Tag Archives: mozzarella cheese

Quick & Easy Pizza

I know many people have posted pizza recipes lately. Mine is just the plain and simple ordinary kind. No fuss no muss. I used to make pizzas all the time but stopped for some reason. Then I decided to give the ole dough boy another go. No I do NOT make my own crust. Don’t have time or the patience. So I do the next best thing. I buy the Pillsbury pizza crust in the tube. I like crispy crust so we get the one for thin crust. Fewer calories than the thick one too. I won’t be calling this a diet dish because of the crust but it’s not so bad.

I use my own sauce which I add garlic powder and oregano to. Add some red pepper flakes for more kick if you want. The pizza I made the other day is just a plain pepperoni/sausage cheese pizza. I have one of those stoneware baking pans from Pampered Chef and I used that. When I precooked the crust I sprayed it with a little olive oil cooking spray and sprinkled sesame seeds all along the edges. Came out so tasty and crispy! Not doughy at all. I usually buy the shredded mozzarella cheese but this time I had a coupon for the block so I grated it myself. Much better actually, the cheese was creamier and seemed to have more flavor. I did use part-skim mozzarella of course.

The pepperoni I used was the regular kind and I also used 2 chicken sausages. I peeled the casing off the sausage and cut them into big chunks and put them in the food processor. This way I had ‘ground’ sausage to spread over the pie! Came out awesome. I used the al fresco brand sun-dried tomato chicken sausage. I always stock up on those when they are BOGO in the stores. They freeze wonderfully. Oh and on one half of the pie (my half) I added 4 anchovies as well.  So here is the recipe.


INGREDIENTS:

1 tube of Pillsbury pizza crust

½ cup or so of your favorite tomato sauce/pizza sauce

garlic powder

pepperoni

2 chicken sausages ground up (any Italian flavor is good)

1 cup or so grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

sesame seeds

anchovies if you want

DIRECTIONS:

1. Follow directions on package for oven and pre-cooking the crust. When you have the crust on your baking sheet sprinkle sesame seeds all along the edges. Use as much as you wish.

2. When crust is ready spread the tomato/pizza sauce all over and up to the edges. Sprinkle the ground sausage evenly over the pizza. If you add anchovies place them on evenly through the pie. Spread the cheese evenly on top of that and then top with pepperoni.

3. Bake according to directions on package. I actually put the oven up to 450ºF. I think it calls for 375ºF. I like it more well done. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Check on it after the time is up to make sure the cheese is all melted and bubbly.

Serve it up!


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Veggies Au Gratin

Welcome back and welcome to 2011! A new year to begin new resolutions and start fresh. I already started my exercise resolution today. I didn’t go to the gym but I did walk for an hour which was about 3 miles. Don’t want my body to freak out all at once. Must ease into it…

Well today’s recipe is something I threw together last week. I was looking for something different as a side dish. I think we were having a pork tenderloin or something. I actually don’t remember. Anyway, I came up with this recipe and there was enough leftover to “reinvent” it again for another night. I think it was even better the second time around! The flavors melded together much better. It is actually lower in fat and calories if you can believe it! I used fat-free half-and-half, Light Laughing Cow cheese and low-fat mozzarella. Also the flour I used to thicken it was soy flour but you can also use whole wheat or regular. The butter I used was a butter substitute also. Saving calories all over the place!!! When I “reinvented” it the second time I added cooked orzo and some leftover green beans I found in the fridge. Added a little more half-and-half and just heated it all up! Voila! Two nights! (and actually there was still a little leftover for a 3rd night for us to have a little more!)

