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‘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.
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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.

Sous Chef Sunday: Copy Cat Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread

Little Caesar’s $5 hot and ready pizzas have saved my butt at dinner time on more than one occasion. Still I think it’s safe to say that they’re crazy bread is pretty much always the star of their show.

Copy Cat Little Caesar's Crazy Bread

Soft and slightly chewy, brushed with garlic butter and sprinkled with a heavy-handed amount of Parmesan cheese. They’re pretty much the best version of a bread stick. Arguably, ever.

Copy Cat Little Caesar's Crazy Bread 2

I’ve never been good at the whole delayed gratification thing, and even though the closest Little Caesar’s to us is only about 10 miles away, when a craving hits that’s just too far. And that’s one of the reasons I love this make-at-home copycat version so much.

Craving satisfied 🙂

For big and little people alike.

Copy Cat Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread

1 can of refrigerated pizza dough, or one batch of Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/8-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Roll out your pizza dough onto a clean surface, into a roughly rectangular shape (doesn’t have to be perfect or exact).
2. Cut dough in half lengthwise, and then cut 8 strips vertically (making 16 small bread sticks). Place each strip onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.
3. While the bread sticks are baking, melt the butter and stir in the garlic salt. Remove the cooked bread sticks from the oven and brush on the garlic butter mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.

Sous Chef Sunday: Big Mac Pizza

Wanna add some ‘wow’ into your family’s next pizza night? Our Big Mac Pizza is sure to do the trick. The sons could not gt over the fact that it tasted just. like. the sandwich. It’s pretty epic. The whole concept combines two of their most favorite things: fast food & pizza. And Mom’s actually letting them have both? IN THE SAME NIGHT?? They were on cloud 9, and I’m pretty sure if they’d floated any higher they would’ve floated away.

Big Mac Pizza

You don’t have to go super fancy just to change things up a bit. This pizza is a fun twist, but it’s still family friendly, and easy to assemble. And I’ll let you in on a little secret I discovered during the making of this dish. You wanna get the kids in the kitchen fast? Want them to actually want to help you fix dinner? WITHOUT complaining? Put the words ‘big mac’ in the name of whatever you’re having. Problem solved 🙂

Big Mac Pizza

Big Mac Pizza 2

pizza dough, homemade, store-bought, or pre made will all work
Olive oil (if you’re using fresh dough)
Thousand Island salad dressing
6-8 slices of yellow American cheese
1/2 – 3/4 lb. ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce
grape tomatoes, thinly sliced (optional)

Directions

1. In a medium sized skillet, brown the ground beef. Season the meat with salt and pepper, to taste. Drain the cooked beef and set aside.

2.For pizza dough, lightly grease a pizza pan or large cookie sheet. Pat or roll the dough out into pan and lightly drizzle some olive oil over the top of the crust and then bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.

3. Top the pizza crust with Thousand Island salad dressing and just like you would with sauce, use a lade or the back of a spoon to evenly spread the dressing out over the crust all the way up to the crusts edges. Top the spread dressing with the American cheese slices, and don’t worry if they don’t completely cover the entire pizza. Top the cheese with the ground beef. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese evenly over top of the beef.

4. Bake the pizza at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

5. Remove from the oven and allow the pizza to cool slightly, about 2-3 minutes, before cutting it into slices.

6. To serve, top the cooled pizza with shredded lettuce, tomato and additional Thousand Island, if desired. Enjoy!

recipe adapted from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Garlic Ranch Chicken Pizza

For those of you who don’t know the hubs, which is probably most of you, let me tell you about his love of all things neat and orderly. To put it bluntly, he can’t function in any other sort of environment. He knows where everything goes, and if one thing is out of place it’s going to systematically drive him crazy. Most of the time this doesn’t bother me since he’ll be the first one to start cleaning or come behind me as I’m cooking and wash the dishes as I go. Even when I get annoyed, I can’t help but appreciate this side of him because he totally balances me out. For example, just last week the hubs went on a two day long streak where he decided that we would pull everything out of every nook and cranny in the house and clean it and organize it. At first I was frustrated since this had clearly not been on my honey-do list for the weekend, but by the end of it I was thankful. Everything was thoroughly cleansed, we’d swapped out spring/summer wardrobes for fall/winter. The freezers had been defrosted and updated inventories made of what was where and when it expired. Instead of dreading taking on these tasks myself and getting them done piece meal, we both felt like we’d accomplished something, we both had help, and we rewarded ourselves the next day by mindlessly relaxing & binge watching a new TV show on Netflix with all the sons. And that had been on my list.

