Sicilian Sheet Tray Pizza

I like making pizza at home. We like a nice crispy crust, and one way to guarantee getting one every time outside of having a professional pizza oven is to use a sheet tray and regular olive oil. It’s how the Sicilians nonnas do it.

One your large sheet tray, pour out about 2 tbsp of olive oil. You can use your fingers to layer the whole tray in the oil, or you can use a brush. Don’t forget to brush oil up along the sides so the pizza doesn’t stick to it. Watch this clip to see how it’s done.

Drop your room temp ball of pizza dough on the sheet and use your oiled fingers to start pressing and stretching the dough outwards all over the surface. When you think the bottom has enough oil on it, flip the whole dough over to oil the second side. Keep stretching the dough out to the corners from the middle and the dough edge.

When the dough starts contracting back into the middle, stop. Let the dough rest 30 mins. After that first rest, repeat the stretching into the corners. Again, when it starts contracting, stop. Rest it another 30 mins. This may need one or two more stretch & rests before you can start topping the pizza.

I bake mine at 450*F for as long as it takes for me to smell it cooking in the oven and for the cheese to melt in the middle. Pull it out, rest it 10-15 mins, and then use your longest burger flipping spatula to lift the crust off of the sheet to a cutting board. And this should what you see when you sneak a peek at the crust.



Mac & Pizza Casserole

Sometimes I get tired of pizza because I’m not in the mood to chew a baked crust. And sometimes I also want Mac & Cheese at the same time as pizza. Enter the casserole version!

I mixed up my normal pizza topper ingredients I like (pepperoni chopped up, any veg I have kicking around, loads of grated mozza + marble cheddar plus a bit of parm cheeses), a bunch of cooked elbow pasta, the white mac & cheese sauce I always make (or close enough), and any spices I want (I stuck with the classic Italian blend).

This got baked covered at 375* for about 30 mins to get it hot enough to melt the cheese properly.

Home Reno – Pantry Storage

Ok, here we are. This is the big project we did. Big in terms of scale, size, and cost. But worth every penny. This project was inspired in part by the wall of storage you’ve enjoyed since your parents bought that house 30-ish years ago. I’ve been in awe of that much space ever since. It’s been tucked away in my head ever since.

This is my take on it. A full 9′ of storage cabinetry stuffed with pull-out drawers and shelves to spare. We even carved out some space for two appliances: the microwave and the drink fridge. The husband busted his ass planning this all out, buying all of the parts and materials, and assembling it all for me while I was – you guessed it – at work.

My main job was to figure out where the drawers and shelves would reside, and what went in them. After all that, I had to put all of my kitchen crap in these cabinets in a neat, orderly way that is easy to find and not too junky looking. For the most part, things are where they will live forever, but sometimes I will figure out something needs to be moved and just do that on the fly.

This is a small sampling of the crap I had to find a home for. I got rid of a lot of stuff before this picture was taken, too! 😀 So, as you can see, I needed proper storage in this dinky house. This house couldn’t handle my kitchen needs. I have no idea how my neighbours live with their lack of storage, but this is what we did to solve this very vexing and annoying problem.

One other issue we’ve always struggled with is, where do we store our brooms and vacuum? The brooms ended up on a wall in the garage, but the vacuum always kicked about. I hated that, but there was next to zero closet storage on the main floor. Thanks to a weird jog in the wall for the hvac stuff, we had a small nook left over that ended up being the perfect size for our baby Dyson. (We have since replaced it with another thin upright vacuum type that also fits in this nook perfectly.)

And finally, I have to talk about how life-changing pull-out drawers have been for me, a woman with tiny T-Rex arms. We paid a LOT for each of these drawers, but I wouldn’t trade them for all the tea in the Boston harbour. They have made this project complete. I can’t imagine trying to live with these cabinets but with just a bunch of shelves. For real, these were invented for people like me. I cannot recommend them highly enough! 🙂

Home Reno – Front Door Glam Up

We bought this house over a dozen years ago, and from day one, we’ve both hated our front door. Specifically, the lack of light it let in. It was less than what prison windows let in, I’m sure. But we put off getting a new door, and put it off and off. For some reason, it bugged the husband this year more than normal, and he started learning what could be done about it.

