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Pepperoni Pizza Pull Apart Bread

12 Jun

My infatuation with bread baking has not ceased.  Last weekend, when I was home, I made a loaf of Victorian Milk Bread that I hear was great.  Unfortunately, I was on a flight back to NYC when my family was enjoying it, so I never got a chance to try it.  At least they got to partake in some of my culinary experiments!

This weekend I attempted a different kind of bread all together; pull apart bread.  If you’ve never heard of it, I’m sure you can figure out what it’s all about from the name.  Let me tell ya, it’s a lot of fun to pull the loaf apart and enjoy it layer by layer.

I’d never made pull apart bread before so I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.  I needn’t have feared.  This bread was phenomenal!  Between Alex and I, the loaf was gone in a day.  What can I say?  We love soft, pizza flavored bread that melts in your mouth.  And chances are, you will too.

Pepperoni Pizza Pull Apart Bread
(adapted from Kirby’s Cravings)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp of melted butter, divided
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian blended cheeses
  • 10 to 20 pepperoni slices, chopped

Directions:

Gather your ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix sugar, yeast, and water.  Allow the mixture to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast becomes foamy.

Once the yeast is foamy, add two tablespoons of butter and mix.

In a separate, larger bowl, add the flour and one teaspoon of salt.  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.  Pour the yeast mixture into the well and slowly beging to incorporate the flour.

At this point it may seem that you have too much flour but continue mixing and the dough will come together.  Once most of the flour has been incorporated, turn the dough onto a clean counter and knead for 8 to 10 minutes.  The dough should become smooth and elastic.

Grease a large bowl with olive oil (or cooking spray).  Insert the dough and turn it to cover with oil.  Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for one hour.

We’ve been running the air conditioning since we’ve been experiencing some really high temps.  So, I was worried our apartment wouldn’t be warm enough for the dough to rise.  To remedy this I turned on the oven and placed the bread on top so that it would heat right up.  It worked like a charm.

Once the dough has doubled in size, rolled it out onto a floured countertop until it’s about 1/4 of an inch think.  Brush the dough with one tablespoon of melted butter and sprinkle the seasonings on top.  Next, cover the seasonings with cheese and chopped pepperoni.

Cut the dough into 2″ x 3″ squares and layer them into a 9 x 5 loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

This step was tricky for me.  The cheese and pepperoni did not want to stick to the dough and I couldn’t get the squares to stand up right.  So, I tipped the pan upright at a 90 degree angle and began to insert the squares.  It worked much better.  I still had some loose cheese that fell onto the countertop so I just sprinkled it on top of the loaf.  It still turned out lovely.

Once your loaf is formed, cover it with a damp towel and allow it to rise for about 40 minutes.  I placed mine on the stove top again.

Now that the dough is nice and fluffy, place the loaf into the a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  To check that the bread is cooked throughly, insert a knife into the middle make sure it comes out clean.  Then you’re ready to dig in!

Yum!  This recipe is a keeper.  I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we did 🙂

This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

Pizza Plant

4 Jun

I’m home in Buffalo this weekend to do some planning and shopping for the wedding.  Today was a busy but very successful day!  We started the morning off with three different craft stores and managed to find my sister’s dress.  I’m thrilled with our progress. 🙂

When we found time for a lunch break, it was only natural for us to head to Pizza Plant which is one of my favorite local restaurants.

Pizza Plant has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.  Their expansive menu means that there is something for everyone and, in my opinion, everything is delicious.

You have your choice of flat pizzas, stuffed pizzas, pods, sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, desserts, etc.  The list really goes on and on.

One thing that they are famous for is their pods.  What’s a pod you ask?  Well, I’ll tell ya.  A pod is essentially a long, cylindrical calzone.  They have several signature pods or you can create your own.

Since I rarely get to eat at Pizza Plant, I always go with my favorite; the garden stuffed pizza.

Does that look amazing?!  My mom and I split this pie and we were still left with half of it as leftovers.  The portion sizes are huge!

My sister, Amanda, enjoyed her veggie burrito.

If you’re ever in the Buffalo area in the need of a good restaurant, check out Pizza Plant.  I promise it won’t disappoint!

Do you have a favorite restaurant in your home town?  Tell me about it!

Sights and Bites

27 May

Yesterday morning, as we were getting ready to head to the airport, I got a call from the lovely people at US Airways.  They called to notify me that our flight was delayed an hour.  Boo, I’m not a fan of delays but these things happen and at least we knew before we headed to the airport!

