Monthly Archives: July 2014

Summer Vegetable Pizza

This pizza is bursting with fresh summer flavors … from the fresh basil pesto to the toppings of zucchini, tomato, red pepper, and mushrooms. I’ve never used the refrigerated dough balls before, but I figured if it was good enough for this Cooking Light recipe, I’d give it a shot. Sure, it’s a little more work than the ready-made pizza crusts, but the payoff is worth it! For only $1.70, I got one of the Safeway Select traditional pizza dough balls, which yielded a thick, chewy crust. I used my pizza stone to get a nice crunchy bottom to support all of my toppings and cheese. As with most moms, I was chasing after two kids while trying to make dinner—hence, the burned cheese. Oh well, it was still delicious!

Summer Vegetable Pizza

1 refrigerated fresh pizza dough
1 tbsp cornmeal
2-3 tbsp fresh basil pesto
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 small tomato, sliced
1 cup fresh mushrooms
½ zucchini, diced
Olive oil
1½ cups shredded mozzarella

1. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 500° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).

2. Put a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal on a flat cookie sheet (using a cookie sheet will allow you to pick up and easily slide the pizza onto the pizza stone). With a little olive oil on your hands, form dough into a 14-inch circle.

3. Pierce the entire surface of the pizza dough liberally with a fork. Spread pesto sauce over crust, leaving a ½-inch border. Arrange the vegetables over the dough, and sprinkle evenly with cheese.

4. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven and slide pizza on top, parchment paper and all. Bake at 500° for 15-17 minutes or until the crust and cheese are browned. Brush edge of dough with olive oil. Slice and serve!


Cannoli Stuffed French Toast

My husband loves cannoli, so when I saw that Two Peas & Their Pod had a recipe for cannoli stuffed french toast, I was all over it. I actually made this for him for Father’s Day breakfast. It was definitely a treat—like having dessert first thing in the morning! I wouldn’t recommend this on a regular basis (holy calories Batman!), but it is fabulous for a special occasion.

Cannoli Stuffed French Toast

Cannoli Stuffed French Toast

Yield: Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream (or milk)
4 slices French bread
2 tbsp butter
Powdered sugar-for serving

1. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Set aside.

2. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk the eggs and heavy cream together. Spread 2 slices of the bread with the ricotta mixture, about 1/2 cup per slice. Place the other slices of bread on top and gently press them together. Carefully dip both sides of each sandwich into the egg mixture until well coated.

3. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the French toast sandwiches and cook until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Cut the sandwiches in half on the diagonal and transfer to plates. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.


Lemon Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I’m not a huge baker—not from scratch anyway. I make no secret of the fact that I think boxed cake mixes are not only acceptable but quite delicious. Sure, I doctor them up and get creative, but it’s not everyday that I make a cake from scratch. When I saw this recipe for lemon cake from Cooking Light (and the great reviews it got), however, I decided it was worth the effort.

I did stray from the original recipe when it came to the frosting, choosing instead to use my go-to recipe for cream cheese frosting. The result was ah-mazing! Seriously, this is one of the best cakes I have had. I love lemon desserts, so maybe I am just a sucker for the tart mixed with the sweet, but this was really, really good. Yes, my cake was a little lopsided and not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made, but I somehow didn’t mind that too much as I was shoveling it into my mouth!

lemon cake with cream cheese frosting

Lemon Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake:

2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½tsp salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Frosting:

16 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Lemon rind spirals (optional, for garnish)

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare cake, grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans and set aside.

3. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

4. Place granulated sugar and ½ cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and nonfat buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in 2 tbsp lemon rind and 2 tbsp lemon juice.

5. Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

6. To prepare icing, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar.

7. Place 1 cake layer on a plate and carefully level with a knife if necessary; spread half of icing on top of cake. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining half of icing over top of cake and around sides. Garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.