Tag Archives: homemade pizza

Homemade Pizza with “Sun-dried” Tomatoes

One of the best things about overflowing summer produce is the yummy surprises I find in my freezer in the fall. A couple of months ago I had tomatoes coming out my ears and decided to make some mock sun-dried tomatoes in the oven. They were so easy to do, and so delicious. Best of all, they take up a fraction of the space of whole or canned tomatoes, since you can stack them all in a freezer bag and stash them away for later.

Now, you’re probably saying, “fat lot of good this does me in the middle of fall with no garden tomatoes to be found!” Well, on one hand you are right. But on the other hand, this is a great trick to make store-bought tomatoes taste better in the fall and winter. By doing this slow bake, you get rid of the watery, mealy texture of winter tomatoes and bring out all the natural sweetness instead. For extra sweet ones, use the little grape tomatoes! Then use in your favorite pasta, omelet, salad, pizza or whatever!

As with any pizza, feel free to build your own with the ingredients and flavors you like. For this particular pie, instead of sauce I used a simple olive oil and garlic mixture, covered with sun-dried tomatoes. Then top with a scatter of your favorite toppings, some melty mozzarella, and you have a pizza to die for. For a more crispy crust, I recommend using a pizza stone, but if you don’t have one, a parchment lined cookie sheet will do the trick just fine.

Homemade pizza with "sun-dried" tomatoes

Homemade pizza with “sun-dried” tomatoes

Homemade Pizza with “Sun-dried” Tomatoes

1 ball of fresh pizza dough (you can make your own or use a pre-made dough, such as Trader Joe’s)
1 tsp. cornmeal
1 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried Italian herbs
1/2 – 3/4 cup sliced “sun-dried” tomatoes (see recipe below or use store-bought sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil)
6-7 olives, chopped up, any kind
1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 small shallot, sliced thinly and rings separated
1 ball (8 oz.) fresh mozzarella

Remove your ball of dough from the bag, coat in a bit of olive oil and place in a bowl with a towel over it. Let it come to room temperature and rise a bit (usually about an hour is fine). Preheat oven to 450˚ with pizza stone or pan in the oven. While the oven is preheating, prep all your toppings so you can assemble your pizza quickly.

When oven is preheated, remove the stone. Sprinkle stone with cornmeal and press out your dough into whatever shape you want your pizza to be. Since my stone is round I usually go for some sort of roundish, oblong sort of shape. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter garlic and half the herbs over the dough. Rub all around so it’s got a thin coating all over.

Layer on your toppings. I started with tomatoes to mimic “sauce”, then layered spinach, olives, shallots and then cheese on top. Sprinkle with the other half of the herbs.

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, or until crust is crunchy on the bottom and cheese is melted and starting to brown just a bit on top. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.

"Sun-dried" tomatoes - no sun needed!

“Sun-dried” tomatoes – no sun needed!

“Sun-dried” tomatoes – no sun needed!

Roma tomatoes
Olive oil
Sea salt (plain, or infused)
Fresh cracked pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 250˚. Line baking sheets with parchment. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise. Lay out on sheets, sliced side up. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

All ready to pop in the oven.

All ready to pop in the oven.

Bake 3-4 hours or until slightly flattened and sun-dried looking. Let cool. Store in freezer bags, and pull out as needed.

Use tomatoes in your favorite dinner.

What are you going to put your sun-dried tomatoes on?

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Mediterranean Pizza

I can’t remember the last time I went out for pizza.  There are a few places I like in town, but none are very close to my house, and it usually just seems like too much trouble.  I’ve found it’s much easier to make my own, especially if I want a healthy-ish, gourmet-ish sort of pizza.

I threw this together with a few ingredients I had on hand, and the result was a tasty, Mediterranean style pizza that disappeared in the blink of an eye!  I read an article recently about ingredients you should never put on pizza, and I think spinach was on the list, but what do they know?  I actually really like it on pizza, especially if you cook it at a high enough temp that it gets a little crispy on the edges instead of just wilting.  Because nobody likes a soggy pizza.  This is a great way to get some extra veggies into the little ones (and the big ones!) without it seeming like rabbit food.

