Veggie Pizza Appetizer

This time of year the calendar is packed with fun summer outings, picnics, parties and the like, and in the spirit of making it easy, most of the events on our calendar tend to be potlucks with everyone chipping in and bringing something to share.  One of my favorite go-to recipes is a veggie pizza appetizer because it’s easy to prepare, light and downright delicious.  

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The time saver in this appetizer comes from using a roll of refrigerated crescent dough, and rolling it out into one thin, solid piece of dough on a cookie sheet.  After baking and cooling, the flaky dough is topped with Chive & Onion cream cheese, cheddar cheese and a variety of chopped fresh veggies.  Let this chill in the refrigerator for an hour before serving and you’ve got yourself a real winner – the dough is light and flaky, the cream cheese is cool and flavorful and the toppings add tons of flavor and crunchiness.

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Veggie Pizza Appetizer
Serves 15
A light flaky dough topped with cool cream cheese and lots of veggies is the perfect start to an outdoor meal!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 package of refrigerated crescent dough
  2. 1 package of chive and onion cream cheese, room temperature
  3. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  4. 1 cup shredded carrots
  5. 1 cup bite-sized cauliflower
  6. 1 cup bite-sized broccoli
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, open the can of dough, lay flat on the paper and roll out into one thin, solid sheet of dough.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just beginning to turn light brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the baked dough cool completely.
  5. Once the dough is cool, spread the cream cheese over the entire surface.
  6. Top with cheese and veggies.
  7. Chill for at least 1 hour, then cut into 3x3 inch squares for serving.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Tuna Pasta Pea Salad

When I was about 10 years old, one of my favorite things to do on the weekend was to drive to the Southdale Mall with my mom to go shopping.  We’d go to Dayton’s (before it was Marshall Fields and then Macy’s) to shop for clothes, shoes, whatever my mom needed for the house…  It always felt like such a treat to wander this huge store and to take the place in. Growing up in a small farming town there was nothing of this magnitude within a 30 minute drive so it always felt special to me to visit.  Our shopping trip always included a stop for lunch at the top floor of the Dayton’s store in the deli where they served all sorts of salads and soft serve ice cream.  I ordered the tuna pasta salad with peas EVERY SINGLE TIME I went there.  Seriously.  Every. Single. Time.  And in my lifetime the number of store visits with lunch probably exceeds 50.  That’s a lot of pasta salad.  I’m not a fan of variety when I find what I like. 

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And look at that – what’s not to like?  This salad is a breeze to make and gets better the next day, so go ahead and make this for a light lunch, a shared salad for a party or an easy-to-transport lunch to bring to work.  Just beware that there’s mayo in this recipe so if you’re enjoying it outside in the hot summer months be sure to keep it on ice.  Food poisoning is no joke, people.

So on that light and happy note – let’s get down to business with the recipe!  Just a few considerations:

  • Canned tuna – this salad is best with Solid Albacore Tuna in water.  That’s not to say you can’t use Chunk Light or a tuna in oil, but I’ll go with Solid Albacore 100% of the time when I have the option.  The flavor is lighter and the color of the tuna is lighter in color as well. 
  • Pasta shape – I prefer to make this salad with the small rings you see in this photo, but really you can use any shape pasta you like, or a gluten-free one, too.  Just know that the larger your pasta shape, the more mayo you’re going to need to maintain the same moisture level given the increased pasta surface you’re trying to cover.
  • Mayo – I prefer the Hellman’s or Kraft brands but you could add some kick to this using Miracle Whip or another seasoned dressing instead or in addition to the mayo, like Dijon Mustard.

That’s it!  Enjoy, my food friends, and share feedback or ideas in the comment section!

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Tuna Pasta Pea Salad
This chilled pasta salad with tuna, celery and peas is a refreshing and light meal for a warm summer day.
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 box of small pasta rings
  2. 1 cup mayo
  3. 1/2 bag of frozen peas (do not defrost)
  4. 5 stalks of celery, halved lengthwise and diced
  5. 1 shallot, fined minced
  6. 1 can solid white albacore tuna, drained thoroughly
  7. Ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Boil water and cook the pasta according to the instructions, being sure to add salt to the water during the cooking process.
  2. Drain and rinse the pasta once done cooking.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mayo, peas, celery, shallot and tuna and stir to break up the tuna into smaller pieces.
  4. Add the pasta to the bowl and stir to combine all ingredients.
  5. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste, stir to combine and taste for flavoring.
  6. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, or overnight.
Notes
  1. This salad is easy to modify to make gluten free - just substitute a gluten free noodle and make sure the mayo you use is gluten free - that's it!
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/