Mini Veggie Pizza Toppings

There is a pizza crust to go under the toppings but the fun is in the topping.  I keep, mini pizza crusts, in my freezer, for the times, we want pizza for dinner.  The two of us eat two each with a heaping bowl of salad.  What I started doing, was making two pizzas with one type of topping and a the other two with something different.  It makes the meal more interesting and enjoyable.

Tonight, we had a more traditional pizza with tomato sauce,broccoli, onions, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.   The other pizza had carrots, radish, spinach with ricotta, Parmesan and Cheddar.  This is a nice change from pizza as we knew it, a few years ago.

For two mini pizzas……

Pizza 1

1/4 cup Marinara sauce for each of the two pizzas

1 teaspoon chopped onion for each

sprinkle of Parmesan for each

1/4 cup chopped broccoli for each

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Lay out the mini crusts.  Pour marinara sauce on two of the crusts.  Cover with vegetables and cheese.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake completed pizza for 10 – 12 minutes or until cheese is browned.


Pizza 2

1/3 cup Ricotta cheese for each of the two

1/4 cup thin sliced carrots for each

1/4 cup spinach

1/8 cup yellow tomato

few thin sliced pieces of radish

1 teaspoon of Parmesan

1/4 cup of cheddar cheese

Cover crust with Ricotta leaving a small space at the edge that is plain crust.

Spoon spinach on Ricotta.  Top with carrots, tomato and radish.

Sprinkle Parmesan and grated cheddar cheese.  I grate right onto the pizza.

Bake in the same manner as above.


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Power Foods – Asparagus

You might remember, last week, I learned how to handle an artichoke, a brand new vegetable, to me.  This week, I learned how to  hide asparagus, in a recipe so that my husband, who has refused to eat it, since he was a child, wouldn’t know it was there.  When, we married, there were three foods, he would not eat, tuna, chicken and yes, asparagus.  Twice, I tried to have him see the light and made asparagus, the first as a newlywed and the second. twenty years later.  Both times, he soundly rejected the asparagus with moans and groans and a matching facial expression.

I knew, this was going to be a challenge.  I made a stir-fry, hoping to camouflage the asparagus, in the midst of other delicious vegetables. 

Camouflage Stir Fry  – done in great trepidation


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 thin asparagus spears, cut into small pieces (about an inch in length)

1 cup cauliflower florets

1 cup broccoli florets

1/2 cup carrot slices

1/4 cup sliced mini orange peppers

1/4 cup onion slices

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh is best)

2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey


Combine, in a small bowl, soy sauce, ginger and brown sugar or honey.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add vegetables to skillet and cook for 4 minutes.  You can add the asparagus for just the last minute, if you would like it to retain a slight crispness.

Add soy sauce combination to skillet and mix in with the vegetables.  Cook, stirring for an additional two  minutes.

*** I didn’t tell my husband, there was asparagus in the stir-fry but I figured, he would recognize it.  He didn’t.  He cleaned his plate completely.  I have to add that the soy sauce did camouflage the asparagus taste so that he ate with relish.  Can you imagine?  He was not perturbed when I told him those green “sticks” are asparagus.  He just kept eating.  Does that mean, he will eat asparagus, in the future?  I doubt it.   It is deeply ingrained in him that he despises it.

You are entitled to a giggle.  I made him this, the following night and he ate it.  Recipe at a later date…


Please check the following blog to see what they did with the asparagus.

Second Course: Asparagus with Morels

Second Course: Asparagus with Morels (Photo credit: ulterior epicure)

Jill – SaucyCooks
Sarah – Everythinginthekitchensink

Noodles and Cabbage

I hope, I have not already posted a noodles and cabbage recipe.  I love it and make it often.  I made it for the holiday.  I think, this is based on a Hungarian recipe.  I remember it, from my childhood.  My mother made this and it was one of her more festive dishes.  She was a plain cook, meat and potatoes and always a green vegetable.  When I was a child, we ate our green vegetables plain and Mom did not try to disguise them.  For some reason, we understood, we eat the food, put in front of us.  This was a special dish for us and I have fond memories of it.

Despite my love for this, I did add some broccoli slaw and added a new dimension to the dish.

Noodles and Cabbage


1 1/2 cup broccoli slaw (carrots included)

1 16 ounce bag shredded white or green cabbage

1 1/2 cups gluten-free brown rice spaghetti

1 large onion, diced

1 tablespoon black pepper

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil


Heat olive oil in pan over med high heat.

