Brussels Sprouts… On Pizza

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point there seemed to be a shift from kale to Brussels sprouts as the coolest vegetable on the block. There wasn’t a specific moment I remember (i.e. some celebrity talking about how they OMG LOVE Brussels!), but when looking at recipes I noticed about a year ago or so that there were suddenly a lot more Brussels sprout recipes than ever before. I can get them as a side instead of french fries at my local burger joint, there are shaved Brussels salads with beets and goat cheese on tons of menus, and I’ve made a delicious Brussels sprout mac ‘n cheese. But I distinctly remember that when growing up Brussels were always the horrible side-dish that every kid dreaded, right? I actually didn’t have them until I was an adult, but always wanted to try them simply because they seemed to be everyone’s least favorite. Naturally I loved them immediately and started incorporating them into my meals whenever possible. So when my sister told me she made an amazing Brussels sprout pizza, I knew I had to give it a try myself.

Brussels Sprout + Goat Cheese Pizza |

The pizza is actually really simple, and really delicious. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve had Brussels sprout pizzas out a few times in the last year or so, and I liked mine the best! Admittedly, I didn’t make my own crust (ain’t nobody got time for that), but the Trader Joe’s dough I bought was good enough for me. I want to make this pizza all the time, and I’m confident you will too!

Brussels Sprout + Goat Cheese Pizza |

Brussels Sprout + Goat Cheese Pizza

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pizza dough/crust (I used Trader Joe’s dough, but anything will work – you can even get fancy and make your own!)
1 cup Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
salt + pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven for the pizza dough (i.e. 450 degrees)
2. In a medium sauce pan heat the olive oil and add the onions with a little salt and pepper. If you have the patience, make these caramelized because the flavor will be a million times better. This is going to require you to stir the onions frequently for at least 10-20 minutes.*
3. Once the onions are beginning to brown, add the diced Brussels and toss to make sure they’re coated in the oil. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, until they start to get crispy.
4. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface. When ready, add the 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, followed by the Brussels and onion mixture. Top with the crumbled goat cheese.*
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

*NOTES: 1. You don’t have to make the onions caramelized, but the pizza will taste better if you do.
2. If you don’t like goat cheese (blasphemous!), then feta will work well as a replacement

Meatless Monday: Personal Mexican Pizza

Last week while on Twitter, I jumped into a conversation with Ashley and Dori about pizza. The next thing I knew we had plans to grab pizza the following week (tomorrow!), and all I could think about was having pizza for dinner. I toyed with the idea of ordering some, but then figured it’d be nice to save a few extra bucks (and calories), and so I made  beeline for my refrigerator. I didn’t think I had all of the ingredients to make pizza, but with a few creative adjustments wound up with probably one of the best homemade pizzas I’ve made to date.

There’s nothing traditional about this pizza, but it combines some of my absolute favorite flavors and is easily customizable. I don’t know why I waited this long to use a burrito sized tortilla as pizza crust. I guess it’s better late than never, because this “pizza” is going to become a regular on my weekly menus, that’s for sure. This is hardly a complex meal and comes together in a matter of minutes, so I feel silly labeling it as a “recipe.” But I thought it would be helpful to include the measurements and cooking temperature/time as a guideline.

Personal Mexican Pizza |

Personal Mexican Pizza
– makes one personal pizza –

1 burrito sized tortilla
2 Tbsp your favorite salsa
1 tsp oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup pepper, chopped (any will do – red, green, yellow, orange)
1/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 cup shredded cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a pan. Once the oil is warm, add the chopped onion and pepper, sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to become translucent. 
3. Add the black beans and chili powder, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. 
4. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, and lay the tortilla flat. Spread the 2 tablespoons of salsa evenly across the tortilla. Top with 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese, followed by the sauté mixture. Finish off with the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.
5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the tortilla is beginning to crisp. 

Master Marinade

As a member of Foodbuzz and an eager Tastemaker, I was excited to receive a bottle of KC Masterpiece’s Hot Buffalo Marinade. Having just made buffalo tofu tacos, I wasn’t sure exactly what to whip up with the delicious sauce. I remembered back to my buffalo chicken pizza fail, and wanted to do something more than just grill up some marinated chicken. Enter the buffalo chicken calzone!

