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Archive for Pasta-Pizza

TOP PICKS OF THE WEEK: Muuna Cottage Cheese, Oui Yogurt & More

Muuna Strawberry Cottage Cheese
[1] Muuna’s cottage cheese cups with fruit on the bottom come in 6 fruit flavors (photo courtesy Muuna).

Oui By Yoplait - Strawberry
Yoplait’s new French-style yogurt line will have you saying “Oui!” (photo courtesy Oui By Yoplait).

Reuse-a-Pop

[3] Reuse-A-Pop is a mess-free opportunity for you to make your favorite flavor push-up ice pops (photo courtesy Russbe).

 

1. MUUNA COTTAGE CHEESE WITH FRUIT

We were probably the last person in New York to buy Breakstone Pineapple Cottage Cheese before they discontinued it. It was the Ascension Of Yogurt Era, and grocers eliminated slower-moving SKUs to give the space to the hot ones.

Now, a new brand called Muuna is offering all the fruited cottage cheese our heart desires (photo #1). The line is lowfat and creamy, with the fruit on the bottom that you mix up, like a carton of sundae-style yogurt.

It’s also rich in protein: 15g of protein per 5.3-ounce cup.

The fruit is not the typical preserves at the bottom of of the cup but actual chopped fruit, in your choice of:

  • Blueberry
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberry
  •  
    There are also two plain options: 2% and 4% milkfat.

    The line is all natural, non-GMO, rBST-free and certified kosher by cRc.

    Welcome back, pineapple cottage cheese—and hello to you other flavors. You’re our Top Pick Of The Week.
    ________________

    *See the different types of yogurt.
     
     
    2. OUI BY YOPLAIT YOGURT

    Our co-Top Pick is the new Oui by Yoplait line of yogurt (photo #2). It’s different from every other container of Yoplait you’ve had.

    Eating yogurt from the perky glass jar, you could imagine you’re in France. The jar (repurposeable or recyclable) makes you look cool and in-the-know. And the yogurt does not disappoint.

    The company calls it saveur d’autrefois, the taste of yesteryear.

    Yoplait’s foray into premium, French-style yogurt (also called custard-style and Swiss-style) is on point, hitting the trending consumer checklist for all natural, non-GMO and reduced sugar products. The eight flavors include:

  • Black Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Coconut
  • Lemon
  • Peach
  • Plain
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    A final endorsement comes from the secretary of our building, with whom we shared our samples. She is a native of Greece who eats Greek yogurt every day. Her feedback: “Outstanding!”

    The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OK.
     
     
    3. RUSSBE REUSE-A-POP BAGS

    Russbe creates reusable lunch containers, but that’s not a product we have need for.

    What we do need, and love, are the Reuse-A-Pops bags for creating homemade frozen juice pops, puréed fruit, yogurt, and other frozen pops.

    The push-up bags (photo #3) with zipper seals ensures no messy leaks or spills. Freeze, enjoy, wash, reuse. At $6.99 for 12, you can’t go wrong.

    We just enjoyed our first batch: watermelon (from watermelon juice), cantaloupe (from puréed melon) and yogurt-garlic-dill (who says ice pops have to be sweet?). Yum!

     

    4. DI GIORNO CRISPY PAN PIZZA

    We live in a neighborhood where crisp, thin-crust pizza is what grown-ups eat. When people order from Pizza Hut, it’s for the kids.

    We have a reputation to uphold, and hesitate to be seen carrying a deep-dish pizza into the building, no matter how much we need that specific comfort food.

    But there’s a solution for our cravings: DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza, a frozen pizza from the supermarket in its own pan.

    The one-inch-plus-deep crispy crust pie, with extra cheese and plenty of toppings, comes in four flavors:

  • Pepperoni
  • Four Cheese
  • Supreme
  • Three Meat
  •  
    We like everything on our pie (or as much of it as we can get). We went for the Supreme: pepperoni, sausage, green and red peppers and black olives.

     

    DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza

    [3] Pan pizza in four flavors stays in the freezer. Twelve minutes in the oven delivers steaming, aromatic comfort food (photo courtesy DiGiorno).

