Stuffed Taco Shells

stuffed shells 150x150 Stuffed Taco ShellsThis is an easy recipe that I found floating around and wanted to share.  (I claim no rights to this recipe.)  I have added a few modifications to fit my taste but you can make your own adjustments as you play around with the recipe.

Stuffed Taco Shells

Ingredients:
1lb ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 4 once package cream cheese
12 large pasta shells
1 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup Cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese (shredded)
1 ½ cups tortilla chips (crushed)
3 green onions (chopped)
1 cup sour cream

taco shells 150x150 Stuffed Taco ShellsInstructions:
In a fry pan, cook ground beef and add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and allow to fully cool. While burger is cooking cook the pasta shells, drain and toss well with butter.
Pour salsa in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
Stuff each shell with the meat mixture.  Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish and cover the tops of the shells with taco sauce.
Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, uncover, and sprinkle crushed chips and shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses on top. Cook for about 15 more minutes. Serve with sour cream, additional salsa, black olives or whatever you think goes good with tacos!

Cheat tips: Use a bag of mixed flavors of shredded cheese – they have some that already has some taco seasoning added!  This is a great recipe to use left over meat – you can use chicken, pork, beef, even seafood!  Chop up the meat that has already been cooked and add some taco seasoning – you do not have to heat the meat!  Place a spoonful or two of meat in each pasta shell and add a cube of cream cheese – the amount of cream cheese is up to you.  Place shells in baking dish and cover with the taco sauce.

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Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini 150x150 Zucchini FrittersSpring and Summer are almost here!!  That means it is time for fresh veggies from the garden!!!  I saw this recipe floating around on Facebook and thought I would share – I claim no rights to this recipe.  Enjoy!!

Ingredients for Zucchini Fritters:

1/2 pound of zucchini (about 2 small)
1/2 pound of yellow squash (about 2 small)
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
2 scallions (green onions), split lengthwise and sliced thin
a bunch of chopped cilantro and parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Olive oil

To serve (optional)
1 cup light or fat free sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 to 2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinches of salt
1 small minced or crushed clove of garlic

Directions:

Zucchini Fritters2 150x150 Zucchini FrittersPreheat oven to 200 degrees. Have a baking sheet ready.
Trim ends off zucchini and squash and grate them using a food processor.
In a large bowl, toss zucchini and squash with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Wring out the water of the vegetables. You’ll be surprised by the amount of liquid that will come out, but this will prevent your fritters from becoming soggy.
Return the zucchini and squash shreds to bowl. Add more salt if you think it needs.
Stir in the scallions, parsley, cilantro, egg and some freshly ground black pepper.
In a small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder, then stir the mixture into the vegetable batter.
In a large heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop small bunches of the vegetable mixture onto the skillet only a few at a time so they don’t become crowded and lightly nudge them flatter with the back of your spatula.
Cook them over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath again, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Drain on paper towels then transfer to baking sheet and then into the warm oven until needed.
Zucchini Fritters 150x150 Zucchini FrittersIf using the topping, stir together the sour cream, lemon juice, zest, salt and garlic and adjust the flavors to your taste. Dollop on each fritter before serving and enjoy!
These fritters keep well, in the fridge for the better part of a week, so that you can enjoy them for breakfast the next morning. When you’re ready to use them, simply spread them out on a tray in a 325 degree oven until they’re hot and crisp again.

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New York Cheese Cake

cheesecake 150x150 New York Cheese CakeI love just about any kind of cheesecake that I have ever tried!  This is a recipe that I found and wanted to share.  It is much better than the “no bake” boxed cheesecake!  Enjoy!!

New York Cheese Cake
Ingredients
FOR THE CRUST:
2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 stick Butter, Melted
3 Tablespoons White Sugar
(Or you can buy the pre-made graham cracker crusts to save a little time!)
FOR THE FILLING:
4 packages Full-fat Cream Cheese, Softened At Room Temperature (8 Ounce Packages)
3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
1-½ cup White Sugar
1 whole Lemon, Zested (optional – or add 1 tsp of lemon juice from concentrate)
4 whole Large Eggs
½ cups Milk
8 ounces, weight Full-fat Sour Cream
½ Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
(For those wanting to reduce the fat, try using low/reduced fat or fat free cream cheese and sour cream – it won’t taste as rich.)

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9″ Springform pan well with shortening.

