Cold App: Veggie Pizza

veggies wwm

For Christmas Eve, I made one of my favorite appetizers: Veggie Pizza. It’s perfect for almost any occasion because (1) it can and should be made in advance (2) it’s served cold and (3) it’s flavor-packed and delicious.

You may be skeptical. After all…veggies (wha-wha-wah). But this three-part app is so much more than your standard crudités.

veggie pizza

First of all: crescent rolls. The original recipe, given to me by my mom states, in no uncertain terms, that Pillsbury crescent rolls are the only rolls to be used for the crust. I’ll second that instruction because who doesn’t love a buttery bottom layer?

Second, the “sauce” for this pizza is predominantly cream cheese but it’s brought to life with half a packet of Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix (another brand specific instruction I don’t ignore), dill weed, dried onion, and a dollop of mayo.

And third, while the finely chopped veggies are good in and of themselves, it’s the minutely diced pepperoni that I love the most. Something about the teeny-tiny, square shape that I just can’t do without.

The amount of each vegetable used is really up to you – I’d say I chop up about 1/2 cup of each and sometimes don’t use all of it. I’m not worried about covering every square inch with toppings because that would make it hard to eat. Just scatter them across the cream cheese mixture so that it’s pretty and manageable.

veggie pizza close

There are a lot of different recipes for veggie pizza out there but this is the one I stick to. Try it…it’s addicting!

Cold App: Veggie Pizza
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 tubes Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • ⅔ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • ½ packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
  • 1 teaspoon minced dry onion
  • diced pepperoni
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Chopped veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper, green pepper, black olives, shredded carrots
Instructions
  1. Preheat your event to 400 degrees.
  2. Spread the crescent roll dough on a greased 15"x18" jellyroll pan.
  3. Make sure the dough is stretched to the sides of the pan.
  4. Use your fingers to seal the seams so that the dough is one large piece.
  5. Bake the dough for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, mix the softened cream cheese and mayonnaise with the ½ packet of italian dressing mix, the dill, and the minced onion.
  7. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crescent roll crust.
  8. Sprinkle on the chopped veggies, pepperoni, and shredded cheese.
  9. You may need to gently pat down the vegetables to keep them from falling off too easily.
  10. Chill and then slice into squares or triangles.

 

Crescent Chicken Braid

The first official day of winter is this coming Sunday.

I know. I feel the same way.

But, there is an upside to slush and road salt and take-your-breath-away temperatures and that is, of course, comfort food.

Crescent Chicken Dinner

In my search for something new (but still comforting) to make for dinner I decided to try a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie Crescent BraidI liked the basic recipe for it’s simplicity and the fact that I had almost all the ingredients on hand. I also knew it would go over better with DVH than a classic chicken pot pie thanks to a lack of potatoes and the addition of cheddar cheese.

Crescent Chicken Braid

Even though it all sounded great right off the bat, I went ahead and made some changes like adding more chicken, mixing some salt and pepper into the chicken mixture, and throwing in some frozen,  chopped roasted red peppers which added a ton of flavor and color!

Crescent Chicken Braid: Prep

The “braiding” part is so simple. After laying out your dough you simply “fringe” both of the long sides, leaving a 3-inch center area for the chicken mixture to sit on. Once the filling is added, just alternate crossing the fringed pieces over it. (I was sure all my chicken would come spilling out while it baked, but it stayed totally in tact!)

I took the “pot pie” out of the title of my version of this recipe because it really just….isn’t. But that’s not to say we didn’t love it! It’s just its own dish; creamier and richer than a regular chicken pot pie. I actually think I liked the crescent roll “crust” a little more than the traditional version!

Crescent Chicken Braid

There is one more thing that I will probably do differently next time and that is to double the recipe and make two braids, bake them, serve one, and freeze (or share) the other. Not only does it make an easy meal for a busy weeknight but I had extra ingredients left over – cream of chicken soup and cooked chicken – why not just put it all to use at one time?

Bake it up and let me know what you think!

Crescent Chicken Braid
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Pillsbury seamless crescent roll dough
  • 1½ cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • ¼ cup frozen roasted red peppers (diced)
  • ¾ cup cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup cream of chicken soup
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
  3. Combine the frozen vegetables, diced chicken, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir the cream of chicken soup and cream cheese until smooth.
  5. Add the cream of chicken mixture to the frozen vegetables mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
  7. On the prepared pan, unroll the crescent roll dough and, using clean hands, spread it out a bit.
  8. Using a sharp knife, "fringe" the long sides of the dough, leaving about three inches in the center.
  9. Distribute the chicken mixture down the center of the dough.
  10. Starting at one end, take a piece of the "fringed" dough and gently bring it over the chicken mixture at a slight angle. Next, to the same thing from the other side. Continue alternating until the chicken mixture is covered by a complete braid.
  11. If possible, bring any extra dough up around both ends of the braid to keep the chicken inside.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes or until the dough braid is golden.
  13. Let stand for a few minutes before slicking and serving.

