7 Layer Salad Squares

A friend asked me for some appetizer ideas for a family get-together for the New Year holiday. I used to be a Pampered Chef kitchen consultant so I thought I would check out some of the cookbooks and see what I could come up with. I found this recipe that I demonstrated at a kitchen show but really wanted to change the recipe to a more healthier version for my parties. Due to the travel time, there were some ingredients in the recipe that could become spoiled I had to figure out a way to make the recipe travel friendly.

7 Layer Salad Squares
Modified recipe from Pampered Chef on 01/02/2010

2 packages (8 ounces each) low-fat refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel cheese
1 garlic clove minced
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled (put bacon on paper towel to drain grease)
1 cup thawed frozen baby petite peas
3 plum tomatoes or ½ pint of cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups thinly sliced Roman lettuce
½ cup (2 ounces) 2% milk fat shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup thinly sliced red onion

Salad Dressing (need ½ cup of this)
½ cup 2% Fago Greek Yogurt
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 12×15 tray with a lip or a 12 x 15 stone with a lip. Unroll the crescent rolls with the longest side of the rolls to the shortest side of the tray.  Seams of the crescent roll need to be pressed together tightly using your fingers or a mini roller. Bake 12 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

In a bowl, combine the Neufchatel cheese, ½ cup of the homemade salad dressing, and garlic, mix until completely smooth. I found using a spoon first and then a whisk later helped gets rid of all the lumps. Add half of the crumbled bacon with half the peas in the salad dressing and spread mixture over the baked cooled crescent roll square.

Spread the seeded chopped tomatoes evenly over the salad dressing. Spread the thinly sliced lettuce over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the lettuce and the thinly sliced onion.  Cut the appetizer into 24 even squares.

Eat Healthy!

Cook’s Note
The Greek yogurt… I am just hooked on this. I am using the Greek yogurt for recipes that require mayonnaise and sometimes sour cream. It is a perfect match and much healthier for you with really no difference in texture or flavor.

Another Pam’s Tip
Always remember to remove the seeds from tomatoes when using it for appetizers because the seeds cause juice and it could make the recipe very soggy.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

Eggplant Braid

I was experimenting with a lot of recipes involving mushrooms. I added the eggplant as a wow factor and believe me this recipe is a wow factor!

Eggplant Braid
Created recipe on 11/11/2009

Eggplant Braid

1 large eggplant – peeled and cubed approx 1-1/2” cubes
1 large onion – peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic – peeled and minced
1 – 10 oz spinach – washed and dried well
1 – 8 oz Creimini or baby portabella mushrooms brushed off with damp towel and sliced
1 medium tomato – seeded and diced
2 Crescent Roll tubes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ cup breadcrumbs (plain or seasoned)
½ cup fresh Parmesan Cheese divided to ¼ cup each
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese divided to ½ cup each
1 egg – for egg wash – to make the dough golden brown
½ cup walnuts or pine nuts (optional)

• About 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil – melt in a large pan over medium heat

• Sauté the onions for about 5 to 7 minutes depends on the stove – until they are caramelized a very deep brown color

• Add the garlic and eggplant and mushrooms to the onions around the 4 minute mark so the eggplant, mushrooms and garlic becomes almost caramelized also – you will have to judge on the texture, taste it and then salt and pepper to taste should take no more than 15 minutes – maybe

• Add spinach at the last minute and sauté until semi-wilted

• Add ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese and ½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup breadcrumbs– fold into mixture (the breadcrumbs will help prevent the vegetable juices from becoming too runny)

• Remove from heat and cool completely (because the crescent rolls will be too hard to manage if the filling is hot or warm)

• Prepare the crescent dough into one large square

• Cut 2” strips up to 3” on each side of square to leave a 6” dough path for filling

• Put the cool eggplant filling down the center of the crescent dough

• Sprinkle tomatoes on top with the rest of the cheeses – Parmesan and Mozzarella

• Bring one strip of the dough and twist gently to the middle and meet with the other strip and pinch dough together

• Continue all the way until the filling is braided – remember the filling will show because the dough does not cover it completely

• Mix egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush over the dough

• Sprinkle with nuts on top

• Bake 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is golden brown and all the cheeses are completely melted

• Serve with a salad

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

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