Category Archives: Vegetarian

Apple Basil Potato Kugel

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Next week marks the start of the Jewish year, Rosh Hashanah. Apples are a traditional part of the holiday because they represent a sweet start to the year (especially when dipped in honey) and hark back to the Garden of Eden. Kugels, which are a baked pudding or casserole, are a traditional Jewish food as well. In my family, we enjoy potato kugel at least one night of Rosh Hashanah. So when I was brainstorming for this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge, where I had to come up with a recipe melding apples and basil, I decided to put a twist on my typical potato kugel with the addition of apples and basil.

Apple Basil Potato Kugel

This kugel recipe was my grandmother’s, though when she typed it out (as she did with many of her recipes…clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…) she attributed it to Margaret’s niece. So, Margaret’s niece, if you’re reading this, thanks for the great recipe. We enjoy it every year!

Apple Basil Potato Kugel

I used to grate potatoes and onions by hand, but really, there’s no need to work that hard…or add a hint of blood to the dish. This time I used my Cuisinart food processor with the grating blade and saved a ton of time! I highly recommend using the food processor for the grating step if you have one available.

Swapping out a potato for an apple makes this kugel, which can be on the heavier side, a bit lighter in taste. The basil adds a unexpected burst of freshness as well. Try this kugel as a side dish for your holiday dinner, or any meal. L’Shana Tova (have a good year)!

Apple Basil Potato Kugel

Apple Basil Potato Kugel

Yield: 12 servings

nonstick cooking spray

3 large russet potatoes

2 medium apples (I used gala)

1 onion

3 large eggs

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lightly packed basil chiffonade (basil sliced into thin strips)


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat an 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Grate peeled potatoes, peeled and cored apples, and the onion into a bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the potato mixture, along with the flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, and basil.

3. Place in the baking dish and bake for at least 1 hour or until light brown and crisp.




Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Welcome back to The Dinner Pages! Yes, my little blog has been very neglected lately. Let’s just say I have had a lot on my (dinner) plate…moving halfway across the country alone with a toddler, trying to sell one house and buy another, and starting a new job.

Most of my favorite cooking tools spent the summer on a moving truck, in storage, then on another truck and now are, little by little, finding my way into the cabinets in my new kitchen…there’s still one box containing my favorite cookbooks that’s unaccounted for and I hope the movers hid it in the masses of boxes in my garage because I’m going to be sad if I need to replace more than a dozen books that had lots of my personal annotations inside. The great thing is that thanks to this blog I have an inventory of my cookbooks easily at hand so I can definitely tell if something’s missing!

The other issue is that I don’t have internet at my new place just yet. I don’t know what is going on with AT&T right now but I’ve been waiting over a month and…nothing. Any thoughts on how to move them along?

So there’s my list of excuses why The Dinner Pages has been MIA. The good news is that my husband finally arrived and now I have a little bit more time (in between opening up and unpacking the 270 boxes and working full time) to cook and write about it! This summer has been rough but things are looking up now. 🙂

I really wanted to share one of my all-time favorite recipes with you before summer totally ends, Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake. I grew up with my mom baking this cake each summer and I learned the recipe from her. Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake is a sweet treat that I bake several times each summer. It’s easy and delicious and travels really well, so I find myself making it to bring to barbecues and work potlucks, as well as for my family. Despite my minimal access to cooking tools this summer, I still figured out how to make this cake twice while living in limbo. It disappeared from my work brunch in minutes. Yum. I also really love to refrigerate it and eat it chilled the next day. The crispy streusel topping is delicious with the cold blueberries.

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

So welcome back to The Dinner Pages. Hopefully it won’t be so long before I share another delicious recipe with you. Despite my hiatus I’ve still been cooking from time to time and coming up with lots of ideas to share with you! Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend and enjoy this bit of summer in a cake!

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake


Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake 

Yield: one 8-inch square cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup margarine or butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 heaping cup fresh blueberries, washed


1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons margarine or butter


1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

2. Cream margarine and sugar together. Add egg and beat well.

3. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, in 4 or 5 portions, beginning and ending with flour, beating thoroughly after each addition.

4. Turn into a well-greased 8-inch square cake pan. Add lemon juice to the blueberries. Scatter over batter.

5. Prepare streusel topping by combining sugar with flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add margarine and work together into a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle over top of blueberries.

6. Bake at 375F for 40 minutes.


Chocolate-Almond Souffle Cake


It has been a little while since I participated in The Home Bakers group. Unfortunately as work and family commitments have ramped up, the blogging has taken a bit of a nosedive, so I missed the last coffee cake bake along. I thought I was set to miss this one too because it fell right in the midst of Passover and really, how was I supposed to make coffee cake from a regular cookbook during Passover?! But the chocolate and almond combo intrigued me since both chocolate and almonds are just fine during Passover, as were most of the ingredients in this delicious cake, so I just had to come up with a few modifications to make it kosher for Passover.

Chocolate Almond Souffle Cake

Fortunately, my changes did not alter the moist and flavorful composition of this light cake and it’s definitely a keeper for years to come. And don’t get me wrong, no need to be celebrating Passover to enjoy this cake. It’s a winner year round! The almonds add an interesting texture to an otherwise airy cake, which I think would be fantastic topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

Chocolate Almond Souffle Cake

I started off by coating an 8-inch square pan with nonstick spray and a light coating of matzah cake meal. I toasted raw whole almonds at 325F for about 8 minutes, until fragrant then let cool slightly. Be careful not to let the almonds burn so you don’t end up with a bitter cake. Once cooled, I finely ground the almonds in a food processor and combined with finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and set aside.

Then I beat egg whites until foamy and added in salt and lemon juice (in lieu of the cream of tartar in the original recipe) and beat them until soft peaks formed. I added in brown sugar then beat the mixture until stiff peaks formed.

In a separate mixing bowl I beat the egg yolks until thick and pale then added in more brown sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. I stirred matzah cake meal into the almond/chocolate mixture, then folded it into the yolk mixture, then folded in the egg whites.

I spread the batter into the 8-inch pan and baked it at 325F for 35 minutes until it was cooked through and the top sprung back when lightly touched. I let it cool completely before cutting into pieces to serve. It was a welcomed addition at our seder and for the week to come! It lasted throughout Passover kept wrapped at room temperature.

Chocolate Almond Souffle Cake


Chocolate-Almond Souffle Cake (adapted from Coffee Cakes)

Yield: 1 8-inch square cake or 1 9-inch round cake

nonstick cooking spray

1 1/3 cups (5 1/2 ounces) slivered or raw whole almonds

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

6 large eggs, separated

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (instead of the 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar in the original recipe)

2 tablespoons plus 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup matzah cake meal (instead of 1/2 cup all-purpose flour called for in the original recipe)


Please see Life Can Be Simple  for the full directions for this recipe. Other than the pan size and ingredient modifications noted above I followed the recipe as written.


Check out The Home Bakers and see other interpretations of Chocolate-Almond Souffle Cake and other coffee cakes featured on The Dinner Pages

Soy Glazed Tofu

This quick and easy Soy Glazed Tofu is one of our favorites! We usually have most of the ingredients on hand so we can have one of our most requested dinners ready to go in minutes. We just introduced our son to this delicious meal too and he approved so it’s sure to stay in our rotation.

Soy Glazed Tofu

I know that a lot of people are intimidated by tofu. I agree that it seems a bit of a challenge as it just comes in a big white block of nothingness in a tub of water. What to do with it? It took me some practice before I was able to cook tofu in a way that I found edible. I’m really not sure why because now I do just fine without difficulty. Maybe it was just a matter of finding the right recipes…this is definitely one of them! Tofu Pad Thai and Crispy Tofu and Vegetables are other popular choices in our home.

I started off with firm (or extra firm) tofu as it stands up to stir frying better. I cut it into 1-inch cubes and laid the cubes on a paper towel-lined plate, covered with another paper towel, then another plate, for at least 15 minutes, pushing down occasionally. This helps to free excess fluid from the tofu, making it crispier when cooked.

In the meantime, I prepared the soy glaze. In a small saucepan, I combined seasoned rice vinegar (you can get this in the vinegar section in most supermarkets, or check the Asian section), freshly squeezed orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and some orange zest and brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered until thick, stirring intermittently while cooking the tofu.

Getting back to the tofu, I heated dark toasted sesame oil in a large wok over medium-high heat, then cooked the tofu until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking/burning. Using a nonstick wok or skillet will help prevent the tofu from falling apart (one of my early problems with cooking tofu). Once the tofu was cooked, I removed it from the heat, poured in the soy glaze, and garnished with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

Soy Glazed Tofu

The sweetness from the orange juice and brown sugar contrasts nicely with savory soy sauce and vinegar, and the flavor of the toasted sesame oil resulting in a fantastic dish. We usually serve it with white rice. It would pair nicely with freshly steamed broccoli as well. This is a meatless meal that you can have ready for your family within 30 minutes. So challenge yourself…try cooking with tofu!

Soy Glazed Tofu


Soy Glazed Tofu (adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2010)

Yield: serves 4

1 12-ounce package firm tofu

3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon dark toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions (for garnish)

1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds (for garnish)


1. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes on a plate lined with a paper towel, cover with another paper towel, then another plate. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the rice vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, stirring intermittently.

3. In a large nonstick wok or skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes to the pan, and cook for about 10 minutes, until light golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, add the sauce, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds, and serve right away.

Per serving: 130 calories, 5 grams fat (calculated from; all nutrition information is approximate)


Check out these other tofu recipes from The Dinner Pages:

Soba Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu

Crispy Tofu and Vegetables

Tofu Pad Thai

Check out other recipes submitted to the Cook Your Books link up… cookyourbooks

“Go Red” for Heart Health Snack Mix

February is Heart Health month and today, February 7, is “Go Red for Women” Day, an event to raise awareness of heart disease in females. So to help support this cause, I’m sharing a recipe for a delicious snack mix that not only has beautiful red cranberries to help us “go red,” but also has some heart health benefits. Plus with Valentine’s Day only a week away, this is a great snack to share with your Valentine, young or old. And that’s excellent for your heart too!

"Go Red" for Heart Health Snack Mix

I’ve never thought too hard about “recipes” for trail mix or the like since you pretty much toss together a bunch of yummy snacks in a bowl or bag and go. But I came across this delectable combination of dried coconut, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips in a packaged snack mix and loved the flavors and figured I could do it myself for a fraction of the cost.

Coconuts are pretty trendy in the food world now and there is lots of research going on in the nutrition and medical fields regarding potential benefits of coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil, and just plain old coconut. Some studies have shown advantageous effects on cholesterol from ingesting coconut oil. Point 1 for heart health!

Then we come to cranberries. Polyphenols, which are found in cranberries as well as other foods, are thought to be great for cardiovascular health also by improving cholesterol as well as through some anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Yay cranberries!

And finally chocolate. No one needs to give me any scientific argument to eat (and enjoy) chocolate. But just in case you need a heart healthy reason to indulge, here you go…just like cranberries, flavonoids are found in cocoa and chocolate. They have anti-oxidant properties which also have anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory benefits. They also might help lower blood pressure which improves circulation to the heart. Yes please! Benefits are the best with dark chocolate (which includes the semi-sweet chocolate used here).

image from American Heart Association website

image from American Heart Association website

I recommend not using the shredded dried coconut from the baking aisle and rather finding actual dried coconut pieces from the dried fruit section. The flavor and nutrition benefits are so much better and since it’s one of only three ingredients in this snack, it is really highlighted, so the better quality coconut is totally worth it. I found mine at Costco but I imagine it’s available at some supermarkets as well as natural food stores.

"Cocoa"-Nuts for You Snack Mix


“Go Red” for Heart Health Snack Mix

Yield: approximately 3 cups

2 cups dried coconut chunks (we found them at Costco), chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries


Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Share with someone you love! Store leftovers in an airtight container.


Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

Hello and welcome to National Peanut Butter Day! Really, there is a food holiday for every day of the year and while it would be super fun to celebrate all of them with you, unfortunately a busy job and an even more busy toddler won’t allow that right now. But to me, National Peanut Butter Day can’t be missed so we will observe it accordingly. My favorite peanut butter dishes include anything with chocolate and peanut butter, red curry peanut noodles and any other noodle dish with peanut butter, and heck, just eating peanut butter straight from the jar (my son seems to have picked up on that habit already. Oops). But the epitome of classic peanut butter-ness is that childhood standard, peanut butter and jelly. I still love to bring PB&J to work for lunch every so often. The savory creamy peanut butter mixed with sweet and smooth jelly is a perfect melding of flavors. So why not in a muffin form? Yes, why not? I love making my family muffins for breakfast on the weekend and trying out new recipes. PB&J muffins sounded like a great plan.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

I used both all-purpose and whole wheat flour, allowing for a hearty bread-like flavor to the muffins. I combined the flours with the other dry ingredients, then added milk, creamy peanut butter, egg, vanilla, and melted butter and stirred until just moistened.

After filling the muffin tins halfway…

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

I dropped a spoonful of jelly onto each muffin. The peach jelly on the left was homemade by one of our friends. So good! Hopefully she’ll give me the recipe so I can share it with you.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

I then covered them with the remaining batter.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

I baked them for 20 minutes, then was able to enjoy peanut butter & jelly in one perfect bite of muffin. Just a hint…proceed with caution when digging in…the jelly stays hot for a while. Then close your eyes and chew. You’ll think you are chowing down on a regular old PB&J but surprise, it’s a muffin!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

Follow The Dinner Pages–I have another amazing peanut butter recipe coming soon, this one with CHOCOLATE!! So stay tuned!


Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins (adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2008)

Yield: 12 muffins

nonstick cooking spray

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups skim milk

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (the original recipe recommended against using “natural” peanut butter–it said it wouldn’t rise adequately. I have 5 different types of peanut butter at my house but for this recipe I used Peter Pan honey roasted creamy peanut butter instead of natural)

1 large egg

2 tablespoons butter, melted, and slightly cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup jelly/jam of choice (I used some strawberry and some peach)


1. Preheat the oven to 400F and coat the muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugars, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, combine the milk, peanut butter, egg, butter, and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir together until just moistened.

4. Fill each muffin cup about halfway with batter. Spoon approximately 1 teaspoon of jelly atop each muffin. Cover the muffins with the remaining batter.

5. Bake for 20 minutes. The muffin will spring back lightly when touched. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Per serving: 188 calories, 7 grams fat (calculated from; all nutrition information is approximate)


Garlic Edamame

Have you ever gone to an Asian restaurant and enjoyed steamed edamame (soy beans) as an appetizer? They’re generally served still in pods and are delicious when lightly salted and a healthier alternative to fried eggrolls and such. It’s easy to get the same effect at home, just boil the edamame pods for about 10 minutes, lightly sprinkle with salt and that’s it. Use your teeth to get the individual edamames out from the pods. I’m not sure if the pods are really edible but they impart a lovely salted flavor when eaten like this. Edamame also make a tasty appetizer or side dish when entertaining. Serve them family style, and make sure to have extra empty bowls for people to deposit their empty edamame pods. You can even serve them alongside your chips and salsa and wings for game day.

Garlic Edamame

In exploring my Hawaiian cookbooks, I came across this recipe for Garlic Edamame and immediately knew it would be on my menu for the week. I love edamame and I really really love garlic and needed a side for the Pineapple Curry Stir Fry meal. So Garlic Edamame it was.

The soy beans are cooked in pods in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes as I described above, then drained. In the meantime, I prepared a compound butter, which is just butter with other added ingredients to provide extra flavor. I used a stick of butter and combined it with a healthy dose of garlic, some minced shallot, a touch of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, some lemon juice, and a pinch of dried parsley. If your butter is at room temperature it will be easier to combine. Use your hands to get all the flavors melded, if you need to…that’s what I had to do since my butter was a little cold and the paddle attachment for my mixer was in the sink.

Then I melted the compound butter in a large wok over medium heat, and added olive oil and even more garlic, sauteeing the garlic until it began to brown slightly. I tossed the cooked soy beans into the lovely garlicky sauce and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Despite the quantity of garlic in this recipe, it wasn’t overwhelming at all. My husband, who does not favor garlic quite as much as I do (sorry, honey) enjoyed them with me, but you can definitely cut back on the garlic a bit if you’re not a fan. Try edamame for a game day snack, an appetizer at your next dinner party, or as a side with dinner and take it to a new level with Garlic Edamame. Make sure to share it with someone you love.

Garlic Edamame


Garlic Edamame (adapted from Star Advertiser By Request 2)

2 pounds frozen soy beans (edamame) in pods

salt, for the boiling water

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

8-9 cloves garlic, minced, divided (can reduce amount if desired)

1 teaspoon minced shallot

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste

pinch of dried parsley

2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Boil the edamame pods in well-salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain.

2. Prepare the compound butter by combining the butter, 1 tablespoon of the minced garlic, shallot, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and a pinch of parsley in a bowl until the butter is slightly softened and all the ingredients are mixed evenly.

3. Melt the butter in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the remaining minced garlic and saute until the garlic starts to lightly brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the edamame. Toss to coat with the butter sauce. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.


Margarita Pizza with Graham Cracker Crust

Pizza is my favorite food. But surprisingly, cheese is not. If my pizza comes with anything other than mozzarella, I’m apt to peel it off. I was the child who refused to eat mac ‘n cheese. Despite my love of all things carb, I’d be unlikely to eat a bagel (even a delicious real NY style bagel) with cream cheese. I love to make cheesecake but after baking it, I don’t want to eat it, knowing all the cheese that went into its creation. You might notice that the is the very first recipe on this blog that even includes cheese. It can be a little challenging sometimes but overall I do fine without much cheese. Until now…

I had the opportunity to participate in the Improv Cooking Challenge this month and the two key ingredients that I had to include were cheese and crackers. So I thought long and hard about what I could make that I would want to eat afterwards. And my mind circled back to pizza, as it often does, since I loooove pizza. The cheese part was easy there, but how to get crackers into the dish? Ultimately, after a bit of brainstorming and some help from Pinterest, I settled on a graham cracker crust. Maybe a little out there for a cheese and crackers challenge, but it was SO.GOOD! I’d eat cheese and crackers in this form any day.

Margarita Pizza with Graham Cracker Crust

I started off by baking graham crackers. Feel free to use store bought graham crackers for this recipe. When I make it again I’ll be likely to do that too since homemade graham crackers, while absolutely divine, do not make for a quick graham cracker pizza dough and I’m often under a time crunch. Once the graham crackers were ready…

Homemade Graham Crackers

…I moved on to actually making the pizza.

I dissolved yeast in warm water with some flour and let it stand to proof. After half an hour, I added more water, some olive oil, whole wheat flour, more all-purpose flour, and graham crackers crumbs and kneaded them together with the dough hook attachment on my electric mixer, until the dough was smooth, which took about 10 minutes. If the dough is really sticky, as mine was at first, it’s okay to add a little more all-purpose flour.

Once the dough is smooth, place it in a bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm location for an hour, until it has doubled in size. Punch down the dough (this part is very satisfying), remove it from the bowl, and let it rise for another half hour or so on a flat surface, still covered with a cloth or plastic wrap.

Margarita Pizza with Graham Cracker Crust

I was able to make two 13 to 14 inch pizzas with this dough. The original recipe states it makes 4 to 5 individual pizzas. So divide the dough into however many pizzas you plan to make. I rolled it out on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin and placed it onto pizza pans. My crust was about “NY style” in thickness. Not super thin and crispy, but definitely not deep dish either.

Margarita Pizza with Graham Cracker Crust

Obviously pizza toppings are a personal decision. For us, I made margarita pizzas so I lightly brushed the crusts with olive oil, then topped each pizza with one sliced tomato each, 10 to 12 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese each, thinly sliced fresh basil, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Margarita Pizza with Graham Cracker Crust

I baked the pizza in a 450F degree oven until the cheese was bubbly and browning and the crust was cooked through and golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. The crust was sweet thanks to the graham cracker crumbs, but not overly so. The whole wheat flour balanced out the graham crackers very well. And of course mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil are one of my favorite flavor combinations. So, despite being “cheese and crackers,” my cheese topped graham cracker crumb crusted pizza was a huge success in my book.

Margarita Pizza with Graham Cracker Crust


Margarita Pizza with Graham Cracker Crust (crust inspired by

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one envelope)

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

3/4 cups graham crackers crumbs (from homemade or store bought graham crackers)

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

pizza toppings: for the pizzas seen here, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 24 ounces fresh mozzarella, 2 large tomatoes, 1/2 cup shredded basil, freshly ground black pepper (for 2 13-14 inch pizzas)


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yeast, 1 cup warm water, and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. Cover with a cloth and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. It will appear slightly foamy.

2. Add the remaining water, salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and combine with the dough hook of the mixer. Then slowly add in the rest of the all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, and the graham cracker crumbs. Knead with the dough hook for about 10 minutes, until smooth. If it seems really sticky after 10 minutes, add a little more all-purpose flour until it is less tacky and more smooth.

3. Turn the kneaded dough into a mixing bowl lightly coated with nonstick spray or oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour.

4. Punch down the dough and let it rise on a floured surface for 30 minutes.

5. Separate the dough into as many pizzas as you want to make, rolled out each pizza crust on a floured surface and transfer to a pizza pan. Preheat the oven to 450F. If using a pizza stone, preheat the oven with the stone in it to 500F and transfer the pizza to the stone with a pizza peel after topping it.

6. Top the pizzas as desired. I brushed each crust with a tablespoon of olive oil then arranged the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese on top. I sprinkled them with the shredded basil then topped with about 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.

7. Bake in preheated oven until the crust is cooked through and the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 10-12 minutes.


Check out the other “cheese and crackers” selections below:

Potato Soup

With this cold spell we’re having all across the U.S., warm soups just feel right. They help take the chill away and paired with some fresh bread, they can be a wonderful comfort food. This potato soup is one that my family has enjoyed for years. I’m sure the recipe originally came from a cookbook, but over time it has evolved and now I just consider it my mom’s recipe.

Potato Soup

The great thing about this hearty soup is that it seems really creamy, thanks to cooking down starchy potatoes and mixing them with milk, but it’s actually not all that bad for you because instead of using heavy cream like a lot of potato soups do, you use skim milk as the base. It’s also great for vegetarians as this is a rare potato soup recipe without associated bacon bits or other attempts to make it into a baked potato soup. Of course baked potatoes have their place, I just prefer them not to be in my soup bowl.

Soups can take a while to cook sometimes too, so they can be tricky for weeknight meals. Not this one. It’ll easily be ready to serve in well under an hour from start to finish. Not too many dishes to wash and a meal your whole family can enjoy.

After browning onions in butter in a large saucepan or soup pot, potatoes and carrots are added along with caraway seeds for an extra unique flavor and are boiled in water until tender. The soup is thickened with a little bit of flour and after simmering for a short while, skim milk is stirred in for that creamy effect. Enjoy…and stay warm!


Potato Soup

Yield: 4 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup diced onions

3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes

1 carrot, grated (or 1 cup of matchstick carrots)

3 cups of water

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups skim milk


1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Brown the onions in the melted butter.

2. Add the potatoes, carrots, water, salt, pepper, and caraway seeds. Bring to a boil then stir in the flour.

3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil again.

Nutrition Information:

Per serving: 282 calories, 9 grams of fat (calculated from; all nutrition information is approximate)


Banana Nut Muffins

My son really loves bananas, so we always have bunches of them around the house and I’m frequently on the lookout for new ways to use bananas. Last week we enjoyed savory banana corn cakes as a side with dinner which were so delicious and this weekend we had these Banana Nut Muffins for Sunday brunch. I posted another banana muffin recipe a while back but seeing as how I had just gotten the Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book (on sale, yay!) and hadn’t even had a chance to look through it yet, I wanted to try out something from that book for breakfast and the muffins sounded delicious. This is not a book review by any means, since honestly I haven’t looked at more than the first few pages and this recipe so far, but what I love about Cook’s Illustrated is that they do all kinds of testing in their kitchens and explain their thought process and the science behind their recipes. Because of that, their recipes are generally very good without much modification on my part and I feel like I’m learning something about how to become a better cook/baker and create my own recipes by reading their books and magazines.

Banana Nut Muffins

These muffins were different from the other banana muffins I made previously in a few ways. For one, they are huge! These are the size muffins you get from a bakery, like the Costco-sized muffins. So they nearly flowed over the sides of muffin tin and for that reason, weren’t quite as pretty as I was hoping. I actually have a “Texas-sized” muffin tin and I’m wondering if I used that and made 6 muffins instead of a dozen, if they’d look nicer.

Banana Nut Muffins

These muffins contained chopped up ripe bananas rather than using overripe mashed bananas like I usually do when baking with bananas. As a result, they were much paler in color than the typically dark brown banana bread. The muffins were very moist despite not using overripe bananas thanks to yogurt and a generous portion of butter in the batter. Finally, unlike the other muffins which included peanut butter and chocolate chips (awesome flavors in combination with banana), these treats had chopped walnuts instead. Still great flavor and a little less sweet than chocolate chips, just different.

Banana Nut Muffins

Overall, I really enjoyed these muffins (so did my son, by the way). The basic recipe lends itself well to modifications like apple or blueberry muffins and the muffins are so big that we had plenty of leftovers so I’ve been able to enjoy tasty banana nut muffins for breakfast at work every day this week too.

Banana Nut Muffins (adapted with minimal modification from the Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book)

Yield: 1 dozen large muffins

nonstick cooking spray

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (low-fat or whole milk)

1 1/2 cups chopped bananas (2-3 medium sized bananas)

3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


1. Place the oven rack in the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 375F. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray and set aside.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric stand mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Then add in the eggs, one at a time, stirring until combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 steps, alternating with the yogurt in 2 steps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

4. Fold in the chopped bananas and walnuts.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins. Bake until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached, about 25 to 30 minutes.

6. Let the muffins cool in the tin for a few minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Per muffin (made with low-fat yogurt): 407 calories, 21 grams of fat (calculated from; all nutrition information is approximate)


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