Stuffed Pizza Rolls

 These are scrumdillyumptious!!  I'm not even sure if that is a real word, but in our house it means very tasty!  I am so glad I ran across the recipe on this blog, Our Best Bites.  They were so easy to make, I used Pillsbury Refrigerated Pizza Dough but homemade dough would be great too!  I stuffed mine with Pepperoni & Mozzarella because that's my 4 year old's favorite pizza.  But you could do any of your favorite pizza combinations- ham & pineapple, pepperoni & sausage, spinach & olives, the possibilities are endless!!  These were so good, we almost made them twice in one weekend.  So be will be seeing these again! 
for the rolls
Pizza Dough (store bought or homemade)
6 Mozzarella String Cheese Sticks
4 tbsp Butter
2-3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped

for the dipping sauce
1- 8oz can Tomato Sauce
1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (or according to the dough's package directions).  Roll out the pizza dough, making a 12" X 18" (approximately) rectangle.  Using a pizza cutting wheel, cut 24 squares.  As you  can tell from my picture below, the squares do not have to be exactly the same size. 
 I used sandwich pepperoni from the deli, so I had to quarter my slices to fit in the squares. Lay a slice (I used 2 quarters) of pepperoni on each square.
 Then top with cheese.   I also quartered the string cheese sticks.  We thought that ended up being the perfect amount of cheese per roll.
 This was a family affair at my house!
 Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with non stick spray.  I used a 9" X 9" square dish but a pie plate would work well too. 
 Pull the 4 corners of each square together to seal & place the rolls, seam side down, in the dish.   
 In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat.
 Add the minced garlic & cook for 1-2 minutes.
 Then add in the chopped parsley & turn off the heat.
 Brush the garlic butter on the top of the rolls, coating well.  (I also sprinkled a little Parmesan Cheese on the top!)
 Bake at 400 degrees (or according to package directions) for 10-15 minutes, until golden.  Just keep an eye on them since all dough cooks differently. 
While your rolls are in the oven, you can make the dipping sauce.  In a small sauce pan, heat the tomato sauce with the dried Italian Seasoning & Garlic Powder over low/ medium heat, stirring occasionally. 
Serve warm with sauce on the side.  Yum!

Turkey Cupcakes

We had a little fun with these Thanksgiving treats!  They are so cute & super easy with a little help from store bought cake mix & icing.   
All you need to make these:
Your favorite cake mix.  (I used a boxed Yellow Cake mix)
Chocolate Icing (I used a store box can.)
Reese's Pieces Candy 
Cupcake Paper Liners
I used 3 orange pieces for the beak, 2 brown pieces for the eyes, & made 2 lines around the top, alternating colors for the feathers. 
 (You could use candy corn instead of the Reese's Pieces too!) 
 Gobble Gobble!!
Happy Thanksgiving from Our Blissfully Delicious Life!

Pasta Fagioli

This is my (very American) version of the Italian soup, Pasta e Fagioli, meaning pasta with beans.  It is one of my favorite soups.  Patty, good friend of mine, brought my family over a big pot of it accompanied by a loaf of crusty bread a couple of years ago after I had been in the hospital.  It was so thoughtful & so tasty too!  I've been hooked on it ever since.  It's really more like a stew than a soup, it's so thick.  Which is probably one of the reasons that I like it.  I make it with ground beef but if you don't eat red meat, pork, chicken, or turkey sausage would be a great substitute.  (I'd also recommend substituting chicken broth for beef in that case too!)  You can also change the beans, I use cannelloni beans but you could use kidney or any bean/ combination that you'd like.  This is definitely one of those recipes that you can make to suit your own taste (or pantry!).  If I'm lucky, I have a Parmesan rind in the freezer to add to it.  Shhhh, that's my secret ingredient!  If you don't have one, don't fret.  I don't always either so just leave it out.  It will be delicious either way!!
1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped
1 medium Carrot, chopped
1 stalk of Celery, chopped
2-3 cloves of Garlic, minced
1- 28 oz can of Tomatoes
1- 8 oz can Tomato Sauce
1- 15 oz can Cannelloni Beans, drained 
3-4 cups Beef Broth
1 & 1/2 cup Elbow Pasta
2 cups of Fresh Spinach (packed)
1 Beef Bouillon Cube (or the equivalent in Granules)
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 & 1/2 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
4-5 dashed of Hot Sauce (Texas Pete or Tabasco)
Parmesan Rind
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (for topping)

Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a large pot of dutch oven.  Over medium- high heat, brown the ground beef, adding in the onion, carrot & celery.  Season with salt & pepper and cook until the beef is no longer pink & the veggies are soft. 
Add in the canned Tomatoes (with all their juices), Tomato Sauce, Beef Broth, Bouillon Cube, Garlic Powder & Italian Seasoning.  Stir to incorporate it all.  Bump the heat down to low & you're ready for the super fun, secret ingredient!!
Here it is.  A rind of Parmesan!  I hope you haven't been throwing yours out!  Once I've grated all the cheese that I can off my wedge of Parmesan, I pop the rind into a plastic bag and put it in the freezer.  It's great for seasoning things!  It adds a nice, salty Parmesan flavor; not over baring just in the background & it also helps to thicken up the soup.  Now, you have to use the real deal here.  It has to be Parmigiano-Reggiano & you'll know that it is because it is stamped on the rind.
Once the soup is on low, drop the Parmesan rind in, cover & let it simmer.  Let it simmer for as long as you can.  I let mine simmer a couple of hours.  If you don't have an hour or so for it to cook, don't waste your Parmesan rind on it.  Save it for another time.  I stir it occasionally, but on you don't really have to worry about it over low heat. 
After a couple of hours, I add the beans (drained first).  You can add 2 cans of beans if you'd like to bump up the protein or stretch out the soup for more people!  If you don't have a couple of hours to let it cook, just add the beans in with the tomatoes & broth.  They tend to get mushy if you cook them in too long.  I usually simmer mine for 2-3 hours, then add the beans & simmer another hour.  You certainly do not have to cook the soup that long.  You can easily make this in 30 min-1hr.  This is just one of those things that gets better to longer it's sits...which makes it great for left overs!!
When you are ready to eat, cook your pasta, according to the package directions but slightly al dente.  Add a couple of big handfuls of fresh spinach to the soup & stir.
Add in the dashes of hot sauce.  Even if you don't like spicy food, add in a few.  It doesn't make it spicy, it just adds a bit of warmth to the soup.  Check your seasonings & adjust if needed. 
When the pasta is cooked, you can either add it directly to the soup or add a little pasta to a bowl & ladle the soup over it.  I usually do the ladder because I am cooking for 2 & 1/2 so I end up freezing half of my soup.  I don't like the freeze the pasta in it, but that's just a personal preference.  You can do it either way.  My Parmesan rind had mostly disintegrated, but keep in mind that I cooked it for about 4 hours this time.  If yours is still in the pot, I would fish it out before serving.  Then top the bowls with freshly grated Parmesan.
Yum!  Now that's a hearty soup!  Enjoy!
This recipe will serve 6-8 people.  

Mini Pecan Pie Muffins

Oh my gosh!  Run to your pantry, I'm sure you have everything that you need to make these.  There are only 5 ingredients and trust do need to make these!!  They are SO good!  It's rare that I get so excited about a sweet like this.  I'm definitely a more savory type of person.  But really, these are that good.  I stumbled upon them while I was looking for a recipe to make for my husband's pot luck Thanksgiving at work.  You know, one of those things where everyone in the office brings something & you feast all day long.  When I worked, we used to refer to this day as, "Fat Day" and we didn't just do it for major holidays!  (I know fun, right!?!)  The only issue with all day feasts at the office is finding something that can sit out most of the day.  Something that doesn't need to stay warm or cold.  These little treats are PERFECT!  And just in time for Thanksgiving, when everyone else in the world (or maybe just in the south) is making Pecan Pie.  These are great with coffee in the morning, as a sweet snack, or as a perfectly portioned dessert on Fat Day!
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
1 cup Pecans, chopped
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
2/3 cup Butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in a small sauce pan oven low heat.
 In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, nuts & melted butter.
 Beat the eggs & add them to the batter. 
 Spray a mini muffin tin with non- stick cooking spray then spoon the batter evenly into the cups.  I topped mine with an extra pecan half.
 Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. 
 Let cool completely before removing them from the tin.  I ran a butter knife around the sides to help get them out of the pan. 
 Gobble them up!  (That's my Thanksgiving pun.)
 See that crispy pecan pie edge? 
This recipe makes 24 mini muffins.  Here is where I found it.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with a Creamy Dijon Pan Sauce

