Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza Burgers

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Okay, so I have a confession to make…
Pizza burgers hold a special place in my heart. 

There, I said it…
who would have guessed?

There was a little diner, in a little town,
that we would go to
after dentist appointments
and for some reason I was so intrigued by the pizza burger.

I'm pretty sure it was because there was cheese on the INSIDE!!!!
Totally novel, even for a small-town Wisconsin girl.  

Sausage and beef patty, stuffed with cheese and topped with pepperoni and sauce. 

So, recently, I decided that I would treat my family to one of my childhood favorites. 

A favorite that is up on an childhood pedestal,
that I don't really want to eat just anywhere because I don't want to be disappointed
that it won't taste as good as it does in my memory of my childhood.

After just a bit of dreaming and collaborating, 
Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza Burger
was created which did not disappoint my childhood memory. 

(Success in itself!)

For starters, 1# of ground beef and 1# of bulk Italian sausage were combined
along with 1 tsp of Italian seasoning and 1 tsp seasoning salt

Once well mixed, the meat was scored
(if you can see that vague X through the middle)
which just helps to divide the burgers into similar sizes. 

Let the burger making commence!

The first patty was spread out thin on a cutting mat
and about 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella was placed in the middle. 

Then, the sides were folded up to seal in the cheese. 

The first 4 burgers were added to the grill pan over medium heat. 

Since these are thicker burgers, 
lower heat and longer times are required to ensure they are fully cooked. 

Some cheese might start to melt out…
but believe me, 
it did not affect how exquisite these burgers tasted. 

Once the burgers were done, 
they were placed upon a layer of pizza sauce on a toasted bun
and topped with more sauce, pepperoni and cheese!

The flavors and textures were so juicy and delicious…

My youngest decided to make it a pizza burger salad with some ranch!
Another, outstanding idea!

Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 6-8 burgers

1# ground beef
1# bulk Italian sausage
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
3-4 cups shredded mozzarella, separated
Pizza sauce
Toasted Bun

  • Combine ground beef, Italian sausage, seasoning and salt. 
  • Form burger by flattening 1/4 # meat and filling 1/4 cup cheese in middle. 
  • Fold up sides and seal well. 
  • Grill over medium heat for 10+ minutes/side until cooked through. 
  • Serve with toasted bun, pizza sauce, pepperoni and more cheese. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Super Bowl (Three-Ingredient) Appetizers

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Superbowl week is generally a pretty exciting week around here.
I love to dream up new foods for a party and 
gather around friends and family for the big game.

Except, when my team gives away their chance to play in the Superbowl,
then, it's a little lackluster to think about the game
and how close we were to being there. 

Even though the Packers are also going to be watching from home,
I am still dreaming up some good treats
and want to share with you 
a collection of 3-ingredient appetizers for your own party!

Starting with the easiest…
Ranch Mushrooms

Just add 2 packages of mushrooms, 
1 stick of butter and 1 packet of Ranch Seasoning 
to a slow cooker for a few hours. 

This picture just does not do these tasty bites justice.
Serve 'em straight from the slow cooker
or on a platter with a tooth pick. 

Next up,
Queso Blanco

Just salsa verde, cream cheese and 1 tbsp garlic powder

Can be whipped up in the microwave,
stirring after every 30 seconds or so. 

Or, in a mini-slow cooker 
for easy serving during the game. 

Another big hit…
Ham-Wrapped Pickles

Baby Dill pickles, deli sliced ham and 
veggie or onion cream cheese. 

Spread cream cheese on the ham. 

Roll up a pickle inside. 

Secure with a toothpick. 

Last, but not least, 
these amazing

Simply thawed shrimp, wrapped in partially-fried bacon, topped with pizza sauce
and baked for 10 minutes at 350 F. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa and Hummus Chicken Soup

Here we are, in the midst of winter…
trying our best to enjoy the season,
which can be tough without snow on the ground.

I'd give anything to get out skiing, sledding, skating or snow shoeing this weekend, 
but there just isn't enough white stuff on the ground around here. 

we were able to travel north last weekend to enjoy
the fabulous outdoors on about a foot and a half of ice…
drilling holes and hoping for fish to bite. 

On these winter days,
nothing hits the spot like a Grilled Cheese 
(click on the link for the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich)
and a hearty bowl of soup. 

Today I want to share with you a fabulous twist on 
traditional tomato soup….
Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa and Hummus Chicken Soup
which is good enough to eat on it's own…
or perfect for dipping a toasted cheese sandwich. 

Starting with some sautéed chicken…
slow cooker chicken is my favorite. 
like I did here

So tender, juicy and done when you need it. 

Next, 1 cup of quinoa is cooked in 2 cups of water (or broth).

And, if you haven't tried quinoa yet…
what are you waiting for?!?

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a huge hit in my house, 
even my kids prefer it over rice
and it is a superfood packed with both protein and fiber!  

One 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers is drained and added to the blender
along with 2 cups of chicken broth and
1/3 cup of hummus

Once blended, add it to a sauce pan over medium heat,
 as a future home for the rest of the ingredients. 

About 1 cup of cooked, chopped chicken
was added to the pan. 

And then the quinoa, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp garlic powder

The longer it sits, the more moisture the quinoa absorbs, 
so feel free to add more broth according to your preference. 

We like our soups thick around here! 

Serve it up with your favorite grilled cheese
and you might just start to appreciate winter a little more! 

