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

Directions:

  • 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.

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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

Directions:

  • 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.

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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

Directions:

  • 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!

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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

Directions:

  • 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.

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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

Directions:

  • 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.

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