#1 Pizza

The other day while Josh was working on his finals for the semester, I was surfing through Netflix and found this show called The Pizza Masters. I was pretty excited about it because my favorite food in the whole wide world is…PIZZA. I am very committed to finding good pizza. I love pizza so much that when I went to Italy a couple years ago, I ordered pizza at all the restaurants in all the towns I visited trying to find the best Italian pizza. It was a challenge and I never really found it because we had a layover in New York City right before we headed overseas so I had the delicious New York thin crust pizza fresh on my taste buds and fresh to compare. The Pizza Master follows a couple of loud, obnoxious, Italian American, pizza restaurant owners, across major cities in the USA searching for the best pizza and some other random food. I was quite disappointed about the show, but it really made me crave Josh’s pizza. Josh’s pizza is amazing! I never liked homemade pizza before I met Josh. With Josh’s pizza you can have the delicious taste and quality of restaurant style pizza right from your own oven. I sound like a commercial, but it is seriously incredible. My favorite!

For my birthday 2 years ago, I asked Josh for a pizza party. We invited a bunch of friends and family over and Josh made 14 pizzas. Bless his heart, especially with one oven. But he guessed right and we only had a pizza and a half left over. Throughout our time together we have entertained many people with Josh’s wonderful pizza. We like the traditionals like sausage, but we also like to branch out. Here is a list of our favorites.

The Joshy C. Decker- sausage, green chilies, mozzarella, tomato sauce with chipotle, and red pepper flakes.

Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo (yes, that’s a real sentence)- blue cheese/ranch cream sauce, mozzarella, buffalo sauced chicken, a little bit of blue cheese crumbles, and red onion (just for me, Josh hates onions). (Picture below)

5 Courses of Steak- steak, mozzarella, chopped peppers, Gorgonzola cheese and minced garlic butter, and tomato sauce. (Picture below)

Ann Froman – Sausage, mozzarella, fresh basil, tomato sauce, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

The JaQK- Alfredo cream sauce, Italian seasoned chicken, asparagus pesto, and mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. (Picture below)

 

Sausage
Margarita
5 Courses of Steak
Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
Margarita & Sausage
The JaQK
Sausage

Josh’s Pizza Crust Recipe

1 cup flour

Parsley, Oregano, and Crushed pepper (if you like heat)

2 egg whites

1 tsp. of olive oil

1 tsp. gluten

1 envelope of dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water

Salt

Turn the oven on to 500 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients together, except the yeast. Add the egg whites and olive oil. Mix the yeast in the warm water and wait for the yeast to bloom. After the yeast blooms, add the yeast water until you get the dough to a right consistency. Not to dry, not to wet. Let the dough rise for at least an hour. Roll out the dough very thin and bake for a couple of minutes. Take out and add your favorite toppings.  Bake for 8-10 more minutes. Keep an eye on it. Enjoy!

We’re finally at the end of our top 10 list. We have taken a few detours but the list is finally finished. We hope you enjoy our favorite foods and try them for yourself. Happy Eating! Buen Provecho!

#2 Lasagna

We’re getting to the top of the list! Our diet has kind of messed with this list because we don’t cook as often these kind of dishes. We used one of our cheat meals so we could keep going on our top ten.

Long ago, for our third date, Josh suggested that we cook a meal together. I had enjoyed cooking growing up and I was like, “Sure, that would be fun.” We went to his apartment and cooked Lasagna, It was like lasagna I have never had before. It was so good. #lotsofsausageandcheese. Josh gets the prize for best lasagna I have ever had.

What I remember most about that meal was the fact that Josh was shaking, physically shaking. He was on a pretty strict diet when we first met and had lost 90 pounds. Very impressive. He was getting close to his goal body fat percentage and so he decided to starve himself all day so he could enjoy the lasagna that night. I remember being pretty concerned about him and thinking he was slightly crazy for dieting like that. Because Josh cooks for a restaurant, we ended up making two large pans. He begged me to take the leftovers home or he would eat it all and it would be terrible for his diet. I kindly took the rest of the pan we ate from and he gave the rest to his brother. Every now and then, especially now that we are dieting, I tease him that he better not get that skinny again and shake like that.