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

1 cup cooked, chopped chicken
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of water (or broth)
12 oz jar of roasted red peppers
2 cups of chicken broth
1/3 cup of hummus
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • Cook quinoa according to instructions. 
  • Drain jar of roasted red peppers, add to blender along with broth and hummus. Puree. 
  • Pour puree from blender into sauce pan. Add quinoa and chicken, salt and garlic. 
  • Simmer until heated thoroughly. 
  • Serve as meal or with your favorite Grilled Cheese.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cheesy Hamburger and Rice Skillet (in less than 30 minutes)

Happy Tuesday…

I'm a much bigger fan of Tuesday than Monday. 

Mondays are so overwhelming for me, 
as I put together a to do list for the week and wonder how I'm ever going to get it done! 

Then, Tuesday comes and, eh…
que sera sera!

If you ever find yourself in a 'what am I going to make for dinner?' rut
because of a que sera sera approach...

 I have the solution! 

Throw together a bunch of kitchen staples in this delicious
Cheesy Hamburger and Rice Skillet 
and your family will be clamoring for more! 

Starting out with the 2.5# of ground sirloin,
add 1 chopped onion, 1 tbsp minced garlic and 
a generous sprinkling of seasoning salt
(I just shake the salt over the whole pan of meat)

With the help of my oldest, Ryker, 
an 8 oz can of tomato sauce, 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes and 1 tbsp hot sauce
were added to the skillet and stirred well. 

Then, my most predictable addition, 
16 oz bag of frozen corn

I just love the flavor, texture and color imparted by those sweet little morsels. 

Finally, some partially cooked minute brown rice

Here's the deal…
I started cooking 3 cups of rice in 2.5 cups of beef broth on it's own
(which would be unnecessary)
and then just poured it in to simmer and finish with the rest of the dish. 

This could all be done in the same pan, just the same…
I'll leave that up to you!

Mix it all up. 

Cover and simmer to allow the rice time to finish up. 

Sprinkle with 1-2 cups of shredded cheese
according to your preference. 

I probably error on the lighter side because 
regardless how cheesy any dish may be…
my family always likes to add more on their own! 

Some parsley and oregano make for a fabulous finishing touch. 

Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 8

2.5# of ground sirloin
1 chopped onion
1 tbsp minced garlic 
seasoning salt
8 oz can of tomato sauce
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp hot sauce
16 oz bag of frozen corn
3 cups of brown minute rice
2.5 cups of beef broth
1-2 cups of shredded cheese

  • Brown the meat, add onion, garlic and salt. 
  • Add tomatoes, hot sauce and corn, mix to incorporate. 
  • Add rice and broth. 
  • Simmer until rice is cooked and top with cheese, parsley and oregano before serving. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Italian Stuffed Portabella Caps

So, let's talk comfort zones. 

It's the start of the new year and getting out of your comfort zone 
seems to be all of the rage for 2015. 

Make a change, make a difference, etc. 

Well, for me…
that involved making Italian Stuffed Portabellas.

Jerry has been talking about Portabella mushrooms for months now
and I have been politely, half-heartedly listening. 

Finally, we were grocery shopping together and I couldn't put it off any longer. 

He was pushing for two packages of mushrooms but 
I convinced him that we were good starting with just one.  

I decided to make them for dinner last week and
you would think that there was some life changing decision at hand
the way that I hemmed and hawed around the kitchen,
procrastination at it's finest.

That is when I know I am out of my comfort zone…
I procrastinate!

What characteristics do you demonstrate when you are out of  your comfort zone?

Eventually, the count down to dinner was dwindling and I had to get a move on. 

So, I opened the package of Portabella mushrooms and 
turned them over to see what awaited me on the flip side. 

A stem and lots of dark gills. 

Doesn't leave much room for stuffing. 

I probably should have mentioned that I've never been much of a mushroom fan…
which was a big part of why it was out of my comfort zone. 

I removed the stem and attempted to scrape out the gills with a spoon. 

Probably would have been better if I hadn't broken off part of the mushroom cap…
but thankfully we live and learn
and it didn't seem to interfere with the tastiness of the dish. 

In order for me to branch into stuffed mushrooms, 
I wanted to stick with something familiarly delicious as the stuffing. 

Spinach and Tomatoes.

Started with a tablespoon of olive oil2 cups of spinach and some coarse Kosher salt
to cook the spinach. 

Once the spinach was wilted, 1 can of diced tomatoes was added. 

And simmered to remove some of the moisture
and concentrate the flavors! 

Since the stuffing was pre-cooked, 
the mushrooms needed to be as well. 

They were put in under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, 
until they were showing signs of warming. 

The tomatoes and spinach were scooped into the caps
and baked at 375 F for about 10 minutes. 

Then, generously topped with shredded mozzarella
and baked for another 3 minutes. 

Until the cheese was just starting to brown. 

Much to my surprise,
these Italian Stuffed Portabella Caps
were fabulous…
and thankfully, 
not too mushroom-y.  

They were enjoyed by all and I am thankful for being pushed out of my comfort zone,
I now have a new avenue of flavors and dishes to explore. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

2 Portabella Mushrooms
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cups of spinach
Coarse Kosher salt
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of shredded mozzarella

  • To prep the mushroom, remove the stem and gills, brush off excess dirt with a damp paper towel. 
  • Cook spinach in a pan with olive oil and salt over medium heat. 
  • Add tomatoes and simmer until thickened. 
  • Broil mushrooms for 3-5 minutes. 
  • Remove mushrooms, reduce oven temp to 375 F. 
  • Fill caps with stuffing. 
  • Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes, top with cheese and bake another 3-5 minutes until cheese is browned.