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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mini Ranch Pizza Appetizers

[This is my first of two entries being submitted to the Hidden Valley Ranch™ Recipe Challenge.  I hope you enjoy the flavours!  My second entry will be posted tomorrow.]

As soon as my box of Hidden Valley Ranch™ samples (full sized bottles) arrived for the Hidden Valley Ranch™ Recipe Challenge, I had an idea for a recipe.  Well, actually I had three so I started experimenting in the kitchen.  In the end, I had four nice recipes that were delicious keepers according to my taste testers and two that were good but needed more tweaking.  So here is one of the keeper recipes that I decided to use for my first entry in the recipe challenge.

mini ranch pizza entry 1 for Hidden Valley Ranch Recipe Challenge
Yesterday, I told you how I made the  charcoal grilled jerk seasoned chicken that I would be using for my first entry in the challenge.  I use a lot of Greek style pocketless pitas when entertaining.  Cut into four or eight wedges they are perfect for appetizers.  At the same time, these pitas are perfectly sized for a child's meal and they would be a tasty, easy treat for a child's birthday party.  My goal when creating this recipe was a bit rustic, flavourful, easy to make mini pizza that would appeal to both adults and kids.

If you are making them for kids, place various vegetable toppings and let them assemble their own pizza.  Guaranteed they will choose more vegetables than expected!  Of course a little taste testing of the ingredients while making their pizza always helps.  We did this with our kids when they were young.  Even though they were and are still veggie lovers, it always amazed me how letting them choose made a such a difference. 

Ranch® really is the new flavour of the day.  It's not just for dressing and dips anymore!  I used the new Hidden Valley® The Original Ranch® Cheese Creamy Dressing & Dip as a blending base flavour for this recipe.  The flavour works nicely with the other flavours, giving a creamy element to the pizza.  We liked the flavour so much, the Ranch® Cheese has earned a place in our pantry. 

Mini Ranch Pizza Appetizers
recipe by: Garden Gnome

3 Greek style pocketless pitas
1 cup (250 ml) prepared charcoal grilled jerk seasoned chicken
4 slices Provolone cheese*
2 tbsp (30 ml)sweet peppers, red and yellow
3 tbsp (45 ml) Sweet Baby Ray's® Barbecue Sauce
3 tbsp (45 ml) Hidden Valley® The Original Ranch® Cheese
2 tbsp (30 ml) brocoli, chopped
2 tbsp (30 ml) green onions, sliced
⅓ c (75 ml) seared mushroom slices
1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped tomatoes (optional)

Slice the mushrooms and pan sear in a little butter.  Drain and set aside.  Chop broccoli and sweet peppers.  Slice the green onions thinly.  Brush the tops of the pitas with Sweet Baby Ray's® Barbecue Sauce.  Tear the cheese slices into thirds and distribute even over top of each pita.  Divide chicken into thirds and place on pitas.  Squeeze in a circular motion about 1 tbsp of Ranch® Cheese dressing over each pita.  Top with mushrooms and then the prepared vegetables.  Bake at 350ºF/175ºC in oven or outdoor grill on Silpat lined baking sheet until cheese is melted and just turning golden on the edges.  Remove from oven.  Cut into 4 or 8 wedges as desired using a pizza cutter.

*I could only find sliced Provolone cheese here so used it as that is the flavour and texture I wanted.  Grated Provolone cheese can be substituted.

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