Category Archives: Pizza

Pizza Pasta Salad

Who’s ready to start making salads of all kinds, fire up the bbq, and sit out on the deck in the warm spring sun?  *Raises both hands and waves them frantically around like a maniac*

Great, well let’s get to it then!

I love pizza.  I also love pasta.  So combining the two seems like a pretty darn good idea, dontcha think?  You do?? I’m so glad we think alike! :)

This is a Kraft recipe.  I don’t make many of their recipes because I find that they rely a little too much on convenience products for my taste.  A recipe that starts off with a box of Kraft Dinner? No thanks! 

But as I was looking through a stack of old what’s cooking magazines the other day, my eyes alighted on this pizza pasta salad recipe. 

It sounded really good.  I had (mostly) all the ingredients.  It was not overladen with convenience products. So I made it!  How’s that for short and to the point? ;)

The ingredients in this salad really make me long for summer.  I can’t wait to have a big, bushy basil plant growing wildly on the back deck again.  Luckily, I did have some that I’d tucked away in the freezer last summer that I was able to use.  If you don’t have any fresh basil, just sprinkle in some dried, it’ll be just fine :)

And don’t be afraid to add other favorite pizza ingredients like bell pepper and red onion.

Here’s my slightly adapted version. I hope y’all give this a try and enjoy it!  Until next time, happy cooking :)

Pizza Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups medium shell pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced or chopped pepperoni
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing

Directions:

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors.

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Filed under Pasta, Pizza, Salads

Tuscan Chicken Pizza

I’ve mentioned previously that pizza is one of my favorite things to make.  I love coming up with new combinations.  The inspiration for this one came from one of my recent thrift store cookbooks acquisitions,  the 100 Best Favorite Brand Name Recipes cookbook.  In it there is a recipe for Tuscan Chicken and Pasta.  I liked the ingredients in the recipe, but I really wanted pizza not pasta, so I did a little tweaking here and there to come up with this yummy pizza that I think you will really like too.

This pizza is healthy and a good way to use up some of that extra zucchini you may have.  I only have one zucchini plant, so I’m not exactly hauling in bucket loads from the garden, but I do have a few good sized ones I picked recently that need to be used.  So I’ve been eyeing up other yummy zucchini recipes to try on some of my favorite blogs, and they may end up making an appearance here too!

Tuscan Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-baked pizza crust (or make your dough from scratch)
  • 3/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded provolone cheese (or mozzarella)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper then brown in skillet. Spread pizza sauce over crust, then top with chicken, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and provolone cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

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Filed under Pizza

Marinara Sauce with Fresh Herbs

Good morning!  I feel like I’ve been neglecting my little blog lately and not posting as much as I would like. I’ve been under a bit of stress and haven’t felt like I had much in the way of good recipes or positive thoughts to share.  But today I’m back :)

This is a nice recipe for those of you, like me, who like to grow fresh herbs in the summer.  It’s an easy way to doctor up a cheap can of tomatoes and turn it into something a little fancier.  This sauce is very versatile as well, you can use it on all sorts of things, it’s even a good pizza sauce.  In the past I’ve made several large batches and frozen them for later.  Pop open a jar and have the fresh taste of summer herbs in the middle of winter!

I have to say that I’ve been a bit dissapointed with my basil this year.  I usually buy sweet basil, but I decided to try something different, so I bought some spicy globe basil.  While I like the taste of it just fine, it’s not been nearly as prolific as the sweet basil.  And with basil being one of my favorite herbs, I like to have large bunches of it to freeze at the end of summer.  Note to self for next year:  buy sweet basil first and then experiment with different varieties!

Marinara Sauce with Fresh Herbs

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tb chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • red pepper flakes, optional

Directions:

Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan.  Add onion and garlic to pan, cooking until they have softened.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Season with salt to taste.

