Pizza Pancakes

Do your kids love pancakes? Mine sure do. Coincidentally, pancakes were also one of the first things we taught them how to help us, and help themselves, make. When I heard ‘pizza pancakes’ I was intrigued. When I saw the recipe, I was inspired! All 4 Sons got in on the action. This delicious little hybrid was a fun new twist and a real treat for the kids. Pizza pancakes and it’s cast of characters are now set for a recurring role on our family’s dinnertime menu.

Pizza Pancakes

4 Sons 'R' Us: Pizza Pancakes

 

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, diced
  • 1 cup sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • pizza sauce, warmed
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine the biscuit mix, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Combine eggs and milk. Stir the wet ingrediets into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in the cheese, pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms, if using.
  2. Pour batter by 1/4 cup-fuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top and continue cooking until the seconds side is golden brown.
  3. Serve with warmed pizza sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Do you love nachos? Buffalo Wings? Ranch Dressing? Tired of the same old, same old thing? Then this creative spin on a familiar favorite is the recipe for you! These mouth-watering nachos are a perfect powerhouse of flavor. Quick and easy to assemble, this recipe is great for a busy weekday dinners. With it’s affordable ingredients, most of which are probably already somewhere in your kitchen, they’re party and event friendly. Finger-lickin’ good, Buffalo Chicken Nachos are a must-try. ‘Regular’ nachos will never seem the same again.

Family-friendly or crowd-pleaser, this versatile recipe will put a smile on the diner’s face. Mom and/or hostess beware: you will be asked for the recipe. Repeatedly.

Buffalo Chicken Nachos

4 Sons 'R' Us: Buffalo Chicken Nachos

recipe adapted from Will Cook For Smiles

  • 2 grilled chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Ranch Dressing (I put my ranch in the blender with some cilantro and blend together for our dressing)
  • 3/4 cup shredded mexican blend, or cheddar, cheese
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • tortilla chips

Directions

  1.  In a small pan, heat up buffalo sauce and water.
  2. On a baking sheet start layering the nachos.
  3. -spread half the desired amount of tortilla chips
    -spread 1/2 the lettuce
    -spread 1/2 the tomatoes
    – drizzle 1/2 the Ranch dressing
    – spread 1/2 the cheese and 1/2 the chicken over it
  4. Repeat to make the next layer.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-13 minutes.

Boneless Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

I love apple season. I really, really do. Even after using my entire orchard-picked bushel, I still can’t get enough. Luckily, with fall underway, I don’t have to make another trip to the orchard for farm fresh apples to put into delicious recipes for my family. I’ve gotten some GREAT prices on organic apples from the grocery and also found these amazing, locally grown Granny Smiths from our ‘Farmer’s Market’ at an irresistible price.

Those Granny Smith’s went straight into this gourmet dinner for my family. All at an affordable cost and using ingredients I keep on hand! Thank you, Martha for this delicious recipe full of hearty fall flavor.

Boneless Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

4 Sons 'R' Us: Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

 

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart 

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tsp black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 4 boneless pork chops, cut about 3/4 inches thick
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 green apples (preferably Granny Smith) cored, peeled, and diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine, or chicken broth (you can use apple cider vinegar, but the flavor was WAY to strong for us)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of pork chops; add to skillet. Saute until golden brown, about 2 minutes; flip. Cook 2 minutes more; place pan in oven.
  2. Roast until meat is cooked through and registers 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat; add onion. Saute over medium heat until translucent and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add apples; saute 4 minutes more.
  5. Add wine, raisins, ginger, mustard, and cayenne. Stir well to combine; cover.
  6. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until apples are very tender but hold their shape, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve over pork chops.

Green Bean Fries

My kids always count on fries with their burgers. I mean it’s like a burger staple for them. Serve them a burger without a side of fries and they’d probably look at me like I had just sprouted a second head, or antennae. They’re actually really good sports because burger night, which only falls once a month (maybe twice a month on a leap year) is the only night they get fries with dinner. Despite knowing that it was in fact burger night, I forgot to check to make sure I had potatoes. I also had a gaggle of kids at our house that day and no way to get to the store. What I did have? Several pounds of fresh green beans! Green bean fries came to my rescue. These were so good that it actually took me several minutes to convince my husband that I hadn’t gotten them carry-out from a restaurant or from the frozen food section of the grocery store. Every son raved about them. I mean a vegetable turned french fry? It was awe-inspiring. I’ve got to admit the way their jaws dropped and the awe-struck looks on their faces…it was pretty magical. Next time though I think I will try baking them instead of frying.

