Pizza Puffs

Pizza Puffs

Pizza Puffs

These are little bites that contain all the flavors that you love about pizza!   I made these awesome nibbles as part of a brunch buffet and everyone loved them.  They are extremely easy to make, and you can vary what you put into them according to your taste.  Whatever you like for pizza toppings can go into these delicious little morsels.   I’m going to keep these in my file as an appetizer or a great snack when game watching, or having an outdoor barbecue. These delicious little puffs will have everyone wanting more.

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I used some crumbled pre-cooked sausage and chopped pepperoni in mine plus I added some pizza dough flavoring to the batter.  I also included shredded mozzarella cheese because, really, what is pizza without the cheese?  When you serve these you will want to have a bowl of warm marinara sauce nearby to spoon over the puffs, or for dipping.

PIZZA PUFFS

Yield:   24 mini puffs

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flourIMG_7200
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pizza seasoning (optional, but good)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 ounces, shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 2 ounces chopped pepperoni,  about 1/2 cup
  • 4 ounces italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to  375*F.  Grease 24 mini muffin cups.

2.  In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. (flour through pizza seasoning)

2.  In another small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk and egg.   Add to the dry ingredients.  Mix to incorporate, then stir in the cheese, pepperoni and sausage.

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Let stand 10 minutes.  (This is important, it’s what makes them really puff up)

3.  Stir batter again, and divide among the muffin cups.   Bake till puffed and golden, 20 – 25 minutes.

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4.  Warm the pizza sauce and serve with the puffs for dipping.

 

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It occurred to me after making these that they could be well suited to a breakfast menu by substituting bacon and chopped ham for the meats, and cheddar cheese for mozzarella.    I must try that next time I make these.

 

SOURCE:   adapted from a recipe from Little Kitchen

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Southwestern Egg Casserole

Southwestern Egg Casserole

Southwestern Egg Casserole

With Mother’s Day this weekend you may be thinking about having a mid-day brunch.  Egg-based casseroles are often what anchor a brunch menu, but sometimes they can be time consuming to prepare or you don’t get the timing right so they’re hot and ready to serve when everyone is ready to eat.   It gets a little tricky there.  I’ve had that experience, so when I want to serve a large egg casserole, I like to have it prepared in advance so I can pop it in the oven at just the right time and it will be cooked and served hot when everyone is ready.

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This casserole will meet that requirement.  It can be made in parts, and the parts put together quickly just before putting it in the oven.  What you do is cook up the sausage with onion and pepper,  mix up the eggs and cream, combine the two parts and add cheese. Now, all that can be done ahead and refrigerated.  The last part involves cutting up refrigerated  biscuits, laying them in a skillet or casserole, and pouring the egg-sausage mixture over them.  Top with more grated cheese and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  Really easy and so so good.  This is a dish that can be spicy if you like it that way, or go easy on the spicy stuff to tame it down to your liking.

Mom will love this dish, especially if someone else is making it for her.   Hint, hint.  🙂

An egg casserole that Mom will love.

An egg casserole that Mom will love.

SOUTHWESTERN EGG CASSEROLE

Yield:  Servings,  8 – 10IMG_7230

Ingredients:

  • 1 package  (12-oz.) bulk chorizo or spicy pork breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped bell pepper, any color
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 2 cups shredded pepper Jack or Mexican cheese blend ( 8-oz)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (16.3-oz.)  Grands Flaky Layers refrigerated original biscuits (Pillsbury or store brand)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 375*F.  In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, cook sausage, onion and bell pepper over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink; drain.  Remove mixture from skillet; set aside.

Cooking up the sausage, onion and pepper.

Cooking up the sausage, onion and pepper.

2.  In a large bowl, beat eggs and cream.  Stir in 1 cup of cheese, the pepper flakes and sausage mixture.

Mix sausage mixture into egg and cream mixture.

Mix sausage mixture into egg and cream mixture.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits.  Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces.

Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces.

Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces.

3.  Spread oil in bottom of skillet.  Place biscuits in skillet in an even layer.  Pour egg-sausage mixture over biscuits.  Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

4.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until egg mixture is set and crust is deep golden brown.  Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Using the same skillet you cooked the sausage in is easy, and a black iron skillet conveys that “southwestern look”, but if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can bake it in a greased or sprayed 13 x 9-inch baking dish.  Baking time should be the same, but start checking for doneness at around 20 minutes.

Puffed and golden, smelling wonderful.

Puffed and golden, smelling wonderful.

If you’re like me, and you like to have breakfast for supper sometimes,  this is a great dish to serve.  Just add a side salad.

Breakfast for supper.

Breakfast for supper.

