Mushroom Calzones–Portable Goodness.

Mushroom Calzone

Know what one of the perks of having extra pizza dough in your freezer is?

Calzones.

Also known as “homemade hot pockets” in my book…..not just delicious but portable, too!

Just like pizza toppings, anything goes when it comes to filling calzones. Veggies, meat, cheeses—they can even be made into desserts. This time I opted for a mushroom medley which was perfect when dunked into marinara sauce.

Enjoy!

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Mushroom Calzone
Serves 2

Ingredients:

8 ounces Pizza Dough
1½ cups sliced assorted mushrooms
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 pinches red chili flakes
¼ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
cornmeal, optional
1 cup marinara sauce
kosher salt
black pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil with the butter. Add in garlic and sauté for one minute. Toss in mushrooms, chili flakes and thyme leaves and sauté until the mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Allow the mixture to cool.

On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough to a circular shape and until it reaches ½ inch thickness. Fill one-half side of the dough with the mushrooms mixture and cheeses, leaving an inch or so border around the edge. Carefully fold the dough over itself. Roll the edges up and press to seal. Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and slide the calzone on top. Brush the calzone with olive oil and lightly sprinkle kosher salt on top. Bake the calzone for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with marinara sauce to dip.

Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza

Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza

I could eat pizza all of the time.

Which, lucky for me, is brilliant since I’ve worked for universities for the past 10+ years. And if you didn’t know it before, the most popular equation on college campuses is Pizza = College Students.

True story.

Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza

In an effort to further explore the versatility of pesto, I turned to slathering pizza with this herbaceous mixture. And not just any pesto—-but Macadamia Nut Pesto! Thanks to an excess of macadamia nuts I had in my pantry (I was on a mac nut baking binge) I was able to create another version of pesto by substituting pine nuts with them.

The natural creamy rich taste of macadamia nuts was a perfect marriage to pesto and offers some solid health benefits, too.

I made my Macadamia Nut Pesto a tad on the thicker side since I knew I wanted to use it as a “sauce” for my pizza. But if you prefer a looser consistency, just stream in a tad more olive oil when processing it. I also was pretty heavy handed with the amount used for the pizza so adjust according to your preference.

And with college football gearing up this weekend, this unique spin on a pizza pie will be a sure fire win for any game day celebration!

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Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza

Ingredients:

16 Ounces Fresh Pizza Dough
8 Ounces Grilled Chicken Breast, sliced
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
1½ Cups Macadamia Nut Pesto*
8 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
¼ Cup Yellow Cornmeal
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Macadamia Nut Pesto:
2½ Packed Cups Sweet Basil
½ Cup Roasted Macadamia Nuts, unsalted
2-3 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Approximately ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare Pesto. In a food processor, pulse garlic and nuts. Add basil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil and blend until the pesto is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down sides in between steps. More olive oil can be added if a smoother, loose texture is desired. Refrigerate until ready to be used.

Place pizza stone or large baking sheet in the middle rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly dust your surface area with flour. Take dough and stretch into your desired shape. Once the oven reaches its temperature, pull the baking stone/baking sheet out of the oven, and sprinkle cornmeal on the surface. Carefully slide the dough on top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is lightly golden. Remove the crust from the oven and brush with olive oil over top. Spread an even layer of pesto over the crust. Top with the chicken, mushrooms, and cheese. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until all the cheese has melted and pizza is golden brown. Serve with additional parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.


Whole Wheat Pizza with White Garlic Sauce

Whole Wheat Pizza with White Garlic Sauce

You’ll never hear me saying that I’m a “healthy eater“.

But I do like to believe that I’m a “balanced eater“.

Need some clarification?

Well, let’s say I stop by Fatburger for lunch (which, incidentally, is one of my FAVES!) and inhale a Baby Fat Burger with Bacon and an Egg. I’ll enjoy every bite and morsel without guilt because I know that night, I’ll fix up some type of grilled fish and veggies for dinner.

Balanced Eating.

Well, in my book at least.

And that’s how I see this pizza. I made a rich, creamy white sauce packed with roasted garlic and smothered it on top of a whole wheat pizza dough.

Balanced.

Or Delusional. Same difference, really. :)

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Whole Wheat Pizza with White Garlic Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients:

Dough (From Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen):
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 packages dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 lukewarm water from the tap
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Flour for the work surface
Sprinkling of  cornmeal

White Garlic Sauce:
1/2 cup roasted garlic
3/4 cup milk, warmed
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 pinches dried oregano
2-3 pinches cayenne pepper, to preference
kosher salt

Toppings:
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 cup caramelized onions
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
whole basil leaves
parmesan cheese
red Chili Flakes

Prepare pizza dough. Place flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. While mixer is running, gradually add water and knead on low speed until dough is firm and smooth, about ten minutes. Turn machine off. Pour oil down inside of bowl. Turn on low once more for 15 seconds to coat inside of bowl and all surfaces of dough with the oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm spot until doubled in bulk, about two hours.

Preheat your oven to highest setting, 500° or 550°F. If using a pizza stone, place stone in oven on bottom rack, preheat oven one hour ahead.

