Category Archives: Main Dish

Best Basic Pizza Dough Recipe

Almost every Friday night, you’ll find an oven blazing with a round baking stone heating up inside. Homemade pizzas were made weekly when I was growing up and we’ve continued the tradition.  Try this basic pizza dough recipe and join in the tradition!

Last week I shared some ways to make homemade pizza frugally so that even if you are on a budget you’ll still be able to enjoy pizza night and my sauce recipe is here. Today I have my basic pizza crust recipe and baking instructions for you!

two lumps of pizza dough. The best basic pizza dough recipe and tips for making a perfect pizza. This is amazing and so easy. You need this for your pizza night tradition!

Affiliate Links Used

My number one tip for a successful homemade pizza: A baking stone! We have a 15 inch round stone from Pampered Chef. It has become well seasoned over the years and is well worth the investment. 

My second tip: Don’t roll all of the air bubbles out of the dough. I use a combination of stretching, tossing, and rolling. I like to use my mini pizza and pastry roller (one similar to this).

My third tip: Preheat the oven and the stone. Give it longer than when your oven says it’s ready. You want the stone good and hot.

My fourth tip: Use a high temperature. I turn the oven to 475 degrees.

I know crust thickness is somewhat a personal preference. This crust recipe fits a 15 inch stone. in a hand tossed/New York Style type of thickness. If you like super thin and crispy, cut the flour back. If you like your crust thicker, increase it to 2 3/4-3 cups. Don’t forget, this means the water amounts will change as well. Gradually add the water to the flour until you come up with the right dough consistency. The first time you make this, it will be a little bit of a guessing game. Simply tweak it the next time to your family’s preference.

I prefer to let this dough rise for several hours but when I’ve been in a rush I’ve made and used it after a short 15-30 minute resting period and it was still good.

We’ve also used part whole wheat flour and all whole wheat flour. This will change the texture slightly and you’ll end up using more water.

Now that we are a family of 5, I always double this basic pizza dough recipe. Use a full tablespoon of yeast in a double recipe.
Picture of a lump of pizza dough and a yummy cooked pizza. The best basic pizza dough recipe and tips for making a perfect pizza. This is amazing and so easy. You need this for your pizza night tradition!

Basic Pizza Dough Recipe

Homemade Pizza Crust
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (optional, I no longer use)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • Scant tablespoon yeast
Instructions
Dough
  1. Place flour in mixer bowl.
  2. Top with salt, sugar, and yeast.
  3. Add water and oil. Should make a soft dough that isn't sticky at all.
  4. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Cover mixing bowl and let dough rise until at least doubled - a couple of hours. It's okay if it goes longer.
Preheat
  1. Thirty to sixty minutes before you are going to bake your pizza, preheat the oven and stone to 475 degrees.
Rolling the Dough
  1. Gently put the dough on a lightly floured surface.
  2. Next roll, stretch, and toss your dough into a 15 inch circle. When rolling, do it gently so not to deflate all of the air bubbles. I prefer to use my mini roller.
Topping
  1. Remove the stone from the oven and carefully carry and place the crust onto it.
  2. Spread with sauce of choice.
  3. Top with meats, vegetables, and cheese.
Bake
  1. Bake for 8-15 minutes.
  2. Cut and serve
Notes
I always double this recipe and simply use a full tablespoon of yeast.

 

a lump of easy pizza dough! The best basic pizza dough recipe and tips for making a perfect pizza. This is amazing and so easy. You need this for your pizza night tradition!

Easy Roasted Sausage and Veggies Recipe

Have you jumped on the sheet pan dinner band wagon? They are so easy and customize-able. This  sheet pan roasted sausage and veggies recipe is no different.

This recipe for roasted sausage and veggies is so easy and delicious. Perfect healthy dinner for even busy nights. You can even change up the veggies. Check it out!

This recipe is a go to in the fall and winter months. (Actually, even spring. The only time I don’t make this is in the summer when it’s blazing hot.) It’s a simple meal to add to the menu for one of those days when life is crazy and you don’t really want to think about what’s for dinner.

(If you are wondering more about menu planning and why you should do it, be sure to check out this post!)

It’s easy to switch up the ingredients based on personal preference, what you have on hand, and what’s on sale. See, I told you it’s amazing!

pan of cut up veggies

Ingredients:

Italian Sausage: pork, turkey, spicy, mild – your choice. Amount is also up to you, but somewhere between 12-20 ounces or between half of a link to a whole link of sausage.

Veggies: 8 cups of vegetables. Celery, carrots, onion, bell peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans, corn or any other roasting friendly vegetables.

Seasonings: Garlic powder, dried parsley, dried oregano, salt, pepper

pan of cut veggies and sausageHow to Serve: You can serve up just plates of roasted veggies and sausage (my preference)  or put over something like rice, potatoes, zucchini noodles or whatever you like.

Another super easy supper, is this Alfredo or these baked chicken thighs.

This recipe for roasted sausage and veggies is so easy and delicious. Perfect healthy dinner for even busy nights. You can even change up the veggies. Check it out!