For the crust:
In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of your prepared pan. Now put your pan, uncovered, into the freezer while you’re making the filling.

cheesecake2 150x150 New York Cheese CakeFor the filling:
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the cheese until it’s nice and smooth. You don’t want to have any lumps.  It’s best to whisk your flour and sugar together first, to prevent any lumps when they’re added to the cream cheese. Pour them into the cream cheese and mix. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl, add lemon zest, and continue to mix.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low just enough to incorporate. Do not over mix!  Blend in milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Again, do not over mix. Just mix until you get a smooth consistency.  Pour filling into prepared crust and bake.

Baking:
You have a couple of options when it comes to baking your cheesecake. You can either:

cheesecake3 150x150 New York Cheese CakeA. Stick your pan into the preheated oven, turn down the temperature to 250F, and bake for an hour and a half. The center should still wobble a little. It shouldn’t be pure liquid or completely set. Once it’s done baking, turn the oven off and let it sit for at least an hour (more if you have the time). After about an hour or so, I open the oven door and let it sit for a few more hours. This option gives me the best results. I’ve never had it crack.

or

cheesecake4 150x150 New York Cheese CakeB. Stick your pan into the 350F oven and bake for an hour. Turn off the oven and let it sit for an hour or so. Open the oven door, and continue to let it cool for a few more hours. If you choose this option, I suggest using a water bath. You will need to wrap the bottom of your pan with aluminum foil (the more layers of aluminum foil the better), and stick it into a roasting pan. Then pour hot water almost halfway up your Springform pan. It will help the cheesecake cook evenly. I’ve cooked it this way a few times (minus the water bath) and it’s cracked every time. The taste is still delicious, just not as pretty. I’ve heard bad stories of soggy crusts, so I haven’t tried the water bath method yet. I just stick to option A, and I get wonderful results.

So either way, once the cheesecake is done baking and you’ve let it cool in the oven, wrap it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge. It’s best if you let it sit at least overnight. The longer it sits, the better it tastes!

cheesecake5 150x150 New York Cheese CakeTop with your favorite fruit, nut, or candy!  I like to top it with sliced sweetened strawberries that have gotten nice and juicy!  Try it with canned or frozen fruit.  Crush your favorite candy bar and sprinkle on top!  Chocolate chips!  Cool whip!  The only wrong way to enjoy a cheesecake is to not eat it!!!

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Million Dollar Pound Cake

poundcake 150x150 Million Dollar Pound CakeI am a slave to my sweet tooth … but sometimes I like something that is not overly sweet to snack on.  This recipe is great when you want a sweet treat that will not be an over-kill on the sugar.  Enjoy!

Million Dollar Pound Cake!
2 cups butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk

poundcake2 150x150 Million Dollar Pound CakeIn a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Gradually add flour alternately with milk, beating just until blended. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 40 minutes.

 

poundcake3 150x150 Million Dollar Pound CakeOptional – Add a tsp or two of ground cinnamon to the mix to add a little spice to your pound cake!  Try adding cranberries, blueberries, or strawberries in the mix before baking!  You can also top with fresh or frozen berries/fruit of your choice.  I love this with strawberries or peaches!

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Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken

fried chicken 150x150 Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken Being from the South, I love my sweet tea strong and my fried chicken juicy!  But I never thought to combine the two until I saw this recipe floating around on Facebook.  I haven’t tried it yet but it sure sounds yummy!  (I claim no rights to the recipe.)

Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken

What You Need:
2 family-size tea bags
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, halved
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
2 cups ice cubes
1 (3 1/2-lb.) cut-up whole chicken (or buy already divided chicken)
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup self-rising white cornmeal mix
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
Vegetable oil

fried chicken2 150x150 Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken Directions:
1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 3-qt. heavy saucepan; add tea bags. Remove from heat; cover and steep 10 minutes.
2. Discard tea bags. Stir in brown sugar and next 5 ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool completely (about 45 minutes); stir in ice. (Mixture should be cold before adding to chicken.)
3. Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise. Place tea mixture and all chicken pieces in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal. Place bag in a shallow baking dish, and chill 24 hours.
4. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Drain chicken well.
fried chicken3 150x150 Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken 5. Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Spoon 1 cup flour mixture into a brown paper bag or large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Place one piece of chicken in bag; seal and shake to coat. Remove chicken, and transfer to a wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken, adding more flour mixture to bag as needed. Let chicken stand 30 minutes to form a crust.
6. Pour oil to depth of 1 1/2 inches into a cast-iron Dutch oven; heat over medium heat to 325°. Fry chicken, in batches, 15 to 22 minutes or until browned and done, turning occasionally. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels.

baked chicken 150x150 Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken For healthier options – Instead of frying in oil, place breaded chicken on a baking sheet and oven bake at 325° for 20 to 30 minutes until a golden brown.  Or leave off the breading and cook on a BBQ grill!

