Tag Archives: Mozzarella

Semi-Homemade Cream Cheese Pizza

Judging by some of the comments and emails I received regarding my last post, it seems as if though I was either unclear or I was misunderstood. I think I was misunderstood. Blame it on my accent. (I don’t really have one)

Some of my readers seem to think that I might be a food snob?!? Me?! The girl that makes Pistachio Pudding from a box?

I am far from a food snob – and I do not aspire to become one, either.

The hosts of that party invited us to a “Dinner Party”, and they made it sound as if the party was going to be some sort of a Black-Tie Affair. They even asked me to bring, “that incredible” Chocolate Pie.

I spent four hours on that Chocolate Pie, plus chill time. They spent an hour at Sam’s to buy all the pre-packaged food, and probably another hour to set up.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I do not care that they bought it all from Sam’s, I just wish I wasn’t told that this was going to be a fancy, shmancy “Dinner Party”.

So now I am going to prove to some that I am definitely not a food snob, and that I do make things that come in a box! 🙂

Take this pizza for instance. You will probably never ever see me at a Pizza Hut, but you will definitely see me in the Baking Aisle at the grocery store reaching to grab one of these pouches:

I’ve blogged about this before. It is my favorite mix for a pizza crust and I use it very often.

Sunday was a day to relax, so instead of whipping up something from scratch, I decided that we were going to have a semi-homemade pizza, topped with cream cheese, ham, mozzarella, parmesan, onions, and baby portobella mushrooms.

Semi-Homemade Cream Cheese Pizza

You will need:

  • 1 Betty Crocker Pizza Crust mix
  • 1/4 (2 oz.) of a package of cream cheese, or you can use Neufchatel cheese
  • 1/2 cup baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup of your favorite ham, diced, or you can use leftover baked/grilled sliced chicken
  • 1 small onion, red or yellow, sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup of part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Parmesan cheese, grated


  • Preheat oven at 450.
  • Make the dough according to the directions on the package.

  • Bake the dough for 7 minutes.
  • Let it cool.
  • Turn the oven down to 400.
  • Once cooled, spread the cream cheese evenly over the crust.

  • Add the rest of the toppings.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, or until the mozzarella cheese is melted.
  • Sprinkle with a handful of parmesan cheese, cut and serve.



Filed under Dinner A la Diethood, Home

Cannelloni Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

After our amazing NYE dinner, I thought I would never eat again! Steaks, chicken, fish, potatoes, salads, crab dips, wine, champagne, need I go on? Hubby and I were extremely satisfied and extremely full. We came home around 2 a.m. and we both crashed; carb overload. But, the next morning I felt hungrier than ever! I think it was the wine that was still spinning in my head – it needed to be soaked up quickly! And thus I began to stuff my cannelloni.

I am not too crazy about pasta, but my husband can have pasta for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all in-between. When we started dating, somewhere in the beginning stages I had made an elegant pasta dish (this was before I knew that he loved pasta) with some sun-dried tomatoes and bechamel sauce – the guy was in food heaven! He says that’s when he knew he was going to marry me.  It’s true what they say – a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. 🙂 So to start off the New Year with a favorite, and because he had to work on New Year’s day (I felt bad for him), I went ahead and made one of his fave pasta dishes; Cannelloni Stuffed with Ricotta and Feta Cheese.

You will need:

  • 1 package (10 – 12 pieces) of Cannelloni
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1/2 pound fresh spinach
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tub (5 oz.) Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 package (10 oz.) of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups of Tomato Sauce


  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Cook the cannelloni, a few pieces at a time, according to package instructions. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Heat EVOO and butter in a pot over medium heat then stir in the garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add spinach and sautĂ©, stirring, until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  • Bring the quartered cherry tomatoes into the pot and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the ricotta cheese and the feta cheese. Cook together for 2 minutes before you add in the spinach.
  • Salt and pepper to taste, blend well, and remove from heat.
  • Stuff the mixture into the cannelloni by using either a small spoon or a piping bag.
  • Lay the cannelloni shells down inside of a baking dish or a clay baker.
  • Top with the tomato sauce and sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake in oven for 45-50 minutes or until pasta is cooked and cheese is golden on top.
  • Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.


Filed under Dinner A la Diethood, Home

Eggplant Parmigiana

By now most of you feel like you’ve overloaded on all the bad food and forgot about how it was to eat good food. Funny thing is that I feel just as overloaded yet I’m still Fasting for my (Macedonian Orthodox) Christmas, which is on January 7th – I can’t wait to see how I will feel eating some good, fatty foods after six weeks! But even though I’m on this Fast, I’m always eating because I’m always hungry. How do you vegans do it? I applaud you! I do a vegan Fast twice a year for six weeks and by the 4th week I can’t wait to get it over with.

On the up side though, I get creative with my food during the time of Fast despite the fact that I’m limited to just a few ingredients; no meat, no butter, no cream, no fish, no eggs, no this, no that…phew…it’s a challenge, to say the least, and thank goodness for meaty vegetables. Eggplants, to be more precise. I love them! I can do a million things with this vegetable. Well, maybe not a million, but I can make it a few different ways; I can grill it, fry it, roast it… you catch my drift.  So today I got to work and prepared this fabulous Eggplant Parmigiana! For all of you that are trying to see a flatter stomach again, give this healthy recipe a try; it really is fabulous! Most Eggplant Parmigiana recipes require you to fry the eggplants prior to baking, but I skip that first step and go straight to my oven.

