Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

I love the strawberry and rhubarb combination. Love it. However, I hadn’t had it in years. In fact, until recently I’d only had it a few times in my life at all! I never had rhubarb growing up, and didn’t even know what it looked like until I moved to the UK right after graduating college. C and I were living about a mile from his parents during that time, and we would visit them every other Sunday for dinner. His mom cooked the traditional English Sunday dinner, including meat of some sort (a roast, usually), vegetables (brussel sprouts and carrots were some of my favorites!), and potatoes prepared in at least two ways (boiled, roasted, mashed, you name it). In addition, she always made dessert, again usually something traditionally English. I got to try so many things that I’d never had before, some of which I’d never even heard of! My favorites, though, were her rice pudding (I still to this day cannot replicate it; she bakes it, and it is not the usual creamy substance that you think of when you consider rice pudding. It is more….solid?…and you can serve it with some milk or cream poured over it; no matter how many times I make it, it never comes out like hers!) and her rhubarb crumble. So, so good. I raved about it so much, in fact, that she bought me rhubarb for myself and taught me how to prepare it (and not to eat the leaves…those are poisonous, you know!).

Annnnnnyway. I started tweeting about finding rhubarb locally a few weeks ago, and got into a Twitter conversation about it with Terri (@lovenconfection), Angie (@bigbearswife), and Christine (@CookTheStory). I finally packed H into the car and headed to Whole Foods a few days later in search of some. I’d come up with a recipe idea and I was determined to try it out. Lo and behold, I found rhubarb at Whole Foods! Woohoo! But folks…that stuff was not cheap! I was surprised at how heavy it was when it came to pay for it, but luckily I bought the perfect amount for my dozen cupcakes and the topping.

I wanted to combine rhubarb and strawberry for the traditional aspect of the flavors, but instead of a crumble decided to create a cupcake. Even though rhubarb is fairly tart on its own, I felt like the addition of lemon to the dessert would make it even better (and in my opinion, it totally did!). The cake part of this cupcake is very dense; I wanted it to be able to hold up to the chunks of strawberry and rhubarb throughout without falling apart when you take a bite. If you prefer a lighter cake, you could easily substitute your favorite yellow or lemon cake recipe and just stir in the fruit at the end. There is lemon juice and zest in the cake itself, and then it is topped with a simple but delicious lemon buttercream frosting. I left a hole in the center of the frosting, though, so that I could add an extra touch and top the cupcakes with a strawberry rhubarb compote. It just adds that extra tang and cuts through the sugar in the buttercream.

Recipe:
Strawberry Rhubarb Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream & Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
1 cup rhubarb, diced
1 cup strawberries, diced
zest of one lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice

For the lemon buttercream:

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter, softened
zest and juice of two lemons
yellow food coloring (optional)

For the compote:

1 cup strawberries, diced
1 cup rhubarb, diced
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp powdered sugar

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put liners into cupcake pan.
2. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt, and the baking powder. Stir with a fork to aerate and break up any lumps.
3. In a separate bowl, using a mixer on medium low speed, cream the butter and sugar until combined and lightened in color.
4. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined.
5. Add the sour cream and mix just until no more white streaks show.
6. Gradually add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until fully combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.
7. Mix in the lemon zest and juice.
8. In another small bowl (or the same one you mixed the flour in!), stir the diced strawberries and rhubarb with the remaining 2 tbsp of flour. This will help keep the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cupcakes while baking.
9. Stir in the fruit by hand.
10. Divide the batter evenly in the lined cupcake pan.
11. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For the lemon buttercream:

1. Using an electric mixer on medium to medium-high speed, cream the butter until lightened in color, about two minutes.
2. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly with each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
3. Mix in the lemon zest and juice.
4. If desired, add yellow food coloring (I used 8 drops of yellow gel coloring).
Note: If the frosting is too thick for your liking, you can add a tablespoon or two of whole milk to thin it out.