Even though we headed to the airport an hour late, we had some time to kill before our flight.  Alex hit up Dunkin’ Donuts…

… and I decided to take an obnoxious number of self portraits.

I’ve spared you from the bulk of them 😉

After a brief, “one hour” delay, we were on our way to visit with my aunt and grandparents.  The flight was surprisingly smooth and quick, which is all I could have asked for.  I’m an incredibly nervous flyer!

My aunt picked us up from the airport and took us back to her place to serve up lunch.  She had a great spread from Whole Foods of salad, cheese, bread, and fruit.  It had all of my favorite elements and I was in heaven!

After lunch Alex and I took a walk around Old Salem.

Old Salem is a part of Winston-Salem that was once the home to the Moravians that settled in Salem several years ago.  Many of the old buildings and gardens have been preserved.  We were able to walk around and get a feel for life as it used to be.

Naturally, our first stop was to the bakery.

Alex bought a piece of their chocolate pound cake and I bought some strawberry fig preserves.  I can’t wait to dig into the jam once I get home!  We also bought some souvenirs for my family and made friends with the locals.  Being New Yorkers, we’re not used to strangers that are so open and have a tendency to overshare, haha.

We continued on and walked through a good portion of the grounds.

The town has been maintained beautifully.  I loved all the greenery and architecture.  We had a great time walking around but in the end we were ready to head home.  It was so hot out!  We needed to recuperate inside with some water and AC.  It hasn’t gotten this warm in NY yet and we just weren’t ready for it.  But it’s a great sign that summer is just around the corner.  I’m totally ready for that!

The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting with my grandparents.  This was the first time they’d met Alex.  They were both thrilled to have Alex and I visit.  I’m glad we were able to make the trip down here as I’m not sure if they’ll be able to make it to our wedding.  So, it’s nice to have some time with them now 🙂

Later in the evening we headed to a cute, little Italian place for dinner.  After browsing through the menu, I decided on the spinach calzone.  I love me some cheesy bread!

The calzone was huge!  I barely made it through half.  But naturally I saved room for some dessert.

This place was very similar to one of my favorites in NYC, 16 handles.  They had a large variety of yogurts to choose from and dozens of toppings!

I didn’t hold back.  I started out with cookies ‘n cream and cake batter ice cream and topped it with Reese’s peanut butter cups, cookie dough, and some Jelly Bellys.

Hmmm, not really in line with my goals but it sure was delicious!  Besides, I’m on vacation; all bets are off.

That about does it for our first day in NC.  Today we’re going to spend some more time visiting with family and I hope to get a tour of the downtown area.  Alex and I love getting a feel for each city we visit and what better way than by foot?  (Haha, I just typed “food” instead of foot.  You know where my mind is!)

Have you ever been to North Carolina?  If so, what part?

BBQ Chicken Pizza

11 May

Yesterday I posted about a quick weeknight meal for those days when you have little time to cook.  This is another great recipe for nights when you’re short on time but it does require some planning. 

Every few weeks I like to make some double batch of pizza dough on the weekend.  It’s really quite simple although it does require a couple of hours of rise time.  Next time I make a batch, I’ll post a step-by-step tutorial so you can see what it’s all about.  

If making pizza dough from scratch isn’t really your thing, there are a lot of great pre-made doughs available.  Most of them freeze really well so all you have to do is remember to defrost it and you’ll be ready to make homemade pizza in a snap!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
(makes one pizza with about 8 slices)

Ingredients:

  • One batch prepared pizza dough
  • 2 to 3 boiled chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees (or follow package directions).
  2. Roll out pizza dough and place on a greased pizza baking sheet.
  3. Cover dough with BBQ sauce and place shredded chicken on top of the sauce.  Gently mix to combine.  I used about 1/4 cup and there was plenty of sauce but feel free to adjust the amount to your liking.
  4. Sprinkle cheeses on top to cover all sauce.
  5. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Allow the pizza to cool for a few minutes before digging in!

This pizza would be even better with some carmelized onions or gorgonzola cheese.  It’s such an easy recipe to customize!

Do you make pizza dough from scratch or do you buy it pre-made?  If you buy it from the store, which brand do you prefer?

