Thursday, May 30, 2013

Italian Meat Pretzel Pockets

The other night I had a pound of ground beef thawed and no idea what to make with it... somehow I became inspired with this recipe and it's a winner!!! If you didn't want to make the pretzel dough you could still use the meat and cheese and put it in a hamburger bun and have Italian Sloppy Joes... YUMM! 
 Meat Sauce
1 pound ground beef- you could use ground turkey here.
1/2 onion, chopped fine ( green bell pepper chopped would be good too, I didn't have one)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp basil- I used dried, it was all I had
1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Provolone cheese slices
grated Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan Cheese 

Brown your meat in a large skillet and drain the fat. Add in onion & garlic and season with salt & pepper and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and all the seasonings except balsamic. Simmer on low for about 8-10 minutes and taste  for seasoning, I add more salt & pepper to the sauce too. Season in layers!! Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and set meat aside.  

Pretzel Dough
This is the same dough I use for my soft pretzel recipe, I made 5 meat pockets and then ended up making 2 soft pretzels with my leftover dough. You could make smaller pockets and get about 10 serving or about 6-7 bigger ones. It's up to you! 
2 ¼ tsp yeast

1 ¼ cups warm water

Pinch of sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

3 1/2 cups flour

1 cup water

1 tbsp baking soda

Course salt (optional)

2 tbsp butter, melted (optional)

     In small bowl combine yeast & warm water w/a pinch of sugar

     Let stand for about 5 min while you prepare next step

    In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, 2 cups flour, and yeast mixture. (when its ready)

     Then stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough

    Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead for about 3 min

    Cover and let rest for 20 min
     Cut dough evenly into 7 pieces.
     With a rolling pin roll out each piece about 6x6 in circle and place 1 slice of provolone in the center of dough then add cooked meat in the center, careful not to add too much so you can still wrap it up. Top the meat with other cheeses. Carefully wrap the meat and cheese by folding the edges of the dough to the center.

    In shallow bowl mix 1 tbsp baking soda w/1 cup water

                      Dip each finished pretzel in water quickly, shaking off excess (this is what gives it a real pretzel flavor!)

  Place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle w/ extra Parmesan Cheese and

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 min or till golden brown. 
ENJOY my friends!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake

When I think of Summer desserts I think of sweet Strawberry Shortcakes!! This recipe is easy and fast to whip up. And aren't they so charming??
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp butter
1 egg
1 cup heavy cream
Strawberry Sauce-
4 cups fresh sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar- use more or less depending on sweetness of strawberries.
zest of 1 lemon
juice of half a lemon- about 2 tbsp
1 tbsp cornstarch
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, & baking powder in a large mixing bowl. cut in butter sill crumbly. Stir in heavy cream & egg. Continue mixing till a dough forms and roll out onto a floured surface about 3/4 in thick and cut into 6 pieces using a 3 inch round cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Meanwhile in a medium sauce pan combine ingredients for the strawberry sauce over med low heat. Stir to coat the strawberries and cook until thickened and a sauce forms, about 8 minutes. Once shortcakes have cooled slice in half and top bottom half with strawberry sauce and fresh whipped cream then top with the top half of shortcake. Top with more whip cream and dust with powdered sugar. Sensationally sweet!!!