Italian Food

French Onion Soup Pizza

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Finished product

As promised I am posting the recipe for the French Onion Dip/Soup Pizza I posted pictures of the other day. This recipe came from Rachael Ray. It actually aired on her show back in 2009 but I just came across it now. If you want to see the video and original recipe click on French Onion Dip Pizza. 

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Ready for the oven!

When I first saw this recipe I was hooked. If you love french onion dip or french onion soup and pizza then you will love this recipe. My one word of caution is to give yourself time to make it. Caramelizing onions is NOT a quick process. I would say this recipe took me a good 90 minutes from start to finish with all the prep and cooking. It’s not complicated at all either. Just time-consuming. I also made the recipe as instructed, for the most part. I did add an extra clove of garlic (duh!) and an extra onion. I also added a bit more on the cheese. (again, duh!) She also calls for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, but come on, I’m not made of gold. I used Locatelli Romano. The Gruyère cheese in this recipe was my big splurge. And don’t leave out the thyme leaves. I actually have never cooked with fresh thyme before, I know, hard to believe. What was I thinking? It totally made the pizza. The flavors just exploded in my mouth.

I will be making this pizza again for sure. Another thing I learned when pre-baking the crust, I will also poke tiny air holes in it with a fork before baking. I didn’t do that when I made this and it puffed up so big all I could think of was that Little Rascals episode with the cake that kept expanding on the sides. I was able to flatten it but I was nervous. Baking the crust prior is definitely  a must otherwise the pizza will be very soggy.

So if you like onions and cheese and pizza try this recipe. You will NOT be disappointed. If you don’t like any of those things then I feel sad for you. (Sorry Biz, way too many onions for you)

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Double Yummmm

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons (approximately) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ball/package fresh pizza dough (I buy mine at Wal-Mart in their deli section, $1!)
  • 1 cup sour cream or creme fraiche (I used sour cream)
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I used Locatelli Romano, use what you have)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Using a large skillet, on medium, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and gently cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and deep golden brown. This takes about 25 minutes. Be careful not to let the onions get crispy.
  3. As the onions are cooking prep your pizza dough on your pizza pan, baking sheet or whatever you use. Poke tiny air holes with a fork through the dough. (remember we don’t want a balloon to appear!) Bake the dough until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t get too brown.
  4. When the onions are done, season them with salt and pepper and stir in the sour cream or creme fraiche.
  5. Spread this mixture over the pre-baked crust. Sprinkle the cheeses over the onions. Sprinkle the thyme over the cheese.
  6. Bake until golden brown and bubbly about 10 minutes. Keep a watch on it so the cheese doesn’t burn. (I placed it on the middle rack because it was so dense. Normally my pizza is baked on the bottom rack)
  7. Remove from oven carefully and let sit for a couple of minutes. Slice it up and serve! Be careful it’s HOT! Enjoy!
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Buttery Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings (revisited)

(This recipe is my most viewed post and I thought it was worth reposting for any newcomers! Enjoy!)

I think just about everyone loves chicken wings. But after a while they can get a little boring. Same thing all the time…We have a favorite wings place here in Florida called Hurricane Wings. (They’re on Long Island in NY now too!) They have lots of different flavors along with the usual hot stuff. So the other night I remembered I had a bag of frozen wings and wanted to make up a batch. Well as most of you know, I love garlic. Can never have too much if you ask me. I also love butter and parmesan cheese. So why not combine them all with the chicken wings! Wonderful idea. What I liked most about this is that I didn’t have to defrost the wings first. I just followed the directions on the bag. Baked them for 45 minutes at 400ºF. My oven also has a convection option so I used the convection roast setting. I also turned them over a couple of times during the cooking. We love crispy wings and if you do them this way you won’t have all the extra fat from deep-frying. I am happy to say they came out awesome! We also served them with the usual blue cheese dressing. I also didn’t have any celery so I cut a cucumber into long slices and that worked just fine.

I’m thinking of making up another batch for tonight! 

INGREDIENTS:

2-4 lbs. uncooked chicken wings (frozen or unfrozen)

6-8 cloves garlic minced (cut back if you don’t like a lot of garlic)

6-8 tablespoons butter, melted

½ cup of grated parmesan cheese of choice

½ teaspoon each dried basil and oregano

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Follow cooking directions on bag of chicken. Different cooking times for frozen or thawed. Place the chicken wings on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and cook as directed. This will take 30-45 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile in a medium bowl combine the melted butter, garlic, basil and oregano. Add ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese. Mix well.

  3. When the wings are done to your liking, we like them crispy, remove from cookie sheet and put them in a large bowl. Add the butter, garlic mixture to the wings and mix well.

  4. Put the wings back onto the cookie sheet, making sure you get all the mixture on them. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese.

