Creamed Spinach, Bacon and Caramelized Onion Pizza

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I am so excited to finally write out this recipe. I think it  is quite possibly one of my favourite pizzas ever and will possibly become yours too. It is inspired by a Cooking Light Magazine recipe that I found at least 5 years ago. I used to love that magazine and still have stacks of issues that I just can’t part with. Of course I added all of the fats back into every recipe. Some may argue that defeated the purpose others will recognize that’s just good sense.

This recipe is not low fat by any means but I would say that compared to other pizzas it is a far cry from the heavy weight contenders you could have. Using a creamy garlic sauce reduces the need for lots of cheese and the toppings add so much flavour that a little goes a long way. I also have butter and olive oil hanging out together. The butter adds flavour while the olive oil lightens it up a bit and adds some healthier fats too.

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The original recipe called for the spinach to be cooked in a small amount of bacon fat and then spread over the pizza. The problem with this is spinach’s miraculous ability to shrink into almost next to nothing. It made spreading it at all almost impossible and it was pretty skimp. Instead I have taken the bacon fat right out and added the spinach into the cream sauce. I have used both frozen and fresh and it works great either way. This makes a pizza base that reminds me of creamed spinach, hence the name…

It also means that I felt totally justified adding in two more strips of bacon then the original :0

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Using Balsamic vinegar helps to sweeten and caramelize the onions quickly. I don’t have time most nights to patiently wait for my onions to slowly cook down so I find this speeds up the process and adds a little extra flavour too.

If you are a vegetarian please don’t ignore or overlook this recipe! I made it for a veggie friend and without the bacon it was still amazing. I had considered making the coconut vegetarian version I have seen on Pinterest but got tired and decided it was just fine without it.

This recipe makes two pizzas.

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I use Bobby Flay’s Pizza Dough Recipe

Preheat your oven to 425

Caramelized Onions

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 medium onions thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
tsp of sugar
1/4 cup stock (chicken or veggie)
Salt to taste

In a sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onions, sugar and the balsamic vinegar and allow the onions to soften. Pour in the stock and continue cooking until the stock has reduced and the onions are soft and caramelized. Season with salt to taste.

Spinach Cream Sauce

1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Tbsps flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 finely chopped clove of garlic
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 bag frozen spinach, thawed and drained or One 5 oz package of fresh spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan over medium low heat melt the butter with the olive oil. Whisk in the flour and continue stirring until a thick paste is formed. Warm the milk in the microwave for about 1 min. Slowly pour the warmed milk over the flour and butter constantly whisking. Continue until all of the milk has been added and the mixture is smooth. Thicken the sauce until it is able to coat the back of a spoon.

Stir in the nutmeg, spinach and garlic. Cook about another minute and then remove the sauce from heat.

Add in the parmesan cheese, stir and season sparingly with salt to taste.

Bacon

6 slices of Bacon

Slice the bacon into small pieces. In a pan over medium heat crisp the bacon. Once crisped remove the bacon from the pan and allow to drain on paper towel.

2 cups grated extra old white cheddar cheese

For each Pizza spread one half of the creamy spinach over the crust. Top with half of the caramelized onions and half of the bacon. Sprinkle one cup of the grated cheese over the top.

If you’re like me and don’t have a pizza stone or a wood burning pizza oven, preheat your pizza pan in the oven while the oven heats. When it’s hot sprinkle on just a little cornmeal and then lay out your pizza crust. I find this helps crisp up the crust and prevents a soggy bottom, (very undesirable).

Bake in 425 oven for about 15-17 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling

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I’d love to know what you thought, leave me a comment or just say hi.

If you’d nightly ideas for supper check out my Facebook page www.facebook.com/myweeklydish. I share meal inspiration, recipes and tips and for feeding your family and friends

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Kale and Butternut Squash Pizza

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We meditate in our staff meetings.

Our coordinator leads the visualization and it’s about 5-10 minutes. Usually it takes me the first two to remember to breathe and relax then I’m good. I can use the time to truly become present which is a great way to start a meeting.

It’s great in practice and normally I love the chance to gather my chaotic brain but today I couldn’t focus for even a second.

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Today I only had one train of thought ricocheting around in this little noggin and that was….

Would I put garlic and sage in the sauce or should I put the sage in with the squash???

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Seriously, I spent the entire time I was supposed to be grounding myself and connecting with my breathe on wondering which herbs would go where and if I should use more or less cheese.

