Posts tagged pizza

Fast, low-fat pizza

Summer has arrived. Lately, we’ve become hooked on Flatout Flatbreads–they’re low in fat, with a bit of extra fiber thrown in, and make for a quick meal. My teen has been turning out these pizzas for lunch every day since school got out and I’m SO not complaining. Flat out pizza

 

Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes

Serving size: 1

 

Ingredients

1 piece of Flatout pizza (tortillas & pita bread works well, too)

Pasta sauce

1/3 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, asiago)

Toppings:  diced tomatoes, spinach, thinly sliced onion, Italian seasoning

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Lightly coat the baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Place one Flatout flatbread onto the baking sheet and spread with 1/4 -1/3 cup spaghetti sauce.
  • Choose your toppings and sprinkle on top of the sauce, followed by the cheese, and finally the Italian seasoning.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until crisp.

 

Flatout flatbread

 

 

 

 

 

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Truffle cheese pizza

Braces = pizza around our house. Our family’s favorite Italian deli happens to be right by the orthodontist’s office. So when she’s done having her braces tightened we swing by Alesci’s for their refrigerated pizza dough.

As I was digging through the refrigerator for topping ideas I stumbled on our prized chunk of Trader Joe’s truffle cheese. The cheese has the consistency of sharp provolone speckled with bits of truffle for an earthy, umami flavor. A little goes a long way.

Recipe

Serves: 4-6 people

Prep time: 20 minutes + 20 minutes baking

Ingredients

1 lb. prepared pizza dough

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 cup fresh spinach

1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup truffle cheese (or sharp provolone)

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roll out the pizza dough to fill a 9″ round pan. Generously oil the pan and add the dough.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. *I saute the veggies in my cast iron skillet and then bake the pizza in the same skillet. Yeah for easy clean up!
  4. Saute the mushroom and onions together in the heated oil until barely soft.
  5. Lightly brush the pizza dough with olive oil.
  6. Drain any extra liquid from the ricotta and then crumble it over the dough.
  7. Add the mushroom mixture, then fresh spinach. Sprinkle with mozzarella and truffle cheeses.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Allow the pizza to sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

Notes:

  • Turn up the heat by adding a dash of cayenne pepper on your pizza before baking.
  • I served the pizza drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It was perfection!
  • My oldest daughter loved this veggie pizza but my younger kids opted for the standard pepperoni; their loss! (Admittedly, I didn’t push them too hard to try it because I really, really wanted leftovers. And this pizza is even better day two, cold.)

Getting the truffle pizza oven ready.

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The secrets to great grilled pizza

I’m above average. Yup. Turns out that most Americans eat 46 slices of pizza a year. My guess is I average a few more. (One last fun pizza fact: in Japan, they top pizza with squid. We haven’t tried that yet.)

I’ve tried naan pizzas, rocky road pizzas, margarita pizzas, savory apple pizzas, you get the idea. For National Pizza Month–yes October is it!–I wanted to try something new. If you haven’t tried grilled pizza, now’s the time.

Here are a few secrets to turn out brick-oven style pies right in your backyard:

Bring the dough to room temperature. If you’ve made your dough from scratch, this shouldn’t be a problem. But I often buy pre-made refrigerated dough from our local Italian deli. I let it sit out for at least an hour so it’s easier to roll out.

Keep the dough a little thicker. I like my pizza crust fairly thin, but it’s hard to get it onto the grill grate when it’s too thin.

Use cornmeal. Lots of it. Once you’ve rolled out the pizza dough generously spread cornmeal under it. Use the cornmeal to slide the pizza onto a cutting board or a cookie sheet (I’ve got a flat one so the pizza slides right onto the grill).

Pre-grill the dough. To fully cook the crust–and to keep the topping from falling off–bake it on the grill for a few minutes, just until it gets stiff and then add your fixins.

Kids’ reactions: I let each of my kids make their own pizza. My teen made the favorite pie–fresh tomato slices, chopped olives, baby spinach, feta cheese, slivers of red onion, and a little drizzle of olive oil. Yum!

