Portobello Personal Pizzas

When don’t you have a craving for pizza?  The fact is, most of us will save pizza for Friday movie nights, a party or some other excuse to indulge our endless craving for dough, cheese, sauce and goodies.  Trying to get in shape for an upcoming vacation has me rethinking recipes and finding ways to have my favorites without sacrificing too much.  That’s where this alliterative recipe comes in – you’re going to love it!

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PORTOBELLO PERSONAL PIZZAS

Ingredients

  • 2 Portobello Mushroom Caps
  • 2 Tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp. Dry Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Pizza Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Diced Red Onion
  • 8 Slices Pepperoni or Turkey Pepperoni
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Remove gills from mushrooms with a spoon.  Wash and dry them thoroughly.
  • Place mushrooms on a baking stone or sheet.  Drizzle each with a teaspoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on size and thickness of your mushrooms.  They should darken and shrink some, but still be slightly firm to the touch.
  • Remove from oven and pat dry with a paper towel.  They release a lot of water in the initial baking and you don’t want soggy pizzas!
  • Spread each cap with half of the pizza sauce.  You can use marinara or any other jar sauced here as long as it is thick and not watery.
  • Top each cap with onions, then pepperoni and finally cheese.
  • Place in the oven and bake an additional 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly brown and bubbly.
  • Remove from oven and serve immediately.

You almost don’t miss the crust on these easy pizzas.  The good news is that your topping choices are endless – sausage, peppers, olives, etc.  As long as you like mushrooms, you’ll be thrilled with an alternative to heavy pizza that saves you both carbs and calories.  It’s also great for gluten-free friends if you watch your sauce ingredients.  Try some at home and let me know what you create.  Dig in!

Breakfast Quesadillas

Feel like heading a little south of the border for breakfast?  In honor of Cinco de Mayo last weekend, I made these simple quesadillas.  Gooey cheese, salty bacon and creamy scrambled eggs are the perfect filling for a crispy tortilla.  The filling possibilities are endless – try these next weekend and change up your morning routine.

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BREAKFAST QUESADILLAS

Ingredients

  • 4 8-inch Flour Tortillas
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 8 Strips Crispy Bacon, Crumbled
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar-Jack Cheese
  • 3 Green Onions, Chopped
  • Salsa, Hot Sauce and/or Sour Cream For Garnish

Instructions

  • Place eggs and milk in a bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Scramble in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Cook eggs until almost dry, remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.
  • Wipe skillet clean and spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place a single tortilla in the skillet over medium-low heat.  Sprinkle entire tortilla with 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
  • On 1/2 of the tortilla, spread out 1/4 of the scrambled eggs, 1/4 of the bacon and green onion to taste.
  • When cheese begins to melt, use a spatula to fold half of the tortilla over onto the side covered in the eggs/bacon.
  • When the bottom is golden brown, flip over entire tortilla to brown the other side.
  • Remove from heat, cut into thirds and serve with your favorite toppings/sides.

One of these is enough for one person so this recipe makes enough for four.  Like a little spice?  Try using chorizo, roasted poblanos and pepper jack cheese.  You can also use sausage and green peppers.  There’s really no limit, but keep the proportions right or it won’t close properly.  Do you have a brunch coming up?  Double this recipe and place wedges in a warming tray for a perfect buffet finger food.  Let me know what combinations you come up with – I’d love to hear your ideas!  Dig in!

Loaded Ranch Roasted Potatoes

Want to serve loaded baked potatoes to a crowd without everyone having to top their own spud?  This tasty recipe requires just a little prep and feeds a lot of people.  Delicious loaded crispy potatoes with a hint of ranch flavor will be sure to satisfy your family and friends at your next gathering.  They’re equally perfect with steaks on the grill or as appetizers for a party or the big game.

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LOADED RANCH ROASTED POTATOES

Ingredients

  • 6-8 Medium Russet Potatoes (depending on size)
  • 2 Tbs. Canola Oil
  • 1 Envelope Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Bacon Bits
  • 4 Green Onions, Chopped
  • Sour Cream (for topping)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Scrub potatoes thoroughly under cold water and set aside to dry.  Cut into 2-inch cubes, leaving skin on.
  • Place cut potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with canola oil.  Toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle ranch dressing mix over potatoes and toss again to evenly coat.
  • Spread potatoes in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  The spray will prevent sticking due to the ranch mix – DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender and lightly browned.  Remove from oven.
  • Sprinkle baked potatoes with cheddar cheese and bacon bits.  Return to oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is fully melted.
  • Remove from oven and top with chopped green onion.
  • Serve immediately.

Every time we make these they are a huge hit!  Serve with sour cream for topping.  Want to mix it up a little bit?  Try substituting 3 Tbs. of taco seasoning for the ranch and use a combination of cheddar and pepper jack cheese.  Serve with jalapeños and hot sauce – instant fiesta!  I’d love to hear what combinations you come up with.  Try them for your next Sunday supper or for a Masters watch party this weekend.  Dig in!

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Sometimes a fat kid just wants cheese sauce on his veggies!  There, I said it.  For all the refined meals, healthy snacks and exotic ingredients there are times when you want the comfort of steamed broccoli and cauliflower smothered in rich cheesy melty goodness.  Don’t buy the awful frozen stuff from the store.  It takes just a few minutes to make my easy recipe and you’ll be good to go when you get your next craving!

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CHEDDAR CHEESE SAUCE

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk (2% or Whole)
  • 6 Ounces Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp. White Pepper
  • 2 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, warm milk over low heat.
  • While milk is warming, melt butter is a medium saucepan.
  • Add flour and stir together.  Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to cook out raw flour and make a light rue.
  • Slowly pour warm milk into rue and stir together with a whisk until smooth.  Continue to cook for a few minutes until mixture has thickened.
  • Turn heat to low and stir in cheddar until melted.  Do not use pre-shredded cheese as the mixture will get too thick and won’t be as smooth.
  • Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire and stir.
  • Immediately serve over your favorite steamed veggies.

Better than a fake-cheese mess you find in the frozen section of your grocery store, this will quickly become a standard in your house.  Get your kids to eat their vegetables and enjoy the treat yourself.  Mostly, just enjoy the comfy goodness and dig in!