These aren’t your mother’s leftovers

Actually these are leftovers, but let’s not quibble over semantics.
For the bulk of my life as a family cook, I did not have to worry about what to do with the leftovers. With six hungry people coming to the table each night, we rarely left more than crumbs on our plates.
As each child left, though, the problem became more pronounced. Eventually, we even needed to expand our vocabulary.
“Are we scrounging tonight?” They asked this repeatedly if they didn’t sniff out a fresh meal as they came in the door. This question offended me. We are not a feral family.  We are, however, competitive, particularly my son Vinnie and I. We once faced off in a grilled cheese cook off that left our poor judge (Miss Molly) with hardened arteries, and this summer we challenged each other to a push-up contest on the side of Machu Picchu.
Last night we put our cook-out leftovers to good use in a good old-fashioned pizza cook off. Hands down,Vinnie won with his Mashed Potato Pizza.
We used 10-inch tortillas as our base. I think it’s best to toast them in the oven before you pile on the toppings, but my co-chefs were impatient and anxious to baked their pizzas before kickoff of the University of Wisconsin football game. Apparently, the toasting is optional.

Here are the ingredients we used:
(Most of these really were leftovers from our dinner the night before. Of course, no one used all of them on their pizza. These were just the ingredients that made it onto at least one pizza. For sauces, we used the following options: pizza sauce, Alfredo Sauce, balsamic vinaigrette, ranch salad dressing, onion cheese spread. Some used a combination. I, for instance, used red pizza sauce with some Alfredo Sauce drizzled over. Also, there has been heated debate about the placement of the cheese. Some of us put the cheese on over the sauce and add any extra ingredients over the cheese, and some of us sprinkle the cheese on last. The over achievers among us use two layers of cheese. The beauty of this cooking method is that any combination works. Also, the over achievers also tend to be the younger cooks and less likely to be worried about caloric intake.)

Two grilled chicken breasts (chopped)
Onion slices
Sliced fresh mushrooms
One chopped bratwurst
Mashed potatoes
Mozzarella Cheese
Cheddar Cheese (grated)
Diced fresh tomatoes
Alfredo sauce from a jar
Pizza sauce
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Dry Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
Italian Seasoning
Onion cheese spread
Parmesan Cheese

Items we sometimes use but did not have on hand last night include:
Fresh spinach
Black or green olives

This is my pizza prior to baking and an example of what can happen
when the chef is too competitive. Too many toppings!

This is my pizza battling with Vinnie’s first attempt.
Our oven barely survived this round.
These tasted so much better than they looked!
(Although they are a little weary from the battle)
And here is Vinnie’s winning recipe
Mashed Potato Pizza
Lather on a layer of onion cheese spread as a sauce.
Sprinkle ranch powder on top of cheese spread.
Put thin layer of mashed potatoes on top of sauce.
Sprinkle onions, mushrooms, and Italian seasoning on top of mashed potatoes.
Drizzle Alfredo Sauce on top of toppings.
Cover everything in shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese. 
Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on top.
Bake in a preheated 400º oven until crust is crispy and cheese is bubbly, approximately 20 minutes.
Vinnie redeems himself with the second shot.
Vinnie’s Baked Potato Pizza before it hits the oven.
Vinnie’s Baked Potato Pizza. Delicious!
It was just for a weekend, but we really loved having Vinnie home!

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