Black Bean and Bulgur Sloppy Joe's

     IMG_0540 And that's how I know that this is a winner. IMG_0499As an awesome aunt, when I have any of my nieces or nephews,  I feel the need to make something special for dinner, something that the kiddos might not get very often, but also keep it on he healthy side. I have 2 littles for the night which gives me the perfect opportunity for a trash food recipe. You know trash food, things like boxed mac and cheese, beefaroni in a can, or, in this case, sloppy joes.

Sloppy yes, trashy, not so much. These are made with beans and bulgur. No meat.

And I figured it is nice enough out that I can make the kiddos some messy food and then just bring them out back and hose them off… I mean, why not right?

IMG_0475The stuff… We start with onion and green pepper, chopped into pieces. Black beans, bulgur, can crushed tomatoes. Chili powder, garlic powder, a bit o apple cider vinegar (which I forgot to picture) ,and some salt and pepper. Oh and cheese if you want… Plus a bun of some sort is necessary.IMG_0490     IMG_0493 Toss the chopped onion and peppers into a deep skillet or pot with a drizzle of oil. Cook on medium heat until tender and toss in the spices. Give a stir. Add in the beans, bulgur, and tomato, a splash of vinegar. Stir it all up, cover, and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the bulgur has absorbed the liquid and is nice and tender.

If you are a bun toaster… toast while waiting. If not, just get the buns readyIMG_0504 And Then dump a good heaping pile right onto a bun. Add some cheese, or not..and eat with wild abandonment,  making sure to get as much on your face as you get in you mouth. 

Fantastic Friday!! Live it up. 

-C


Black Bean and Bulgur Sloppy Joes 

  • 2 cups or 1 can cooked black beans
  • 1 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • a splash of apple cider vinegar
  • olive oil
  • 4-6 burger or bulky buns
  • cheese (optional)

Dice the onion and the pepper and toss with a drizzle of olive oil into a large skillet. Sauté on medium heat until veggies become tender. Add in the spices, stir in and let cook for a minutes, then add in the beans, the tomato,water and the bugler. Cover skillet and let simmer until bugler becomes soft.

When the slop is ready, either toasted or not, scoop a generous portions onto buns. If so inclined, add some cheese. 

Eat with hands… Sloppy is good.

Baked Navy Bean Polenta with Chunky Veggie Tomato Sauce

IMG_3584Is it really for real April? Where has all the time gone and where the hell is the warm weather? It's not funny anymore. I am officially OVER winter!  Ok, so now that I got that off my chest…..

Last night the misters Dad came over for a long awaited dinner accompanied by talk of life goals and what her referred to as "narratives" or the story of our lives. Some deep shit to be talking about at dinner, especially with zero alcohol to be had.

Me, being so super awesome, was all up in taking charge in making the food. Except that  last night I didn't have a bunch of time and honestly, much energy to be doing anything.  And sure, I could have just made a pot of spaghetti, but that just felt like cheeping out. So Polenta it was. And because I just made a hug pot of navy bean, those were going into the polenta too.

Beany polenta baked in the oven with a tomato sauce cooked on the stove. About 5 minutes of hands on time and an hour to cook it all. It's the perfect meal to make when you have guests coming over. Fast prep, into the oven and on the stove, and then you have an hour to clean and make yourself presentable. See, I am a thinker. (I ended up skipping the making myself presentable part… I stayed in my gym clothes.. no need to impress family right?) Then after about and hour you end up with a hearty healthy pretty meal, all from scratch, that seems like you spent the afternoon cooking. When in fact you spent the past hour vacuuming and watching Gilmore Girls. 

IMG_3538The Stuff. Cornmeal, water, navy beans and parmesan for the polenta. Crushed tomatoes, garlic, dried basil, onion, carrot, zucchini, and summer squash for the sauce. Salt, pepper, and olive oil all around.

IMG_3558Cornmeal and water go into a cast iron skillet (or any oven safe dish) with a pinch of salt and pepper. Give it a little mix and stick it into the oven at 400 degrees .

IMG_3544Once the polenta is in the oven, make the sauce. Chop up all the veggies and stick into a dutch oven or sauce pot with a pinch of salt, the basil and a good drizzle of olive oil. Stick on medium heat and let veggies cook down a bit.  When the veggies are tender, add in minced garlic, crushed tomatoes and another drizzle or oil.  Turn burner to lowest setting and simmer (giving it a stir every now and then) for about 45 minutes or until the polenta is done. IMG_3568After about 30 minutes when the water had pretty much all cooked down, take the polenta out of the oven and stir in the beans, the parmesan, a tablespoon or two of olive oil and salt and pepper. Smooth top out and sprinkle with more pepper, parmesan and drizzle with a bit more oil. Stick back into oven for another 1/2 or until polenta  has formed a crust and no longer giggles when you wiggle the pan.