From this:

To this:

He discovered it wasn’t that hard to pick up a secondhand glass panel, and it also wasn’t that hard to install it himself. So, that’s what happened one day when I was at work. I love it. He made the right call. Definitely. 🙂

Home Reno – Flooring

Last year we ripped up the old flooring to lay down something new, something consistent, something I didn’t hate to look at or clean. Viola!

How it started: I had to get rid of some very heavy furnishes, which I loved but they just weren’t cutting it for me anymore. Sad to say because I loved all of that worktop counter space but I needed more storage than counters. So, I cleaned them out and sold them off.

We then had to box up everything we could and shove the furniture around as we worked. Most of our stuff ended up upstairs, downstairs, and in the garage to make the whole process easier. And then we got to work on ripping up the old flooring down to the subfloor, the husband vacuumed and then laid down underpadding, and started figuring out the new flooring we bought in terms of where to start.

From this:

To this…

To this:

And this:

By the way, before all of this, we repainted the whole main floor using Linen by Benjamin Moore. Zoom into the wall behind the IKEA chair. I know it sounds boring, but it just works so well in this space, with our limited natural light, and with our furnishings.

This above picture was the one where I just knew we picked the right flooring for this house. It looked so good just barely laid in this foyer space with the carpeted stairs and the white staircase spindles (removed so I could paint them a brilliant white) that will be put back in place afterwards.

The husband probably did some damage to his body doing this flooring (he still complains about his knees and back), but we both think the new flooring worked out well. We are happy with it. Can’t say for sure we’d do this particular pattern ever again, but for now we’re content.


Home Renos – Electrical Panel

The husband has been looking at electric cars for awhile now, but getting serious about it just this year because of, well, gas prices. And the technology. And the future. Setting up a home charging station for an EV car in the garage dovetails nicely with the swap out of our old fuse based electrical panel in the breaker style panel that we’ve been talking about having done since we bought his house over a dozen years ago.

So, he pulled the trigger on it in September after finding someone who could and would do the work for us. If not for the pandemic, this would have been a swap we did two years ago even though we wouldn’t have thought about the EV component in any serious way. I’m happy he lobbied me for it. Now we are ready for the future of cars!

And this is this is the crown jewel of this reno. The item that will help us, or whomever owns this house, when EV cars are finally affordable. The future is closer now. The whole project was worth every penny (SO many pennies).

Home Renos – Bathroom / Kitchen

For the last three months, we have been in home reno mode. We were already talking about doing something in some areas of the house (the dining room space, specifically) when we had an issue with the bidet attachment on our upstairs toilet leaking and cracking a few of the floor tiles from the water damage. There is no way of telling how long it was leaking based on the damage we saw after opening up the bulkhead, but we did see it wasn’t the first leak that toilet had, and ours was just the latest. The new wood planks in the pictures are replacements for any of the moldy, rotted out old planks that suffered from past toilet leaks.

How we discovered this problem was one day there was a gross rust colour water on my kitchen counter that I couldn’t trace at counter height after moving all kinds of stuff out of the way, so I started to look around, and then up. EEK.

I turned on all the kitchen lights, and that’s when I saw a huge wall bubble of water behind the paint where the ceiling/bulkhead/wall meet. The paint I just put on those walls four months earlier. Ugh. I pointed it out to the husband, and he started poking around. While at work the next day, the husband used his staycation time to literally poke the bubble to empty it. All over my barely covered counter and cooking tools/spice racks. *sigh*

But that’s not the only thing he poked open. I came home to this above pic visual. So after a quick text consultation with my contractor brother, we set up a big fan and let it air dry for a few days while we assessed the damages and bought materials to replace and fix up the ceiling, wall, wood, drywall, and paint. Luckily the husband was able to do all of this while I worked that week, so I wasn’t in his way and he had loads of time to get it done properly without feeling like he needed to rush this job. That was the last thing I wanted, but at the same time, being without a full functioning kitchen for almost 1.5 weeks was a bit tiresome. I was glad to have my cooking space back, let me tell you.

