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Friday, November 2, 2012

Pizza Night

Setting pizza dough on the island to rise is a sure way to get my family involved in making dinner. Everyone wants to help and choose what goes on our pizza. Pizza night often becomes movie night when we decide to take our dinner in the family room. Finding a movie we all want to watch can be a challenge, but that's another story.

Around here anything goes on pizza. Michael has even used macaroni and cheese - which was surprisingly good. It is a great meal for cleaning out the refrigerator. We don't often use pizza sauce or Mozzarella.

I always start with fresh pizza dough, but pita bread, tortillas, English muffins,... can become pizza crust.  A lot of stores have pizza dough available. (Wegman's is our favorite.) If not fresh, then try in the freezer cases. I used frozen bread dough before I discovered pizza dough at the grocery store. For a while I made my own pizza crust, but with inexpensive, delicious fresh dough available it doesn't seem worth the time and energy involved. Bake according to package directions until just beginning to brown.

Thinly slice 1 medium tomato and place on paper towels to drain before seasoning with salt and pepper. Slice 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella and place between layers of paper towels to drain. Lightly spray or brush crust with olive oil and top with cheese and tomatoes. Add about ½ cup arugula leaves then spray with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt. Place in oven for 2 minutes to heat everything through.

Pizza Margherita
This is similar to the arugula and tomato, but just top the pizza with olive oil, tomato and cheese before returning it to the oven for 2 minutes. When it comes out add thinly sliced basil leaves. (The easiest way to slice the basil is to roll the leaves together into a cylinder then slice.)

BBQ Chicken/Bacon
Spread BBQ sauce on cooked crust. Top with diced cooked chicken, crumbled cooked bacon and grated sharp cheddar cheese. Bake for 5 more minutes.

 This one takes some planning ahead since the onions take so long to cook, but it is our favorite right now:
Caramelized onion/goat cheese
Cook 2 or 3 medium onions in 1 or 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until golden brown. I add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, which adds flavor and draws moisture out of the onions. You can add 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, which will help with the browning. (It's not enough to make them sweet.) You have to watch them and stir every few minutes or they will burn. This will take 20 to 30 minutes. (It is worth it. – Really) Spread cooked onions over baked crust. Top with 5 ounces of crumbled goat cheese. Place in oven for 2 minutes to heat everything through.

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