pizza bread appetizer

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Many variations of this recipe are featured in the online cookbooks including Pinterest.  These round appetizer breads remind me of the 1970’s spinach dip in a bread round era. Those dips, served with the surrounding bread cubes, were popular for more than ten years, and this pizza bread recipe seems very similar to those popular dishes. In fact, I have already shared a recipe for an appetizer herb and cheese bread called cheesy herb bread during the month of December, 2012.

If you have an upcoming football or other sports party where an easy quick appetizer is needed, try this one.  I promise you that your guests will enjoy it as much as those seventies bread dips.

This recipe is for pepperoni pizza bread, but the pepperoni could very easily be omitted and other sautéed vegetables added instead, or even bacon could be used for another meat-lover option.   I purchased regular sized turkey pepperoni and chopped them in small stacks which took very little time and is a cost saver.

To make the appetizer:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Using a medium-sized round loaf of bread, slice the bread into cubes without slicing through to the bottom crust.  Place the bread loaf on a silicone mat or a foil lined baking sheet.  This is an important step, as some of the cheese will ooze out of the bread during baking.

Insert one package of small-sized or chopped turkey pepperoni into the cubes.  Follow with 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Make certain all of the openings/cubes are filled.  Next, melt 3 tablespoons of margarine and add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon oregano.  Pour these ingredients over the loaf into the slices.  If desired, sprinkle the loaf with sesame seeds or Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove and unwrap and return to the oven for 10 more minutes until the cheese is completely melted and the loaf is golden brown color.  Serve with your favorite pizza sauce for dipping.

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Searching for more ideas? Check out Baking with Blondie on blogspot.com

 

shrimp thermidor

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Here is one of those all-time best recipes to save when you plan to entertain and want something very different to serve to guests.  This is one of my favorite recipes, which I happened to see again in the August issue of Southern Living magazine. They suggested using for a hot appetizer, but I have served my version of the recipe for a main dish. It pairs nicely with noodles, pasta or mashed potatoes.  It could also be served with puff pastry shells if desired. If used as an appetizer, it would be important to purchase smaller shrimp or cut large shrimp into smaller sections for use on baguette slices.

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Making the shrimp thermidor:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Melt  1/4 cup margarine in a skillet on the stove top.  Slice one large box or two smaller boxes of cleaned fresh mushrooms and add to pan.  Saute to brown.  Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, along with 1 teaspoon kosher salt , 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, and ground black pepper to taste.  Add 2 cups of fat-free half and half, and cook the mixture while stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.  This may take more than five minutes.

Next, add the cleaned shrimp in the preferred size for your meal, along with 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese.  Cook until the shrimp turn pink, and then transfer to a ceramic baking dish. Continue to season the shrimp with any desired herbs, such as thyme, basil or dill.

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Bake for 15 minutes allowing for the mixture to boil.  I served this shrimp thermidor with a small amount of mashed potatoes, and sautéed green beans and onions. If serving for an appetizer, add to a chafing dish to keep warm, making certain that the shrimp are bite-sized.

 

 

I love Fall

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We were out-of-town for five days, and when we returned home I realized just how many leaves had been falling. Our yard is fortunate to have many tall trees which produce colorful fall leaves. The maples are especially beautiful, along with the other foundation plants in my yard. We have five burning bushes in the front landscaping, beginning with one near the mailbox. The burst of red is beautiful as it follows up the driveway and around the front landscape. We have so many leaves, that if we tried to chop and mulch them I think we would have enough for the beds of everyone on our road. At the beginning of the season we rake and blow them into the road for the city to collect. As the weeks go on, we bag them, with some weeks generating 10 or more bags. We always have plenty to cover our perennials and landscape beds for the winter. That is never a problem.

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While working with the leaves, I have been enjoying my front porch pumpkins.  This year, I even placed smaller pumpkins in my lower windowsills for added color.

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I have also been enjoying the colorful fall produce.

These colorful carrots and tomatoes have made lovely fall meals this past week.  The colors of fall are exceptionally beautiful this year.  I have been enjoying every moment.

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homemade fruit water

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Homemade infused water is so easy to prepare.  Choose your own fruit selection and steep overnight in the refrigerator.

The water is tasty, chilled to perfection, and can be a super refreshing drink right after exercise or just to hydrate during the day.  I was given an opportunity to test out this fruit water infuser, which is BPA and lead free.  Made in the United States, the clear bottle is 26 ounces and perfect for using on the go after exercise.

