Cheeseburger Buns

My mom called me last week and tried to order a pizza for delivery. She says it’s not fair to post all these recipes and pictures and she doesn’t get to eat any. So this weekend I decided I would make dinner for my family, and talked my sister Jamie into helping. We decided to make these Cheeseburger Buns I found in a Taste of Home magazine, with a few minor changes.  It seemed like it would be a fun one to make with kids, and the taste is very kid friendly too. My sister enjoyed kneading the dough, though it was pretty sticky business at first! She also had fun rolling out the dough and pinching it together over the fillings.

1 pkg rapid rise yeast
1/3 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 pound Velveeta Cheese, cubed
salt and pepper to taste
1 to 2 tbsp butter, melted

Makes about 1 dozen

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, shortening, egg, salt and 1 1/2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, onion, salt and pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add cheese; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from the heat.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into a rectangle about 12-in. x 8-in.; cut each into six squares. Place 1/4 cup meat mixture in the center of each square. Bring corners together in the center and pinch to seal.
Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with butter. Serve warm with your favorite cheeseburger toppings.

I was impressed with the flavor and texture of the bun, it was nice and soft just like a hamburger bun. Since we used the rapid rise yeast the dough was ready by the time the filling was cooked. The filling was pretty simple and definately hit the spot for a cheeseburger craving.

My mom called and said she thought these would be good to try with sloppy joe filling.  I think that she means I should come over there and try it!

– Jodi

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I’ve been making homemade pizza lately because it’s one of the things I’ve been craving, but it’s much healthier to make it myself. I’ve been playing with different dough recipes and so far this one’s my favorite.
It makes a thin crust that is crisp on the outside, but still has some chewy on the inside. The whole wheat flour gives the dough more flavor than a white pizza dough.  It uses a quick rise yeast, so I can pull it together last minute. But if you like, you can make the dough ahead and store in a plastic bag coated with cooking spray in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2-2/3 cup hot water (120-130°F)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
(Makes 12 oz of dough)

Combine flours, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor or stand mixer; mix to combine. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the mixer running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be pretty soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if it’s too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Mix until the dough forms a ball, then mix for 1 minute to knead.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.

Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack; preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting. Roll (about a 13-inch circle) and top the pizza as desired and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 to 14 minutes.

I’ve also been playing with different toppings. My new favorite thing to put on my pizza is caramelized onion. Regular chopped onion is good too, but that extra sweetness and tenderness they get when you brown them first just makes it so much better! For this one I put:
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 sliced tomato
a handful of fresh chopped basil
1 thinly sliced onion sauteed with
2 cloves garlic
1/3 small can of black olives
fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
shredded parmesan cheese

Now that I found a dough that I like I think I will have to play with it a bit, maybe add some herbs or garlic to the crust. And of course try some different toppings! What do you like on your pizza?

– Jodi

Spaghetti Squash

I’m not usually a squash person, but I am willing to try new things. A friend of mine, who happens to be a picky eater, told me that she had tried spaghetti squash and liked it. If she liked it, I figured there was a good chance I would too. Knowing that it’s healthier than regular pasta, and pasta is one of my weaknesses, I had to try it. So last time I was at the grocery store I picked up a spaghetti squash. I warned Scott I was going to make it one of these days and he seemed reluctant but said he’d give it a try.

I decided to make it with a traditional spaghetti meat sauce, and had some regular old spaghetti noodles on standby just in case. We were both very pleasantly surprised. I was worried about the texture being too slimy, but it wasn’t. These “noodles” had a bit more bite than regular pasta, and tasted a bit sweet. That was Scott’s favorite part, he really liked the slightly sweet flavor with the traditional spaghetti sauce. It was easy to prepare, I cooked it in the microwave but it can also be baked in the oven. I followed this easy how to video

Even though I was a little hesitant
to try this, I’m so glad I did. I will
definitely make this again, I’d like
to try it with some different
sauces. And next time I know I
won’t need to have the pasta on
standby! 🙂

– Jodi