I have come to realize that food is more than a hobby for me and if I ever have an opportunity to make this a career let me tell ya I will jump at the chance. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I work with families in a way that I feel brings real hope and we can make a huge impact but all I want to do is feed them and cook with them while we talk.20131113-212750.jpg

Maybe that’s what my goal should be. I could be the cooking counsellor. I would invite people to my kitchen and we would cook together while discussing their concerns and planning what to do. Then we would eat a lovely meal build our relationship and everyone would be the happier and wiser.

There may be some insurance concerns though… Some people just shouldn’t be given pointy things and even I burn myself on an almost daily basis.
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Oh well the idea was fun

Until then here’s the recipe that I worked out while I should have been meditating.

It’s a perfect fall pizza with ingredients that are in season and usually available locally. Kale and sweet squash seem to pair wonderfully and mingling with a little sage and parmesan makes this pizza something I could eat way too much of. I also went with the theory that if you’re feeding non-vegetarians a veggie based meal, cheese usually makes them happy.20131113-212731.jpg

Actually I’m really not using that much cheese compared to an average pizza. The bechamel base adds a creaminess that helped ease the cheese. If you wanted to cut back on the butter too I have made white sauces with olive oil quite successfully.

This pizza was also the first time I have used a home made crust. Usually we just don’t have time but hubby was off and loves baking so he prepped the crust earlier today. We used this Recipe

Kale and Butternut Squash Pizza

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 cups diced Butternut squash (about half a medium sized squash)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 bunch of kale chopped 
salt and pepper

Garlic Parmesan Sauce

1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 clove of garlic finely diced
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
pinch of both chili flakes and nutmeg

1 cup of old white cheddar or mozzerella
Parmesan 

Makes 2 pizzas

Preheat oven to 425F

In a medium saucepan over medium heat warm 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the squash, season with salt and pepper sautéing for 5 minutes then add the fresh sage. Continue cooking for up to another 5 minutes until the squash is fork tender then set aside.

In a seperate pan heat the 2nd Tbsp of oil and wilt the kale, cooking for about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper

In a small sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes regularly whisking. Warm the milk (I used the microwave) and slowly stir into the flour and butter. Continue cooking until the sauce begins to thicken then stir in the parmesan, garlic, chili flake and nutmeg. Once the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon remove from heat and set aside.

I used a metal pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal. I find this helps it not stick and get crisp on the bottom.

Spread the crusts with the garlic cream sauce then layer on the kale and squash. Top with the grated cheese and sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan.

Bake at 425 for 15-18 minutes or until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbly

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Please leave me a comment letting me know how your family or friends enjoyed it or really anything you have to share:)

I have a Facebook page too if you want to come on over and check it out. I post nightly meals, ideas, and share about how I feed my family healthy and tasty meals.

Italian Chicken Sausage and Pepper Pizza

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I love the idea of sausage and peppers. I see people eating this all the time on The Food Network and it looks so amazing. But it’s not popular around here and my attempts at recreating it have been meh. So, it’s been on the back burner until the pesto I bought at Costco was about to go off.  I’m not sure what made me think that this would all work together but it does fabulously. Apparently Italian sausage, peppers and cheese would all really like to hang out with pesto, especially on a pizza.

Delicous Italian sausage and pepper pizza

The chicken sausage is a newer addition to this pizza and one I think makes it even better. It’s healthier, full of flavour and gives more room for using a little butter with the onions and the perfect amount of cheese. All together I had this on the table in just over 30 minutes and it beats the pants off any delivery pizza I’ve found.

Sausage

1 package ground chicken thighs (about 450g)
1 tsp fennel
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper

In a small pan over medium heat, toast the fennel until it begins to brown. Remove from heat and combine with the red pepper flakes in a spice grinder. Grind until broken up but not ground and add to a mixing bowl. Combine with the remaining ingredients.  I used a teaspoon to loosely form small meatballs.

In a sauté pan over medium heat warm 1 tbsp of canola oil. Add the chicken sausage and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Onions and Peppers

1 tbsp butter
1 thinly sliced onions
2 orange/yellow or red bell peppers sliced thinly
1 clove of crushed garlic
salt and pepper

Over medium heat melt the butter and then add the onions. Sauté for five minutes and then add the peppers and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Making the Pizza

5 whole wheat Naan or 2 full size pizza crusts
1 cup grated old cheddar
1 cup grated mozzarella
pesto

Preheat the oven to 425F. On each piece of Naan spread about 2 tbsp of pesto. Combine both cheeses and sprinkle a thin layer on each pizza. Top with the pepper and onions mix and cooked sausage. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cook for about 12 minutes or until the cheese is beautiful and melty. 

 

Toddler eating pizza

The house is a bit messy, but I’ve got some happy well fed kids:)

 

I hope this becomes a pizza favourite in your house too and encourages you to try to make your own sausage and skip the delivery to make something even better.