One of my very first posts here on the blog was about buffalo chicken pizza, so it’s clear I really enjoy it. I was hoping that by putting it in calzone form, I would have more success than my attempt at recreating the pizza. There are a few reasons for my thinking, mostly dealing with the fact that I could add copious amounts of cheese. My husband loathes blue cheese, though, so it’s always tricky when a recipe calls for that or Gorgonzola (since they taste somewhat similar). Instead of trying to add just a bit and hide the flavor, I omitted it completely this time, and replaced it with feta. I realize the tastes are different, but the consistency is somewhat the same, and feta is creamy when melted.

This was definitely a win. As I was putting it together, my husband insisted that it was more of a stromboli than a calzone, but it looked delicious regardless. I’m not one for technicalities, so I’ll stick to calling it a calzone. But either way, it was delicious. A perfect reward for making it through a Monday.

Buffalo Chicken Calzone
– Serves 2 –

1 package pre-made pizza dough (I used Wegmans whole wheat)
1 can diced chicken
3 Tbsp KC Masterpiece Buffalo Marinade
2 Tbsp ranch dressing
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup feta, crumbled

1. Marinade chicken with buffalo sauce for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3. Roll out dough, and layer one half first with cheese, then onion and celery, and finally chicken.
4. Spread the ranch on the other half and around the edges. Fold that half over the first, and curl the edges to keep it closed.
5. Bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serve with additional buffalo and ranch for dipping! 

Beer Bread Pizza

One of my favorite things to make during the week is semi-homemade pizza. It’s straight forward, easy, and almost always comes out delicious. While I love the premade pizza doughs that come two to a package, I figured it was time for me to be a little more creative. For some reason, making dough scares me, and that’s the main reason why I’ve shyed away from making a truly from-scratch pizza. Late one night, though, it dawned on me – beer bread pizza!

Thanks to the beer, making bread this way is a whole lot easier. I don’t need to worry about adding yeast, kneading it for a certain amount of time, and then trying to entertain myself as I patiently (read: not patiently at all) wait for it to rise. My fiancé was skeptical about the idea, but I figured I’d give it a whirl. I mean really, what could go so horribly wrong that it would be a total fail?

Using my generic beer bread recipe, I spread it out on a baking sheet (no snazzy pizza stone for me), so I suppose it was more like a flatbread, or a Sicilian styled pizza since it was somewhat rectangular. The ususal baking time for the entire loaf in a bread pan is an hour, so I decided to bake the bread for 45 minutes, take it out and add our toppings, and then continue to let it cook for another 8-10 minutes. I went with a BBQ themed pizza since I wasn’t sure how the flavors of traditional pizza sauce and beer bread would be. But in my head, BBQ sauce and caramalized red onions married quite well with beer. Thankfully, I was right.

I’m now left wondering what other combinations I can put on this beer bread crust, because it was pretty awesome.

BBQ Beer Bread Pizza
– makes 1 pizza –


For the dough:
3 cups of all purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp salt
3 Tbsp of sugar
12 oz. your favorite beer 

For the rest of the pizza:
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I used mozzarella, though I bet gouda would be awesome) 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine dry ingredients, and slowly mix in beer until fully incorporated
3. Spoon the mixture onto a greased baking pan, or pizza stone if you have one 
4. Bake for 45 minutes
5. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet, and add sliced red onion and a Tbsp of salt. Sautee for about 10-15 minutes, until they are tender and begin to caramelize
6. Once the pizza is done, pull it out to add the BBQ sauce, cheese, and onions. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.  

Anytime Pizza

With the high temperatures this week, I struggled with what I should make for dinner each night. I didn’t want to turn on the oven, but the thought of standing outside and grilling in the heat was too much to bear. So, I cranked up the air conditioning and got to work, this time on pizza.

I’ve been meaning to make a breakfast pizza for awhile, but hadn’t gotten around to it. I had breakfast pizza for the first time while staying at The Borgata in Atlantic City, at their buffet. Until that point I hadn’t thought of a breakfast styled pizza, but after having a slice was immediately convinced it’s a great idea.