For the compote:

1. In a medium saucepan on medium low heat, combine the diced fruit, water, and powdered sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Heat until the mixture is thickened and has reached your desired consistency, about 15-20 minutes.
3. Cool at room temperature and then store in the refrigerator until used.

Note: When decorating the cupcakes, I used a large star tip to pipe two circles of frosting on each cupcake, then stored them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours so that the frosting would firm up before spooning the compote into the center.

These cupcakes seriously scream summer to me, and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did at our house!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerio Treats

This recipe is so tasty and so easy to make! I surprised myself at how well they turned out the very first time I tried them since I’d only made regular Rice Krispie treats once before in my entire life. These are a great snack to tuck in a lunch box or just to grab in the afternoon, but they also make for a satisfying chocolatey dessert in the evening. The peanut butter flavor is just present enough in these treats; it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the Chocolate Cheerios, only complements it. These bars turn out so quickly, I’ve found they are the perfect dessert to make when a last minute pot luck or other event pops up. I know I almost always have the ingredients on hand!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerio Treats

Ingredients:

1 bag (10 oz) marshmallows – I find the mini ones melt quicker, so I normally use those
1 box (11.25 oz) Chocolate Cheerios
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural, but you can use whatever brand you prefer!)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Recipe:

1. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 glass baking pan with either butter or cooking spray. For easy slicing, you can also line the pan with parchment paper before greasing.

2. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth. Add the marshmallows and stir until the marshmallows are just melted and combined with the butter and peanut butter.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and, working fairly quickly, pour the Chocolate Cheerios into the pot and stir until they are evenly coated with the marshmallow mixture.

4. Pour the Cheerios mixture into the glass baking pan, pressing it down as evenly as possible with a spatula. I’ve also found that if I wet my hands I can press the cereal down more firmly without getting everything stuck to me.

5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, lightly pressing them into the cereal.

6. Let harden until cool and then remove from the pan. Slice into bars and serve.

I’ve found these bars will keep quite awhile if put into a sealed container. Have you made a variation on the traditional Rice Krispie Treat? What flavor combination did you try?

Red Velvet Cupcakes – Recipe

Updated with new photos on February 13, 2012

I know this isn’t a new post, but there are several forthcoming! However, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner (okay, it’s tomorrow…yikes!) and everything red velvet popping up all over the place, I wanted to share the Red Velvet Cupcakes that I made for C’s “Cupid & Cupcakes” event at work since they came out so cute (if I do say so myself!). This is SUCH an easy recipe, and they turn out absolutely fantastic every time. I never get a chance to try out new cupcake flavors on C’s co-workers anymore because they are always requesting these ones!

I frosted these using a disposable pastry bag and a large star tip, then pressed an unwrapped Hershey’s kiss in the center and sprinkled them with both red and pink colored sugar.

C found me these adorable cupcake papers at Target; they are red with colored hearts around the sides, and on the bottom they say “Be Mine.” Hard to see in these photos, but they are super cute, trust me!

If you end up making these for your valentine (or for any other reason!) I’d love to hear how they turn out! The recipes for both the cupcakes and the cream cheese frosting are in my original post below.

Originally posted on Blogger on July 24, 2011

I made red velvet cupcakes last weekend for my 1000 Cooks for the Cure Party (well, I attempted to make pink velvet cupcakes, actually…they came out as more fuschia-ish in the end…but I used my normal red velvet recipe for them), and I was going to include all of my party recipes in one post, but then realized that would have ended up being the world’s longest post. Sooooo we’re breaking it down.
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Turkey & Brie Panini (plus some blabbing)

My husband reminded me a few days ago that it had been a month since I last posted on here. Yikes. A month? Seriously? I swore the last time I posted that I wouldn’t let so much time elapse between posts again, but here we are. Oops. I’d love to say that life just got in my way, and in a way that’s true, but sheesh. This blog means more to me than to completely let it slide, so I spent a couple of nights at work last week making a calendar of post ideas and post dates that I WILL actually stick to. Of course, at this point I’m seven and a half months pregnant and working 50ish hours a week to save time for my maternity leave but still! The blog must go on….or something like that.

