Category Archives: Cheese

Chicago Style Hot Dog Pizza

Lately I have been obsessed with mastering pizza dough. It know, it sounds nerdy, but to me pizza is one of the best vehicles for delivering an amazing meal. I should also state that my wife purchased a Kettle Pizza for me for Father’s day, and that is another reason I have been tinkering with the ultimate pizza. It has really never been that uncommon for me to make a least a few pizzas during the week. I used to make batches of dough and have my kids create their own pizza, and for the most part that was always cheese and pepperoni. I would then create another ‘family-friendly’ pizza, and then I would always create one for myself, typically with hot peppers of some sort. But this time around I created something pretty darn amazing; the Chicago style hot dog pizza.

Chicago Style Hot Dog Pizza

I love a great Chicago hot dog. I love the snap of the weiner, and the combination of pickle, peppers, tomato, and the great sesame seed bun. That’s when it came to me that I have never seen nor tried making a pizza in that style, and I knew that would be a real winner. It was.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • One batch of your favorite pizza dough
  • 2 Weiners, sliced into 1 inch rounds
  • 3 slices of dill pickle
  • 1 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Sport peppers, as many as you desire
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp dark sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • Medium grind corn meal

Start by shaping your pizza dough onto your bread board.

Sprinkle the corn meal onto your pizza wheel and then transfer the shaped pizza dough onto the wheel.

How to make a Chicago Style Hot Dog Pizza

Brush the olive oil onto the pizza dough. Drizzle the yellow mustard over the pizza dough, then top with your celery salt, cheese, shallots, sesame seeds, sport peppers, and hot dogs.

Slide the pizza into your oven, grill, or pizza kettle. My Kettle Pizza was about 680 degrees, which I find to be just perfect for cooking pizza in about 5 minutes or less, otherwise cook in a preheated 500 degree oven until cooked through and crisp.

Once cooked, remove the pizza onto your pizza tray and top with the cherry tomatoes, and sliced pickles. If you want the neon green relish, go for it, however the pickles did the trick for me.

This pizza was totally awesome. It was everything you would expect in a great Chicago hot dog, but served pizza style. What’s not to love about that! Have you tried a Chicago style hot dog pizza yet? What were your thoughts? Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Sausage Egg McMuffin

One of my guilty pleasures during weekend mornings is eating an egg McMuffin. I know that might sound strange coming from me, and as I never eat at McDonald’s for lunch or dinner for that matter, I do stop there for breakfast during busy weekday mornings. I always order the egg McMuffin, and nothing other. I’ve learned to make my own egg McMuffin, really for one reason, and one reason only and that is because I want to know what the heck I am eating, plus mine are actually a heck of a lot better. On our way back from a camping trip, we decided to leave earlier in the morning due to some rain issues, and I decided to stop at McDonald’s and treat my boy to breakfast. I can tell you this is probably only his second time in 11 years eating breakfast at McDonald’s so I could see the excitement in his tired eyes. He opted into trying the sausage and egg McMuffin, and instantly fell in love.

How to make a sausage and egg McMuffin

With my kid loving that sandwich so much, and as much as he likes to learn how to cook, I decided to teach him how to make his own sausage and egg McMuffin, and the result was the same. Much better than the original, and he was one happy camper.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 English muffin, sliced and toasted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 round breakfast sausage, cooked
  • 1 slice of American cheese
  • 1 ring mold
  • 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Cooking spray
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste

Start by heating a skillet on medium-low heat. Spray the inside of a medium ring mold, something along the lines of these, and place the ring in the middle of the skillet. Add the butter into the middle of the ring, and once melted, crack in an egg into the ring. Swirl the egg with a fork to break up the yolk and egg white a bit, then season with salt and pepper.

How to make a Sausage Egg McMuffin Recipe

Place a cover over the skillet, and let cook for about 4 minutes or so. During this time, place your English muffins in the toaster, and to me I like to toast them just a bit longer to get a bit darker along the edges.

Now you are ready to place. Lay the bottom muffin on a plate, then the slice of cheese, the cooked, warm sausage, then using a spatula, remove the ring mold, and slip the egg on top of the sausage. Place the top muffin, and dig in.