 

SOURCE:    Pillsbury

 

The Morning After the Night Before

Are you planning a cozy dinner at home for your sweetie and you this Valentine’s Day?  Skip the crowded restaurant this year and make a romantic dinner for two.   I’m not here today to help you plan your date-night menu, but instead to remind you of the morning after, when you may want to keep that special “glow” going.

Cheesy Potato and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Cheesy Potato and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Here’s the plan:  the next morning when you wake up, quietly go down to the kitchen, and prepare that first cup of coffee, and while you’re there surreptitiously slip this Cheesey Egg, Sausage, and Potato casserole into the oven.  While it’s baking you and your honey can enjoy your coffee(s) snuggled under the covers.  In about 30 minutes or so you will notice a wonderful aroma coming from the kitchen.  That’s when you say ” let’s go see what we can find for breakfast”, and surprise!! you find this enticing breakfast casserole already to serve, hot out of the oven.

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He will be amazed at your  talent for coming up with such a wonderful breakfast.  The first slice of it will reveal a bottom layer of potatoes, made from frozen hash browns, then an eggy layer, on top of that a layer of spicy breakfast sausage and onions, all topped off with melted cheese.  How did you accomplish this so fast?  Only you will know that it was all prepared the evening before while you were making dinner, then hidden away in the refrigerator over night, ready to pop into the oven in the morning.  Oh, you clever girl, you!

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CHEESY POTATO AND SAUSAGE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

YIELD:  6 servings

Ingredients:IMG_6404

  • 1  pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cups hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • dash or two of hot sauce, optional
  • 1 cup grated cheese of choice, cheddar, Colby, Jack, swiss

Directions:

1.  Lightly grease a baking dish.  This may be a round deep dish 9″ pie dish, or an 8 or 9-inch square pan.

2.  In a large skillet over medium heat, crumble the sausage, and cook to brown and render the fat.  Add the chopped onion and cook until onion is translucent.  Set aside.

Cooking up the sausage and onion.

Cooking up the sausage and onion.

3.  In the same skillet, leave any drippings in place, and add the hash browns.  Cook just briefly, to remove any iciness and brown then up a little.   Transfer potatoes to the prepared baking dish, spreading them out in an even layer to form a crust.

Spread the potatoes out to form a crust.

Spread the potatoes out to form a crust.

4.  In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce if using.  Pour over the potatoes in the baking dish.

Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes.

Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes.

5.  Layer the sausage-onion mixture over the eggs, and sprinkle with grated cheese.  Cover with foil.

Layer on the sausage and onions.

Layer on the sausage and onions.

Top with grated cheese.  Cover with foil.

Top with grated cheese. Cover with foil.

6.  Bake for about 35 minutes.  Remove the foil and leave in the oven another 5-6 minutes to brown up the top and crisp the edges.

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Cut into wedges or squares and serve hot with a side of fruit or fruit salad, and toast or biscuits.

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When I served this to my husband all he could say was “Mmmm-mmmm.  Wow!”

SOURCE:    Allrecipes.com

A One-dish Wonder

Sausage, zucchini, and feta casserole.

Sausage, zucchini, and feta casserole.

We had this dish for dinner on a recent evening and once again I am in awe of how such simple ingredients can meld together and produce such an outstanding meal.  It is a pasta casserole that combines pantry items with fresh vegetables for a hearty, family-friendly meal.  Any leftovers are even better the next day as the flavors have time to meld.

The edges of the pasta get brown and crispy with cheese.   Yum!

The edges of the pasta get brown and crispy with cheese. 

The recipe as I originally found it calls for 5 cups of thinly sliced zucchini as the main vegetable, but whenever I see an amount like that for one item I immediately think of it as 5 cups of ANY vegetable or mixture of vegetables.  Given that I had only 1/2 a zucchini on hand, I knew I would need to add other vegetables to make close to the quantity the recipe specified. So I added 6 stalks of asparagus, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces and a medium carrot thinly sliced, plus the onions called for.  These, the pasta,  and 1/2 pound of sweet Italian sausage were the main ingredients that I used to make this casserole.

The recipe makes about 6 servings, so for two of us, there was enough for another meal, and it reheat easily in the oven covered with foil so it remained moist.  My husband commented twice on how good it was and how much he enjoyed it.  With that kind of reception I can’t wait to make it again.

ZUCCHINI, SAUSAGE, AND FETA CASSEROLE

Yield:   6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/2 cups uncooked ziti  (short tube-shaped pasta)
  • 8 ounces chicken sausage
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 5 cups thinly sliced zucchini ( about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cups vertically sliced onion–about 1 large one
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. all purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup ( 2 ounces )crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup ( 2 ounces ) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F

2.  Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes, omitting salt and fat;  drain

3.  Remove casings from sausage.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add sausage to pan; cook until browned, stirring to crumble.  Remove from pan.

