one-rise pizza dough

I have a friend who swears by her homemade pizza dough recipe…all three rises of it.  It’s practically an all day affair to make it, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.  While I might spend all day making pizza dough once in a while, the vast majority of the time I just want to get it done.  Apparently, so did my mom.

This recipe came out of her archives and, in fact, was labelled “Mom’s Famous Pizza Crust.”  It’s fast, easy, and just an all-around good crust.  The recipe says it makes two, 12″ round pies but I found that resulted in the crust being too thin.  I made one thicker pie, which was plenty for the three of us with a side salad.  If you’re feeding more than that, double the recipe.  Then, top with your choice of goodies (it’s a hearty crust, so it withstands toppings well), and enjoy!



One-Rise Pizza Dough (courtesy my mom’s recipe collection)


  • 2 1/2 to 3 c unsifted flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg dry yeast
  • 1 c tap water, very hot
  • 2 Tbps vegetable or canola oil


  1. In large bowl mix one cup of flour, sugar, salt, and undissolved yeast, gradually adding hot water and oil.
  2. Mix or stir balance of flour and knead until smooth (about 10 min).
  3. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until dough is double in size (about 45 min).
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
  5. After dough has risen, stretch over a 12″ x 18″ greased pan or cookie sheet.
  6. Cover with toppings of your choice and bake 30 – 40 min.





homemade chocolate buttercream frosting

I’m a pretty low-key when it comes to birthday celebrations.  I like to keep it simple.  Party of three, please:  Me + Husband + Kiddo.  It’s all good that way.  They took me to dinner, bought me a couple of gifts, and we ate cake; the cake they baked and of which I was tasked with frosting.

Frosting my own birthday cake is not offensive to me in the least.   Being asked to do so insures I don’t have to eat store-bought frosting, and I get to play with butter and sugar and cocoa.  What’s not to like about that?.

This recipe is a staple…tried and true.  Everyone has these stock items in their pantry and they go together in less time than it would take to run to the grocery store for one of those gritty, over-priced, pre-packaged frosting containers.  The quantity easily frosts a 9 x 13 sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes.  For a round layer cake, I might bump up the ingredients a bit to allow for frosting between layers.  Enjoy!


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 2/3 c confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 c cocoa, unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup milk (I use 1%)
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Place butter in a bowl and beat until creamy.
  2. Add sugar and cocoa, mixing well.
  3. Stir in milk in portions, stirring each time.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Spread on cooled cake or other items needing frosting.
  6. Lick the bowl.


meat-of-choice teriyaki

This recipe came from one of my many, many Pinterest pins (can you say, “Get a life?”).  Actually, it’s so easy to pin from anywhere now that killing time at gymnastics or swim lessons or waiting for school to let out is a lot more productive.  (You can follow my pins here, if you’d like).  And Pinterest is absolutely overflowing with amazing recipes I can save for later, or a rainy day, or the day my husband comes home from the doc and tells me his cholesterol is too high.  Huh??  Ok, that’s just genetic, but to the extent I can make my already healthy cooking healthier?  Yeah, I’m in.  I kinda want to keep him around for a while.

The original recipe was for Teriyaki Turkey Tenderloins (say that three times fast), but my butcher was out of turkey tenderloins.  And, hey, it’s teriyaki.  Doesn’t that pretty much go with everything?  So, while I ended up using chicken breasts, any meat will do: chicken, turkey, pork, your choice.  It was also a little different from my standard teriyaki with the addition of sesame oil and chili-garlic paste.  The chili-garlic gave this version a nice kick and a little heat, but not overpowering.  I’ll definitely use it again – maybe on the last of the shrimp in the freezer now that my healthy cooking just got healthier.  Enjoy!