He just rolls his eyes. 🙂

Josh’s Lasagna

1 box of lasagna noodles

2 cans of tomato sauce

4 oz of cream cheese

16 oz of ricotta cheese

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

1 pound of Italian sausage 

1/4 cup white cooking wine

1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese

Parsley

Oregano

Thyme

Basil

Fresh Basil

Salt

Start by putting the noodles in boiling water and salt. Cook the noodles for the exact time listed on the noodle box. Our box said around 8 minutes. Remove from water and rinse with cold water. Saute the sausage in a pan until brown. Add tomato sauce. Add seasonings to taste, basil, salt, and oregano. Add cream cheese and white wine. Stir and let simmer on low heat. Mix ricotta cheese in a bowl with Parmesan cheese. Add seasonings to taste, parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, and salt. Set aside. Assemble by layering parts in a 9X13 pan. Put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom, layer noodles, spread ricotta mixture on noodles, spread tomato sauce over the cheese noodles, top with mozzarella cheese. Repeat until the pan is full, end with a layer of noodles. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and a few fresh basil leaves. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Eat!

Buen provecho!

 

 

 

#3 Chicken Enchiladas

When I was growing up, I loved to cook. I’m not sure if Josh believes that, but it’s true.* I remember always watching cooking shows and wanting to try different recipes growing up. It was a great creative outlet for me. After serving an LDS mission and living in Uruguay for a year and a half, I brought home some fun little souvenirs AKA parasites. My desire to cook and eat food left me for the next few years. Even as my stomach improved, my fast paced life and slightly lazy about cooking attitude, stepped in. Hence, when Josh and I were dating, I was eating beets out of can. My stomach has healed a lot and I’m doing much better than when I was first home. This recipe I’m sharing is one that I learned and loved before my mission. It has always been one of my favorites. On a funny, gross side note, the first time I made this for Josh, I vomited. We were just dating and I think I was super nervous cooking for Josh. 🙂 This past Father’s day, my Dad said he remembered those enchiladas and asked if I would make them for him for Father’s day. I happily obliged. They turned out really good and it made me want to add them to our top ten list.

Chicken Enchiladas

Tortillas (Any kind, I prefer flour)

1 package of cream cheese

1 cup chopped red pepper

5 standard size chicken breasts chopped

Cumin (to taste)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

2 tablespoons of taco seasoning

1 can of green chilies

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1/2 cup of chopped onion (any kind, I like yellow)

Cheese (any kind, I like cheddar and cojita)

Saute the garlic and salt in a cooking pan, add the chopped chicken and season with taco seasoning, salt, pepper, and cumin. Add the peppers, onions, and chilies and cook over medium low heat. Mix in the cream cheese and put on low heat.

Sauce

1 can of cream of chicken

16 oz of sour cream

1 cup of milk

Cayenne pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Chopped jalapeno (optional, to taste)

Mix these ingredients in a separate bowl and add 2 tablespoons of sauce to the chicken mixture on the stove.

Spray the 9″x13″ cooking pan with cooking spray. Add 1/4 of a cup of chicken mixture to the tortilla and sprinkle with cheese, roll it up and put in the pan. Continue until the pan is full. Pour the sauce over the top the tortillas and sprinkle cheese on top. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

enchiladas 1
The creation process 🙂
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Voila!

I really love these enchiladas and I hope you do to!

*Josh does pretty much all the cooking in our home. I’m extremely grateful for that!

#4 Lemon & Basil Chicken Sandwich

I was SO happy when Josh made this creation. He has made it for me a few times since then and every time it makes me happy!

A few months ago we visited Salt Lake City (SLC) with Josh’s family. After Josh’s brother was kicked out of a bar we had to find another place to eat. Haha. (We wanted to try a supposedly amazing burger and Josh’s brother didn’t have the right documentation because they ID everyone). Our second choice didn’t pan out, so we finally went to a little Italian deli in the downtown SLC. It was really simple food, but I really enjoyed it. I ordered a lemon and basil grilled chicken sandwich. The flavors were so fresh. Afterwards, I mentioned to Josh a couple of times that he should try to make something like it. I have a fetish with lemon flavored food. He makes me lemon linguine quite a bit. 🙂 He decided to mix it up one day and made his own version of the sandwich and what he made far surpassed this little deli’s sandwich.