     
    In just 12 minutes we pulled the pie—a crunchy outside and a soft inside— fragrant and bubbling from the oven.

    Now, we just have to clear out the freezer to make room for more DiGiorno boxes.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Zucchini Pan Pizza

    Zucchini White Pizza
    [1] We can almost guarantee you’ll want to make this pizza over and over again (photo courtesy The Baker Chick)..

    Zucchini On Vine

    [2] Zucchini on the vine. Zucchini is very easy to grow, with a large yield (photo courtesy Burpee).

     

    We buy zucchini year-round. It’s one of our favorite diet foods, easy to steam, turn into “pasta” noodles, slice into salads, and make into microwave zucchini parmesan (just top slices with sauce and cheese).

    What we like even more is summer zucchini, which we can often find for half the price of the winter offerings.

    For a party or a family dinner—or to whip up quickly when friends drop by for a beer or glass of wine—try this cheesy zucchini pizza from The Baker Chick, one of our favorite food bloggers. Sign up for her emails at TheBakerChick.com. It’s well worth getting her recipe emails every week or two.

    Shredded zucchini and mozzarella are spread on pizza crust over a ricotta/garlic mixture. (We also made a version with red sauce and kalamata olives—equally delish.)

    The zucchini dries out a bit first, but it totally crisps up with the bubbly cheese.

    “This is really simple but just so good,” says Audra, The Baker Chick. “I didn’t quite realize how much I would love this.”

    You will, too! Audra made this as a pan (square or rectangle) pizza, but you can use whatever pan you have.

    We added a different garnishes on different slices of the pizza. We loved them all!

    We added the garnishes both after the pizza came out of the oven, and during the last 5 minutes of baking, with a slight preference for the latter (except for the fresh basil, which shows best then added out of the oven).

    Bonus Tip: You can mix the ingredients the day before. Then, it takes just five minutes to roll the dough, sprinkle them on top and pop into the oven. In 15 minutes, it’s ready.

    RECIPE: EASY ZUCCHINI WHITE PIZZA

    Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 ball pizza dough
  • Flour for rolling
  • Optional garnishes: fresh basil or chives, halved cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, oregano, raw zucchini julienne
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 500°F. Drizzle a quarter sheet pan with olive oil, using a paper towel, basting brush or your fingers to make sure the entire surface is coated. Set aside. (You can also use a pizza stone.)

    2. GRATE the zucchini and squeeze out all the water, either by pressing in a fine mesh strainer or with a paper towel.

    3. MIX the zucchini with the mozzarella, adding salt and pepper to taste. In another bowl…

    4. COMBINE the ricotta and garlic. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

    5. ROLL out the dough on a floured surface and stretch into the pan. Spread the ricotta mixture over the dough, and top with the zucchini/mozzarella mixture.

    6. REDUCE the oven temperature to 450°F and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Beer Crust Pizza

    Beer Crust Pizza

    Greek Salad Pizza

    You can make the pizza in any shape you like. [1] Oblong, flatbread-style from King Arthur Flour. [2] A traditional round pizza with Greek salad toppings, from Cooking Classy.

     

    Make Dad a pizza with beer or hard cider. It’s subtle flavor, and a fun idea.

    The type and quality of beer you use is very important. Mass-market beers will not give you the results that a good craft beer or imported German beer provide.

    Bonus: You can use leftover, flat beer.

    If you like a light crust, use an unfiltered wheat beer. The bottle contains yeast particles, which add to the rise and provide a yeasty taste to the crust. Before adding the bear, swirl the bottle to release the yeast from the bottom.

    Pilsners, IPAs and other hoppy beers can make the crust bitter. Porter and stout give a stronger flavor.

    Thanks to King Arthur Flour for the recipe.

    Prep time is 20 to 30 minutes; bake time is 18 to 48 minutes, depending on the rise.

