Wednesday, April 28, 2010

All the tastes of a pizza

If you read my food column last week, you saw my promise for another easy refrigerated crescent roll recipe today. And it's a good one.

Last week I made Pillsbury's Pizza Melts.

The recipe can be an appetizer or an easy meal teamed with a salad, which is how we ate it.

Pizza ingredients are cooked inside flaky crescent rolls and served with pizza sauce for dipping. I love recipes that involve dipping!

There's nothing complicated about making this recipe. You basically unroll a tube of refrigerated crescent rolls onto a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper), layer a small amount of pizza sauce as well as mozzarella cheese and pepperoni and top with a second tube of crescent rolls. The top layer is brushed with a beaten egg and sprinkled with oregano. Simple enough, right?

Once the recipe cooks, you cut it into triangles. The recipe suggested 32 triangles, I did mine in 16, first cutting into eight squares. I made a few changes to the recipe, but not many. I used the reduced-fat version of the crescent rolls, mini turkey pepperoni and cut the mozzarella cheese to one cup.

The online photograph really drew me to this recipe. The beautiful golden crust dotted with oregano was very appealing to me.

Looks were not deceiving in this case. The Pizza Melts triangles were just as good as they looked. The leftovers were also delicious the next day, warmed up in the microwave.

If your family likes pizza, I highly recommend this delicious recipe.

Pizza Melts
  • 2 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated reduced-fat crescent dinner rolls
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 package (3.5 oz) sliced or mini turkey pepperoni
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 cup pizza sauce for dipping
Heat oven to 375°F. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
On cookie sheet, unroll 1 can of dough into 1 large rectangle. With floured rolling pin or fingers, roll or press dough into 12x9-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal.
Spead 1/4 cup pizza sauce over dough to within 1/4 inch of edges. Top with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.
On 14-inch length of parchment paper, unroll remaining can of dough. Press to make 12x9-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal.
While holding paper with dough, turn dough upside down to cover cheese. Remove paper. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and oregano.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand on cooling rack 5 to 10 minutes. Move to cutting board. Using pizza cutter, cut into 8 squares. Cut each square in half diagonally.
Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

Adapted from Pillsbury

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pretty danish

Refrigerated crescent rolls have made my life so much easier.

They've made it possible for me to serve a flaky and delicious bread with special meals as well as other fun treats. I've used them to make taco rings and a chicken luncheon ring as well as a delicious chocolate chip treat. And sometimes for Saturday lunch, I place ham and cheese between layers of the uncooked pastry and bake it for a hot sandwich my family loves.

And today's recipe is so very delicious and looks so much harder to make than it really is.

The recipe for Easy Danish takes just a few minutes to put together, is lovely to look at and is so very good to eat!

I first made this recipe five or six years ago and remember it from time to time, pull it out and make it again. It makes me feel good to be able to make something so pretty in such a short time.

I use the reduced fat option crescent rolls for this recipe. The dough in each container is rolled out to make four large rectangles (or two crescent rolls side-by-side). A smooth and delicious cream cheese mixture (again, I use the low-fat option) is spread over the rectangle, then the dough is rolled up into a rope. Coil the rope and put some preserves or pie filling in the middle, and you're ready to bake.

Once the rolls are cooked and have a cooled a few minutes, add a simple glaze, and you're done.

How simple is that?

These pastries are delicious served while still warm or warmed up briefly in the microwave.

Stayed tuned next week for another easy cresent recipe.

Easy Danish
  • 1 tube (8 ounces) reduced fat refrigerated crescent rolls*
  • 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Preserves or pie filling
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons milk
Separate dough into four rectangles; press together perforations on a floured surface. Roll each rectangle just a little to make a solid sheet of dough.

In bowl, mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Spread mixture spread each rectangle. Roll up from a long side, like a you’re rolling cinnamon rolls; pinch edges to seal. Hold down one end and coil pastry to make a circle.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Top each coil with 2 teaspoons topping. I used cherry preserves and apple pie filling I made on the stove.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency for drizzle.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Taste of Home

* If you don’t like a heavy layer of cream cheese filling, buy two tubes of crescent rolls and make eight danishes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Don't miss Cooking School

Have you bought your ticket for next week's Taste of Home Cooking School?

If you enjoy cooking or want to learn more about cooking, then you don't want to miss this event April 22.