Recipe:

Ciabatta bread

Fresh basil leaves

Slices of baby Mozzarella

Spinach leaves

Breaded baked chicken breast (bread crumbs, salt, pepper, parsley)

Olive oil

1/4 cup of room temperature butter

2 tablespoons of lemon juice & drizzle of lemon juice

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon of Italian seasonings

How to assemble: Mix the butter, lemon juice, salt, and Italian seasonings. Spread on both halves of the sliced ciabatta bread. Place a few slices of the mozzarella cheese on one side of the bread and a few pieces of spinach on the other half. Broil these halves until the cheese is lightly golden brown on the edges. Place the chicken breast on the cheese half and drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice on the chicken. Put some fresh basil leaves on top and close sandwich. Now my favorite part, take a bite and ENJOY!!

lemon chicken
Lemon & Basil Chicken Sandwich

#5 Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Life is a combination of magic and pasta. -Frederico Fellin

I love my days when my only problem is pasta and pizza.

Pasta doesn’t make you fat. How much pasta you eat makes you fat. -Giada De Laurentiis 

One more…

What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta…He he.

I decided to go a little more inspirational with this dish and searched the internet for pasta quotes. Josh and I LOVE pasta. He laughs when I tell him I love pasta, because I can devour it pretty quickly and I am always looking for new pasta recipes. When I lived in Uruguay, I ate a lot of pasta. It wasn’t the greatest pasta, but I liked it much better than rice. They had a tradition to eat gnocchi on the 29th of every month. It was called Dia de Gnocchi and the reason they ate gnocchi stemmed back to early Italian immigrants who were normally paid at the beginning of each month. By the 29th of the month, the selection for food was slim so they used potatoes and flour to make a gnocchi pasta which was very cheap and very filling. The tradition kept going. Pasta is so versatile and fun.

Josh and I decided to try a sun dried tomato pasta recipe. My cousin Nomi came to have dinner with us and we were serving steak. Since steak is Josh’s favorite food, I wanted to have a side of food that I loved. I chose pasta. I found a recipe online and we tweaked it a little bit. It was SO yummy. Fast forward a few weeks, we were participating in a 10K race and we need to carb load the night before, Josh suggested we tweak this recipe a little more and make it again. I happily agreed. We made a pretty large pot of it and we were expecting it to last us into the week for leftover lunches. The pasta didn’t make it. We ate the pasta for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.I know…we were piggies. 😉

sundriedfinal

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

1 cup of sun dried tomatoes (chopped)

1/2 cup of shallots (chopped)

1 small can of tomato sauce

1 Tbs. of minced garlic

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup white wine

3/4 cup of mozzarella

1 Tbs. of rosemary

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup of cream

16 oz of pasta

Saute the garlic and shallots. Add the chicken broth, rosemary, and sun dried tomatoes. Add the tomato sauce and the wine. Let it simmer on medium for about 5 minutes. Add the cream and the cheese and the salt and pepper and stir until the cheese is melted. Add cooked pasta and mix well. Sprinkle more mozzarella on top and broil until the cheese is golden. Garnish with rosemary.

 

 

 

#6 Lobster & Linguine

I’m super excited to write about this dish because this is one my FAVORITE meals that Josh makes. Josh makes me laugh because he admitted to me that he sometimes has to get past the mental block of eating a crustacean after preparing this meal. They don’t look that appealing in the preparation process. I am a seafood nut. I can eat sushi like candy and I can eat shrimp, crab, and lobster like…candy as well, haha. Josh has made this dish for me a few times and anytime I mention it, people are very impressed (the people that like seafood).

Josh was super sweet and made me this dish for Valentines day. It was fun because I actually watched the magic come together.

Lobster collage
Lobster & Linguine

Josh started this buying two lobster tails and then shelling them. He said this step was the hardest step because it can be tricky to pull the meat out in one piece. He cut the lobster shell in the center of the shell and used a knife to pry the meat from the edges. The meat should slide out.

I chopped up 2 pounds of butter while Josh continually stirred the pieces of butter on medium heat. It can be a tricky process because you can’t stop stirring or it will separate and the butter will not work as well.

After the butter is melted and the temperature is 120 degrees. Josh puts the lobster meat in the butter, completely submerged, and lets it cook for 6 minutes. After the meat is cooked, Josh then uses the rest of the butter to make a sauce for the linguine.