All of this was created by my son. Not only was he proud, and myself for that matter, but ultimately it turned out to be one awesome sausage McMuffin sandwich. Sorry McDonald’s.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam

One of my first visits to the local Farmer’s market this year yielded a bunch of rhubarb. I do not often cook with rhubarb, but I like to buy a little bit of everything from the market to support the farmers. I remember growing up and having a small bunch of rhubarb growing in our small back yard, and I remember eating it raw, and recalling the tart flavor and the texture being somewhat similar to celery.  With that said, I wanted to use the rhubarb and pair it with a bunch of strawberries I had, and that’s when I thought of creating a jam.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam

The great thing, besides how awesome the flavor is, about this recipe is that it is so easy to make, and I did not find anyone that did not fall in love with it. It’s a great use of rhubarb during the late spring time.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, chopped, hulls removed
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested

Start by adding the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and water into a sauce pot on medium heat. Cook until the fruit begins to break down and all of the juices begin to extract from the fruit, about 25 minutes or so. Using a stick blender, blend the mixture. I like the stick blender because you do not have to strain anything or pour it into a blender.

rhubarb-strawberry-jam-ingredients

Once blended, reduce the heat, and add in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir. Continue to cook until the jam thickens. I typically measure the thickness by running a wood spoon in the jam and seeing how well it sticks to the spoon. Once thickened, remove the jam from the heat, and let cool on the stove.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam Recipe

Once cooled, pour into a large mason jar, and place in the refrigerator. My wife and kids loved this jam, and heck, so did I. I’m not much into sweet stuff, but this was a bit addicting. I should say my friends and neighbors loved the rhubarb and strawberry jam as well. You can can this if you are into canning, however I just placed in the mason jar. It lasted for several weeks.

One of the uses beyond spreading this on toast or peanut butter sandwiches was to spread it on some brie cheese and warm it in the oven until the cheese starts to melt. I served that with some chopped apples for an appetizer. It was heavenly. If you are looking for ways to use rhubarb, give this one a shot.

Trader Joe’s – Poutine Review

I’ll be the first to admit that I was never a fan of Trader Joe’s. I remember when family members would make a trek to one store, nearby downtown Milwaukee, and as we recently had one built not too far from where we currently live. I’ve been there, once, and bought random frozen products, only to be nearly disappointed every time I tried one of their products. I’ve asked my coworkers who live near the downtown location, and they also did not believe the hype. They’ve stated (and others) there are a couple of things that they did like about some of their stuff, including some of the jarred salsas, frozen Indian food, and wine specials. That is about it. Regardless, during last year’s Christmas season, my colleague gave me and my coworker a bag of Trader Joe’s poutine, yep, that’s how we roll in our office. Months later, I figured I would give these a try. As much as I love poutine, and I’ve made it before back in 2007, as well as put a twist on a chicken satay poutine (which rocked  by the way), who could go wrong, right?

Trader Joe's Poutine - Product Review

While looking at the bag, I had to somewhat drool. If you never had poutine, you are essentially getting french fries, drizzled or soaked in great gravy, and smothered with cheese curds. It’s pretty awesome. So when I opened the bag, I got a frozen packet of gravy, a frozen packet of cheese curds, and frozen french fries. Directions were simple, bake the fries until done, and simmer the two packets in hot water until cooked through.

Trader Joe's Poutine

When everything is ready, go ahead and assemble. I laid out the cooked fries, which looked good, onto a serving plate, then cut open the bag of gravy and curds. I squeezed the gravy all over the fries, and layered on the curds.

I then dug in. My first bite was just OK, second bite, less then OK, and it seemed to hang at that point from there on out. In all honesty, I was tasting every bite as though I was doing a product review. The fries were just OK, maybe slightly less than OK. I had to add salt, even though there was gravy and curds to be dealt with. The cheese curds kind of freaked me out to the point where I no longer wanted to eat them. Granted, the cheese curds had a great squeak to them, as every good cheese curd should, but the texture was totally off, and that is when the squeak freaked me out. I did not even want to look at the ingredients, or better yet what the hell that squeak was.

Overall, I would not purchase a bag of Trader Joe’s Poutine again, but I was appreciative of my colleague giving us the bag as a gift during that time. It really confirmed why I do not shop at Trader Joe’s, and I will continue to not believe the hype. If you are wanting poutine, make your own. You know what you are getting, and putting into your dish. Have you tried this product, and if so, what were your thoughts?