Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

These days it seems like everyone is changing recipes to be whole wheat or whole grain. I am reading all these articles about grinding your own grains… sounds super hipster. No matter what flour you use, my pizza recipes end up with the same amount of calories. So I am not sure how much time should be spent making things “whole.” In theory there is a difference in the breakdown of whole grains versus super processed grains in our body. It seems logical that the more processed the grains are the faster the food turns into sugar. Whole grains may be more slow burning carbs. But this pizza crust just tastes fabulous. I’m not trying to lie to you and say that this pizza is healthier because its whole wheat. This recipe makes two larger pizzas that I sliced into 8 pieces. This comes out to be about 165 calories for 1/8th of the pizza. Whole wheat or white whole wheat flour can be used here. I prefer King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour in most recipes, it has the best flavor. You can obviously use this for any of the Bubbly Kitchen pizza recipes: Gruyere and Caramelized Onions, White Pizza, Breakfast Pizza, Spicy Kale Pizza.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

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Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Makes 2 x 12 inch pizzas

2½ cups whole wheat flour
2½ cups unbleached bread flour
2 cups lukewarm water
4½ tsp. instant yeast
1¾ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. honey

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours, water, yeast, salt olive oil, and honey. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Leave the mixer on for 6 minutes to knead the dough. Place 1 tsp olive oil in a large glass bowl and swirl around. Transfer dough to the bowl, turning once to coat in oil. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Rise for 1½-2 hours.

Gently punch the dough to deflate it. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into two pieces. Work each piece into a smooth ball. This I’d the step where I wrap one of the dough balls in plastic wrap and freeze it in a freezer bag. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough between two sheets if parchment sprayed with olive oil. Preheat oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone in place. Place your toppings on the crust and bake for 10 minutes.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats.

Lasagna with Turkey Sausage Bolognese

This has to be my absolute favorite freezer meal. The lasagna tastes just as good from the microwave weeks later after it is made. Not to mention it has just 508 calories per serving! This is a nearly impossible feat for any lasagna style dish. There is no sacrifice in flavor here either. I am typing this post while my bolognese simmers on the stove and it smells insanely good. It really is easy to make this delicious sauce. I am sure one day I will tackle making my own pasta noodles, but for now I use the oven ready lasagna. It works out beautifully if you do one simple trick. Soak the noodles in water for just 30 minutes prior to assembling the lasagna. Do not leave them soaking too long or they will get too soggy. If you are going to freeze this dish, you can freeze the entire pain. I recommend cooking the lasagna and packaging individual portions in plastic freezer bags or tupperware.

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Use spicy or regular italian turkey sausage in this depending on your preferences. I have had trouble finding the spicy sausage so I use regular and add crushed red pepper flakes. If the day of your dinner party is going to be busy, definitely make your bolognese and cheese mixture ahead of time and store them in the fridge. In these photographs from today I use two separate lasagna pans (so that one pan could be delivered to a friend). The directions below however are made for one large pan. You could use one 13×9 pan or two separate pans depending on what kind of pans you have. I almost always use dry white wine in the recipe. I have used red wine before when it was all I had. I don’t think there was much difference in flavor. I think dry white wine complements this dish well when serving. But something about bolognese begs for red wine. Serve this with McManis Pinot Noir, a reasonably priced pinot that does not disappoint.

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Lasagna with Turkey Sausage Bolognese
Serve 8

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups crushed tomatoes with purée (two 28 oz cans, not drained)
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 (15 oz) container part skim ricotta
4 cups grated 2% milk mozzarella cheese (2 x 8 oz packages)
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese (approx 4 oz)
16 no boil lasagna noodles
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add in the onions and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes, cook one minute. Mix in the turkey sausage. Sauté over medium heat until the sausage is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Add in the wine and boil for 1 minute. Mix in the crushed tomatoes, basil, and oregano. Bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a light simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, 3 cups mozzarella, 1 cup grated parmesan cheese. Season with a few turns of the pepper grinder. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready for assembly.

In a large bowl filled with hot water, soak the noodles for 30 minutes. Make sure to separate them a few times so they do not stick together.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1 cup of sauce over the bottom of your 13×9 inch pan. Arrange 4 noodles crosswise. Use your hands to spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Cover with 1 cup of sauce and then 4 more noodles. (I mash the cheese and sauce flat with the noodles as I go.) Repeat two more times. Spread any remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella.

Bake the lasagna uncovered for 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let stand for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Chicken Noodle Soup

This chicken noodle soup kept us warm during the snowstorm that destroyed the south. I personally did not abandon my car on the highway. Probably because it was just a midwest standard amount of snow and I was highly motivated by the two perfect chickens waiting in the fridge. According to some legit medical research, chicken noodle soup may actually have real effects on your immune system. It may even prevent infection with influenza. This soup is extremely good. The flavor in the broth is insane and inspires me to make homemade chicken broth the Bubbly Kitchen standard. The other great bonus is this recipe makes too much chicken! You don’t need to use all the chicken that you cook in the broth. If you make a double batch of this soup with two small chickens or six pounds chicken parts, you will have enough left over chicken for another meal. See Cheesy Chicken and Rice or Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas.

