Cold Veggie Pizza Appetizer

Saturday, Bayday, Bayday!!

My sister has been visiting for the past week and we’ve been having an absolute blast. One of our jokes is that no one can make us laugh more than ourselves, except maybe each other. Don’t worry, I know you’re probably giving me the side eye right now because reading that doesn’t make much sense. Like most families, and especially sisters, we have a lot of inside jokes and from the outside looking in we are just weirdos. Actually from the inside looking out we’re pretty strange too — but we have FUN which is the most important part.

One of the fun things we did during her visit was have Saturday Bayday Bayday (best said like the motorsports commercials “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday”). Around lunch time we headed out to the bay with a few friends for a day of frisbee, sunbathing, eating, and good fun. Unfortunately we wound up cutting the day a little short when the sun disappeared and the clouds showed up, but the rest of the day was still a blast. And of course there was no shortage of food.

I’ll be sharing a few of those recipes in the next few weeks and I thought I would start with this super easy appetizer. I think this is one of things that everyone has had and everyone has their own way of making. This just happens to be the way I made it. I didn’t use a recipe as I have had it a million times and felt pretty confident about making it without one (but I did take notes so I could share it with you). It must have been a big success because it was a crowd favorite. Good news is it was also easy!

Cold Veggie Pizza Appetizer

(Sunny Side Up recipe)

Ingredients

2 cans of refrigerated croissant dough (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 packet Ranch dressing mix*
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp paprika
2 cups chopped veggies of your choice**

*1/2 packet was plenty for my tastes, but taste the dressing as you’re mixing and add more if needed ** I took the easy way out and bought a mixed bag with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, and chopped it up. Bell peppers, onions, even cucumber would also be great.

Directions

Unroll the cans of croissant rolls and place on a baking sheet. Press together so it forms one big rectangle without seams. Bake according to package and allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, Ranch, and seasonings until smooth.

Spread the dressing over the crust in an even layer. Top with chopped veggies and cut into even squares. Serve cold.

A Taco Stand Favorite

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One of my favorite things about living in San Diego is the availability of really delicious authentic Mexican food. There is a taco stand on almost every street corner, no seriously, not an exaggeration. On any given block there will be an Alberto’s, Roberto’s, Rigaberato’s… The girls (that I nanny for) helped introduce me to my favorite place Taco Surf, or as the girls like to call it, Surf Taco. I could eat there 3 or 4 times a week. I love the carnitas and the carne asada is amazing. Occasionally I indulge in the rolled tacos, YUM.

Rolled tacos are one of the most popular taco stand foods. Deep fried little rolls of heaven. All my life I’ve seen them called taquitos and I had only tasted the frozen variety, which are nothing to write home about. But rolled tacos from a taco stand, those are something I can get down with. Of course if I really ate these taco stand delights as often as I would like I’d have to go around in elastic waist pants all the time.


Needless to say, when I saw this recipe I was instantly intrigued. They are a healthier homemade version. I love the fact that these taquitos, or rolled tacos, are not deep fried but still have a nice crispy salty finish. These are not a dead match for taco shop rolled tacos, but I think I actually like them better, let’s face it, it’s nice to know what’s inside and not have to worry about mystery meat. They come together quickly, can be frozen and baked later, and taste wonderful! Try them today!

Creamy Baked Taquitos or Rolled Tacos
(Adapted from Pink Parsley)

3 oz cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
1/3 cup salsa
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I didn’t have any fresh so I used dry but fresh is best)
3 Tbs chopped green onions
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (boiled, roasted, left over, anything works)
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese
8-12 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the salsa, lime juice, cumin, chile powder, cayenne, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, green onions, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Fold in the chicken and cheeses. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Stack tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap. Cook 30 seconds, or until tortillas are soft and pliable. (Mine took 60 seconds total after coming straight out of the fridge)

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly. Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole.

Caramel Popcorn Mix

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

Last month while staying with my Aunt in Maryland she made this highly addicting popcorn mix. I immediately thought it would make a great Christmas treat/gift. Today I finally had time to put it all together. I found SUPER cute boxes at Michaels to store the popcorn. Little “Chinese take out” boxes in holiday prints. I can’t wait to give them to my coworkers tomorrow. Jesse also gives this recipe a big thumbs up and is taking some with him to work tomorrow as well.

So if you’re looking for a new holiday treat gift to give, you must try this popcorn! I promise you won’t regret it!

Caramel Corn Snack Mix
Recipe from my Aunt Ari

Ingredients
8 cups popped popcorn
4 cups toasted rice cereal (Chex)
2 cups pretzels
1 cup Pecan halves or pieces
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking soda
Parchment Paper (not an ingredient but a crucial tool)

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a saucepan combine the brown sugar, butter and light corn syrup and heat over medium heat. While stirring, bring to a light boil then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes (it will still look bubbly and you should stop stirring)

While the caramel is simmering combine the popcorn, rice cereal, pretzels, and pecans in a very large bowl.

When the caramel is finished simmering remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda and vanilla.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn mixture, stopping occasionally to stir and coat evenly.

Transfer the popcorn to 2 large bar pans that are lined with parchment paper (very important that it is parchment paper and NOT wax paper). Bake for 30 minutes, halfway through switch racks (bottom to top top to bottom)

After 30 minutes, remove from oven and let the mixture start to cool. While it’s cooling start to break the popcorn apart.

When the popcorn is completely cool transfer to a storage container.