Speaking of being seven months pregnant, holy cow! I’m seven months pregnant already! This time has seriously flown by, and while I’m anxious to meet our little guy (did I mention it’s a boy? If not…hey guys, it’s a boy!), I will miss being pregnant a little bit. You know, aside from the back pain, and the food aversions (which haven’t helped my blog!), and the fatigue. All the good stuff will be missed. But! We’re having a baby really, really soon! Eek! We’ve been finishing up his nursery lately (with a nautical/pirate-y theme) and starting to wash all of those teeny tiny little clothes (we’ve been given SO many clothes!) and putting together car seats and strollers and cribs and swings and such, and it is really just so much fun. Now we just need our little guy to make his appearance in about seven weeks!

We celebrated our last holidays as a twosome this year, and as a result we treated each other a bit more than usual in the gift department. One of my awesome gifts from C was a Cuisinart Griddler. I had been eyeing it for ages, and now that I have one I am totally in love! Not only is it the best Panini press I have ever tried (I love that instead of hinges it raises up so it doesn’t squish your sandwich on one end like my old sandwich press did!), it also unfolds and becomes both an electric grill and an electric griddle. My next step, of course, will be to purchase the separate waffle plates so that it can also work as a waffle maker…love it!!

We’ve been pressing pretty much anything we can think of between bread these days, but one of my favorites (aside from simple salami and havarti…SO GOOD) is my copycat sandwich from Press 101, a panini restaurant in the Dr. Phillips area here in Orlando. I ordered it a few years ago for the first time at the suggestion of my realtor, actually, and it is a combination of flavors I never would have gone for on my own. This sandwich is an awesome combination of turkey breast, tart green apples, melty brie cheese, and honey mustard, and it is seriously delicious bite after bite. I like it best made in a panini press, but you could also make it toasted like a grilled cheese in a frying pan. I’ve loosely listed the ingredients here so that you can alter the proportions to your personal taste and based on the number of sandwiches you are making.

Turkey & Brie Panini

Ingredients:

Thinly sliced or shaved oven-roasted deli turkey

Brie cheese (I leave the rind on, but you can certainly remove it if youprefer)

Granny Smith apple, core removed and thinly sliced

Honey mustard, either store bought or homemade

Thick crusty white bread (I used an artisan ciabatta loaf from my local Target bakery)

Directions:

1. Slice the bread into two thick slices, then spread both slices generously with honey mustard.

2. Layer the bottom piece of bread with a thin layer of Brie, then a layer of apple slices, then the turkey, and more apples. I like to put a couple of thin pieces of Brie on the top slice as well to make sure everything sticks together well.

3. Spray the bottom plate of your panini press with cooking spray and then place the sandwich on it. Lightly spray the top of the sandwich before closing the press. Let grill for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is nice and toasty!

4. Enjoy 🙂

This sandwich is hearty enough by itself but would also be great with a cup of soup or a salad on the side. If you try it out, I’d love to hear what you think of the ingredient combination!

Rugelach for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

I have gotten the chance to do some really awesome things since I started this little blog of mine (Taste of the Nation Orlando and the Central Florida Bloggers Conference, to name a few), but I’ve got to say the coolest one so far was having the opportunity to participate in the first Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, set up by Julie of The Little Kitchen and Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil. More than 600 food bloggers from around the world signed up, and we were each given the names of three bloggers to send a dozen cookies to. I loved the idea of a “Secret Santa” type of cookie swap to begin with, but I never thought that I’d end up finding so many more awesome people through this event! It was such a fun thing to participate in and I’m already looking forward to next year!