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Southern Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler 150x150 Southern Peach Cobbler I have a bad case of the winter blues!  I am looking forward to spring and summer … fresh fruit and sunshine!!  This is a recipe that is prefect for summer time get-togethers!  (I do not claim rights to the recipe.)

Southern Peach Cobbler

Filling:
8 fresh peaches – peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
(If you cannot find fresh peaches – use canned or frozen and drain well.)
Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water

Topping:
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Peach Cobbler2 150x150 Southern Peach Cobbler Directions

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

2.In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

3.Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

Peach Cobbler3 150x150 Southern Peach Cobbler 4.Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

5. Allow to cool slightly then top with ice cream or frozen cool whip!

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Lemon Lime Pound Cake

poundcake 150x150 Lemon Lime Pound CakeThis is a recipe that I saw floating around on Facebook so I wanted to share it. (I claim no rights to this recipe.)  I love lemons and limes and they add a wonderful flavor to this pound cake!

Lemon Lime Pound Cake

What You Need:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup lemon-lime soft drink (such as 7UP or Sprite)
Shortening
Lemon-Lime Glaze
Candied Lemons (optional)
Garnish: lime rind twists

poundcake2 150x150 Lemon Lime Pound CakeDirections:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar; beat at medium speed 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in lemon zest and extracts.
2. Add flour to butter mixture alternately with lemon-lime soft drink, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into a greased (with shortening) and floured 10-inch Bundt pan.
3. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, shielding with aluminum foil after 45 to 50 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove cake from pan to wire rack.
lemonlime poundcake 150x150 Lemon Lime Pound Cake4. Spoon Lemon-Lime Glaze over warm or room temperature cake. Top cake with Candied Lemons and Limes, if desired.

Not sure how to make candied lemon and lime slices?  The recipe is at the bottom of the Lemon Bar Cheesecake recipe!

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Lemon Bar Cheesecake

lemon cheesecake 150x150 Lemon Bar CheesecakeI do not claim any rights to this recipe since I saw it floating around on Facebook – but I had to share!  I love cheesecake … just about any kind … and I love eating lemons – the perfect combination for me!!!  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Lemon Bar Cheesecake

What You Need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
1 to 2 Tbsp. ice-cold water
4 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups Quick and Easy Lemon Curd, divided
Candied Lemon Slices (optional)

lemon cheesecake2 150x150 Lemon Bar CheesecakeDirections:
1. Pulse first 3 ingredients in a food processor 3 or 4 times or just until blended. Add butter, and pulse 5 or 6 times or until crumbly. Whisk together egg yolks and 1 Tbsp. ice-cold water in a small bowl; add to butter mixture, and process until dough forms a ball and pulls away from sides of bowl, adding up to 1 Tbsp. remaining ice-cold water, 1 tsp. at a time, if necessary. Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 4 to 24 hours.
2. Roll dough into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a lightly greased 9-inch dark springform pan, gently pressing on bottom and up sides of pan; trim and discard excess dough. Chill 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes or until smooth. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
4. Pour two-thirds of cheesecake batter (about 4 cups) into prepared crust; dollop 1 cup lemon curd over batter in pan, and gently swirl with a knife. Spoon remaining batter into pan.
lemon cheesecake3 150x150 Lemon Bar Cheesecake5. Bake at 325° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or just until center is set. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven, with door closed, 15 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven, and gently run a knife around outer edge of cheesecake to loosen from sides of pan. (Do not remove sides of pan.) Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
6. Remove sides of pan, and transfer cheesecake to a serving platter. Spoon remaining 1 cup lemon curd over cheesecake, and, if desired, top with Candied Lemon Slices.

lemonslices 150x150 Lemon Bar CheesecakeMake your own candied lemon slices – EASY!  Take 3/4 of water, 1 cup of sugar and 1 thinly sliced lemon.  Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil – stir until the sugar dissolves – 3 or 4 minutes.  Add lemon slices and reduce to medium heat to simmer until the lemon slices are translucent – 5 to 7 minutes.  Drain and place lemon slices on a cooling rack until completely cooled.

