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Pepperoni Pizza Knots

March  Madness is in full swing, and the final basketball games are nearing! I'm not much of a basketball watcher... (though I was a basketball cheerleader for a few years in high school. Does that count?) However, I won't pass up a chance to munch on some appetizers and spend some time with friends while 'watching' the game. IMG_6375 These Pepperoni Pizza Knots take all the goodness of a hot & cheesy pepperoni pizza and wrap it up into individual servings. They were irresistibly cheesy, and the pepperoni (the best part!) seemed to find itself in every nook & cranny of the rolls. Dare I say that I enjoyed these better than a homemade pepperoni pizza? The great thing about this recipe is it can be put together with just 4 ingredients, and about 15 minutes of prep time. Start with your pizza dough - you can use canned refrigerated dough or frozen bread dough that has been thawed. (Of course, you are more than welcome to make your pizza dough from scratch as well.) Roll it out to a large rectangle, about 12x18-inches. Spread your favorite pizza sauce over half the dough; then, top with cheese and pepperoni. Fold everything in half and pinch the edges to seal. PicMonkey Collage.jpg The next part is a bit messy. Cut the folded dough into 8 strips. Then, take each strip, twist it several times (to keep the toppings from falling out), and tie it in a knot. Place it on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment or sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with all the strips, and sprinkle all the knots with a little more cheese. PicMonkey Collage 2.jpg IMG_6373 Bake at 500*F for about 10-12 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with additional warmed pizza sauce for dipping.

IMG_6375

These also could be totally customizable! Not a pepperoni fan? Add some sausage, ham, or bacon. Vegetarian? Go crazy with vegetables! Though I will say, I am quite partial to the classic pepperoni version. ---

Pepperoni Pizza Knots

Yield: 8 pizza knots
  • 1 package refrigerated pizza crust, or 1 loaf frozen bread dough (thawed)
  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
  • 15-20 slices pepperoni
Method 1. Preheat oven to 500*F. Roll out dough to a large rectangle, about 12x18-inches. Spread pizza sauce over one half. Top with cheese and pepperoni. Fold dough over, sealing edges. 2. Cut into 8 strips. Twist each strip and then roll it into a knot. Place on a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strips. Sprinkle each with additional mozzarella cheese. 3. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve with additional warmed pizza sauce. Source: adapted from Lauren's Latest  

BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers

It's that time of year... March Madness! Unfortunately, I didn't fill out a bracket this year. Time escaped me, and before I knew it, the tournament had begun! Although - my method of choosing the team names that sound prettier might have actually proven successful, with all the upsets there have been so far.   I'm not a huge sports-watcher (unless it's long-distance running... I could watch that for hours!), but I do love a good sports game on TV. As long as there are appetizers are involved, hehe. These BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers are sure to be a hit the next time you're watching the game on TV. Or ya know, any time you have a craving for something smoky, cheesy, and a bit spicy.  

  It all starts with half a jalapeno pepper, which is stuffed with a cream cheese-green onion-cheddar cheese mixture. It's then wrapped in bacon, covered in barbecue sauce, and baked until the bacon is bubbly and brown. Every time I have prepared these jalapenos, they have all been gobbled up in a matter of minutes. Even if it's just my husband and me. (Although, if it's just the two of us, I do usually scale the recipe down a bit.)  

  If you do happen to have any leftovers, these would be awesome on top of a grilled burger or chicken breast sandwich. Can you imagine?   Let's get started. Start by cutting the jalapenos in half.     The trickiest part is probably getting the seeds out of the jalapenos. If you can't take the heat, get as many of the seeds out as possible. (I like to remove the seeds completely on all but one. And then watch very carefully as I figure out which friend got the super spicy one. And just pray it isn't me. Hehe.)  

Then, mix up the cheesy filling. Just cream cheese, green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.  

  Scoop a bit of filling into each jalapeno half.  

  Wrap with the jalapenos with the bacon, secure with a toothpick, and top with a bit of barbecue sauce!  

  50 minutes later... yum!  

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BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers

Servings/Yield

36 appetizers
 
  • 18 jalapeno peppers
  • 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 package bacon
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • 36 toothpicks
 

Method

Preheat oven to 300*F. Cut jalapenos in half, and scoop out seeds and membrane, and discard, leaving only the jalapeno shell. Lay out jalapenos on a baking sheet. (You should have 36 total.) In a small bowl, combine softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped green onions. Evenly spread the cheese mixture into each jalapeno shell. Cut bacon slices in half, and wrap each half around one jalapeno. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining bacon and jalapenos. Brush evenly with barbecue sauce. Bake in 300*F for 50-60 minutes until bacon is done. Serve warm or at room temperature.