Macaroni, Alligator, and Pillsbury


Before there was Lila or Shelly, Lorelei or Tiffany, before there was (insert your name here if you are one of my best friends who doesn't frequent this site), there was Macaroni. Later, Alligator joined us.  Macaroni and Alligator were friends of mine that lived in the fields, behind our house on Main Street, on the edge of our little town far into the corn and soybeans that grew between Gaylord and Arlington. 

They spent their days with me while my older sisters were at school. I read to them for hours under the apple tree in our front yard. We rode our horses up and down the sidewalk. We visited the aged and decrepit German Shepherd Frieda who guarded the washing machine store on the corner. My mom set a place for Macaroni so that I wouldn't have to eat lunch alone. My grandpa let Macaroni have turns when we played games. And our dogs barked at Alligator so it never came into the house.

I hadn't thought much about them until I had a class a few years back. My instructor asked why I ever began neglecting these "imaginary" friends. He suggested that these beings might still have something to teach me.  

I reconnected with my nearly forgotten creativity and imagination and came out of that class with some awesome stuff, including the setting and completion of five goals. One of the goals was to enter the Pillsbury Bake Off that year. This was not easy, considering I do not use their refrigerator dough products or processed foods in general, but I think I came up with some pretty decent ideas. In honor of this year's winners, here is one of my favorite submissions.

Mediterranean Breakfast Pizza
~Serves 8

Pillsbury® Refrigerated Pizza Crust (1 can) 13.8-oz.
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 Eggland’s Best large white or brown eggs, scrambled
2 Tablespoons chives, diced
½ teaspoon black pepper
Zest from ½ lemon
½ cup reconstituted sun dried tomatoes
½ cup green pepper, sliced thin
½ cup calamata olives, chopped (about 20)
1/3 cup red onion or shallot, sliced thin
¼ cup peperoncinis, chopped (about 5)
3 garlic cloves, roasted and mashed
1 tablespoon Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Nonstick cooking spray
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray 12-inch pizza pan or 13x9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll dough; place in sprayed pan. Starting at center, press out dough with hands to edge of pan. Spread the mozzarella cheese evenly over dough.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 7 to 9 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is very light golden brown.

Meanwhile, in small bowl mix together warm scrambled eggs, chives, black pepper, and lemon zest. Set aside. In large mixing bowl toss together sun dried tomatoes, green peppers, olives, onion, peperoncinis, garlic, olive oil, and salt.

Evenly spoon vegetable and mixtures over warm pizza crust. Sprinkle with the feta and parmesan cheeses.

Return to oven and bake additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.

Before serving, spread basil evenly over pizza.


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