Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: Pizza

Sausage & Pepper Pizza

The other night I was trying to decide what to make for dinner and thought about making up some Sausage and Pepper’s.  Then I thought about having some pizza instead.  That was when I realized I would just combine the two. 

In the past when I’ve used pizza crust, I’ve told you that I purchase the dough either from the store or one of our local pizza places.  I’m not one of those people who has the talent for bread and dough making.  And, I do believe it’s a talent that some people just seem to have. 

Finally, I decided to try my hand at my own pizza dough, and after making batch after batch of it, I won’t ever be buying a store bought dough again.  Well, actually, that isn’t true.  If it’s on sale or if I’m in a rush I would still buy the store made version.  But, I will admit that working with freshly prepared pizza dough was a wonderful experience.

Here is how I made just one of my most favorite pizza versions.

PIZZA DOUGH:

Pizza Dough recipe from Family Circle  Magazine 10/17/10 issue

  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 1 Packet Active Dry Yeast (* I used Freischmann’s Pizza Dough Yeast)
  • 2 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt (I used Kosher, so I added a little extra)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Place water in a small bowl and stir in the yeast.  Let stand 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the flour, sugard and salt.  Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and olive oil.  Stir until dough comes together and forms a ball.  Tur out onto a well floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding as much of the remaining 1/4 clour as needed.  Form into a disk and place in a bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil.  Turn disk over and cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours. **SEE NOTE**

**NOTE:  If you find yourself making the dough on a cold day and don’t have a warm spot to place it, this is what I have done and it’s worked well.  I turn the oven to 200 degrees until just heated.  Turn off the oven and wait about 15 minutes.  Then I place the bowl with the dough, which I cover with a clean dish cloth, in the oven and allow to rise.  It will usually rise this way in less than an hour. 

TOPPING INGREDIENTS & INSTRUCTIONS:

  • 1 lb. Sweet or Hot Italian Bulk Sausage
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion, sliced
  • 1 1/4 Cups Pizza Sauce (Use your favorite here)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Freshly Grated Mozzarella Cheese (or as much as you and your family prefer)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large sauté pan, break up the sausage and brown completely.  This will take about 15 or more minutes.  You want to make sure the sausage is fully cooked and evenly browned. 

Once the sausage is done, remove it to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. 

In the same pan that you just browned the sausage in, add the sliced onions and peppers.  Depending on how lean your sausage is, you may have enough excess grease left in the pan to cook up the onions and peppers.  If you don’t, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of olive oil and sauté the peppers and onions until just soft.

Take your risen dough and form it into whatever shape you prefer.  I did this in a 16″ pizza pan and it came out perfectly. 

Since the toppings are pre-cooked, I decided to pre-bake the crust for a few minutes before adding the toppings. 

Place the dough in the oven and allow to pre-bake for about 6 – 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top the crust with the pizza sauce, sausage, peppers, onions and mozzarella cheese. 

Return the pizza to the oven and cook until the top is bubbly, the cheese melted, and the crust is a golden brown.

Sometimes, if I feel like the bottom of the crust is not cooking to the crispness I like, I will slide the pizza off the pizza pan directly on the oven rack half way through the baking process and finish it that way.  If you are using a pizza stone, you won’t need to do this.

Once done, remove from the oven and allow to set for a few minutes.  Slice into 8 equal pieces using a pizza cutter and serve.  Enjoy!

I’ve shared this recipe over at Kim’s blog (Previously known as “Quit Eating Out”) “Recipes to Run On”.  Check out Kim’s site by clicking on the link below and view some other links to some great bloggers.

 

Taco Pizza

My children love taco night.  When I say “taco” I mean the ones you buy in the box that have crispy and soft taco shells, a taco seasoning packet and some taco sauce.  They don’t want adventurous fish or chicken taco’s.  And that’s okay, because I can enjoy that ground meat mixture in a corn shell taco just as much as an elaborate one.

I ended up with leftover taco meat and toppings and decided to switch it up and throw it on top of some pizza dough.  It made my children happy not once but twice this week when dinner was served. 

It also made my life a little easier knowing dinner would be quick and easy to throw together.

You don’t need to have leftovers from taco night to make this, you can just follow the basic recipe below and make the pizza by itself.  Yum!

 

TACO PIZZA:

  • Fresh Pizza Dough (either homemade or purchased) *please do not use the one in the can in the refrigerated section.  Many grocery stores now sell fresh pizza dough if you don’t want to make your own.
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey or beef, browned and drained
  • 1 Packet of Taco Seasoning (follow packet directions for adding to the beef or turkey mixture)
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Freshly Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Taco Sauce (I buy the bottle in the taco section of your grocery store)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a skillet, begin browning your meat.  Drain of all fat, add the taco seasoning packet and the amount of water instructed on the packet. Stir together, remove from the heat and set to the side.

