GIVE TO MDA THIS LABOR DAY WEEKEND!
I never dreamed that I would make this plea as the mother of a son who died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in 2001, but here I am since 1999 speaking from experience about this horrendous disease. MDA was there for Chris from the time he was diagnosed until he died exactly two years later. Jerry's Kids include adults who have one of several kinds of MD including ALS. When MDA says they provided patient services, believe it! Chris was so grateful for their activism on his behalf that he donated his motorized wheel chair to MDA of Central Illinois after he died.
FUN FOODS FOR LABOR DAY OUTINGS
Picnics and cookouts are surely being planned and we have just the recipes to make the party perfect. The next two come from the internet including the Campbell's site and also www.gourmet.com.
Mention Campbell's and you think of canned soup but Pepperidge Farm is also a Campbell's-owned company. Before frozen puff pastry was available I did make my own but it's labor-intensive and I have no guilt complex about using Pepperidge Farm when I need sheets of puff pastry or individual patty shells. And it should come as no surprise that I was intrigued by Campbell's individual pizzas made with puff pastry shells. Since there was only one of me to eat them when I tried the recipe, I had baked mini pizzas for several days, storing the filling in the refrigerator and using as needed. The last one was as good as the first. Like regular pizza, don't make these in the microwave but do in the oven to keep the crust crispy. Let your creative juices flow and make variations of these mini-pizzas. Instead of Italian sauce replace it with barbecue sauce. Add chopped rotisserie chicken, chopped bell pepper and crushed pineapple. The possibilities are endless!
GARDEN VEGETABLE PIZZAS
1 10-ounce package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets (can also use chopped asparagus)
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup Prego Traditional Italian Sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella or Swiss cheese
Thaw pastry shells at room temperature for 40 minutes or until they're easy to handle. Heat oven to 400F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. On lightly floured pastry cloth, roll shells into 7-inch circles. Arrange 3 circles on each cookie sheet. Using a fork pierce each one thoroughly. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Leave the pastry circles on the baking sheets and place on wire racks to cool. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, mushrooms, pepper and onion and cook until vegetables are crisp-cooked. Spread Italian sauce over the pasty circles to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Divide vegetable mixture among the pastry circles and top with cheese. Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Recipe makes 6 individual pizzas. Adapted from www.Campbellkitchen.com recipe. Who doesn't have zucchini this time of year! Either you grew it or someone gave you some. Reduce your inventory by making Zucchini Whoopie Pies. When I tested the recipe I didn't divide the filling evenly before putting the tops on and ended up with extra filling. So that doesn't happen to you, be sure to use 2 rounded tablespoons of filling before topping with another cookie.
ZUCCHINI WHOOPIE PIES
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup well shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 8-ounce package regular cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Squeeze handfuls of zucchini wrapped in a clean kitchen towel to remove moisture. Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices and salt until combined. Whisk together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and beat until well combined. At low speed, mix in flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until smooth. Mix in zucchini and walnuts until just incorporated. Spoon 1/4 cup (I used the larger Pampered Chef scooper) mounds 2-inches apart on baking sheets (12 cookies per sheet). Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through, until tops are puffed and golden and spring back when touched, about 18 to 22 minutes (mine were done in about 19 minutes). Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Meanwhile prepare filling by creaming together cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt at medium-high speed until smooth. Spread rounded 2 tablespoons of filling on flat side of half the cakes and top with remaining cakes, flat sides together. Store whoopie pies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. Recipe makes 12.
Source: Adapted from www.gourmet.com recipe.
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