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Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas made in a muffin tin

Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas

Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas are fun, little individual deep dish pizzas made in a muffin tin.  First you roll out little pizza dough circles and then gently put them in the muffin cups.  Then fill each dough round with your desired sauce and toppings and then top it with cheese.   I used premade dough (from Trader Joe’s), topped them with a marinara sauce, broccoli, red onion and mozzarella cheese, and they came together in less than 30 minutes.  These Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas are completely customizable with your favorite sauce and toppings.  Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas are a definite crowd-pleaser. Besides – there is always something fun about anything in miniature!


Today I am being featured over at Momma’s Meals where I’m being featured as part of Tammi’s Featured Fridays series!  Every Friday, Tammi gets to know her fellow bloggers and makes one of their recipes to share with her family and then with her readers.

I thought it would be fun to make something from Tammi’s site to share with you, and her Individual Deep Dish Pizzas were perfect!  Incidentally I had been looking at an Everyday Food recipe for little deep dish pizzas made in a muffin tin, so these Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas that I’m sharing with you is sort of a combination of the two recipes.

Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas
 
Yields: 12 pizzas
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • All-purpose flour, for rolling
  • 1 pound pizza dough (homemade or store-bought) - in 12 pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup pizza sauce (I used a homemade marinara sauce)
  • Your favorite pizza toppings - about 1 to 2 tablespoons per pizza (I used chopped broccoli and red onion)
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of pizza dough into 6-inch circles. Place into prepared muffin cup, gently pressing dough into bottom and up the sides. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
  3. Put 1 tablespoon sauce in each dough cup. Top sauce with 1 to 2 tablespoons of pizza toppings and then top with cheese.
  4. Bake until dough is browned and crisp, approximately 12 minutes. Let cool for 2-5 minutes before removing from cups.

 

Sources:  Everyday Food,September, 2010 and Momma’s Meals

healthy lighter chicken parmesan

Light Chicken Parmesan

This Light Chicken Parmesan is a delicious and healthy spin on a classic favorite.  There are a few tricks that helped with the lightening up of this dish.  Baking the chicken results in moist meat without having to use any extra fat.  By breading only one side of the chicken, you get the benefit of the delicious breadcrumb/cheese mixture without the excess.  Using part-skim mozzarella cheese helps keep the fat and calories down without sacrificing taste.

The sauce can easily be substituted with your favorite marinara (use jarred for a time saver) – simply skip to step 5.  We enjoyed Light Chicken Parmesan with a mixed green side salad for a light, healthy dinner.  Spaghetti tossed a little olive oil, herbs and red pepper flakes would also be a delicious accompaniment to this dish.

Light Chicken Parmesan
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 to 6 ounces each)
  • ¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
Instructions
  1. Make Sauce: Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender (about 8 minutes). Add garlic, pepper flakes, and Italian herb seasoning. Cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cover, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce heat to medium low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and flavors combine (about 30 minutes).
  3. Add vinegar and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until slightly cooled.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor, puree sauce until smooth.
  5. Make Chicken: Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack in upper third. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  6. In a food processor, combine bread, Parmesan, oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until mixture becomes coarse crumbs; transfer to a shallow bowl.
  7. Place flour in a separate shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper. Place egg white in a third shallow bowl, and beat with fork until frothy.
  8. Dip top side of chicken breast in flour, shaking off excess. Dip same side in egg white, letting excess drip off. Then dip in breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere. Place on prepared baking sheet, breaded side up (Note: you only bread one side). Repeat with remaining chicken.
  9. Bake until breadcrumbs are browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with mozzarella. Continue baking until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted and slightly browned, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  10. Serve chicken with a generous amount of sauce.

Light Chicken Parmesan

Source:  Chicken from Everyday Food Light; Sauce adapted slightly from Clean Eating, March, 2012

DSC08110-1

Easy Spinach & Cheese Lasagna

While working on clearing out the cupboards in advance of our upcoming move, I found myself faced with 3 boxes of lasagna noodles.  How did that happen!  At least it is something I am happy to use, unlike the random can of soup that I have been avoiding.  In lieu of my usual lasagna recipes, which tend to be a bit more labor intensive, I decided to go with something easy and quick to prepare.  This Easy Spinach and Cheese Lasagna is exactly that…and so good!

This lasagna is first simplified by not boiling the noodles.  I used no-boil noodles, but have used regular noodles in the past and they have worked just fine.  Another step is saved by using a good quality pasta sauce from a jar.  A from scratch sauce would of course be fabulous, but we’re going for easy here.  Mix the filling, layer it up with the sauce and noodles, add water, and pop the pan in the oven.  In a little over an hour, you have an easy, healthy, delicious meal.  This lasagna makes plenty for serving guests, or you can enjoy some great leftovers!    

Easy Spinach and Cheese Lasagna
Yields 6-8 servings

15 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (divided)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded (divided)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen spinach, thawed, chopped and drained well
3-4 garlic cloves, grated or minced
2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (25-ounce) jar pasta sauce
9 to 12 no-boil uncooked lasagna noodles

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9×13 inch non-reactive baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup Paremsan, egg, spinach salt, pepper and Italian herb seasoning.
  3. In another bowl, combine the remaining mozzarella and Paremsan cheese.  This is for the  topping, so set aside.  
  4. Pour 1 cup of pasta sauce in the bottom of the baking pan.  Top with a layer of noodles and then a layer of the ricotta-spinach mixture.  Repeat with another layer of noodles and ricotta-spinach mixture.  Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheeses.  Pour 1 cup water around the edges of pan.  
  5. Cover very tightly with non-stick foil (or foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray).  Bake for 1 1/4 hours.  Let stand, uncovered, for 15 minutes before serving.  

Adapted from Whole Foods

Porcini Mushroom and Spinach Risotto with Mascarpone

Porcini Mushroom and Spinach Risotto with Mascarpone

Years ago, I aspired to make risotto for the first time.  But I hesitated, because it was a little intimidating and seemed quite difficult.  Coincidentially, around the same time, I happened to catch a cooking show about risotto.  The chef explained step-by-step how to make it and alleviated any uncertainty I had.  Armed with a recipe from Cooking Light, I was bound and determined to perfect the art of making risotto!
Fortunately, risotto was just as easy to make as the professionals on television led me to believe.  Years later, we are still enjoying that same recipe, however since then I have incorporated a few changes to the original recipe.  I swapped oregano for thyme, added lots of fresh spinach and used vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian dish.
While we enjoy this risotto as a vegetarian entree, it of course makes for a wonderful side dish.  Porcini Mushroom and Spinach Risotto with Mascarpone is a household favorite, suitable for company, and a definite crowd pleaser.
Porcini Mushroom and Spinach Risotto with Mascarpone
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 14 ounces vegetable broth
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice (or other short-grain rice)
  • ¾ cup chopped shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce) mascarpone cheese
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine boiling water and mushrooms; let stand for 10 minutes. Drain through colander over a bowl. Reserve 1¼ cups soaking liquid, and chop mushrooms.
  2. In a small sauce pan, bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer (do not boil), keeping mixture warm over low heat.
  3. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add rice, shallots and garlic; saute 5 minutes, or until the rice gets browned and toasted.
  4. Add wine and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice mixture and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed (about 5 minutes); stirring frequently.
  6. Add remaining broth mixture ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently, until each portion of the broth mixture is nearly absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total).
  7. Remove pan from heat. Add mushrooms, cheeses, oregano, spinach, salt and pepper, stirring gently until combined and cheese melts. Serve warm.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 servings
Adapted from Cooking Light