Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Grilled Pizza & Homemade Pizza Sauce

I am in love with grilled pizza.  I could definitely eat this at least once a week, every week if it was practical! We first discovered grilled pizza late last fall, right before the winter weather hit and we had been impatiently waiting for the spring weather to make it again. We grill other food all winter long, but pizza is kind of difficult because you end up spreading the sauce, cheese, toppings, etc out all over the place and that is just a pain when there is feet of snow surrounding your grill and deck. 

One of the great things about grilled pizza is you can make them any size you want.  K and I make two medium size pizzas and top each one with our own toppings.  K generally leans towards a "supreme" type pizza, while I like to change it up all the time and do something different. I also LOVE white pizza, so this method of pizza works great for us because he can pile on the sauce and I can just have the butter/garlic crust.  The first time we made these, I put broccoli and chicken on mine and K did pepperoni and mushrooms.  This time we had leftovers from making a pasta pizza casserole, so K put sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms plus sausage and turkey pepperoni on his.  I put sausage and fresh tomatoes on mine.  We used a combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheese and finished the pizzas off with a sprinkling of fresh chives.  

The dough gets super crusty and crunchy from the high heat that the grill puts out, but maintains just enough of that chewy pizza quality that I like.  This method is super fast too. Once you have everything prepped, it takes less than 10 minutes to grill the pizzas.  They are a great way to use up odds and ends left over in the fridge too.  Just grab a ball of dough from a local pizza shop or the prepared food section of your grocery store and you are on your way to a fast and fabulous dinner.  I think next time we will try out a chicken barbeque version.  Yum, now I am hungry again just thinking about the possibilities! Let me know what combinations you try.  :)

Grilled Pizza

1 lb pizza dough ball (homemade, from your local pizza place, or store bought)
1 tsp canola oil
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup pizza sauce (recipe below, or store bought)
6 oz shredded cheese of your choice
Toppings of your choice

Preheat your grill on the highest heat setting and make sure grill grates are cleaned well. Melt the butter and combine with minced garlic, grate your cheese, and cook your toppings, if necessary.  Divide dough into two pieces and roll each one out or use your hands to stretch the dough out until about 1/8" to 1/4" thick.  Place the pizzas on to something that will be easy to transfer the dough to the grill, like a cutting board or baking sheet.  Brush the side of the pizza that you are going to put face down on the grill with canola oil.  Place the dough, oil side down, directly on the grill grates, turn the heat down to medium high, and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Make sure you have your sauce and toppings all ready and waiting because the next part goes fast.  Use a big spatula or tongs to help you flip the pizza over.  Brush the butter/garlic mixture all over the pizza and then spoon the pizza sauce on evenly.  Leave the sauce off if you want a "white pizza."  Then place toppings and cheese on the pizza.  Don't go overboard with the sauce, cheese, or toppings.  If you put too much stuff on the pizza, the crust could get soggy or the cheese won't completely melt before you burn the bottom of the crust. Close the grill lid to allow the cheese to melt. Cook the second side of the pizza between 4-5 minutes total.   Remove the pizzas from the grill and cut into slices. 

Inspired by Simply Scratch

Homemade Pizza Sauce

28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
3-4 leaves fresh basil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat a medium sauce pot over medium high heat and add the olive oil.  Saute the onions in the oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent.  Then add the garlic and cook for about a minute.  Add the can of tomatoes including all of the liquid.  Use a potato masher to smoosh the tomatoes into small pieces.  Once the tomatoes are to the consistency that you like, add all of the seasonings and cook for about 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced slightly.  The sauce can be used immediately or cooled and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for about a week.

Inspired by Food Network


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Breakfast foods are some of my favorite foods.  I love french toast, pancakes, eggs, bacon, and even cereal but during the week, I am definitely a breakfast-on-the-go type person.  I never seem to have the time or effort for putting together something to eat before getting out the door for work, so I tend towards grabbing a granola bar and a piece of fruit as I head out.  I have found a few decent store bought granola bars that I like to eat, but since I love making things from scratch I decided to find a good homemade recipe to try.

My childhood favorite granola bar was the peanut butter chocolate chip Quaker chewy bars, so when I found this copycat recipe I knew this was the one I wanted to try first.  Let me just tell you, these granola bars  mimic the flavor profile and chewy texture of the store bought version very well, but they are about a hundred times better tasting!  The bars are perfectly sweetened with a great balance of peanut butter and chocolate flavors.  The combination of oats, rice krispies, and coconut create exactly the right chewiness that these granola bars should have.  Plus there is always the added benefit of knowing exactly what is in the bars, no preservatives or other unknowns that might come with a store bought product.  I will definitely be making these bars instead of buying them and experimenting with other flavor combinations as well.  

Luckily little K has been snoozing away in his swing while I typed this post out but he has started his waking up routine of growling and peeking his eyes open, so I will quickly wrap this up and end the post with a picture from last week when he was one month old. Ahh, I can't believe more than a month has past by already!   

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

1 2/3 cups rolled oats
1 cup rice krispies cereal 
1 cup sweetened coconut flake
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup honey
1 cup chocolate chips (milk or semisweet)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.  Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix very well.  Pour the mixture into the baking pan and press it out into an even layer.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges turn golden brown.  Let the bars cool complete before cutting.  Cut into bars and store in an air tight container or wrap individually in plastic wrap.


Inspired by Yammie's Noshery