Monday, June 11, 2012
I’ve been seriously slacking with meal planning lately. I seem to go through phases where I’ll plan really well for meals for a while and then I’ll shift to just winging it in order to use up ingredients that are building up in my fridge and pantry. Pizza is a perfect way to use up what you have on hand. When I noticed I had a lot of broccoli in my fridge, I remembered a recipe I had pinned for Garlic Broccoli Pizza. Unfortunately, the link no longer worked, so I set out to create my own version. The kids wanted to make their own pizzas, so I prepared a tray of assorted toppings for them. I happened to have a good variety of veggies in my fridge, along with some jarred artichoke hearts that were left over from our Spinach and Feta Frittata. They weren’t too thrilled with the artichoke hearts, so they left most of those and didn’t use nearly as many vegetables as I had hoped they would. That left me with a whole bunch of toppings that I needed to use up, so instead of making a pizza with just broccoli, I threw on all the toppings. Cole had a few cherry tomatoes from school and wanted me to put them on the pizza too, so I stuck one right in the middle of each pizza. His school has a program where they get to pick a fresh fruit or vegetable to bring home once a month. He was so proud that he got to contribute something to the meal. He also really enjoyed eating this pizza and actually gave me a high-five for making it. That’s new! I’m must really be good to get a high-five from Cole. I was pretty impressed with it too. I love the creamy Alfredo sauce, and I’ll definitely be making more pizzas with it from now on. I also liked the long oval shape, cut up into strips. I found it easier to shape the dough that way and it fit well onto rectangular baking sheets. The strips were a fun way to eat it, like bread sticks with pizza toppings.
Please note that this recipe makes a lot of food. I made two pizzas, plus two personal pizzas for the boys. It was great for us because I used the leftovers for lunches, but if you don’t want to make that much feel free to cut the recipe in half. Also I don’t have exact measurements for the toppings because it all depends on your preference. I usually just eyeball it, and if I don’t have enough I’ll make more, or if I have too much I’ll save it for something else like a pasta sauce. Have fun with it! You never know what you might come up with when you make pizza.
Vegetable and Ham Pizza with Alfredo Sauce
Bread Machine Flax Pizza Dough:
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 teaspoons yeast
Add ingredients in the order given into the bread machine pan. Start dough cycle. (Normally takes 2 hours).
Low-fat Alfredo Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add crushed garlic and saute for 1 minute. In a measuring cup, combine milk and flour, whisking thoroughly with a fork. Pour milk and flour mixture into the saucepan with butter and garlic. Whisk frequently until sauce comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Reduce heat. Add basic, salt, Parmesan and sour cream. Stir until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool and thicken while you prepare the pizza toppings and shape your pizza dough.
Broccoli crowns, chopped and blanched
Marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
Red Pepper, diced
Green onion, sliced
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Deli ham, chopped
Grated mozzarella cheese
When the pizza dough is ready, remove it from the bread machine pan and place onto a floured work surface.
Divide dough into 3 sections. (If you don’t want to make 3 pizzas at once, you can wrap a section of dough in plastic wrap, then place it in a ziploc freezer bag and freeze it for later.) Roll each section into a long oval shape (or whatever pizza shape you prefer). Spray baking pans with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Transfer your dough onto the pans.
Spread Alfredo sauce over the dough. Sprinkle with toppings. Bake at 450F for 10-12 minutes. Cut into strips and serve.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Tony is a shift-worker, so there are several nights a week when he's not with us for dinner. It's always more difficult for me to think of what to make when I'm only feeding myself and two little ones who may or may not feel like eating what I put in front of them. I sometimes ask them what they want for dinner, but their answers aren't exactly varied. Usually they want spaghetti, which is a great idea because it's so easy and I like it too, but I don't want to make it every single night that Daddy is out. The other answer they give me sometimes is eggs. I don't love eggs, but they're a good choice for dinners for the three of us because not only are they quick to prepare, I can also prepare them in lots of different ways. The boys like them best scrambled and served with hashbrowns and veggies. My favourite is frittata. A fritatta is basically an omelet, but it's not folded over. Instead you cook the bottom on the stovetop, then cook the top of it under the broiler. You serve it in slices, so it's kind of like a pizza that's made with an egg crust. My mother always added baked potato to her frittata, so I consider it an essential ingredient in mine as well. For speed I bake a potato in the microwave while I'm preparing the other ingredients, so it's ready in no time at all. I usually serve the frittata with buttered toast if it's just me and the kids, or with a salad if Tony is joining us too. I like toast because I can pile the fritatta onto it and eat it like a sandwich. However you eat it, I think you'll agree that a frittata is the perfect thing to make when you don't feel like spending too much time in the kitchen but still want something nutritious and tasty.
Spinach and Feta Frittata
1 small russet potato
1/4 cup milk
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup fresh parsley, diced
1 handful of baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
2 marinated artichoke heart quarters, chopped
a dash of sea salt and smoked paprika
Scrub potato well, poke it a few times with a fork and bake it in the microwave on high for about 5 minutes until cooked through. Chop up one half of the potato; you only need half for this recipe, so put the other half in the fridge to use later. In a small bowl, beat eggs and milk. Heat a medium ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add egg mixture, then sprinkle with potato, tomato, green onion, parsley, spinace, feta, artichoke hearts, salt and smoked paprika. Cook covered for 3-4 minutes, then place under broiler for another 3 minutes, until egg is set. Cut into pie-shaped wedges.