soon as I can breathe comfortably again I'd better get back to swimming! But hey, rather than feel guilty about my indulgence, I have decided to share my successful recipes with you! The dips and cheesecake are recipes I found online, through the Food Network and Epicurious websites. The pizza was inspired by a Papa Murphy's commercial that's been playing in between every football game this weekend, for a chicken artichoke bacon pizza. It was actually John's idea that we make the pizza ourselves, so I have to give him credit! The pizza crust and alfredo recipes came from my beloved Fannie Farmer Cookbook, with a few small changes of course. :)
1 1/3 Cups of warm water
1 package dry yeast
3-4 cups of flour (this time I split using 60% regular unbleached flour and 40% whole wheat flour)
2 tsp salt
1. In large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of regular flour, 2 Tbs oil, 1 Cup warm water and the salt, and beat. Gradually add more regular flour, mixing well until the dough holds together in a rough mass and mostly doesn't stick the sides of the bowl.
2. Knead the dough for 10 minutes (thank goodness for my Kitchen Aid!) Put in an oiled bowl to rise, covered with plastic wrap.
3. When the dough has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, punch it down and divide into thirds (or according to the sizes of your baking dishes). Let rest for 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 450degreesF.
4. Scatter a generous but thin layer of corn meal over the entire surface of your baking dishes (I used 2 cake pans and a jellyroll pan.) Stretch the dough with your hands to the size of your baking dishes and put dough in each baking dish, then prick dough all over with a fork.
5. Add your sauce, toppings and cheese and bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned. To test for doneness, lift an edge- if the bottom has turned golden it is probably done.
Garlic Italian Alfredo Sauce:
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used nonfat Stonyfield Farms organic super yummy yogurt)
1 Cup heavy cream
3/4 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs Italian seasonings
salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the chopped garlic. Add yogurt and cream until yogurt clumps are all melted. Add cheese, seasonings, salt and pepper and stir until melted.
2 chicken breast halves, cooked and diced (I pan-fried chicken strips in olive oil with garlic and Italian seasonings, then diced into bite-size chunks.)
5-7 slices of bacon, cooked and diced
1 can artichoke hearts, cut into 8ths or your choice of bite-size
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced thinly
Mozzarella cheese to taste
On a healthier note, we did also get a tastey recipe from Jeremy, John's brother, for a good drink to soothe a scratchy throat...
a spoonful of honey
a spoonful of orange juice concentrate
a squirt of lemon juice (or cranberry juice)
wedge of orange or clementine fruit with peel
Put all ingredients in a mug, add hot water, seep (herb) tea bag. (optional: add swig of bourbon, or other liquor of choice!)