Posts Tagged ‘Pizza’

Pizza Night and Re-purposed Tomatoes

November 6, 2009

Tomatoes fresh IMG_4177I love a good tomato…the firm, sweet, juicy type with the most wonderful texture.  And then there are those mealy things that pose as tomatoes; if you didn’t know what they were supposed to taste like you’d swear you’d never touch another tomato again!

Well, I managed to pick up a batch of the later.  Ick!  They have been sitting on my counter for a couple of days, looking oh-so-beautiful but far from salad worthy.  I determined it was time to put them to use before they headed any further south. 

You can probably tell by now that Pizza is my cure for just about any dinner quandary.  There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that pizza can’t carry off perfectly!  Forget diamonds, pizza and chocolate are this girls best friend (and possibly mashed potatoes, lasagna, spaghetti, avocado, umm…but I digress). 

Now I know there are some chefs out there who would cringe at the thought of using mealy, half-mushy tomatoes for anyting…purists.  Personally, I don’t care how far gone they are, I’m not letting my $2.50 worth of tomatoes go to waste ;-) 

So my three tomatoes became homemade pizza sauce, and I have enough left over to smother a couple of baked chicken breasts or toss with some pasta and fresh basil for a side dish!  The flavor came out wonderfully, and the mealy texture didn’t matter one bit once they were cooked and seasoned!

Another Delicious Chicken Pizza 

(Oh Pizza, how I love thee!  How else can you stretch half of a chicken breast between two and a half people?) 

  1. Take about 10 minutes to mix up your pizza dough (give yourself at least 1 hour before you want to eat so it has time to rise and bake); when it is ready, press out and…
  2. Spread with a thin layer of chunky, homemade tomato sauce mixed with Greek Vinaigrette Dressing
  3. Top with shredded mozzarella, chopped chicken, sliced olives and thinly sliced red onions and green bell pepper.
  4. Enjoy!

    Pizza 2 - cooked

    Chicken Pizza with Mozzarella , Fresh Tomato Sauce, Vinaigrette, and sliced Red Onion

Next time you have a couple of tomatoes that are a little past their prime, or need to make a small batch of sauce quickly, give this a try and let me know what you think!

Fresh, Homemade Tomato Sauce

Prep Time:  5 minutes / Cook Time: 10 min / Yield: about 1.5 cups

  1. Peal tomatoes (using a fork, I held mine over the gas stove burner for about 20 seconds, rotating, and the peals came right off with no trouble)
  2.  Chop or puree until you have a chunky sauce (I use a pair of kitchen choppers for this…not fan of most kitchen gadgets, but love these scissors)

    Tomato Sauce 1 IMG_4197

    Time Savers

  3. Season to taste (oregano, salt, dried onion, olive oil if desired) and simmer in a small saucepan for about 10 minutes until tomatoes are soft and slightly stewed.
  4. Use as sauce for pizza or pasta; leftovers can be frozen in ice cube trays (each cube will be about 1 oz) for easy dinners later on. 

 

Friday Fun

October 23, 2009

Friday nights should be fun…friends, family, good food, and memories!

Before leaving the house I grab an old blanket, a roll of paper towel, one small candle lantern and lighter, and a couple bottles of water.  On the way out we stop by Little Caesars for a $5 peperoni, and then head out to the lake.  Sitting cross-legged at the end of a pier; eating pizza right out of the box; watching the water change colors and sparkle as the sun begins to set; talking with Eli (my 16 month old) about the ducks as they fly by and honk, the breeze, the rippling water; scooting together under a blanket as the moon and stars start to come out, and chatting around the tiny, twinkling lantern.  This is what family memories are made of.

Have fun making your own this weekend!  Picnics don’t need to be elaborate, and the ones that taste best are often the easiest.  Here are some ideas to get you started…

Location: pick somewhere the whole family can enjoy

  1. park, playground, nearby camping ground
  2. lake or pond (have fun feeding ducks and fish with dinner leftovers!), stream bank
  3. large, grassy field where you can play frisbee or toss a ball.

