07.29.12_Homemade Perogies

I had two plans for the day on Sunday: 1) Stay home and watch the Olympics all day and 2) Make homemade perogies. I randomly had a craving for them last week and decided to find a recipe for them. Since I was making everything from scratch I thought it would make a great weekend activity so I would have plenty of time to make them.

I started by whisking together flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, I combined all the wet ingredients (eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, butter and oil). Next, the wet and dry ingredients were mixed together until all the flour had been incorporated. I then set the dough aside, covered with a towel.

As the dough sat, I brought a large pot of water to a boil before dropping in 8 peeled and dice potatoes. Once the potatoes were tender (about 15 minutes) I drained them, then Phillip mashed the potatoes with 1 cup of cheddar cheese and 2 TBSP of Cheez Wiz. I'm not sure why the Cheez Wiz was necessary. If I were to make these again I would just up the amount of real cheese and omit the processed.

Next came assembling the perogies. I cut the dough in half and rolled it out on the counter which I had lightly floured until it was about 1/8-1/4" thick. I do not own cookie cutters so I used a mason jar lid to cut out the circles of dough. I scooped about a TBSP or so of the potato mixture onto each dough circle then used a basting brush to rim each circle with water. To form the perogies, I folded the dough in half, then pinched the edges closed with my fingers. Finally I reformed the perogies into a nice crescent moon shape and smoothed out the edges that I had pinched shut. I placed the perogies onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper before popping them into the freezer for a few hours.

Once we were ready to eat that night, I brought a large pot of water to a boil before dropping in 10 of the perogies. The perogies cooked for about 6-8 minutes before the floated to the top of the water which is how you know they are ready. To get some extra color and crunch, I heated a combination of oil and butter in a large skillet. After the perogies were done cooking in the boiling water, I transferred them to the skillet and cooked them for a few minutes on each side until they were nice and golden.  Then it was time to eat! I served the perogies with the Lightlife's Italian-Style sausages with caramelized onions we had tried when we first started the blog. The perogies were incredibly delicious and much better than any frozen brand I have tried. They took some effort but were well worth it. The recipe made about 40 perogies (half of them are in our freezer for another time) and would be great with any kind of filling you want! Our friend Meghan came over for dinner and even though she's not a vegetarian really enjoyed the Lightlife sausages too!

07.17.12_Pizza Hut Breadsticks and Zucchini Sweet Corn Pizza

I'll be honest. Pizza Hut was never my favorite pizza chain. I preferred Domino's or Papa John's (who doesn't love that garlic dipping sauce) but I loved Pizza Hut as a kid for two reasons: 1) Book It: Pizza Hut's Reading Incentive Program and 2) their breadsticks. Lucky for me, Pizza Hut's have popped up in convenient locations, such as Target and in one of the UVa dining halls, where you can buy just an order of breadsticks. I had planned on making this Zucchini Sweet Corn pizza for dinner some time this week already when I came across a recipe for Pizza Hut style breadsticks. I knew immediately what I would be having for dinner that night. The only thing I had to buy was a can of tomato sauce and Italian seasoning!

These breadsticks were amazing. As you know, I don't have a stand mixer so I made the dough by hand and they still came out great. Thank you US Masala for this amazing recipe. I will definitely be making these on a fairly regular basis and will never have to make a trip to Target just for some overcooked breadsticks sitting under a heat lamp again! The Sweet Corn and Zucchini pizza was incredibly easy and a yummy alternative to the typical pizza. It was certainly lighter and paired quite nicely with our Pizza Hut breadsticks!

Pizza Hut Style Breadsticks
Makes 10-12
From US Masala 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 2 TBSP melted butter
  • 3/4 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
 For the Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 TBSP Parmesan powdered cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
For the Dipping Sauce
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
1. Mix the yeast, sugar, warm water and milk in a large bowl. Let it stand for 3-4 minutes then add salt, butter, and garlic powder.
2. Slowly add the flour a little at a time until it is all incorporated. If the dough seems a bit sticky, add a little bit more flour. Knead the dough for about 6 minutes.
3. Pour the oil onto a 9x13 pan and spread it out evenly. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about the same size as the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan. I used my hands at this point to squish the dough so that it would be exactly the same size as the pan. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise for about an hour in a warm spot.
4. For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pot and let it simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or so.
5. Preheat the oven to 450°. Once the dough has risen, cut it into 10-12 breadsticks with a pizza cutter or a knife. Brush the dough with some olive oil then sprinkle all of the seasoning ingredients over the top.
6. Bake the breadsticks for about 15 minutes until the they are golden brown and the edges are nice and crusty! Serve fresh out the oven and revel in the fact that you just made Pizza Hut Breadsticks at home.

