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'TIS THE SEASON FOR APPETIZERS by Sandra Lewis Print E-mail
by Sandra Lewis    Fri, Dec 16, 2005, 02:28 PM

Next to Mexican my favorite cuisine is Italian. (I’m a native Texan so Tex-Mex will always rule!)

One of my favorite Italian dishes is pizza. I know I’m not alone in my adoration because Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day or about 350 slices per second.

My girls and I certainly have consumed our fair share of those 100 acres at least 2 – 4 times a month during their growing up years. (Hannah is now employed by the same Pizza Inn where we consumed most of it.)

pizzadip.jpgIn some ways this appetizer is better than pepperoni pizza because there’s no crust; cream cheese, sour cream, and oregano provide the base.

(Confession time:   I’m a "peeler".  This is a somewhat technical term used by the staff at Pizza Inn to describe a person who peels the toppings from the crust. I will eat the rim of the crust, but am not fond of the crust overall – unless it’s Campisi’s :) .)

You can use jarred pizza sauce, but this recipe really rocks when you make your own. I’ve included that recipe below as well.

Enjoy!

Pepperoni Pizza Dip
1-8oz pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup chopped pepperoni
1/4 cup sliced greeen onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella 

In a small mixer bowl, beat together cream cheese, sour cream, oregano, garlic powder, and red pepper.  Spread evenly in a 9 or 10-inch quiche dish or pie plate.  Spread pizza sauce over top.  Sprinkle pepperoni, green onion, and green pepper.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Top with cheese, bake 5 minutes more or till cheese is melted and mixture is heated through.  Makes 12 servings.

Basic Pizza Sauce
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (28 oz each) drained, crushed Italian plum tomatoes
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Pinch of ground allspice
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add onions and garlic; cook over low heat to wilt the vegetables.

Add remaining ingredients except the parsley.  Stir well, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring once.  Remove cover, add parsley and simmer an additional 15 minutes or until fairly thick, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Cool and refrigerate. 

Sandra's Kitchen Notes:

  • I like to use a combination of red and green bell peppers for the pizza dip for a festive look.
  • I freeze the remaining pizza sauce in one-cup containers for use at a later time.
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