Saute onions till golden brown, 5-10 minutes.

Add cabbage and cook till soft, 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Add broccoli slaw and cook for another 5 minutes.

Mix in noodles .

Season with black pepper and if you use salt, add to taste.

Cook 2 minutes or until heated through.

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This is linked to Friday Food

Pasta with Feta, Broccoli and Pecans – Nigella

I found another recipe in Nigella Kitchen that I wanted to make and that became our dinner.  Unfortunately, I was missing several necessary ingredients and did a lot of subbing.  This is a recipe, I would not have made changes to.  It sounded just right the way it was but necessity is the mother of all inventionn, as we discussed previously.  Necessity and I invented an “Almost Nigella” recipe and it was delicious.

(Curly Pasta with Feta, Spinach, and Pine Nuts (adapted)

Shells with Feta, Broccoli and Pecans


  • 1/4 cup pecans, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 pound short pasta like shells  (mine are brown rice shells – gluten free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pound frozen chopped broccoli
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Start the water boiling for your pasta.  Once it’s come to a boil add the pasta and cook until tender.
  2. Toast the pecans in a dry pan over medium-low heat until they are golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in large sauce pan and add the onion. Cook until the onion is tender, adding a little salt if they start browning.
  4. Add the broccoli  and continuously stir until the frozen broccoli heats up. Add the allspice.
  5. Once the pasta is finished cooking, save a small amount of pasta water before draining and add to the broccoli mixture.
  6. Add the feta to the spinach mixture and stir it around until the feta has melted. Then add the Parmesan cheese and continue to stir.
  7. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss everything well to combine.
  8. Serve warm and top with the toasted pecans.

Linked to This week’s Cravings

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Cookbook Sundays

Vegetarian Side Dishes and at Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes

Gluten-Free Weekly Menu Plan      Tasty Tuesday

Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs and Blue Cheese – The Food Matters Project

I have been a big fan of Mark Bittman for a number of years.  I particularly like his ability to convey to the cook many ways to make the same recipe.  This attitude was great for me tonight when I thought I was baking the above recipe, only to find that I could not get most of the ingredients.

I have not seen gluten-free rigatoni so I subbed in penne.  Although, I am sure, kosher blue cheese is available, I have not seen it locally.  We are not fans of figs so I subbed apples which were great.  Finally and unbelievably, the local stores were out of brussels sprouts.  I called my daughter and asked her to look around and she also could not locate any.

I guess, I proved that you can  change the ingredients and come out with a facsimile of the original.

I feel particularly bad because this is the first time, I cooked with the foodies of The Food Matters Project.  This group is cooking their way through Mark Bittman’s, The Food Matters.   If you are interested, get the book and join us.

Marcia from Twenty by Sixty chose the  Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs, and Blue Cheese (page 221), in The Food Matters.   You will find the recipe on her blog.

Marcia shares her hesitation selecting this recipe which about describes my initial reaction.  Figs? Blue Cheese? Pasta? and Brussels Sprouts?  They just shouldn’t go together but I gather they did and did so beautifully.

My combination of broccoli, Monterey Jack, Apples and Penne also worked although I didn’t believe it.  The almonds seemed to disappear into the dish and it was not until the end that I found one. This is unique but trusting Mark Bittman helps.  I had to believe the recipe was good.

Check out the other cooks at The Food Matters Project.

Baked Eggy Broccoli Cuties

Yep, I adore little servings and search for ways to make something in a muffin tin or ramekin.  Usually, it includes cheese, potatoes, eggs and vegetables, in different ways.  What I am finding, is that almost anything cooks into a dish, if you  have a sense of what is necessary to make something blend together.
My dish was the result of finding a few bags of frozen broccoli, hiding in my freezer, behind sundry other items.  It has to be used and not as a side dish.  There is plenty of time to add broccoli to a meal.  I thought about a custard type dish with the broccoli and a mashed potato dish with small pieces of broccoli and red pepper mixed in.  Finally, I took some ingredients out and decided to put them together to make a meal.
Baked Eggy Broccoli Cuties  (I know it is a silly name.)
1/2 a bag of frozen broccoli, chopped into rather small pieces
6 eggs
4 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup gouda
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 3 ramekins with spray olive oil.
Microwave broccoli for 1 minute.  Put aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and add cheese and seasoning.
Cover bottom of ramekins with broccoli pieces (use about a third of the total.)
Mix another third in the cheese mixture and pour on top of broccoli in ramekins.
Top with remaining broccoli.  Push down a little since you want it to become part of the baked eggs.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until top is set and nicely browned (light brown).
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Asian Chicken Stir Fry (with Mango)

