Recipes

Roasted Squash Pizza

Yes, squash! And kale, and caramelized onions, and apples, and  a balsamic reduction. The secret sauce that pulls it all together? Greek Yogurt!
You all know that I love substituting Greek Yogurt into baking recipes. I’ve done it in baking, and in place of sour cream atop all my chili recipes, and in smoothies left and right. But recently it struck me: why not put Greek Yogurt onto a white pizza? It’s tangy, it’s a little sweet, and in recent years the flavor options have exploded. I briefly considered making a reworked Hawaiian pizza, with pineapple Greek Yogurt, diced ham, onions and mozzarella, but after recently trying some unexpectedly delicious squash tacos, it got me thinking about the versatility of root vegetables and gourds. For this recipe, I used an acorn squash, since the skin is edible and it cooks down into a very sweet, mellow taste when diced and roasted. I pre-cooked the ingredients for this pizza in a saute pan ever so briefly, then assembled it on the pie and popped into the oven for just ten minutes of crisping. Voila!

Kale wilts a lot when cooked, and is a well-documented nutritional powerhouse. It can be tough to eat raw, so even when I’m using it in a salad I like to mix it with a variety of leafy greens chopped very fine. Kale, like other cruciferous vegetables, supports a healthy heart and digestive system, and provides an irresistibly earthy flavor to any dish. If you don’t like it or prefer not to use it, spinach would be an acceptable and tasty substitute.

This recipe makes use of several ingredients that you’ll probably have in double, simply by virtue of the quantity in which stores sell squash (which is whole) and kale (which is in large bunches). It also only calls for half a container of Greek Yogurt, so you could easily buy or make two pizza pies and then cook two of these babies back to back, and use up all your ingredients.

I know it may seem odd, but I actually chose Coconut Blended Chobani as the sweet base for this pizza. Why? Well, coconut seems unexpected, and I like that! I personally love the flavor, and this is a standby choice for me to keep in our house to share with Georgia alongside fresh fruit as a snack. She also loves the mango and pineapple flavors, which I send to daycare with a side of granola. And, just like coconut oil imparts a faint aroma and flavor to the food it cooks with, this yogurt provided a creamy, sweet foundation that made you say “hmm, what’s that I’m tasting?” with every bite of the finished pizza.

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Roasted Squash Pizza

The quantities below are for one pie; to make two, simply double. Many store-bought pie crusts are sold as a pair anyway, and you can always refrigerate the spare for another pizza recipe, or to make homemade oven chips tossed with oil and seasoning for a savory little snack.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pizza crust, homemade or store bought
  • 1 package Chobani Coconut Blended Greek Yogurt
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 acron squash, cubed into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small bunch of kale, shredded into pieces and stems discarded
  • 1 tart apple, cut into bite sized pieces, peel on
  • salt and pepper to taste

optional: balsamic reduction for drizzling (but you really should keep this step, even if it means buying a bottle of glaze instead of making your own!)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 or whatever temp the dough calls for, if you’re using packaged crust. Cut up the apple and set aside.

In a medium-sized saute pan over medium-high, heat a bit of olive oil and add the sliced red onion, stirring, until they just become translucent. Add the kale and cook for a couple of minutes until it just starts to shrink but hasn’t fully wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cubed acorn squash to the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the kale is fully wilted, the onions have begun to caramelize, and the acorn squash is browned and becoming tender. Remove the pan from the heat.

Prep the crust by spreading about half the package of yogurt onto the surface in an even layer, adding the kale, onion, and squash directly from the pan, distributing evenly over the pizza.

Sprinkle the cubed apples over the pie and drizzle gently with the balsamic reduction, using a light hand.

Place the completed pizza into the oven for 10 minutes or however long the packaged crust calls for; check to make sure the edges aren’t burning. It’s done when the crust is beginning to brown. Remove from the oven, allow to cool briefly, and dig in!

I rough cut my homemade pizzas in six or eight pieces depending on my mood, always using kitchen shears. Depending on the type of pizza stone you have, you may need to add more oil or flour to prevent sticking. I have one like this and love it. These slices reheat very well, too. Just pop a few into the microwave for 1 minute or reheat over low in a small nonstick frying pan until warm. Enjoy 🙂

Looking for more ways to use Greek Yogurt in cooking and baking? Check out  my Strawberry Yogurt CakeOrange Creamsicle Cake, and this Spicy Penne Rosa with Shrimp, which has a creamy tomato sauce, a kick of heat, and some heart-healthy spinach. Lately I’ve been making my own parfaits with the seasonal granola selection at Trader Joe’s, grapes, and apples, since those are the two fruits we have in abundance these days due to toddler preferences and our recent orchard excursion. Greek Yogurt makes an awesome addition to overnight oats, too! Be sure to head on over to Chobani’s recipe page to get even more inspiration.