IMG_3630Pull polntna from the oven and let sit for at least 1o minutes. IMG_3605

Two big spoons and a pile of plates. Have the people serve themselves!

Have a Happy Day! 

-C


Baked Navy Bean Polenta with Chunky Tomato Sauce

Serves 4 hungry people

For the Polenta

  • 1 1/2 Cups Course Ground Corn Meal
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 3 Cups Prepared Navy Beans (Or just use to cans)
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese or Vegan Parmesan (Optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Sauce

  • One 28oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 large Carrot
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 4 (or more ) Cloves Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1 Small Zucchini
  • 1 Small Summer Squash
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400

In a large skillet, mix together the cornmeal and the water and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Place into oven for about 30 minutes or until the polenta starts to congeal at the edge of the skillet nd most of the waster has cooked down.

Remove skillet from oven and with a whisk or wooden spoon, mix in the beans, the parmesan (if using) and 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Smooth out mixture, sprinkle with salt, pepper, parmesan and drizzle with olive oil. Stick back into oven for another 30 minutes or so.  Polenta is done when it no longer wiggles when you giggle the skillet.

For the sauce

Small dice the carrot and the onion and stick into a medium dutch oven oor sauce pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Place on medium heat and cook until the veggies are tender. Add in tomato, minced up garlic and basil. stir and let simmer on stove top for about 45 minutes. When you place the polenta back into the oven for the second bake, dice up zucchini and squash and add to sauce. Stir and keep on simmer until ready to serve.

Once the polenta has completely cooked, remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes…10 is better to solidify.

Spoon big piles of polenta on a plate or in a bowl, top with a big heap of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with a little more parm  and maybe another dash of pepper .

Eat…..Spoon or fork is recommeded.

Happy Food!

Twice Baked Lentil Stuff Sweet Potatoes

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Whenever my little sister comes over for dinner, I always end up making lentils in some form or another because she, like me, is awesome and loves a good lentil. It makes me so happy that she has such great taste in food and wants to eat what I make.  It's validation from a teenage girl which is the best kind of validation. 

So last night when she came over after school for dinner and trash talk (she likes to verbally abuse Nick)  we decided  to make both of our favorites … Lentils AND sweet potatoes. How can you go wrong with that combo? Well I am telling you that you can't. The rich creamy soft and slightly sweet sweet potato mixed up with the hearty, earthy, oh so fantastically tasty lentil. Add in a bit of kale and cheese if you wish and serve with salsa and guac... Whoa, it's the best!!!

Such a great evening, I get to the cooking, the sister gets to the verbal abuse and the mister, begin the champ that he is, takes it and dishes it right back. 

I am the greatest(coolest) sister. 

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Baked sweet potatoes, cooked lentils, chopped up kale and monetary jack cheese (Cheese is optional.. and make it vegan cheese if you want) And you don't need then, but salsa and guacamole are the best toppings.. So you have them. 

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Cut the cooked potato in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh out into a bowl. With a fork, smooth the potato , sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix in lentils and kale.

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Stuff the mixture back into the skins of the potato.

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And add some cheese (The mister and the sister wanted lots of cheese, no cheese for me) and stick the potatoes into the oven and let bake for another 5 or so minutes or until the cheese is all melty or the top is nice and crispy. 

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Remove and plate… Serve with salsa and guacamole and maybe some corn chips.  

I am the greatest sister

-C


Twice Baked Lentil Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Makes 2 serving

  • 1 Large Sweet Potato
  • 1 cup Prepared Lentils
  • 1 cup Chopped Kale
  • 1/2 cup Grated Monetary Jack Cheese (Vegan style or not) 
  • Salsa (optional)
  • Guacamole(optional)

Place potato in oven at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until soft a baked throughout.

While potato is baking, prepare lentils.  2 cups water to 1 cup lentils. Add water and lentil to pot, bring to a boil, add a sprinkle of salt, and reduce to simmer until lentils are tender. 

When potato is cooked, remove potato  and let cool for a few minutes. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out most of the flesh out of the skins and place into a big bowl. WIth a fork, mash the potato a bit  Add in the lentils and the kale, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and mix to combine. Stuff the mixture back into the skins of the potatoes and top with cheese. (if using ) Place potatoes back into oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melty and bubbly or the top of the potato is a bit crispy. Remove from oven and serve on a plate with salsa and guacamole.

