Artichoke Pizza Bites

Please check out my last submitted recipe for a "Crunch Time" Appetizer for the RWoP recipe contest hosted by Philadelphia Cream Cheese--and Kraft!

I bought some cans of artichokes because they were on sale and I had wanted to try to make some soup that a very sweet RWoP friend had made that looked so excellent. So I got to thinking of how I could use those extra cans of artichokes to enter a new recipe this week, and here is what I came up with. It turned out really wonderful and is so quick and easy too. Unfortunately I did not get a picture before they all got woofed down, but they looked really good to eat too!

Preparation time - 15 minutes.

2 (14 oz.) cans of artichokes (packed in water, not oil)
Dash of garlic powder
2 cups of freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
8 ounces Philadelphia Whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
Large cheese grocery store made or takeout pizza, unsliced

Begin by making the artichoke mixture.
Drain the artichokes from the can. Coarsely chop them.. Combine chopped chokes, garlic powder, Parmesan or Asiago cheese, and softened whipped cream cheese into a microwave proof dish. Microwave on high for a few minutes, pausing occasionally to stir, to ensure that this mixture gets heated through evenly, add freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. Set aside.

Take the large cheese pizza and use round cookie or biscuit cutters to cut out as many circles as possible, avoiding the crust. Transfer to a baking sheet. Top each round with the artichoke mixture and bake in a preheated 400° F oven for approximately 5 to 10 minutes or until properly heated through. If desired, garnish with parsley or cherry tomato halves and serve.


Strawberry Cheesecake Verrines di Amore

This was my International Dessert recipe that I had submitted to the RWoP recipe contest last week that I was the proudest of as it looked and tasted fabulous!  You can see on the RWoP recipe website at: http://www.realwomenofphiladelphia.com/user_recipe/view/10736/9079/1

Of love’ is an English equivalent of the Italian word, 'di Amore'. Together, they're pronounced 'dee ah-MOH-reh'. You’ll notice that’s the wording on the cute little glass ‘verrine’ that I chose to use to showcase my recipe. Derived from the word French word ‘verre’, meaning glass, verrines are simply layered dishes served as small, semi-solid cordials. Americans might call them parfaits; the English might label them miniature trifles. Prepared hot, warm or cold, as a savory precursor to a meal or as a dessert, a verrine's only real rule seems to be that its layers remain visibly and beautifully distinct. Marrying two international words together for the recipe title seemed perfect and was a good way to show my love of two European countries. My Strawberry Cheesecake Verrines di Amore dessert was a huge hit with my family, and I hope they will be with yours!

•1 tbsp. of sugar

•1/2 cup(s) of graham cracker crumbs

•2 tbsp. of melted butter

•12 ounce(s) of Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature

•1/2 cup(s) of sour cream

•2/3 cup(s) of confectioners sugar, sifted

•2 tsp. of Amaretto (Non-Alcoholic: Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract for 2 tablespoons Amaretto.)

•1 cup(s) of heavy cream

•16 ounce(s) of ounces strawberry Jam (warmed

•6 Fresh strawberries for garnish


1.Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and one tablespoon of sugar.

2.Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sour cream, confectioners sugar and Amaretto (or almond extract) and beat until combined.

3.In another bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cream cheese mixture.

4.Assemble Parfaits: Place about a tablespoon of the graham cracker "crust" in the bottom of your glasses. Layer some of the cheesecake filling in the glasses, then some of the warmed strawberry jam and sprinkle some more of the graham cracker on top. (Amounts will vary according to the size of the glasses, or verrines, you choose to use, so just adjust accordingly). Repeat layers and top with fresh strawberries.

5.Refrigerate until ready to serve.

6.Recipe Notes: If you just love the graham cracker "crust" part of a cheesecake, then double the amount to make more. If desired, you can substitute 2 cups of fresh fruit for the jam with good results