4.  Heat oil in pan.  Add zucchini, ( and any other vegetables you may be using), onion, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally,

Sauteing all the vegetables together.

Sauteing all the vegetables together.

5.  Combine broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute.  Combine zucchini mixture, pasta, sausage, and feta cheese in a large bowl  ( or pan pasta was cooked in );  toss well.  Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7 – inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.

Mix pasta with vegetables and sausage in a baking dish.

Mix pasta with vegetables and sausage in a baking dish.

6.  Bake at 400*F for 20 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Serve with a salad for a complete meal.

Serve with a salad for a complete meal.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Sausage, Fennel and Ricotta Pizza

Sausage, fennel and ricotta pizza.

Sausage, fennel and ricotta pizza.

Friday evenings feel like pizza night to me.  Not always, but quite frequently I make it for dinner.  When you make it often you need a variety of toppings to fall back on- at least I do.   As I have said previously,  variety is the spice of my life.  I get bored easily with the repetition of the same foods, and pizza is one of those foods that lends itself to whatever you may have on hand to put on it.

Last week’s version ended up with a crazy combination of things, that somehow worked together, and became an instant favorite.  I’m writing this down so that I don’t forget it.   It started with a roll of refrigerated pizza dough from the supermarket.  This was my first time using this particular product.  I usually use a ball of dough from the bakery department.  The pizza dough was very easy to use.  Just unroll it onto your pan and with your fingers press it out to fit.  Make it thick or thin;  however you like it.

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The toppings consisted of half pound of sausage meat,  half a fennel bulb, thinly sliced, some sliced red onion, and ricotta cheese to which I added some Italian herbs and minced garlic.  A pizza like this could be vegetarian by omitting the sausage and adding in some other vegetables like broccoli, and/or peppers.  In place of the fennel, you might use baby spinach.

SAUSAGE, FENNEL AND RICOTTA PIZZA

YIELD:   8 slices

INGREDIENTS

  • 1   12 oz. roll refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 -2 links Italian turkey or pork sausage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 1 Tablespoon cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons pesto
  • 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1.   Remove pizza dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature while oven preheats.   Preheat oven to 450*F.  Lightly grease a pizza pan,  baking sheet, or pizza stone.   Sprinkle cornmeal evenly on baking pan or stone.

2.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Remove casings form sausage.  Crumble and add to pan, cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned.    Add fennel bulb; cook 4 minutes or until tender.

3.  Roll pizza dough into a 16 – inch oval and place on baking sheet, or press into the pan with your fingers.

4.  Brush the dough evenly with the pesto.  Sprinkle the sausage mixture evenly over the dough.  Combine ricotta with the minced garlic and Italian seasoning in a small bowl;  top pizza with teaspoonfuls of ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle red onion and remaining ingredients evenly over pizza.

Layer on all the ingredients.

Layer on all the ingredients.

5.  Bake at 450*F for 10 – 11 minutes or until golden.  Cut into 8 slices.

In my version, the crust was thin and crispy.

In my version, the crust was thin and crispy.

Served with a hearty salad this made a very filling meal.

We never get tired of pizza.

We never get tired of pizza.

SOURCE:    My own creation

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Sausage Polenta Breakfast Casserole

Sausage Polenta Breakfast Casserole

On Christmas morning I’m usually torn between wanting to open gifts, and getting something ready for breakfast.  Of course, I start with coffee—I must have my coffee before anything.  Breakfast should be hearty enough to sustain us until we have dinner later in the day, so it can take some time to prepare.

So I have been experimenting with breakfast casseroles to come up with a recipe that can be assembled the evening before and just popped into the oven the next morning.  While it bakes you can be hanging out in you pj’s, tearing open those presents, and enjoying the smell of something wonderful baking in the oven.

I’ve recently found packages of pre made polenta at the grocery store.  They are tube shaped and wrapped in a plastic wrapper.  Usually found in a refrigerator case somewhere near the deli department. This can be a great convenience if you know what to do with it. So that is what I have been experimenting with.  This recipe uses the sliced polenta to make a crust (of sorts), into which you layer some precooked breakfast sausage, seasonings, and an egg/milk mixture.  Top with cheese, bake, and  out will come a spicy, cheesy, egg dish that is hearty and filling.  In the pictures you see here I have made only half the recipe for two of us, and not having bulk sausage on hand I used brown and serve sausages, cut into slices.

SAUSAGE WITH POLENTA BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

SERVES:   6 – 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  16-ounce roll polenta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 10 – 12 ounces breakfast sausage, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash hot pepper sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

1.  Using 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, brush into a 9-inch pie dish or similar baking dish.

2.  Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch thick slices, and arrange in the bottom and up around the sides of the baking dish to form a “crust’.