You will need:

  • 1 large Eggplant, sliced into 8 to 10 – 1/4 inch slices
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, sliced into 8-10 slices
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced, evenly divided
  • 3/4 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. EVOO
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and crumbled
  • ½ cup shredded part-skim milk mozzarella cheese (optional – I’ve included it because my husband is not Fasting so his portion is with cheese)
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt, divided
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1/8 tsp. Garlic powder, divided
  • 1/8 tsp. Basil, divided


  • Preheat oven at 425 degrees.
  • Arrange the eggplant in the bottom of a 9Ă—13 baking dish and place the tomatoes over each eggplant slice.
  • Sprinkle with half of the minced garlic, then add garlic powder, salt, pepper, and basil. Remember to evenly divide up your seasonings.
  • Drizzle a tablespoon of EVOO over the eggplants.

  • Repeat the process until you have used up all the slices of eggplant.
  • Season with the rest of your seasonings, and arrange the mushroom slices over the entire mixture.

  • Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and add the bread crumbs, then, if using the cheese, add the mozzarella on top.
  • Put it back in the oven and cook it uncovered for about 10 more minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
  • Let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

Eggplant Parmigiana without Mozzarella Cheese

That’s for me.

Eggplant Parmigiana with Mozzarella Cheese

And that’s for Hubby!


Filed under Dinner A la Diethood, Home

Semi-Homemade “Pizza Alla Bismark” & A Review

When I started dating my husband, about five years ago, we would often engage in a conversation about cooking. He seemed interested, intrigued, and “knowledgeable” – he would agree to everything I said so I thought he knew what I was talking about. It wasn’t until I went to his place when I first found out about his cooking skills. Don’t get me wrong, the food was good, but he didn’t exactly make it; a box did. In his pantry he had a bunch of these packets for muffin mixes, bread mixes, pizza mixes – that is why he didn’t know how to answer my “how much flour did you use” question. On the other hand, I didn’t even know that all these short-cuts existed. I knew about the cake mixes, but not about the rest of the stuff in his pantry (pumpkin cheesecake in a box!).

Fast forward to December of 2010 – I prepared a pizza and it wasn’t from scratch! Hubby felt that I had been working too much (he noticed!?!) so he bought a couple of Betty Crocker Pizza Crust pouches (the kind he used back in the day) and asked me to give them a try – and I did. Well, gosh, Betty knows what she’s doing! The taste of this crust is simply homemade! The only trouble I had with it was when I tried to press the dough in my pizza pan, it kept breaking. At that point I turned to the original method of spinning the pizza dough with my hands just a few times and it all worked out. Next in line were the toppings, and that’s where Pizza Alla Bismark steps in!

Pizza Alla Bismark is a pizza topped with a raw egg, which after cooking it becomes a sunny side up egg in the middle of your pizza! I first saw this type of pizza many years ago in Macedonia and I did not want to try it. “Where’s my pepperoni?”, was the thought that kept circling in my head. No pepperoni to be found – just ham chunks and an egg. So, as the saying goes, ‘don’t knock it until you try it’. I tried it. To my surprise I could not wait for the next slice. This was one incredible pizza – the runny yolk mixed in with the ham and cheese was a superb combination.

You will need:

  • 10 inch pizza pan
  • 1 Betty Crocker Pizza Crust Mix pouch (6.5 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or fresh tomato chunks
  • 1 slice Thick Cut smoked bacon, cooked and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup canadian bacon, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 raw egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano


  • Preheat oven at 450.
  • Per package instructions: Stir pizza crust mix and hot water until moistened; beat 20 times, cover, and let stand 5 minutes.

  • In the meantime, prepare your toppings.
  • Then, take the dough and press it into your pizza pan, using floured fingers.

  • Spread the tomato sauce, then add the smoked bacon, the canadian bacon, the mushrooms, 1/4 cup of the cheese, and add the raw egg in the middle of the pizza.
  • Layer the rest of the cheese, add salt and pepper, and sprinkle the oregano.

  • Put the pizza in the oven for about 15 minutes. Watch the egg – you want it cooked, yet runny, so that the yolk spreads onto the rest of the pizza when you cut into it.

  • Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before cutting.

Note: I was not asked, nor was I paid to do this review – I just wanted to share it with you because it is a delicious time saver.


Filed under Dinner A la Diethood, Home

Mushroom & Mozzarella Turkey Patties


Even after all that turkey for last week’s Thanksgiving, I’m still talking about turkey! I can’t help it though, it’s the only time of the year that I have so much turkey to deal with. Yesterday was Stuffed Peppers with Turkey, today it’s going to be about Turkey Patties! These are seriously delicious. I change them up all the time, but I always go back to my original recipe; mozzarella and mushrooms – marriage made in heaven!

You will need:

  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 4 fresh mushrooms, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese

For the sandwich:

  • 2 slices of Honey Whole Wheat Bread
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard, divided
  • 1 slice of Fat-Free Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 slice of tomato
  • 1 leaf of lettuce


  • Preheat oven at 350.
  • Put all of the ingredients into the ground turkey and mix well with your hands.
  • Divide the mixture into 4, and form 4 patties.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with non-stick cooking spray, and arrange the patties.
  • Put in the oven for 10 minutes – flip to the other side – and back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  • Get two slices of Honey Whole Wheat Bread and spread 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard on each slice.
  • Build the rest of the sandwich with a slice of fat-free mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomato and the turkey patty.


Filed under Dinner A la Diethood, Home