For my cookies, I made rugelach, a traditional Jewish cookie that I grew up eating and only learned to make a few years ago. The dough is insanely simple to make and so every year I make it in huge batches and freeze it in dough rounds that each make a dozen cookies. I was so excited to share these with my fellow bloggers as so many people have never heard of rugelach, much less tried them. I love these cookies not only because of the texture of the dough itself, but because you can fill them with so many different things! The traditional filling includes raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon, and my favorite is a variation of that, but I made a few other fillings as well since I was making so many. I use Ina Garten’s rugelach recipe from the Food Network recipe for the dough, and for my basic filling I have adapted hers as well.

Rugelach
adapted from Ina Garten’s Foodnetwork.com recipe
makes 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

Dough:
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

Basic Filling:
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 egg, for the egg wash

Directions:

For the dough:

1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth and light in color.

2. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix until combined.

3. Mixing on low, add the flour until just combined.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a ball, then divide into four, flatten each section into a round disc, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

5. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

To assemble the cookies:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and brown sugar.

3. Roll each ball of dough out on a floured surface until they each form an approximately 9-inch circle. Spread each circle with a thin layer of apricot preserves, then sprinkle them with the filling, pressing it lightly into the dough.

4. Cut each circle into quarters, and then cut each quarter into three wedges. Starting at the wide end of each wedge, roll the dough tightly towards the pointy end, then place each cookie, pointy end down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (These cookies barely expand while baking, so you can place them fairly close together).

5. Brush each cookie with egg wash and then bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack.

Notes:

Ina Garten chills her rolled cookies for 30 minutes before baking them. I have done this in the past and have honestly not noticed a difference, but obviously it is up to you. She also sprinkles her cookies with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar after brushing with the egg wash; I find that this makes them a bit too sweet for my taste, but it isn’t a bad thing to add, either.

Instead of the raisin/brown sugar filling that I like to use or the one with nuts and cinnamon that Ina has in the original website, you can try almost any combination of dried fruit and preserves. For the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I tried:

mini chocolate chips, sprinkled over the dough circles and lightly pressed in
a thin layer of strawberry preserves sprinkled lightly with brown sugar
strawberry preserves, brown sugar, and dried cranberries
strawberry preserves, brown sugar, and golden raisins

Frankly, I love them all.

In addition to sending three dozen cookies to fellow food bloggers, I received three dozen of my own!

The first box I received were from Bianca at Becoming Bianca – she sent me delicious white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies…SO GOOD. I’m pretty sure C loved them even more than I did, since he ate almost all of them before I even got a chance 😉

The second box arrived from Brittany of Life of a Bama Girl. Her cinnamon pinwheel cookies were scrumptious and so hard to stop eating!

And finally, I got a box of white chocolate chip cookies with peppermint glaze from Jennifer at Mother Thyme. Freakin’. Amazing. No joke.

Want to see their recipes? Check out their blogs…everyone that participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap posted their recipe today!!

Goat Cheese and Pesto Pizza – Recipe

C and I both love pizza, although our tastes in toppings are pretty different. He likes his loaded with meat and light on the sauce. I like mine New York style with a thin but bready crust and minimal toppings (I’m happy with cheese and then maybe one or two more, max). White pizza is also a favorite of mine, and he tends to like variations on them (although he’s not tried them often) so sauce-less pizzas are perfect for us to share.

I modeled this recipe after my favorite pizza at Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney. It is simple but still full of flavor; if you make your own pizza crust, I strongly suggest using it here or picking up a bag of dough from your favorite pizza place. I was in a crunch the day I took these photos, so I used a Pillsbury thin crust dough. It is a little too bready even as a thin crust, to me, but the flavors are still awesome. I also suggest using homemade pesto (mine was a combination of basil, parmesan, olive oil, walnuts, and garlic), but if you have a jar of premade around, that will work just fine too.

