This week we reached the halfway point- the letter M! For the letter M, the kids, who are eating through the alphabet as part of the Healthy Bodies Project, will be tasting mozzarella cheese. I can’t imagine any child not liking mozzarella cheese. This reminds me of a story…not about kids but about mozzarella cheese!
Once, when we were traveling home, my husband and I decided to stop at a little restaurant for dinner. After looking over the menu, I finally decided on the taco salad. As you would expect, the taco salad had onions in it. But it also came with shredded mozzarella cheese!–not what you would expect on a taco salad. As I usually do, I asked the waitress to hold the onions. Then I asked her if I could have cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella on the salad. To which she replied, “Honey, this restaurant is a back-road, hick diner, we don’t have cheddar cheese.” I started to laugh. Nothing about that statement made any since. I settled for my mozzarella cheese, and that was that.
As discussed in my previous post, I had made the kiwi salsa for my older sister and the kiwi salsa with lentils for my parents while in Florida. While I was there, I also wanted to introduce my younger sister to the Healthy Bodies Project food of the week. I decided to get a jump on this week’s food so I made a bean and mozzarella salad for her. My sister didn’t have all the ingredients on hand for the mustard vinaigrette so I just bought an inexpensive dijon mustard salad dressing. I really liked the salad before I added the dressing–it was simply white beans, black beans, tomatoes and mozzarella. It had such a light fresh taste in this state and a vinaigrette probably would have maintained that light fresh taste. But, I added the mustard salad dressing and it just wasn’t quite the same, it completely lost the light fresh taste. Apparently though, my brother-in-law’s tastes are completely different from mine; my sister called me right after I returned home to ask for the recipe. Much to my surprise, he loved the bean and mozzarella salad!
I decided to try something a little more traditional with the mozzarella when I got home. I settled on pizza cups both with a crust and without. For the crust version I used crescent roll dough pressed into muffin tins. You just fill them with pepperoni, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese then bake. It is a super easy and fun way to have pizza and they are also easy to freeze and reheat for a quick lunch or snack. I also made a low carb version of this by baking just the pepperoni in the muffin tins. After five minutes take them out of the oven, drain the grease, fill with sauce and mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese is melted. This is an interesting little snack food if you are doing the low-carb thing but I definitely prefer the pizza cups with a crust.
I used a fresh mozzarella for all of the recipes I made, and we delivered fresh mozzarella to all the schools participating in Eating Through the Alphabet. If you’ve never used fresh mozzarella before, you will notice the difference right away. It tastes a bit milder and has a softer texture. If you are used to using low-moisture mozzarella when baking a pizza or any other dish you will also notice the difference. Low- moisture mozzarella is normally used for baking because the low moisture content is what creates that beautifully melted stretchy cheese, something I didn’t get with the pizza cups. I originally said that I couldn’t imagine any child not liking mozzarella cheese, but most children are probably used to eating low moisture mozzarella, so it will be very interesting to hear how they responded to to the different taste and texture of the fresh mozzarella. Until next time!