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Have a wonderful week, and I’ll be back soon with some Thanksgiving ideas … plus a sneak peek at our Christmas card photos, which I can’t wait to share with you (teaser above!) Let me just tell you, portrait sessions with a two year old are NO. JOKE!  🙂

Special thanks to Chobani for inspiring this post.

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kid-friendly · Recipes

Pesto Flatbread

Anyone who has kids (and relatives who watch them) knows that it’s handy to have lots of food in the house for everyone to snack on. I’ve gone from being the type of person who never kept junk food around as a way of watching my weight to buying crackers, cheese, salsa, soda, fruit juice, granola bars and cookies in bulk so the grandparents have something to nibble while babysitting! Boy do I know how that goes: you only have one hand to eat with while chasing after the baby, and the fruit bowl can only get you so full when you’re entertaining a crazy toddler.

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The thing is, I love providing food and drinks that our babysitters and relatives enjoy, because they are doing us a huge favor … but it’s hard not to start snacking on the stuff yourself after a long day at work. Diet coke, wheat thins, tortilla chips and pastries suddenly have a standing place on my shopping list, taking me into aisles I never even would have entered before, and tempting both Mark and I when we are home. Lately, I’ve realized that we also seem to order takeout a lot more often than we intend to, because we get home late and then suddenly it’s Georgia’s bedtime and we are starving on the other side of it, with no energy left to cook. So, I am starting to try out recipes that come together really quickly with extremely few ingredients, ideally the kind you can keep on hand.  It’s a way to avoid the pizza delivery guy and have fresher options than processed foods on hand. That’s how I came to this recipe:

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I love that it has just a few ingredients, and that they are the kind of thing you can keep on hand easily. Plus, it comes together in 10 minutes. I served it with a salad and lime seltzer for lunch when my mom and brother were over, and then we finished it off with some homemade zucchini bread!

Pesto Flatbread

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 packaged pizza round or one large tortilla (any flavor/variety)
  • 1 small refrigerated jar of prepared pesto (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • pecorino or parmesan cheese, shaved
  • optional: fresh basil (I had some lying around from this)
  • extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven per the dough or crust directions. You can also use something like Pillsbury dough and lay it out flat and square). On a pizza stone, cookie sheet or round non-stick pizza pan, assemble the flatbread by layering olive oil on the crust (or tortilla), then spread the pesto in an even layer, then top with as much cheese as you’d like, grating as you go. If you have fresh basil, add it on top, tearing off small pieces and adding to your taste. Cook until the edges of the crust are browned, or about 10 minutes. Slice into individual pieces and serve warm.

We decided to call this a “flatbread” since it’s so thin and snackable, even though you make it like a pizza. Calling it a pesto pizza didn’t seem to capture the experience of eating it, since it’s so light and uncomplicated. One of these easily fed three people the afternoon I made it.

I’ll be on vacation next week, but I will share some photos of our trip to Myrtle Beach and Charleston as soon as I’m back! I can’t believe it’s Labor Day weekend already. At least we all got over the stomach bug just in time to take our trip. 

Recipes

Meatball Pizza

I made this one up to use all of the leftovers from our Baked Ziti dinner the previous weekend.

And it worked out perfectly: I had mozzarella, extra sauce and an odd handful of meatballs left over, just all hanging out homeless together in the fridge. I even had some fresh spinach because I convinced Mark to make me one of those amazing Greek Omelettes again!

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So toss it together with garlic, which I’ll assume you have hanging around BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T, and pretty much any seasonings or cheeses you feel like throwing in there. I figured, what the heck, I’ll finish off the feta and fresh oregano from said omelette too, and you know what? It was damn tasty. I suspect it would be just as good if you used frozen spinach, vegetarian meatballs, another type of green, any cheese, and so on. Customize to your heart’s content.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pre-bought pizza crust (or a ball of fresh dough)*
  • 1 cup (max) tomato sauce, canned or homemade
  • 2 or 3 cooked meatballs, broken up/crumbled into pieces**
  • 1 cup any cheese, such as mozzarella
  • 1 handful of fresh spinach
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced or diced
  • fresh oregano (optional)
  • feta cheese crumbles (optional)

* I get fresh dough at Trader Joe’s, packaged individually in plastic bags in the fresh produce section, or at a pizza shop. They will usually sell a ball very cheap if you ask nicely. I get pre-made Archer Farms crusts at Target.

** This recipe really comes in handy if you have a leftover ingredients from a pasta dinner like my baked ziti to use up, but if you don’t, you could always buy frozen meatballs and heat them in the microwave or stovetop. My favorite frozen meatballs also come from Trader Joe’s.

