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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Pull Apart Pizza Bites

Pull Apart Pizza Bites_menumusings.com
It's a familiar story to us all.  You have a bunch of kids expected to descend on you after school.  They probably have after school activities and practices, homework and projects.  Everyone is famished and maybe even a little bit on edge - including you.  And face it, it's going to be a long time until dinner.  In all likelihood, unless you intercede, they are going to raid the pantry for ... junk?  Well not today!

I often make a batch of cookies or brownies for my kids as an after school snack, but goodness gracious, they were SO THRILLED to come home to this batch of bite sized delights!  My guess is, your "big guy/girl" would be, too!  Just imagine, you walk in after work and the whole kitchen smells like a pizzeria!  Grab a glass of your favorite beverage, pick up one of these little warm nuggets of goodness, a quick dip into the warm pizza sauce, and pop them into your mouth.  Mmmm.

Print this Recipe!

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound mild Italian ground sausage
    • feel free to substitute ground beef/turkey/chicken or finely chopped mushrooms for a vegetarian version 
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped black olives
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 can premade, canned pizza dough
  • Shredded cheese of your choice
  • Garlic butter with dried parsley flakes (optional) 
  • Warm pizza sauce for serving

Step-by-Step:
Let me first start by saying you don't have to make your filling like mine.  You can obviously make it any way your family prefers as long as you chop everything tiny and the filling is not too "wet."  You don't want the bread to be soggy.
I chose Italian sausage because my family enjoys the taste and it has a lot of flavor in it already, so we are off to a good start.  So let's go ahead and get that browning.
1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
When your meat is about halfway cooked, throw in your finely chopped onions.  You will want to be crumbling up your meat as small as you can get it while it's browning.
1 cup finely diced sweet onion
Now just start dumping all of the seasoning in with the meat and onions while it continues to cook.
2 Tbsp finely chopped black olives
My kiddos would have never eaten this if I had actually told them there were black olives in it.  Ha!  But this small amount of briny, saltiness adds a bit of special something in the flavoring that is fantastic and part of that "pizzeria" smell that everyone loves.  Shhhh!  Don't tell them.  Bonus points, they already come chopped up this tiny in the can.  Yay!!!
3/4 tsp kosher salt
(Use a lot less if using regular table salt!)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
And this is what our filling looks like.
*By the way, you could totally make the filling in advance and then just heat it up enough to take the chill off of it to assemble these.
Alrighty.  Let's put these together.  First I sprayed my black iron skillet with a bit of cooking spray and inserted a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.  This probably wasn't necessary in retrospect (because seasoned black iron skillets release cooked products so well), but I was doing it for good measure.  It may still be a good idea if you make this in a tart pan or casserole dish.
Parchment Paper
You may have a favorite pizza dough that you enjoy making from scratch.  If so, feel completely free to use that.  Out of convenience, I chose a premade, canned pizza dough.  Quick and easy.  No shame.   Hey, you do what YOU want to do.  It's your kitchen.
I found a biscuit cutter lurking in the drawer.  I think it was about 2.5" in diameter.  It looked about the right size.  (So scientific, right?)  So that's what I used.

Put a small amount of filling on the dough.  You may want to stretch them out a little bit first.
First, fold them in half, like a taco.
Then, fold your taco in half so that the ends touch each other.  Pinch the ends together.
Now start arranging them from the outside first in your baking dish/pan/skillet.

Ultimately, you will end up with what looks like a large flower.  Somewhat like a chrysanthemum.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Oven temperatures may vary.  Cooking times may also vary according to the type of cooking vessel you are using.  Eg.  A glass baking dish may cook differently than cast iron.  

Optional - When my pizza bites were almost done, I melted a couple tablespoons of butter (I didn't measure), liberally sprinkled in some garlic powder and parsley flakes to brush on top.  I just love the sheen it gives the crust, the smell of that garlic butter, and yes - that taste!
melted butter + garlic powder + dried parsley flakes
Can you just SMELL this?!
 Okay, so I may have tried one or three before the kids got home.  You know.  Just to make sure they were edible.  šŸ˜„



And then this happened.  Here are a couple of today's taste testers.
Mmm.  So good you have to close your eyes while you taste it!
Yumm.  This treat even calls for a Shirley Temple! 
Poor Daisy.  She waited patiently.  It smelled so good.  But alas... no pizza bites for the pooch.
Doggonit.  They sure smell better than dog cookies!
Bonus Recipes - 
Skinny Mexican Pizza - Got teens?  Shhh!  This is turkey!
Shrimp and Corn Soup - Super easy and feeds a crowd!
Super Easy Stuffed Shells - So easy and kid friendly!
Thai Chicken Salad Cones - Perfect for your brown bag lunches or ladies luncheon!
Old Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup - Because we all need comfort food like Mom and Grandma used to make it!
Check out my cookbook!
These make perfect gifts for your kids about to graduate!  Click the link for more information about this interactive cookbook.  Each recipe has its own QR Code with links back to the blog for complete step-by-step pictures.  

Written Method:
Let me first start by saying you don't have to make your filling like mine.  You can obviously make it any way your family prefers as long as you chop everything tiny and the filling is not too "wet."  You don't want the bread to be soggy.
Brown your meat.  When your meat is about halfway cooked, throw in your finely chopped onions.  You will want to be crumbling up your meat as small as you can get it while it's browning.
Now just start dumping all of the seasoning in with the meat and onions while it continues to cook.

*By the way, you could totally make the filling in advance and then just heat it up enough to take the chill off of it to assemble these.

Alrighty.  Let's put these together.  First I sprayed my black iron skillet with a bit of cooking spray and inserted a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.  This probably wasn't necessary in retrospect (because seasoned black iron skillets release cooked products so well), but I was doing it for good measure.  It may still be a good idea if you make this in a tart pan or casserole dish.
You may have a favorite pizza dough that you enjoy making from scratch.  If so, feel completely free to use that.  Out of convenience, I chose a premade, canned pizza dough.  Quick and easy.  No shame. 

Cut pizza dough into circles of about 2.5 inches each.  Put a small amount of filling on the dough.  You may want to stretch them out a little bit first.  First, fold them in half, like a taco.  Then, fold your taco in half so that the ends touch each other.  Pinch the ends together.  Now start arranging them from the outside first in your baking dish/pan/skillet.  Ultimately, you will end up with what looks like a large flower.  Somewhat like a chrysanthemum.

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Oven temperatures may vary.  Cooking times may also vary according to the type of cooking vessel you are using.  Eg.  A glass baking dish may cook differently than cast iron.  

Optional - When my pizza bites were almost done, I melted a couple tablespoons of butter (I didn't measure), liberally sprinkled in some garlic powder and parsley flakes to brush on top.

Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping. 

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