When dough is nearly risen, begin making the sauce. In a pan, melt the butter into the olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour—combine and cook for a 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the heated milk, careful to not let any lumps form. Continue cooking and whisking for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened to desire consistency. Remove from heat and stir in oregano, cayenne, parmesan cheese, and roasted garlic. Taste and add salt as needed. Set sauce aside.

Punch pizza dough down, cut in half. On generously floured work surface, place one half of dough. By hand, form dough loosely into a ball, stretch into a circle or desired shape. Once the oven reaches its temperature, pull the baking stone/baking sheet out of the oven, and sprinkle cornmeal on the surface. Carefully slide the formed dough on top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is lightly golden. Remove the crust from the oven and spread the sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a ½ -inch border around the perimeter. Top with the caramelized onions, sliced mozzarella and the chiffonade of basil. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until all the cheese has melted and pizza is golden brown. Serve the pizza with additional fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

If you were to ask me, “What do you want on your pizza?”———–I will almost always say, Sausage and Mushrooms.

You just can’t go wrong with this delish combo.

I do, however, like to add a few special touches when I make my Sausage and Mushroom Pizzas. And those little extras comes in the form of roasted garlic and grape tomatoes. I try to squeeze in my veggies anyway I can.

Wait a second. Can I really consider garlic a “vegetable”?

Eh…… Sure, why not!? :)

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

For this pizza, I tried out the dough from Cooks Illustrated. I’m happy to report that it came together really easily—especially since I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the dough hook attachment for the kneading. The dough came out beautifully silky before baking and had a wonderful texture when it was done. I definitely recommend it!

Stay tuned for Friday’s post where I take a spin on one of my all time favorite desserts :)

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Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Dough (From Cooks Illustrated):
½ cup warm water (for yeast)
2½ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting the work surface and hands
1½ teaspoon salt
olive oil for oiling the bowl
*Makes enough for 4 medium sized crusts

Toppings:
1 cup spicy Italian sausage, browned
1 cup Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1½ cups marinara sauce (more if you like it saucier)
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup grape tomatoes, diced
¼ roasted garlic
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare pizza dough. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add room temperature water and oil and stir to combine. Combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 8 minutes, using a little dusting flour as possible while kneading. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.

Place pizza stone or large baking sheet in the middle rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly dust your surface area with flour. Divide the dough into quarters. Take one of the pieces and roll/toss/stretch the dough into your desired shape. Once the oven reaches its temperature, pull the baking stone/baking sheet out of the oven, and sprinkle cornmeal on the surface. Carefully slide the dough on top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is lightly golden. Remove the crust from the oven and brush with olive oil over top. Spread the roasted garlic all over the crust. Cover the crust with an even layer of marinara sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella evenly over the dough, leaving a ½ -inch border around the perimeter. Top with the grape tomatoes, sausage, and mushrooms. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until all the cheese has melted and pizza is golden brown. Sprinkle the pizza with Italian parsley and serve with additional parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.

Note: If you aren’t planning to use the extra dough right away, there are a few options for you. First, you can shape each piece and parbake them. Wrap them up tightly in plastic wrap and foil—then, throw into the freezer. Another option is to oil the inside of a Ziploc bag with cooking spray. Throw in one ball of dough per oiled bag and remove any excess air before sealing and place it in the freezer. Transfer it to the fridge the night before you want to use it. Then place it on the counter to get it to room temperature for 1-2 hours before you bake it.

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza–a Super Bowl Party Must!

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

 

It’s Super Bowl Weekend. And if you’re like many Americans, your local pizza joint will be making some deliveries to your house this Sunday.

Sure, it’s convenient and some are quite tasty. But why not make your own??

This Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza is super easy to make and ridiculously delicious. I’ve made my own pizza dough (courtesy of my tried and true Epicurious recipe) but if you’re short on time, you can definitely pick up some pre-made dough from your local pizzeria or grocery store. Trader Joe’s has a great one for under $2.

 

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

 

 

If you have a pizza stone, this is definitely the time to use it. The stone will add a crispier texture to your crust. But I found that I had pretty nice results using a baking sheet—just be sure to use corn meal on the bottom.

And if you’re a garlic lover, you will be smitten with the SUPER GARLICKY flavor from the roasted garlic. But let’s not forget how deliciously cheesy this pizza is–three types of cheeses will do that for you :)

This will definitely be a WIN for your Super Bowl Party.

 

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

 

I, myself, am boycotting the Super Bowl. As a lifelong Vikings fan, I just cannot watch the Packers!