So when one of the things I got in my Hormel Family Food Blogger welcome package was bacon, I decided that would be the perfect vehicle for my breakfast pizza. In addition to the bacon, I added some eggs, scallion, cheese, and seasoning. Since I used a pre-made pizza crust, it was so quick and easy. Because it’s so fast and requires little effort, it’s great as a quick week night meal, or even as something easy to throw in the oven on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

Breakfast Pizza
– makes one pizza –  

1 pre-made pizza dough crust, or your own
1 cup shredded cheese (I used mozzarella, but any kind will work)
3 scallions, diced
4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
3 eggs
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Layer pizza with cheese, bacon, and scallion. Crack each egg over the pizza (I did a triangle formation to try and prevent them from spreading into one another). Top with oregano and basil.
3. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until crust is crispy and eggs are cooked through 

They can’t all be winners

I love party food. This means chips, pizza, appetizers, and of course desserts. Obviously, I don’t have parties too frequently, and they aren’t necessarily the best for you (by default), so they’re more of a treat than a regular occurrence. But, with a little tweaking they can be healthier, and incorporated into more meals (at least I think so).

Prior to my trip to Trader Joe’s on Saturday, I check out their Fearless Flyer to see what deals they had, and also perused their website where they have just a few favorite recipes listed. I was immediately drawn to the Thai Chicken Pizza recipe, since it seemed so different. I’m always up for pizza, because as one of my fiancé’s teeshirts boasts, pizza is the best!

Unfortunately this pizza wasn’t as good as I had hoped. I think it might have been the peanut satay sauce used solely as the sauce for the pizza – it was a little too much. The cheese, scallions, carrot, and cabbage mix worked nicely, though. I left out the chicken because I forgot to grab the Chickenless Chicken strips I purchased from TJ’s out of my parent’s fridge when I was leaving. Maybe the lack of chicken was the culprit. Oh well, I’m just going to have to make up for it by making some Chickenless Buffalo Chicken Pizza next week.

My other culinary adventure this week, though, turned out to be a success. I made a Smokin’ Hoppin’ John, from The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donel. I’ve seen variations of this recipe in quite a few different places, but finally settled on giving this variation a try, mainly because I already had the cookbook out when I was trying to plan our meals for the week.

Since I had the opportunity to throw it all in a pot and let it simmer for 25 minutes, it provided the perfect opportunity for me to fold the laundry pile that continued to grow as the week progressed. I also got to squeeze in a 45 minute yoga practice before starting to cook, and everything was ready in a reasonable amount of time. And I had leftovers… hello lunch!

Smokin’ Hoppin’ John via The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook
– Serves 6 –

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium sized onion, chopped coarsely
1 cup uncooked medium or long grain rice (I used long)
1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
1 (20-oz) bag frozen black-eyed peas
2-3 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water)
1/4 cup beer you like to drink (optional, but I added it!)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1 Tsp salt or soy sauce (I used smoked salt)
scallions, grape tomatoes, chopped parsley, shredded cheddar, and/or hot sauce as garnishes

1. Over medium heat, heat the oil in a large saucepan or heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the rice and stir to coat with the aromatics. Allow to toast for 1 minute. Add the smoked paprika and stir to coat.
3. Add the peas, followed by 2 cups of water, the beer (if using), and the chipotle chile. If not using beer, add 1/4 cup of water in it’s place. Bring to a lively simmer, lower heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes without lifting the lid. At 25 minutes, check the rice for both doneness and moisture. The rice and peas should be moist, but not super soupy. If the mixture is too dry, add additional liquid, a few Tbsp at a time (up to 1 cup). Return to the lid and allow to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the salt or soy sauce, stir, and taste, adding more as you see fit.
5. Serve hot with any or all fixins <– I used shredded cheddar, and a chipotle hot sauce

Semi-Homemade Pizza

While many foodies are purists, when it comes to weeknight dinners, I have no problem admitting my shortcuts. There’s even a show on the Food Network with “Semi-Homemade” in the title. Sure, I don’t wear cute cardigans and prepare my semi-homemade goodies for parties (most of the time) but the general idea is there. I’d say at least one or two times a week I cheat the system and use something that someone else made for me in my meal.