So that was the good. The bad? I had several things in the freezer that needed using in the very near future. Several of those things were multiple pounds of pizza dough. So guess what? We had pizza for dinner two nights in a row last week. The sons thought I’d gone and lost my mind. They were thrilled. This was what was on the menu with two pounds of said dough. Several of our favorite flavors and ingredients, coming together to star in one perfect pizza.

While I can flourish in clutter, the hubs can’t. The happy medium? We keep each other in sync and have many things to show for it. Not the least of which are some damn delicious dinners!

This recipe is a doozie. If you love pizza, bacon, chicken, and ranch dressing then you are going to love this.

Garlic Ranch Chicken Pizza

 Chicken Bacon Garlic Ranch Pizza

recipe adapted from I Heart Naptime

Dough for 1 large pizza
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced and diced
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded or diced
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

 Garlic- Ranch Sauce

2 Tbsp sour cream
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 1/2 Tbsp milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon chopped, dried chives
1/8 teaspoon dill
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
dash of onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. In a small bowl combine all the ingredients to make the garlic-ranch sauce.
2. Spread the sauce evenly over the pizza crust, leaving a 1/2 inch of ‘crust’ all the way around.
3. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over top the sauce, then evenly spread the chicken, bacon, onion and tomatoes.
4. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
5. Bake at 450 degrees for 9-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Sous Chef Sunday: Waffle Iron Pepperoni Pizza Pockets

Do you have a waffle iron? Doesn’t it make delicious, fluffy, just perfect waffles? Did you know you can use your waffle iron to make some other, more surprising, dishes? For years I assumed (see that’s what I get bc we all know what they say when you assume something) that mine was only for making waffles. DOH! In my defense, the box wasn’t really helpful either since it only had pictures of gourmet waffles and no helpful hints or recipe tips for anything else. And I was a newly out-in-the-world newly wed anyway, what did I know? Well fast forward to now, and our waffle iron gets it’s own prime-time counter-top space. We use it to make cookies, we use it to make cinnamon roll waffles, and we’ve even used it to make cornbread waffles to serve with our chili (recipe coming soon). But this, THIS is the sons’ favorite waffle iron recipe. Golden brown biscuit outside, melted mozzarella inside. It’s waffle pizza perfection. They make a great lunch, an easy afternoon snack, and they make an even better quick, no fuss dinner on fend -for-yourself nights, aka Fridays. Sorry, but come the end of the week this Momma needs a break and I’m not ashamed to admit it, or to take it. #sorrynotsorry The sons WILL survive, even though they don’t believe me.

So, we’ve got an easy, 5 minute meal, but that’s not all. Like so many of our other favorite recipes, these are easily customizable. Don’t like pepperoni or have other favorite toppings too? Throw some crumbled bacon or cooked sausage in the middle. Is a supreme your thing? Throw some veggies in there and enjoy. You can even spice em up a little by adding a dash of Italian seasoning. You get the idea.

Waffle Iron Pepperoni Pizza Pockets

Pizza Pocket Waffles

(HELLO, crispy savory waffles fortified with pepperoni and mozzarella. I see that warm marinara topping. Look at you, you saucy little thang!)

1 can (16.3 oz) Flaky Layers refrigerated biscuits
8 slices (1 oz each) mozzarella cheese
1/3 pepperoni slices
2 cups pizza or marinara

Directions

1. Spray waffle maker with cooking spray; heat waffle maker.
2. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut slit on 1 side of each biscuit, forming a deep pocket. Place 1 slice of cheese into each pocket. Top cheese with 2-3 pepperoni slices. Press dough around edge to seal each biscuit.
3. Place 1 biscuit on center of waffle maker. Close lid; cook 3 minutes or until waffle is golden brown. Repeat with remaining filled biscuits. Serve with pizza sauce.

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