I have tried lemon, orange, strawberry, and even grapes in this infuser.  Every one of the fruits nicely infused into the bottle, giving just the right amount of flavor to the water.  So refreshing and so tasty.  I don’t have to worry about other artificial ingredients, and enjoy the taste of my own recipes. Mixing berries and lemon is so easy and gives a great taste to the water.

I love the clear container, no writing and just a clean appearance.

For more information on this infuser, please follow this link: http://www.amazon.com/FlavFusion-Infuser-Bottle-Flip-Sipper/dp/B00KHBAU0C

 

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

brownies in a slow cooker

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After experimenting with a few different slow cooker recipes for a chocolate fudge brownie dessert, I created this recipe for brownies in a slow cooker. The closest recipe came from an online recipe found at Taste of Home.  Although I have several different types of slow cookers, many of them larger than what is needed for this recipe, I find that the smallest slow cooker works the best.  I used a 3 1/2 quart model, and the diameter of this slow cooker allows for the brownie to be turned upside down onto a cake plate for serving.

This recipe is almost like having a lava cake, or even a slice of hot fudge cake.  It is very easy to make, and can be put together before a party, and will cook up to 3 hours, depending on the temperature of your slow cooker.  The best part of this recipe is that it does not use eggs. So, no worries there. It is best served warm, and can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated in the oven or microwave.  Served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, I am certain it will become a favorite of your family.

To make the brownies:

Combine these ingredients in a small bowl:  1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons baking cocoa, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Then add, 1/2 cup fat-free half and half, 2 tablespoons melted margarine, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Of course, other flavorings could be substituted, such as almond extract or orange extract.

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Next, spread this mixture on the bottom of the slow cooker.

For the next layer, sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of milk chocolate chips over the ingredients.  For the last step, mix together 3/4 cup brown sugar with 3 tablespoons cocoa in a small bowl.  Add 1 3/4 cups boiling water and mix.  Pour over the other ingredients in the slow cooker, but do not stir.

Cover the slow cooker and allow to cook on high temperature for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.  Test to see if the brownie is done and coming away from the edges of the slow cooker.  The bottom of the brownie will show chocolate on the tester, even when the brownie is done.  Remember, the icing is on the bottom.

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When the cake part of the brownie is baked, loosen the sides of the brownie from the cooker with a metal spatula.  Invert the slow cooker onto a plate, and watch the chocolate lava icing flow over the cooked brownie.  Serve and enjoy.  This recipe will serve at least 8 people.

 

Asian inspired coleslaw salad

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Here is a delicious salad for ladies who lunch, with an Asian inspired salad dressing. Actually, this coleslaw could be used for a great pot-luck salad, for the weekend football party, or even as a great burger topping.  The salad dressing, make with Asian chili sauce gives the slaw a great flavor profile.

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I purchased a cole slaw mix, but shredded red and green cabbage, along with other shredded vegetables such as jicama, cilantro, or even fresh corn kernels were suggested in the recipe found in the July, 2014 issue of Southern Living magazine.  I adapted the recipe, and found it to be extremely tasty with my changes.

To make the slaw:

In a large salad bowl, mix together one bag of coleslaw mix, which includes shredded carrots, with one sliced red bell pepper, 3-4 chopped green onions, a large handful of arugula, and 1-2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds.  Mix and chill the salad until ready to serve.  Then, add the dressing.

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To make the salad dressing:  Combine these ingredients.  Mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon orange zest, 1 tablespoon mustard, 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce, 2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger.  Keep this mixture chilled until ready to serve.

As the recipe suggests, serve the Asian slaw over crispy won ton crackers.  I shared the directions on how to make the won ton crackers on the blog yesterday. The salad can also be served with shredded grilled chicken, as in the photograph below.  Delicious.

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appetizer crackers

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Have you tried making won ton crackers or crisps?  I have used these over the years for salad garnishes or for appetizer crackers.  Everyone seems to like the crunch, and they are so easy to make.

They can be seasoned a variety of ways depending the type of appetizer dish.  Usually, I use a dash of sea salt and sesame seeds.  However, ground pepper, many herbs or even cinnamon could be used SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESon top.   Recently, I used these with an Asian slaw recipe that I found in Southern Living magazine.  Watch for that recipe in tomorrow’s blog posting.

 

To make the won ton crackers:   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Unwrap 9-12 won ton wrappers per cookie sheet.  Spray the wrappers with original cooking spray and sprinkle with seasonings.  Bake 9-11 minutes, rotating the pan during the cooking process.

Enjoy with dips, spreads or even with a fruit and cheese platter.

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