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.

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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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Three Cheese White Pizza with Spinach

Although, we are on summer vacation, I decided to go into work today, to go through some new books, for my class.  I spent a few hours there, went shopping and came home exhausted.  I am not used to putting in the work time, I guess.

I really didn’t want to cook and checked out the refrigerator.  I found some leftovers which I planned to let hubby have.  The light went on and I remembered the mini gluten-free pizza crusts, I had gotten, last week.  Why have leftovers when we can have Three Cheese White Pizza with Spinach?  How foolish would that be?  Nothing much easier than pizza when the crust is already made……

I had printed up a recipe from Brenda’s Canadian Kitchen which she just posted, yesterday.  You should go over there and see her photo of a whole pizza opposed to my minis.  She has a lot of good recipes to check out, as well.  The original recipe came from Cooking Light, June 2012.

I almost always have fresh baby spinach, in the house, but today, I didn’t so I used frozen.  It probably, is not as good, but the frozen did a great job of subbing for the fresh vegetable  and was delicious.

Three-Cheese White Pizza with Spinach  (adapted)

4 mini gluten-free pizza rounds

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large shallots, sliced

2 cups baby spinach or 4 cups frozen spinach

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese 

2 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup)

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

On a baking sheet, lay out mini pizzas.

Place shallots in olive oil in a large skillet.  Heat over medium-high heat 1 1/2 minutes. Add 4 cups spinach; saute 2 minutes. Set aside.

Combine cheeses in a bowl.

 Spread cheese mixture over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Bake at 500° for 10 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is lightly browned.

Top with spinach; bake an additional 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from oven and take a big bite.

This is linked to Gluten Free Recipe Linky   What’s Cooking Wednesday @ The Kings Court IV;  Lil’ Luna Link Party @ Lil’ Luna   Recipe Box Linky @ Bizzy Bakes; Whatcha Whipped Up @ DJ’s Sugar Shack;  Real Food Wednesday          Beyond the Peel  Gluten Free Wednesday       Cast Party Wednesdays  Works For Me WednesdayGood Recipes Online

Eggplant Polenta Parmesan

This is the story of a lonely eggplant and 6 unhappy polenta slices who both wanted to meet a new friend.  They came to me to find out if I could help.  Each had a long story to tell about how they ended up so sad and lonely and yes, each has had a difficult life.

Ellie the Eggplant was not favored by the “Vegetable Eaters” who wanted carrots, corn, broccoli, squash and peas.  They walked by Ellie without even a glance.  Ellie sat in the store, hoping someone would come along before she went bad and take her to a real home.  She hated the cold aisles in the food store, lined up with food that called people and people came.  She watched the cauliflower depart followed by the zucchini and onions. She waved goodbye to her friends and put on a smile so they would not know, just how sad she was.

As she sat on her shelf, the polenta found itself in a home, a home where they enjoyed eating polenta with cheese but did not have any good ideas how else to make her into a meal.  She dreamed of finding a friend and working herself through the digestive system with the new-found friend.  Casey, her owner looked for recipes and actually  had a lot of them written on pieces of paper that were piling up.  Casey really did like polenta but was very busy and just could not find time to decide which recipe she should cook.  So the six slices, sat in the cold refrigerator wanting to catch up with their brothers who already had found friends to move on with.

Casey was shopping and saw Ellie sitting in a bin, looking longingly at the customers who ignored Ellie.  Casey saw tears rolling down her purple skin and took pity on Ellie.  She placed Ellie in her basket with two zucchini, one butternut squash, a bag of onions and some beautiful red tomatoes.  The eggplant thought to herself, one of these is going to become my friend.

Unfortunately, that evening, Casey did not use either the polenta nor the eggplant but each were happy to visit in the refrigerator and life was calm and happy.  The next day, excitement reigned.  The eggplant was removed from the refrigerator and was peeled and sliced.  Ellie was happy but she wanted her new friend there, also.  She begged Casey who went along with her and concocted a recipe where the polenta and eggplant could stay together.  There was rejoicing in the house.

Eggplant Polenta Parmesan

Ingredients

1 eggplant

6 slices of polenta

1 small onion, sliced thin

1/2 jar of Marinara sauce

1/4 cup Parmesan

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Season according to you likes.  I did not think it needed any.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a large skillet with oil and turn heat on to medium.

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch pieces and place in skillet.

Cook each side until slightly browned and partially cooked.

