Eggplant Parmesan…my way!!

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As I have mentioned in a recent post my Dad has a garden and so another vegetable that has been a plenty is Eggplants.
Most of the summer, I would grill them or just roast them in the oven, and a couple of times I made Eggplant Parmesan.  I would post my pictures on facebook and of course my friends say tell me the recipe.

So this last time I tried to remember as making it to take pictures of the process and what I do 🙂

First I used my homemade tomato sauce that I made out of the tomatoes from my Dad’s garden and I love using Fresh Mozzarella 🙂

So enjoy!!

First I peeled, sliced then sprinkled slices with salt in a colander
for 30-40 minutes, then pat each slice dry with paper towel. 
(LOL of course the first picture of that I forgot to take)
Then place them on a baking sheet 

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I took panko bread crumbs and fresh grated Parmesan Cheese

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Mixed in some Sandwich Sprinkle from Penzeys
(coarse salt, garlic, black pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and marjoram)
you can add Italian seasonings as well

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Put about 2 Tbsp. on mixture on top of each slice

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with your hand press down crumb mixture

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Then I sprayed each piece with PAM – Olive oil spray
of course you could drizzle with olive oil if you wish too.

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Then bake in a 385 degree oven until tops are brown

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Sauce you can use any you like, so pick your favorite
I used my homemade sauce and I added
some of the Sandwich Sprinkle to the sauce

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I have some Fresh Sliced Mozzarella

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In a sprayed baking dish, place a eggplant down
and top with sauce

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Then top with a slice of mozzarella

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Place another piece of eggplant and repeat
with sauce and cheese

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I topped the final piece of cheese with the rest of the sauce

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I had crumb mixture leftover

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and I sprinkled some over top the entire dish
And bake at 385 degrees until brown 

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and cheese is melted and brown

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This was so good, most of the time I don’t measure anything so when
I cook unless I write it down it really just turns out to what I have 
in my pantry and such.  So when I am experimenting and it turns out good, I have to remember what I did so I can share in a blog, and then most the time I don’t take picture either 😛 LOL
The last time I made this (pictures below), I did the same except I didn’t have
any crumb mixture left, so I sprinkle the final layer with a little parmesan chesse

They both turned out delicious 😛 so as you make yours just make to what you like and
it will be just as Delicious!!

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Eggplant Parmesan

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 medium size eggplant, peeled, sliced a 1/2- 3/4 inch thick (6 slices from each)
3 cups of tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. Penzeys Sandwich Sprinkle or Italian seasonings, divided
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh Mozzarella sliced, 2 slices for each stack
(used 1 1/2 logs for 8 stacks, so 2 logs would work for 12 stacks)
PAM Olive Oil spray

Sprinkle each slice of eggplant both sides lightly with salt, place slice in colander in the sink,
let set for 30-40 mins.  Then pat each piece with a paper towel, doing this helps draw out the bitterness that some eggplants tend to have.

In a bowl add panko, Parmesan and 2 Tbsp. seasonings; mix together.  Place slices on a baking sheet and put about 1- 1 1/2 Tbsp. of mixture on top, press mixture down with hand then spray with olive oil spray.
Crumb mixture does fly around a little that is why I press down the mixture, you can drizzle tops with olive oil if you wish.  Bake at 385 degrees until tops are brown about 25 minutes or so. 

Meanwhile get your tomato sauce ready, mix in 1 Tbsp. seasoning, have mozzarella slices ready.
Spray a baking dish that will hold the amount you are making.

Once eggplant tops have browned, place half the slice in the baking dish, top with 1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp. sauce,
then a slice of cheese, repeat again, eggplant, sauce and cheese.
At this point you can top each stack with leftover sauce and sprinkle with any left over crumb mixture, or just sprinkle some a little Parmesan cheese over top.  Bake at 385 degrees until light brown and cheese is bubbly.  

You can really make this your own, you like more sauce use more sauce, or cheese even, if you want to stack 3 high then stack 3 high.  These a great meal served with a simple salad on the side.

Enjoy!!!

 

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Homemade Pierogies!!

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PIEROGIES!!!!!!!

Who loves some Pierogies!!! ME!!!

So why not for Fiesta Friday, check out many fabulous blogs for Fiesta Friday over at Angie’s page.