Roasted Sausage and Veggies

Easy Roasted Sausage and Veggies Recipe
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced (2 cups)
  • 3 large carrots, sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 onion, large dice (1 cup)
  • 1 bell pepper, large dice (1 cup)
  • 2 potatoes, large dice (2 cups)
  • Italian Sausage, 12-20 ounces
  • 2-3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½-3/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Prepare all of the veggies and place on a large sheet pan (or two smaller ones).
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and toss together.
  4. Sprinkle evenly with parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  5. Slice the sausage (see notes) and spread over the veggies.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Bake another 20 minutes.
  7. Serve by itself or with side of choice.
  8. Enjoy
Notes
1. Sausage: I prefer slicing my sausage when it's partially frozen. You can either slice in circles or cut in half lengthwise and then slice. That is what I do, because I feed kids and don't want to worry about it being a choking hazard. You could also leave the sausages whole.
2. Servings size depends on if you serve with rice or by itself.

 

This recipe for roasted sausage and veggies is so easy and delicious. Perfect healthy dinner for even busy nights. You can even change up the veggies. Check it out!

 

The Best Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl Recipe

love spaghetti squash. Several years ago I posted this recipe for Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash, a few weeks ago Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein, and today I have Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl recipe for you!

Spaghetti squash burrito bowls are the best! Full of Tex Mex flavors and so healthy. The entire family loves this recipe!

Each year when fall comes around I get excited because it means it’s time for squash to go on sale so I can make all the spaghetti squash recipes. Eating your vegetables never tasted so good! 😉

Mexican food (or technically Tex Mex) is a staple in our house, so I knew I had to do a twist on a burrito bowl with some of the squash I bought.

This recipe was a winner!

The 2 1/2 year old had thirds. Thirds! “More spaghetti squash” she kept saying. As with the Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein recipe, the  flavors are such that even my (non squash loving) husband actually liked this recipe.

As with most dinner recipes, this is so easy to tweak and adjust to your family’s preferences.

Can’t stand bell peppers? Simply leave them out.

mixture for the spaghetti squash burrito bowls

Ingredients:

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Ground Beef
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Bell Pepper
  • Jalapeno
  • Black Beans
  • Corn
  • Rotel
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, salsa, sour cream (optional toppings)

No fancy ingredients. If you don’t have access to Rotel, substitute fire roasted tomatoes or even just diced tomatoes and add an extra jalapeno. Leave the cheese off if you are dairy free.

Spaghetti squash and meat mixture combined for spaghetti squash burrito bowls

This recipe is easily cut in half. The 8 pounds of spaghetti squash serves 8 (or my family of 5 two meals). Cut back to 4 pounds if you are only serving a couple of people.

The meat amount is up to you and your taste preference as is the final spice amounts. My kids are fairly wimpy, so I have to watch the chili powder amounts.

Be sure to read the recipe notes for an additional baking method.

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Spaghetti Squash (mine totaled 8.5 pounds)
  • 1-2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2-3 cups cooked black beans
  • 1½ cups corn (frozen is fine)
  • 1 can mild Rotel tomatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 - 1½ tablespoon cumin
  • 1-3 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese
To Serve:
  • Cilantro, avocado, salsa, sour cream - all optional
Instructions
  1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy insides. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little cumin and chili powder. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle them. Use a fork to scrape across the squash short ways to make "noodles".
  2. In a large skillet, brown the beef. Add onion and jalapeno and saute a few minutes. Add garlic and saute a few more minutes.
  3. Add bell peppers, black beans, corn, tomatoes, 1 t. salt, 1 T. cumin, and 1 t. chili powder. Cook until everything is heated through and tender.
  4. Add spaghetti squash to skillet and toss everything together. (See notes for second option) Adjust seasonings if needed.
  5. Return the spaghetti squash mixture to the shells or a 9x13 baking pan and top with cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve with any of the optional toppings.
Notes
When you have the beef mixture finished and the spaghetti squash in noodles instead of combining it all together you can layer the spaghetti squash in the bottom of the shell (or pan) and spread the beef and veggie mixture on top of that and then top with the cheese.

 

Spaghetti squash burrito bowls baked in a pan are the best! Full of Tex Mex flavors and so healthy. The entire family loves this recipe!

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein Recipe

If you haven’t jumped on the spaghetti squash train yet, this is the recipe to do it on! Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein is so good.
spaghetti squash chow mein in the shells. this recipe is so good and healthy!

I’ve had some spaghetti squash flops over the years, but this recipe is not one of them. In fact, I eagerly await squash season so I can make it again each year.

My girls (2 and 7) eat seconds of this and even my (not a fan of squash) husband gives this a thumbs up. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that one of his favorite meals is the regular kind of chow mein.

This dish is loaded with veggies. If you want it to be vegetarian, leave off the chicken. For the omnivores out there, the chicken adds a tasty touch.

A lot of spaghetti squash recipes don’t hold up well as leftovers, but we enjoy this one the next day just as well. I’m all about cooking once and eating at least twice!