Eat and be happy. 

Kale Walnut Pesto and Baked Ravioli

IMG_2113 HOORAY FOR SPRING!!!!!!!

Yesterday The mister and I went for a walk, a long walk. I was wearing a sweater, a light jacket and I  left the mittens and hat at home. There was sunshine, huge puddles and mud. Birds were chirping. It was amazing.

After our nice long walk, we got home and I needed to start dinner. It was a little later than I usually so I wanted fast and easy  I usually always have pesto in my fridge (I had to make some, but it only takes 5 minutes) because when it's in there, I can whip up a big awesome meal in the time it takes to boil some pasta or quinoa or smear on toast or toss with potatoes. It really can be used on everything and can be made out of just about anything. Kale and walnuts are just one of so many fantastic combos. And frozen ravioli is always in the freezer too. I  used just plain cheese, but use whatever kind you like.

Together, pesto and ravioli, well that's a quick, easy, and tasty meal, perfect for a spring evening,  And yea, there will be left over pesto from this recipe… just stick it in the fridge or freezer….you will be glad you have it.

IMG_1642    IMG_1655   Pesto stuff. Kale, walnuts, parmesan cheese(nutritional yeast to keep it vegan), garlic, lemon, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

A few little pre steps before the blending.. Toast the walnuts. Just toss onto a dry skillet and stick on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until they start to become née and fragrant. Remove from skillet and add in a bit of water. Add in chopped or ripped kale and cover to let the kale tenderize, but only for about 2 minutes. (you want the kale to still be crispy and fresh tasting)  Drain water and add kale, garlic, toasted walnuts, cheese  and the juice of the lemon into a food processor. Turn on and slowly add in olive oil until you get to a nice paste, adding more oil to get to your desired consistency. Oh and don't forget to salt and pepper to taste!

IMG_2081 IMG_2098Straight up frozen ravioli goes onto an oiled baking sheet.(make sure that non are overlapping) Place into an oven at 400 degrees for about 15-18 minutes, flipping after 10. If you want to add mushroom and a few more walnuts, just toss them onto the ravioli when you are flipping over the ravioli. 

When the ravioli is nice and brown and crispy, remove from oven and dump the ravioli and the mushrooms into a bowl. Add a big old scoop of the freshly made pesto and toss around. 

IMG_2121Look at this… fresh, crunchy, light and happy. Kinda like a spring day.

I am the best lady, making the mister a pretty yummy dinner. 

Have a great Tuesday!

-C


Kale Pesto and Baked Ravioli

  • 4-5 cups chopped Kale
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese ( Nutritional Yeast  to make it vegan)
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 bag of frozen ravioli(use vegan or gluten-free if you want)
  • 3-4 mushrooms

Note..There will be plenty of left over pesto… Just fridge or freeze it

Place walnuts in a skillet and toast on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the nuts become fragrant. In the same skillet, add enough water  to cover bottom and add in all the kale. Place a lid on it and let kale wilt on medium heat for about a minutes or 2, Take off heat. Add walnuts. garlic, cheese, salt and pepper, and juice of lemon to a food processor. Blend. Now add in the kale and blend, slowly adding olive oil until a thick paste forms. You can add as much oil as you want to make it as thick or thin as you like.

Preheat oven to 400

Place frozen ravioli on an oiled baking sheet, making sure none are overlapping. Place into oven for about 15-18 minutes, removing after 8 minutes to flip. When you take the ravioli out to flip, slice up the mushrooms and grab a few more walnuts and toss onto baking sheet with the ravioli.  When the ravioli's are nicely browned and toasty, remove (mushrooms and walnuts too) and place into bowl. Add a big scoop of pesto and toss to mix.

Serve and eat.. fork is optional.

Note..Add a thin layer to the top of any left over pesto to keep it fresh and from turning black 

Skillet Crust and Pesto Chickpea Pizza

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 It's Friday!!! And what does that mean? Pizza Pizza!!!!But not just Fridays…pizza happens more times then not in our house…It's the misters favorite food and for real, he could eat it everyday, all day.…He is kind of made of the stuff. As for me, well I don't mind making it for him because it's easy. And because I am making it, it doesn't have 8 million calories, 9 million grams of fat and have 10 million milligrams of sodium like takeout of frozen.  My pizzas are for the most part pretty freaking heathy. It really depends on how its topped. Like take this one.. Homemade pesto, good quaility cheese, (you can use vegan or low fat) chickpeas and tomatoes. Not to shabby. And really, it isn't any more complicated then calling the take-out place or unwrapping the frozen plastic disk from the box. All you need is some good dough (I guess you could use store bought) and some good quality toppings… and you're there…Pizza in your face.