When I made this I didn’t measure so I am guessing on the measurements here. If you need to adjust it for yourself, please do! Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

1 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli and cauliflower

1 cup fat-free half-and-half

½ stick (4 tbsp) butter substitute

1½ cup soy flour

2 wedges Light Laughing Cow cheese (any flavor you like)

1 cup grated parmesan/pecorino cheese

½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

garlic powder

DAY 2 INGREDIENTS:

½ cup uncooked orzo (cook according to package directions)

any leftover veggies in fridge

fat-free half-and-half as needed

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook the frozen broccoli/cauliflower in microwave on High for about 7 minutes. Drain and put into a small casserole dish. Sprinkle with garlic powder, mix and set aside.

2. Meanwhile in a medium sauce pot add butter and half-and-half and stir until butter is melted. Add the flour and continue cooking on medium-heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and there are no lumps in the flour, about 10-15 minutes.

3. Add the Laughing Cow cheese and stir until melted completely. If it’s chopped into small pieces it will melt faster. Add the grated cheese and mozzarella cheese and stir until melted.

4. Add cheese mixture to the vegetables in the casserole dish and mix well until all vegetables are covered.

5. Place in preheated 350º oven and bake until cheese is bubbly and browned. This should be about 30 minutes or so. Check after 30 minutes to be sure.

DAY 2:

1. Cook the orzo according to package, drain and add to leftover Au Gratin mix. Add a little more half-and-half and cheese as needed to make it a little more creamy. Heat in medium saucepan stirring occasionally. Make sure it doesn’t stick to pan.

Baked Eggplant Italiano

This is my  version of a healthier eggplant parmigiana dish. Yes it can be done! I did not use any breadcrumbs and I didn’t fry the eggplant. That is where most of the fat and calories come from. Don’t get me wrong, I love the old-fashioned breaded and fried version of this dish but I just can’t have the extra fat and calories anymore. Plus it takes forever to fry it all! Next in line with the fat is the cheese used. I used a shredded, reduced fat 4 cheese Italian mix. It has reduced fat mozzarella, smoked provolone, Asiago and Romano cheese. It’s made with 2% milk so it has 33% less fat and 10% fewer calories than the full fat version. I broiled the slices of eggplant on a cookie sheet under the broiler and only sprayed them with olive oil cooking spray. The dish came out great. It is very filling even without all the extra bread crumbs! I really enjoy eggplant and this time I remembered to make it pretty soon after I bought it. I have a tendency to buy it and forget it’s in the refrigerator for days. Then when I go to use it, it’s all brown and spotty inside. Yuck! So this time I bought it and cooked it the next day! Remember when buying an eggplant the top crown should be green and not brown. Brown is bad, means it’s been there a while and not fresh. By the way, the leftovers are just as good as the first time too! (I started to cut the eggplant before I remembered to take a picture)

INGREDIENTS:

1 large eggplant

olive oil cooking spray

marinara or your choice of pasta sauce

Parmesan cheese, grated

garlic powder

2 cups reduced fat shredded Italian cheese of choice (Sargento’s 4 Italian Cheese is great)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Peel eggplant. Slice it lengthwise or if you prefer, round. For this recipe I sliced it lengthwise.

2. Set your oven to broil and place the rack about 4 inches under the broiler. Spray 1-2 cookie sheets with the cooking spray.

3. Place eggplant in a single layer onto cookie sheets. Spray tops of eggplant with cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic powder. Broil eggplant 4-5 minutes on each side. When you flip the eggplant spray again with cooking spray. Keep an eye on the slices as they can easily burn. They should be lightly browned on the edges and soft. Do this until all eggplant is broiled. After eggplant is done, move the rack to the middle and set your oven to 350º.

4. In a square Pyrex or other oven proof baking dish put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish. Lay eggplant slices on bottom slightly overlapping till you have one layer. It should take about 3 large slices. Next add sauce to top of eggplant and spread a thin layer over it. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and about ¼ cup of the shredded cheese. Place another layer of eggplant, again overlapping slightly. I placed this layer in the other direction to give it more stability. Again apply sauce and cheeses. Continue until you have no eggplant left. Finish with shredded cheese on top.

