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.

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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.

 

 

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Butter Pecan Granola

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I cannot even believe there’s only about 1 week left until Christmas. My house has been decorated for a while and I have been wrapping way too many gifts (note to self, next year needs less gifts). The thing is…I have baked exactly zero cookies. I don’t know what’s going on, but I need to make some cookies happen asap. BUT, I have baked 2 batches of this granola for gifting and it is pretty much the equivalent of a cookie in granola form.

A buttery, oat-y, pecan studded, and maple soaked cookie in a granola outfit.

I usually go the coconut or olive oil route with granola, but since tis’ the season and all that jingle-jangley-Christmas-jazz, I went with butter. OH, MAN. Granola game changer. The butter gets that browned flavor from the long, low bake in the oven and mingles with the maple syrup that sweetens the granola in the most perfect, amazing, way. It’ll make your kitchen smell like butter and maple drenched heaven. It’s definitely not you’re health-conscious-crunchy-granola. More like your butter-drenched-sweet-and-decadent type of granola. I couldn’t help but eat a handful (okay, maybe 2) right off the sheet pan, still warm. I mean, the oats make it healthy-ish and the buttery, maple-y, pecan and coconut studded bits make it special and oh-so holiday appropriate. I packed it into jars and added a little tag for a super-easy, super-delicious gift.

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Butter Pecan Granola

Adapted from my Coconut Oil Granola recipe.

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup pecans

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 325ºF and lightly grease a baking sheet (I love to use coconut oil spray for this).

In a large mixing bow, combine the oats, pecans, coconut, salt, and cinnamon.

In a small saucepan combine the maple syrup and butter. Heat over medium-high until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Add the maple-butter mixture to the oats mixture and stir to coat completely. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in 15 minute intervals, stirring between each, for about 1 hour or until the granola is golden and starting to crisp. It will become more crisp as it cools.

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Chocolate-Malted Oatmeal Cookies with Hazelnuts & Sea Salt

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Happy Thanksgiving-Eve!!

Are you hosting or just contributing or, better yet, just kicking back and feasting? I’m not making a turkey. We aren’t hosting, so I’m just bringing mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and a pie. I’m basically on carb-duty and I like it.

Anyways, you guys! Joy wrote another cookbook! Homemade Decadence is full of brunch things, sweet treats, pie-talk, and even some boozed up dranks. It’s pretty fantastic and so, so beautiful, too.

So far, I’ve made her Chocolate Pound Cake with Chips and Chocolate Glaze–I served it as dessert when we had Sean’s cousin and her husband over for a “thank-you-for-watching-our-baby-while-we-went-to-dinner-and-kept-my-crazy-in-check-with-multiple-texts-and-updates” dinner a few weeks ago. It was a hit, super chocolatey with a perfect, fine textured crumb.

And, obvs, I made these cookies. The recipe in the book calls for salted peanuts, but I didn’t have any, though I did have hazelnuts in my freezer and flaky salt in my pantry. So, that happened instead. These cookies are seriously SO GOOD. Like, we could not stop eating them. Usually, I like my chocolate chip cookies a little underdone, but I let these go an extra minute-ish so the edges got a little more brown. UGH. SO AMAZING. The edges come out just crisp, with a buttery-toffee bite and chewy cookie bellies. I’m pretty sure the malt powder and the hefty dose of vanilla is what makes these cookies so addictive. They are extra chewy from the oatmeal, plus there’s chunks of dark chocolate and crunchy hazelnuts throughout. Just make them, please.

Also, get this book, add it to your holiday gift list, it’s a keeper.

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Chocolate-Malted Oatmeal Cookies with Hazelnuts & Sea Salt

Adapted from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson

The original recipe calls for salted peanuts and milk chocolate chips. I subbed in dark chocolate chips, toasted hazelnuts, and sea salt sprinkles instead.

Makes about 36 cookies.

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup malted milk powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup, 2 sticks, unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts, chopped

flaky sea salt for the tops

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and place the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Preheat to 350ºF.

In a large bowl whisk together the oats, flour, malt powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Reduce the speed to medium low and slowly add the milk and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the oat mixture until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Scoop the cookie dough, about 2 tablespoons per cookie, onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt. Bake until they are just set and golden around the edges, about 12 minutes (I did about 14 minutes). Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. [/recipe]