Usually I like to try new recipes or creations when it comes to cooking dinner. I rarely make the exact same meal twice and like to stretch outside of my cooking comfort zone. Maybe that’s why I’m never all that excited to make pizza whenever Funk requests it. When I ask him what he wants to eat for dinner in the upcoming week, I always ask him to, “come up with something more creative,” when he says he wants pizza. Which is a lot. But really, you can be SO creative when it comes to pizza! Since I came to my pizza-senses a few days ago, I’ve been stock piling a list of topping themes I want to make, from Mexican pizza to fig and arugula. Lucky for Funk, I think we’ll be making some serious pizza in the upcoming weeks.
The pizza I made this week wasn’t anything fancy: I used pre-made whole wheat dough from Trader Joes and topped it with a basic pizza sauce and the toppings included broccoli, thinly sliced yellow and orange bell peppers, and sliced white button mushrooms. For cheese, I used a vegetable peeler to thinly slice a block of soy mozzarella. I like my veggies:cheese ratio to be much higher in veggies, so I just used a small amount of cheese.
The main purpose of this post is to give you some of my best pizza making tips. I don’t consider myself a pizza making expert, and I probably have a lot to learn to make it even better, but here goes:
- Buy pre-made whole wheat dough to save yourself the extra step of making your own, or turning to a pre-baked crust. I don’t hate the pre-baked crusts, but I love using fresh dough. It makes an entirely better pizza.
- Use a rolling pin – not your hands – to flatten out the dough on a generously floured surface. You’ll get a thinner, more even crust, resulting in a pie that is more evenly baked.
- Put the majority of the toppings under the cheese. This traps some steam under the cheese that helps to cook the veggies underneath, without burning them. And, the cheese helps to hold the toppings in place. I love a LOT of toppings, and I want them to stay in place on my pie!
- Use less sauce than you think you need to prevent the dough from getting too soggy. Then freeze any remaining cheese for your next pizza dinner!
- Sneak something good under the sauce. This week I sprinkled some wheat germ under the sauce since it was an easy way to boost the fiber and nutrients even more. I’ve also done this with ground flax or even spinach that was about to go bad.
- Use a pizza plate or pizza stone to bake your pie. I hear amazing things about pizza stones, but don’t have one myself. What I do have is a large, round pan like this with tiny holes dotted all over it. This helps to circulate the hot air better, and prevent burning. I usually spray the pan with oil to prevent sticking and it works like a charm.
- Make mini-pizzas by splitting up the dough before you roll, top and bake it. These mini-pies make great leftovers and they’re easy to pack for lunch the next day.
Your turn: what’s your favorite homemade pizza topping? Have any expert pizza making tips to share?
P.S. My homemade raspberry lime sorbet is up on the Food Network’s Healthy Eats blog. So refreshing!