Judging from the rain we had over the weekend from Hermine, I should have written about the hot, dry weather months ago. Other than a few limbs to pick up now, we faired well here on the farm, as I also hope that you did also.
With Labor Day behind me, I am truly getting into the “autumn” mind frame. As I mentioned last week, I am tired of the hot, the dry, the mowing, and the bugs. I thought I would take us into fall a little early with recipes for these wonderful meatballs with marinara sauce.
These recipes are simple and delicious, and great served on zoodles or pasta. My cousin, Robin, recently shared this scrumptious meatball recipe with me. I doubled the recipe, thinking I would have plenty of leftovers but my crowd ate every last one of them. The marinara sauce is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe from one of her older cookbooks, Everyday Italian, and I’ve been making it for years. It is literally so good I could eat it like soup.
Complete your meal with a tossed salad and garlic bread for a fabulous meal to serve any day of the week.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ½ lb. ground pork
- ¾ c. bread crumbs
- ½ c. grated Romano cheese
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
- 1½ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 egg
- In a large bowl, mix ground beef, egg, and bread crumbs. Add cheese, parsley, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to your taste if desired.
- Roll into balls and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes or until no longer pink.
- Serve over pasta with marinara sauce.
- ½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 2 (32-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 dried bay leaves
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and garlic, and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.
Before moving to the farm, pizza delivery was a weekly affair. However, delivery does not happen in the middle of the country! I had played around with pizza crust in the past. Mostly to get the kids involved by topping and baking their individual pizzas. I’ve tried many recipes over the past few years. Some have been really good, but I have never tried a recipe that when I knew my search was over until this crust.
This recipe is almost as simple and picking up the phone to order a pizza, but the flavor is much better! (The fruiter the olive oil the better the flavor.) No kidding, it takes just a matter of minutes to mix up this dough using my heavy-duty Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook. Allow the dough to rise for two hours. Then you are ready to prepare your homemade pizza or refrigerate the dough to use over the next 12 days. You will get about three 10-inch pizzas from this dough.
Most recipes will recommend a pizza stone. I have used stones and pans, and I prefer a large, heavy-gauge baking sheet with sides. The sides will keep the oil from dripping in the oven, and a heavy-gauge pan holds enough heat to brown and crisp the crust nicely. This crust also doubles as a nice focaccia bread! (Recipe below, no picture of the focaccia, sorry!)
Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 425 °F. Prepare this simple, no-cook sauce and measure and prepare all of your toppings in advance. Remove from the pan immediately and serve.
Olive Oil Dough for Homemade Pizza
- 2¾ c. lukewarm water
- 1½ tbsp. granulated yeast (2 packets)
- 1½ tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
- 6½ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
- Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 12-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook). If you're not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
- Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
- The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 12 days.
- To prepare the pizza: Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 425°F (or you could go up to 550°F).
- Prepare and measure all of the toppings, set aside.
- Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a grapefruit-size piece. Dust the piece with flour and quickly shape it not a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
- Flatten the dough with your hands and a rolling pin on a flour dusted wooden board to begin flattening. Once you gave flattened it to about 1-inch thick move to your pan and continue to flatter and shape with your fingertips. You may need to allow the rolled dough to relax for a few minutes to allow further shaping.
- Top with a small amount of sauce and spread, leaving ½-inch to 1-inch pizza sauce. Top with mozzarella and toppings of your choice.
- Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the temperature used. Remove from oven when the pizza is evenly browned and cheese has melted.
- NOTES: You c
You can mix and store the dough in the same container if you prefer. You need a large food-grade container that holds about five quarts. If you double the recipe you will need a container that holds at least ten quarts. Sam's Club has a few good options. I have punched a hole in the lid of mine and use it specifically for my dough.
Pizza Sauce for Homemade Pizza
- 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 (6-oz.) cans tomato paste
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Store in refrigerator.
If you prefer a completely smooth consistency you pour the mixture into a blender and pulse several times.
Can be frozen.
- Suggested toppings:
- Onions and fresh rosemary
- Cherry tomatoes, halved with chopped fresh basil.
- Black olives and goat cheese.
- Grease a baking sheet with a rim with olive oil, set aside. Preheat oven to 425°F, with an empty broiler pan on any shelf that won't interfere with the focaccia.
- Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
- Flatter it to a ½-inch to ¾-inch thick using your fingertips with a minimal amount of additional flour. Please the dough on the greased baking sheet.
- Top dough with your desired toppings. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. You do not want to cover the whole surface with toppings or oil. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Allow the focaccia to rest and rise for 20 minutes.
- After the focaccia has rested, place the cookie sheet on a rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into a broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is medium brown. Be careful not to burn the toppings. The baking time will vary according to the focaccia's thickness.
- Cut into wedges and serve warm.
There are a few recipes that I love making because not only are they delicious, but they are super easy. This taco soup just happens to be one of those recipes. I typically have most of the ingredients for this soup in my pantry at any given time. This soup comes together quickly and my family loves it. My cousin, Nancy, gave me this recipe years ago. In fact, I have been making this since my kids were small.
Get creative with your toppings. A few favorites are sour cream, shredded Cheddar cheese, black olives, jalapeños, or my favorite topping combo…avocado, lime juice and chopped cilantro.
- 1 to 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 lb. ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 (1-oz.) envelope taco seasoning mix
- 1 (1-oz.) envelope Ranch seasoning mix
- 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 to 2 c. water (see note)
- 1 (10-oz.) Rotel tomatoes
- 2 cans Mexicorn
- 1 (16-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (16-oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-oz.) hominy, drained
- chili powder, to taste (I usually use 1 tbsp.)
- Shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and Doritos, to serve
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add ground beef, onions, and green peppers. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain well.
- Add taco seasoning, Ranch seasoning, tomatoes, water, Rotel, corn, black beans, pinto beans, hominy, and chili powder. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and continue cooking 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve with cheese, sour cream and Doritos.
Adjust water to your preference, add less or more.