Green Bean Fries

Green Bean Fries

recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a few cups of vegetable oil in a deep pot or fryer over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, pour chicken broth into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add the green beans and let boil for 5 minutes.  Remove beans from broth with a slotted spoon and set in a bowl of cold water.
  3. After beans are cooled down, pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Whisk the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl.
  5. In another shallow bowl, combine flour, breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  6. Dip the beans into the egg mixture, followed by the flour mixture and place in hot oil, a few beans at a time.  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Serve with ranch dressing or other dipping sauces. Add a few drops of wasabi to ranch dressing and mix thoroughly for a wasabi-ranch dipping sauce

Famous Football Party Stromboli

Football season is underway again, and for our house, that means so are the game-time snacks and treats.  All of my guys love the game. They also ALL love food. So this is the perfect union of two of their favorite things. The amount of testosterone in my house on game-day is scary. However, on game day, I’m just ‘one of the guys’.

One of the easiest, and tastiest things we enjoy chowing down on between downs is homemade stromboli. What game-day experience would be complete without man-food? This is MAN-FOOD at it’s finest. It’s also ‘Mom’ food. It’s easy and quick to prepare so I don’t have to miss the game to slave away in the kitchen. It’s even easy to serve and eat, which is another plus since it means all four boys are allowed to eat on the couch. No griping about missing parts of the game? No giant mess to clean up after four boys? Famous Football Party Stromboli for the win!

This is literally the perfect party food. Make a little, make a ton. It’s simple, and totally satisfying. Feel free to chase it with a swig of beer in between bouts of screaming at the tv.

Famous Football Party Stromboli

4 Sons 'R' Us: Famous Football Party Stromboli

recipe adapted from Liv Life Too

  • 1 16 oz loaf of bread dough, thawed according to package directions or homemade pizza dough
  • 1/4 lb thinly sliced ham
  • 1/4 lb pepperoni (hard salami)
  • 1/4 lb salami (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano, divided
  • 1/4 lb thinly sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cornmeal (optional)

Directions

  1. Place bread dough on lightly greased baking sheet.  Pat into a 15 x 10” rectangle.
  2. Arrange ham slices lengthwise down center; place pepperoni on top, then salami.  Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon basil and ¼ teaspoon oregano.
  3. Arrange provolone cheese over herbs and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with remaining herbs.
  4. Moisten all edges of dough with water; bring each long edge of dough to center. Press edges together securely to seal.  Seal ends.
  5. Brush dough with 1 Tablespoon butter; sprinkle with cornmeal and carefully invert so that the seam side is down.  Brush top with remaining butter.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until browned.
  7. Remove from oven and place on a cutting board.  Let cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Cut horizontally into slices with a serrated (bread) knife.  For smaller portions, first cut vertically down the center, them into horizontal slices.

Cheeseburger Buns

I know I’m a day late (such is life when you have kids, sometimes anyway), but yesterday was National Cheeseburger Day. In honor of that, and also because my family loves that cheesy, meaty concoction, I’m bringing you this delicious recipe. Instead of a traditional burger, we opted for a new twist on the classic favorite. Can I just say that burgers inside of a bun are the new way to go?! These things are amazing. They could totally revolutionize the entire cheeseburger industry. Give them a try for yourself and see. Savor the amazement.

These are easy to make, they freeze great, and as leftovers they’re still fantastic. Like something versatile? You aren’t obligated to stuff these with a cheeseburger filling. Try ham and cheese, or broccoli, chicken, and cheddar. Sloppy Joes in a bun, anyone?