  5. Broil for about 5 minutes about 3-4 inches from the broiler element. Keep an eye on them so the cheese doesn’t burn.

  6. Remove from oven and transfer to a platter and dig in!

Garlic Cheese Bites

Let me just start off by saying that if you don’t like garlic (you know who you are) then stop reading right here. This recipe is not for the faint of heart when it comes to garlic overload. I’m not joking so beware!! AND if you are lactose intolerant, take a pill or something if you want to eat these. LOTS of cheese. You’ve been warned…

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I found this recipe one day while on the King’s Hawaiian recipe pages. I did stick to it pretty closely but I think next time I will make a change to see if it makes a difference. The recipe calls for using the little fresh mozzarella balls. But I think I will try just cutting up a block of mozzarella into cubes of the same size and trying that. I LOVE the fresh mozzarella but I think it’s too delicate and melts too much for this. The original recipe (Cheesy Garlic Bites) comes from a great site called Zestuous. I did follow the recipe very closely except for the amount of garlic, which is odd for me! NOT! One of the ingredients is for buttermilk biscuits (in the can) and it’s VERY important to use the regular kind, NOT FLAKY. Another very important tidbit is to make sure when the dough balls are placed into the muffin pan they are placed open side UP. As I found out with a few that got turned around, all the cheese will ooze out into the pan. Still tastes good but not very appealing.IMG_4057IMG_4058

INGREDIENTS:

2 cans (any brand) buttermilk biscuits (not the flaky kind)

20 cherry-size balls of fresh mozzarella or regular mozzarella cut into cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil

8 cloves garlic, minced (use less if it’s too much for you)

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup white wine

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese (any kind)

salt and basil to taste

mini muffin tins

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  • Open the can of biscuits and flatten each biscuit. 
  • Drain the liquid from the fresh mozzarella if you’re using fresh and place a ball in the center of the dough forming a ball around it. IMG_4046
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, adding the butter and stir until completely melted.
  • Slowly pour in the white wine and salt and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. IMG_4049
  • Carefully roll the dough balls into the garlic-wine-butter mixture.IMG_4050
  • Carefully place the balls in a mini muffin pan, OPEN SIDE UP!! Trust me!IMG_4051
  • Combine the shredded mozzarella/parmesan cheese and pile on top of each ball.

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  • Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with the leftover garlic butter.

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  • Sprinkle with salt and basil to taste. Serve warm!

Makes about 20 balls

No-Bake Cannoli Pie

cannolie pie

Everyone who knows me knows I don’t bake. Or I should say, I don’t bake very well. So when I saw this recipe one day for a NO BAKE pie I was determined. I had bought a few containers of Marscapone cheese that I had been making a cannoli dip with and their “best by” dates were coming up soon so I was very happy when I found this recipe. Plus I had all of the ingredients! Well sort of anyway. The crust calls for ground-up cannoli shells. I had a box of sugar cones that we used as dippers when I made the dip so I thought, why not use them instead! And I added some almonds to the mix as well.

I brought the pie to a friend for dessert and it was a hit. Tasted like cannoli!  So how can that be a bad thing! I would definitely make this again. The original recipe, No Bake Cannoli Cheesecake had the ingredients being put into 4 mini tart pans (4″). I don’t have mini tart pans because I don’t bake! But I do have many pie dishes so that is what I used. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 cannoli shells ground fine (or 8 sugar cones ground fine)
  • handful whole almonds ground fine with the cannoli shells/cones
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 15 oz. whole milk ricotta
  • 8 oz. Marscapone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/8 cup chopped pistachios
  • Fresh whipped cream, Cool Whip or Reddi-Wip

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl combine the shells/cones/almonds and the melted butter until mixed. Press firmly into bottom and on sides of pie plate. Freeze about 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl cream the Marscapone and ricotta cheese. Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar, mix well.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and stir in by hand.
  4. Get the pie plate out of the freezer and carefully fill with the mixture.
  5. If using whipped cream you can decorate the edges, otherwise, add the cool whip etc. when serving.
  6. Sprinkle the pistachio nuts over the top.
  7. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. 

 

cannoli pie

 

 

 

Quinoa Shrimp Scampi

This recipe started out because I looked in my pantry and saw that I have just way too much quinoa in there. I have plain, red, tri-color and then I just bought a couple more packages at Home Goods! So I decided I needed to start using it more. The quinoa I used in this recipe was an Italian flavored one. I bought this container of Pereg quinoa in Home Goods for $3.99 and I used about half of the container in this recipe, about 1 cup. This brand comes in all kinds of flavors which is pretty cool so you can make whatever you’re in the mood for! I also bought a spinach version and a mushroom version. Just follow the directions on the package and you’re good to go! I also substituted the water with chicken broth, which gives it so much more flavor. A vegetable broth would work great too! But if that’s not something you would want to do then just use water. 

