Pizza Grilled Cheese

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Pizza + Grilled Cheese = Pizza Grilled CHEESE!!!!!!

I mean, what can I say?

It’s basically a cheesy, melty, amazing, marriage of two of the best food items in all the lands. It’s really a thing of beauty and I can barely believe it never occurred to me to smash these two things together before. But, forgive me. Please.

This gooey sandwich baby has all the things we love about pizza–carbs, cheese, toppings–plus a buttery, crunchy, parmesan cheese crust that gets golden and crispy in a hot skillet.You could do a million and one pizza inspired fillings for this grilled cheese. I went with easy roasted mushrooms, spicy Italian sausage, lots of melty mozzarella, fresh basil, and some of my quick marinara–which I keep in frozen little ice cubes in my freezer. Which means as long as I have bread and cheese and cubes of frozen marinara in my freezer, I can have this. Danger. I made this for lunch and then dinner the same day and made googly-heart-emoji-eyes at it the whole time.

Print Recipe

Pizza Grilled Cheese with Roasted Mushrooms and Italian Sausage

Serves 2

I’ve included my go-to recipe for quick marinara below, but you can totally use a prepared, jarred sauce. No probs.

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned

2 teaspoons olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

4 slices rustic bread

2 tablespoons softened butter

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese

1 cooked spicy Italian sausage link, sliced

1/4 cup marinara sauce, plus more for dipping

torn or shredded basil leaves

Start by roasting the mushrooms. Preheat the oven to 425ºF and lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Slice the mushrooms and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the mushrooms onto the baking sheet and roast 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms release all of their liquid and begin to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spread the butter onto one side of each of the 4 slices of bread. Divide the parmesan into 4 equal-ish amounts and sprinkle over each buttered piece of bread, pressing the parm into the butter so it adheres nicely. Place 2 slices of bread, butter and parmesan side down (naked side up), in the warm skillet. Layer 2 slices of mozzarella onto each slice of bread, followed by a layer of sausage, mushrooms, a few spoonfuls of sauce, and a sprinkle of the basil. Tear the remaining slices of mozzarella into pieces and sprinkle over the top of the layers, then top with the remaining slice of bread, butter and parmesan side up. Cook the grilled cheeses over medium heat on one side until golden, crisp and the cheese is starting to melt.* Carefully flip over the sandwiches and cook on the other side until golden, crisp, and the cheese is very melty. Serve the sandwiches hot with additional marinara for dipping.

*to encourage melting, add a few teaspoons of water to the hot skillet and cover with a lid (if you don’t have a lid a sheet pan (the one you used to roast the mushrooms) works excellently in a pinch).

Quick Marinara

To freeze, I just spoon the cooled marinara into an ice cube tray or two, freeze until solid, and pop the frozen cubes into a freezer bag for using as needed.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, diced fine

1-2 minced cloves garlic

2 teaspoons oregano

1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1, 28-ounce, can crushed tomatoes

salt to taste

In a saucepan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, cook for a few minutes until the onions become transluscent. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, cook an additional minute before stirring in the tomato paste. Continue to cook until the tomato paste becomes deep red. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and season with a pinch of salt. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if you like. Remove from the heat and use however you want–for pasta sauces, pizza, meatballs, whatever! Store any leftover sauce in an lidded container in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze as noted above.

 

 

Recently at Betty’s: Cheesy Southwest Grains & Chorizo Zucchini Boats

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For 2015 I really want to share more of the work I’ve been doing for Betty Crocker (and whoever else, for that matter). A lot of the stuff I do is similar in style to what you already see here–from scratch and homemade–some of it is super quick and easy, using different branded products, as well. I plan to share these new recipes on Fridays, when available. Sometimes I don’t have anything new on the Betty site, so I just won’t share those weeks.

Cheesy Southwest Grains and Chorizo Zucchini Boats

I think everyone cooks differently depending on their comfort level in the kitchen, their schedules, and lifestyles. Sometimes I get super caught up in wanting things to be homemade and from scratch that I get a leeetle bit stressed out about it and end up totally hangry and frazzled. I mean for the sake of my sanity, I’m not above boxed mac and cheese, y’all. I think it’s important to embrace a shortcut from time to time for the sake of happy bellies and happy brains.

This recipe definitely embraces the shortcut, using Suddenly Grain Salad as a large component in the recipe. It makes for a super easy, fast, and delicious dinner, though! I’m a huge fan of the zucchini boat thing (like these Three Cheese and Roasted Tomato ones). The filling for this version comes together with the Suddenly Grain Salad–a mix of brown rice, quinoa, corn, black beans–plus chorizo and cheese…which never hurts. Click over to see the recipe for these Cheesy Southwest Grains & Chorizo Zucchini Boats. And, I’m thinking if you are more ambitious or have some extra time you could totally make a from-scratch version of this with delicious results.

Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola

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Guys. I made this recipe for Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola and realized a few things about myself.

1. I have a really difficult time photographing sausages. I mean, it’s just not the easiest thing to take a pretty picture of.

2. I have the maturity of a tween. I had a tough time not writing “hard” and “sausage” in the same sentence up there. And, there, I did it anyway. There’s also a bit in the recipe below about pricking the sausages and I just can’t even…I’m so sorry. Now you know, I’m secretly twelve.

Anyway, innuendo and (lack of) maturity aside, this dinner was one of my favorites as of late! I mean, it’s SO EASY. I really love and appreciate that these days. Few dishes, few ingredients, little hands-on time, and tons of flavor. WIN. Also, I’ve been super intrigued/terrified of all the cooked grape dishes I’ve seen around the internets. I’m super picky about my grapes, I like them firm (heh). I like a taught grape, okay? The thing is, when you roast them, there’s no worry about having grapes in their prime. They can be going south and it’s all good. I first delved into the cooked-grape-territory a few weekends ago with this number from Smitten Kitchen. So amazingly good as part of a cheese spread. After I learned how amazing a warm grape could be, I totally bookmarked this recipe from Molly of Dunk and Crumble’s book Sheet Pan Suppers. It’s a cookbook I will certainly be referring to often. It’s such a clever concept and I am totally in love with this recipe. I mean it’s so simple, savory, sweet, spicy, and delicious. Perfect for weeknight dinners, a little different, a little fancy, and great for pretending to be a mature-adult-person who doesn’t crack-up at sausage jokes and stuff.

Print Recipe

Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola

Serves 4

From the book Sheet Pan Suppers

Olive oil cooking spray

1, 18 ounce, tube prepared polenta

1 small red onion cut into 1/4-inch thick half moons

2 cups, stemmed, red seedless grapes

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 links hot Italian sausages (or mild if you prefer)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese, plus an additional 2 tablespoons for serving

Preheat the oven to 425ºF with one rack about 4 inches from the broiler and the other in the center. Mist a sheet pan with cooking spray, or lightly brush some olive oil over the entire surface (this is what I did).

Remove the polenta from it’s packaging and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds. Place in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan.

Toss the red onion and grapes with the olive oil and salt in a medium bowl. Scatter over the polenta and arrange the sausages evenly around the grapes and onions. Prick each sausage once or twice with a fork. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves.

Bake until the sausages are cooked though and the grapes start to wrinkle, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and heat the broiler. Scatter 2 tablespoons of the gorgonzola over the sausages. Broil to melt the cheese and brown the sausages. About 3 minutes.

Serve the sausages over the polenta with the grapes and onions. Sprinkle with the additional gorgonzola to serve, if you like.