Perfect Pizza Crust

I have used a couple pizza crust recipes, but this one is far and away my favorite. I love it. It's so easy to make, and so easy to work with, and it tastes great. I love that I have the option to freeze some for a quick weeknight dinner later on if I want. It's the best.

Perfect Pizza Crust

For the crust:
½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. olive oil

Measure the 1/2 cup warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. 

(If desired, wrap one of the balls of dough in plastic wrap, put in a freezer bag and freeze for later. When it's time to use the frozen dough, put it in the fridge in the morning, then take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you're ready to use it.) 

Cover ball of dough with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500° F. Sprinkle a large baking sheet lightly with cornmeal or lay down a piece of parchment paper to prevent dough from sticking. On a countertop lightly dusted with flour, gently roll out the pizza dough into a large circle, leaving a thicker ring around the edge for the crust. (If the dough doesn't want to stretch and roll out, let it rest for a few minutes and come back to it. If it's been frozen and thawed, it's a little harder to work with, but letting it rest a bit usually helps make it more workable.) Carefully transfer the dough to the baking sheet (on top of the parchment paper or dusted cornmeal) and top with toppings and cheese as desired. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Makes two medium pizzas.

Recipe from Annie's Eats.


Creamy Chicken Taquitos

I've seen these taquitos posted on a few different recipe blogs recently, and after hearing everyone rave about them I had to try them. They were so great! We liked these so much, they made it into the regular rotation. I loved how the subtle flavors of the cilantro, lime, and spices mixed so well. Definitely a dish we would make again and again. Try them, you'll love them!

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

1/3 cup (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup salsa
1Tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced {1 tsp jarred minced garlic}
3 Tbs chopped cilantro
2 green onions, sliced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup grated pepperjack cheese {or cheddar, monterey jack, etc}

12-16 small flour tortillas {you could use corn but we like flour!}
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix softened cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and minced garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Be sure not to over-fill as the chicken mixture will expand and bubble during baking. Then roll it up as tight as you can. {If using corn tortillas, heat in the microwave to make them more pliable before rolling.} Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle some kosher salt on top. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Serve with salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.

Makes 12-16.

Recipe from my sister-in-law Michelle, originally from Our Best Bites.