And her co-host for this Friday are Ginger@Ginger&Bread and Loretta@Safari of the Mind, so I would like to thank all of them for today’s Fiesta Friday #64

A friend of mine and I made some homemade pierogies awhile back I think they turned out great.
I made the dough and the filling, then headed over to my friend Paul’s house and we put them together and cooked them up…Delicious!!!!

If you are not familiar with what they are, click here

I have always seen them in the freezer section Mrs. T’s, which I am not saying are not good, if you need a quick pierogi these will do the trick.

For me on the other hand I have them fresh from a place in Pittsburgh a couple of times, my friend Paul is from there so when I went with him to visit we went to “Pierogies Plus” check out all the different flavors that you can get when you go or you can have them shipped 🙂

Also when I went to Chicago I stopped into a Polish Pierogi Shop…amazing 🙂

I just went with Potato and Cheese for this first batch 🙂

Dough – Ingredients

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I used a food processor, you can do it by hand too

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Flour and salt

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pulsed it a little then added my egg

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with egg mixed in

 

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then add sour cream and butter and pulse

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Pulse a few times

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then turn it out onto your work space

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Knead to just bring together

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form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap
I heard if you make the dough the night
before it becomes a more tended dough

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Filling – Ingredients

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Peel and cube your potatoes & boil until
done

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Drain potatoes and place back in the pan
set back on the stove, just on hot burner
to help some of the extra liquid cook off

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I used a ricer, you can certainly mash the
potatoes with a masher or however you
make your mashed potatoes

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using the ricer forces the potatoes through
the tiny holes which make the potatoes very
creamy

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potatoes, riced 🙂

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mix in butter and half and half

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8oz. shredded cheese

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fold in cheese

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finished mixture

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place in container and chill

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my dough

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I cut in half

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then again, take dough and press out
into a rectangle then use a rolling pin to make
dough about 1/8 inch thick

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I use a round cutter to cut my circles
about a 3 inch round maybe 3 1/2 inch 🙂

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I used my scoop, it worked out perfectly
mixture was about 2 tablespoons

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place potato mixture in the center of the round

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bring edges up together and start to pinch
dough together from center to the outside
then from the center to the other side

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Done, this was perfect, it was easier just to
form a round with your fingers, fill it and pinch

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as you can see not all of them look perfect
but they all tasted Fabulous!!!

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From following recipe this was how much
potato mixture left, it may have been a
cup or cup in half.  Great mashed potatoes
for sure.

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Homemade Pierogies

Dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs, large
1 stick butter, softened

You can use food processor or mix by hand
Mix together the flour and salt, add eggs and combine, the dough will be clumpy.
Work in the sour cream and softened butter until dough comes together roughly, then scrap out onto work surface.
Knead and fold the dough without adding any additional flour until the dough becomes less sticky but it will be quite moist.
Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, but I like it overnight.

Filling:

2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled, cubed
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. half and half
8 oz. cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) Cheddar, Colby, farmers or any good melting cheese

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, drained potatoes and place back in pot, set pot back on hot burner so any leftover liquid can cook away.
At this point you can put potatoes through a ricer, food mill or you can just mash them with a potato masher.  Once that is done add half and half and softened butter and mix to combine, season with salt to taste and refrigerate to cool for 3 hours or over night.

Remove dough from fridge and plastic wrap, cut in half, then each piece in half, at this point you can roll each piece into a rectangle to an 1/8 inch thick.  You can use a 3-3 1/2 inch round cutter to make your rounds.  Or you can free form your rounds, you will get 24 rounds out of this dough.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of filling onto rounds, gently fold in half and with your fingers pinch the edges from the center to each end, to seal the dough together.

At this point you can freeze these up to 1 month or refrigerate overnight up to 2 days.

Bring a large stock pot filled with water to a boil, in the meantime slice a large onion and begin to saute in a large skillet with butter or olive oil over medium heat, watching so they do not burn and just brown.

Once water starts to boil add 2 Tbsp. salt and stir, add pierogies to the salted water, make sure not to over crowd the pot and give a stir occasionally.  When pierogies float to the top they are done, transfer cooked pierogies to skillet with onions, cook pierogies until browned and crisp on both sides.