    RECIPE: BEER CRUST PIZZA

    Ingredients For 2 Pizza Crusts

  • 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups semolina (substitute unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon King Arthur Pizza Dough Flavor* or 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups room-temperature beer
  •  
    Plus Toppings As Desired

  • Sauce
  • Mozzarella and other cheeses
  • Meats, vegetables, herbs
  •  
    ________________

    *King Arthur Flour’s Pizza Dough Flavor is a blend of cheese powder, garlic and natural flavors. You can blend your own to taste. Use approximately 1-1/3 teaspoons per cup of flour, in any pizza crust recipe.

     
    Preparation

    1. MIX and knead together all of the dough ingredients until you’ve made a smooth, soft dough. You can use your hands, a mixer or a bread machine. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 30 minutes, or for up to 2 hours.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F with the pizza stone on the lower rack. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a 10″ to 12″ round.

    3. PLACE the rounds on parchment paper, if you’re using a pizza stone. Otherwise, place the dough on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. For a thin to medium crust, bake the pizzas immediately. For thicker crust, let them rise 30 to 60 minutes.

    4. TRANSFER the pizzas, parchment and all, to the baking stone; or place the pans in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, top as desired, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the bottom crust is crisp and the cheese is bubbly, browned and ready to eat

    TIPS

    To end up with mozzarella that’s gently melted (not browned and hardened):

  • Add the meat or vegetables after 5 minutes of baking time.
  • Add half the cheese after 15 minutes baking time (i.e., 10 minutes after the meat and veggies).
  • Bake for 3 minutes, add the remainder of the cheese, then bake for an additional 2 minutes, until the second addition of cheese is barely melted.
  •  
     
    THE HISTORY OF BEER
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER

     
      

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    RECIPE: Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Flatbread

    Shrimp Flatbread

    Arugula Pizza

    [1] Shrimp flatbread from SeaPak. [2] No matter what type of pizza or flatbread, we toss fresh baby arugula on top when it emerges from the oven (photo courtesy Purple Carrot).

     

    Shrimp is America’s favorite in the fish and shellfish category. Of the 15.5 pounds consumed by Americans each year, shrimp accounts for 4 pounds.

    (Dudes: 15.5 pounds per capita per year is way too low. Americans eat nearly 50 billion burgers a year, which translates to three burgers a week for every single person. That’s a lot of beef.!)

    For National Shrimp Day, May 10th, we whipped up this easy shrimp flatbread using frozen Shrimp Scampi from SeaPak.

    Nicely seasoned in a butter, garlic and red pepper sauce, you don’t need to add any more flavor to the shrimp.

    One way to enjoy shrimp, more often, and more affordably, is to look to the freezer section.

    While we always buy fresh shrimp for, say, a shrimp cocktail or plateau de fruits de mer.

    But in a multi-ingredient dish—like this flatbread, coconut beer batter shrimp, shrimp fra diavolo, shrimp pad thai, shrimp salad sandwich, and so on—where the shrimp is integrated with other flavors—the frozen shrimp can do just as nicely.

    RECIPE: SHRIMP, CORN AND ZUCCHINI FLATBREAD

    Prep time is 15 minutes; cook time is 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Snack Servings Or Two Lunches/Dinners

  • 1 12-ounce package of SeaPak Shrimp Scampi
  • ½ cup frozen or canned corn kernels
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • Bench flour*
  • 1 16-ounce ball of pizza dough (fresh or frozen/thawed)
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Optional: ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 lemon
  • Optional garnish: baby arugula, fresh basil
  •  
    ________________

    *Bench flour is simply flour sprinkled on the work surface (once upon a time called a work bench).

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Prepare the frozen scampi according to package instructions (7 minutes in a skillet). Add the corn and zucchini to the pan and stir occasionally.

    2. LIGHTLY flour a work surface and press the dough into a large rectangle.

    3. TURN a baking sheet upside down (so the bottom is facing up) and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer dough to the bottom (sprayed side) of the baking sheet. Use some of the sauce from the scampi to brush over the top of the dough, and pierce the dough with a fork to avoid large air bubbles.