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Filed under Pasta, Pizza, Stove-Top Meals, Vegetarian

Southwestern Chicken and Black Bean Pizza

One of my favorite pizzas is chicken fajita pizza, a recipe I got from my mom years ago.  But when I wanted to make it a few nights ago, I had to do a little improvising based on ingredients I had on hand.  I didn’t have the salsa called for, but I did have some homemade enchilada sauce in the freezer.  I also had some black beans I wanted to use in place of some of the chicken.  Just like that, a new pizza was born!  It turned out great, and even Jay, who dislikes beans in anything except for baked beans(but I still make him eat them), really liked it.  Give this one a try! :)

Before I sign off for today, let me share with y’all what’s sitting on my kitchen table and smelling oh so wonderful right now:

Lilacs!  When Jay and I were out walking last night after dinner, we spotted several bushes in bloom along the road, and I wrangled off a few bunches.  I assume they must grow down South as well, but I can’t remember anyone I know ever growing them.  Their scent is truly heavenly.

Southwestern Chicken and Black Bean Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-baked pizza crust, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 1 cup sliced bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 8 oz. shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

Directions:

In a medium skillet, cook the chicken until browned on all sides.  Remove from skillet and set aside.  Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet, and cook until softened.  Return the chicken to the skillet along with the black beans, and stir in the chili powder, salt, and garlic powder.

Spread the enchilda sauce over the pizza crust.  Spoon the skillet mixture evenly over top.  Sprinkle with chopped tomato, then the cheese.

Bake at 425F until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

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Filed under Chicken, Pizza

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Here’s a great, all-purpose recipe for pizza sauce.  We all love pizza, right?  They’re one of my very favorite things to make at home because there’s really no limit to what kinds you can make, and they’re almost impossible to mess up.  For pizzas that call for a tomato-based sauce (and most do), I think this one is perfect.  It comes from a cookbook called Crazy Plates by Janet and Greta Podleski.  I’ve mentioned in a previous post that they are two of my favorite cookbook authors.  I’ve never gone wrong with any of their recipes. 

This sauce can easily be doubled or tripled.  Just put the extra into a mason jar or tupperware container and stick it in the freezer.  That way when you’re craving pizza or your family members are hollering for some, you’ve got a headstart with this pizza sauce. 

And speaking of freezing pizza related ingredients,  here’s a link back to my favorite pizza dough recipe.  I often make large batches of that and then freeze individual portions.  To freeze it, just make up the dough, shape it into a ball, then I like to wrap it in plastic wrap and put it into a ziplock bag.  Then just take out your dough a few hours before you need it so it can thaw and rise simultaneously on the counter.

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 Tb dried oregano
  • 1 Tb red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, until onions have softened.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cool before using.

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Filed under Pizza

Classic Betty Crocker! Hamburger Pizza

I love finding cookbooks at thrift stores.  In fact, I think I prefer cookbooks that are a little worn around the edges to brand new cookbooks.  I always wonder who owned that book before me and what were their favorite recipes.  Sometimes I’ll find books that have little penciled in comments next to recipes.  My mom has always put little smiley or sad faces next to recipes, and without even thinking about it, I’ve ended up doing the same.  Does anybody else do this?  Well, if I ever part with any of my cookbooks someday, the next person who owns them will have a heads up on which recipes are good and not so good!

This recipe for Hamburger Pizza comes from one of my recent thrift store finds, the Betty Crocker Best Recipes for Ground Meat cookbook.  Good ol’ Betty, she’s never yet let me down. Making this recipe brought back memories because I remember my mom making something similar when I was a kid.  This actually turned out more like a casserole than a pizza. Jay and I found it easiest to eat with a fork rather than our hands.  I really liked the Bisquick crust, it had a biscuit-like texture.  The chopped tomato on top was my own addition, and really, you could add whatever other pizza toppings you like.  This was super quick to put together since there was no rising time needed for the crust.  With a salad to go alongside, this was a perfect Friday night meal :)

Hamburger Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups baking mix(I used Bisquick)
  • 1 heaping tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 7 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese(I omitted this)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped (optional)

Directions:

Combine yeast and warm water.  Allow to sit for a few minutes until proofed. Stir in baking mix until mixture forms a ball.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 20 times.  Let dough rest a few minutes.

