One of my favorite creative challenges is looking at what we have on hand in the kitchen and creating a recipe or meal plan for the week trying to use up as much of what we already have as possible. Is it just me or does using up all of something before it goes bad thrill you too? #nerdalert

This gets especially fun when you have unusual ingredients around, which happens a lot more now that we’re trying new recipes every month! I recently put a spin on two of our old standby recipes (one savory, one sweet) to use up what we had lying around, and the results were so delicious I had to share here, too.

First up…

Goat cheese & prosciutto mushroom pizza 

The last time we made homemade pizza we used ingredients from one of our new recipes, and this time we did the same thing! All I had to buy to make this was pizza crust, prosciutto, and mushrooms. Starting with a Pillsbury crust, I added:

  • olive oil (from our prosciutto wrapped stuffed chicken)
  • mozzarella cheese (leftover from our sausage pasta bake we had earlier in the week)
  • goat cheese (from our prosciutto wrapped stuffed chicken)
  • diced prosciutto
  • chopped mushrooms
  • diced onions (on hand)
  • spinach (on hand)
  • …and more cheese

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All of it goes into the oven for a little bit and voila!

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Nathan and I both LOVED this flavor combination, and pizza was the perfect thing to have on hand for him to take for lunches/dinners when he was on call for CCU. He said, “This is better than most pizza I would order at a restaurant!” I’ll take that as a win, especially on the heels of Lampo 🙂

For something sweet…

Reese’s Pieces Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies

I hadn’t made this recipe in forever, but when we found ourselves with some cream cheese leftover from our prosciutto wrapped stuffed chicken and a box of brownie mix in the pantry (which is a staple for us for emergency chocolate craving situations), it came to mind and I knew just the twist I wanted to put on it: Reese’s Pieces! I don’t know how random candy ends up in our pantry or where it comes from all the time, but I am more than happy to put it to good use in recipes like this. Really…mixing Reese’s with brownie batter into cookies…these are the rare moments when I feel like a genius.

Usually the drawback to this recipe is dragging out my heavy Kitchenaid mixer, BUT in our new apartment it is not a hassle at all because it has a permanent spot on our counter! I seriously love the way we’ve organized our kitchen (and how big it is). All my baking stuff in one area, pots and pans in another, etc…I think I threw this recipe together in <5 minutes because everything is conveniently right where I need it. All the storage and counter space has been a game changer when it comes to cooking/baking for me in general. It is so much easier and enjoyable for me now than it used to be!

Anyhow…the only thing I needed to buy for this recipe was…NOTHING! So, into the mixer went:

  • 1 stick butter (room temperature – KEY!)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, also room temperature (leftover from prosciutto wrapped stuffed chicken)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 box of brownie mix (Ghiradelli triple chocolate FTW)
  • 1 box of Reese’s Pieces

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I always have to take this action shot to show you just how incredibly LUSCIOUS this dough is. If it were a Dairy Queen blizzard, you could definitely hold it upside down without it spilling out (anyone else remember those days??).

Give it some color…

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Plop it on parchment paper – also key!! It is a gooey mess otherwise.

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BAM – 11 minutes later, the kitchen smells like heaven and you have this chocolatey masterREESEpiece waiting for you…(see what I did there)

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Side note: Am I the only one who never gets even CLOSE to the number of cookies a recipe says it’ll make? Or do I just make gigantic portions? This supposedly makes 24 cookies but I got 19. And no, before you ask, I did NOT eat all the dough…just some of it, for quality testing purposes only. Ahem. 

Additional highlights of this recipe include 1 bowl and 1 pan to clean up after (because duh…you lick the spoon clean yourself).

I love when my creative side finds an outlet in the kitchen – fixes my craving for a creative challenge and delicious food in one fell swoop!

What are your favorite pizza topping combinations? What candy should I mix into these cookies next time? And seriously…do you EVER get 24 cookies from a recipe or am I the only one?

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