Not Your Average College Food

Nutella Strawberry Pizza

Now that it’s summer, the warm weather and additional free time make it more appealing for me to get up early on Saturday mornings and walk to the farmers’ market. Every time I go, I have a blast buying fresh produce, nibbling on some treats for breakfast, and “window-shopping” through all the stands. Of the various items I bought last week were a carton of fresh strawberries. They were tiny, round little berries unlike the ones in grocery stores – just like they should be.

Feeling in a creative mood, I made Nutella pizza. Nutella, pizza, and fruit…how could that combination possibly go wrong? It ended up tasting more like a flat bread, probably because I had baked the dough first without the toppings. My friend Sydney had made the pizza dough for a little pizza party we had. Making homemade pizza with friends is always fun. Roll some dough, buy some toppings, and everyone can make their own personalized pizza, or one giant one to share!

This weekend, I’ll be moving to Georgetown for the summer since I’ll be working just outside of DC. I love the Georgetown area because of all the shops and restaurants and the neighborhood is beautiful. Hopefully there will be a farmers’ market close to me while I’m there!

NUTELLA STRAWBERRY PIZZA

Ingredients
Pizza dough
1/4 cup Nutella
Handful of strawberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Take out leftover pizza dough or store-bought pizza dough. If you don’t have any, here is a simple recipe.

Roll dough on a lightly floured surface into the shape of a circle, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

Bake in oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Spread as much Nutella as desired in the center and arrange sliced strawberries on top.

 

Blackberry Brie Bites

Brie is awesome. Its ooey-gooey creaminess makes us melt with delight as we spread it on crackers at dinner parties. But it can be spread on much more than crackers. For a light snack in the Spring or Summer, try making these blackberry brie bites. It’s the perfect combination of a burst of fruit and cheese, wrapped in a buttery, flaky blanket.

These are perfect crowd-pleasers for parties, meetings, or just for fun. They are literally bite-sized so they won’t make a mess but enough to impress your friends and leave them wanting more. Of course, they’re best served warm, right after you take them out of the oven. If they do get cold, you can simply warm them up in the microwave and get the same taste.

I spontaneously made these after school one day because I had leftover brie and wanted to bake it in with puff pastry. These are actually very similar to the Cuban Guava Pastries I made last year, which were made using guava paste and cream cheese. There are soo many variations of puff pastry+fruit+cheese. Next time, I’ll try using other fruits like figs and maybe add some honey!

 

BLACKBERRY BRIE BITES
(makes 16)

Ingredients
1 pkg puff pastry, thawed
1 quart blackberries
5 oz brie cheese, cut into cubes
3-4 tbsps blackberry jam
1 egg, for egg wash

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the thawed puff pastry into equal squares.

Place a cube of brie in the middle of a square, spoon 1/4 teaspoon of jam onto it, and place blackberry on top. Fold two opposite corners into the middle and pinch corners together. Then, pinch the other two corners to meet in the middle so all 4 corners come together. Repeat for each square.

Beat the egg until mixed. Brush egg wash on the outer parts of puff pastry surface.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

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It’s officially March and we finally had a snow day. After multiple incidences of having our high hopes for a snow day being crushed, we had not one, but TWO snow days in a row here in Baltimore. The thrill of having a day with no classes propelled me to bake something and I wanted that ‘something’ to be healthy.

My good friend Jeana came back to school from winter break with several Ziploc gallon bags stuffed with baked apple chips. She shared them with a bunch of friends in class and we were all immediately hooked. Her mom uses a dehydrator to make large batches of chips, without adding anything else! This inspired me to make my own version of healthy chips with sweet potatoes, that have been lying around in my pantry waiting to be put to use.

I love sweet potatoes – not only are they delicious, they can also be cooked in a variety of ways and are good for you. They are rich in vitamins and minerals but are most well-known for having many carotenoids, which explains their orange color. These carotenoids improve vision as well as increase immunity to disease, such as cancer. What more can you ask for in a simple, yummy, and addicting snack?!

BAKED SWEET POTATO CHIPS

Ingredients
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet (or 2) with parchment paper.

Rinse and dry sweet potatoes. Slice them thinly with a mandolin or sharp knife. In a large bowl, toss with olive oil and salt. Place on parchment paper (they don’t have to be very spread out since they shrink in the oven).

Bake for 10 minutes. Flip chips over and bake for another 10 minutes. Watch closely towards the end. Take out the browning chips, which are usually the smaller ones.

Let the chips cool for 5-10 minutes so they crisp up. If they are still moist/chewy then you can put them in the oven again for 1-2 minutes.

Repeat with remaining sweet potato slices.

 

adapted from The Minimalist Baker