Loaded Baked Potato Pizza

IMG_2511_resizeToday I’m going to share with you the weirdly addicting thing known as loaded baked potato pizza. When I first heard of this, I shook my head. ‘The locals will put potatoes on anything here,’ I thought. Generally, I love potatoes. I can’t get enough of them, honestly. But on a pizza?

I squinted at it sideways for months. <_<

When I finally tried my first piece, I was extremely surprised at how well I liked it. I liked it so much, in fact, that I took note of all the components and set about backwards engineering it.

I started with my go-to pizza crust recipe. It yields consistent flavor and texture. I’ve never had a bad run with it.

The “sauce” is a ranch type sauce. This is where the garlic and sour cream elements of a baked potato come in, so I took my ranch dressing recipe (see below), upped the ratio of sour cream, and added extra garlic.

Both of the local pizza joints used red russets on their pizzas, so that’s what I used too. They are precooked before going on the pizza. I’ve tried precooking via microwave and baking in the oven; both work equally well.

What are other classic elements of a loaded baked potato? Cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon (I used turkey bacon), and green onions. (One of these days I will also add olives, because I love olives on baked potatoes, and on a pizza it’s as natural as marshmallows in rice krispie treats to begin with!)

In the end, this is one of the simpler “more involved” pizzas I’ve made!

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza

  • 1 batch pizza dough (or whatever you prefer for your crust)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups ranch dressing
  • 6 red russet potatoes, cooked and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon (more or less to taste)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 °F.
  2. Spread sauce evenly over prepared pizza dough.
  3. Layer potatoes, cheese, bacon, and green onions evenly over the sauce.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and crust is golden brown.

 

Fogwood’s House Ranch Dressing

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise (reduce to 2/3 cup for pizza sauce)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (increase to 2/3 cup for pizza sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (increase to 1/2 teaspoon for pizza sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon dry parsley flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk to thin (omit for pizza sauce)
  1. Combine all ingredients in small bowl.
  2. Thin with milk to desired consistency.
  3. For best flavor, allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour.

 

“The Cheerio that Broke the Cereal Box”

And other tales.

Our update begins 3 weeks ago, wherein the Princess started doing this:

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It was a week of good weather and growth all around. The very first plant bloomed on the property: a lovely little crocus. It was hiding underneath a low shrub, and I’m so glad we discovered it! The shrub joined a few others that we pulled (rather, the Dearliest pulled in a weekend of yard cleanup). I’m amazed how much easier certain jobs are with a mini-excavator, I’m just sayin’.

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We had a lot of sick days this month. A nasty head cold worked through everyone over a couple weeks, and right on its heels came a weird fever/ chills bit that threw everyone off their feed. But, thankfully, it never manifested into what I consider a classic flu.

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I really have no caption for this. Not sure I understood the game they had going, but pots were definitely important.

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With the cold out of the house, Pokado found her sense of humor again and came to me one day declaring she was “the Cheerio that broke the cereal box.” (LK asks that you note his serious violin cameo in the background.)

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Everyone’s renewed interest in food led to the reinstatement of a Friday night tradition: Pizza! By the time I got my camera out, the kids had already eaten the olive and cheese pizza (yes, the whole thing), but that’s okay because it left the Dearliest and I the entire loaded baked potato pizza all to ourselves! SO not complaining.

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Once everyone started feeling better, it was time to start preparing for Arc’s 3rd birthday! There was much to do. Lots of dishes, lots of vacuuming, and lots and lots of laundry.

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As it happened, Arc’s birthday fell upon Easter Sunday, so we held two festivities in one, celebrating both a birthday and the resurrection of our Lord!

The poor little guy didn’t get a nap, and consequently his smiles were very few and far between. I managed to catch one in motion, though! Despite his otherwise stoic demeanor, he was quite excited.

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The Tiramisu, true to my word, had a train.

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And a station, because even when you’re planning for 30 guests, it’s important to have leftovers.😀

(Side note: I’ve had inquiries, and the imaging is done with a paper cut-out, sort of like an inverted stencil. I found a photo online, printed it, and cut out the places I wanted dark. I laid the paper down on the whipped cream and sprinkled the cocoa powder over it all, then I simply lifted up the papers–or papers, in the case of the station. Walla! Cool picture on Tiramisu.)

It was a big day, with a big, delicious pot luck dinner, and everyone stayed up way too late. By everyone I mean the kids. I think they went to bed around the same time I did? I don’t even remember.

This was us pretty much all day the next day, moving from sun spot to sun spot in between the bursts of rain.

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And, three weeks after the first picture in this post, the Princess is walking along all the furniture, standing up by herself, and thinking very seriously about that first, unsupported step.

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Various and Sundry

Also known as Things and Stuff.

Over the last couple weeks the kids and I have been preparing this little outbuilding:

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For these! They arrived on Saturday.

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Americanas (because blue and green eggs!), Buff Orpingtons, Black Sex Link, and one other black sort (not Australorp) that the Dearliest couldn’t recall. Good times are ahead, mostly in teaching LK and Pokado the ins and outs of chicken responsibility. And, of course, eventually the eggs.

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The Princess wants to stand up so badly, and she loves to be walked around. She’s definitely one of more motivated babies I’ve had, but I suspect a reason. The wooden dining room floor unfinished where it meets the kitchen tile. We have the pieces needed to finish “the gutter,” but for reasons right now it’s just there (and vacuumed out regularly by LK,  which isn’t at all apparent in the picture).

The Princess hates crawling across it, and from her very first attempt at doing so protested at alarming volume. She quickly devised an alternative.

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Behold, the spider walk. She’s been stepping over the gutter for weeks now, and my theory is that it’s gotten her inclined to walk upright at an earlier age. I could be wrong, though.