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Teriyaki Chicken


  • turkey breast tenderloins, chicken breasts, or pork tenderloin (meat-of-choice), approx 1 – 1 1/2 lbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbps fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ c  low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ c orange juice
  • ½ Tbps sesame oil
  • 2 Tbps rice vinegar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ Tbps chili garlic paste (optional, or cut back quantity to taste)
  1. Place meat-of-choice in a resealable plastic bag and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients and pour in to resealable bag containing your meat-of-choice.
  3. Marinate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. Pre-heat grill to medium high heat.
  5. Place your meat-of-choice on the grill and cook to recommended temp (have a meat thermometer handy).
  6. Let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.


black bean soup with sausage

Healthy, delicious, comforting, filling.  Not to mention, it’s one of the handful of days our temps have fallen below 60 degrees all winter.  Generally, we’ve hovered in the low 70s.  Not exactly soup weather.  So, as soon as I saw the forecast, I threw some black beans in the pot to soak !
Now, let’s get back to the healthy part. This recipe makes about 8 cups, or 6 main course servings.  The nutrition stats break out like this per serving: 178 cal, 4 g fat ( 1 g saturated fat), 24 mg cholesterol, 689 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 15 g protein. It’s low-fat, heart-healthy, and full of muscle-building protein.  It’s also pretty quick to put together and there’s even a slow-cooker option posted beneath the recipe.
I serve it with some hunks of hearty, crusty bread, and it’s a wonderfully satisfying meal.  Make this a day ahead, if you can, and let the flavors blend overnight. Like a lot of soups, stews, etc., it tastes even better the next day.  Enjoy!
1 cup dry black beans
6 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
8 oz fully cooked smoked turkey sausage or Polish sausage, chopped
3 Tbsp dry sherry (optional)
Low-fat sour cream or shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
Snipped fresh parsley (optional)
1. Rinse beans. In a large saucepan or pot combine beans and the 6 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.
2.  In the same pan combine beans, chicken broth, the 2 cups water, onion, celery, garlic, coriander, salt, and ground red pepper. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
3.  Stir in sausage and, if desired, dry sherry. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more or until heated through. If desired, garnish with sour cream or shredded cheese and parsley. Makes about 8 cups (6 main dish servings).
Kitchen Notes: I used 1/8 tsp of ground red pepper and that was plenty for me.  There was definitely some heat, but not overpowering.  If you’re a fan of crock pot cooking, you can adapt the recipe this way:
Prepare as directed above in step one. In a 4 qt crock pot combine chicken broth, 2 cups water, onion, celery, coriander, garlic, salt, and ground red pepper.  Stir in beans.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.  Stir in sausage and dry sherry, if desired. Cover and cook on high-heat for about 30 minute more or until cooked through.

homemade granola

I love granola. Yet, I hate granola. I love it because it’s easy to grab a handful for a quick pick-me-up before heading to the gym, or toss it over yogurt for a little texture and crunch. I hate granola because it’s super calorie-dense and, even though it has a lot of really good ingredients, it has a lot of not so healthy ingredients, too; which means even though I want to stand over the bowl and eat serving after serving, I can’t. Well…at least I shouldn’t.
The dilemma is only compounded by the fact this recipe is super yummy and delicious. So use your best judgment. I take absolutely no responsibility if you are will-power challenged and consume the entire quantity in one day. Besides, if you pace yourself, you’ll get to enjoy this heavenly deliciousness a little longer.  Enjoy!
Homemade Granola
1/4 c unsalted butter
approx 1 tbsp canola oil
approx 1 tbsp honey
approx 1/2 tbsp vanilla
several generous shakes of cinnamon
1 1/2 c rolled oats (organic/gluten free)
1 1/2 c puffed brown rice cereal (I used Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice from Sprouts)
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sliced almonds
1/4 c sunflower seeds (husked, unsalted)
1/4 c flax seed
1 c dried cherries
1/2 c dried apricots, diced
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat and add next four ingredients,
    mixing well. Remove from heat and add the dried ingredients (holding back dried fruits), stirring until well combined.
  2. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking pan. Transfer combined ingredients into the baking pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 15
  3. Remove from oven and add dried fruit, stirring in evenly. Let cool/harden before eating – if you can wait, that is.

