Loaded Pizza Fries #EatWithWest #ChubbyChasingMission #CysticFibrosisAwareness
Beef and salami sautéed with farm share vegetables then coated in a seasoned tomato sauce top these baked fries. Mozzarella and cheddar cheese covers the whole pan in cheesy goodness.
For the first year of this blog I posted a new pizza recipe every Friday night. I shared recipes for pizza dough, savory pizzas with fruit, vegetarian pizzas and pizzas with meat toppings. I posted so many pizza recipes that I even created a Visual Pizza Recipe Index to keep them all tidy, and a Pinterest board devoted to pizza, Friday Night Pizza Night.
Over the second year I added to the Index more slowly, interspersing Friday pizzas with other types of recipes but broadening the types by adding Deep Dish pizzas [I'll probably add a Deep House Dish category to the VPRI at some point since I'm amassing a collection in my notebook].
Today's post is a three-way collision between a Friday pizza recipe & meaty appetizer, a bonus alternative use for the topping, and a request for my readers to help out a family in my town by posting photos on social media. Let's start with the food, which weaves its way throughout the post. I admit I'm slightly surprised by how this idea of mine turned out. When I started thinking about this recipe, I envisioned some sort of pizza-flavored sloppy joes served on slider buns. Kinda like these:
The flavor of the filling was fine, but it was too . . . sloppy for me. This is when the kids are pretty tickled to come home from school and hear "I'm trying a new recipe. Eat one of these pizza sliders for after school snack and tell me what you think." [They like those days better than the "we've got too many beets in the freezer, here's a smoothie" or "find something to eat, I'm busy editing" days].
I'm posting these photos of my kids eating on the blog for one reason--to encourage a little guy in my town, Weston, to take another bite of food. Weston is 3 and needs to gain some weight, and if he doesn't do it by eating he'll need to have a feeding tube inserted in his tummy. Seeing photos of folks eating tasty food encourages Weston to take another bite, so I've tagged this post with the hashtags #EatWithWest, #ChubbyChasingMission, and #CysticFibrosisAwareness. I'd really appreciate it if you could tag and share photos of you/your kids/your uncle eating and share them on your favorite social media channels too.
Back, sort of, to the drawing board with this recipe. I mean, the concoction of ground beef, spicy salami, veggies and tomato sauce--covered in cheese--is a good one. It's just that the delivery vehicle needs work. I thought about a dip, but I'm still not sold on the right dipper--leaning towards making ciabatta sticks but I wanted something easy. We all like fries, so taking the meat sauce and making loaded pizza fries seemed like a good solution. I baked up a tray of fries, heated the meat, and just went for it. This time it was deliciously fun to fork up all that cheesy pizza goodness with fries.
If you have a slider bun you like--these would make good pizza-flavored sloppy joes. Use sliced mozzarella not shreds, though, it's less messy.
|missing, so many things missing. pesto, garlic, fries and cheddar|
Oh, a Note: I should have made these in my pretty purple pot (Amazon affiliate link) but I'd already used and washed it once that day and just didn't feel like digging it out of the clean dishes pile and washing it again. So I used a 3 qt saucepan and while everything fit, there wasn't much room to move around and sauté. It would have been better in a straight-sided heavy-bottomed pot.
Loaded Pizza Fries
(makes a ton of sauce. seriously enough for at least 2 trays of fries)
- ¾ pound hot Italian sausage
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped carrot
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped salami (or pepperoni if you prefer--I should have chopped mine smaller)
- 16 ounces tomato puree
- 2 Tablespoons prepared pesto (here's how I put mine up)
- 2 cloves roasted garlic (here's how I put up my crop, and you can sub regular garlic if you like)
- (possible additional spices--salt, pepper, and sugar or honey)
- 1 bag frozen fries (about 26 ounces, I'm partial to the extra crispy seasoned types)
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- optional--slider buns and sliced mozzarella cheese
- To make the sauce--in a large pot (see Note) over medium heat brown ground beef and Italian sausage, using a spoon to break up the meat into small pieces.
- Drain some fat (don't kill yourself getting it all out) and add the vegetables to the pot.
- Sauté the vegetables 5 to 8 minutes, stirring to combine with the meat.
- Add the salami, tomato, pesto and garlic and stir well. Once you see some bubbles, reduce heat to medium low to keep it at a gentle simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Taste--do you want to add salt, pepper, or a pinch of white sugar? Mine was good so I left it at that.
- This sauce keeps a few days in the fridge, but you'll want it warm to assemble the loaded fries.
- When you're ready to make the fries, preheat the oven to the temperature recommended by the fry people (for me that's 425 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Bake fries on a rimmed baking sheet according to package directions (for me that's about 20 to 25 minutes).
- When they are done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and spoon a thin layer of sauce over top.
- Top with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.
- Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned in spots.
- Hit it with the broiler if you feel it's not melting enough for you, then dig in.
Behind the scenes--the dogs were grooving on the smell of these sliders:
This is shared with What's Cookin' Wednesday.