Breakfast Pizza

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Two awesome things happened today. This pizza and a marathon call with one of my besties while making it.

As I get older it amazes me how quickly weeks turn into months and I realize I haven’t talked to someone for way too long. So it worked out perfect. This was a new recipe I wanted to experiment with and she had time to talk. I love catching up and no amount of Facebook, texting or smiley faces will ever replace that time. Maybe all that love translated into my dinner because this one sure felt inspired.

I’m not exaggerating at all, this really was the best pizza ever and is up there as one of the top things I have ever made. The leeks got creamy and had that delicious light green, oniony flavour, bacon of course is bacon and always awesome and the egg added a creaminess that completed the pizza perfectly.

I’m so excited to share this recipe that I haven’t tested it as much as normal, so if you notice anything that doesn’t work perfectly please let me know and I’ll make some updates to the recipe.

Update – As I said, I was really excited to share this so I hadn’t tested it as much as I normally would. I made this again recently and have a few changes I think improved the recipe. Changes are crossed marked:)

Leek, Bacon and Egg Pizza

5 whole wheat Naan
6-8 slices of bacon cubed
1 tbsp butter
small splash of olive oil
3 cups of leeks thinly sliced (the whitish part not the really green part)
1 thinly sliced shallot
1 clove of crushed garlic
1/4 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp cream cheese
1 cup grated extra old white cheddar
5 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Frank’s Red Hot Sauce if you like a little kick.

Preheat the oven to 400F 425F

Rinse the sliced leeks to remove any dirt hiding in them. Over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Once the two are friendly add the leeks, garlic and shallots and allow them to cook down, about 5 minutes. After the leeks have softened add the chicken stock and continue to cook until most of the liquid has cooked off, about another 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and melt in the cream cheese and season with salt and pepper

Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the pan and let sit on a paper towel to remove excess grease.

Spread the leak mixture over the Naan and sprinkle on the bacon and cheese. Place in the oven for 6-8 minutes (so 7). Increase the oven temp to 450 and remove the pizza. Crack on egg in the centre of each pizza and return to the oven. Make sure your oven light is on and watch for the egg to be cooked. You want the white completely cooked but the yolk still runny. Mine took 5 minutes at that temperature and then 2 minutes under the broiler. 

Timing this meal for 30 minutes to the table:

  1. Preheat oven
  2. Slice the leeks
  3. Start the bacon
  4. Prepare leek mixture
  5. Grate your cheese
  6. Ready the Naan and have your ingredients handy
  7. Make your pizzas

If you’re wondering why this is for five Naan….It’s because that’s the size of the package at Superstore and it works perfect for us. One for my son, two for hubster and one and a bit for me:)

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20 Minute BBQ Chicken Pizza

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Since it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow I thought I would share a recipe especially for my husband. He’s never really liked pizza and it’s one of my favourites. I could get him to agree to ordering pizza if we ordered BBQ chicken, but I always found it bland or greasy tasting. So, here is my better then delivery version, that’s also cheaper, healthier and as fast as delivery. This has become not only his favourite but all of ours.

I’ve made this a quick dinner by using rotisserie, or left-over chicken, and whole wheat Naan. I like using the Naan over store bought pizza crusts because it seems easier to find in whole wheat, tastes better and I like the individual size. One day, I will figure out how to make a quick crust but until then, this is the best I’ve found.

bbq pizza helperI also love that my son can help with putting the pizzas together. I chop and prepare all of the ingredients and have them ready. Getting him involved in the dinner making process seems to have the added benefit that he’s willing to try almost anything I make and I get some real quality time with him.

This recipe makes 4-5 Naan size pizzas, or two medium sized pizzas

Preheat the oven to 400F

BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup of your favourite BBQ sauce
1/3 cup tomato sauce
Frank’s Red Hot sauce to taste

Mix thoroughly, adding a touch of salt if needed

Spread a layer of sauce on each crust

Pizza

1 cup cheddar cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup diced pineapple
1/2 of a red or orange yellow pepper sliced thinly
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onions or diced red onions
1 cup chopped cooked chicken, about one chicken breast

Mix the two cheeses and spread half of the cheese in a thin layer on top of the sauce.

Spread the chicken, pineapple, peppers, onions and cilantro over the cheese and sauce. Top with the remaining cheese.

Place directly on oven rack and cook about 10 minutes, or when the cheese is melty and delicious

Here’s how BBQ chicken pizza fits into my weekly planning, Weekly Meal Plan

BBQ pizza finished

 

One of my best friends has a very talented photographer in her life and when she tried this recipe he was kind enough to share a photo of their finished pizzas. Here’s a link to his amazing photography, James Lissimore.

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