Goat Cheese and Pesto Pizza

Ingredients:

dough for one pizza (as mentioned above, I used a Pillsbury thin crust dough)
2 Roma tomatoes
4-6 oz goat cheese
1-2 fresh mozzarella balls (you can also use shredded mozz, but I love the fresh!)
4 tbsp pesto
4 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Roll the crust out on either a round pizza pan or a cookie sheet, depending on the type of crust you are using, and then drizzle lightly with olive oil.
3. Bake the crust for about 8-10 minutes.
4. While the crust is baking, slice the tomatoes into rounds about 1/4 inch thick and mix the 4 tablespoons of pesto with the 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Also, slice the mozzarella into thin rounds as well.
5. Once the crust has finished its pre-baking, lay out the tomato slices over the crust (I like 1-2 slices of tomato per finished pizza slice) and then top each slice with a dollop of goat cheese.

6. Drizzle the entire crust with the pesto-olive oil mixture. Sometimes I will also do a thin layer of this oil spread over the entire crust before laying down the tomatoes, also. It just depends on how much you love pesto, really. 🙂

7. Lay the mozzarella slices across the entire pizza. Don’t worry if there are some gaps between your mozzarella – it will spread as it melts.
8. Put your pizza back into the oven and bake for another 6-8 minutes, or until the crust is browned around the edges and the mozzarella is nice and melty.

This pizza is SO easy and quick to make that it is a perfect weeknight meal. What are your favorite pizza toppings? How about your favorite crust type?

 

Spicy Turkey Sauce – Recipe

Oh hey! Remember when I said I was going to start blogging regularly again…oh….a month or more ago? Ha. Ooops. I decided instead that I’d move to WordPress and start stockpiling recipes and photos so that when I did start writing again, I wouldn’t have to go through a major post drought like I just did because I didn’t have time to cook and photograph delicious things! Weeellllll okay so I did that. Sort of. I took a ton of photos, and went and ate/cooked a bunch of things in the last month, and I cannot wait to share them with you! In fact, I was so excited about it I sat down to write a post yesterday afternoon when I realized….ohhhh right. I need to edit and file and sort all of these photos! Yeesh. That took forever, folks. Never again will I hold onto that many photos without at least sorting them out.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnyway. I’m back! Yay! And with all of the dreary weather we’ve been having lately (I know I can’t complain about the rain here with all of the snow…SNOW, in October!…that so many of you are dealing with right now), I thought the best way to come back is with a recipe that is super easy, super delicious, super versatile, and super hearty for an autumn meal.

I only discovered the amazingness that is sriracha last year. Yup, seriously. No clue how I’d missed out on it for all of this time, but when I saw a section using it in multiple recipes in one of my issues of Everyday Food, I knew I had to try it out. So, I went out and bought a bottle, and quickly started adding it to everything. My favorite thing to add it to, though? This spicy turkey sauce that actually was adapted from that same issue of Everyday Food.

The awesome thing about this sauce (I know I keep bragging, but seriously. So good) is that it can be used in a hundred ways, plus you can make a huge batch and freeze it for evenings when you don’t have time to cook. Some of the ways I’ve used it so far?

  • Heated up and mixed with cream cheese for a spicy tortilla chip dip.
  • Taco filling
  • Mixed with whole grain penne with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes sprinkled on top (as pictured)
  • Heck, I even have a friend who eats it from a bowl like chili!

I should probably share the recipe with you now, huh? Okay, okay…here you go 🙂

Recipe: Spicy Turkey Sauce

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground turkey
10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 26oz boxes or cans of chopped tomatoes (I used Pomi chopped tomatoes this time)
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
4-8 tbsp sriracha
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

1. In a large sauce pan or skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and then add the chopped onion, cooking until soft. Add the minced garlic.

2. While the onions and garlic cook, mix the ground turkey, spinach, salt and pepper (to taste), and 2-4 tbsp (also to taste) sriracha in a medium mixing bowl, just until combined.

3. Add the turkey mixture to the pan, mixing with the onions and cooking until the meat is browned and cooked through.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato sauce, the remaining sriracha (the spicier, the better!), and additional salt and pepper. Simmer over medium low heat at least until everything is heated through, although the longer the better (I usually leave mine to simmer for 30 minutes or so).