I like to fall back on a stir fry when I run into a problem with my menu plans.  I usually can construct the meal with what I find, in the house, and it is an easy dish to make.   That is what I did, tonight.  I had a few cooked chicken cutlets in the refrigerator.  I had cooked them with pineapple chunks and juice so the cutlets were rather plain, perfect for a stir fry.  I also had a mango, I had to use up so I sliced it and threw it in with the chicken and pineapple.  I looked around and pulled out a large onion and red pepper and finally, I had half a bag of broccoli to add to the mix.  With the right seasonings, this was transformed to a state of deliciousness.

Asian Chicken Stir Fry

5 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Mirin

1 teaspoon grated ginger 

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cooked chicken cutlets 

1 mango, peeled and sliced

1 cup pineapple chunks in juice

1 cup Organic Vegetable broth

1/2 large red pepper, sliced

1 large onion, sliced

1 1/2 cups broccoli florets

8 ounces thin spaghetti (I used gluten-free)


In a large skillet, mix soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic & Mirin.

Cook the onions, pepper and fruit in this liquid.

While this is cooking, follow directions on spaghetti package and cook spaghetti, drain and put aside.

After the onion mix is cooking for 5 minutes, add the chicken cut into strips and the pineapple.

Heat an additional 3 minutes and add vegetable broth.  When broth is heated, put broccoli and mango into pan.  Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your broccoli.  (I let mine cook too long.)  If you put the mango in earlier, it disappears into the rest of the ingredients, never to be seen again.

Curly Cheddar Bake

Every once in the while, I discover an old cookbook , hidden in the recesses of a bookcase.  There is something very exciting about such discoveries.  What could an older cookbook have that our new ones don’t have?  I thought I would find a lack of specific terms such as Thai, pesto, capellini and even couscous.  It is not that they did not have these, it is that I don’t remember them at all.

It is not unusual to find an older book, not being used, with so many diverse new cookbooks on the horizon.  Each time, I tell myself, I am not buying any new books,  one comes out that sounds different and intriguing.  These are the times that it is good, I am thrifty, by nature.  Despite this character trait, I still fall prey to the advertising and in the past few years have increased my collection of recipes, whether from books, magazines or the Internet, many fold.

I have made it a practice, every few months, to pull an unused cookbook, off the shelves and cook from it.  I am not sure, it is going to Be Mr. Food, although he has a website, with many ebooks to download, and his recipes, could keep be busy for ages.  My guess, a baking book, will be the one that wins.  Tune in and we will see what I find.  In the meanwhile, I plan to make a few of Mr. Food’s quick and easy side dishes.

The book, I found, was published in 1995 and called Mr. Food’s Quick and Easy Side Dishes.   I perused the pages, hastily, just to get an idea of what I would find.  Indeed, the recipes were easy but they were not the famous five ingredient type.   They had what they needed to make a tasty dish.  For a small book about 5 x7, it had a lot in it.  Mr. Food gives all kinds of advice and tips throughout the book.  There is variety in the recipes.

While, this is not gourmet cooking, it appears to be good cooking.  It is a great book to have on hand when you want to make a meal without complications.  You will have, on hand, most of the ingredients and the techniques, from my quick look, are clear to follow and to do.

I had in mind, before even finding the book,  macaroni and cheese for dinner.  I, also had in mind, I did not want to work hard.  I wanted  1-2-3 to have a meal sitting, in front of me.  This basically did just that.

Mr. Food’s Curly Cheddar Bake  (altered recipe)

  • 3/4 pound shaped pasta (spirals)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1  cup milk  (I use 1 percent and it works.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup of chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup additional Cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cook the macaroni according to package directions; drain well and place in a large bowl.

Add  Cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted. Add the margarine, Parmesan cheese, and eggs; mix well. Add the remaining ingredients.

Pour into an oval baking dish that has been coated with nonstick vegetable spray. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the center is set.

Mr. Food says that this is as good the next day as when it was baked.  We had a small piece left and it was good.

Do I recommend it? – Yes.

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