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Cheesy Sloppy Joe Hotdogs

Have you ever noticed how having kids, or caring for kids, or really just being exposed to kids on a regular basis forces you to revisit, and often rediscover, classic dishes from your own childhood? Especially when my guys were little, or going through their individual ‘picky palate’ stages, I’d have to get creative, and often the simplest answer was to call Mom and asked what the hell she had made that we would actually eat during those same trying times. And wouldn’t you know, almost every time the same things worked for me and my boys, like hot dogs and sloppy joes. But over the years we’ve all grown up (how much is often debatable 😉 ), and while we haven’t exactly outgrown these favorites, we’ve found them growing right along with us. Think of it as revisiting, and revitalizing the classics. And that’s how the Cheesy Sloppy Dog was born. And. It. Was. Glorious. And, of course, cheesy and messy enough in all its glory to be whole-heartedly embraced by both our emerging adult-selves and our inner child.

cheesy sloppy dogs

Nestle your favorite brand of hot dog into a warm toasty hot dog bun, top it with perfectly seasoned, just like Mama made ’em, ground beef-based sloppy joes and then spoon (or ladle) on a heaping helping of garlic cheese sauce. It’s cheesy, sloppy, ehrmagherd bliss in every bite. And, if you’re the parent now? You can even lick your fingers clean. Just don’t let the kids see. Do as I say, not as I do, right?

cheesy sloppy dogs 2

Ok, back to adult-ing. That’s a thing, right?

Head on over to my friend Alli’s blog, where we were guest posting today, to get the recipe.

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Pepperoni & Basil Tortellini Salad

Usually, I’d argue that this dish makes a perfect salad for Summer, whether it’s as a side dish or a meal itself. And it does. But when it’s unseasonably warm weather-wise on the home front and were less than two weeks away from Christmas, I’m not going to rant or rave. I mean I can’t actually do anything about it, so why not just go with it?

Tortellini & Pepperoni Pasta Salad 2

Just picture it, your favorite cheese tortellini with ripe grape tomatoes ready to burst with flavor, fresh basil, a generous helping of chopped pepperoni, and all mixed up with your favorite creamy Caesar salad dressing. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, or anybody on a diet, but if neither of those apply to you, it’s a dreamy combination.

Tortellini & Pepperoni Pasta Salad

Trust me you want in on this dish. In a month filled with warm, rich comfort foods and chaos and (if you’re a parent) kids home on break needing more lunch options than the typical brown bag variety, run headlong toward this ‘salad’. This is pasta salad, 2.0, and it’s just the change of pace we enjoy. With the roller coaster weather, us and our meals have to roll with the punches.

Pepperoni & Basil Tortellini Salad

Tortellini & Pepperoni Pasta Salad 3

1 (20 oz) pkg cheese tortellini, or about 3-4 cups frozen tortellini
1 cup pepperoni slices, chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup cubed, or shredded, mozzarella cheese
1 cup caesar dressing
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

Directions

  1. Cooked the tortellini according to package directions. Drain and transfer the tortellini to a large bowl.
    2. Stir together the dressing and the cooked tortellini. Add in the pepperoni, basil, cheese, and tomatoes and gently stir together, so that the tortellini don’t fall apart, until everything’s evenly combined.
    3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken

I was so productive last weekend. I packed away all the shorts and t shirts and swapped them out for everybody’s jeans and sweaters. It was a cool 50 degrees all weekend and we were cozy and oh-so happy. And damn if I didn’t pat myself on the back for checking that giant task of our seasonal to-do list. Aaaaand then this weeek rolled around bringing us 70 degrees and you’d have thought I was trying to torture my boys.

My bad.

Any who, it may not seem like Winter is coming from the weather, despite what our wardrobe (and the local weatherman) says, but I can tell– especially as we shift from using the grill, and move firmly into oven and crockpot territory.

Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken

This recipe is easy to throw together, and you let the crockpot do all the heavy lifting. Serve it over a warm bed of freshly cooked white rice, and make sure to ladle a generous scoop of sauce overtop the chicken. Because, this sauce. This sauce will have you smackin’ your lips and licking your plate clean. Shamelessly.

Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup ketchup*
1/2 cup soy sauce*
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Place the chicken thighs on the bottom of the crockpot.
    2. In a separate, medium sized bowl, combine the minced garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oregano and parsley, and stir them together until the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
    3. Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs.
    4. Cover the crockpot with its lid, and cook for 6 to 7 hours on LOW, or 4 to 5 hours on HIGH.
    5. Remove the lid and transfer the cooked chicken to a serving plate.
    6. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
    7. Serve the chicken over a bed of white rice.

*Use low-sodium options if diabetic or of you have other health sodium-related health concerns. Similarly, this is just as tasty without the rice, or served over a bed of brown rice or quinoa for healthier options.

‘Tastes Just Like’ Pizza Soup

On the heels of Thanksgiving ( and our Tryptophan carbohydrate-induced post coma ) we needed something light, but still packing that flavor punch. We couldn’t stomach more than one course (shoot one whole meal seemed a struggle) so soup seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

Pizza Soup

And not just any soup, but pizza soup, a soup that’s a soup but still really not a soup since it encapsulates one of our most beloved dishes (and all its flavors) in one dish, without all those dastardly carbs. Who needs to hibernate in a carb coma two days in a row? Am I right, or am I right?

We’ve found most people frown at the name, but after one taste they get it. It really does taste just like pizza, but better for you. And who can’t get behind that?!

Pizza Soup

Pizza Soup 2

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
8 oz. fresh, washed, sliced baby bell mushrooms (optional)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. Italian sausage, browned and drained
4 cups chicken broth
2 (24 oz) jars of marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 oz. sliced pepperoni, quartered (or use mini pepperonis)
shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh basil, roughly chopped or chiffonade

Directions

  1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add in the prepared veggies and saute until they’re tender and slightly browned. Add the minced garlic during the last minute or two of cooking time. Transfer the veggies to a large pot. Brown the sausage in the same skillet and drain it well after cooking, then add it to the soup pot along with the stock, sauce, red pepper flakes and most of the pepperoni, saving a few to use as garnishes. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the soup pot with the cover slightly askew so some of the steam can escape while it cooks. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 20 to 30 minutes.
    2. Ladle the hot into bowls. Top each bowl with some of the Mozzarella, a few slices of pepperoni and a little basil. Let the bowls rest for just a few minutes before serving. Serve with garlic bread or breadsticks.

Pizzadillas

While we try to keep things ‘PG’ rated at best around these parts, occasionally (just occasionally, promise!) things may change. Like now.

Once upon a time, a quesadilla and pizza got together. They had a very lovely, love child. The Pizza-dilla.

And tummies and tastebuds rejoiced throughout the land and we all lived happily ever after!

 Pizzadillas

Everything you love about a crispy, crunchy quesadilla oozing melted, cheesy goodness, but instead of stopping there it’s topped off like a pizza with tomato sauce, more cheese, and a few pepperonis for good measure.

These are a perfect thing to make with the kids. They’re easy to assemble and easy to cook, without a lot of parental assistance required. Helloooooo, Sous Chef Sunday!

Pizzadillas

2 tortillas. Regular size
1 cup cheddar or mozzarella, shredded
3 tbsp pizza sauce
1/2 cup cheddar or mozzarella, shredded
3 slices pepperoni
1 tbsp sliced black olives (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat.
    2. Place one tortilla in the pan, sprinkle One cup of cheese evenly out over it, and top it with the second tortilla.
    3. Cook until the quesadilla is golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted, about 2-4 minutes per side.
    4. Spread the pizza sauce over the top of the quesadilla followed by the mozzarella, pepperoni and olives.
    5. Bake at 400 degrees just until the cheese on top has melted, about 5-10 minutes.