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Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza
Serves 4

Pizza Dough (Adapted From Epicurious):
1½ Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Warm Water
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Toppings:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ Cup Roasted Garlic
1 Tablespoon Yellow Cornmeal
1 Cup Cooked Chicken Breast, diced
1 Cup Roma Tomatoes, diced
¼ Cup Sundried Tomatoes
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
¼ Cup Feta Cheese
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
¼ Cup Scallions, diced
¼ Cup Fresh Italian Parsley, finely diced
Kosher Salt and Pepper
Serve with additional Parmesan Cheese and Red Chili Flakes

Prepare Dough. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the water. Let stand 2-3 minute, or until the yeast is creamy. Stir until the yeast dissolves. In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Lightly coat a large bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to oil the top. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Flatten the dough with your fist. Cut the dough into 2 pieces and shape the pieces into balls. Flatten the dough slightly. Dust the tops with flour. Place the balls of dough on a floured surface and cover each with plastic wrap, allowing room for the dough to expand. Let rise 60 minutes, or until doubled.

Place pizza stone or large baking sheet in the middle rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly dust your surface area with flour. Roll/toss/stretch the dough into your desired shape. Once the oven reaches its temperature, pull the baking stone/baking sheet out of the oven, and sprinkle cornmeal on the surface. Carefully slide the dough on top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is lightly golden. Remove the crust from the oven and brush with olive oil over top. Spread the roasted garlic all over the crust and add chicken, sundried tomatoes, and Roma tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the entire pizza with the cheeses and scallions. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until all the cheese has melted and pizza is golden brown. Sprinkle the pizza with Italian parsley and serve with additional parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.

*Loosely inspired by Cooking Light


Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon

Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon


One afternoon while having lunch, we caught an episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they made a Pizza Bianco. It looked so easy and delicious that I stopped mid bite of my sandwich and feverishly began jotting down the recipe for the pizza dough. I was drawn to it as it almost had a focaccia-like consistency.

A few weeks later, with some more time on my hands and ambition at my side, I decided to give A.T.K.’s pizza dough a spin. True to form, like many of their recipes, it was easy. However, it was VERY time consuming. Mix this, wait 5 minutes….spin that, wait 2 minutes, flip 101 times….you get the point. But I must admit that the end result was well worth the wait.

I also opted out of their “bianco” style pizza in lieu of a tomato based sauce I created myself. To honor the Margherita Pizza, I used homegrown basil, creamy Bocconcini Mozzarella, and quickly roasted sliced tomatoes. And for that added extra punch, I topped it all off with crumbled crispy bacon. Why? Because I LOVE bacon.

WE LOVED IT! It was so savory, gooey from the cheese, bright from the basil and 95% homemade so you know where everything comes from. Incidentally, I didn’t make the cheese though I have ALWAYS wanted to try! There’s always next time. We also drizzled some of the baked pizza with some deliciously high quality finishing olive oil….very Italiano!

Word to the wise, start this recipe when you aren’t the least bit hungry. Having to wait for the dough to rise is quite time consuming and could be a monster if you’re hungry! :)

Adding the fixings

Enjoy!

Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon
Serves Approximately 4

Pizza Dough (From America’s Test Kitchen)
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 ¼ Teaspoon Salt
1 ⅔ Cups Water
1 ½ Teaspoon Yeast
1¼ Teaspoon Sugar
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil (extra for greasing)
2 Tablespoons Corn Meal (finely ground)

Tomato Sauce
1 32 Ounce Can of Plum Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove Finely Dice Garlic
1 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
¼ Teaspoon Dried Fennel
Salt and Pepper to taste

Toppings
12 Fresh Bocconcini Mozzarella (cut in half)
1 Plum Tomato, sliced, and slightly roasted at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
4 Slices Bacon, cooked, and crumbled into large pieces
5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees for one hour before you are ready to bake the pizza (preferably with a Pizza Stone).

In Mixer using a Dough Hook, combine flour, salt, and water just to combine. Approximately 3-4 minutes. Let rest for an additional 20 minutes.  Add yeast and sugar. Mix for 2 minutes. Turn on Mixer on High Speed and mix for an additional 6-10 minute until dough is glossy & smooth. Dough should begin pulling away from bowl. In another large bowl, oil the surface with 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil Bowl. Transfer dough to bowl, add another 1 Tablespoon to the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let triple in volume – approximately 2-2 ½ hours.

While dough is resting, prepare tomato sauce. In a sauce pot, heat olive oil for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add chili flakes and heat for an additional minute. Add the entire can of tomatoes with liquids to the pot. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. With the back of a wooden spoon (or potato masher), break down and crush the tomatoes. Add oregano and fennel and simmer on low for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a food processor or blender, carefully puree the tomato mixture. Leave thick so that it spreads well over the dough. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover a baking pan with 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. Sprinkle corn meal evenly across the pan and turn dough into pan. Lightly and gently spread dough across pan. If the dough does not hold shape and snaps back, let rest for an additional 5 minutes. Once the dough has been spread onto the pan, let it sit on countertop for another 5-10 minutes until it gets good and bubbly.

Dock the dough 30-40 times and parbake for about 15 minutes. It should be lightly brown on the top. Pull from oven and spread the Tomato sauce to cover.  Add roasted sliced tomatoes, cheese, and bacon. Put back into the oven for about 5-10 minutes until cheese is lightly brown. Add fresh basil and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cutting board. Cut with a Pizza Slicer (or bread knife) and Enjoy!