This recipe, as written, fed my family of 5 twice, so I’d say it would serve 6-8 as adult portions. I bought 3 spaghetti squashes that totaled 6 pounds.

The method of cooking spaghetti squash that’s in this recipe is my go to. It always turns out fabulous and once I cut the squash in half, it’s super simple.

Another of my favorite spaghetti squash recipes is this one: Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash! Yum!
A bowl of spaghetti squash chow mein. Amazing and healthy recipe that even kids love!

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 6 pounds spaghetti squash
  • 6 stalks of celery, thinly sliced (around 3 cups)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and grated (around 2 cups)
  • 2-3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup soy sauce, coconut aminos etc
  • 1-2 cups diced, cooked chicken (optional)
  • Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy insides. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle them. Use a fork to scrape across the squash short ways to make "noodles".
  2. In a large skillet heat a tablespoon of oil and saute the onions 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook a few more minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and celery to the skillet. Stir and cook a few minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage and cook until all the vegetables are tender.
  5. Add the spaghetti squash to the skillet and combine.
  6. Drizzle ¼ cup of soy sauce (or alternative) over the mixture.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and additional soy sauce to taste.

 

I’m curious, where do you stand on spaghetti squash: lover, hater, or never tried? If you are a fan, what’s your favorite way to eat it?

P.S. If you are curious the way I made it and it flopped, it was a spaghetti squash carbonara recipe. I’m perfectly okay never attempting that one again. 😉

spaghetti squash chow mein in the shells. this recipe is so good and healthy!spaghetti squash chow mein in the shells. this recipe is so good and healthy!A bowl of spaghetti squash chow mein. Amazing and healthy recipe that even kids love!

Best Simple Fried Rice Recipe

I love, love, love fried rice! When you combine it with easy and get a simple fried rice recipe, it’s a winner all around!

best simple fried rice recipe

Affiliate links are used. Thank you!

Secret ingredients are always a good sign! This recipe has a couple and the extra pop of flavor makes it the best fried rice.

I love using basmati rice when making this. I’ve even used brown basmati. If you don’t have that, try using a long grain white rice.

Try using cauliflower rice if you are limiting your carbs. Shredded cabbage you saute with the rest of the veggies would also likely work.

bowl of dry rice for simple fried rice recipe

If you have a super busy day, this recipe is perfect because you can prep your vegetables the day before (or even several days before). You can also use leftover rice because day old rice makes the best fried rice. See, I told you this is a simple fried rice recipe. 🙂

Did you know you can also freeze fried rice? (I wouldn’t do this with cauliflower rice.) Simply make the fried rice and let cool completely. Place in freezer storage bags or food storage containers and place in freezer. Pull out of the freezer the night before or morning of when you are going to use them and let thaw in the fridge. Saute in a skillet for 5-10 minutes until warm

simple fried rice recipe ingredients

If you don’t mind reheating in the microwave, this would also be perfect to freezer in single serving amounts to pack for work lunches.

Secret Ingredients!

There are a couple ingredients that put this simple fried rice recipe over the top.

  1. Fresh ginger. Of course fresh garlic is involved, but the ginger adds a little something special.
  2. Toasted sesame oil. If you’ve never had this, you are missing out! My picky, opinionated 5 smelled the bottle and proclaimed how good it smelled. Do yourself a favor and get some for this recipe and for making the best Asian salad dressings. (I’ve linked to it on Amazon, but I’ve found it at Aldi for a great price before.)
  3. Sambal. Okay, this is totally optional. My kids don’t use it, but I’m obsessed. It adds a kick and a little extra punch of flavor. I blame my dad for turning me onto this years ago. You could also use siracha (I’ve also found the equivalent of this at Aldi).

simple fried rice recipe square picture

Favorite tool!

I LOVE using a microplane for the ginger and garlic. It makes it fast and super easy.


P.S. I love using fried rice to sneak in lots of veggies. 🙂  In these pictures, it’s the amounts listed in the recipe, but often times I add in extra.

Simple Fried Rice Recipe

Best Simple Fried Rice Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • ½ inch ginger, peeled and minced/micro-planed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced/micro-planed
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 6 cups cooked cold rice
  • 1-2 cups cooked, diced meat (optional)
  • 3 scrambled eggs (optional)
  • oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sambal or siracha (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add a little cooking oil (can use butter).
  2. After heated, add the onions and stir and cook 5 minutes. (Lower heat if needed.) When beginning to soften add garlic and ginger and continue to cook another 3-7 minutes until fragrant and tender.
  3. Add carrots and continue to saute. After a few minutes add the frozen vegetables and continue to saute until everything is hot and tender. (Add meat at the end of this time if using.)
  4. Add rice to the pan and stir over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add soy sauce and and sesame oil and stir to combine.
  5. Take off heat and adjust soy sauce and salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Add scrambled eggs if using.
  7. Serve with sambal or siracha on the side.

 

The best simple fried rice recipebest simple fried rice recipe ingredients