If you have a Trader Joe’s in the vicinity, they make a great fresh pizza dough that you can find in their refrigerated section.  It comes in plain or garlic-herb varieties.  If you don’t have a TJ’s close to you, you can use any pizza dough that suits you.

Mediterranean Pizza

Mediterranean Pizza

Mediterranean Pizza

Garlic-herb fresh pizza crust (I used Trader Joe’s pizza crust, but whatever kind you like will work)
1/2 cup basil pesto (click here for my pesto recipe or use store bought)
Pepperoni
1 tomato, sliced or diced
1 cup spinach, coarsely chopped
Assorted olives (I used kalamata and some green Italian ones)
1/2 cup feta
1/4 cup mozzarella
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, go ahead and preheat that too, otherwise you can use any baking pan.  Flatten your dough out with your hands into whatever shape suits you (I usually just make it whatever shape of pan I’m using). Make it as thin or thick as you like.

Spread pesto evenly over crust.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just try to get a little bit all over it.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, just try to get a little bit all over it.

Layer  pepperoni and spinach.

 

Pepperoni and spinach.  For a vegetarian version simply leave out the pepperoni.

Pepperoni and spinach. For a vegetarian version simply leave out the pepperoni.

Pile on the other toppings, sprinkling evenly over crust. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper, or if you like it spicy, scatter a bit of crushed red pepper over the top.

Tomatoes, olives and cheese scattered on top.  Doesn't that look gorgeous?

Tomatoes, olives and cheese scattered on top. Doesn’t that look gorgeous?

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until crust is lightly browned on the edges and bottom.  I like a crispy crust, so I sometimes cook an additional minute or two.  For a softer crust, take it out a bit sooner.

Let it set for a few minutes before slicing.  Cut into wedges and try not to burn the roof of your mouth when you dive in!

Mmmmm!

Mmmmm!

 

 

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Spicy Homemade Taco Pizza

My baby brother (one of them) was born when I was 14.  Now while that was all very exciting, the part leading up to that was pretty cool too.  That was the part where my mom was craving Godfather’s taco pizza and raspberry ripple ice cream.  We ate a lot of taco pizza that summer.  Ever since that time, I have loved it.  These days, I hardly ever see it offered at pizza places, and when I do, it’s just not the same.  So, as I am wont to do, when I was having a craving recently I just made up my own.  I saw a recipe somewhere where the dressing was drizzled on top and I thought that was a pretty great idea so I copied that idea on mine.  Added a nice spicy zip!

If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s in the vicinity, check out their fresh pizza dough, which you can find in the produce section.  Otherwise, use the brand you like best (or make your own).

Now…where can I find some raspberry ripple ice cream?

Spicy Homemade Taco Pizza

Spicy Homemade Taco Pizza

Spicy Homemade Taco Pizza

Pizza Crust (I use the fresh pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, but use your favorite)
1/2 pound ground beef
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
4 oz. can green chiles
1 cup crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1/2 jalapeno, minced (leave out if you don’t like it spicy)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, diced
Salt
Sliced black olives
1/2 cup sour cream
Juice of one lime
2 tbsp. hot sauce (I used Cholula)

Preheat oven to 425˚.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.  Press out pizza dough with your fingers until it’s the thickness you like.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add ground beef and onion and cook until beef is no longer pink.  Add beans, garlic, cumin, chili powder and green chiles. Stir and sort of mash the beans into the mixture. Cook until heated through.  Set aside.