Add a little olive oil to a sheet pan and some to the outside of the pizza dough.  Work your dough into a rectangular shape on the baking sheet.  If you use a pizza stone, which is an even better choice), work the dough out to fit the size stone you are using.  I used a standard size sheet pan and worked my dough to fit the size of the pan.

Using a slotted spoon, cover the top of the pizza dough with the ground meat mixture.  Top that with the cheddar cheese.

Place on the bottom rack of the oven and bake until the bottom is nice and crusty.  If the top of the pizza dough is not browned enough, move it to the top rack and place it under the broiler for a minute or two to make it the color/crispness you are looking for.  Be sure to watch it closely since it takes only seconds to burn!

While the pizza is baking dice up your tomatoes and shred some lettuce. 

As soon as the pizza is done, remove the oven and place on a cutting board.  Top with the tomatoes, lettuce and sprinkle with over some taco sauce, using just enough so that it doesn’t make it too soggy.  You don’t want it dripping in the sauce!

Add whatever other toppings you like such as sliced black olives, diced onion, avocado, cilantro, or sour cream.

Enjoy!

Grilled Pizza

My mouth has been watering for a week for this grilled pizza.  My plan was to make these last weekend, but then we got hit with cold, rainy, damp weather, so I nixed the idea.

But this weekend it’s beautiful, hot, sunny and gorgeous out.  The perfect time to grill up some pizzas.

Our favorite pizza place serves what they call a “Bruschetta Pie”.  No sauce, but lots of Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh garlic, fresh mozzarella, and oil and vinegar.  It’s delicious.  We order it every few weeks.

As you all may know by now, I’m not a dough person.  I can’t get the hang of it and keep promising myself someday I’m going to become one of those people who just has magical fingers that works dough – any kind of dough – beautifully. 

Until I get there, I buy my pizza dough.  Our store had fresh pizza dough on sale last week for $1 for a fresh made pound.  I picked up a few, and after realizing last weekend was a no go on the grilling decided instead to throw them in the freezer for another time.  This was that time. 

First things first, either make your own dough or pick up some freshly made dough.  Pizza places will sometimes sell you theirs, but there are many grocery stores that make their own now as well.  I don’t recommend the canned stuff.  It’s just not natural.

Let that dough rise and do its thing. 

Get your grill nice and hot, and before you heat it, either spray it with some grilling spray (I used Pam for Grilling), or brush it with some olive oil.

While the grill is heating, slice up the tomatoes, basil, chopped garlic, and throw it all in a bowl.  Drizzle with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.  You can add any other spices you want.  Some italian blend seasoning would be great as well, along with some grated parmesan.

Work your dough out into the shape you prefer.  I made two pizzas out of the 1 pound ball I purchased, sliced it in half and stretched it out. I’m not particular about the shape, and in fact, I kind of like it to be a little out of shape. 

Once the grill is nice and hot (mine was at around 375) I placed the dough down.  Let it grill on one side before you add your toppings and get it nice, brown and crispy.

Now, on the side you just grilled it on, top it with your tomatoes, basil, garlic and the sliced mozzarella.  Sprinkle a little of the balsamic vinegar over the top and close the top of the grill.

Check it every few minutes, and make sure to peek underneath to make sure it’s not browning too much.  If you have hot spots on your grill, you may need to move the dough around to make sure it grills evenly.

Once it’s nice and crisp on the bottom, shut off the grill, close the top and let it sit for a few minutes for the cheese to really melt.  Take off the grill, cut that puppy up and gobble it down! 

I won’t embarrass myself and tell you how many pieces I ate.  I’ll just tell you it was D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S

Grilled Pizza:

Serves 4

  • 1 lb. Pizza Dough (freshly made or store bought)
  • 2 Large Roma Tomatoes, Sliced
  • 10 Basil Leaves, Sliced
  • 1-2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 8 0z. Ball Fresh Mozzarella
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil (I used light tasting)
  • 1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning (optional)

Begin by either spraying your grill with a non-stick grill spray, or brush it with some olive oil. 

Turn on the grill and get it heated to around 375/400 degrees.

While the grill is heating, add your sliced tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic and spices to a large bowl, mix it well, and set to the side.

Take your dough and cut it in half.  Work each half into the desired shape and thickness you prefer.

Position both pieces of dough on the grill and allow to get crispy and brown on one side.  Move the dough around if necessary if you have hot spots on your grill so it will brown evenly without burning.

Once the dough is done on one side, flip it over and lay out your tomato mixture, place the slice mozzarella on the top and drizzle with a little of the oil and vinegar left in the bowl.

Grill until crispy.  Once done, turn off the grill, and close the top.  Allow the pizzas to sit for a few minutes in the warm grill to get the cheese nice and melted.

Remove, slice and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Calzone

Sorry for the crappy, blurry, close-up shot.  I was rushing to get this on the table and down the throats of my children and my husband for dinner tonight. 