This is Chicken Cordon Bleu my way.  It's not battered or breaded & it's way easier than the classic french version.  I make mine with Prosciutto & Havarti Cheese but you can make it with any ham or cheese you'd like.  The creamy Dijon pan sauce gives it the perfect finishing touch.  You've got to try this recipe- my family loves it! 
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
4-8 pieces of Prosciutto, thinly sliced
6 pieces of Havarti Cheese, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

(for the pan Sauce)
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
2 (heaping) tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Heavy Cream

Place the chicken breast on a piece of plastic wrap, parchment or wax paper.  I like to use the 'Perfect Portion' chicken breasts for this because they tend to be on the smaller side.  I save all my larger chicken for grilling & stuff like that.
Place another piece of plastic, parchment or wax paper on top of the chicken breast.  Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound it to 1/4" thickness. (I usually flip the chicken breast over & pound the inside half of the chicken.)
 Repeat with each chicken breast.
 Peel the top layer of paper off. 
 Place 1-2 pieces of Prosciutto on top of the chicken breasts.  I used 1 & 1/2 per breast this time, it just depends on the size of my chicken how much I use.
 Place 1 slice of cheese on top of the Prosciutto.  I bought the pre-sliced cheese from the deli section at my grocery store but you can also shred it, if you have a block of cheese.  You just don't want to add too much cheese, or the chicken won't fold up tight.
 Fold the chicken breast in half with the Prosciutto & cheese in the middle.  Season both sides with salt & pepper.  Don't go crazy with the salt though, the Prosciutto & Havarti will add salt to it too.  If you are worried about them coming open, you can 'stitch' the top by placing a toothpick through it horizontally.  I didn't use a toothpick this time.
In a medium/ large skillet (10" or so) melt 1 tbsp of butter with the olive oil over medium- high heat.  (I used a smaller skillet in the picture above because I was only cooking 2 chicken breasts for us.)  You want the skillet pretty hot to sear the chicken, but you don't want too as it will burn your butter.  Sear the chicken on both sides, about 3-4 minutes on each side.   
After you have seared both sides, add the chicken broth to the pan.  Reduce the heat to low & cover.  Cook the chicken breast covered for another 10 minutes or so, until the chicken is fully cooked.  And don't worry about the cheese!  Some of it ALWAYS cooks out, but that's ok!  It tastes great in the sauce too.  :)
When the chicken is fully cooked, remove it to a plate & cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.  Really, you could eat these up just as they are...but why would you when in 10 more minutes you can have a delicious pan sauce to go with it?!?  Trust me, don't skip the sauce!
 Crank the heat up to medium- high on the skillet & boil the chicken broth for a couple of minutes.  Add 2 heaping tsp of Dijon Mustard to the skillet & 1/4 cup of Heavy Cream.  Whisk or stir well to incorporate it.  Reduce heat to medium- low & cook for about 10 minutes, stirring/ whisking the sauce to thicken.  Taste & adjust seasonings.
Plate your chicken & spoon some of the pan sauce over top to serve. 
 I made my Basic Roasted Red Potatoes & Roasted Asparagus with Garlic with it & thought they both paired perfectly with the chicken!
 See the little bits of cheese in the sauce??  Yummm! 
This recipe is for 4 servings.