For this pizza I used the skillet cooking method. This crust is one of  the misters favorites. It is a basic pizza dough but cooked on the stove in a skillet. It's almost like a pita bread, but not. And I like to make it this way because its really fast (once the dough is made) and I can even make up a few crusts to have on hand for later.

Fast, healthy, and tasty…..Why not eat pizza every day? 

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Not too many ingredients here. 3 cups of all purpose flour or 2 cups all purpose and 1 cup white whole wheat. A teaspoon salt, a teaspoon honey (use sugar if vegan), yeast and warm water… 

Start with the dough.  Add honey or sugar to yeast and warm water and let sit to active, which should take about 5 minutes.

 Mix together the salt and flour(s) and add the foamy yeast mixture. Mix until it all comes together and dump out onto a floured surface. (if the dough seems to dry add a splash of water..if way to wet, add a little flour) Give the dough a good 2-3 minute knead session, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Form a nice ball, place back into bowl and drizzle with oil. Cover bowl with a towel and stick in warm place to rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

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When dough has doubled, dump back onto a floured surface and divide into 4 equal sized balls (or as many balls at whatever size you want)

Now you have a few choices here. You can either cook up all the dough now if you need it, or freeze dough balls for future use. If you think you are going to make pizza again within the next few days, it can be refrigerated, or you could also blind bake the dough and freeze or fridragerate that and have pre baked crusts all ready to go. So many options… just do whatever works for you. 

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To make the dough in a skillet, oil the bottom of a 15 inch skillet, turn burner on to high and let preheat until the oil is sizzling. Roll dough out to roughly the size of the skillet and when it has preheated, place dough on in there and let cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the dough starts to bubble and the bottom has started to brown. Turn burner down to medium and flip. Cook this side for another 3-5 minutes.

If you want oven crust, just roll out and place on a baking sheet and bake with topping on at 475 degrees for about 20 minutes

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Now the crust is ready for the toppings!!

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 

Smear the pesto (for this pie, I used the last of my homemade pesto from last summer…sad face) Mince garlic and distribute evenly on top of that. Then do the cheese, followed by the tomato slices and chick peas. Sprinkle with a bit of salt, cracked pepper and some parmesan cheese. 

Stick into oven for 10 or so minutes or until the chesse is nice and bubbly and the crust os crispy and brown.

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And that is pizza. A super duper, yummy, healthy, not too fatty or overly salty…  can be eaten breakfast lunch or dinner time, pretty, satisfying, pizza.  

Make it for yourself, for you lover, for a friend. Make it in the shape of a heart or an elephant. Give you kid(s) a ball of dough and have them make their own… I know… such a good idea. 

Everyday, all day.. Happy Friday and Happy Pizza

Stay warm!

-C


Skillet Pizza Dough and Pesto Chickpea Pizza

For the dough ..Makes about four 10 inch pizza doughs or three 12 -14 inch doughs. This is also the same recipe I use for all of my pizzas (skillet and oven)

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour or  2 cups all purpose and 1 cup white whole wheat
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast or 1 packet
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

The Pizza Toppings (for a 15 inch crust..adjust amounts to your need or liking)

  • 1/4 cup of pesto
  • 1 large  roma tomato thinly sliced
  • a few cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/1 cup of prepare chick peas.. rinsed and drained
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese (or any kind you like..use vegan cheese if you want too)
  • salt, pepper, and parmeasan (optional) to sprinkle on top

To start, place honey, yeast and water into a jar or bowl and let sit to active until mixture starts to foam. Mix together flour and salt into a large bowl and add in yeast mixture. Stir until combined and dump onto a well floured surface. Knead dough for a a few minutes and form into a ball. Place back into bowl, drizzle with oil and top with a towel. Place somewhere warm to rise for an hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

When dough is done rising, dump back onto floured surface and divide into 4-8 equal sized balls.( 4 balls make  15 inch pizza… 8 balls are good for individual size pizzas) Place whatever dough you are not going to use into a closable plastic bag and either stick in fridge(if using within a few days) or freeze for future use.

Place skillet on high heat on stove and drizzle with oil. Also, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out you dough and when the skillet is has gotten really hot, place dough right on in. Let cook for about 3-5 minutes or unit the cough has started to form bubbles and the bottom has started to brown. Turn heat down to low and cook other side for another 3-5 minutes or until browned. 

