Layered Pizza Dip

My colleague Lisa makes the best pizza dip ever. On days she brought her pizza dip to work, I was more than happy to forego leaving for my lunch break. This recipe from Betty Crocker (original here) looks similar to hers. Layered Pizza Dip is the twenty-third of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-oz.) container soft cream cheese with chives and onions (Or plain, if desired)
  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper (optional)
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped pepperoni
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Chunks of French bread

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread the cream chesse to cover the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch pie pan or 1 to 1½-quart baking dish.
  3. Layer remaining ingredients (except bread) in order listed.
  4. Bake at 350°F. for 10 to 15 minutes or until dip is hot and cheese is melted.
  5. Serve with bread.

Variations

  • Layer the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. Let sit at room temp just a few minutes before baking.
  • You can add other pizza toppings as desired, like mushrooms or sliced black olives. Just be sure to increase the cooking time if necessary to ensure that the dip is hot and melty.

Pizza Pinwheels

A Pillsbury recipe that Mom has included in her recipe files, this appetizer is simple and can be adapted to include your favorite pizza topping. Pizza Pinwheels are the sixth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 Can (8oz) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped pepperoni (about 1½ oz)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped green bell pepper
  • ½ cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • ½ cup pizza sauce

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Unroll dough and separate into 4 rectangles; firmly press perforations to seal.
  4. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, pepperoni, bell pepper and Italian cheese blend over each rectangle.
  5. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle; press edge to seal.
  6. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 6 slices; place cut side down on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  8. Meanwhile, heat pizza sauce.
  9. Immediately remove pinwheels from cookie sheet.
  10. Serve warm with warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Variations

  • Any finely chopped, fully cooked pizza topping could be used as a substitute for the pepperoni—bacon bits, chopped onion, ham, black olives, mushrooms, and so forth.

Time Required: 35 minutes

Servings: 24

Rigatoni in Creamy Tomato Sauce

A recipe from the September 2011 issue of All You (original here). The note with the recipe suggests, “Try this family favorite for a quick weeknight meal—it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare. For variety, you can swap in another type of pasta that holds sauce well, such as fusilli or bow-tie pasta.”

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces pepperoni, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, warmed
  • Salt
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add pepperoni and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.
  4. Add wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in heavy cream.
  7. Season with salt.
  8. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  9. Add rigatoni and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes or as package label directs.
  10. Combine with sauce and basil and serve.