Deep dish pan pizza with sausage and tomatoes

Deep dish pizza
Deep dish pan pizza with sausage and tomatoes

Over the past several weeks, Michael and I have been working on improving our homemade pizza — and this deep dish pan pizza was our first project. After several iterations, we’ve come up with a go-to method and picked out our favorite ingredients. Like Papa John’s says: “Better ingredients, better pizza.”

One of the keys to getting a delicious, crispy crust is to use non-stick, 9-inch cake pans to bake the pizza. Also, we’ve found that buttering the pan and using butter in the pizza dough both give the crust a great flavor.

We chose sausage and diced tomatoes as our toppings, based on our favorite pizza from The Italian Pie Shoppe in St. Paul, and it was delicious. If you do want to change the toppings, however, I would recommend sticking with a 1 meat-1 veggie combination so you don’t overwhelm the pizza.

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Creamy Italian sausage pasta

Creamy Italian sausage pasta

After making a delicious skillet pasta dish last month, I decided to try my hand at a modified version last week. I used Italian sausage, zucchini, and a simple white sauce to make this version. We gave this one two thumbs up as well, so skillet pasta dishes are definitely going to be staying on our menu in the future.

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Cornbread and sausage bake

Cornbread and sausage bake

Michael and I both think that this cornbread-topped sausage bake is delicious. It’s a great recipe to make in the fall or winter, but that’s not going to stop us from making it whenever we want. I used andouille sausage in my version of the recipe, but you could also use cooked Italian sausage. It would also be easy to switch out the veggies for whatever you happen to have on hand.

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Sausage, mushroom, and wild rice casserole

Sausage, mushroom, and wild rice casserole

This recipe is so delicious that you’ll want to wake up in the middle of the night and eat the leftovers. I made it for Sunday dinner last weekend, along with sweet mashed potatoes, and we proceeded to eat the leftovers for every meal after that until they were gone. So we’ll definitely be making this one again.

Wild rice is Minnesota’s state grain, and it has a hearty flavor that compliments the sausage and mushrooms in the casserole. If wild rice isn’t available where you live, brown rice might work as a substitute, though we haven’t tried that.

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Green bean and red potato hot dish

Green bean and red potato hot dish

According to Minnesotans, this recipe would be considered “hot dish.” When I moved to Minnesota last year, I had no idea what “hot dish” was, but I soon found out that it was essentially a casserole — usually with a cream of mushroom or chicken soup. Michael made this green bean and red potato hot dish last week with the green beans that my parents gave us.

The verdict? Michael says it was one of the best “haaaaat dishes” he’s ever eaten. I, on the other hand, have never liked green beans all that much. But I liked this casserole too — especially the delicious red potato topping!

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Carrot, sausage, and rib stew

Carrot, sausage, and rib stew

Michael made this simple and delicious stew for lunch today when we finally cleaned out our fridge after returning home from our honeymoon. We found an abundance of celery about to go bad, and 4 already-opened bags of baby carrots — and so immediately thought stew.

This delicious stew takes a couple hours to simmer on the stove, and so it would also be a perfect recipe to cook in a crockpot on a busy day. Michael and I enjoyed the hearty combination of flavors from the bratwurst, pork ribs, and shiitake mushrooms. We served this simple lunch with rye toast and baby dill pickles, and recommend that you give it a try too!

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Sausage and rice stuffed red peppers

Sausage and rice stuffed red peppers

I’ve always been intrigued by recipes for stuffed peppers, though I’ve never made them. So, last weekend I decided enough was enough — and planned to make stuffed green peppers.

Last Sunday, Michael and I ended up spending a leisurely afternoon with friends at an antique show at the HarMar Mall in Roseville. While there, Michael went to Cub Foods for me to buy a couple green peppers to stuff. He came back with 3 red peppers instead — they were on sale for $1 each! So naturally, we then returned to the store together and bought even more of them, and my plans were changed to stuffed red peppers.

Well, it turns out that my first attempt at stuffed peppers was quite the successful attempt, despite my approach of using as many leftovers as I could find in the fridge. By using leftover rice in the recipe, total prep + cooking time is an easy 45 minutes. The filling in this recipe makes enough to fill 3 peppers, halved lengthwise, though I only stuffed 2 peppers and saved the rest of the filling to use later.

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Tomato sausage polenta

Tomato sausage polenta

My mom found this recipe in one of her Taste of Home cooking magazines several years ago, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. It combines a cornbread-like polenta with a simple tomato-sausage sauce, which is topped with cheese and baked to perfection.

As my mom could tell you, I often request this dish when I’m visiting my parents’ house. Last week, I decided to try my own hand at making this delicious polenta. And, believe me, it was DELICIOUS. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list — it does take around an hour to make, but it’s still an easy weeknight recipe.

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Pumpkin and sausage lasagna (recipe review)

Pumpkin and sausage lasagna
Pumpkin and sausage lasagna

This is an item from last November, when it was much warmer and more pleasant in the Twin Cities than it is now. Jane and I came across a fall-inspired lasagna over at Pithy and Cleaver, which we laughed at and ridiculed to nearly no end due to the strange sounding recipe and “odd” ingredients. Well, we eventually stopped laughing and decided to try our hand at the recipe, and we were shocked at the result.

This pumpkin lasagna was amazing. It was very delicious with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, accompanied by a sprig of thyme and a sage leaf on the side. A nice glass of wine increased the intensity of the flavors, leading to something akin of a perfect meal.

As is the case with any lasagna, the flavors of this one became more intense and improved as it aged a day or two. It made for several great meals of leftovers without any sort of regret or angst. Overall, it was an excellent dish, which we highly recommend and will probably make sometime again in the future.