***Cook’s Notes: Like all good recipes, this one was sentto me in partially cryptic
measurements. You know how it is when you bake or create something in your
kitchen? It’s always, “Well, I just add it until I think I’ve added enough,” or,
“Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake.” So this recipe is simply my
approximate equivalents. Do what you will. It is granola, after all. There are
no hard and fast rules.

sweet corn and black bean salad

This salad is super easy to prepare and makes a really bright, festive addition to summer meals.  It combines sweet corn, black beans, juicy tomatoes and zesty cilantro, blended with a simple rice vinegar and lime dressing.  You can serve it with tortilla chips for dipping, but it works beautifully as a side dish, too.  Somewhere in a couple of cross-country moves, I lost my original recipe.  This one is adapted from a very similar recipe from Whole Foods.  Their recipe called for red bell pepper instead of tomato.  But, since we have a garden full of ripe tomatoes, I substituted them in and, honestly, think it’s better with the tomatoes.  Personal preference, though.  Use what you like.  Enjoy!

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Salad


  • 1 can sweet corn, rinsed and drained, or 2 cups fresh or frozen and thawed corn kernels

  •  1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

  •  2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

  •  1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  •  1 tablespoon lime juice

  •  1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  •  1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  •  1 can low sodium, organic black beans, rinsed and drained

  •  2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

  •  1/3 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped


Combine corn, beans and diced tomato.  Rinse minced onions in cold water to remove some of their sharp, acidic flavor; pat dry and add to corn, bean and tomato mixture.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper to make a dressing. Add beans, corn, onion and tomato and toss until just incorporated. Cover and chill for about 2 hours. Add cilantro and toss again before serving.

rice pudding

I don’t know what came over me when I re-discovered this recipe in my file.  It’s clearly a cold-weather comfort food, best served warm and steamy from the pan.  And the day I made it was one of those inching-toward-100° kind of days.  But I drink my coffee hot all year long – no iced-mochas for me.  So why not a cold-weather dessert in a warm-weather season? 

This recipe is time consuming, but really worth the effort.  The Arborio rice (typically used in risotto) gives the finished product a silky creaminess, but still maintains its form for a nice textural effect.  While there are lots of varieties of rice pudding; I spotted a yummy looking recipe with mashed pumpkin and cinnamon perfect for a harvest meal, this one is pretty traditional.  The cinnamon and vanilla have an almost savory quality, and the raisins add a burst of sweet.  It really was one of the most satisfying desserts I’ve tried in a while – perfect for any season.  Enjoy!

Rice Pudding


  • 2 c cooked Arborio rice (or other long-grain rice if you don’t have Arborio)
  • 3 1/2 c fat-free milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/4 c nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 c golden raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions for prepping rice:

  • Combine 1 cup of arborio rice and 1 1/2 cups of water (or broth) in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir rice continuously and reduce heat to medium until liquid is absorbed. Add 3 more cups of water 1 cup at a time. Make sure you stir until the water is absorbed each time. The entire process should take about 20 minutes.

Directions for combined ingredients:

  • Combine cooked rice, fat-free milk, sugar, nonfat dry milk, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer.  Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Place eggs in a medium bowl.  Gradually add half of rice mixture to eggs, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Return egg mixture to pan over medium-low heat; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat; stir in raisins and vanilla.
  • Spoon 1/2 cup pudding into each of 8 bowls.  Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon over each serving.


savory cheddar and onion biscuits

It’s a sad day when I’m standing in the dairy aisle contemplating Pillsbury biscuits of any variety.  First, I don’t make biscuits very often.  But when I do, I want them to be, well…more delicious than a generic Pillsbury blob of dough.  With all due respect to the cutie-patootie Pillsbury Dough Boy, of course.

Second, they’re generic and sort of lacking in maturity (not to mention the out-of-control fat content).  I mean, what serious dinner hostess flops out a bread basket full of Grands Biscuits to her Easter dinner guests?  Sure, the kids love  them, but there comes a time when even a biscuit has to grow up!

If you’re looking for a grown-up biscuit, this is it.  These were easy to throw together with mostly stock pantry items; the exception being the buttermilk, which I don’t always have on hand.  The cheddar and green onions were a perfect pairing – neither being overpowering – but adding just the right amount of savory goodness to the finished product.  They were absolutely delicious and I’ll definitely keep this recipe on hand to make again.  Enjoy!

