Filed In: food

Upside-Down Pizza Casserole

One of the best things about my new job is the stacks and stacks of free magazines that I can take home. Right now I have two huge stacks that I still need to go through. A few days ago I finally looked through one of Better Homes & Gardens special interest magazines, Ultimate Casseroles (these are the magazines you always see up by the check-out lanes in stores). I tore out almost every recipe because they all looked so good. The first one we tried was the Upside-Down Pizza Casserole – and it was so yummy!! Since it was so good I figured I had to share it. Enjoy!

Upside-Down Pizza Casserole
Prep: 30 minutes             Bake: 30 minutes              Stand: 30 minutes

1   tablespoon olive oil
½  cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2   yellow, red, and/or green sweet peppers, cut into thin strips
1   medium zucchini (8 ounces), halved lengthwise and sliced
2   cloves garlic, minced
2   14.5-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
5   cooked chicken sausages (about 12 ounces total), halved lengthwise and sliced
1   teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning, crushed
½  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon ground black pepper
1   13.8-ounce package refrigerated pizza dough
¼  cup grated Parmesan cheese
2   cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
snipped fresh rosemary (optional, we chose not to include it)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sweet peppers; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and garlic; cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

2. Add tomatoes, sausages, half of the Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper to mixture in skillet. Bring to boiling; boil gently, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

3. Meanwhile, unroll the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a knife or pastry wheel, cut pizza dough into strips.

4. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese. Spoon tomato mixture into prepared dish. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Arrange pizza dough strips on top of casserole in a lattice pattern. Sprinkle with remaining Italian seasoning. Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until crust is brown and filling is bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. If desired, top with snipped fresh rosemary. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 323 calories, 15 g fat (6 g sat. fat), 54 mg chol., 806 mg sodium, 29 g carb., 3 g fiber, 21 g pro.
Recipe c/o Ultimate Casseroles, a Better Homes & Gardens special interest magazine

Chocolate Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing

These are actually Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing. A-mazing.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes (recipe from this cookbook)
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup lukewarm water
¼ cup buttermilk

1. Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350˚F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners. (I used a mini cupcake baking sheet with mini liners.)

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl.

3. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter together until light and fluffy. 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

4. Add the flour mixtures in 3 additions, alternating with the water and buttermilk, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on medium-high speed just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.

5. Divide the better evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18-20 minutes for regular cupcakes or 10-12 minutes for mini-cupcakes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan or on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely (about 1 hour).

6. Ice the cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream icing.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing (recipe by me!)
2 sticks unsalted butter
½ of a 1lb bag of powdered sugar (about 2-3 cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup peanut butter

1. Combine unsalted butter and powdered sugar in a bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until mixed together. (I usually guess on the amount of powdered sugar. You don’t want it to taste too-buttery so use your judgement on how much powdered sugar to add.)

2. Add the vanilla extract and beat on medium-high for 30 seconds. Finally, add the peanut butter to the icing and beat on medium high for 1 minute.

3. Put the icing in the fridge until the cupcakes are ready to be iced. Remove 5-10 minutes before icing so the consistency isn’t too hard.


I ♥ Pretzels

I cannot wait to make these! I found the recipe on one of my favorite blog’s, elephantine. Check out the recipe and how-to video here.

Sunday Funday Cooking

Evan and I had a fun day of cooking on Sunday after watching the US Women’s Soccer Team kick Brazil’s bootay! It was a great game for those of you that missed it. Be sure to watch them on Wednesday (11am CST) as they take on France in the semi-finals. Go USA!

We decided to make Beer Can Chicken (which I like to call Beer “Butt” Chicken for obvious reasons) from this cookbook, and Beer Soaked French Fries using this recipe. Everything turned out great even though we had a major hiccup with the fries. Luckily we were able to salvage most of them. Lesson learned: parchment paper is not the same thing as wax paper and will definitely burn/catch fire. Especially if you leave too much paper over the sides. Oops!

Beer Can/Butt Chicken
prep: 30 minutes    grill: 1 ¼ hours   stand: 10 minutes   makes: 4 to 6 servings

2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 12-ounce can beer (we used Budweiser)
1 3½ to 4-pound whole broiler-free chicken
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 lemon wedge

1. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, salt, dry mustard, pepper, thyme, and garlic powder. Drink or pour about half of the beer from the can. Add 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture to the half-empty can (beer will foam up).

2. Remove neck and giblets from the chicken. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the spice rub inside the body cavity. Rub the outside of the chicken with butter and sprinkle on the remaining spice rub.

Evan rubbing on the spices. Starting to get messy.

After the rub…very messy hands.

3. Hold the chicken upright with the opening of the body cavity at the bottom, and lower it onto the beer can so that can fits into the cavity. Pull the chicken legs forward so the bird rests on its legs and the can. Twist wing tips back behind. Stuff the lemon wedge in the neck cavity to seal in steam.

Ready to go on the grill.

4. For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect grilling. If necessary, remove upper grill racks so chicken will stand upright. Cover and grill for 1¼  to 1¾ hours or until chicken is no longer pink (180˚F in thigh muscle). If necessary, place a tent of foil over chicken to prevent overbrowning. (For charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium hear about pan. Stand chicken upright on grill rack bove drip pan. Cover and grill as directed above.) Remove chicken from grill, holding by the can. Cover with fowl; let stand for 10 minutes. Use a hot pad to grasp the can and heavy tongs to carefully remove the chicken.

And here she is all cooked and ready to eat. Notice we used a pan to easily take the chicken outside to the grill and then back upstairs to slice her up! Boy was she yummmyyyyy!


Beer Soaked French Fries (from The Edible Perspective)
prep: 30-40 minutes    bake: 40 minutes to 1 hour  cool: 3 minutes   makes: about 4 servings

1 bottle Breckenridge Summerbright Ale beer (or similar)
3 russet potatoes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat over to 425˚.

2. Scrub potatoes, and cut into thick slices. Leave the skins on.

3. In a large bowl, soak the cut fries in 1 bottle of beer. Let soak for 15-20 minutes, tossing 3-4 times.

4. Drain beer and toss with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper until well coated.

5. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (again, do not use wax paper) and spread the fries out evenly. Use two pans if needed as fries should not be stacked on top of one another.

6. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how crispy you like them, tossing 3-4 times.

7. Remove fries from the oven and let cool for 3 minutes. Season to taste and enjoy!

It was actually a pretty simple meal to make for how tasty it turned out. I also recommend Sprecher Root Beer. It’s the best root beer and made at a brewery in Milwaukee. It can be found at most local Jewel-Osco grocery stores in the Chicago area (I think). We will definitely be making this again soon!!

*All photos taken with my lovely iPhone 4 camera, hence the not-so-great quality. Maybe one day I’ll get a real camera (hint, hint).