Serve hot with additional sour cream or applesauce if you like, but most of all enjoy those delicious bundles of love!!! 🙂

Think about something sweet inside them, they do make them with fruit, you could sweeten some cream cheese as the filling and saute in just butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or drizzle with chocolate…the possibilities are endless really!!

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Chicken Fettuccine…On the Lighter side!!

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Looking for a healthier lighter Chicken Fettuccine?

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I used Almond Breeze unsweetened Coconut Milk. Coconut Milk! I know what some of you’re thinking ~ “What! Really it is good?” and before you ask I’ll answer ~ No it does not taste like coconut! 🙂

When you order this dish in a restaurant or search online a Chicken Fettuccine recipe they usually call for heavy cream, butter and lots of cheese!!Let me just say that 1 cup of Cream is like 800 calories vs. the coconut milk which is only 45 calories and if you noticed I did not use any butter either.

Now don’t get me wrong the stuff made with all the cream, butter and cheese is great, but maybe not so healthy for us, go give this a try I promise you like it 🙂

For the entire month of September, three of our Remke Market locations will have all of these items on sale.  So stop by our Hyde Park, Skytop or Highland area stores in Ohio.  Most of all the other locations may only have some of these one sale. Everyone loves a Great Sale!!

Oh and if you visiting my blog for the first time, please look to right side of this page and see where it says follow me via email, enter your email address in the box and click the “Follow Chef Amy” link to follow me, then every time I post a new recipe or talk about great products or places I might have been, you get an email about the new post.  Once you have added your email address, make sure to go to your email and confirm the link to ensure you will get my posts!!

Ingredients

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put pasta on

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in skillet add oil and shallots (or onions)

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cook until translucent

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finely chop your rosemary (my rosemary looks dark because I freeze it, when I buy herbs for recipes if I don’t use them all up, I will just put the container right in the freezer then whenever I need to something for a recipe I am cooking I have some.  I only use the herbs from the freezer when I use them in a cooking recipe not if I need it for fresh recipe like salads or on top of a dish)

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I grate my garlic cloves always it is just so easy, so add garlic and rosemary to skillet

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using cornstarch will help thicken the sauce (I forgot to add it to my picture above) 🙂

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add mixture to skillet and whisk often until it comes to a bubble and thickens

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once it bubble and thickens add cheese and whisk

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drain pasta (you might want to do this and have ready before you add your cheese to the sauce)

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add the sauce to pasta and toss to coat the pasta, pour pasta out onto a big platter or bowl, top with your chicken

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you can garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and some shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

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and done

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Lighter Chicken Fettuccine

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 lb. pasta, cooked & drained
1 – 2 large shallots (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup fresh Grated Parmesan
2 1/2 cups Almond Breeze unsweetened Almond Milk or unsweetened Coconut Milk
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
2-3 cooked chicken breasts,  or grilled chicken thighs sliced
2 tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta as directed, meanwhile in a large skillet over medium heat add oil and shallots, cook until onions are translucent; add garlic and rosemary and continue to cook for 1 minute more.

Whisk milk and cornstarch together then add to skillet, whisk mixture until it starts to bubble, once bubbling and begins to thicken whisk in 1/2 cup cheese.

Drain pasta, add pasta to the skillet and toss with the sauce until well coated, plate pasta, add chicken on top and garnish with parsley and extra cheese.

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Enjoy!!!  Thank you for coming!!! Chef Amy

 

Brown Bread!!

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No I don’t mean like Whole Wheat bread…I mean Brown Bread, this is a sweet or quick bread and bake in a CAN!!  

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Yes I said a can…you know a can that veggies come in or soup 

I grew up having brown bread in our house my Mom would make this as well as my Grandma…I don’t think I ever thought it was odd baking it in a can…I was a kid it was a cool thing 🙂

Wikipedia says – 

New England or Boston brown bread is a type of dark, slightly sweet steamed bread (usually a quick bread) popular in New England. It is cooked by steam in a can, or cylindrical pan.
Brown bread’s color comes from a mixture of flours, usually a mix of several of the following: cornmeal, wheat, whole wheat, graham flour, or rye, and from the addition of sweeteners like molasses and maple syrup. Leavening most often comes from baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) though a few recipes use yeast. Raisins are often added. The batter is poured into a can, and steamed in a kettle. While most variations are quick breads, and can be made in less than an hour, several commercial brands are available. Brown bread is somewhat seasonal, being served mostly in fall and winter, and is frequently served with baked beans.