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Do you know what this is?

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It’s actually several things. You might recognize it as a slow-cooker shredded BBQ chicken sandwich with cabbage and carrot coleslaw.  It was intended to be the first in a slow-cooker series, because I miss sharing recipes. With only about 3 available feet of counter space, one cannot easily multitask in my kitchen, alas. Until we remodel the tiny kitchen, the crockpot has been one of my go-tos for simple, streamlined meals.

The photo is also the last slow-cooker meal I will ever make in the crockpot. Why? To put it simply, it broke.

The night I made the chicken, I left the crockpot on the stove top (I probably shouldn’t have done that). The next morning someone turned on the wrong burner, and after a time there was a tremendous shattering and a fabulous crash, and there was the crockpot in a fantastic mosaic all over the stove and floor.

So, now I’m hunting for a new slow-cooker.

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Lastly, I wanted to shout out a little girlish “squee” at these necklaces. I’m not a crazy jewelry person, but occasionally pieces come along that I really, really, really like.

The little white acorn was a birthday gift (thank you Wife+Mum!), and I love the whimsy and the classic charm. Arc loves it too, because it reminds him of one of his current favorite books “That Pup.” Whenever I wear the necklace, he  climbs in my lap and starts reciting lines from the story. He gets more and more animated with every “And found an acorn!”

The photo pendant I fell in love with on sight and bought from my friend Jess’ Etsy shop. She takes some pretty amazing nature photography, and when she started putting the photos in pendants I knew I couldn’t resist to have a piece of her work any longer.

She now offers other sizes and pendant/ chain colors too, as well as bracelets and anklets, so if you’re looking for a unique jewelry piece I high recommend you check out her shop!

High strung days and low key nights.

Life has been busy here, both inside and out. The Dearliest finished building the seedbed frame in the greenhouse, and after LK filled all the starting trays with soil we planted a bunch of seeds. Then a bunch more. Now we’re waiting for hundreds (yes, hundreds) of green things to pop up! The plan, for those wondering, is for LK to have a roadside plant stand later. And us to have a huge garden, of course.😀

There are some plants on the property that aren’t waiting, like this eager tree. The Dearliest originally suspected it was some sort of willow, but now he’s not so sure.

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We added two trees to the “orchard” area–an apple and a pear! I believe there’s already an apple on premises, but I can’t recall what sort. We do have pretty healthy-looking peach tree (it’s photobombing the pic), and I am SO looking forward to fresh peaches!

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Stacking wood is almost a year-round activity for us, and there’s a possibility the Dearliest will bring home upwards of 50 cords of it (meep!) from a job this summer.

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Outside work also means outside play, and the kids have no shortage of new games. Racing balls and Tonka trunks down the back of the Dearliest’s flatbed trailer, going shopping on the big tractor, and inventing teeter-totters.

So much outside time  often means neglect of the inside…yeah. It took me about 3 days to catch up the kitchen. And the laundry. And the house in general, which is why some of this next picture is cut out.

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Introducing the newest musician in the family! He has one lesson under his belt and seems very motivated. We’ll see where it all goes.

Other inside adventures include the first ever dragon fruit (which is the fruit of a cactus)! If you’ve never had one, the flavor is mild. Not super sweet. Honestly, cucumber comes to mind, with a firmer texture.

And, behind all of this new activity is typical life in a house of littles. There are the fights. There are the kiddos who want their baths. The kiddos who most definitely do NOT want their baths. There are moments when they turn their nose up at fried eggs and the next day eat 3 at once without batting an eye (fickle, much?).

And, of course, there are moments like this:

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The Princess still likes to party long into the evening, and she does it so cheerfully! She has always been this way. By 9 I’m exhausted and SO ready to crash, and generally we just hang out in bed until she actually crashes.

The Dearliest and I have been going through Star Trek: The Next Generation, because I’m a former Trekkie and he’s never seen it. I laugh a lot to myself through the episodes, because my word the show takes itself So Seriously! I mean, seriously?

The Princess sums it up quite nicely for me.

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We call it her Ferengi grin. She does it a lot.

I think it’s safe to say the Dearliest finds ST:TNG mildly entertaining and moderately irritating. Some nights we take a break and watch Top Gear because…well, Top Gear.

(As an aside, SG1 wins every Star Wars/ Star Trek debate, ’nuff said.)

Lastly, things have worked out such with the authoring attempt that I find myself once again on Facebook. Mayhap I’ll see you there!

Grapes and Roses (and Greenhouses)

TheIMG_2156_resize weather has been warming up recently, and between daffodils starting to peek out of the ground and roses starting to bud out, I find myself in the initial garden panic. “Ahh! Must prune all the things!”

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The sad thing about this place is that the grapes and roses were let go. It’s been who knows how many years since they were cut back properly (see photo at left; that rose is taller than I am!). I’ve never pruned roses before, but the Dearliest showed me how and assured me that it’ll be easier next year.

Whilst pruning one of the smaller shrub-type roses, I found a tag! I have a Christopher Marlowe English rose, cultivated by David Austin. That’s one of about 11 rose mysteries solved. I hope I can figure out the others!

I only have 3 roses left to prune, but one of them is the climbing rose on the arbor, so in theory that won’t take quite so long since a lot of the canes will stay.

When it’s all said and done, I wonder how much space all the cuttings will take up in the dump trailer? There’s still half the grapes to do!

 

Over the weekend, LK mixed up some seed starter soil and very carefully filled several seed trays. The Dearliest has a few more things to complete on the greenhouse, but it’s otherwise ready to go and just waiting for seeds!

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Note: One should never look through seed catalogs while hungry.