 

Oven Baked Zucchini Tots

Having an infant who wouldn’t eat pureed foods threw me for a parenting loop. At the pediatrician’s suggestion we began with oatmeal and for one night, she loved it. After that, she had absolutely no interest.

Trust me when I say we tried a variety of ways to find something she liked, but following months of gently encouraging her I was left with a freezer full of homemade pureed vegetables, a cupboard containing way too many store-bought options, and baby who wasn’t sleeping through the night. (At the time, I was convinced that if Lennon would just eat solids at dinner she’d sleep until morning. Horsefeathers. She slept through when she was good and ready.)

So, I started looking into baby-led weaning. The thought of giving my toothless, very inexperienced infant a whole piece of food to gnaw on made me a nervous wreck but I was willing to try it. I can’t say that she took to it immediately, but once Lennon got the hang of it I was only too happy to start searching for recipes that would suit her needs and capabilities.

My staples have been the ricotta and spinach fritters and the sweet corn fritters from My Lovely Little Lunchbox. Lennon loves them and they make big batches so I can freeze and thaw whenever needed. Plus, there’s nothing unappealing in either recipe; both are totally suitable for older kids and adults.

Then, this summer, a friend brought over the zucchini tots I’m about to share with you as an appetizer and we loved them – shout out to Rick and skinnytaste.com! For so many vegetable-haters, DVH included, the issue is the texture, be it “mushy”, “flowery”, or “explosive” as he would describe several of the vegetables he steers clear of. But shredded zucchini that’s been mixed with cheese and baked takes on the same consistency as a potato prepared the same way. What’s not to like?

zucchini no rdb Serve them hot and store the extras in the fridge or freezer. The recipe doesn’t make a ton, I would double it for a party appetizer.

Zucchini Tots
 
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An easy way to sneak in some vegetables that's suitable for kids and adults!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (packed) shredded zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ of a medium onion, minced
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare your baking sheet using silpats or by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Grate the zucchini (using a microplane or cheese grater) into a paper towel. Wring out the excess water.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well to incorporate the egg.
  4. Using your hands, roll about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into a round/oval shape. Place on the baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes or until golden.

 

 

 

Festive fall cupcakes: devil’s food

Rainydaybaker.com Fall Cupcakes

Fall. What a great season. And what a difference a few hours south can make.

I remember fall in upstate New York being both incredibly beautiful and incredibly short. But down in eastern Pennsylvania we’re pushing into mid-November with temps still in the upper 60’s. And we are love-ing-it. Especially Lennon who takes every opportunity to be outside.

Just before Halloween we took her pumpkin picking at a farm nearby and she loved the whole ordeal. These cupcakes happened after that festive little outing.

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Simple(y awesome) Banana Bread

Two posts in the last 12 months; having a baby really does change things (almost totally for the better). I may have neglected this space but I have still been spending a great deal of time in my other favorite space: the kitchen.

My sweet tooth is as pronounced as ever and I can no longer blame it on post-baby hormones and nursing. Instead, I’m chalking it up to necessary research for The Rainy Day Baker (to which I am totally recommitted thanks to a pep-talk from the one, the only DVH) and that brings me to banana bread.

Banana Bread close up

I found this recipe on the Bon Appetit site few months ago and I’ve made it at least five times since. What can I say other than we continuously have over-ripened bananas sitting on the counter just asking to be used.

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Monster Cookies for the Indecisive

monster cookies 1A few years ago a coworker brought into work what she called dream cookies. She gave me the recipe, I filed it away, and forgot about it until recently when I was staring at an empty cookie jar and a blog that desperately needed a good update. I remembered her dream cookies because they pull together peanut butter cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and m&m cookies into one chewy bundle of sweetness that completely does away with having to make any sort of decision. One should never have to make a decision when the cookie jar is running on empty. AMIRIGHT?!

As it turns out, little recipe research uncovered that my coworker’s dream cookies are almost an exact replica of what’s floating around on the web as monster cookies. Both are sufficient titles.

Couple notes about the recipe:

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