3.  Put the remaining teaspoon olive oil in a medium skillet, crumble in the sausage and cook to render the fat from the sausage and brown it..  Add the green onions and garlic powder; sauté 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and spread over polenta in the baking dish.

4.  In a medium bowl,  Mix the eggs, milk, salt and hot pepper sauce.  Pour over the sausage mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Egg mixture poured over the sausage and polenta.

Egg mixture poured over the sausage and polenta.

5.  In the morning, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Uncover dish,  sprinkle on the shredded cheese, and bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until set.

Sprinkle on shredded cheese before baking.

Sprinkle on shredded cheese before baking.

Melted cheese, and a little brown and crunchy around the edges,    YUM!

Melted cheese, and a little brown and crunchy around the edges, YUM!

SOURCE:    A Carolyn Original

Making Homemade Pizza

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like pizza.  Do you?  But it’s hard to please everyone as they all have their favorites.   Well, with my family I have pretty much solved this problem.  I make pizza at home, and everyone can choose their own topping.  Depending on what I have on hand, I present them with 3-4 choices, and we go from there.

Today, I am going to share with you the three most commonly chosen pizzas at my house.  They all start the same way with the basic crust. Depending on how much time I have to prepare, I use one of the following types:

  1. Made from scratch pizza dough.( Please see separate post for my dough recipe)  Again, I rely on my bread machine to make a basic dough, which produces about  2 pounds.  I do this periodically, and freeze it in 1 pound balls.  Defrost at room temperature, stretch to fit your pan, and you’re ready to build your pizza.
  2. Frozen dough from the grocery store.  Defrost and use as described above.
  3. Preformed pizza shell like BOBOLI.  This gives you the option of making one 10″ pie, or choose a package with 4 smaller individual pies.

Always prepare your pan in advance.  This can be a pizza pan, a pizza stone, or large baking sheet.  Mist or brush with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with corn meal. This is optional, but it gives the crust a nice crunch.  Roll or stretch the dough to fit the pan.  Note:  yeast doughs like to fight you; the more you stretch them the more they seem to shrink back. To  win this fight, take it slow.  Stretch a little, wait, let it rest.  Stretch some more,wait, let it rest.  Be patient, and you will win.   Try to have as uniform a thickness as possible.  There will be some air bubbles throughout. They are what give lightness to your crust.  Before layering on the toppings, mist or brush the crust with olive oil, especially the outer margin, so it will brown nicely.       Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pizza Deluxe

  • 2-3  links Italian Sausage, hot or sweet, casings removed
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 large onion, cut in half, then into wedges
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1  cup marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheese ( pizza blend is good, or any combination you prefer)
  1. In a large skillet crumble the sausage and ground beef together, and cook until browned.  Remove meats to a bowl, and drain pan, leaving a small amount of drippings.
  2. Place peppers and onions in skillet over medium heat and saute until beginning to soften.  Add mushrooms. and cook 2-3 minutes more.  Remove from heat.

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3.  Spred the basil pesto evenly over the dough. Top with the marinara sauce.

4.  Add the cooked meats over the sauce.

5.  Top evenly with the vegetables.

6.  Before topping with the cheese, I like to sprinkle a little dried oregano, and red pepper flakes over the vegetables.

      Top with cheese(s).

7.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Kickin Chicken Pizza

  • 5-6 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained and broken into small pieces
  • 1 tesp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup barbeque sauce–your choice
  • 4 oz. pepper-jack cheese
  •  1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded.  (Rotisserie chicken is good here)
  • 8 oz. Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 tesp. red pepper flakes, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Follow directions given above for pan preparation.  Mist dough crust with olive oil.  Set aside.
  2. Heat a medium skillet on med-high, cook bacon, drain and crumble.  Reserve 1 teaspoon bacon drippings, add 1 teaspoon olive oil, swirl to coat pan.  Saute onions and peppers until tender crisp, add garlic and continue sauteing for 40-45 seconds or until garlic is aromatic.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside.  Spread BBQ sauce over crust, leaving a small margin at edges. Layer ingredients in the following order:  pepper-jack cheese, shredded chicken, onion-pepper mixture, Mexican cheese blend, top with crumbled bacon and red pepper flakes, if using.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.

Hawaiian Pizza

  • 1 cup Alfredo Sauce with Cheese  (like Classico)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup cooked ham steak, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh or canned pineapple, in chunks
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked crisp, and broken into small pieces

 Prepare pizza crust and pan as directed above, misting with olive oil, especially the edges.

1. In small sauce pan, heat Alfred0 Sauce, thinning with 1/4 cup milk.   Add 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and mix until smooth.

2. Spread Alfredo Sauce mixture on pizza crust, leaving a small margin at the edges.

3. Top with ham pieces, pineapple chunks and bacon pieces.

4. Sprinkle on remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until browned.