Tonight was a super easy night of cooking for me.   I had purchased some bulk Italian Sausage I was planning to make sauce with, and decided instead to change things up.  Instead I decided on making a calzone.  I knew it would be fast, easy and something different for a change.   I should tell you right off the bat, the pizza dough was not made from scratch.  I have done it in the past and it’s been okay, but my own personal results with it have never been anything to sing about it.  Personally, I’m not really a dough-making-kind-of-gal.  I believe that to truly work dough well you have to possess a talent for it.  I don’t possess that talent.  My grandmother had that talent.  I know several friends that have that talent.  Me?  Not so much.  Not at all really.  So when dough is involved I tend to take the easiest path possible.  Either make it from scratch if it’s a dough recipe of some kind that is fool-proof.  Or buy it already made.  When I make my Chicken Pot Pie, I make it with pre-made pie dough.  And when I make my pizza, calzones or stromboli…you guessed it…I make it with pre-made dough.

This dough came from our favorite pizza place around the corner.  Their dough is fantastic and they will sell you a pound of it for $2.50.  Why mess around when I already have a great start?  That’s my thought, anyway.  If you are one of those wonderful dough working folks, go for it and use your own.  If not, don’t feel guilty buying a good dough.  The only pizza dough I won’t use is that stuff that comes out of a can.  Not that I’m too “above” using anything pre-made out of a can.  Not at all.  The reason I won’t use the canned pizza dough is because a great pizza dough is already accessible to me and to most other people.  Did you guys know that pizza places will actually sell you a pound of dough if you ask?  Try it sometime.  More often than not, they will!

CALZONE:

  • 1 Lb. Pizza Dough (either freshly made or pre-made)
  • 1 1/2 Lbs. Bulk (loose) Italian Sausage (Hot or Sweet)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning Blend
  • 1/2 Lb. Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 Egg
  • Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large pan, break up and brown the sausage.  While the sausage is browning, dice up the red bell pepper and the onion and set off to the side. 

When the sausage has browned, remove it to a plate with paper towels and drain off the excess fat.  Using the same pan you just browned off the sausage in, remove some of the excess fat, but leave about a teaspoon in the bottom.  Add the onions and red bell pepper and sauté until just tender.  Add the pepper and italian seasonings and remove from the heat. 

Stir together the sausage with the red pepper and onion mixture and set it to the side.

Lightly flour your working surface and begin rolling out your pizza dough.  You want it 15″ L x 12″ W. 

Once you rolled out your dough, dump in the sausage, pepper, onion mixture and spread it out, leaving about 1″ on either side and 2″-3″ on the top and bottom.  Then sprinkle the shredded mozzarella all over the top of the sausage mixture. 

Then pull the top flap of dough over the sausage mixture and join it at the bottom.   Pinch the ends of the dough together on all sides and fold them up and tuck them in nice and tight.

Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray and place your nicely folded calzone on top.  As you can see from my picture I had to place it diagonally across the sheet as it was too long to fit any other way.  Take your egg, crack it into a small bowl and whisk it up.  With a pastry brush, brush it all over the outside of the dough, making sure to get into each and every crevice you can find.  This will make the outside of the dough brown beautifully and give it a beautiful shine.  

Place this in the oven on the bottom rack and allow it to cook for a good 15 to 20 minutes, or until the outside is a beautiful golden brown.  Once you hit the 15 minute mark, you want to keep your eye on it.  It can go from beautifully brown, to horribly burnt very quickly at this point.  This particular calzone took just under 20 minutes to reach that perfect point.

 

Gorgeous!  Look at that crust.  I could just pull off all the ends and just eat them and nothing else. 

 

Once you remove it from the oven, place it on your cutting board and allow it to sit and just hang out for about 15 minutes.  You don’t want to cut into this puppy right away or you will end up with a gooey mess all over.  Once you have let it rest, just slice it as thin or thick as you want with a bread knife and stuff huge amounts of it in your throat.  Sometimes, I serve this with some Marinara Sauce on the side for dipping.  Sometimes, like tonight, I don’t. 

This is such an easy and versatile recipe.  I use this a lot if I’m cleaning out my fridge.  There are so many varieties of fillings you can use. 

  • Sliced steak, onions and provolone cheese
  • Diced ham, peppers, onions and cheese
  • Diced chicken, broccoli, and cheddar cheese
  • Browned ground meat, cheddar cheese and sautéed onions

Anything you have left over you can stuff into a pizza crust, sprinkle on some cheese, bake it off and have a great meal.

Normally a calzone contains ricotta cheese.  I’m not overly thrilled with ricotta cheese in my calzones, unless I’m making one with ham, ricotta, and mozzarella.  But the rest of the varieties I make don’t contain ricotta.  Of course, if you love it, throw some in.

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