5. Place the dish into the 350º oven and bake until sauce is bubbling and the cheese is all melted. About 15-20 minutes should do it. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes to let the sauce set up. It’s ok if it’s a little runny. Cut and serve!

This dish is great with a nice salad on the side or even a small dish of pasta.

Serves 2-4

Mom’s Old Style Lasagna

I was looking through all of my recipes trying to find one for today’s post and came across this recipe that was in my mother’s handwriting. It’s for an old style lasagna which is a little different from how I usually make it. I am adding it exactly as written by Mom. I’m hungry just reading it over! I love lasagna and I don’t get to eat it too often, too many calories! My sister makes an awesome one also, which I was able to have not that long ago. Too bad I’m on a diet now! Lasagna is one of those recipes that I’m sure everyone has had at least once in their life. It’s also one of those recipes that when it’s not made correctly it can be so disappointing! Ever had soupy lasagna? Dried out?  Over cooked? We all have! And no self-respecting Italian will buy frozen lasagna! It’s just wrong! There is nothing like home-made so give it a try soon. It’s not difficult, really! The hardest part is getting the cooked noodles out of the pan! And if that is going to be a problem for you cut them in half to handle easier. Food should be fun to prepare as well as eat so enjoy trying this recipe out! Remember I copied it exactly as she had written it so if you need to change it slightly please do.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound Ronzoni lasagna (#123)

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ pound ground beef

½ pound ground pork

1 medium onion, minced

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon minced parsley

1 ½ cans tomato paste (9 oz)

2 cups water

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

5 quarts water

3 teaspoons salt

1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

¾ pound ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese


DIRECTIONS:

1. Brown beef and pork in large saucepan with oil, onion, garlic and parsley.

2. Add tomato paste, 2 cups water, salt and pepper. Simmer 1½ hours.

3. Bring 5 quarts water to boil, add salt and lasagna and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender, stirring almost constantly to prevent sticking.

4. Drain. Arrange lasagna in casserole dish in layers, alternating with layers of sauce, mozzarella and ricotta, until lasagna is all used and  ending in like sequence, ricotta last.

5. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in 375º oven about 20 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted. Serve.


Makes 6 large servings or 8 medium servings.


Andrea’s Tuscan Casserole

This is a recipe that I posted back on Facebook in October 2009. It was created because I couldn’t figure out what to make that night and just put together what I found in the refrigerator. It was so good and filling and the leftovers were just as good of course! The ingredients aren’t written in stone so please omit what you don’t want or add something you think fits better! So sit down with a nice glass of wine and relax and pretend you are in Tuscany.

Andrea's Tuscan Casserole


Ingredients:
1- 10-12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced thin into strips or bite size pieces
6-8 oz. uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined, and cut into pieces
8 oz. approx. frozen, thawed spinach (doesn’t have to be drained)
1 medium sweet onion chopped
6-8 cloves garlic chopped (I like garlic so if it’s too much for you add less)
2 large scallions, chopped (green and white parts)
1 small tomato, chopped
1- 8oz. package Shirataki Tofu Noodles (follow prep instructions on package/found in Produce organic section) or you can use your own cooked noodles.
2 TBS or so light or regular sour cream
1 wedge Italian Herb Laughing Cow Cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
– Heat oven to 350 degrees.
– In a large saucepan heat oil and sauté onions till translucent, maybe about 5 minutes or so. Add garlic and scallions and sauté about 2 minutes.
– Add chicken and cook till no longer pink.
– Add spinach and mix thoroughly.
– Add shrimp and tomato, stirring till all mixed.
– Add Laughing Cow cheese and sour cream, mix well. Let cook a couple more minutes.
– Add noodles, mixing well. Let cook about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Add half of the mozzarella cheese till mixed in and starting to melt. Pour into casserole dish, round or whatever you have.
– Sprinkle rest of mozzarella cheese on top of mixture and place in oven till mixture starts to bubble and cheese melts and browns a bit. About 15 minutes.

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