Homemade Pizza Dough

My brother Steven lived in Rome, Italy, for two years and is quite the snob when it comes to pizza. He even built himself his own pizza oven so he could make the perfect pie anytime he wanted. He has a phenomenal pizza dough recipe, one where he doesn’t measure anything. I finally got him to nail down some measurements, and I’m including his dough recipe below.

When he makes a pizza, he buys sauce made from crushed tomatoes and salt, spreads it on the dough, and tops it with fresh mozzerella, olives, artichoke hearts, fresh basil and red peppers. You could experiment with any combination you wanted to, though. Check out his homemade pizza oven, and his dough recipe.

Steven’s Homemade Italian Pizza Dough

8 cups flour

50 grams fresh yeast (available at the Provo Bakery)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup plus 2-3 cups hot water

Fill stand mixer with flour and salt. Mix with bread dough hook. In separate bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 cup hot (just hotter than lukewarm) water.  Stir until yeast begins to foam. Add yeast to flour and salt mixture, then add 2 cups of hot water. Mix for one minute. Dough should not stick to the sides, but should still stick to the bottom. If needed, add more water, ¼ cup at a time. When mixture reaches desired consistency (a bit thicker than cookie dough), stir for 8 minutes. Put in bowl and let it double in size (this takes about 30 minutes), then smash it back down. Let it double in size again, then smash back down. You can use dough immediately, or refrigerate. If you refrigerate dough, let it rise to room temperature before shaping into pizza pies.

Corn Salsa

Summer is my favorite season, and I love light recipes that use fresh vegetables. I’ve been making this corn salsa for more than a decade — it’s the perfect dish to bring to a potluck or barbecue. (It’s one of the recipes that appears in our book, “Happy Homemaking.”)

Corn Salsa

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

½ bunch of cilantro

2 large tomatoes

3 avocados

1 can of corn, drained

2 tablespoons of lime juice

1 package Good Seasons Zesty Italian salad dressing

¼ cup vinegar

3 tablespoons water

½ cup vegetable oil

Wash and chop cilantro into small pieces. Wash and chop tomatoes into small pieces, about 1-inch thick. Chop avocados to same size. Combine corn, black beans, cilantro, avocado, lime juice and tomatoes. Prepare Good Seasons Italian dressing according to directions on box, using vinegar, water and oil. Fold into other ingredients. Refrigerate before serving.

— Adapted from a recipe by my friend Michelle Watabe, of Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Monsteroni and Cheese Cups

In In my never-ending quest to find things my children will eat, I started baking macaroni and cheese in cupcake cups to make individual servings. I call them Monsteroni and Cheese Cups, after a meal served in the children’s book “Monsters on Machines.”

The recipe is from my sister-in-law Heather and is easy:

Monsteroni and Cheese Cups

1 (16-ounce) package of rotini noodles

2 cups montery jack cheese

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil noodles until they are al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside. In large bowl, combine eggs and monterey jack cheese. Add in noodles and mix well. If it seems like it needs more cheese, add more, 1/4 cup at a time. Spray cooking spray into cupcake pan. Spoon cheese-and-noodle mixture into pan. Sprinkle tops with paremsan cheese. Cook 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

I’m obsessed with anything that can be made in a slow cooker, so I adapted this recipe using a rump roast from one I found on Pinterest. (The original version is on the blog cookingclassy.blogspot.com.) I like that this recipe uses consomme, and I love how easy, tender and flavorful the beef turns out to be.

Shredded Beef:

1 (2 pound) rump roast

¼ cup water

1 (14-ounce) can consommé

1 tablespoon chili powder

½ tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon of salt

1 dash cracked black pepper

Combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Grease slow cooker (or use liners), then add roast, consommé, water and lime juice. Rub seasoning over roast and cook on low heat 8-10 hours. Before serving, let meat rest, then shred and return to slow cooker.

Serve beef on small flour tortillas with lettuce, pico de gallo, cheese, guacamole and sour cream.

– Elyssa Andrus