While eggplant is cooking, slice onions and polenta.  Polenta should be 1/4 inch thickness.

Remove eggplant and put on paper towels to drain.  Mine almost had no oil.

Add onions to skillet and cook for 4 minutes or until translucent.  Remove and place in a separate pile with the eggplant.

Brown polenta lightly on both sides, adding another spray of olive oil to skillet first.

Using a 19 inch baking pan, pour 3/4 cup of marinara sauce into baking pan, to cover bottom.  Place polenta slices to cover the bottom.    Place an eggplant slice on top of each piece of polenta.  Top with sliced onions and Mozzarella.

Pour remaining sauce over top of casserole and sprinkle Parmesan on the very top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 2o minutes until thoroughly heated and cheese melted.

Take a bite and be happy.

This is linked to Friday Food         Foodie Friday

Four Cheese Stuffed Shells

I thought, I was going to make lasagna and cheesecake for our family party and filled my refrigerator with cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta and farmer cheese plus Cheddar, Mozzarella and Parmesan and miscellaneous favorite cheeses.  We didn’t make lasagna nor cheesecake.  Instead, I made cottage cheese latkes and bagels and lox.  Dessert was chocolate cake and cookies.

Are you picturing my refrigerator now?  You are right; it is filled with cheeses from top to bottom.  I am planning lots of dairy dishes in the next days.  We  love dairy meals so that is not a problem.  I still, I can’t imagine using up all that cheese.  I started with one meal, stuffed shells.  I added some cream cheese to make it creamier than usual and I like the addition.

Four Cheese Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

1 box large pasta shells, cooked al dente (according to package directions)

1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta

1 cup whipped cream cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan

1 cup mozzarella, shredded

1 egg

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Cheese School 101

1 jar Marinara sauce (I did not use the entire bottle – make it as saucy as you like)

extra shredded mozzarella to top casserole

 

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine cheeses in large bowl.  Mix together so that you have a creamy cheese mixture.  Add egg to the cheese and mix until incorporated.  Add seasoning and mix well.

I have some odd-shaped dishes but the closest standard size is a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Cover the bottom with a thin layer of marinara sauce and put aside.

Spoon cheese mixture into shells and place each shell into baking pan.  When shells are positioned, pour as much sauce as you like on pasta.  Add shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

Place in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.  I keep checking to make sure the cheese does not burn.

We find this to be a hearty dish and a side of salad is satisfying for us.

 

Vegetable Pizza Puffs

Tonight, I was making an eggplant dish and usually with this, we have rice and a salad.  The timing of my meal was completely off.  I didn’t know how long the eggplant had to be baked and realized, I could do whatever I wanted with the extra half an hour.  I always have a bunch of papers, on the kitchen table, with recipes that I want to make pronto.  Usually, “pronto” is a long time coming.  I don’t know about any of you but I bookmark and print up many too many recipes, probably more than I could make in a month or even a year.  So much looks delicious or interesting or challenging. I want to indulge in all of these interesting, challenging and delicious looking recipes.  The ones, I am referring to are ones, I find online, whether on a blog or a food site.

Of course, there are the cookbooks and my collection has grown since I started blogging.  Actually, this is my second collection.  When I first got married and through the first two kids, I had a collection of those years.  So much has changed in cooking that I finally gave these books away and kept a few special ones.  When, I became a blogger, I knew I was in the wrong place.  Who was Tyler Frances, Bobby Gray, even my favorite Dorie Greenspan.  Yes, I did know who Martha Stewart was but that was more her notoriety than her cooking and crafting.  I was a dud in knowledge.

I could cook but I didn’t use avocados or fresh ginger.  What was kale or spaghetti squash?  Oil – there was vegetable oil and that was it.  I was definitely challenged as a blogger.

I cooked for years and actually cooked a lot.  I even baked everything that came my way.  My yeast breads and rolls were delicious.  Applesauce was a treat.  Cakes and cookies reigned.  Salads were limited to macaroni salad, potato salad and three bean salad.  Stop laughing, please.

We had company at least, weekly and I made gigantic meals.  Despite all of this, I knew little.

Let’s get back to my kitchen table and the top recipe which  is these Pizza Puffs.  Actually the recipe is called Pepperoni Pizza Puffs but as a kosher Mom,  we do not use milk and meat together.  (short explanation)  Out went the pepperoni and in came the vegetables.  I found this in Lynda’s Recipe Box.  If you would like to see here which are different because of the ingredients and because of the shape, stop on over and see what else she has to offer, while you are there.