5. Serve any way you like! If you don’t like the chunky texture of the chopped tomatoes, you can substitute additional canned sauce or a jarred tomato sauce of your choice . You can also, obviously, pour the sauce into containers and let it cool before freezing for later 🙂

Do you have a favorite go-to hearty sauce recipe? Please share, if you do!

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes (plus an announcement of sorts)

Originally posted on Blogger on September 1, 2011

 I’ve been neglecting this little blog of mine like it is nobody’s business lately, and I hate that. I love this space, and I love writing here, so being as absent as I have been has killed me. Unfortunately, life has just gotten in the way. Luckily, it’s been for good reason! For those of you that don’t know already, I let out my big secret last week: I’m pregnant! Eek! C and I are super thrilled and cannot wait for March 13th (or whatever day around that time that this little guy/girl decides to show up) to get here. What does this have to do with me slacking on my blog? Well…I’ve been so freakin’ tired that all I’ve done for the past month or so is go to work, go home, go to bed, lather, rinse, repeat! Oh, and finish up my school work for the semester.

Finally, though, now that the second trimester is about to show its happy, smiling (we’re hoping, anyway!) face, I seem to have a bit of energy back. I have been cooking and baking, I just haven’t had the time to blog about it, so I am so excited to start sharing my recent adventures with you! And with that, I’ve decided to start by sharing my recipe for pineapple upside down cupcakes with you.

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Key Lime Pie with Raspberry Coulis

Originally posted on Blogger on July 5, 2011
 
 

I was eavesdropping on Twitter the other day when I saw mention of a Pie Party going on across the internet. I had no choice…I had to butt in. I quickly found out (through Marnely of Cooking with Books) that Shauna of Gluten Free Girl and the Chef had set up a pie party through Facebook. The goal of the party? To get people to bake a pie, any pie, by July 5th and then share a photo of that pie on Facebook. How could I not join in?? I haven’t made a pie in ages, so this was a perfect excuse to do so.
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Recipe Quickie: Homemade Hot Pockets

Originally posted on Blogger on June, 1, 2011

When I cook at home (cook, not bake!) I do try to use fresh and relatively healthy ingredients as often as possible. Last night, however, I found myself with limited time and threw together a quickie meal. I went with the idea of a pizza hot pocket, but instead of just popping one full of preservatives and such into the microwave, I quickly created this out of items I had on hand, including a container of Philly Savory Garlic Cooking Creme that C purchased by accident awhile ago. Since this is a quickie recipe, none of the ingredients require accurate measuring; just toss them together in whatever amount looks good to you!

Ingredients:

Ricotta cheese (I used Sargento part-skim ricotta, but any would do just fine)
Philly Savory Garlic Cooking Creme (or another garlic cheese spread of your choice)
Shredded cheese (I used a “pizza mix”)
Mini pepperonis (turkey pepperoni works great, too!)
Tube of crescent rolls (I had Pillsbury extra large crescent rolls on hand)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to the temperature listed on the tube of dough (mine was 350).
Mix the ricotta with enough of the cooking creme to add the garlic flavor and enough creaminess for your liking.
Unroll the crescent roll dough and use your fingers to pinch every two triangle rolls together so that you have several rectangles of dough. You could also use a tube of thin crust pizza dough for this, which would give you a crispier crust, or really almost any biscuit/roll/crust dough. I just used what I had in the house.
Spread a generous amount of the ricotta/creme mixture over about two thirds of each dough rectangle, leaving space around the edges to seal the crust (see photo below).
Sprinkle the mixture with mini pepperoni and shredded cheese.

Fold the dough over on top of itself, carefully sealing around the edges and moving each little packet to a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray.
Using a sharp knife, cut a slit or two for venting into the top of each packet.

Slide these goodies into the oven and let them bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Let cool for a few minutes, and then dig in!