Who’s ready to start grilling?

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Rocky road pizza

When I picked up the phone this afternoon at first I thought something was wrong. On the other end, my mother-in-law just didn’t sound like herself. When I asked what was up, I had to laugh at her response: “Kris, I finally tried Nutella today. It was a-m-a-zing.”

Even though she spent part of her childhood overseas, my mother-in-law had never tried Nutella. She’s hooked now. We talked about all of the ways she could use it, but one of my newly discovered favs has to be rocky road pizza. Bonus: these mini dessert pizzas are fun for kids or grandkids to make!

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes + baking

Servings: 4 mini pizzas with 4 slices each


Ingredients

1 package pizza dough

1-1 1/2 cups Nutella

1-2 cups mini marshmallows

1 cup smoked almonds, chopped (optional)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking oil.
  3. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll each one out to a 6-8-inch circle.
  4. Spread Nutella on each pizza round using a kitchen knife.
  5. Place the mini pizzas onto the baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle marshmallows, nuts and chocolate chips (if using) on top of the Nutella.
  7. Bake the pizzas for 20 minutes or until the marshmallows become golden.
  8. Cool before slicing.

Kids’ reactions: As you might expect, all of my crew, including Mr. Squid raved about these mini pizzas. We also tried mixing apple slices with Nutella on pizzas too. The pizzas were harder to slice than the rocky road version but at least I felt like they had some nutritional value. I’m thinking when raspberries are in season it would be tasty to spread the pizzas with Nutella and white chocolate chips and once they came out of the oven I’d pop on fresh berries.

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Naan pizza

Saturday night I had hungry kids and zero energy. While this usually equals a lackluster standard grilled cheese and top ramen for dinner (honestly, top ramen is on my comfort food list), I wanted to do something fun and different for my crew. Roaming through the fridge I stumbled on an idea (I’d been to Costco earlier that day which explains both my exhaustion and my superpack of naan): using naan, which is an Indian flatbread kinda like a pita but with more heft and a dose of clarified butter (called ghee) that I thought might make for a crispy crust with pizza fixins.

I made two version of naan pizzas: a traditional ham and cheese pizza and a margarita version. The meal was quick and easy. More important, it passed the ‘mom, can-you-put-this-in-my-lunch-for-school’ test.

*Next time I might try going for more traditional Indian flavors, maybe sauteing spinach and putting it with a creamy cheese for riff on palak paneer.

Here’s how I put it together.

Naan-traditional pizza (Ok, I liked this pun, but my teenager just rolled her eyes)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and slather each naan piece with spaghetti sauce. Top with pepperoni, green peppers, sausage, olives, or whatever you have on hand, cheese, and pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden.

Margarita naan pizza

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly brush the naan with olive oil. Top the flatbread with thinly sliced tomatoes, fresh ground pepper, fresh or dried basil and mozzarella cheese. Normally, margarita pizza has fresh mozzarella on it, but since I didn’t have any I used pieces of a Laughing Cow light Swiss cheese wedge and then grated mozzarella. I like the creamy cheese combined with the broiled.

Your turn–Have you ever tried naan? Are you a fan?

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Savory apple pizzas

I saved my favorite bistro pizza recipe for last. Layered with tart apples and a hardy cheese, this pizza was inspired by one of my favorite snack combos, Cortland apple slices with either sharp New York cheddar cheese or whatever strong cheese I had on hand, Fontinella, Fontina, Gruyere, even Parmesan works.

A few things that make this recipe work:

The size. The less traditional mini-size pairs well with the less traditional ingredients. I can’t imagine eating a big slice of apple pizza, can you? But a hand-sized one seems perfect.

Fresh ingredients. The apples are at their flavorful peak right now. I like something with a bit up a bite that holds up to baking. I used Cortland apples, but Granny Smith would be a good choice too.

Deli dough. You can make the dough from scratch, but I stop by my neighborhood Italian deli and pick it up to make the meal prep even faster (they have white or whole wheat dough available).

Sweet slather. Before putting on the apples and cheese I brush the dough with agave nectar. You can use honey too, but I prefer the consistency and slight maple flavor of agave.