Vegetable Pizza Puffs

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs(adapted from Lynda’s Recipe Box)

Ingredients

3/4 cup gluten -free flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk- (I only use 1 percent)
1 egg, beaten
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
4 ounces mixture of green pepper, tomatoes and onions
1/2 teaspoon  Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup pizza sauce warmed

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl add the flour and baking powder.

 Stir in the milk and the beaten egg, and then the mozzarella, seasoning and vegetables.

Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.  (I admit it.  I didn’t do this.)

Spray a 12 count  muffin pan with cooking spray. Stir the batter and then spoon mixture evenly into each muffin cup.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden. Remove Pizza Puffs to a plate and serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping.

We ate them plain, in our hands.  No sauce.

This had a great taste to it.  I ate it while talking to my brother and didn’t pay attention but I remember the first bite got an exclamation, “This is good.”  These are easy to make and versatile to use.

This is linked tTuesday’s Tasty Tidbits                       Healthy 2day Wednesdays!
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Easy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant

Image via Wikipedia

I hate to admit that I have had this eggplant for almost two weeks and it looks a little worse for its rest.  I planned to make it two weeks ago and it didn’t happen.  This week, I took it seriously and made sure, it happened, but I wanted to put it off.  I took out all the other ingredients before I brought forth the eggplant.  I was fighting hard.  I looked at everything and thought, I could make lasagna or stuffed shells.  I could make a spaghetti pie. Finally, I straightened my back and greeted my eggplant.

The question is why did I procrastinate making it.  I think it is a subliminal thing.  I think eggplant, and my inner being says, “Ugh.”  It is true, I don’t like gushy eggplant but I really do like it breaded and baked or in this case, fried and baked.  So, why do I still push away the eggplant and choose something else to make?  If I had an answer, I would share it with you.

I must also share, this was one of the best dishes, we have had recently and we have been eating very well.  It was a good week, perhaps because, all meals were dairy and if I put a little effort into a dairy meal, it is usually delicious.  These were.  If I made dairy meals, all the time, we would be happy foodies and a lot heavier in weight.

This recipe was really easy unless you don’t like the breading and frying.  I don’t like it for health reasons but I don’t mind doing it.  This went quickly.  It is a straight forward recipe and I was done before I knew it.

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

(Kosher Food @ About.com)  (I made some changes to the recipe.)

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup crumbs, I made from Rice Chex  (use Panko crumbs – that would work beautifully)

  • 1/2 cup oil  (add if you need more…..I started with less and added a tablespoon when it was getting dry)

  • 12 ounces  spaghetti sauce

  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

  • 1/3 pound  Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Procedure

1. Peel eggplant. Cut eggplant into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.

2. Dip each slice of eggplant into eggs and then crumbs.

3. Saute breaded eggplant slices until brown on both sides.

4. Preheat oven to 350° F .

5. In a baking dish, spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses.

6. Bake, uncovered, at 350° F  for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.Next time, I think, I will skip the frying and go right to the baking.  We don’t need all that fat.  I have made other recipes without the frying and they were fine.

Cheese & Nut Stuffed Shells

    There has been a change in cooking, recently (meaning years) and we see  nuts and cheese and fruits and vegetables being thrown into dishes, probably new to us.  This meal is a good example.  The nuts are added and that crunch that comes with these nuts makes a difference in the texture, thus in the entire dish.  Using the Mexican blend in place of mozzarella also made a taste difference.  I thought my stuffed shells were good but they don’t compare to this recipe.  The fresh parsley also makes a difference.

I made a salad with this, romaine, garden tomatoes, goat cheese with herbs, basil and oregano rice vinegar and a bit of sugar.  A few years ago, there would have been no goat cheese.  Lettuce and Tomato make a fine salad without it but how much better it is, with it.

Cheese & Nut Stuffed Shells  (adapted - CD Kitchen)

Ingredients

12 dried jumbo shell macaroni pasta
1 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 carton (15 ounce size) ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
13 ounces marinara  pasta sauce

PREPARATION

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain shells; rinse with cold water and drain well. Set shells aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, for filling, in a large bowl stir together the eggs, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the walnuts, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling into each cooked shell. Arrange filled shells in the baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake, covered, about 45 minutes or until heated through.