If you know me at all, you probably know these two things about me. I love to cook, and I love my people—so I especially love to cook FOR my people.
For some reason, putting a meal together for awesome souls is super fulfilling. It doesn't matter what kind of day I've had, tossing garlic and onion into hot olive oil hits the spot. Calms my cray. On top of which, I think its pretty amazing the connection humans forge while sharing a meal. Its historical: breaking bread together is an act of connection and common humanity. Not to mention, food is delicious; its meant to be full of pleasure! There's sixteen thousand flavors and spices and we should try them all.
Personally, I love to try new recipes, and have new experiences. If you're a foodie like I am, branching out and adding a dash of that, or a handful of this, is what makes it your own creation. I think everyone has an outlet for creativity that they love to share with others. For me, it's creating delicious food. Not your thing? Grab a few good recipes, figure those out, and keep them on hand. I have a list of about six or seven awesome recipes that I make again and again.
The favorite? Pizza. Homemade pizza is a go-to for Kyle and I. No kidding, I will make this for us almost every single week. No plans or energy this Saturday night? Pizza night. Crappy Monday at work? Pizza and a movie. (I'm noticing now that this means we probably ingest somewhere around 45 pizzas per year, between the two of us, and I am proud. I am not taking comments at this time.)
I'm not fooling though: if you come home from work any day of the week, and you've gotten through ALL THE THINGS (with or without a breakdown), maybe put in a little overtime to catch up, and just can't be bothered to come up with what to make for dinner, this is your friend. Hanger is a real thing, guys, and its destroying marriages all around us.
The best part is, you can make this recipe entirely your own. Pizza is literally an open canvas; you can add whatever feels right to you. (However, I've seen some people adding mangos and Brussels sprouts and other abominations, and while I would like to love and accept you, this is heresy. Get out of my kitchen.)
Take your crust, which is going to set you up for greatness, and add whatever your family prefers. I've made this with a bechemel cream sauce, garlic and spinach, topped with Feta. Throw together the classic with pepperoni, or prosciutto and arugula, or a pesto vegetarian with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella!
This is our household favorite version:
**A note about the sauce: There are plenty of amazing homemade tomato sauce recipes online, but this is not my day job, and I use canned, prepared sauce like the basic I am. I'm not sorry. It's still delicious. If you have the time, make your sauce from scratch and I will salute you. **
- Crust, rolled thin (see below for crust recipe)
- 1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
- Tomato sauce (I usually use Hunts Roasted Garlic, or something similar)
- 2 large garlic cloves
- ¼ cup red onion
- ¾ cup chopped spinach
- 3-4 Mushrooms, sauteed
- Canned Jalapenos
- Sundried tomatoes (optional)
- Cherry tomatoes (optional)
- Pineapple (Optional, if you're into that kind of thing..)
- ½ teaspoons of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil
- Shredded Cheese (Mozzarella or Marble)
Preheat your oven to 425.
Pan fry your chicken breast in a little olive oil, with a dash of garlic powder, oregano, S&P. When the chicken is finished, remove from pan, and sauté your mushrooms. While all this is happening, I begin the crust.
- ½ teaspoon of active dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon of white sugar
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1 ¼ cup of hot water
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup white flour (plus some for kneading/rolling)
This makes one large pizza, so we often end up with left overs for lunch the next day!
*We like a nice thin, fairly crispy crust! If you like a thicker, softer crust, use 1 full teaspoon of both yeast and sugar, and 1 ½ cup hot water. *
Combine yeast, sugar, and water, let sit about 10 minutes until foamy on top.
Add salt, oil, and flour. Stir, using hands, until well combined. Knead together a few times, about 2 minutes, adding a little more flour as needed if too wet. Should end up being fairly soft, but not wet, and quite thick. (If it starts feeling tough to knead, you've gone too far.)
Let sit about 5 minutes under a dish towel.
Lightly dust the counter top with flour, and roll out your dough to the desired thickness. I usually go for about a ¼ inch, but you do you.
Put dough on a greased pizza pan, and punch a few holes in it with a fork, then bake on its own for about 5-7 minutes to get a little crisp on the bottom. (This way you don't overcook your toppings).
Meanwhile, dice your chicken into fairly small pieces, chop up spinach, mince garlic and julienne your red onion (read: thin slices).
Take your crust out of the oven and spread a nice layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle over sauce your minced garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and basil. Layer on chicken, red onion, spinach, mushrooms, (or whatever other toppings you'd like). Add a layer of cheese, and put any fresh tomatoes and jalapeños on top.
Bake again at 425 until cheese is melted, and crust is desired consistency.
We're a fan of some crisp to our pizza, so this usually means about 20-25 minutes for us, less if you prefer a softer pizza.
(Clearly I have opinions, so let me just say, the good Lord intended for a lil crunch. If you're into floppy pizza, go in peace.)
I hope you take this bad boy with you into your week, and if you make a pizza a-la-your style, post your version! Let me know how this went for you!