Pizza Dip

This is one of those recipes that when you make it for people once, you’ll be asked to make it all the time. It’s really simple to put together, but don’t let on to that!

8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped green or red pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion

Combine cream cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Spread into the bottom of a greased 9 inch pie plate. Combine the shredded cheeses. Sprinkle half over the cream cheese layer. Top with sauce, pepper and onion. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly (about 20 minutes).

Cool slightly (we’ve made the mistake of digging in too quickly after removing from the oven) and serve with tortilla chips or breadsticks for dipping.

What’s Cooking This Week

Well the weather has finally turned! The snow has moved out of the area and we’re enjoying some warm weather so that means firing up the grill. And I love being able to make a complete meal outside enjoying time chatting on the deck while we cook.

A summer favorite is pizza and wings on the grill (well who am I kidding, you know me by now, it’s an any time favorite at my house). But what made this one especially good was the garlic Parmesan wings. It’s taken me some time to master wings on the grill – they can dry out quickly. I’ve found that a quick brine helps keep them moist while they cook. I had about 18 wings, so I mixed 4 cups of water, a tablespoon of sugar and 5 tablespoons of sea salt and let the wings sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Pat the wings dry and toss with olive oil before grilling for about 8 minutes a side. While they were grilling, I melted a stick of butter in a foil pan, then added 4 minced cloves of garlic, some smoked paprika and salt and pepper. When everything was mixed, I added the grilled wings and threw in a couple good tablespoons of Parmesan. I tossed then with another couple tablespoons of Parmesan and served with the pizza.

Another summer favorite is stuffed flank steak on the grill. The stuffing is chopped spinach, chopped kalamata olives, seasoned bread crumbs, red wine vinegar, minced garlic and olive oil. The trickiest part is spreading the stuffing on the flank steak and rolling it up. I have yet to master the art of tying the flank steak neatly so the stuffing doesn’t fall out, but it’s a work in progress! I served with hash browns in the air fryer and grilled broccoli topped with bread crumbs tossed with olive oil and red pepper flakes.

Time for some menu planning for more grilling adventures! What are your favorite grilling tips? Most importantly, on the grill or not, eat well friends!

Pizza Epiphany?

We love pizza (ok, who doesn’t really?). Plus I love simple, so I started using garlic naan for the grill and just kept on using them in the oven the majority of time I make pizza. But as I started experimenting with grilling pizza, I kept running into problems with getting the cheese melted before the crust burned when I layered the cheese on top. That continued when we moved to putting the pizza in the oven. One day I realized I was doing this all wrong and tried to put the toppings on top of the cheese. Perfection!

Here’s how it’s been going down in the kitchen:

  • Top naan (or traditional crust, or flatbread…) with the sauce of your choice. One advantage of the individual sizes is that we can choose our own adventure (traditional tomato, white pizza sauce, or my latest go-to, spicy tomato oil)
  • Top with a layer of cheese (we like a mozzarella/provolone blend, but it’s a great way to use up fresh mozzarella too)
  • Layer on toppings. I was worried when I started experimenting that things would dry out, but I’ve experimented with cooked sausage, pepperoni, pepper, onion and mushrooms and haven’t hit an issue yet.
  • Keep an eye on it in the oven. My oven takes about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • If you like spinach or arugula on your pizza (and as you see, I certainly do), I just sprinkle it on top when I take it out of the oven. The heat wilts it just enough to be perfect!

Such a simple hack has been a game changer! What’s your must-have on top of your pizza?