Now pizzafy it.. Add on the toppings. Smear with pesto, add minced garlic, then evenly sprinkle cheese. Top with the chick peas and the sliced tomatoes. A sprinkle of salt and pepper and a dusting of grated parmesan……Right into the oven for about 10 minutes to melt it all together…..

Pizza Pizza!!!

Focaccia with or without stuff

IMG_9014One of the best things about winter is that I can have something in the oven at any time and not worry about how hot the house is going to get.  I get to spend my free time (or my in between free minutes) baking up all the thing that I would not dare bake in the summer. (lots of bread and cakes) Yeah, I might complain a little about how cold it is outside (to my defense, -20 is kind of a bitch) but then I think of the super hot humid days that come during the summer and cringe.  At least when its cold out I am able to get warm, (que oven)  but when its super hot and humid, I just turn into something that border lines a wet towel and the rabbit animal… Not so pleasant.   I much prefer cooler weather. So no big surprise….I made bread.. or focaccia to be exact. And now you should too because first off, you want to eat it, and secondly, you can probably whip this up faster then it would take to get all of you winter warmies on and leave the house. Don't leave, just turn the oven on.  IMG_8863The stuff, which isn't a whole lot… Flour and salt.  A mixture of honey, water, and yeast. And olive oil. Its pretty much my pizza dough recipe, tweaked with the addition of oil, less flour and no kneading.  IMG_8891Mix together the wet and dry…I used my nifty dough whisk, but a wooden spoon or even your hand works. Mix mix mix. The dough should  be really slack and sticky.  And guess what.. no need to knead! Just make sure the dough is uniformly incorporated…hehe.. uniformly incorporated… sounds weird.  IMG_8902       IMG_8931Drizzle the dough (don't worry about making it into a ball, a blob is good) with a little oil and place in a nice warm place topped with a towel to rise for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size. Once is has fully risen, drizzle 2 tablespoons oil in two 9 inch cake pans.  Divide dough in half, and kind of smoosh dough into pans. Cover and let rise for another 20 minutes or so. IMG_8977When dough has finished its second rise, drizzle each  with another tablespoon of oil and with your fingers, fill out the pan and indent the dough, kind of like playing a piano or tickling a puppy(?)….Then layer your toppings (if you want any)  Start with any herbs, then the veggies. Then last, any cheese you got. I used thyme, cracked black pepper, tomato, onion, topped with parmesan cheese. And the other one is just plain old salt.  IMG_9021Pulled from the oven when nice and golden brown..set on a wire rack to cool for a few minute and removed from the pans. IMG_9083The mister was practically salivating waiting for a slice… and he was so not disappointed. Crispy outside with soft airy insides… Everything a perfect focaccia should be. The one with the toppings was the favorite for the first night, but for a peanut butter and cheese panini for lunch the next day…plain is the way to go.. My suggestion, do what I did, jazz one up and leave one plain. And then make more if you need too because the forecast call for another week of below zero!!! Oh the things that I'll get to make! (me being positive) Stay warm! -C

Focaccia with out without stuff

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon salt plus 2 teaspoons for topping (can use more or less if you want)
  • 2 teaspoons active yeast (or one package)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar if vegan)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Optional toppings

  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Thyme or any other spices
  • Thinly sliced tomato
  • Thinly sliced onion 
  • Parmesan Cheese 
  • Anything you want!

In a bowl or jar, mix honey (or sugar), yeast and warm water together and let sit for about 5 minutes or until yeast is activated and starts to foam In a large bowl, whisk together flour and 1 tablespoon of salt. With either a wooden spoon, dough whisk, or if you have one, a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix the yeast mixture with the flour. The dough is going to be really sticky so mixing might get a little gloppy, but keep at it until everything is full incorporated.. for about 3-5 minutes and don't be afraid to use your hand… you can wash it off.  Once mixed drizzle with oil and cover with a towel. Let rise for about an hour or until dough has dubbed in size. When dough has double, coat two 8 or 9 inch cake pans each with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Dump dough onto floured surface and cut in half. Take each half a place in pan. cover and let rise again for another 20ish minutes. preheat over to 400 degrees After second rise, lightly take your fingers and push down dough, making little indents all over the surface. Drizzle each with another tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle each with a teaspoon of salt. If using spices or any other toppings, nows the time to layer them on. And do any cheese last! Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. When done, place on a wire rack and let cool a bit before removing  from pans. Done!!  To store, place in a paper bag.. best eaten within a few days!