Butter Sauce

2 pounds of melted butter (not separated)

1/2 cup of lemon juice

1 Tablespoon of minced garlic

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

2 splashes of white wine

1 Tablespoon of parsley

Salt to taste

Add all these ingredients to the butter that was used to cook the lobster. Pour on your favorite type of pasta. Serve the lobster on the bed of pasta.

This is amazing! 🙂

 

#7 Ribs

When Josh was younger he went to Disney World with his family they went to an old western restaurant and show that served unlimited ribs. He did the same thing and ate tons and tons of ribs. 🙂

When I was around 12 or 13, I saw a restaurant’s commercial advertising unlimited ribs. It had such a catchy tune and the pictures of ribs looked so good I decided that was where I wanted to go for my birthday dinner. My family took me there and I ate tons and tons of ribs. I think it was impressive for a 12 or 13 girl. 🙂

I also remember every time my Grandpa came to visit, he and I would make a rib dinner together with twice baked potatoes. Good times.

The point of all this reminiscing is that we LOVE ribs and Josh makes REALLY good ribs. It is funny because a few weeks ago his Mom invited us over for ribs and he explained all the tips and tricks he did to her so she wouldn’t ruin the ribs. He is very protective over his meat :). I hope I can type up this recipe and do justice.

The great thing about ribs is that they are super easy make.

rib collage
Delicious Ribs!

Starting from the top right corner- Josh cuts the top layer of skin of the ribs and peels it off. He then coats the ribs in a dry rub. I personally like to rub them with liquid smoke and then the rub.

Dry Rub Recipe-

1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

This rub can be altered if you like one flavor more than another.

After you rub the ribs you can put them in the oven at 200 degrees and let them cook for 5 hours. After they cook for 5 hours you can sauce them with your favorite BBQ sauce and then put them in the oven again for another 45 minutes or so so the sauce can coat the ribs and you’ll get that sticky crust.

After that take them out of the oven and let them rest for 10-15 minutes. Then cut and serve.

Some really yummy sides to go with this include:

Twice baked potatoes

Garlic mashed potatoes

Corn on the cob

Mac and Cheese

Enjoy!

#8 Thai Peanut Chicken Salad/Bowl

Josh knows I really love the Thai Peanut Salad that was formerly served at Cafe Zupas. Out of the goodness of his heart he made me this salad/pasta bowl.

I decided to make these pictures in a collage this time to kind of give a picture summary of what Josh did to make this delicious meal. Josh first made this dish as a salad which was great, he didn’t like the warm sauce and the fresh vegetables of a salad. The last few times he made this dish he prepared rice noodles and he has a pasta bowl. I combine all three and put the salad, noodles, and sauce together.

chicken collage

Thai Peanut Chicken Salad/Pasta Bowl

First you chop the chicken into small chunks and coat them in corn starch and spices (see recipe below). Next you saute the chicken in a pan with a small amount of vegetable oil. After you cook the chicken, you can start the sauce. In a sauce pan combine ingredients and add the peanut butter last. The other liquids help properly melt the peanut butter. While the sauce is simmering, you can boil the rice or ramen noodles or prepare the salad. When the noodles are finished combine the chicken, sauce, and noodles/salad. It’s a really simple recipe, which is great!

Rice noodles and/or green lettuce salad medley

Sauce:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1cups light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • Sriracha to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • A splash of rice vinegar

Chicken:

  • 3-4 medium chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces and coated in salt, pepper, and cornstarch.

Buen Provecho!

 

 

#9 Mac’ & Cheese

We had to put Mac’ and Cheese on our top ten list. Josh wooed me with this dish while we were dating. The recipe cooks enough for an army but we love eating our delicious, golden mac’ and cheese for days after he make this. Josh found this recipe on a food blog and made some tweaks to make it his own. It was kind of funny and sad this last time he made it. He burnt 2 pots of cheese sauce to get to the final result. We think the pan was too thin. But on the third try he got it right and tasted spectacular.

milk
Start the recipe with butter, half and half , whole milk, and little flour for thickening.
cheesegalore
The recipe is pretty straight forward, you use 4 pounds of cheese and 4 pounds pasta. You can pick any combination of cheese and pasta to make it work. I also like to add a packet of cream cheese for flavor and texture.
stircheese
After we make a roux with the butter, flour, half and half, and whole milk. We added handfuls of cheese to the hot sauce. After the cheese is all melted. We added some Worcestershire sauce, brown mustard, white white, and salt and pepper. All these ingredients to taste.