I really had forgotten about this Brown Bread until I read this blog “A Small Insight” http://asmallinsight.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/mammas-fruit-loaf/
Lucy call it “Mamma’s Fruit Loaf and when I read this post and saw what it was, I immediately thought of Brown Bread 🙂 

So go to her blog and check her out and her recipe for her Mamma’s Fruit Loaf 🙂

All  know is that I really was not a big fan growing up, but now this stuff if great and I like mine with butter, now my Mom likes her’s with cream cheese.  So its up to you on which way you eat it, its also good heated in the microwave 🙂

My recipe here is is made with a couple of can, I also used small paper loaf pan, easy to give as gifts and I made some today for our office and I used a Bundt pan and it just came out so nice…perfect with you were having people over for coffee or tea, it’s perfect.

Now I did compare my brown bread to the ‘Can” kind you find in the store and let me say, I thought the store bought one was very dense, dry, very little raisins compared to mine.  And the flavor well I am sorry to say it was just plan awful…sorry if you like it, I just didn’t care for it 🙂

Store bought

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Ingredients

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Raisins and water in a small sauce pan

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add flour, salt, baking soda and bran/bran buds to bowl 

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Mix together
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cream butter and sugar

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stir in egg and vanilla

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add dry mixture and stir a little

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add raisin mixture

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Fold to combine

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pour batter into your containers

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bake

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this is the can

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this looks so good

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this is store on left and mine on right

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You can see that mine has so many more raisins

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Both buttered and ready to eat

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Out come, like I said did not care for the store bought, took one bite 😦

Mine oh it looks so good!!!!

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Brown Bread Recipe

1 1/2 -2 cups raisins
2 cups water
1 cup Bran or Bran Buds Cereal
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

4 – 16oz. cans (fill 2/3 full)- bake for 35-55 minutes, small loaf pans (fill half full) – bake 30 minutes, large loaf pan (fill half full to 2/3’s) – bake 40 – 50 minutes, bundt pan (whole recipe) – bake 45 minutes.  With any of these just keep an eye on it, when you stick a toothpick or skewer in bread it should come out clean, it then is done.   Cool upside down on a cooling rack.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees

In a small to med sauce pan add water and raisins, bring to a boil over med-high heat, once it boils, remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl add flour, bran/bran buds, salt and baking soda, stir to mix…set aside
In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar for 1 minute, then stir in egg and vanilla, then add dry mixture, stir it a little and raisin mixture, fold to fully combine.

Pour into your WELL greased or spray baking container, and bake.  Let cool enough to handle and then you can dig in 🙂

The Bundt pictures

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How do you like your Pizza!!

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Oh Pizza how I love thee!!!       picture 1

I think I could eat pizza 24/7!!!  I love homemade pizza, store bought pizza, restaurant pizza, take out pizza you name I love it!!  For me I have my favorite topping pizza where ever I go, so no matter where I order I know what I like from that place, thin crust, thick crust, original crust, garlic crust, pan crust…oh I could go on there are enough places to take your pick.  So no matter where I go I know what crust I like and toppings for each place, I do love me a white pizza, BBQ Chicken, New York Style pizza!!  We use to sell pizza from this pizza place in Brooklyn, New York, it would come in frozen and in slices, each box had 8 slices for about $18.00 oh it was so worth and it really was good…maybe not as good as if I was there in Brooklyn having a fresh piece.  But for me being in Cincinnati, it was great to be able to have a slice when I wanted it, I have friends that each month order pizzas from Gino’s East in Chicago, it comes frozen too.  But like I said if  you are not there is the next best thing!!!

Recently I was given a sample of Wolfgang Puck’s New 100% Natural Marinara sauce, I am very picky when it comes to tomato sauces, usually like to make my own.  Some jars are fine and taste okay, but I normally do not purchase them for myself.pi

So I thought to myself what will I do with this, make pasta, cook over some chicken, make Lasagna, fish???  NO I will make PIZZA!!!  So as I strolled our store one day I thought okay what will I have for dinner, then I thought oh the sauce, I’ll make pizza, well do I make my own crust…dough will have to rise…I have no time for that…could stop by a pizza joint and buy some dough…hmmm  Then I saw it hanging on a rack “Freschetta Pizza Crust” I never noticed that they even had one, so I picked up along with some cheese and I was on my way home.