While dough is resting, brown the ground beef along with onion and pepper.  Drain off any fat.  Stir in tomato sauce, oregano, and black pepper.  Set aside.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle large enough to fit a 13×9 pan. Place into ungreased baking pan, pinching the edges to make a slight rim.  Spread meat mixture almost to the edges.  Top with chopped tomato, if desired, and cheeses.  Bake at 425F for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is brown and the filling is hot and bubbly.  Cut into squares to serve.

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Filed under Beef, Casseroles, Pizza

Personal Pan Pizzas!

Last night was pizza night in my kitchen.  I LOVE to make pizzas, in fact, they’re probably one of my very favorite things to make. They’re pretty much a fool-proof meal, just throw your favorite ingredients onto a pizza crust, top it all with cheese, and let it bake until gooey and melty.  And if the ingredients you picked end up not going together as well as you expected, well, cheese makes everything taste better!

A few nights ago Jay requested ham & pineapple pizza, and since he so rarely puts in a specific request, I like to oblige him when he does.  But I also had some other ingredients lying around that I wanted to use up, so I decided to make two personal pan pizzas, one a ham & pineapple and the other a turkey club pizza.  I’m not going to give a recipe for each, since the ingredients are pretty much all to taste, but I will just give you a rundown of what I did.

For the ham & pineapple pizza, I spread a thin layer of pizza sauce over the crust, topped that with some julienned ham, pineapple chunks, and cheddar cheese.  For the turkey club pizza, I mixed together a few tablespoons of mayonnaise with a squirt of lemon juice and a sprinkle of dried basil.  I spread this over the crust then topped it with some cooked ground turkey(deli or rotisserie turkey would be great, I just happened to have the ground kind), cooked and crumbled bacon, tomato slices, and cheddar cheese.

Here are the pizzas ready to go into the oven:

And here they are after baking:

They turned out great, though I did find myself wishing I had put a little more cheese on the turkey club pizza.  Ah well.  I am going to include the recipe I use for pizza dough.  I found the recipe on Food Wishes.com, and it originally came from Wolfgang Puck.  It’s pretty much my go-to pizza dough recipe now.  It’s super easy to make, and I like that it makes two 12-inch pizzas, so if you don’t need that much you can just stick the other half in the freezer for later. Or cut the recipe in half.  Whatever makes you happy.

One thing I want to mention regarding pizza dough is that I always pre-bake it in the oven for about 10 minutes, just until it starts to turn color, before adding my toppings.  I’ve seen many people on tv and other blogs just throw their toppings on an un-baked crust and pop it into the oven.  I’ve tried that before and always end up with a limp, soggy crust.  I don’t know if there’s something I’m doing wrong?  But I’ve found that if I briefly bake the crust first, I end up with a perfect slightly crispy, slightly chewy crust.  So that’s how I’ve typed up the directions, but feel free to keep using your favorite method.

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg(2 1/4 tsp) dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tb olive oil

Directions:

In a large bowl stir together the yeast, honey, and 1/4 cup water.  Let stand for 10 minutes until yeast is foamy.  Add salt, oil, remaining water, and 1 cup flour. Mix until everything is combined.  Add another 1 cup flour, and mix again.  Add another 1/2 cup flour.  Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead for 5 minutes, adding as much of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed. Place into a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch dough down, then divide into two sections on a floured surface(or four sections for personal pan size pizzas).  Cover with a tea towel and let rise again for 20-30 minutes.  Roll dough out on the counter or use your hands to pat into a pizza pan.  Bake at 425F for 10 minutes or until just lightly browned.  Remove from oven, and add your favorite toppings.  Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.

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Filed under Breads, Pizza