Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Check Mate or Why I Grilled Pizza

 There are a few things you need to know before I tell you this story. Background information so you get how it all came about.

First: When it comes to meals, my kids are . . .  well . . . still kids. That cr@p they tell all moms so they don't lose their minds about kids' food dislikes diminishing and likes expanding? Bull. And, FYI, they don't get any more diplomatic about what they dislike either. If you're going to torture them with a dinner of . . . say for instance . . . fish or chicken or pork or . . . anything other than steak or lobster, then it's open season on you.

Also: My boys are complete opposites. In pretty much every way. I wrote about it just a month after I started blogging in a post about the Zombie Apocalypse called A Sense of Balance (which, btw, is my mom's favorite post of mine ever). Anyhooo . . . it's not so much that they don't work well together as that they don't work together at all. They like and respect each other, but they don't hang out.

OK, you're up to speed.

Manipulation. It's a very interesting concept. An art, really. When a parent first starts to understand its value, is a beautiful thing. A  light bulb going off in their head. Such an amazing strategy, really. You can talk, beg, reason, cajole, yell, demand, punish. OR you can manipulate. And it's fun. Like a game of chess, your child makes one move and you make another. But they're just reacting and you're thinking 3 moves ahead. Who can outmaneuver who? Easy when they're kids.

CheckMate or Why I Grilled Pizza: parents vs kids, a humorous look at who outmaneuvers who | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #family

But they aren't always little kids and here's the slippery slope you've been slopping in. They learn the game. And then it is infinitely less fun.

Unless . . .

It was the week before school was starting and we have a back-to-school tradition in our house of making all the boys' favorite meals and treats that whole week. I'll talk more about this in my upcoming Blog With Friends Back To School Traditions post.

Shocking though it may be, given what I've said about my boys and my cooking, we somehow ended up in the position of having more meal requests than days. So it came down to this: College Boy wanted pizza and PurDude wanted Leftover Night Steak Sandwiches.  

Let the manipulation begin.

College Boy: I know you have leftover Homemade Marinara, so pizza's really the easier meal. Just thinking of you, Mom.

PurDude: I know you have steak that's already cooked leftover from dinner the other night, so the sandwiches would be easy. Just thinking of you, Mom.

College Boy: You talked about wanting to try grilling pizza but that's way too much work. You could just make it in the oven like you always do, Mom.

PurDude: College Boy will be local and I'm going back to school 700 miles away. He'll still get his favorites now and then, but I'm really going to miss having all my favorite dinners, Mom.

And so it went.

Grilled Steak and Pepper Pizza: thin crispy crust with a hint of smoky flavor, topped with fresh ingredients and dressed with toppings of your choice | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #grilling #dinner #pizza
Grilled Steak & Pepper Pizza
Grilled Steak and Pepper Pizza: thin crispy crust with a hint of smoky flavor, topped with fresh ingredients and dressed with toppings of your choice | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #grilling #dinner #pizza

The next night I walked in from the grill with the tray of Grilled Steak and Pepper Pizzas in my hand. From all the way upstairs I could hear the boys all proud of themselves:
College Boy: See, I told you we could get her to make pizza on the grill!
PurDude: See, I told you we'd get pizza AND steak and peppers!

You have learned well, Grasshopper(s).

Hubs, who knows I'd planned on trying this Grilled Steak and Pepper Pizza for days, takes the tray of pizzas from me and puts it on the counter.
Me (in a whisper): See, I told you I could get them to work together.

Check. MATE.

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Grilled Steak and Pepper Pizza


Ingredients (makes 3 pizzas):
1# pizza dough (I use a defrosted loaf of Rhodes frozen bread dough)
1/4 cup flour
2 TBSP cornmeal
6 TBSP olive oil
1 cup marinara, my Homemade Marinara recipe HERE 
3 TBSP grated parmesan
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
6 sliced of provolone, cut in half
Steak and Peppers, my recipe HERE
OPT toppings: shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, pickles

*NOTE: If using Homemade Marinara, you can make it that day or the day before, but have the sauce ready before you start to make your pizza. Make the Steak and Peppers ahead also, and be sure to drain very well.
*Divide the dough into thirds. Mix the flour and cornmeal onto your counter and roll out each of the dough thirds until very thin. Rectangles fit well on the grill. Mine were 12" X 5".
*Cut out and grease 3 pieces of parchment paper large enough for each crust to fit on. Place one crust on each and move them to a baking sheet for transport to the grill. With a pastry brush, paint the tops with half of the olive oil.
*Before turning your grill on, spray the grates with on-stick spray. Have your topping ingredients ready.
*Heat the grill to medium high.
*Take the cookie sheet out to the grill and, using the parchment paper, flip each pizza crust, oiled side down, onto the grill. Discard the parchment paper and quickly paint the tops with the remaining olive oil. Lower the heat to medium and close the grill. Checking every minute, allow to cook until the bottom browns.
*Gently flip the crusts and immediately spread with the marinara, then the other ingredients in this order: parmesan, mozzarella, provolone slices, pepper steak. Close the grill lid again.
*Checking every minute, cook until the bottom crust has browned and the cheese is melted.
*Top with shredded lettuce and/or any other toppings of your choice.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Funny Friday: Superhero Edition

Today’s post is August’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.
Funny Friday | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by The Bergham's Life Chronicles.
Funny Friday, The Bergham's Life Chronicles | www.BakingInATornado.com
1. I am eating this sandwich like a BOSS. Wait, make that like a Superhero.