The Wilson Times has hosted a number of Taste of Home Cooking Schools over the years, and they're always lots of fun. Once again, the evening will be filled with food, fun and plenty of door prizes.

Cooking School home economist Michelle Roberts returns to Wilson to prepare 10 dishes on the stage of the Boykin Center. Roberts talks as she cooks, giving step-by-step instructions and offering tips. A big-screen television will also be set up on stage, with a camera focused on Roberts as she works.

For next week's show, Roberts will be making Zesty Penne, Sausage and Peppers; Romaine Caesar Salad and Seasoned Croutons; Gram's Chicken Pot Pie Updated; Asparagus Tomato Salad; Angel Hair with Chicken and Artichokes; Orange Chocolate Tart; Fresh Mushroom Clafouti; Freezer Berry Jam; Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins; and Jimmy Dean Maple Breakfast Casserole.

These recipes and many more (total 165 dishes) are all included in a magazine-style cookbook that each ticket-holder will receive on show night.

I've had a chance to read through the Taste of Home Cooking School book, and my mouth started watering after the first few pages. Just listen to the names of some of the recipes: Blueberry Cheesecake Dessert, Flank Steak Sandwiches, Ham and Cheese Sandwich Loaf, Kid-Pleasing Taco Pizza and Berry Topped White Cupcakes. Garden Primavera Fettuccine would be a perfect dish for these warm evenings we're having, and let me tell you how eager I am to try Creamy Tomato-Basil Pasta with Chicken as well as White and Gold Pizza.

And if you read my column, you know I like to try new things, so I really can't wait to make Western Omelet with Cheese. This recipe gives instructions for mixing and cooking the omelet in a Ziploc Zip 'n Steam bag.

Those of us attending will get a goodie bag packed with coupons and cooking treats, including a Ziploc Zip 'n Steam bag, one of McCormick's new Recipe Inspiration packets with measured spices to make a meal, a cheese slicer from Velveeta and craft scissors from Reiman Publications.

Door prizes include a set of tires from Vester Toyota-Scion; a Kohler Vinatta Pull-Down stainless steel kitchen faucet from Creative Kitchen & Bath; and 25 bags of groceries and coupons for free ground beef, bread, lettuce and drinks from Piggly Wiggly of Elm City and Bailey. Other local vendors and national sponsors also have prizes to give away. And, as usual, the food prepared on stage will go home with someone in attendance.

This year's emcee is Beth Bass. Beth is a good friend of ours at The Wilson Times. She's the former Newspapers in Education director here and has hosted the food show before.

To make things a little easier for those attending, Chick-fil-A sandwiches will be available for purchase.

If you've never been to a Taste of Home Cooking Show, I urge you to attend. It really is a lot of fun and is a good way to be inspired to cook. And if you've been before, come back again and enjoy the sights and smells a cooking show offers as well as the fellowship of an auditorium full of people who love good food!

Kid-Pleasing Taco Pizza
  • 1 tube (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 envelope reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • 1 can (16 ounces) fat-free refried beans
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded pizza cheese blend
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 7 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 cups crushed baked tortilla chip scoops
Unroll crust into a 15- X 11-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Flatten dough and build up edges slightly. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in water and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir in refried beans until blended.
Spread turkey mixture over crust; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with tomatoes, lettuce and chips. Serve immediately.

Taste of Home Cooking School

Thai Curry Chicken & Rice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons. green curry paste
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 each red and green pepper, cut into thin strips, then cut crosswise in half
  • 4 oz. (half of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Stir in curry paste until well blended. Add chicken and onions; cook and stir 6 to 8 min. or until chicken is done (165°F). Stir in red and green peppers; cook 4 to 5 min. or until crisp-tender.
Add cream cheese, milk and white pepper; cook until cream cheese is melted and evenly coats chicken and vegetables, stirring frequently.
Serve over rice.
Yield: 4 servings, 11/2 cups each.
Substitute: Prepare using red curry paste.

Taste of Home Cooking School

The Taste of Home Cooking School

Thursday, April 22, at the Boykin Center, 108 Nash St., Wilson

Doors open at 5 p.m. Show starts at 6:30. Parking is available in the BB&T parking lot.

Tickets are $10 general admission and can be purchased at The Wilson Times, 2001 Downing St., or at the door.

A few $15 Meals on Wheels preferred seating tickets are left.