This is a quick meal you can throw together in under 30 minutes for sure. Great for after work when you want something nutritious and delicious! This was a nice filling and satisfying meal for two of us but if you want it can serve 4 as a side dish.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Pereg “All’ Italiana” quinoa (Use 1 cup and cook according to package)
  • 12-16 ounces uncooked extra large-jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (no tails on unless you like that sort of thing- I do not)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 large tomato chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook quinoa according to directions on package. When it is done, keep it on low to stay warm.
  2. Add the oil and butter to a medium skillet and saute the garlic till soft, just a few minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook on medium heat. A couple of minutes on each side until shrimp turns pink is good. Do NOT overcook.
  4. Add the lemon juice and herbs and mix well.
  5. Add the chopped tomato to the quinoa mixture.
  6. Divide up the quinoa into flat bowls and top evenly with the shrimp mixture. Make sure the delicious juices are evenly distributed as well.
  7. Serve with some parmesan cheese on top if you like!

 

 

Italian Spaghetti Squash Quiche

Last night I decided I wanted to make something a little different for dinner. I hadn’t made a Quiche in a while so I thought about doing that. I also had a nice spaghetti squash sitting on my counter and wanted to use it soon. Good thing I decided on the spaghetti squash! When I cut it open a few seeds inside had sprouted! And we’re talking a good 3-4 inches! Crazy! But I also decided to make a Quiche. I combined the two. I just threw stuff together that I had in the refrigerator and voilà! A new delicious taste for dinner! (Or breakfast the next day!)
 I only used half of the squash and it was plenty. And to make it all worth while, ¼ of the Quiche is only 272 calories! Bonus!
 This recipe will make about 8 pieces We usually each have ¼ of the Quiche as a serving though. Oh and did I mention, it’s crustless!

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Ingredients:
½ of a spaghetti squash cooked and scraped out into a bowl. (Cook any way you are used to. I microwave it, cut side down in a shallow casserole with some water for about 10-15 minutes until soft)
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
3 eggs (You can use egg beaters if you want), beaten
1 cup shredded low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 chicken sausage (any kind you like is fine. I used a Casual Gourmet tomato and mozzarella one), cut into small pieces
2-3 fresh basil leaves, minced
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 head roasted garlic, chopped (I had it in the fridge, garlic powder will be good too if you want)
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl
 2. Pour ingredients into a casserole dish or any type of baking dish you have. An actual Quiche pan may be too small. Spray the pan with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Let sit about 10 minutes when done. It will rest this way.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

As promised, here is a recipe I made for pizza with a cauliflower crust. I was at a Weight Watchers meeting a couple of weeks ago and I heard someone mention making a pizza crust with cauliflower. I was intrigued! My husband is doing his Atkins thing, again,  so he’s avoiding bread like the plague. I however still want my bread! But to be nice I researched the alternatives using cauliflower. Now I will say, it’s not like normal pizza crust. It’s not bread! But, it is still really good! I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome and my husband loved it. So I guess it was a success. I have made it twice now so it’s a keeper for sure.  And for those of you out there crinkling up your noses, it doesn’t taste like cauliflower! Honest! It is a little soft but hardens a bit when it starts to cool out of the oven. 

Made with crumbled chicken sausage

Made with crumbled chicken sausage & cheddar cheese topping

What I really like about this is you can put anything you want on it to make it a pizza. I used chicken sausage, some tomato sauce and some cheese. Incredibly delicious! So be daring, make some cauliflower crust pizza today! It’s worth it! Honestly the hardest part is shredding/chopping the cauliflower. Don’t be scared. It’s a taste sensation!

Crust before baking

Crust before baking

Ingredients:

2-3 Cups shredded or finely chopped cauliflower (I used my shredder attachment on the food processor)

2-3 large eggs, if they are on the small size of large, use 3, beaten

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1½ teaspoon fennel (this really makes a difference, I didn’t use it the 1st time but did the 2nd time, so invest in a jar)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder (more if you desire!)

Directions:

1: Finely chop, shred or rice cauliflower until you have 2-3 cups of cauliflower. Add the eggs and shredded cheese.

2. Add the spices and mix well.

3. Press the mixture into a greased pizza pan or cookie sheet. (Don’t worry if it doesn’t fill up the entire sheet, mine didn’t the first time I made it) First time I used a cookie sheet. Second time I used a stoneware baking sheet. I think the cookie sheet worked better. It’s up to you though.

(Make sure it’s as flat as you can get it with no holes showing through.)

4. Bake at 450º for about 20 minutes. If it is starting to brown and crisp on the edges it’s good. You can cook a little longer if you want.

5. Remove from oven and add desired toppings. Be careful with sauce, don’t over-sauce as it will make the crust too soggy. I used about ½ cup sauce and spread it thin over the crust. I topped it with chopped chicken sausage and part-skim mozzarella. Use whatever you want!!

6. Bake until brown and cheese is bubbly! (about another 5-10 minutes, just keep an eye on it)

Makes about 8 servings

Made with sliced chicken sausage & mozzarella cheese

Made with sliced chicken sausage & mozzarella cheese

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