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza

Grocery shopping. I’m convinced you either love it or hate it. It’s either a necessary, but shoot-me-now chore, or you relish the hunt for the best bargains each week and sticking to your list and get off on coming in below budget. I’m one of those who falls firmly into the love it category. That being said, we make the big trek to Costco, followed by every store with a circular in a 5 mile radius, once a month and it takes pretty much all day. And that’s exhausting, considering kids are dragging there heels after store # 1, whining the whole way, and begging for this that and the other. We’re all tired and cranky by the end, and cooking dinner is the last thing I want to do at the end of that day.

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza

So, yes, on grocery day we order pizza for dinner. The irony, I know. But sometimes the son who works at a local pizzeria decides to take pity on his poor, old Mom, and mix together and toss a fresh crust, and come up with a pizza that will blow our tastebuds away, from scratch. (Really he will jump at any excuse to show off his growing pie-slinging skills). And that’s how we ended up not doing delivery, but some home made gourmet. Mmmmmm….

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza 3

Hand tossed pizza crust smoothed over with a base of creamy Alfredo sauce, studded with creole seasoned shrimp, sautéed onions, and garlic, then topped off with generous handfuls of melted Colby Jack and Provolone cheeses, and finally sprinkled with crispy, crumbled pieces of bacon.

Wowza! Now THAT is a slice of gourmet pizza.

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza 2

pizza dough, or prepared store bought crust (whatever works/is convenient for you)

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, mined
¼ onion, finely chopped
1 lb small shrimp, tossed with 1 tsp creole seasoning
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
juice of ½ a lemon
6-7 tbsp of alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
5-6 provolone slices, sliced into thin strips
3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

Directions

  1. Spread dough onto pizza pan flattening and stretching it out to edges. Use a fork to liberally poke holes in it. Partially bake the crust for 7 minutes before adding topping. Or if using a pre add, store bought crust, follow the package directions before topping.
    2. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the garlic and onion and saute together, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
    3. Stir in the seasoned shrimp and cook for about 3-4 more minutes.
    4. Turn off heat and stir in the lemon juice and parsley.
    5. Use the back of a spoon to spread the alfredo sauce out onto the prepared crust. Top it evenly with the shrimp mixture. Next, evenly distribute the provolone slices, shredded Colby Jack, and bacon.
    6. Bake the pizza at 450 degrees for 7-10 more minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting so the cheese doesn’t pull off.

3 Cheese Gnocchi Macaroni & Cheese

Easy. Peasy. And, yes, cheesy. (Sorry, had to go there. The rhyme was just too tempting.)

Gnocchi Mac And Cheese 2

Two of my favorite things, both equally indulgent, in one fantastic dish? Yes, please! Fluffy potato gnocchi basking in a rich, creamy cheese sauce worthy of gracing the plate of even the hautiest of Mac & Cheese snobs? Fill ‘er up, and I’m already calling dibs on seconds.

Gnocchi Mac And Cheese 3

It’s awe-inspiring. Has my kitchen ever churned out such a fine bowl of creamy comfort before? And The taste!

There’s just a small price to pay for a few decadent cheeses. And some calories. But the finished product absolutely pales in comparison.

Three Cheese Gnocchi Mac & Cheese

Gnocchi Mac And Cheese

2, 16 oz, pkgs potato gnocchi
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp butter
3-4 tsp minced garlic
1 cup half and half, or milk (warmed)
1 1/4 cups shredded fontina cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper, to taste
finely-chopped fresh parsley or basil, for topping

Directions

1. Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. While the gnocchi cooks, get started on the cheese sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and the broth until evenly combined and set aside.
3. In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the butter or olive oil. Add in the garlic and saute, stirring, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, and whisk until combined. Add in the milk, and whisk until combined. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches a low boil. Then remove from heat, and stir in the cheeses until they too are melted and the cheese sauce is smooth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste, if desired.
4. Combine the cooked gnocchi and cheese sauce together in the pot you cooked the gnocchi in, and toss together until the gnocchi are evenly coated. Serve immediately, with a sprinkle of finely chopped, fresh basil and/or parsly and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan, if desired.

recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

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