Friday, September 15, 2006

Pizza Strata and cookies for Busy Bees

I have a million sewing projects due for gifts and charity, and several hours of freelance writing ahead of me this weekend, so I am procrastinating like crazy. I made two different types of muffins this week in addition to these two recipes. I should take on more writing assignments to improve my cooking.

Here is Pizza Strata. This is a picture straight out of the Oven Meals Better Homes and Gardens 1974 Cookbook. I have no wicker of any kind in my house like this dish, but my dish looked very similar. The book refers to it as a 'zesty Italian dish' - is there any other kind? My Grandmother would say no.

8 slices white bread (I only used about 6 total, not counting the two I mangled while cutting)

1 pound Italian sausage (I used turkey)

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 oz. sliced mozzarella cheese (I used shredded)

1 8 oz. can pizza sauce

3 beaten eggs

1 3/4 cups milk

1 tablespoon snipped parsley (I skipped this)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Remove the crusts from 4 slices of bread; reserve crusts. (I did not do that last part -ew.) Use remaining 4 slices of bread and crusts (no) to cover the bottom of a greased 8X8X2-inch baking dish. In skillet cook sausage and onion till sausage is brown, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Spread meat-onion mixture over bread in dish. Cover with mozzarella. Spread pizza sauce over cheese. Cut the remaining 4 slices of trimmed bread on the diagonal; place in two rows atop sauce. (Bases should overlap points of preceding triangles.) (Amy's note: Why on earth would this matter? I did do it to cover some more cutting errors, though.) Combine eggs, milk, parsley, and oregano. Pour over bread. Cover tightly, chill at least 1 hour or overnight. Bake, covered, at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 30 minutes longer. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Continue baking till firm, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Cut the strata into squares. Makes 6 servings.

What the heck is a strata? This was a big hit with my family. A nice easy make ahead dish for work nights.

Moving on. I am going to enter an oatmeal contest and am experimenting with different chocolate chip recipes. Though this does not have oatmeal, I pulled a great and easy recipe out of the BHG Cookies and Candies again: Busy-Bee Chippers. This title makes me think of my old girl scout uniform, for some reason. I was cleaning out and recently pulled the sash out - patches used to be sewn to them. I had some weird computer and camping badges, a music one, several sewing ones, then one that looks suspiciously like a cooking one! Hmm, must have been a group project.

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 6 oz. package (1 cup) semisweet chocolate pieces

12 chocolate chips to appease your preschooler so he doesn't eat them out of the bowl with raw-egg dough

(recipe includes nuts, but I didn't want them)

Cream butter; add sugar and honey, mixing well. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Sift together flour, soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture, missing well.

Stir in chocolate pieces and nuts. Drop batter from teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen cookies. (Try 2 dozen, and I did use a teaspoon!)

These look like normal chocolate chip cookies, but that honey really adds something. I will likely use it in my contest recipe. They did not last a day in my house.

Hold on to your fire extinguishers! I've purchased a new candy thermometer, at Kohl's of all places. I am trying hard to find a pastry cutter, too, to no avail. I could go into Williams-Sonoma, but am afraid I will purchase several more shaped muffin tins. Rumor has it they have a leaf one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the Busy Bee Chipper recipe. I had the B&G cookie cookbook, threw it out in a cleaning fit, and then wished I hadn't--just for this recipe.