2. Hey Mom, can you answer that Bat-Phone? I'm on my lunch break.

3. Just gotta finish my lunch, then I'll be leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Well, maybe after lunch AND a quick nap. 

4. Now wait a minute, there isn't kryptonite in this sandwich, is there?

5. This isn't chunky peanut butter is it? Everyone knows superheroes only eat smooth. 
And now for something yummy. In honor of this beautiful little superhero, I made a favorite of my kids when they were little, crunchy chicken fingers that are baked instead of fried:
Crunchy Baked Chicken Fingers | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner
Crunchy Baked Chicken Fingers
Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Baking In A Tornado | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Crunchy Baked Chicken Fingers
Printable Recipe

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
4 TBSP butter

*Slice the chicken breasts into strips.
*Mix together the sour cream, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and chili powder in a medium sized bowl.
*Add in the chicken strips and mix well to be sure the chicken is completely covered by the marinade. Cover tightly, refrigerate, and marinate for at least 4 hours but overnight is best.
*Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Melt the butter.
*Pour the panko crumbs onto a dish. Individually coat each chicken finger with the crumbs. Roll them around to be sure they're completely covered. Place them into the prepared baking dish.
*Drizzle the butter over the chicken fingers. Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked and has browned.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bless Me, Boys, For I Have Sinned

My kids gave me a compliment yesterday. Both of them. On the same day. I had no fever so I wasn’t delirious. And before you ask no, I wasn’t drinking either.

Clearly the only conclusion I can come to is that the world is coming to an end.

Next thing you know pigs will be airborne. But before I get smacked in the head by a flying pork chop, I’ve got a few things to confess.

Bless me, boys, for I have sinned. Fairly often, in fact.

*Remember all those times when you were little and relentlessly asked for fast food? Well, the truth is, I wasn’t really on the phone with McDonald’s and they hadn’t actually run out of chicken nuggets. Or cheeseburgers. Or french fries.

*While we’re on the subject, the playground wasn’t closed on Tuesdays. It wasn’t closed every other Wednesday either.

*There is no law that in mall food courts you have to eat all of your meal before you can order dessert. And that guy standing by the door wasn’t a policeman watching you to be sure. He was just mall security.

Orange Teriyaki Chicken | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #chicken #dinner
Orange Teriyaki Chicken

*I don’t actually have eyes in the back of my head, I spied on you. They didn’t call it stalking back then and anyway I’m your mom, I’m sure I could have talked my way out of it if you’d caught me.

*I found your missing money. Every time. It was in the wash. Every time. I don’t apologize. I know I taught you that infinitely important life lesson “finders keepers, losers weepers.” That one’s true, btw.

*You sucked at all of those instruments. All. You thought practice was torture for you? Why do you think I drink?

*I do actually know what happened to that toy xylophone. I threw it out. I’d do it again.

*I didn’t really sign you up for all those summer camps because I knew you’d want to go with all of your friends. More like I talked their mothers into it.

*Before you could tell time, when dad was away on business trips and it seemed like it was too light out for your bed time, it was.

*And once you could tell time, I pushed the clocks forward an hour. Sometimes two.

*The Easter Bunny didn’t really have a “naughty or nice” list like Santa Clause. As long as we’re being honest, neither did the tooth fairy.

*You were right, I had bought more cookies than made it into the pantry. But that was for your own good. You didn’t exactly love visiting the dentist. And he didn’t exactly rejoice in seeing you coming either, just so you know.

*Eating too much ice cream does not cause warts. Or herpes.

*The Pediatrician doesn’t give extra shots to kids who don’t eat their vegetables.

*I hadn’t actually been reading a sad book each and every time you had a school snow day. But those tears were real nonetheless.

*And while we’re on the subject, the truant officer doesn’t come and put you in jail if you don’t play outside for at least a few hours on snow days.

*All kids do not have to wear their underwear backwards once a month to remind them that in some countries families cannot afford underwear. Every now and then a mama just has to find ways to amuse herself.

*Cars don’t have ejection seats for boys who fight while mom is driving.

*And no, thunder is not G-d’s way of warning you that he’s going to send lightening next if you don’t quiet down.

Glad to have that off my conscience.

Bless Me Boys, For I Have Sinned | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

 Is it getting hot in here? I may need to ask that guy with the horns and the pitchfork to turn up the air conditioning.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Orange Teriyaki Chicken
Printable Recipe
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp orange zest 
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp chinese 5 spice powder

OPT: toasted sesame seeds

*Cut each chicken breast into 3 pieces of about the same thickness. Place in a bowl or a freezer bag.
*Mix the rest of the ingredients except the sesame seeds together and pour over the chicken. Cover for at least 6 hours and up to a day.
*Remove chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
*To grill: Cook chicken over a greased hot grill until fully cooked and juices run clear.
*To bake: Place chicken in a lightly greased pan. Bake for 20 minutes, turn over and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked and the juices run clear.
OPT: sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.