Like I said depending on who’s pizza I’m eating, will depend on the toppings, but when I ‘m home I am simple as cheese please.  Plus I wanted to get a good taste of Chef Puck’s sauce.

Ingredients

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top with cheese, I used our brand Mozzarella and Italian Blendpicture 5

Oh and I did spice it up a bit with some crushed red pepper flakes

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Baked as directed on back of pizza crust and done

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You know it was very good, I really was surprised, the sauce was very fresh tasting, great tomato flavor, thicker as well, it did have some small chunks of tomato and usually marinara sauces sometimes to me seem a little on the watery side.  No not this one, I would definitely buy this one for sure.

And as far as the crust goes…it was good as well, I would so buy in a pitch, soft yet chewy and crisp on the bottom!!

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And the Cheese was CHEESY!!!! picture 9

So if you want to make some pizza at home tonight or any time and you want to do it quick…I’d give these products “Two Thumbs Up”

So what do you like on your Pizza!!!!???   Enjoy!!!

Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

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Growing up I think everyone at some point in time had tomato soup and grilled cheese, of course unless your Mom made everything from scratch most likely you got good old Campbell’s.  Don’t get me wrong Campbell’s is a great product, but who knew how really simple making homemade tomato soup was, so when I feel like I want something from my childhood this is what I do.  You can also serve cold or at room temp. For a party I served the soup in tiny cups and made grilled cheese sticks for convenient dipping, it was a hit for sure!!!

Tomato Soup

1/4 cup sweet or red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5oz) whole peeled tomatoes, give them a little squish
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

In a medium saucepan over medium heat add oil and onions, cook onion until translucent, stirring often not to burn.  Then add garlic, cooking and stirring for about 30 seconds, now add the tomatoes and their juices, bring to a boil then let simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add mixture to a blender and pulse to blend, make sure the lid is vented, you can take the center cap out of the lid, place a towel over top.  Once blended add cream and blend again, pour back into saucepan, keep warm, season with salt and pepper.

At this point you can serve or you may want to top it with some fresh chopped basil or chives, what about some sour cream, goat cheese, queso fresco or for me I like some crumbled gorgonzola cheese.  But you can top this soup with anything you can think of, plus its great to dip your grilled cheese in it too.

Grilled Cheese

1. Start with some good hearty bread, sliced and butter the outsides.

2. Cheese, there really is no one cheese that would not be good inside, for me I love changing it up, these are some cheeses I’ve used, provolone, smoked provolone & mozzarella, fontina, sharp white cheddar, Muenster, then my favorites are manchego and brie.  Brie with pears and some honey so good too, also crispy bacon…delicious

So what ever you use for your favorite grilled cheese go for it, but do me a flavor think outside the box!!!
There are so many wonderful cheeses out there, the next time you’re in the store take time to look around the deli area for the specialty cheeses, ask your deli server to help you pick something out, let them know you want to explore the wonderful cheeses of the world.

Let me know what you some of your favorite cheeses and combinations are…Enjoy!!

Creamy Corn and Red Pepper Dip

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This fresh creamy dip was very refreshing, after making it the next day I thought it would be great as well with a chopped avocado in too!!

4 med – large size ears corn, cooked, cooled, then cut kernels off
1 red pepper, seeded, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded, ribs removed, diced
2/3 cup green onions, sliced
2 cups mild cheddar, shredded
8 oz. sour cream
¾ cup mayo
2 tsp. adobo sauce (from can chipotle peppers, want more heat add 1 chipotle pepper chopped)
½ tsp. coriander
1 ½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. lime juice
¼ tsp. kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped

In a large bowl add corn, red pepper, green onions, jalapeno and cheese, toss to combine.
In a small bowl add mayo, sour cream, lime juice, adobo sauce, cumin, coriander, cilantro, salt and pepper, mix well, then add to corn mixture, fully combine and chill for at least one hour or overnight is best as flavors will enhance the dish.
Serve with Tortilla chips.