Sunday, February 5, 2017

Puff Pastry Party

Superbowl Sunday LI is here! Even if you do not like football, it is probably affecting your life right now in some fashion, ie invited to a party, bringing snacks to a party, or having people over as an excuse to party, right?


Keep it simple (but delicious) folks with some really easy options from my Appetizers Page including: 

1. Spicy Jalapeno-Cheddar Rollups 
2. Roasted Corn & Jalapeño Dip 
3. Mini-Muffin Snackers       
4. Fried Mozzarella Dippers        
5. Mini Corn Dog Bites
6. Lemony-Artichoke Crostini
7. Bagel & Lox Spread  

That said, there is always room in the recipe box for more great grub like this brilliant recommendation from the Pioneer Woman for puff pastry--use it--easy, inexpensive, versatile, and can be used for savory or sweet consumption! 

Start experimenting and take this to the party today!

Puff Pastry Pizza
(Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Show featuring Puff Pastry)

Cookie Sheet 
Parchment Paper
Rolling Pin
Brush or spoon

1 package of frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
1 lb of shredded mozzarella cheese
1-2 eggs with 2 tsp of water, for egg wash

Spices:  oregano / thyme / basil 
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil

A. Toppings Savory

  • Canadian Bacon + Pineapple + Jalapeño
  • Pepperoni  (Regular or Turkey) + Peperoncini
  • Sautéed Mushrooms + Feta or Goat Cheese 
  • Fresh Mozzarella + Fresh or Roasted Cherry Tomatoes  + Basil + Balsamic Vinegar
  • Fresh Mozzarella + Balsamic Vinegar Syrup

B. Toppings Sweet

  • Apricot Jam + Apple Slices + Cinnamon Sugar
  • Bake strips of Puff Pastry independently with just cinnamon sugar, then use as stackers with Whipping Cream and Fresh Fruit on top or in between  

1. Wash your hands and preheat oven to 415F degrees.
2. Prep your counter and rolling pin with some flour.

3. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper
4. Prep all of your ingredients first:

--prep your egg wash
--slice onions, tomatoes
--grate cheese
--dice pineapple
--chop bacon and herbs
--saute mushrooms

5. Unfold your puff pastry and divide into 1/3 strips to roll out a little more
6. Use a knife to gently score a 1/2 inch border around the edge of the pastry dough.
7. Apply a light egg wash.

8. Transfer to the parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 7 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and begin layering the toppings as you see fit.

10. Bake another 12-15 minutes until golden brown and puffed up like crazy--relax it will deflate and be delicious!


  • No Money:
    • don't use meat at all
    • keep it all veggie--roasted or sautéed or fresh
    • buy block of cheese and grate it yourself
  • No Waste:
    • add any veggies, especially those no longer ideal for raw snacking
    • saute the veggies for extra flavor before adding to rice
  • No Equipment:
    • Skillet--only if making sautéed veggies
    • Cookie Sheet with or without rim (can be used for roasting veggies if need)
    • Parchment Paper
    • Rolling Pin or use a can or PVC pipe
  • No Skills:
    • review some of my early blogs--How To Saute Mushrooms (can use for onions as well)
    • can you use a knife ? To cut thru soft pre-made dough? slice a few pepperoncini or tomatoes?
    • if no cooking skills--can you transfer dough from counter to cookie sheet?
  • No Health:
    • use reduced fat shredded mozzarella
    • roast any / all vegetables you might use
    • disclaimer: puff pastry is puff pastry and simply not low-cal so eat in moderation
  • No Time:
    • quick easy appetizer for any group of guests
    • virtually any ingredient is an option depending on your flavor profile

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sweet Potato Strata

Happy New Year! As we all settle into the reality of our New Year's resolutions being harder than we anticipated, and wishing it were easier...why not figure out how to make delicious food better for you throughout the year! Fad diets serve a purpose if "weight loss" is one of your 2017 Goals, but they are short-term, and rarely, sustainable--simply because "going to extremes" for long periods of time is the exception rather than the norm when it comes to human beings and their food palate.

Rather than eliminating everything you love, find ways to tweak the recipe to improve nutritional content without sacrificing flavors;and, without losing the pure joy of eating good food. Why not start with this delicious base recipe from Cooking Light--packed full of sweet potatoes, onions, chicken sausage and reduced on the heavy cream and cheese content!

Want to mix up the ingredients--go for it! I used extra sweet potato and added a medium onion to the sausage mix. So, i
f "trying something new" is one of your New Year's's a great way to start! 

Sweet Potato Strata
(Adapted from Cooking Light Kid's Cook section)

8"x8" Pyrex Baking Dish
Large Mixing Bowl

6 slices of Italian Bread, toasted slightly and torn into 1" chunks
1 (8oz)++ sweet potato, microwaved until 'almost done', peeled and cubed 
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
6 oz of bulk chicken sausage or chicken sausage breakfast links, sliced
3/4 cup of Monterrey Jack Cheese, grated and divided
1 3/4 cup of 2% milk
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
5 eggs, slightly beaten
Cooking spray
Maple syrup

1. Wash your hands.
2. Preheat oven 350F degrees.
3. Prep bread and microwave sweet potatoes.
4. Saute sausage and onions. 

5. Combine bread, potatoes and 1/2 of cheese sausage and onions in large mixing bowl.

6. Add slightly beaten eggs, milk, cream and spices mixture to the mixing bowl, and then add to your prepared 8" x 8" baking dish.

7. Let soak x 20 minutes. 
8. Top with remaining cheese, sausage and onions, and cover with lightly sprayed foil.
9. Bake at 350F degrees x 25-30 minutes, then bake another 20 minutes without foil. 

10. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving...then, drizzle with maple syrup, if you are so inclined, and enjoy!

Invite some starving friends over for a late Sunday brunch! Add some fresh fruit and coffee...and, there will be a new place to meet for the weekend!

(Serves: 6 / Serving Size: 1/6th with 2 tsp of syrup / Calories: 336 / Fat 12.8g (5g Sat) / Protein: 18g / Carb: 36 g / Fiber 2 g / Sodium 574 mg)
  • No Money:
    • don't use meat at all--this will reduce fat, calories, salt and money!
    • save any stale bread you have in the freezer for when you are making stuffing or strata 
  • No Waste:
    • sweet potatoes store easily and for a long period 
    • great way to save stale last pieces of loaf of bread that no one wants to eat
  • No Equipment:
    • Large Bowl
    • Baking dish
    • Skillet
    • Large Toaster Oven / Regular oven
  • No Skills:
    • review some of my early blogs--How To Saute Mushrooms (can use for onions as well)
    • can you toast bread?
    • can you stir stuff around a bowl?
    • if not, you will need to learn some basic skills to make this simple recipe
  • No Health
    • add more sweet potato
    • cut the meat for reduced fat, sodium and calories
    • original recipe does not add salt
    • original recipe only uses 2% milk--try it without the cream 
  • No Time:
    • some prep work needed, but easy
    • approx 35 minute
    • 6 nice servings