Category Archives: cooking with the dillmans

Homemade Pizza

18th November 2015

When we received our Kitchenaid stand mixer last Christmas, one of the items I was most excited to make at home was pizza! I love pizza and find it very hard to find good pizza in our area. (Although we did stop for lunch at Pizzeria Toro in Durham and we really love that!) This past winter I was only working part-time and so I started making homemade pizza a lot. It helped us hone in on how to make good pizza, what sauces and cheeses we like, and how to cook it perfectly.

One of our favorites that we haven’t looked back on, is the Nello’s marinara sauce. It’s actually made locally and it has the best flavor! I’ve become so picky on tomato sauce because some are too sweet and over powering that I don’t get to appreciate the other ingredients, but Nello’s has been the perfect solution. Plus it’s great to shop local!


To start with homemade pizza, I love to use Bobby Flay’s pizza dough recipe:


  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling (Chef’s Note: Using bread flour will give you a much crisper crust. If you can’t find bread flour, you can substitute it with all-purpose flour which will give you a chewier crust.)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 envelope instant dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees F
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons


Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.

Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay © 2015 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.


A few ingredients and about an hour later, you have an excellent pizza dough, like above! Yum!

Once your ready to cook, preheat your oven as high as it can really go. If you can get it to 500 degrees, that would be great. You don’t need a pizza stone, but if you have one, make sure to preheat the stone! If you’re cooking on cookie sheet, it’s good to pop it into the oven for a few minutes too. While doing so, roll out the dough with a rolling pin, or even a glass! Stretch it, roll it fluff it with your hand on a floured surface. Grease your baking sheet if you’re using one and place the dough on the baking sheet and roll it out a bit more. Go ahead and put the dough in the over to crisp up for 3-4 minutes before we add any more ingredients.

Once the dough has crisped (check underneath to dough to see if it is no longer sticking), take the dough out of the oven and add all ingredients except for the cheese, and cooking for another 4-5 minutes. Take the pizza out and add your fresh mozzarella (use fresh!), bake for 2-3 minutes, and broil for the last minute to bubble the cheese, and viola! All done! Definitely use your oven light though and vary your cooking times depending on your oven and how quickly it bakes though.

Use any of your favorite ingredients and you’ll have an amazing pizza!


Bon appétit!

Chicken Tinga Tacos

24th September 2015

I absolutely love Mexican food. It’s probably my favorite food, but there are so many different options to eat as well! One of my favorite local restaurants, La Rancherita, seems like your typical restaurant but they have amazing tacos! My favorite is the Chicken Tinga Taco. Slow marinated chicken with a little cheese, sour cream, and of course slices of avocado. It’s not hard to make yourself and so hubby and I attempted the other evening. The nice thing is, you can throw the chicken in the crock pot and go! This recipe is even stepped up a bit more with a BACON pico de gallo!

I found this recipe off pinterest via Host the Toast:

Crock Pot Chicken Tinga Tacos with Bacon Pico De Gallo
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
For the Chicken Tinga Tacos:
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Bacon Pico de Gallo:
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 small radishes, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Cotija cheese, crumbled, to top (Does anyone have advice on where to find this cheese?! I can NEVER find it!)
  • 1 avocado, sliced, to top
  • 16 corn tortillas, warmed
  1. Combine the Chicken Tinga Taco ingredients in a slow cooker and set to low for 5-6 hours, or until chicken shreds easily. Discard the bay leaf. Remove the chicken from the tomato sauce mixture and shred with two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  2. As the chicken cooks, make the Bacon Pico de Gallo. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the onion, garlic, radishes, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Toss to mix. Then, toss in the crumbled bacon. Set aside.
  3. Scoop the Chicken Tinga mixture into corn tortillas, top with a slice of avocado, Bacon Pico de Gallo, and crumbled cotija cheese (if you can find it! ha!). Serve warm.

YUM!! Can’t wait to make this recipe again soon!

Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse

24th August 2015

I love sweets. I have a terrible sweet tooth. Nick on the other hand, does not. So normally if I want sweets, it’s just for me and that’s no fun! The other night we had friends over for dinner so it was the perfect opportunity for me to explore dessert options. I settled on chocolate mousse because I love chocolate mousse and it seemed relatively easy.

I used the David Lebovitz instructions to make my mousse. Make sure you do have a little time ahead of any occasion to make this mousse as it needs to sit at least four hours and will hold for around 4 days.


As with any recipe you make that may call for chocolate, wine, rum, etc. it’s always in your best interest to go with a nicer quality product. If you wouldn’t buy it to drink or eat it, don’t use it in your cooking. So even though the nicer chocolate is more expensive, it’ll be worth it in the end. David recommended chocolate by Green & Black, so I did as told!


It’s a magical site to see that beautiful chocolate melt, especially once you add the stick and a half of butter.. yes a stick and a half.



Is it weird that I love how beautiful beaten egg whites look? Just like a fluffy cloud, and they taste that way too. MMMmmm!


After I finished the recipe I poured the batter into individual ramekins and went ahead and plated it so that I could just pull them out of the fridge and serve! It definitely takes a step out of the process while you’re entertaining. Not to mention, fresh blackberries go fantastic with chocolate!

Bon appetit!


Chocolate Mousse via David Lebovitz
Six to eight servings

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf) by Julia Child.

  • 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)

3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.

5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm. (And up to 4 days.)


Cooking with the dillmans

10th April 2014

I absolutely LOVE Mexican food. I crave it and could eat it almost everyday. Cheeses, meats, veggies, sour cream, guacamole, etc. I LOVE IT. We tend to have some type of ingredients to make a Mexican meal at home and I came across this recipe last night on Pinterest and decided that is what’s for dinner. A “healthy Mexican casserole with roasted corn”. YUM!

Photo via Pinch of Yum

It was easy to make and includes some great veggies. We used the Frontera enchilada sauce to keep the sodium down and because our Uncle is the graphic designer for all things Frontera so we love to support him and Chicago! It’s also more fresh. (I HIGHLY recommend the Frontera guac starter, it’s super tasty!) So here’s the recipe for the casserole via Pinch of Yum!

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno or 2 chipotle peppers (optional – just for more kick)
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon is a good ballpark measure)
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese (mine was a Sargento blend)
  • 18-20 corn tortillas
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • cilantro, guacamole, or sour cream for topping
  1. Roast the veggies: Dice the peppers and mince the onions. Heat a large nonstick skillet with NO oil over high heat. Add the onion and peppers, sprinkle with chili and cumin, and do not stir. This allows the peppers to roast and brown on the outside. After a few minutes, give the pan a shake or stir and let the peppers sit again for a few more minutes without stirring. Remove and set aside. Repeat the roasting process with the corn, sprinkling with chili and cumin, removing from the heat when browned and roasted on the outside. Sprinkle the roasted veggies with a little bit of salt and toss to coat.
  2. Prep the ingredients: Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tortillas into thin strips. Put the refried beans in a bowl and mix with a little bit of water to make them easier to spread.
  3. Assemble: Spread a little bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer in order: half of the tortilla strips, ALL the beans, half of the veggies, half of the sauce, half of the cheese. Cover with the other half of the tortilla strips, veggies, sauce, and cheese.
  4. Bake: Cover with foil (I usually spray mine with cooking spray) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Serve with guacamole, fresh cilantro, sour cream, or anything in the world that you want.

The Dillmans