    4. BAKE for 12-15 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of baking, remove the pan from the oven, cover with the optional mozzarella, and use a slotted spoon to drain the shrimp mixture, reserving the scampi sauce in the pot. Spread the mixture over the flatbread. Top with the shredded parmesan cheese and return to the oven. Bake until cheese begins to melt.

    5. SLICE the lemon and squeeze half into the scampi sauce. Pour into a small bowl to use for a flatbread drizzle, dipping sauce or even a salad dressing.

    6. TOP the pizza with the arugula or basil and bring to the table.

     
      

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    PRODUCTS: 5 New Favorite Specialty Foods

    Four of this month’s roundup of favorite products will brighten your dinner table, and the last will satisfy your sweet tooth.

    In alphabetical order, they are:

    1. CRACKER BARREL Oven BAKED MACARONI & CHEESE

    Cracker Barrel Cheese’s premium mac & cheese line has launched Oven Baked Macaroni & Cheese (photo #1) in three flavors:

  • Sharp Cheddar, seasoned with paprika and ground mustard.
  • Sharp White Cheddar, seasoned with black pepper and ground mustard.
  • Cheddar Havarti, seasoned with garlic and chives.
  •  
    Fans of oven-baked mac and cheese prefer it for the crispy edges and the toasted bread crumbs. The bread crumbs are included, as well as flavorful seasonings; and the level of crispiness is up to you.

    Just boil the noodles and mix the seasoning packet with melted butter and milk. Add the cheese sauce and the flavor mix, spoon into a baking dish and top with the toasted breadcrumbs.

    Get yours at major retailers nationwide. Suggested Retail Price is $3.99 for a 12.34-ounce package.

    For more information visit the Cracker Barrel Cheese website.
     
     
    2. DELTA BLUES RICE GRITS

    Delta Blues Rice (that’s the Mississippi Delta) is a fourth-generation family business that grows artisan rice. If you think that all white rice tastes the same, you won’t believe how much more flavorful it is than supermarket brands.

    The company sells the rice in white and brown rice and rice grits, all made in small batches and milled for freshness.

    We’ve enjoyed cornmeal grits since we were small fry, but had never tasted rice grits until the folks at Delta Blues Rice sent us a sample (photos #2 and #3).

    We devoured the package and ordered more. For those who avoid corn-based foods, they’re a real find.

    If you come from a grits-loving family, load up on them as gifts or favors for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

    Get yours at DeltaBluesRice.com.
     
     
    3. ENTUBE FLAVOR PASTES

    Big flavors come from little tubes. Entube is a line of flavorful pastes in three international flavors: curry, harissa and umeboshi (photos #4 and #5).

    These are great to have on hand and are so easy to use. Instead of adding more salt when a dish needs some pizzazz, just add a bit of flavor paste—to anything from grains to cheese fondue to soups and stews.

    We tried two of the three flavors: Curry and Harissa. Here’s how we used them.

    3a. Entube Harissa Paste

  • Dip: Combine with yogurt to your desired spice level and use as dip for crudités or tortilla chips.
  • Sauce: Stir some paste into pasta sauce or the hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict (quite wonderful). With a mushroom sauce for roast chicken, add 1-1/2 teaspoons for 1 cup sauce.
  • Spread: Add to mayo for a great sandwich spread.
  •  
    Roast Chicken: About 15 minutes before the chicken is due to come out of the oven, combine harissa-flavored plain yogurt with the hot drippings. Baste the chicken twice, five minutes apart. For the second basting, add the juice of 1/2 lemon to the yogurt and drippings, along with a bit of kosher salt to taste. This will slightly caramelize and crisp the skin.

    Grilled Lamb: Morroccan lamb dishes are classically made with a harissa spice rub. We made a rack of lamb with the yogurt-Harissa Paste mix (4 tablespoons yogurt with 1 teaspoon paste) and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Brush it in on at the start of roasting and once more 5 minutes from the end. It perks up the slightly gamy flavor of lamb beautifully. (Cooking time for medium rare lamb is 22 minutes in a 425°F oven.)