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Kentucky Fried Chicken Biscuits

kfc biscuits 150x150 Kentucky Fried Chicken Biscuits

No secret recipe is safe with the wonders of the Internet!    I love the melt-in-your-mouth biscuits from Kentucky Fried Chicken – and similar fast food fried chicken joints.  I claim no rights to this recipe since I found it floating around on Facebook – but I had to share!  Enjoy!

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Biscuits

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable shortening (butter)

kfc Kentucky Fried Chicken BiscuitsDirections
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Sift together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into mixing bowl.
Make a well in the flour mix and add the milk.
Add shortening and begin kneading with hands (to cut in) the vegetable shortening and flour in the milk until thoroughly mixed.
Add milk, if needed to form, and mix.
Turn onto floured board, and knead gently 6 to 8 times.
Pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness.
Cut into biscuits.
Place on baking sheet and brown in oven 10-13 minutes.
Makes about 9 biscuits.

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Taco Pie

tacopie 300x300 Taco PieYummy taco pie recipe that uses mashed potatoes instead of flour for the crust!  Turns out similar to a deep dish taco pizza!!!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
1 package taco seasoning or homemade
2 1/2 cups mashed potato flakes (you could also use left over mashed potatoes and omit the butter and milk)
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream, optional

taco pie Taco PieDirections:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter. Add milk and 2 tablespoon taco seasoning.  Remove from heat and add potato flakes until incorporated. Press mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch pan. Bake for 7-10 minutes until it just BARELY turns golden brown.

In a medium skillet, cook beef and onions until beef is browned and cooked through. Drain. taco pie2 150x150 Taco PieAdd Salsa and remaining taco seasoning. Cook until bubbly. Pour into crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Top with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Cut and serve with sour cream.

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Honey Cornbread Muffins

Honey Cornbread Muffins 150x150 Honey Cornbread MuffinsWinter time is here … that means pots of brown beans and cornbread!!! Cornbread is a sweet treat that can be enjoyed anytime – with a meal or by itself!  Here is a simple recipe for honey cornbread muffins!

Ingredients

1 cup Cornmeal
1 cup All-purpose Flour
½ cups Sugar (up to 1 cup for extra sweet)
½ teaspoons Baking Soda
½ teaspoons Salt
1 cup Buttermilk
½ cups Butter, Melted
2 whole Large Eggs
¼ cups Honey

Honey Cornbread Muffins2 Honey Cornbread MuffinsPreparation
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Spray a standard 12-count muffin pan with cooking spray, or line your pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, eggs, and honey. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.
Evenly divide the cornbread mixture into your prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.
Yield: 12 muffins

I like to cut a X in the top as soon as they come out of the oven and add some butter and more honey to make the cornbread extra sweet – plus it helps keep the muffins moist when reheating!

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Basic Beef Casserole

beefcas 300x214 Basic Beef CasseroleWant something easy to throw together after a long day of work/school?  Try making this basic beef casserole.

Yield: 5-6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup bell pepper, diced
dash of salt
1 10 3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom
1 10 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken
1 10 oz. can mild rotel tomatoes, drained
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
10 corn tortillas
Optional toppings – sliced jalapenos, sliced black olives, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes

beef cassarole 150x150 Basic Beef CasseroleDIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the beef and onions. When meat has almost cooked all the way add the bell pepper and sprinkle with a dash of salt. When the meat is brown and thoroughly cooked drain the grease from the pan.

Heat a medium size sauce pan over low/medium heat. Add the cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, rotel tomatoes, garlic powder and chili powder. Stir and cook until the mixture is warm and then turn off the heat.

beef cassarole2 150x150 Basic Beef CasseroleTear each tortilla into pieces and dip each piece into the sauce mixture. (Does not have to be well coated in the mixture or you will use it all up and won’t have enough for the dish) Place the tortillas down in a large casserole dish. Then top with half of the meat mixture and then half of the sauce. Sprinkle 2 cups of the cheese over the sauce and then repeat the layers finishing with the rest of the cheese.  Bake in oven for 20 t0 30 minutes – until cheese is melted and crispy on the edges.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.  Add optional toppings and serve!

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