07.14.12_Warm Toast with Honey Butter and Sea Salt

Ok so this post is probably unnecessary but I feel a need to share this new obsession of ours with the world. For my birthday we went to Estadio, a local Spanish tapas restaurant for brunch. One of the options was Warm Toast with Local Honey Butter & Sea Salt. It was honestly one of the best things I have ever eaten for brunch. So simple, yet ridiculously delicious. I have been raving about this to our friends ever since and decided that I needed to recreate this at home. It is just as easy as you would imagine. I soften half a stick of butter then use my hand mixer to mix in 1-1.5 TBSP honey into the butter. I then let the butter reset for a few minutes in the fridge or the freezer (depending on how much of a rush I'm in) and then serve the butter with toast made out of good, crusty bread, and sprinkle the top with coarse sea salt. So. Good. We have now made this 3-4 times and served it the other weekend when my old roommate Liz and our friend Christina came over for brunch. Even with quiche, fruit, and mimosas on the table, the toast with honey butter and sea salt was still by far my favorite thing. 

Toast with Honey Butter and Sea Salt
Serves 4-6

  • 1/2 a stick butter
  • 1-1.5 TBSP Honey
  • Coarse sea salt
1. Soften the butter by letting it sit out or by popping it into the microwave for about 20 seconds.
2. Add the honey and use a hand mixer to get the honey completely incorporated into the butter.
3. Put the honey butter into the fridge or freezer to reset while you make the toast.
4. Spread the butter onto the hot toast and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Become addicted.

07.11.12_Veggie Tales Pad Thai

I have been making this dish since my second year of college. Now that I think about it, I think I have made this dish more than anything else actually. I call it "Pad Thai" because it was what I was attempting to make in the quickest and easiest way at the time but Thai Peanut-Buttery noodles may be more appropriate. Over the years the recipe has changed a little, and depending on my mood I included different things, but overall the basics have stayed the same. Noodles, a peanut butter-based sauce, and a protein. I got the inspiration after watching an episode of a cooking show on Food Network (I can't even remember which one now as its been too long) and then combined several different recipes, eventually ending up with my own. This dish has always been one of my "go-to" meals when I need something super quick and incredibly easy but still delicious and fresh. Because of our new-found love for seitan (we have now used it 3 times in the past 2 weeks, see CPK Copycat BBQ Chik'n Chopped Salad), we decided to use it in my Pad Thai. In my opinion seitan has an Asian undertone (at least the brand we buy) so I thought it worked incredibly well in this dish. The recipe can be made vegan using the right kind of noodles and omitting the egg.

Veggie Tales "Pad Thai"
Serves 2-3
  • 1 box of Pad Thai noodles (Fettuccine also works)
  • 1 box of seitan or any protein you want
  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • 2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP warm water
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Optional ingredients and garnishes:
  • 1/2 cup crushed peanuts
  • 1 egg
  • handful of mung bean sprouts
  • shredded carrots
1. Combine the tamari, rice wine vinegar, water and red chili flakes in a medium size bowl. Marinate the seitan in the mixture for 30mins to an hour.
2. Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles according to package. Pad Thai noodles typically take 4-5 minutes.
3. Remove seitan from sauce with a slotted spoon and cook in a small skillet over medium-high heat, until seitan is warm all the way through. Do not get rid of the sauce as you will be using it to dress the noodles later. 
4. If you are using egg, mix it in a bowl before cook it in the same pan.
5. Whisk the peanut butter into the tamari, rice wine vinegar, and water mixture until the peanut butter has broken down and formed a sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, feel free to add more tamari or water.
6. Drain the noodles and combine them with the sauce and seitan. Toss in the cilantro, saving a little bit for garnish.
7. Add any of the additional toppings and enjoy. Serve with a side of steamed edamame!