Pizza Hummus

12 Apr

Homemade hummus is one of those foods that far exceeds anything you can find at the store.  Hummus lends itself to personalization so well that it’s hard not to like your results. 

Well, unless you don’t like hummus.  Then I can’t help you 🙂

This particular recipe is one of my first attempts at homemade hummus and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.  The hummus has a nice hint of tomato and a great blend of spices.  If you eat it with a warm, fluffy pita, you’ll think you’ve bitten into a light, flavorful slice of pizza.

Serve at a party or enjoy it on your own; either way I can guarantee it won’t last long.

Pizza Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (reserve 1/4 cup of liquid from the can)
  • 1/4 15oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • One clove of garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add cashews to a food processor or high speed blender and process until they form a light powder.  About 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Once cashews have formed powder, add garbanzo beans and process until the mixture begins to come together and smooth out.  Add reserved liquid to get the blades moving.  Process for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients and process until desired consistency is reached.

Today is the last day for my Chobani giveaway.  Enter while you still can!

Have you made hummus?  What’s your favorite kind?

Stuffed Crust Pizza

11 Apr

Stuffed crust pizza always makes me feel like a kid again.  When I was growing up, my family would occassionally go to Pizza Hut for dinner.  I have distinct memories of going to the all-you-can-eat salad bar and feeling very adult.  I’d usually go with a salad of iceberg lettuce, green peas, chinese noodles, and ample amounts of ranch dressing.  Mmmm, ranch dressing.  Now that’s another comfort food.  But I digress.

Once I had matured past the kiddie personal pan pizza, I could partake in the grown-up pizza.  And when I got lucky, my parents would agree to a stuffed crust pie.  Stuffed crust pizza was such a treat!  After I’d devoured the cheesy, dougy pizza, I was still left with a cheese filled breadstick.  Yum.  What could be better than more cheese and bread after you’ve finished a piece of pizza?  Nothing, I tell ya.  Nothing. 

Stuffed Crust Pizza
(makes one personal pizza)

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzerella cheese
  • pepperoni
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 3 mozzerella sticks

Directions:

  1. Prepare pizza dough (allow up to two hours for rising time) or use previously prepared dough.  I used 1/4 of the pizza dough yield from this recipe.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Roll your dough into a large circle.  Place dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  4. Cut mozzerella sticks in half lengthwise and down the middle.  You’ll end up with 12 rectangular pieces.
  5. Place mozzerella sticks around the edge of the dough.  Fold dough over the mozzerella and seal closed.
  6. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the center of the dough.  Toss cheese and pepperoni on top.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before cutting.

What foods make you think of your childhood?

There’s still time to enter my Chobani giveaway!

Veggie Calzones

4 Apr

As a kid, I loved calzones.  Whenever my family went to a pizza place, I’d favor calzones over regular pizza.  Preferrably the type filled with more cheese than anything else.  And always, with the sauce on the side.  I’ve never been a big fan of tomato sauce in calzones or on pizza.  I know, call me crazy, but there is just something about simplicity of melted cheese on soft chewy dough.  I don’t want tomato sauce to come in and crash the party in my mouth 🙂

Now that I’m a grown-up older and I have more knowledge about proper nutrition, I’ve come to appreciate calzones with a better balance between cheese and vegetables.  But don’t even think about putting tomato sauce in there.  I’ll spit it out and go to my room without dinner.

Looks like somethings never change.

Veggie Calzone
(recipe serves one)

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough (I used 1/4 of the recipe for one calzone.)
  • 1 Tbsp basil pesto
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mozzerella cheese
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • dash of garlic powder and Italian seasonings

Directions:

  1. Prepare pizza dough (allow up to two hours for rising time) or use previously prepared dough.  You’ll only need 1/4 of the dough for one calzone.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add spinach and cook until wilted.  Finally add broccoli for an extra minute or two.
  4. Roll your dough into a large circle.
  5. On half of the dough, spread 1 tablespoon of pesto.  Be sure to leave at least one inch of dough around the edge so that you can fold your calzone.
  6. On top of basil pesto, place your cooked veggies.  Top veggies with cheeses and salt and pepper, if using.
  7. Fold dough over veggies and pinch the edges closed.
  8. Make a couple small slits in the top of the dough.  Brush with olive oil and dust with garlic powder and Italian seasonings.
  9. Bake on a lightly oiled baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes.

Do you prefer pizza or calzones?  With tomato sauce or without?