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mushroom and leek pita pizzas

Mushroom and Leek Pita Pizzas

After a long day of work and play, it’s nice to have some healthy quick and easy meals ideas on hand.  These Mushroom and Leek Pita Pizzas fit that bill quite nicely.  Mushrooms and leeks are a delicious combination, and a little garlic and crushed red pepper give this pizza a little pizazz.  The whole wheat pitas serve as a sturdy crust.  Topped with some low fat ricotta and lots of vegetables, these pitas turned pizzas become a healthy dinner in less than 20 minutes.

Mushroom and Leek Pita Pizzas
 
Yields: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup leeks, sliced (approximately 1 leek)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (5 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 whole wheat pitas
  • ¼ cup low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, for drizzling
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.
  3. Add leeks and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes (watch carefully to not over cook garlic). Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place pitas on prepared baking sheet. Spreach each pita with 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and top with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes (if using).
  5. Bake until pita is golden and cheeses begin to melt, about 6 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Whole Living

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Lemon Poppy Seed Ricotta Pancakes with Blackberry Sauce

Since blueberries are not quite in season, I decided to put a twist on my Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and make Lemon Poppy Seed Ricotta Pancakes.  I thought they deserved a suitable accompaniment.  As luck would have it, Trader Joe’s had in stock their mega containers of blackberries.  Score!

Since I was planning to top the pancakes with lightly-sweetened berries, I decided to reduce the sugar.   Otherwise I stayed pretty true to the recipe. The sauce is very simple and can be made ahead, which is very nice.

Lemon Poppy Seed Ricotta Pancakes are a nice burst of lemony goodness.  They are higher in protein, made with whole wheat flour, and delicious on their own.  When topped with a lightly-sweetened blackberry sauce, they are extraordinary.

Lemon Poppy Seed Ricotta Pancakes with Blackberry Sauce
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • Sauce:
  • 16 ounces blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pancakes:
  • 15 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • cooking spray
  • confectioners' sugar, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Sauce: In a medium sauce pan, bring blackberries, water and sugar to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour into a strainer (or colander with smaller holes) to drain excess water. Put drained blackberry mixture into a bowl and stir in lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Pancakes: In a medium bowl. whisk together ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, juice and vanilla extract.
  4. Fold in flour until just combined; add poppy seeds, gently mixing until combined.
  5. Spray large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-low heat. Add batter, using a scant ¼ cup for each pancake. Cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate.
  6. Serve hot, with confectioners' sugar or maple syrup, if desired.

Pancakes adapted from my Whole Wheat Blueberry Lemon Pancakes;
Sauce adapted from Eating Well

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Bring on citrus season!  When life gives me a bowl of lemons, you better believe I’m going to make some muffins!  And perhaps some lemonade to wash them down, but that’s another post all together.  For now it’s all about muffins, as these Lemon Ricotta Muffins definitely deserve the spotlight.  They are bright, perfectly sweet and bonus – they’re low in fat, though you would never know it.  The ricotta cheese gives the muffins a moist, soft texture, and the flavor goes perfectly with the lemon.  The taste is reminiscent of delicious lemon ricotta pancakes, only a bit more portable.

With the wonderful citrus bounty upon us, over the next few weeks I will be sharing several recipes using citrus fruits.  In the meantime, grab those lemons and give these muffins a try!

Lemon Ricotta Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons salt (optional)
  • ¾ cup low fat ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare 12 muffin cups with paper liners or cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta, water, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg, and vanilla until blended.
  4. Fold the ricotta mixture into the flour mixture until just blended.
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over the tops of the muffins.
  6. Bake for 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins sit in pan for 5 minutes and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com

Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are made with whole wheat flour, studded with blueberries and a bright flavor from the lemon. These are a wonderful breakfast treat!
Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com

Recently, my favorite (well,…only) pancake turner met an early and unfortunate demise.  Let’s just say the combination of a very hot pan, quesadillas sticking to said pan and a non-silicone turner resulted in a slightly melted pancake turner (and a slightly not pleased Alida).  Now I am armed and dangerous with a fancy silicone pancake turner, ready to take on the world…of pancakes!

What better way to christen this handy new tool than by making ricotta pancakes.  Ricotta pancakes are delicate to flip, so they’re sure to put this new device to the test.

Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com

Not just any ricotta pancake recipe would do, however.  It was time to liven up my go-to ricotta pancake recipe from Everyday Food.  First I swapped lemon zest for the orange zest, and whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour.  I then decided to add vanilla and blueberries to the recipe.

The result was fabulous!  We thought they were perfect without any topping, though you could add a little confectioners’ sugar or maple syrup, if desired.  While these pancakes are easy to make, the batter is quite thick, thus requiring a few extra minutes to cook and extra care when flipping. In the end, it is all worth it – trust me!
Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com
Whole Wheat Blueberry Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes
 
Author:
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 15 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • cooking spray
  • confectioners' sugar or maple syrup, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl. whisk together ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, grated lemon zest and vanilla extract.
  2. Fold in flour until just combined; add blueberries, gently mixing until combined.
  3. Spray large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-low heat. Add batter, using a scant ¼ cup for each pancake. Cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Serve hot, with confectioners' sugar or maple syrup, if desired.
  Adapted from Everyday Food
Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com