The past few weeks have been slow on the blogging front just because I’ve been so busy. I haven’t had the opportunity to try many new dishes, therefore leaving me with little to talk about – or so I thought. Originally when I started this blog, I figured it would be to post new recipes I try, create, etc. I’ve realized though, that while there are always new and great recipes, there are some I’d like to have more than once! So, sometimes I have a lot of content, sometimes I don’t. I’m in the process of trying to really figure out how I want to handle my blogging. Do I want to do something more on a daily basis, like some of my favorite blogs, Peanut Butter Fingers, Eat Drink Run, and Healthy Tipping Point? Or, do I want to stick to new recipes, yummy restaurants, and things like that? I guess I’ll just have to try it out. Or, maybe I just need to find more time to cook!

Back to the pizza. I’ve found that most refrigerated crusts I’ve purchased are more than passable. It also helps that they come in two packs, so I’m able to get two meals out of it – whether it be two dinners, or maybe a dinner and a breakfast (hello breakfast pizza!). With a few random ingredients in the fridge, I threw together a pepperoni, onion, and pepper pizza with Italian seasonings. In the time it would have taken me to pull up a menu, place the order, drive to pick it up, and then eventually be home to eat it, my entire meal was done. The great thing about pizza is that you can throw almost anything on it. Last week we had a pizza with BBQ sauce, and Monday night was regular tomato sauce (with huge chunks of garlic). You really can customize it just how you crave.

Now that I’ve made a more traditional, and Southwestern styled pizza, I think it’s time to get more creative. I think my fiancé, our wallets, and most importantly our bellies, will welcome a more frequent rotation of homemade pizzas into our lives!

Semi-Homemade Pizza
– Serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are!-

1 premade pizza crust (found in the refrigerated section)
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 green pepper
1 cup any kind of tomato sauce
2 cups shredded cheese
Pepperoni (amount to your liking)
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp vegetable oil for sautéing

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Heat pan with oil, and while warming up, slice onion and pepper to desired size. Once pan is warm, add onions and peppers, sauté about 5-10 minutes, adding seasoning half way through.
3. Pour sauce onto pizza crust, spreading evenly. Top with 1 1/2 cups of cheese, followed by pepperoni, and then onion and pepper mix. Layer last 1/2 cup of cheese on top.
4. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown (you can lay it directly on the rack)

I’ll grill anything – including pizza

I found a recipe for grilled pizza a few weeks ago, and after finally procuring a grill, we had to try it. I’d heard of grilling pizza before (I mean heck – you can grill lettuce) but had never actually done it. I was excited, but a bit nervous for it’s outcome. I had visions of an extremely charred and barely edible crust, or the opposite, a just warmed not crispy crust. My fiance and I somehow managed to grill it pretty perfectly – a nice crunch around the edge of the crust, and keeping it crisp, but not over or under cooked towards the center. Plust, all of the veggies and cheese were just the right temperature.

This “Smoky BBQ Grilled Pizza” comes from Eating Well, which YumSugar had linked to a few weeks ago. I saved it in my Dinner cart on KartMe until the perfect moment, which was this past Thursday. I grabbed a package of pre-made pizza dough from Wegmans’, and it actually had two pizzas in it – enough for a breakfast pizza on Saturday! The recipe calls for tomatoes, but I forgot to grab one at the store (story of my life), so instead I caramelized some onions and tried to salvage what I could of the wilting Jamaican hot peppers. That added a nice sweet kick to the already tangy pizza.

It literally was grilled for 10 minutes, and though a little charred around the edges, overall a decently cooked pizza. My fiancé and I devoured the whole pizza (hey, it was kind of small) with a salad, and we were stuffed! Sure, it’s supposed to serve 6, but after a solid run and a long day of work, the pizza was no match for the two of us! I know BBQ sauce in place of tomato sauce sounds kind of odd, but it works – especially with that smoky grilled flavor! Either way, you can really put whatever you want on your pizza. I made a breakfast pizza Saturday with scrambled eggs, onions, peppers, corn, beans, salsa as the sauce, and cheese. It was equally delicious!