 

Macandcheese stir
The gooey goodness! Make sure the pasta is cooked al dente. Mix the pasta and cheese together and put in (2) 9×13 pans. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Macand cheese stir1
What a cute face. Josh is just mixing up the pasta and cheese in a huge mixing bowl.
Macandcheesefinal
The final masterpiece. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a picture after we dished up our food. But you get the picture 🙂

Mac’ & Cheese Recipe*

Disclaimer: We cook like artists not scientists. These measurements are about measurements. Use your cooking intuition and these guidelines to create a masterpiece 🙂

(4) pounds of pasta

(4) pounds of grated cheese (Don’t use pre-grated cheese)

(1) 8 oz packet of cream cheese

1/4 gallon of whole milk

1 quart of Half & Half

1 cup of flour

1 cup of butter

1 splash of white wine

A few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

A few tablespoons of brown mustard

Boil the pasta until al dente. Create a cream sauce with the milk, half & half, flour, and butter at medium heat. Add handfuls of grated cheese until all the cheese is melted. Add the cream cheese and melt. Add a splash a white white, a few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, a few tablespoons of brown mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can add a little more or less of these ingredients depending on your taste.

Combine the pasta and cheese sauce and put into (2) 9×13 pans. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Check the cheese occasionally for browning.

Enjoy!

 

 

#10 Cheesesteaks

Josh and I LOVE to cook together and we decided it would be fun to make our top #10 favorite home cooked meals and write about one each week. We started with #10…Cheesesteaks! We made our Cheesesteaks last night for FHE (Family Home Evening). Growing up, one of my favorite foods my dad cooked was Philly Cheesesteaks. When I married Josh, I found out he made delicious Cheesesteaks as well, I was super happy. We decided to modify this version a little bit. We were watching “Throw Down with Bobby Flay” a while back and Bobby Flay challenged an authentic Philly Cheesesteak place to make the better the Cheesesteak. Of course Bobby Flay lost but he did have a good idea about making a provolone cheese wiz. Josh and I wanted to try it so for this version we added the wiz. *Disclaimer*– We cook like artists, not scientists. Some of these measurements are “about” measurements. My dad calls it a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

steak1
Josh found some rib eye steak on sale. The key is to cut away the fat on the edges but leave some marbled fat for the cooking. (I know red meat is NOT photogenic).
steak2
We needed a really sharp knife to cut this little meat beast into small strips. Good thing Josh has sharp knives and strong muscles.
steak3
He put the steak in to a zip-loc bag with corn starch and garlic salt. The corn starch helps the meat stay moist.
steak4
Josh is shaking the bag and making sure all the meat is coated with salt and corn starch. While he prepared the meat, I sauteed some onions and garlic to put on the sandwich. We did separately because Josh doesn’t like onions. I sauteed about a 1/2 an onion and 2 tbs. of minced garlic.
steak5
He started cooking the steak and started making the cheese wiz at the same time. He seasoned the steak with garlic salt and pepper. It was a very simple recipe. You can be really creative with seasoning, my dad likes to use steak seasoning and minced garlic when making his steak. The sky is the limit.
steak6
He started off the cheese wiz with 1/4 of a gallon of milk and 2 pats of butter. He later added parsley, garlic salt, and flour to thicken the sauce.
steak7
He added about 1 cup of chopped up provolone cheese and 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
steak8
The steak finished cooking and I put some onions and garlic on top.
steak9
The delicious cheese wiz goes on top. Josh put some additional provolone slices underneath his meat. I also like melting provolone on the steak itself. We buttered the rolls and broiled them just until the tops were a little crispy.
steak10
The messy delight! Cheesesteak!!
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Success! (He has such a cute face).

Cheesesteak Recipe-

Steak

Small strips of steak

Garlic Salt

Pepper

3 tbs. corn starch

Toppings

Grilled onions & garlic (1/2 yellow onion and 2 tbs. minced garlic)

Cheese wiz- 1 c. provolone cheese, 1/4 gallon of whole milk, flour to thicken, garlic salt to taste, 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, parsley to taste, and 2 pats of butter.

Bacon- A few strips of bacon and barbecue sauce  can add a different and tasty vibe.

Bread

Any type of roll cut in half. Butter the sides and broil until just the top is crisp. A few minutes max.

Compile and eat 🙂