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I just made a double batch of this in preparation for being too busy to cook next month, and we already ate most of it… oops. My sous chef also may have eaten most of the extra chicken while it was sitting on the counter waiting to be put away. If you want to decrease the calories in this soup, use only three ounces of noodles. These egg noodles cooked in the chicken broth are pretty amazing though. You can also refrigerate the broth prior to making the soup. This will allow you to skim the fat off, decreasing the calories. But as prepared below, this has 400 calories in 12 ounces. You can use whatever chicken parts you want for this soup. It is sometimes cheaper to buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself. But if you are not into chicken surgery, you can usually ask your grocery store butcher to cut the chicken up for you.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 lb chicken, cut into parts
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup diced carrot
2/3 cup diced celery
4 ounces dried egg noodles

Over medium-high, heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy pot. Add in the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Brown the chicken in this pot. Work in batches so that the chicken pieces get good contact with the bottom. Cook for 10 minutes, turning to brown on each side.

Pour in the water, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper. Bring this to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer the broth for 20 minutes, partially covered. Use a spoon or strainer to skim the unwanted stuff that surfaces to the top of the soup.

Remove chicken to a plate. Over a large bowl or super sized measuring cup, pour the soup through a fine strainer.

Use a paper towel to wipe out the pot. Return broth to pot and bring to a simmer.

Add the diced vegetables and cook for 5 minutes. Add the dried egg noodles and cook for 8 minutes (or whatever your package says). While cooking the noodles, prepare the chicken for the soup. Remove the skin from a few pieces of chicken. Using your hands or a knife, chop into bite sized pieces. (I use the breasts and wings for my soup usually and save the leg and thigh meat for casseroles.)

When the noodles and vegetables are cooked, add the chicken back in. Cook until heated through.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Espresso Shortbread Brownie Bars

It is impossible to believe January is over and we are well into 2014. I have been cooking like crazy in preparation for next month. I will be working super long hours with only four days off. So I am stocking the freezer with lunches and dinners. Freezer recipes coming soon to the blog! I made these brownie bars on a whim. I was running out of time before a girl’s night dinner party. I was kind of skeptical while preparing them but they are amazing! I think all the dinner guests loved them as well. I would take their opinions with a grain of salt considering I took out a trash bag of 7 empty wine bottles the next morning.

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In other news we still have not bought any bread in 2014. I feel very accomplished considering it has been over a month of home bread baking. I have been perfecting the recipe and will post my current go-to white bread recipe soon. It really is an interesting chemistry experiment baking bread every week. Bubbly Kitchen is also very excited to announce that we are providing cupcakes and other desserts in Eastern North Carolina for weddings, showers, parties, and any other occasions. Please see the events page for further details.

Anyway, here are the delish espresso shortbread brownie bars. We drank red wine with these and it was a perfect compliment. This rich dessert could be complemented by a dry red or sparkling wine. It is very important to stock your wine fridge in a strategic way. You should have bottles specifically for week night dinners, special occasions, dinner parties, and more rowdy parties. Although it is kind of ordinary, I like to have Ménage à Trois Folie à Deux on hand for parties. It is such a drinkable wine that everyone enjoys. It is also inexpensive, which is great when your dinner guests carouse late into the night.

Espresso Shortbread Brownie Bars

Shortbread Crust
10 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp finely ground espresso beans
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Brownie Topping
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
14 tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter with the flour, sugar, ground espresso and salt. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. Press the crumbs into a 9×13 inch baking pan. Freeze for 10 minutes until form and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned.

Whisk together the flour and cocoa, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Melt the butter with the chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla, then stir in the eggs. Add in the dry ingredients, stir until smooth.

Pour the brownie batter over the baked crust. Smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes. The brownie is done when it is dry to touch and lightly cracked around the edges. Let cool before cutting.

Adapted from Food and Wine magazine.

Dinner Rolls

If we are baking all our own bread in 2014, surely we are making our own dinner rolls. There are few things more comforting than a freshly baked dinner roll. And these are just so delicious and easy! They are a fabulous addition to all of the winter soups and stews. See here and here. You can also make these ahead of time until the 3rd step (forming the dough into rolls) and store them in the fridge or freezer. To freeze, place the formed rolls on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Place this in the freezer. Once solid, transfer the rolls to a freezer bag. When you are ready to serve them, remove them from the freezer and place in a greased baking pan. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove them one hour prior to baking and allow them to sit at room temperature.

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Dinner Rolls

Makes 12

1 tbsp active-dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk (2% or skim)
1 large egg
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp butter

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast in warm water. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt. Mix this into the yeast mixture. Add in the flour until a dough forms.

Knead by turning the mixer onto low speed for 8 minutes. Cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for approximately 1 hour. The dough should double in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly dusted work surface. Divide the dough into twelve pieces, Shape the dough into rolls by rolling between your hand and the counter.

Grease a 9×13 inch pan with butter. Place the rolls in the pan leaving some space between. Allow to rise for 30 more minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and melt the 1 tbsp butter. Brush the rolls with the melted butter. Bake for 16 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden.