Tag Archives: america’s test kitchen

Pizza Problems… (You win some, you lose some)

We are a pizza family. My husband who adores pizza and I adore him, so I have excepted his little obsession. I can work with pizza. For a long time we were pizza-and-a-movie-every-Friday-night people. Doug loves a thick crust extra cheese from LaRosa’s, where I crave a veggie lovers from Donato’s (yummy green olives from edge to edge). We would often bounce around from restaurant to restaurant: if they delivered and I had a coupon they’d be on the top of the list.  That was until we moved to our country home where only one pizza place delivers. We got kinda sick of the same thing every week and our ritual fell away.

I was really excited when I came across a pizza recipe in my new America’s Test Kitchen Recipe Book (Season 12). I envisioned making the dough a few days before a Friday. Our ritual would be back and except now it would be homemade -from scratch! And, my honey would groan that I am such a wonderful cook and the best wife ever. (OK, so maybe just a “this is really good babe”).

Like my first trial from this cook book, Chicken Fricasse, I watched the episode via DVD about 113 times. They made it look so simple. It called for only 6 ingredients and the folding of the dough happened in the food processor (I have one of those!). So I ventured down Kroger’s baking aisle looking for bread flour, a first time purchase. I was excited.

2 cups of bread flour
2 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 tsp of instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

First three ingredients into the food processor: Bread flour, yeast, and sugar. Pulsed until mixed.

pizza1Then, I popped on the top on to the food processor, turned it on, and added the ice cold water slowly.

pizza2I pulsed just as the directions had told me.  Let it sit 10 minutes. Then, I added the oil and salt, and blended about 45 seconds. It started to gather to one side and I was afraid to overwork it. So I called it done here.
pizza3I prepped the counter with some vegetable oil to kneed the dough, but as you can see from the picture it was very sticky and a huge mess. I was supposed to knead the dough for about 1 minute, but it was so sticky and it felt, well, wrong. This was where I was like Oh, crap.
pizza4I brought Doug in at this point get his opinion, but he didn’t seem bothered by look of it. So, I plopped the gooey mess into an oiled bowl, covered with saran wrap and put it in the fridge for 24 hours (the minimum). I was planning to make this pizza for my Dad and stepmother who were in town and coming to see us, but now I knew that I might have to create a back-up plan for our dinner guests. Isaac was a big help playing me some background music…ya know, to keep me calm.
pizza7After 24 hours, Doug and I checked the dough. He was all for trying it, but I was nervous to serve it to people, so we waited for Sunday night dinner when it was just us. Honestly, I was about to throw this sucker out and try again, but Doug decided to jump in and see if he could salvage it. He loves his pizza.
pizza6So, he added some flour and kneeded that dough like a man. I set it out to rise for an hour. Not looking so bad here.
pizza8Doug then proceeded to shape the dough, you know to make it like a pizza pie. It was not working… at all. The dough would bounce back to toward him. If you could hear the audio during this picture, it would be me laughing hysterically and saying “I failed!” Doug was still pressing on, though, with the fight to save the dough!
pizza9 He added sauce and cheese and cooked that little failure of mine. Oh, my. Oh, vey. Dasvidaniya! This is NOT what it looked like on ATK. We baked it for 10 minutes.


It came out looking, well, edible. But, I was definitely skeptical.

pizza13Until we cut that baby up and tasted her. It was not too bad. Not great, but not as bad as I had expected back when the dough was bouncing around.
pizza14I have not yet given up on this recipe. I plan to try it again, and even again. It wasn’t hard or very time consuming. I am sure America’s Test Kitchen had to try a few hundred times to get the recipe right, so I’ll take a mulligan on this one.

Yeah, I actually did make a successful pizza this week… an English Muffin Pizza. Easy. Perfection.

Preheat the oven to 425*
Open English muffin
Add sauce and toppings
Bake 8-10 minutes


It doesn’t get easier than this, people!
pizza16And… they tasted like perfection. In all my years of nannying why I have I not made these for my kids? I will definitely be making these again.

You win some, you lose some.

Chicken Fricasse Julia Would Be Proud Of!

Just another Tuesday. Time to try a new recipe!

I have a crush on America’s Test Kitchen. Yeah, I have a crush on this TV show. You know how it is, snuggle-up-on-the couch-with-a-warm-blanket-on-a-Saturday-afternoon-during-naptime kinda crush

photoFor Christmas I got Season 12 DVD and Cookbook. It is the best because you can watch the episode (over and over) before you even make it yourself. So before making this dish, I had really watched it about 10 times. Crush, I tell you.

Here is the recipe:
Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thights), trimmed, with salt & pepper
1 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 T all-purpose flour
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp lemon juice
2 T minced tarragon (or parsley)


1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Heat butter and oil in 12 in skillet over med-high heat until butter is melted. Place chicken in skillet and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook until browned on second side, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to plate.

2. Add mushrooms, onion, wine to now-empty skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add broth and bring mixture to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet. reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until breasts register 160 degrees (thighs – 175 degrees), 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Transfer chicken to clean platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Whisk sour cream and egg yolk together in a bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly stir 1/2 cup hot sauce into sour cream mixture to temper. Stirring constantly, slowly pour cream mixture into simmering sauce. Stir in nutmeg, lemon juice, and tarragon; return to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste, pour sauce over chicken, and serve.

My experience:

So first of all the video of this looked easy and tasty. And, it was called a “great Tuesday night meal” meaning that is was doable after a day at work. It seemed worth a try! I bought all the ingredients I needed; tarragon was the only thing that I had never cooked with. I found it near the mushrooms in the small packets of refrigerated herbs.

I admit… I watched the 10 minute video one last time for a little bit of motivation.

photoI took it step by step and it was all pretty easy and smelled delicious! photo


The book’s directions were simple!I whipped up some garlic mashed potatoes. The sauce paired well with them but may also taste fabulous over egg noodles. (I think I will try that next time).

banner.chickenfricasseBy the way, my husband said that it was “Excellent!” and he is a hard one to please when it comes to food. He even said, “It tastes like something would get at a restaurant!?” I have to admit that it was one of my best ever meals. It is a new staple here in Schraeradise.

Chicken Fricasse is a french recipe and I couldn’t help but think of Julia Child while I made this. I think she would be proud. If not her than Julie her stalk-blogger would!

Give it a try and let me know how you like it!