Fruit Pizza

This dessert always seems to be a hit. Here's my version:

2 packages of sugar cookie dough (I like the Target or Pillsbury brand break and bake kind that comes in a flat rectangle-- it rolls out easier, but you could use the tube kind). Or you could go crazy and make your own cookie dough.

Let the dough soften out of the fridge for an hour or so. Roll it out flat on a cookie sheet and bake for ~15 minutes at 325 degrees until done.

Mix until smooth:
8 oz cream cheese
4 oz cool whip
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

After the crust is cool, spread the cream cheese mixture on the crust and top with fruit(berries, kiwi, mandarin oranges, etc.).

This is for the big cookie sheet size. You could easily do half and just put in on a pizza pan or a 9x13 pan.


Pizza à la Settebello

After reworking my homemade pizza a few months ago, I have been experimenting with different topping combinations. This latest one was inspired by one of the pies we had at Settebello, and turned out really good.

Tomato Sauce & Mozzarella
See "In Pursuit of Pizza Paradise" from my blog for more detailed instructions.

Also known as Italian-style bacon, you can get pancetta from the deli at Harmon's. 5-6 super thin slices are sufficient to cover a 14" pie.

Fresh Basil
One large basil leaf torn into several smaller pieces goes a long way.

Garlic Slices
Instead of mincing the garlic like we usually do, I cut a clove into thin slices and placed them strategically. It's like biting into little garlic land mines.

Toasted Pine Nuts
These add a nice texture to an already flavorful pie. Pine nuts are toasted by heating a dry skillet to medium heat and tossing them for a few minutes until golden brown.

I know chicken alfredo and barbecue chicken are popular amongst the family. What other topping combinations do people like?


Roasted Potatoes for 50

I'm trying to make a point of recording recipes and amounts when I cook things in large quantities. Just in case anyone needs to serve roasted potatoes for a crowd, here's what I did for Grandma's 90th.

• 15 lbs red potatoes, washed & cut in bite size pieces
• olive oil
• salt & pepper
• rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes and cut in bite size pieces. Lay out as many as will fit in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil (just eyeball it on the amount.. enough to lightly coat the potatoes). Sprinkle with salt & pepper and dried or fresh rosemary (again, eyeball the amount) and toss with your hands until its evenly coated. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, turn potatoes with a spatula and bake for another 15-20 minutes until browned to desired doneness.

For the party, I made them a day in advance, let them cool, and put them in containers in the fridge. Party day, I spread them on cookie sheets and reheated at 350 for about 30 minutes until heated through. We ended up moving them to foil pans and keeping them in the oven until it was time to eat and serving them in the foil pans. I suppose we could have just reheated them in the foil pans, but I thought they would be more crispy if we re-heated them in a single layer on the cookie sheets.


Tomato Artichoke Spaghetti

I'm always looking for a good meatless meal. I never thought I would hear Russ classify a meatless meal as one of his favorites, but this one is. I believe Cheryl has made it with added sausage and you could add chicken, but I like it just as is. There are tons of great pics and step by step instructions at The Pioneer Woman.

• 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
• 2 Tablespoons Butter
• 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
• ½ whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
• 1 can Artichoke Hearts (14.5 Oz. Quartered Or Whole) Drained (I buy quartered and chop them in smaller pieces)
• 1 can Diced Tomatoes With Juice (14.5 Oz.)
• 1 cup Heavy Cream
• ½ cups Chicken Broth (More As Needed)
• ½ teaspoons Nutmeg (I leave this out)
• Salt And Pepper, to taste
• 1 pound Thin Spaghetti
• 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated (I use regular old Kraft in the green bottle)
• 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives (or Other Herbs) Chopped (I've never put this on, but I will now that its garden season)

Cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside.
Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste (do not undersalt!) Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.
Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour sauce over the top. Add chives. Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick. (Christie note: I toss the drained spaghetti with parm. in the pasta pot, mix the pasta with the sauce in my big skillet. The sauce thickens as you mix it around & let it sit. Its great the day of and even better as leftovers the next day)