Selphie’s Pizza Party

Sephie and Squall“Approach your target inconspicuously at a dance party… There may be missions requiring this sort of subterfuge. It’s expected of SeeD to learn various skills.”

—Squall Leonhart, FFVIII

  • 2 16-ounce balls of pizza dough
  • 8 ounces pizza sauce
  • 8 ounces burrata cheese
  • 5 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and let rise for 30 minutes.

Use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten and stretch the first ball of dough. Transfer to a baking sheet or floured pizza peel and spread with half the pizza sauce. Tear open a ball of burrata and drizzle the cream all over the sauce. Pull the cheese into shreds and arrange evenly on the pizza. Top with half the pepperoni and sprinkle with oregano.

Transfer the pizza to a baking sheet or pizza stone and bake for about 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and crust is golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Repeat with the second pizza and serve with grated Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 873 calories, 31 g. fat, 109 g. carbohydrates, 8 g. fiber, 38 g. protein, iron 27%

Blue Mage Muffins

Instructor Trepe“Uses a whip. When in danger, uses monster skills she has learned. Her admirers in the Garden have formed a fan club.”

—Scan description of Quistis Trepe, FFVIII

  • 3 cups flour (360 g.)
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • ½ tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 12-oz. can of frozen 100% orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 12-oz. bag of frozen organic blueberries (about 2½ cups)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin pans with 24 unbleached baking cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oat bran, baking soda, and spice. Pour in the thawed orange juice concentrate, the blueberries, and 1 cup of water. Mix just enough to moisten all ingredients.

Divide the batter among the 24 cups and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Remove muffins from the pan and place on a rack to cool.

Makes 24 muffins. Per muffin: 100 calories, 0.4 g. fat, 0.1 g. saturated fat, 0.2 g. poly. fat, 0.1 g. mono. fat, 0.48 mg. sodium, 154.7 mg. potassium, 22.7 g. carbohydrates, 1.4 g. fiber, 2.9 g. protein, vitamin C 29%, calcium 1%, iron 6%

Balamb Pasta Salad

Balamb Gas Station“A country on the world’s smallest continent. Known for its temperate climate and warm people.”

—FFVIII Info Corner

  • 16 oz. whole-wheat fusilli pasta or brown rice pasta
  • 5 oz. baby kale
  • 3 tomatoes, washed and chopped
  • ½ red onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 6½ oz. pitted kalamata olives (1 12-oz. jar), drained and rinsed
  • 16 oz. tofu, cut into ½” cubes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes

Bring water to boil in a large soup pot. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Remove ¼ cup pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta into a colander.

Return pasta and the reserved pasta water to the pot. (The heat should be off; you’re just reusing the pot so you don’t have to get a bowl dirty.)

Add kale, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, olives, tofu, oil, lime juice, salt, and red pepper, and toss well to mix. Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors combine.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 406 calories, 17.8 g. fat, 1.6 g. saturated fat, 0.8 g. poly. fat, 4.9 g. mono. fat, 823.1 mg. sodium, 186.2 mg. potassium, 49.7 g. carbohydrates, 8.4 g. fiber, 13.8 g. protein, vitamin A 28%, vitamin C 31%, calcium 14%, iron 20%

Selphie’s Party Bread

Balamb Garden Network“Heeey! Lookin’ good! Alright! Let’s hit that PAAH-TAY!”

—Selphie Tilmitt, FFVIII

  • 1 16-oz. ball of pizza dough
  • 4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 2 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ cup minced chives
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and let rise for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the cheese and chives in a large bowl. Peel the garlic cloves and grate them into the bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, sour cream, and hot sauce.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Stretch or roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately 6″ x 14″. Cut into 1″ strips. Twist each strip, pull the ends, and place on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and push the breadsticks together so it’s easier to top them with the cheese mixture. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and crust is golden.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Zell’s Hot Dog Casserole

Balamb Garden cafeteria“There’s always a big rush for the hot dogs. You better get used to waiting in line.”

—Squall Leonhart, FFVIII

The winning recipe comes from Kitty. I adapted her original recipe a little bit, because I’m usually in a hurry and don’t have time to boil the pasta first. With this amount of liquid, you can use dry pasta and it cooks in the oven. If you prefer to pre-cook your pasta, just skip the milk and bake for less time, about 20 minutes.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion or 2 small onions, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 package of hot dogs, halved and sliced into ½” pieces
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups tomato soup
  • 2 cups milk
  • 12 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 cups)
  • 16 oz. whole-wheat rotelle pasta, uncooked

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven.  Add onion and hot dogs and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes until browned.

Add Worcestershire sauce and stir for about a minute until most of the liquid has evaporated. Pour in soup and milk, stir well, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly stir in 2 cups of the shredded cheese. Continue cooking, about 1 minute, until cheese is completely melted. Stir in pasta and remove from heat.

If you’re using a Dutch oven, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese, cover, and transfer to the oven.

If you’re using a skillet that isn’t oven-safe, spray a large baking pan with non-stick spray and transfer the pasta mixture into the pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese, cover tightly with foil, and place in the oven.

Bake until pasta is tender and sauce is bubbling, about 40 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake an additional 10 minutes, until sauce has thickened.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 634 calories, 32.8 g. fat, 15.5 g. saturated fat, 0.3 g. poly. fat, 2 g. mono. fat, 89.6 mg. cholesterol, 1205.2 mg. sodium, 204.3 mg. potassium, 57.2 g. carbohydrates, 6 g. fiber, 28.6 g. protein, vitamin A 18%, vitamin C 17%, calcium 46%, iron 18%

Balamb Cucumber-Fruit Salad

Balamb Town“When we get outta here, I’ll feed you all the food you want.”

—Laguna Loire, FFVIII

  • 1 lb. Persian cucumbers, diced
  • 2 Asian pears, cored and diced (about 10 oz.)
  • 8 oz. cubed seedless watermelon (about 2 cups)
  • 4 ripe avocados, peels and seeds removed, sliced
  • ¼ large red onion, peeled and diced (about ¼ – ½ cup)
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced finely
  • 6 oz. crumbled feta cheese (about 1 cup)
  • ¾ oz. mint, stems removed, cut into strips
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tbsp.)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, pears, watermelon, avocados, onion, serrano pepper, feta cheese, mint, olive oil, and lime juice.  Sprinkle generously with sea salt and black pepper, and toss well to mix.  Serves 8.

Per serving: 260 calories, 22 g. fat, 5.6 g. saturated fat, 2.1 g. poly. fat, 12.6 g. mono. fat, 18.9 mg. cholesterol, 244.3 mg. sodium, 509.8 mg. potassium, 13.9 g. carbohydrates, 6.4 g. fiber, 5 g. protein, vitamin A 6%, vitamin C 15%, calcium 13%, iron 4%

Balamb Salmon-Yogurt Spread

Balamb Port“Back in the days, I’d use to catch a whole bunch o’ them Balamb fish and share ’em with this here cat.”

—FFVIII

  • 1 6-oz. can of skinless boneless salmon
  • 2 oz. (about ¼ cup) plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. capers, drained
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste (go easy on the salt, as capers are very salty)

Stir all ingredients together and serve on toasted whole-grain bread, or with crackers.  Serves 1–2.