Cheeseburger Buns

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cheeseburger Buns

recipe from Taste of Home magazine

  • 2 packages (1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 -4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 8 slices American cheese, quartered

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, shortening, egg, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce. Remove from the heat; set aside.
  4. Punch dough down; divide into 16 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out and stretch each piece into a 5-in. circle. Top each circle with two pieces of cheese and about 3 tablespoons beef mixture. Bring dough over filling to center; pinch edges to seal.
  5. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes. Bake at 400° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Crockpot Hawaiian Meatballs

I’m always on the lookout for new things to do with ground beef. I buy two 6 lb packages of lean ground beef each month from Costco. One gets divided into 1lb packages to freeze and use for meals. The other gets divided and made into meatloaf and meatballs. My boys love meatballs with their spaghetti. They love meatball subs. But, that’s about as adventurous as they were willing to be when it came to the sacred ‘meatball’. That was until this recipe. They loved it. The sweet and sour sauce was rich and delicious. I love it when I can get fruit into any meal. They devoured it and asked for more.

These are by far, the BEST crock pot meatballs I’ve ever had. They’re simple. They’re easy. They’re filling. AND they’re budget friendly! All of which made this recipe a keeper for a busy Mom with a boat-load of growing boys to feed.

Really, this is a must try. No longer are meatballs only for Italian-style dishes. Or the typical, tried and true, bland crock pot ‘cocktail’ style recipes that have been done countless times before.

Crockpot Hawaiian Meatballs

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Hawaiian Meatballs

 

recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff

  • 32 oz of pre-packaged frozen meatballs or about 2 lbs of frozen, homemade meatballs
  • 13.5 oz can of unsweetened pineapple chunks, drain and reserve juice
  • 1 large green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Directions

  1. Place meatballs in crock pot and top with green pepper and drained pineapple chunks.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and soy sauce.
  3. Pour sauce over meatballs, pineapple and green peppers.
  4. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through.
  5. Serve over cooked white rice.

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

I love, love, love this pasta salad. I can’t quite put into words all the love I have for. My family thinks it’s because it’s such a crowd pleaser. I’m leaning more towards it being the ranch dressing. It’s my sauce of choice. Also, it’s the versatility. I can easily make this as a side to dinner, or add extra lettuce to make it an all-in-one meal. The recipe easily feeds our family, but is simple to double to serve a larger group.

Originally, I was skeptical of the Swiss it called for. I’ve only ever included cheddar in any ranch-based pasta salads before, but my skepticism was unnecessary. The Swiss perfectly compliments the other flavors in the bunch. Simply put, it’s delicious. If you’re looking to branch out of your more traditional pasta salad comfort zone, looking for a dish to ‘wow’ family and/or friends, or simply trying to ditch the pre-packaged, processed box versions, this recipe is a must try.

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

recipe adapted from Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice

  • 1 lb radiatore pasta
  • 16 oz ranch dressing
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes, seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cup cubed Swiss
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 2 cups finely chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta, according to package directions, in salted water.
  2. Drain pasta. Toss with just enough dressing so that the pasta is lightly coated and won’t stick together. Refrigerate until cold.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the tomatoes, Swiss, onion, bacon, and lettuce.
  4. Add enough dressing to generously coat everything, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve. If not serving immediately, don’t mix the lettuce in until you’re ready to serve to prevent wilting.

Oven Baked Hot Dogs

While I’m notoriously not a fan of hotdogs, the rest of my family is. Pretty sure, if allowed, two of my four children would eat them everyday and possibly, quite happily, turn into one. Being the hot dog snob that I am, I will only eat two brands, and I can’t stand them doused with condiments. In an effort to practice what I preach to my children and ‘try new things’ I decided to hunt down something to do with them, some recipe that I would actually enjoy. Oven baked hot dogs quickly became my best hot-doggy friend. Instead of a hot dog on a limp bun, I’m now into crunchy sandwich territory, and it’s heavenly. While these may look like typical chili-dogs, they’re actually cleverly disguising the satisfying outer crunch that protects their delicious insides.

Seriously, about that crunch, you probably want to eat them using a knife and fork. I did say I was a hot-dog snob, right?! With these I am finally one satisfied snob.

Oven Baked Hot Dogs

Oven Baked Hot Dogs

recipe adapted from Alyssa B. Young

  • 8 hot dogs
  • 8 hot dog buns
  • 1 can of chili, or leftover homemade chili
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • cheddar cheese
  • mayonnaise
  • stone ground mustard
  • dill relish

Directions

  1. Line the inside of hot dog buns with mayonnaise and mustard. Evenly add the relish. Fill with hot dogs and squeeze the stuffed buns into a 9×13 baking pan.
  2. Top hot dogs with chili, diced onion, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove from the pan with a spatula and serve.