       

    Cracker Barrel Baked Mac & Cheese

    Delta Blues Rice Grits

    Rice Grits

    Entube Flavor Pastes

    Paella With Harissa

    [1] We love baked mac & cheese with crispy edges (photo courtesy Cracker Barrel). [2] Calling all grits lovers for great rice grits (photo courtesy Delta Blues Rice). [3] Rice grits (photo courtesy Neniemi Food). [4] Entube flavor pastes and [5] Entube harissa spices up paella (photos courtesy Entube | Facebook).

     
    Moroccan Chicken Kabobs: Cube 1 pound of chicken breasts and marinate for 3-4 hours in 3 teaspoons Harissa Paste, juice of 1 lemon, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, with an optional teaspoon of smoked paprika. Skewer onto pre-soaked (30 minutes) wooden skewers or lightly oiled metal skewers. Broil or grill, turning often. Brush with the marinade halfway through and continue until browned and cooked through, 16 minutes total. Serve hot.

    3b. Entube Curry Paste

    Mushroom Sauce: Boost the umami flavor in creamy mushroom sauces. Add as much paste as you like, tasting as you go in 1/2 teaspoon increments. The curry flavor was not overpowering and added depth to the character of the mushrooms. This combination also works in mushroom tarts.

    Grilled Shrimp: Marinate 1 pound deveined shrimp in a yogurt marinade made with 1/2 cup yogurt and 2 teaspoons of curry paste, the juice of 1 lime, mustard oil or coconut oil, chili powder to taste and 2 teaspoons of grated, peeled ginger root. Marinate in the fridge for 2-4 hours. Just before grilling (on medium-high), remove shrimp and wipe off the excess marinade with paper towels. Grill until black spots begin to appear, about 3 minutes per side. Delicious!

    The one complaint we have with the pastes is that there is too much added ascorbic acid (vitamin C)—almost 20%. If you have a sophisticated palate, you may notice a slightly medicinal acidic tang that is not as clean and lively as would have been given by lemon or lime. You can mask it by adding some real lemon or lime juice.

    Find a store locator on the company website.

     

    Salt With Sea Vegetables

    Werther's Cocoa Creme Caramels

    Werther's Sugar Free Caramels

    [6] Sea salt meets seaweed in these tasty blends (photo courtesy Sea Veg). [7] Werther’s new Cocoa Crème Soft Caramels and [8] longtime favorites, the sugar-free caramels line (photos courtesy Werther’s Original).

     

    4. MAINE MADE SEA SEASONINGS

    This naturally iodized sea salt has a little something extra: sea vegetables, including dulse and kelp, seaweeds known for their high vitamin and mineral content.

    The entire line of seaweed-based products are harvested in Maine waters; and the line is targeted to people who want to get the most nutrition they can from their foods.

    Here are the nutritional values of both seaweeds.

    Not that we don’t want the best nutrition; but we like these sea salts for their flavor, especially with rice and other grains and starches. And, we’re big flavor fans of Japanese seaweed, dried or fresh [which is actually reconstituted dry seaweed].

    The company offers variations of the sea salt with added cayenne or garlic; and with other seaweeds. Another product of interest is the applewood-smoked nori sheets.

    Find out more at SeaVeg.com.
     
     
    5. WERTHER’S ORIGINAL NEW COCOA CREME SOFT CARAMELS

    Werther’s newest flavor can be attributed to American palates: a survey of more than 1,000 American adults found that 44% chose caramel as their favorite candy flavor to combine with chocolate. The next closest is mint, at 19%.

    Werther’s Original Cocoa Crème Soft Caramels pair their yummy soft caramel with a cocoa crème filling.

    They join Werther’s other dual-flavor caramels, including Caramel Apple and Coffee Caramel.

    We love soft caramels. Aside from the pricey ones from artisan chocolatiers, Werther’s is our favorite everyday brand.

    Another thing we love about the brand is the sugar-free options.

    The line includes hard, chewy, soft and filled caramels, as well as the sugar-free caramels in seven flavors (the chewy sugar-free caramels and chocolate caramels are a must-try) and caramel popcorn.

    As they say at the company, they’re a treat that’s truly “werth it.”

    For more information visit Werther’s Original USA.

     

      

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