Pepperoni sauce

So when I say pepperoni sauce you either immediately think of Top Chef or you think, “Wait, what?”

Michael Isabella made this during the 2011 season of Top Chef and I was fascinated by it.  How had this never been done before? It’s brilliant, and certainly never occurred to me to make it.

I’ve made some tweaks to it for us — we like a little more sweetness in our tomato-based sauces, and I also used bacon grease instead of olive oil — sticking with the pork theme, right? But I didn’t stray too far from the original.

This sauce is fantastic on a meatball sandwich, on pasta, or anything you’d use red sauce on. I definitely want to try it with pizza soon. Love it!

Pepperoni sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. or so bacon grease (or olive oil if that sounds better to you)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 6 ounces pepperoni, cut into thin slices (I used Boar’s Head)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat the bacon grease in a large, heavy pot till it’s nice and hot, then cook the onions over low to medium heat till they’re very soft — a good 15 minutes or so. If you’re worried about them burning you can add a few splashes of water to the pan to help with that
  2. When the onions are soft, add the garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes or so until they’re soft — keep an eye on them because they’re easier to burn
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 45 minutes, but longer won’t hurt anything
  4. Puree with a stick blender or in an actual blender till completely smooth, and enjoy!

I need more ways to incorporate this into my life. What would you use it on?

Pizza chicken pasta

I found this recipe in Great Food Fast, my favorite pressure cooker book, but it’s easily adaptable for baking in the oven too. It’s warm and comfort-food-ish without being heavy, and is very kid-friendly as well! I mean, it’s practically PIZZA. This is great served with some garlic bread or, I don’t know, some vegetables? I seem to have skipped that part. Ahem. Anyway! Try this:

Pizza chicken pasta

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 24 slices pepperoni
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Corkscrew pasta

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the salt, pepper and flour, then toss the chicken breasts in the flour mix
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or in a pressure cooker set to brown, then lightly brown chicken on each side
  3. Put chicken in pressure cooker dish or casserole dish and cover with spaghetti sauce, water, and pepperoni
  4. Cook in a pressure cooker on high pressure for 8 minutes, or bake at 350F in a casserole dish for 40-50 minutes depending on thickness of chicken breasts
  5. While chicken is cooking, cook pasta in well-salted water
  6. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta, sprinkling mozzarella over all of it

Notes

You can also transfer the chicken to a sheet pan, then top with mozzarella and cook under the broiler till melted and bubbling. This would be easy to do in a slow cooker as well! Just allow 4-6 hours for the chicken to cook

Help me out! What’s your go-to side dish for spaghetti sauce based recipes?

Polenta pizza

As promised, another recipe from The Cousin! May I say that this pairs beautifully with margaritas? :)

We made two sheet pans of this to feed the assorted family we had collected at the house that night; The Cousin wrote down the recipe for one sheet pan for a more reasonable size.

Polenta pizza

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups dry polenta
  • 9 cups milk
  • 2-3 cups Parmesan cheese
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Brink milk to a boil (it is so, so likely to boil over so don’t walk away), and slowly add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk then a wooden spoon as it gets thicker
  2. When mixture is starting to thicken stir in Parmesan cheese and salt; continue cooking, stirring fairly often until it is “uber thick” (so sayeth The Cousin)
  3. Spread onto greased sheet pan and cool uncovered in fridge until firm
  4. Top at will (see below) and bake at 400F until cheese is melted

Topping ideas:

  • The Cousin recommends fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and fresh tomatoes. I totally concur
  • Classic toppings like pepperoni, sausage, etc? Also good
  • Sun dried tomatoes on pizza rock my world. I highly recommend
  • Other than that? Go crazy! Let me know what you come up with

Fritatta

When we signed up for our CSA this year we knew we weren’t veggie-adventurous enough for the produce share, so we went with the meat and eggs option.

Eggs. Oh my moly the eggs. The EGGS! They are so good but they are taking over my house. It’s like kale, but the carnivore version.

In an attempt to use up some a bunch of them at once I came up with this ridiculously easy little number. It was SO quick, and crazy filling with all the protein in there.

Fritatta

Ingredients

  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 6-8 eggs
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Brown sausage in a non-stick skillet, crumbling as you go; drain out grease
  3. Sprinkle in cheese
  4. Beat eggs and add some salt and pepper, then pour over sausage/cheese mixture in the skillet; adjust amount of eggs for size of your skillet, obviously
  5. Bake at 350 for about ten minutes until eggs are set in the center. Breakfast is served!

Pizza Rolls

I was trying to get the kiddo to bed one day this week, and I was thinking about cinnamon rolls. Look, I’m not proud, but that’s what it was. Then I was thinking that it would behoove me to actually think about what to make for supper the next day instead. And then I was thinking that I had dough in the fridge that I should use.

And then I was thinking about pizza rolls.

So the next day, here’s what I took out:

  • My icebox dough (you can also buy dough in the deli at Publix, which I love)
  • Pizza sauce (pick your favorite)
  • Pepperoni, chopped (or whatever toppings float your boat – but chopped so it’s easier to slice through)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Dental floss (but not for what you think)

From there it was easy!

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Roll out the dough into a rectangle
  3. Top with a thin layer of sauce — you don’t want things getting soggy
  4. Sprinkle with chopped pepperoni (etc.) and cheese
  5. Roll it up! I rolled from the short end because I didn’t need to end up with that many rolls — just the Yankee and I were eating
  6. Break out the dental floss and use it to cut the rolls: slide the floss under the roll, cross the ends over the top like you’re going to tie a knot, then pull them all the way through the dough so the floss is straight again; this slices it clean and keeps your rolls from getting flattened as you slice
  7. Place the rolls in an oiled casserole dish with the pretty sides showing (if you’re making these for a party and want them easier to handle individually bake them in a muffin tray instead)
  8. Sprinkle the top with more cheese
  9. Bake at 350F till the cheese on top is melty and bubbly

Enjoy!

BBQ chicken pizza

This is a perfect meal to throw together during the middle of the week. Quick, easy, and so delicious!

You will need:

  • chicken — I used three boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • dough — your refrigerator dough, homemade dough, or even store bought
  • barbecue sauce
  • cheese

And then:

  1. Start with the chicken: three chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, thrown into the slow cooker set to low in the morning — no barbecue sauce yet because you don’t want the sugar in it to cook as long as the chicken
  2. About two hours before supper time you’re ready to shred the chicken; since it’s in a crock pot this may be as easy as breaking it up with a wooden spoon, but you can take it out and shred it if need be. Return the meat to the slow cooker set to low and add in enough barbecue sauce to fully coat all the meat
  3. About an hour before baking time pull out some refrigerated dough, form it into a ball and set it in a olive oil brushed cast iron skillet to rise for about 45 minutes
  4. After 45 minutes, start your oven preheating to 400 degrees
  5. Now assemble your pizza! Pat out the dough, then top with barbecue chicken, extra sauce, and whatever else your little heart desires: onions, garlic, pineapple, you name it. Then sprinkle on the cheese and bake at 400F till the cheese is melted and the crust is done — this probably won’t take more than ten minutes or so

Enjoy!