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven per the pizza crust package directions, or a good rule of thumb is about 400F.

Place your crust on a round pizza baker (or a square pan if that’s easier, particularly if you’re rolling out fresh dough. In which case, brush the pan with olive oil and dust the ball of dough with flour so you can work with it more easily. No need to coat a non-stick pizza pan).

Assemble the pizza: sauce on bottom, followed by garlic, then meat, then greens and then finally cheese.

Pop in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is just starting to brown and crisp.

Let cool, then cut with kitchen shears and serve. Enjoy!

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Did you like this pizza recipe? There are lots more where that came from!

Plus this handy tip for working easily with pizza dough.

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I hope you enjoyed this one and that you’re all enjoying the summer weather as it unfolds. Get out and plant your garden — I’ll live vicariously through you, since we’ve been too busy (or plagued by day care viruses) to get ours in the ground! 

By the way, I’m going to be moving the blog to a new server soon — hosting myself through WordPress.org instead of using the free WordPress.com domain. While I’m still finalizing the details, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions to readers, and may eventually include a new design. But I am wondering if you can help me with one thing: what’s the one thing you would change about this blog if you had a chance? Where can I improve — is it the name? Making it easier to print recipes? Better topics? Tell me! I’m all ears, and I really want to know.

Recipes

Spinach n’ Artichoke Pizza

As you may have noticed, I love the combination of spinach & artichokes. Preferably with cheese. So, it was just a matter of time before I threw it on a pizza…with cheese.

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Spinach ‘n Artichoke Pizza

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pizza round, or 1 fresh ball of dough*
  • 1 package fresh mozzarella
  • 1 can artichokes, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1 large tomato, chopped into chunks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • parmesan, grated (to taste)
  • tomato sauce (optional)

*You can get fresh dough at Trader Joe’s or from your local pizza parlor.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven per the package instructions for the pizza dough (or roughly 375 if using fresh dough).

Meanwhile, chop your mozzarella, grate your parmesan, cut up the tomato and onion, and push the garlic through a press and set all aside.

In a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat, warm a little bit of olive oil. Toss in the onion, drained & chopped artichokes and spinach until the spinach wilts, adding garlic halfway through cooking so it doesn’t burn. Season with a dash of salt and pepper if desired. Remove from heat and set aside.

Assemble the pizza on a stone, paddle or non-stick pan like this. Starting with the sauce on bottom, followed by the spinach mixture and then the tomato chunks, assemble the pizza so ingredients are evenly distributed, ending with the mozzarella and grated parmesan on top.

Bake according to the pizza pie instructions, or about 20 minutes/until bubbling and crispy but not browned or burned.

Remove from oven, let cool, and slice (I always use kitchen shears). Serve hot!

Note: I always make two pies back-to-back, since I’m already chopping all the vegetables and cheese, and since the pizza rounds come in a double pack. I like the low-fat ultra-thin crust from Archer Farms at Target. It comes in square or round, which is nice depending on what kind of pan you have! I just assemble mine on the counter while the first pizza is in the oven, and then pop the second one in as soon as the pan has cooled off. If you buy one mozzarella ball, a large tomato and a bigger container of spinach, then you should have enough to make double.

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Baby & Toddler · Recipes

Labor-inducing pizza

In honor of my sister-in-law and cousin, who both had babies this week (hi little Keon and Cedric!), I’m re-posting the homemade pizza recipe that I just had to make the night before I ended up having Georgia, prompting one of my good friends to dub this dish “labor-inducing pizza.” 

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Here’s the original recipe from 2012, which I’ll repost below. Little did I know when I made up this pie that it would become “the pizza that brings on labor.” If you’re past your due date and getting desperate … could it hurt?

Labor-Inducing Pizza (aka, my Pizza Rustica)

INGREDIENTS

  • One pre-made round pizza crust (I used Archer Farms ultra thin & crispy pie, from Target. You could try any brand you like.)
  • 1 large tomato or 2-3 plum/roma tomatoes, sliced
  • a handful of basil leaves, torn by hand
  • 1/2 ball of fresh mozzarella, broken into chunks by hand
  • 1 cup of pre-shredded parmesan/mozzarella mix (again I used Target)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • non-stick spray for the pan (or use olive oil)

DIRECTIONS

Start by spraying your pizza pan with non-stick spray or olive oil. Preheat oven to 400.

In a non-stick saute pan, stir-fry the sliced red pepper and onion until translucent and browned, about 10 minutes. While this is cooking on the stove top, assemble the rest of the pie.

Place pizza crust on the non-stick pizza pan and dot with olive oil; spread around evenly to coat crust.

Place tomato slices evenly around crust, then top with torn basil.

Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the basil, breaking off chunks by hand.

When the pepper and onion are done, distribute onto the pizza; top with shredded mozzarella/parmesan.

Cook for 10 minutes at 400 or until browned. Serve with spinach salad and enjoy!

Beware: if you DO go into labor after eating this, as I did, be forewarned that there’s just enough of a kick to, ahem, hurt your throat coming back up. And if you’ve never had a baby and are just now learning that labor makes you puke…well, I’m sorry. But it’s better someone told you.

Did you like this recipe? Check out my other easy, homemade pizza recipes here and here. And, a new way to work with pizza dough. Looking for a good pizza tray to use in the oven? I like this inexpensive, non-stick version that cleans up easily and won’t scratch when you slice your pie.

Recipes

Pizza Rustica

This is my favorite pizza recipe to date. I made it last weekend to have on hand for a crazy week coming up, and Mark ate 90% of it in one sitting (so much for me taking it for lunch!) Luckily, the pizza dough came in a two-pack, so I just whipped up another one. It’s less than 20 minutes from chopping block to table, making it fast AND healthy. Serve with a spinach salad and you’re set!

Pizza Rustica

Serves 2. One pizza = 6 slices. Hands-on time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • One pre-made round pizza crust (I used Archer Farms ultra thin & crispy pie, from Target. You could try any brand you like.)
  • 1 large tomato or 2-3 plum/roma tomatoes, sliced
  • a handful of basil leaves, torn by hand
  • 1/2 ball of fresh mozzarella, broken into chunks by hand
  • 1 cup of pre-shredded parmesan/mozzarella mix (again I used Target)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • non-stick spray for the pan (or use olive oil)

Directions

Start by spraying your pizza pan with non-stick spray or olive oil. Preheat oven to 400.

In a non-stick saute pan, stir-fry the sliced red pepper and onion until translucent and browned, about 10 minutes. While this is cooking on the stove top, assemble the rest of the pie.

Place pizza crust on the non-stick pizza pan and dot with olive oil; spread around evenly to coat crust.

Place tomato slices evenly around crust, then top with torn basil.

Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the basil, breaking off chunks by hand.

When the pepper and onion are done, distribute onto the pizza; top with shredded mozzarella/parmesan.

Cook for 10 minutes at 400 or until browned. Serve with spinach salad and enjoy!

I really liked the Archer Farms brand from Target, because it’s a thin-crust pizza that is low in fat and cooks up quickly. Also, it comes with two pies in a pre-made package. My recipe easily doubles if you buy twice the tomatoes, red peppers and onions (or use from your garden), and if you use the entire block of fresh mozzarella and the entire 2-cup bag of pre-shredded cheese.

I added a touch of olive oil even though I was using a non-stick pan. I like the onions to almost caramelize…

…and the red peppers to blacken on the edges for tons of flavor.

Done!

Add as many tomatoes as you like. These were some late, sweet beefsteaks from my garden, sliced into smaller pieces. I like to keep them away from the outer edge so the crust cooks up nice and crisp in the oven.

Add the basil next, tearing by hand…

…and then the mozzarella in fresh pieces, which helps hold the basil down.

Add your onions and peppers on top. Sandwiching the basil between layers like this keeps it from burning and bakes the flavor into the whole pie.

Preheat the oven to 400 and top the pie with the shredded mozzarella and parmesan. I used a bagged variety becuase the two cheeses came together in a two-cup package, and I used a little less than half for one pizza and the other half on a much cheesier second pizza a couple days later (after my husband, ahem, polished off the first version like it was a personal pan pizza).

Yup, that’s my comfy bath robe. It helps me cook.

YUUMMMM. When it comes out, it just needs to cool for a couple minutes.

A tip I learned in Italy? Just use scissors to cut pizza. Easy as pie (ha, ha).

Voila! Enjoy your pizza, and make sure you hide a couple slices if you have a big tall husband or anyone else who likes to steal 🙂

Recipes

Fall Comfort Food Recipes…

…from the Boston Globe. There are more than 50 featured, so I selected my favorite vegetarian (and seafood) options from among the group:

Pizza with butternut squash, onion and spinach

Courtesy: Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2012/02/01/recipe_for_pizza_with_butternut_squash_caramelized_onion_and_spinach/

Fish roasted on caramelized onions

Courtesy: Boston Globe.  http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2012/06/20/recipe_for_fish_roasted_on_caramelized_onions/

Baked Shrimp with Feta & Orzo

Courtesy: Boston Globe.  http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2010/12/29/baked_shrimp_with_feta_and_orzo/

Seared Sea Scallops with Parsnip Puree

Courtesy: Boston Globe. bo.st/P0Dkxa

Click each picture for the full recipe. I’m trying the pizza one this weekend!