Mix crushed tomato and minced jalapeno.  Spread over pizza crust.

tacopizza

Spread meat mixture over tomato sauce.

tacopizza2

Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of the meat mixture.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until crust is browned on the bottom, and crispy around the edges.

tacopizza3

Remove from oven and spread lettuce, tomatoes and olives over the top.  Whisk together sour cream, lime juice and hot sauce.  Drizzle over the top of pizza (you can do this with a spoon or put in a ziplock bag and snip off a corner).  Cut into squares and eat up!

tacopizza5

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Farmer’s Market Pita Pizza

I almost forgot to go to Farmer’s Market this weekend.  At the last minute, I remembered I had no veggies in my fridge, and if it wasn’t the market, it was a trip to the grocery store instead.  I chose the market.  I arrived with only a few minutes to spare, in fact some of the vendors were already breaking down their booths.  So I embarked on what surely was the quickest, most efficient farmers marketing I have ever done, rushing through and grabbing a few goodies here and there without giving it too much thought.  It was actually a lot of fun, and I ended up with an armful of random items that somehow go really well together.  Plus I scored a gorgeous flower bouquet, greatly discounted.  I’d like to think it was because I was looking especially fetching that day, but truth is, he probably just wanted to go home.  Maybe both. 🙂

Farmer’s market goodies! Gorgeous flowers, new potatoes, goat cheese, beets, dill, carrots, sweet onions, raspberries and look at those beautiful tomatoes!

So for dinner, obviously I couldn’t wait to dip into my treasure trove of goodies.  I had a couple things left from my last trip to the market that needed to get used up – some pita bread and Italian salami.  Combined with some of fresh goat cheese and freaking amazing tomatoes from this trip, plus some basil from my garden, I had myself a pizza to die for.

My beautiful pizza!

Farmer’s Market Pita Pizza

1 greek pita or flatbread
1 small to medium size tomato, sliced
fresh basil
olive oil
goat cheese
dry salami

Drizzle the pita with a tiny bit of olive oil.  Arrange tomatoes over the top to cover the surface.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Scatter salami and basil over the top and dot with blobs of goat cheese.  Add another little drizzle of olive oil.

Building the perfect pizza. You really don’t even need to cook it if you don’t want to.

Broil for 5 minutes or so until the cheese is melty and the crust is browned around the edges.  Cut into wedges and eat!

 

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Mini Polenta Pizzas

Polenta is one of those ingredients I forget about.  That is, until I have some and then I think, “oh yeah, I love this stuff!”.  There are two ways I really like it: one is cooked creamy, like rice or grits (although oddly, I don’t like grits), preferably loaded with some sort of creamy cheese.  The other way I love it is when it is set up solid, and then fried so it’s a little crispy on the outside.

To fry polenta, you can make it yourself and then cook it in a pan to set up solid, then cut it into pieces and pan-fry it.  Or, if you are rather lazy like me, you can buy it pre-made in a tube!  Now, usually food in a tube grosses me out, but this stuff is pretty good, without much in the way of added ingredients.  Simply remove it from the tube and slice it up into disks.  Fry or bake to your heart’s content or use it in whatever recipe strikes your fancy.

In this case, I was in the mood for pizza.  But I’m trying to eat more healthy, and also trying to cut down on gluten-heavy foods since they seem to love my hips (and why wouldn’t they?).  So the idea for using polenta disks instead of crust was born.  Since I had just broken in my new food processor by making the first batch of pesto out of my garden, I decided on pesto instead of red sauce and with a couple of fresh veggies and stretchy cheese…voila!  Pizza in a quickie, fairly healthy, bite-size form. Can I just say, I’m somewhat of a genius?

Mini Polenta Pizzas

Mini Polenta Pizzas

1 tube of pre-made polenta
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
1/2 cup basil pesto (store bought or homemade)
Fresh garden or vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
Zucchini, sliced in disks or diced
Mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Slice polenta into disks, about 1/2 inch thick.  Lay on a baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Take out of the oven and smear tops with pesto.

Mmmm….pesto!

Build your pizza with your favorite toppings.  We used fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced zucchini and mozzarella cheese.

Fresh and beautiful toppings

Pop back into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to brown in spots.  Remove from oven and let it sit for just a few minutes.  If you eat them when they are really hot, you’ll need a fork.  If you wait a little bit you can pick them up.  Up to you!  One tube of polenta yields about 10 mini pizzas.

Right out of the oven. And those crunchy cheese bits on the pan all got eaten too!

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