Even though my kids like the margarita and the meatball pizzas, apple was the surprise winner in our week of bistro pizzas and this was the only recipe I didn’t plan out beforehand. I had extra dough so I looked through my fridge for inspiration and came up with these pizzas. (Side note: I knew I had a good recipe when my daughter asked if she could bring an apple pizza to school with her for lunch.)

Recipe

Ham also goes well with the apple cheese topping

Servings: 4 mini-pizzas


Ingredients

1 bag pizza dough

3-4 tart apples, sliced thin

8-10 small slices of strong cheese (about 8 ounces, Fontinella, Parmesan, Gruyere)

Agave or honey

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Divided the dough into four equal pieces using a floured knife.
  3. Roll each dough piece out into a 5-6 inch circle, then place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  4. Brush each dough piece generously with agave or honey
  5. Layer the apple and cheese slices on top.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is golden.
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Meatball margarita pizza

Here’s a good reason to start hunting for a good Italian deli in your area–meatballs. Of course, fresh pizza dough, mozzarella, homemade sausage and pasta make the list too, but when I want a quick meal, I’ll often pick up meatballs and sauce at Alesci’s then all I have to do when I come home is make the pasta.

But meatballs have so many possibilities–why not as a pizza topping? I merged two of my kids’ favorite Italian meals–meatballs and margarita pizza for these mini-meals.

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4 mini-pizzas

Ingredients

1 bag pizza dough

1 1/2 cups marinara or pizza sauce

1 bunch basil

8-12 ounces fresh mozzarella

12 meatballs*

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Divided the dough into four equal pieces using a floured knife.
  3. Roll each dough piece out into a 5-6 inch circle, then place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  4. Slather each pizza with sauce.
  5. Place three meatballs, mozzarella, and fresh ground pepper on top.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, remove pizza and add basil then cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until cheese is golden. (You can leave the basil on the whole time if you don’t mind it getting a little crispy. I actually like the basil crisped so I put it on at the beginning of cooking, it’s up to you!)

*Tweak this mini-meatloaf recipe to make your own meatballs. Cut out the mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, tabasco and add plenty of torn fresh basil and dried oregano instead.

Coming up later this week:

  • Breakfast pizza failure
  • Apple Gruyere pizza (a new favorite)
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Bistro pizza week–margarita

I’m keeping it simple and fun this week by passing along a few mini-meal ideas we’ve been trying out–welcome to bistro pizza week! Now you can definitely make your own pizza dough, but to keep this meal fast I buy pre-made dough from an Italian grocery store near our home. With dough at $1 per bag, I pick up three and make four mini pizzas with each.

It’s fun to play around with the small sizes and experiment with the flavors. But to start off, I’m passing along a classic–Margarita pizza, topped with only three fresh ingredients: mozzarella cheese slices, roma tomatoes and basil. Named after an Italian queen whose visit to Naples inspired the idea, I find the simple ingredients are appealing to picky eaters. Maybe it’s that the ingredients are so easy to identify, or that every part of the pizza is fresh, but this is the most requested pizza at my house. We even picked up yellow tomatoes to make it again this week–gotta tweak right?

Note: It’s easy to double or triple this recipe and it makes for great leftovers to send in kids’ lunches–or to have for breakfast…

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4 mini-pizzas

Ingredients

1 bag pizza dough

2 roma tomatoes

1 bunch basil

8-12 ounces fresh mozzarella

olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Divided the dough into four equal pieces using a floured knife.
  3. Roll each dough piece out into a 5-6 inch circle, then place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  4. Brush each dough piece generously with olive oil.
  5. Place tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh ground pepper on top.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, remove pizza and add basil then cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until cheese is golden. (You can leave the basil on the whole time if you don’t mind it getting a little crispy. I actually like the basil crisped so I put it on at the beginning of cooking, it’s up to you!)

Coming up later this week:

  • Meatball margarita pizza
  • Breakfast pizza failure
  • Apple gruyere pizza (a new favorite)
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