And I couldn’t be happier with the work my husband did in there. I honestly have to look hard to see where this all went down on that wall and along the bulkhead. We stopped the leak for now, but eventually we will need to rip up our bathroom tiles. Issue there is those tiles match the ones on the shower walls, so… It will be a job, for sure.

There are touch-ups that need to be done in the kitchen, but now he’s eyeballing the light fixture as something he wants to replace with pot lights, and well, that just means more painting in the future, so we’ll leave the corners and edges for then.

But in the meantime, I was getting continually frustrated with lack of storage space in my kitchen and dining room to fully store all of my ‘kitchen shit.’ So, the husband finally cracked and created something for me in the IKEA building planner, and after I signed off on it, he went shopping. That’s a post for another day very soon. And I took pix. 🙂

And we did a few other projects that I will post about when I have some time this week.

What I Air Fried This Week

I made a lot of the same things I’ve already made, and I also went back to try the Chocolate Croissants again because I wanted to play with the times.

Instead of the typical 350-400* bake, I dropped it down to 300-320* for ten mins using a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and a crushed up Flaky chocolate bar. Nailed it!

I also saw this video recipe for Lemon-Pepper Wings and decided I needed to try it since the flavourings were right up our alley. I mean, lemon and pepper? C’mon! So I used frozen chicken parts that I coated in seasonings and then in flour. I dropped them in the basket and flipped once half way, cooking them at 400* the whole time ( 8 mins + 8 mins).

The recipe called for rolling them around in some melted butter with the lemon-pepper blend, and they were fantastic. What I didn’t like was how the butter made the crisp texture straight from the air fryer soggy. :-\ I will definitely make these wings again but I will roll them in the lemon-pepper dry seasonings before I cook them and forgo the butter bath altogether.

And if that doesn’t work, I will dust the crispy wings in the lemon-pepper seasonings as a rub after they come out of the air fryer all hot and crispy.

Yes, I know. I need better lighting for my pictures. I agree. I have a ring light but my kitchen is still largely a mess from the unexpected repairs the husband had to do in there, and my ring light is buried in a corner right now. Oh, well.

Air Fryer Round Up

Sorry, been busy at home with some home projects that came up unexpectedly, and work, and… air frying everything that’s not nailed down, of course! LOL

Here are a few things in picture form. I’ll do posts for each item but it’s getting late tonight, so here is round up to look at for now:

Pumpkin Pie (warmed up only)
48 Mini Meatballs
Chicken Enchiladas
Lasagna Sandwich
Onion Rings
Crispy Chicken Strips

This was a great sausage, cooked perfectly in the air fryer at 350 for about…12 mins.

This store bought pie was cold when we brought it home, so I dropped it in the basket after I made dinner and unplugged it, just to warm up using the residual heat. Lovely.

Homemade Italian meatballs, cooked at 320*F for about 10 mins, shaken a bit once, temped at about 158*F before being blasted at 400*F for another five mins to finish them off perfectly giving them the deep colour I was looking for.

These chicken enchiladas were the bomb! I loved how fast these came together, and how tasty they were. I made a lot of them over a few days to use up all of the materials and to get it out of my system before turning to other things I want to try in the air fryer.

I saw this idea for a lasagna sandwich on Tik-Tok, so of course I had to make them. I regret nothing! 🙂

These store bought frozen onion rings took me two tries to nail. I sprayed them the first time as I dropped them in the basket, and they were soggy after 20 mins at 400*F. The second time, I dropped them frozen in the basket and cooked them for 10 mins at 350*F, and then flipped them and cranked the temp up to 400* for the last 7-ish mins.

I made a LOT of lasagna sauce for the lasagna sandwiches, so I baked a lasagna in the foil pan to use it all up. The thing I learned was a thick lasagna is NOT the way to go. Two shallow pans of lasagna cooked back-to-back for something like 20 mins at around 350*F would have been a better idea. I will have to test this again in the future.

I love my chicken nuggies, so of course I love chicken strips, too. I love them breaded and crispy, on a bun, with lettuce/tomato/sauce. So good. 🙂 These were also really good dipped in fridge door sauce whipped up on the fly.