Food: keep it simple; meals that don’t have to be a certain temp, don’t make a mess, and don’t require special utensils (soup is a pain because it inevitably spills, and you have to bring bowls and spoons)

  1. sandwiches and chips
  2. pita pockets stuffed with chicken salad (or other favorite filling)
  3. pizza out of the box
  4. or if you happen to be without children…a warm loaf of french bread, a good block of cheese, some grapes and strawberries, and a bottle of wine!

Activities: think of something your family loves that you haven’t done in a while

Memories

Memories

  1. play ball or toss a frizbee
  2. take a simple board game or cards (I don’t recommend cards if it’s at all windy!)
  3. take old bread or crackers you can feed ducks and fish
  4. candlelight is always a plus!

Please feel free to share!  What is your favorite dinner-time picnic memory???

Quick Pesto

October 9, 2009
Basil PestoI love spinach salad, however there always seems to be that last serving left we never get to before it starts to droop.   Try this quick and easy pesto recipe for a fresh addition to your supper…and a budget friendly way to keep aging veggies out of the trash:
  • about 2 cups fresh spinach (it’s ok if it’s a bit wilted!)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/8 -1/4 cup olive oil…start with a little and add until desired consistency

Combine all ingredients together in a blender or small food processor, and in two minutes you will have a delicious pesto!  If you don’t have fresh basil on hand, experiment with dried herbs…crushed dried basil, Italian Seasoning, cilantro, crushed rosemary…pick your favorite, but start with just one until you know how the flavors will combine.

Tip:  freeze extra pesto in ice cube trays and then store in the freezer in an airtight container; each cube is about 1 oz

Pizza Night!

October 7, 2009
Pizza Night

Pizza Night

As you will likley come to find out, I am positively in love with pizza!  It is possibly one of the simplest and most versatile dinners one could possibly make, and is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.

While I could literally go on for days expounding on the millions of possibilities pizza holds (expect more posts on this to come!) – from crust, to sauce, to toppings – for now lets begin with a simple crust recipe.  

First, let me thank my sweet friend, Erin, for sharing her crust recipe with me years ago and getting me hooked on homemade pizza dough.  Second, please do not be scared of yeast!  There was a time not all that long ago when I would take one look at a recipe calling for yeast and quickly dismiss it as too involved…all the proofing, and rising, and kneading, and punching just seemed overly complicated.  But yeast breads can be so simple!  If you are new to bread making, please give this a try and let me know what you think!

Pizza Crust Recipe:  

yield – 1 large crust (8 slices); time in the kitchen – 15 min for crust prep and 5-10 min for toping pizza

  1. In a glass measuring cup mix:  1 Tblsp yeast , 1 tsp sugar, and 1 cup very warm water (as warm as is comfortable to put your hand into)
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine:  3 cups flour (white, whole wheat, or a combo), 1 generous tsp salt 
  3. Add yeast/water mixture to flour and mix lightly with a spoon – about 10 strokes will do just fine.
  4. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil, stir again with your spoon to mix it together a little and then begin working dough with clean hands;
  5. Knead (in the bowl, no need to dump the mess onto your counter top) until dough is smooth and a little stretchy…about 3-5 min tops. 
  6. Form dough into a ball and coat with a little olive oil to prevent it from drying out; place it back in your mixing bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  7. Set aside and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 30 min if using quick/bread machine yeast or 1.5 hours if using regular active try yeast).  Once dough has doubled in size punch it down to let the air out; you can either go on to step 8 if you are ready to eat dinner or let it rise again…up to 3 times.
  8. Flatten dough ball with your hands and place on your pan/cookie sheet/baking stone (if using metal sheet, grease first and give a light dusting of corn meal).  Use your hands to press it out into your pizza crust shape, and perfecto!
  9. Top with whatever you have in your fridge (any sort of cheese, chicken, ham, any veggies that are looking droopy, etc).  Bake for 15-20 min at 425 F.

The Key:  think about how much time you have and when you want your dough to be ready; choose either active dry or breadmachine yeast depending on your time frame.  I whiped up the dough at 6:00p before we went out to the gym this evening, and when we got back at 7:30 it was all ready to press out and top with veggies and the last tidbit of leftover chicken.