Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!


We had a really busy holiday break filled with loads of good food and drink.  Now it's time to settle down and get back into the routine which for me means healthy eating and exercising.  BUT as usual I can't let a fantastic recipe go by without sharing.  Here's the star of the season.  It's so delicious my personal chef Kristen agreed to make it twice!  Below is before Christmas.  Recipe follows!

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 This was our first Christmas in Boston.  It was wonderful.  We love New York and spend as much time there as we can but nothing beats Boston at Christmas.  It's a lot calmer and less traffic than other times of the year.  Quincy Market is all decked out.

Every night there's a fabulous light show in Faneuil Hall Marketplace complete with the sound of every Christmas Carol you can think of.  If you've never been there at this time of the year it's a trip worth considering.  

This enormous Christmas tree is the largest tree in the Northeast.

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A few years ago, Nancy at Yankee Cloth helped me find a runner pattern that was quick and easy.  I've used this pattern over and over with loads of different fabric and I never tire of it.  I have runners for every season.  This is called Turning Twenty.  

A Turning Twenty quilt can typically have large blocks.  Nancy calculated a smaller block size so it made a perfect runner.  My dining room table is 9' X 45" and this runner is 14" wide.  It's the perfect width for my table.  I made a shorter one for my window seat which is a display area.  Here are the block measurements for this runner: 5" square, 3X5" rectangle, and 3X8" rectangle.  See placement of block pattern above.  I would recommend tying this quilt.  It's a lot quicker and I think it compliments the pattern.

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Yes, this is the best part of the post!  The second time we served this appetizer we decided to make it even easier.  We put the unbaked rolls in a big round freezer-to-oven baking dish.  Then when it was done all we had to do was take it out of the oven and place it on the table.

  The second time we made it we varied the recipe a little.  We didn't have cream cheese so we just used extra mozzarella and grated cheese.  Kristen added more spices to the cheese mixture and sprinkled a little oil and grated cheese over the top instead of butter.  Next time we'll experiment more.  For the sauce we used a small can of Hunt's Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano.  After you put the tomatoes in a saucepan add a little olive oil and pepper.  Let the sauce simmer a little while until it thickens and you've got a chunky tomato sauce great for dipping that tastes much better than the store brands.  Also, we couldn't find Artisan pizza crust anywhere so we used regular Pillsbury pizza crust and it was fine.

Christmas Tree Pull-Apart

Christmas is almost here, and I’ve got one more treat that I just had to share. This adorable Christmas tree is a quick and easy appetizer that everyone will love and takes just minutes to make. I used Pillsbury pizza crust, cut in equal squares to make the bread. For my tree, I used the Pillsbury’s artisan crust to make it a little more healthy. But you can also just use the regular pizza dough, or even homemade pizza dough.
I also stuffed the little dough balls with cheese before forming the dough into the shape of a Christmas tree. My son was a big help with this tree too. After I spooned the cheese filling onto each piece of dough, he helped me form the balls and arrange the dough on the cookie sheet. After baking it, I brushed my tree with melted butter and minced garlic and then sprinkled it with freshly chopped basil and rosemary. It was so easy!


Christmas Tree Pull-Apart


1 can (13.8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated artisan pizza crust with whole grain or Pillsbury® refrigerated regular pizza crust
4 oz, or half brick, cream cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend shredded cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced very fine
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil and rosemary
1 cup warmed marinara sauce for dipping


Heat oven to 400°. Lay pizza dough on a work surface and stretch to a 10 x 15 inch size. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 36 equal squares. In a small bow, combine cream cheese and shredded cheese. Mix well.
Add one tablespoon of the cheese mixture to each dough square. Make a ball with the dough, sealing the edges. Place on a cookie sheet in a Christmas tree form as shown in the photos above. Bake for 15 - 17 minutes, or until golden brown.
After removing pull-apart from the oven, brush with butter and sprinkle with chopped herbs. Serve pull apart with marinara sauce.

This post sponsored by Pillsbury. 
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No snow yet!  I love snow but this holiday was one of the very few I can remember that we got through the whole break without one cancellation or postponement.  
Now it' OK to snow - a little.  Right about now everyone needs a snow day to be able to stay home!

Thanks for visiting!  See you soon!!!

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