Though we’re out of dough for now, I have every intention of grilling up some other pizza concoctions, so suggestions are welcomed!

Pardon the less than stellar iPhone picture!

Barbecued Smoky Corn & Black Bean Pizza
from Eating Well

1 plum tomato, diced
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella, preferably smoked mozzarella

1. Preheat grill to medium.
2. Combine tomato, beans and corn in a medium bowl. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a large baking sheet. Stretch the dough into about a 12-inch circle and lay it on top of the cornmeal, coating the entire underside of the dough.
3. Transfer the crust from the baking sheet to the grill. Close the lid and cook until the crust is puffed and lightly browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes.
Using a large spatula, flip the crust. Spread barbecue sauce on it and quickly sprinkle with the tomato mixture and cheese. Close the lid; grill until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the crust is browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

Polenta Take 2: Pizza Style

After making the Polenta & Pinto Bean Pie, I had quite a bit of polenta left over. So, after doing some research (a.k.a Googling), I decided to try my hand at a polenta crust pizza. I suppose it’s less of a polenta crust pizza, and more of a polenta-styled pizza, since you need a fork and it isn’t super crispy like pizza (well, New York pizza at least).

By having little of it’s own flavor, polenta really allows you to do whatever you’d like with it. I can only imagine the different flavor combinations that could top a little slice of polenta – yum! At any rate, I decided to go with regular mozzarella cheese and some sautéed onions and peppers. It was actually really delicious, and surprisingly filling. Since the pre-cooked polenta I bought was rectangular, our pizza was more Elio’s shaped than anything else, which was a nice gourmet and healthier throwback to a childhood favorite.

Onions & Peppers Polenta Pizza
– Serves 2 –

16 oz polenta (tube or squared)
1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup sliced yellow onion
1/4 cup sliced green pepper
1/3 cup tomato sauce (any variation will work)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and coat 9 x 13 baking dish
2. While oven is heating, sauté onions and peppers in pan with just cooking spray (no oil) until slightly soft (onions are beginning to become translucent and peppers have a slight char)
3. Slice polenta into desired pieces (depending on shape, how many you’d like to make) and place in greased baking dish
4. Top polenta with equal amounts of sauce, cheese, onions, and peppers
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes

Buff Chicks!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza.

If you like spice, and you like meat, and I know you like pizza (who doesn’t?!) this NEEDS to be on your to-try list.

I can honestly say the first time I tried this was while I was still in college. There were multiple pizza joints around campus while walking to and from bars and house parties. Conveniently the ones closest to the bars stay open well past 2am. So, when they late night hunger craze hits, these pizzerias are flooded with drunken college students.

One of the more adventurous locales, Pietro’s, offered up interesting combinations like BLT pizza, Buffalo Chicken pizza, even an apple pie pizza in the fall, etc.

Being a lover of all things supremely spicy, one evening I decided to give it a whirl. Well, I was instantly hooked. It was just the right amount of mozzarella cheese,   buffalo sauce, and chicken strategically placed atop perfectly cooked dough. I then spent the next year and a half ordering it religiously.

After graduating I went on a quest to find the next best thing. I spent many an evening dissatisfied with the rendition of my favorite – either the chicken was too dry, there wasn’t enough hot sauce, or it was just over-all subpar.

Since moving to Highland Park, NJ, though, I think I’ve stumbled upon the next-best, or perhaps even best Buffalo Chicken Pizza. It can be found at La Rosa II.

My only gripe is the grease/oil situation. It literally oozes out of the pizza as you eat it. Granted, this is a combination of the ingredients, but it just makes you feel guilty while devouring it. Needless to say I just finished housing some of it.

I love spicy food, and this has just the right amount of spice. It’s definitely present, but doesn’t overwhelm you and take away from the other flavors. It has just the right amount of cheese for an ooey gooey texture, and impressively sectioned pieces of chicken.

I definitely give this pizza an A-.

I certainly won’t be stopping my search for the best Buffalo Chicken Pizza. I’ll try it any time I can get my hands on it. And be advised, I’ll let you know when I find the one.