Pizza dough

2-1/4 tsp dry yeast (one package)
1 c. warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 T. oil

Combine in a small bowl. Let set 5 minutes to check yeast (or keep going if you're in a hurry). Stir in 2-1/2 cups flour; I use whole wheat for some (usually just 1/2 cup). Knead it until it is smooth. At this point you can shape it, top it, and bake at 450 for 20 minutes. You can let it rise for 15 minutes to an hour. Or you can freeze it. Versatile and friendly. Makes one pizza or 6 mini pizzas.

For Pizza Margherita, I mix olive oil and crushed garlic to spread over the top, then add lots of fresh basil. Breaking the leaves helps release the flavor. Slice tomatoes and sliced (or shredded mozzarella) complete the pizza. Oh, and sprinkle on some salt.

Apple Crunch

2 cups sliced raw apples (I like Granny Smith. I leave the peel on.)
1/2 c. raisins or dates (totally optional)

Place in a buttered casserole dish. In small mixing bowl, combine:

1/3 c. butter or shortening
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. wheat flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

Sprinkle over top of apples. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. I like to eat mine with coolwhip. I think it makes a great breakfast, if there is any leftover when morning comes.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Bites

■ 1/4 cup brown sugar
■ 1/8 cup honey
■ 1/8 cup butter
■ 1/8 cup natural peanut butter
■ 1/2 banana, mashed
■ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
■ 5/8 cup whole wheat flour
■ 1/8 cup wheat germ
■ 1/2 cup milled oats
■ 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
■ 1/8 teaspoon salt
■ 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice
■ 1/2 cup dried cranberries
■ 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
■ 2 tablespoons pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, honey, butter and peanut butter until smooth. Stir in the banana and vanilla. Combine the whole wheat flour, oat bran, oats, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a separate bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it forms a smooth dough. Mix in the cranberries, chocolate chips and sunflower seeds. Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are lightly browned at the edges. Note: they don't spread. They will come out looking just the way you scooped them on the baking sheet.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. cider vinegar
2 tsp. grated lime peel
1 T. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. chopped cilantro leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

This works with about 6-9 cups of mixed greens, depending on how strong you like your dressing. I sprinkle crushed tortilla chips on top & call it yum.

If you don't have lime peel, you can skip that ingredient. But fresh cilantro is a must.

Versatile Veggie Soup
Serves 4-6

Heat 2 T. butter in a large stockpot. Add 1 large onion (chopped) & cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 T. flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Add 6 cups chicken or veggie broth, veggies, and herbs (see note below). Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover ans simmer for 20-25 minutes, until veggies are fork tender. PUree the soup in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; serve warm or chilled.

This recipe can be varied given the veggie you use. I used tomato, seasoned it with 1 T. fresh basil, and topped it with mozzerella. If you would like to use zucchini, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, potatoes, or sweet potatoes, leave a comment and I'll tell you the herb to add.

Taken from The Frugal Foodie Cookbook by Lara Starr with Lynette Shirk

Chicken Cranberry Walnut Salad
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 lb) 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup walnutes, toasted & chopped (toasting is important--richer flavor!)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Really complicated directions: Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well.

I served these in hollowed out dinner rolls, lined with a leaf of romaine lettuce. This recipe is adapted from Very yummy!!

Best Brownies Ever

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square metal pan and dust with cocoa powder. Set aside

Melt 3/4 cup butter in a saucepan. Remove from heat.

Whisk in 2/3 cup cocoa until smooth.

Whisk in 1-2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Whisk in an egg until just blended.

Whisk in a second egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla, just until blended.

Remove and lick whisk. Sprinkle 1 cup flour over batter and fold in with spatula. Fold in 3/4 cup coarsely chopped chocolate (I use chocolate chips of all kinds, such as 60% cocoa Giradhelli).

Scrape into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle all or half or none with chopped pecans. Bake 35 minutes until toothpick inserted near center comes out with damp crumbs sticking to it. Don't overbake. These are really, really good (hm, hence the name and my five-pound weight gain).

From The Best of Fine Cooking: Chocolate (Winter 2012).

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