Dough made in the bread machine with Italian herbs? Can you imagine the aroma that fills the house? For the toppings, we started with sweet Italian sausage pinched out of the casings and browned in a skillet with a little olive oil.
The dough from the bread machine looks speckled from the Italian herbs. Mike spun it out like back in his Pizza Hut days and stretched it out to the edges of the pizza pan.
Add your favorite toppings. There’s really no right or wrong here; just try and stick with a theme if you want to make sure the flavors will go together or try to replicate an old favorite. For example, cheeseburger–what do you like on your cheeseburger? Put it on the dough! *Meats, unless precooked, need browned beforehand. You’re really just cooking the dough in the oven. Anything else as toppings need to be safe eaten uncooked or without further cooking. Don’t forget your sauce: red, white, pesto, olive oil would work, too!
We topped it with marinara sauce, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, and of course, mozzarella cheese!
In the oven at 375°F for 20 minutes-ish. I suggest you check on it after ten minutes depending on what you packed on it and how thick your crust is. Watch the crust for a golden brown, and the cheese in the center should be melted. Voilà! You’re a cook!
Mixing favorite veggies in an attempt to make a one-pot dinner resulting in our new favorite lasagna; although, I have to wonder if the new marinara sauce is to blame.
8 0z Lasagna (half a box) noodles
One eggplant, 3/4 skin removed (potato peeler works nicely) and cubed
8 oz sliced mushrooms
Handful (about 4 oz) of spinach, roughly chopped
One jar (40 oz) of Victoria White Linen Marinara Sauce
One shallot, chopped
4 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
8 oz cottage cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
Leftover chopped tomatoes (about 7 oz canned)
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Layer in Crock-Pot on High for 3 ½ hours.
I began with browning the ground turkey in olive oil on medium-high heat with salt and pepper 1/4-½ teaspoon of each. After draining the excess fat, add chopped shallots to the pan, stir in. Add eggplant, salt and pepper (1/4-½ teaspoon). Sauté until the eggplant is translucent.
Coat inside of Crock-Pot with cooking spray. Add ingredients from pan to pot.
Oops, forgot to sauté the mushrooms! Into the pan they go with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until translucent!
I almost forgot garlic, too! Right on top of the cooked mix worked out perfectly. (photo below)
Minced garlic, then chopped tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and marinara sauce. Generally when you do lasagna, you layer it three times, but I was running out of time. I needed to get the cooking time going on the Crock-Pot for this meal to be ready for dinner. I did two layers with the mushrooms and tomatoes only in the bottom layer and spinach only in the top layer.
The first layer is always sauce, so since I had half of the meat and veggies already in the pot, I added the tomatoes and half of the sauce over it. Then all of the mushrooms, a layer of pasta, 4 oz cottage cheese, 2 c mozzarella, ½ c Parmesan. Repeat meat mixture, sauce, add spinach, continue with remaining cheese. Cover and cook.
The result? It was that melt-in-your-mouth goodness that you get from fresh, savory ingredients. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but it was like comfort food…and fusion…delicious!
Take your pick! Grilled Cheese or Cheese Quesadilla. They’re practically the same thing just from different regions; flour product with cheese, only I didn’t use butter on the quesadillas. These are two of the easiest, kid-favorite foods to make.
Buttered sourdough bread, butter side down on a medium to medium-high skillet, cover with cheese (really whatever you have in the fridge is worth a try), cover with another slice of buttered bread, butter side up. When the cheese begins to melt, use a spatula and flip the entire sandwich over and heat until the bread is a toasted golden brown.
Same thing with the quesadilla, just minus the butter. Warm the tortilla covered in cheese and a second tortilla on a dry skillet. When the cheese melts, flip it over to warm the other tortilla (or you can skip the second tortilla and when the cheese melts, fold it in half and serve. I added cooked, shredded chicken and salt and pepper to mine to make it fancy (for grown-ups or older kids who have a more developed palate).
What you need per person:
2 slices of bread or 2 flour tortillas
½ cup cheese
2 tablespoons of butter (for bread only)
Can’t get easier than this! Pizza is most kid’s favorite food at some point in their lives. This recipe lets you prep the ingredients and then throw everything in the pot to wait for your hungry family…and their friends! It’s filling and serves a crowd, so whether your teens are having a sleepover, you have date night and are getting dinner ready for the kids and sitter, or you’re going out of town and need something to last the family several days while you’re gone, this is a quick and satisfying meal you can customize.
I thought this recipe would be an easy alternative to rolling out pizza dough. It is. You can use whatever pasta you prefer. The meat and veggies are absolutely replaceable. Pick your favorites, get the ingredients for the sauce together, and stir it all into the pot. I would recommend that you cook anything that is fresh and cook it together to give a better flavor to the finished food.
There is some cooking involved prior to adding everything to the pot (you have to at least cook any raw meat), but once it’s done, you can leave it. The aroma will lure the kids, spouse, neighbor’s kids, etc., and it serves so many. A batch of this for us lasts in the freezer for months. Even after it’s done cooking, and we’ve had our fill, it doesn’t look like we were able to put a dent in it at all; the leftovers go into storage containers (which I’ve run out of with this and put servings into storage bags to lie flat in the freezer. Freezes quickly, defrost quickly)!
The photo collages depict two separate times I’ve made this recipe, one just cooking the meat and the other cooking the meat and veggies first. Sautéing veggies for Italian foods just gives more dimension to the flavor, in my opinion, and you have to cook the meat anyways, so just add the veggies to the pan after the cooked meat with a little olive oil; it will absorb some of the meat yumminess and help deglaze the pan=more flavor and less scrubbing/clean-up!
1 ½ lb ground turkey
1 lb pork sausage
4 jars (14 oz) of pizza sauce
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz fresh mushrooms
6 oz pepperoni
½ c chopped shallot
½ c chopped red bell pepper
clove of garlic, minced
1 lb pasta, cooked and drained
Tablespoon fennel seed
1/4 each teaspoon salt and pepper
Brown ground turkey and pork in skillet, drain. Add to pot. Heat veggies in skillet with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and about 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper until veggies are transparent. Mix all ingredients except pasta into pot. Cook on Low 3 ½ hours or High 2 hours. Add pasta, cook on High 15-20 minutes.
Also great for potlucks involving kids!