Savory Cheddar and Onion Biscuits


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • Cooking spray


  1. Pre-heat oven to 450°.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  3.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Add cheese and onions; toss well. Add buttermilk and sour cream; stir just until moist.
  5. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until edges are brown. Remove biscuits from pan; cool on wire racks.

greek pizza

One of the pizzas we make at home most often is a stripped down Hawaiian pizza:  ham and pineapple.  It’s Kat’s favorite pizza, i.e., the only one she’ll eat.  But our adult palates often crave something more than ham and pineapple.  A friend made this pizza for us about four years ago, and it’s been my alternative pizza ever since.  This pie is heaping with healthy, flavorful and delicious ingredients.  It’s a chicken-veggie-nutty-tangy (the vinaigrette is fantastic)  sensory delight: a feast for the belly and the eyes, because it’s not only yummy, but drop dead gorgeous, too.
The original recipe calls for a pre-baked Boboli crust, but I use the frozen, unbaked pizza dough from Sprouts Farmers Market here in Scottsdale.  After thawing and rolling my dough, I pre-baked it for about 10 minutes.  Then I removed it from the oven, added the toppings, and finished baking per the recipe.  You could easily do this pizza on the grill, as well.  Enjoy!
Greek Pizza
  • 12-inch whole wheat Italian bread shell
  • 2 cups whole fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 8 ounces skinless chicken breast, cooked and sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts or pine nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed, or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed, or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
 Red Wine Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Place bread shell on a large baking sheet. Top with spinach, chicken, tomatoes, cheese, nuts, oregano, and rosemary. Drizzle with Red Wine Vinaigrette. Bake in a 400°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
Red Wine Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine vinegar and shallot. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in mustard. Add oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly until combined. Whisk in kosher salt and pepper. Use immediately or cover and chill for up to 3 days before using. If chilled, let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes; whisk before using.

mini frittatas with ham, artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes

I love a recipe that carries over from one day to the next; night to day, dinner to brunch.  For dinner Saturday night I’d stuffed some chicken breasts with a super delicious artichoke/sun-dried tomato/fontina cheese blend, then pan seared them and finished them in the oven.  But I had a lot of stuffing mixture left over and didn’t want to just throw it away.  I have enough food waste just trying to feed a five-year old.  So, after church on Sunday, I decided to use the rest of the filling in some sort of egg dish.  But, what?

Souffle?  Too much work.

Quiche?  Too fussy.

Frittata?  Just right.  It’s easy to throw together and bears creativity really well.  Because the eggs are whipped, they contain a  lot of air (unlike a Quiche or an omelet), which allows for a deep filling and a nice, fluffy result.   They can be started in a frying pan on the stove top and them finished in the oven, or under the broiler.  I chose to bake mine in a muffin tin for smaller, individual servings, which work nicely if you’re hosting a buffet-style brunch.

The finished product was really delicious; savory and satisfying without giving you that gut-busting, grease-laden, bacon-and-eggs-breakfast feeling.  You can always substitute in an Egg Beaters product to knock out the cholesterol and natural fat in whole eggs.  Enjoy!

Mini Frittatas with Ham, Artichokes and Sun-dried Tomatoes


  • Non-stick vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 6 or 7 large eggs (I eyeballed this given the amount of filling I knew I was working with)
  • 1/4 c low-fat milk
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced ham, chopped
  • 6 oz marinated artichokes, drained, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c grated Fontina cheese
  • 1/4 c (packed) drained, coarsely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray a muffin tin (12 cups) with non-stick spray. 
  3. Combine ham, artichokes, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and dried basil.  Mix well and set aside.
  4. Whisk eggs, milk, pepper, and salt in a large bowl to blend well. Stir in the ham/artichoke mixture until well combines. Fill prepared muffin cups almost to the top with the egg mixture. Bake until the egg mixture puffs and is just set in the center, about 20 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittatas from the muffin cups and serve immediately. 

You can find this, and lots of other yummy recipes, over at Tasty Tuesday.  Check it out!