Fresh Vegetable Pizza Squares

The following recipe was made for my guests during my Fall Snacks cooking class. You can read and view links to other recipes I made HERE.

Fresh Vegetable Pizza Squares
Recipe adapted from HERE

2 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese

– Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
– Roll out crescent rolls onto a large non-stick baking sheet. Stretch and flatten to form a single rectangular shape on the baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
– Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Mix cream cheese with 1/2 of the ranch dressing mix.
– Adjust the amount of dressing mix to taste. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust.
– Arrange carrots, broccoli, and tomatoes.
– Sprinkle cheese over top.
– Chill in the refrigerator and cut into bite-size squares to serve.

Quiche… give it a try!

What a wonderful Sunday morning. After a fulls night’s rest I was engerized with making a flavorful breakfast featuring ham, broccoli & 4 cheese quiche. I also submitted this dish to Nandita’s “Breakfast Blogging Event” through her blog, Saffron Trail.
So what is quiche? Well, it’s derived from French cuisine that consists of a baked dish made primarily of eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust. Other ingredients such as cooked chopped meat, vegetables or cheese are often added to the egg mixture before the quiche is baked. It’s great for breakfast, lunch or even dinner!
Here’s my recipe for ham, broccoli & 4 cheese quiche:

1/2 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup chopped, steamed broccoli
1/4 cup gruyere cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup colby cheese
seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
6 eggs, scrambled
pie crust dough (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Press the pie crust into a shallow baking pan or a torte pan.
Sprinkle the ham and brocoli over the crust.
Top with the cheeses.
In a bowl, scramble the eggs and carefully pour the eggs over the ham, broccoli and cheese.
Carefully place the quiche into the oven and allow it to bake about 45 minutes in preheated oven or until middle has set.
This is great with a salad or on its own!

pie crust ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very-cold, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup ice cold water

Combine flour, butter, salt & sugar in food processor or in a bowl with a pastry cutter.
Slowly add the ice cold water until the dough comes together.
Form dough into a ball, wrap well and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before using.

Cooking Outside the Blue Box

I was in the mood for comfort food and what came to mind was mac & cheese… homemade mac & cheese. Tonight it was served more as a side dish accompanying pork chops with steamed broccoli.
Originally, macaroni was consumed largely by the upper class, as a majority of the pasts was made in Europe. A few factories existed within the United States, but not enough for wide-spread distribution. After the American Civil War, more pasta-producing factories opened. This allowed the price to drop, and macaroni became available to the working class.

Macaroni increased in popularity throughout the country. The noodle could be served with a wide variety of toppings or sauces.

In 1937, Kraft Foods introduced the Kraft Dinner, macaroni noodles with a cheese sauce. The dinner has become radically popular.

Macaroni and Cheese remains a common food today. Kraft remains the most prominent distributor of boxed Macaroni and Cheese. Kraft also makes a variation of its boxed Macaroni and Cheese dinner as “Easy Mac,” which requires less detailed preparation, is microwavable, and has a lengthy shelf life.
Here is my recipe for MJC Mac & Cheese:

2 cups dried macaroni, cooked al dente
1/4 stick of butter
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup half & half
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack & Colby shredded cheese blend
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 cups Monterey Jack & Colby shredded cheese blend
1/4 cup panko Japanese breadcrumbs

In a sauce pan, melt butter.
Add flour and stir, cooking about 1-2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in half & half and let it thicken.
Take off heat and slowly add the 1 1/2 cups of cheese.
Place cooked macaroni in a large bowl or pot it was cooked in.
Add the cheese sauce to the macaroni; stir.
Stir in garlic powder and parsley; combine thoroughly.
Grease baking dish and add mac & cheese.
Spread evenly in dish.
Combine remaining cheese & breadcrumbs.
Top mac & cheeese with breadcrumb mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.
Let it stand about 15 minutes to firm up.

* I served this with garlic pork chops (pan fried) & steamed broccoli.