Pizza Muffins

Recently I was thinking of making another batch of my taco cups.  Gosh we loved those, and what’s not to love about using a muffin tin to batch out something that everyone is going to love, in bite sized form.  That’s when it dawned on me as I was looking at a batch of pizza dough that I could probably get away with molding that dough into the muffin tins and make pizza muffins! Low and behold these things were dynamite, and they were such a huge hit that one of my kids (they all devoured them) said I could make those any time for him. I knew that was a sure sign.

Pizza Muffins Recipe
Pizza Muffins Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough, room temperature
  • cooking spray
  • your favorite pizza sauce
  • sliced pepperoni, diced
  • mozzarella cheese
  • shredded colby jack cheese, optional
  • Other favorite pizza ingredients, optional

My kids all agree (for the most part) on cheese and pepperoni pizza, hence this style of pizza muffin, however feel free to use your favorite pizza ingredients.

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Next, spray your muffin tin with cooking spray.

Take a generous ball of dough, enough dough to mold into each muffin tin, and then to each ball, form into the muffin tin. Repeat with each ball of dough.

I kind of went deep dish style on this one where I placed the meat on the bottom layer, but you create your own style.

Place diced pepperoni onto the bottom of each formed dough ball. Top with mozzarella, then some shredded colby jack cheese, then cover with pizza sauce.

 

Pizza Muffin Ingredients
Pizza Muffin Ingredients

Place into your preheated oven, and cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Once cooked, remove them from the oven, and using a butter knife, wedge each one out onto a serving plate. Shower with fresh parmesan cheese if desired.

Now dig in. These reminded me of hand sized deep dish pizzas, but in muffin form. And if you want to talk about something delicious, and additive, these are the ones to go for. Hope you enjoy!

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup

There were a lot of great things at our local farmer’s market this past weekend. I typically buy things that I may or may not know what I am going to use. Maybe that is a challenge, who knows, but the recent visit I bought a bunch of great potatoes, leeks, and garlic, among a few other items. When I was looking at the produce, I figured I would make a big batch of soup. The weather was getting a bit cooler, so I figured this would be a great time for a nice comforting soup. That’s when the idea of a nice creamy potato, leek, and chicken soup came to mind. Heck, I was probably thinking I wanted a loaded bake potato soup, or a leek soup, or chicken noodle soup, so I decided to bring them all together for the most part, and I’m glad I did. This soup rocked and impressed my soup eaters, that for sure.

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe
Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 whole leek, thinly sliced, washed
  • 1 whole chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of potatoes, cubed and cooked
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • pickled chili peppers, optional

Start by adding the butter to a stock pot, and melt it on medium heat. Once melted, toss in the sliced leeks. Make sure you wash the leeks after slicing as a bunch of grit typically remains in the leeks.

Cook the leeks for about 5 minutes, or until they are nice and tender. Season with salt and pepper, then add in garlic, cooking another couple of minutes. Add in the cooked potatoes, sprigs of thyme, and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the sprigs of thyme and discard.

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe
Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe

Now you have a couple of options at this point. You can blend this mixture in a food processor or blender, or if you have an immersion blender, use that. Blend until you have a smooth mixture, then return back to the stock pot and cook on low.

Add the shredded chicken, and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes. Taste and season with any additional salt or pepper.

Now you are ready to serve.

Ladle into a soup bowl, and garnish with pickled chilies if you desire (I prefer).

The end result is nothing but pure comfort. The smoothness you get from the soup is perfectly balanced by the shredded chicken, and if you are using any type of pickled chilies, then it gets even better, not only from the heat, but it cuts through some of that awesomeness. Plus, this soup, as noted, brings out the best of all three soups. I hope you enjoy!

Simple Burger Sauce

Grilling season is coming to an end for many in the state of Wisconsin. I think this is officially the last day of summer, and as much as that pleases me (I love fall in Wisconsin), it disappoints me as well. I mean winter is coming, and that can get pretty long here in our state. With that said, my grill continues to heat up all year round, but for those that tuck them away until spring time, I figured I would give you my simple burger sauce recipe. Think of it as the ‘Big Mac’ sauce in a way, and one that really brings a great grilled burger together.

Yes, I ate that, well most of it.

Special Burger Sauce Recipe
Special Burger Sauce Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp French dressing
  • 2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tbsp minced white onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp white vinegar

That’s it. Pretty much things most folks might have in their refrigerator. As I love a burger with just mayonnaise and pickles, I figured I would step it up and mix these together to give a sweet, tangy, and creamy sauce. This one totally delivers.

Special Burger Sauce Recipe Ingredients
Special Burger Sauce Recipe Ingredients

Place all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and whisk until thoroughly combined.

When your burger is done grilling, slather it on the top, and bottom buns and enjoy. This one was stacked with a sauced bottom bun, lettuce, burger, pickles, onions, more sauce, another sliced bun, cheese, burger, bacon, tomato, more lettuce, sauce, and top bun. IT WAS A DOOZY.

If you are looking for a great sauce, not only for a burger, but along the lines of a great club sandwich, give this one a shot. It only gets better after a couple of days stored in the refrigerator as well.  Hope you enjoy!

Crawfish Etouffee

If there is one thing my oldest loves, it has got to be crawfish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but he’s my pickiest of eaters, 16 now, and when he tore into eating crawfish years ago I was flabbergasted. So on his most recent birthday I decided we would do a crawfish boil. I ordered 10 pounds of live crawfish from the Louisiana Crawfish Company figuring the ‘party’ would devour the boil. As much as my kids and I ate, the others simply ate a small handful, meaning I would plenty leftover. My kids and I probably spent a good 45 minutes, post party, peeling (and sucking the head juices) the tails to be used for a later dish. That dish being crawfish etouffe.

Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

If you have never heard, nor tried crawfish etoufee, it is a standard dish found in the creole or cajun area of our nation. It’s almost a staple. Etouffee is translated to ‘smother’ in French terms, and I make mine with a darker roux only to deepen the flavor and making this a super comforting recipe.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing

Sounds like a bunch of stuff, but it’s really pretty basic, and trust me it’s full of comfort.

Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.

Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.

Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.

Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.

Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.

Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.

So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

As much as my kids loved tearing through boiled crawfish, I cannot say they were much fans of this particular dish. Most likely due to the stew like texture. My wife and I on the other hand? Well, we imagined ourselves being back in New Orleans, walking the streets all day, and ending up in a great restaurant eating one of their famous dishes; crawfish etouffee.  I hope you enjoy!

Crawfish Etouffee
Author: 
Cuisine: Cajun or Creole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1½ cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.
  2. Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.
  3. Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.
  4. Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.
  5. Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.
  6. Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.
  7. So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!