pizza

Pizza Pasta

Who enjoys having fun with their food? I do! Let’s face it, I’m not in the running to win a Michelin star. Although I think I get 4 stars on this! (One from each of my kids). We have growing athletes in this house, so we eat a lot of pasta. And I don’t know one kid who doesn’t like pizza! Let’s just get crazy… As if we needed further proof that easy weeknight meals can be as amusing as they are tasty.

Serves 6-8

As organic as possible:

1 lb Penne pasta or pasta of choice

1 – 14 oz. jar/can or homemade Pizza sauce

1 – 15 oz. jar/can or homemade Tomato sauce

1 tsp Sugar

1 tsp dried Oregano

Salt and Pepper to taste

6 oz. Pepperoni, sliced *reserve 12-15 slices for topping, quarter the remaining

2 cups shredded Mozzarella or Italian cheese blend, divided

1/4 cup (approx) of freshly grated Parmesan

*Optional diced veggie “toppings”such as onion, green pepper, mushrooms, etc.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook pasta according to package instructions, less 1-2 minutes. *I like to salt my water when it comes to a boil, before adding dry pasta. Drain and return to pot.

In the meantime, in a sauce pan, combine pizza and tomato sauces, sugar (to balance tomato acidity), oregano,  quartered pepperonis, and any diced/sliced veggies. Stir until combined and warmed through. Taste for further seasoning, i.e. salt & pepper.

*Side note: this could easily be a vegetarian dish by omitting the meat! 😉

Pour the sauce mixture into the pot of noodles and stir. Place half of the saucy noodles in a large baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on the first layer of noodles and repeat with remaining noodles and shredded cheese. Strategically place the full slices of pepperoni around the top of the pasta dish, followed by the grated Parmesan, to create your piece of art. Kiss your grouped finger tips and throw your hand in the air while shouting “Bellissimo!”

Place the loaded baking dish into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top pepperonis are starting to brown on the edges. Yum!

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*It might also be noted that I reserved some of the saucy noodles, which I placed in a separate small baking dish for my dairy-free son. (Which you may or may not need to do yourself.)

Pizza Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Penne pasta or pasta of choice
  • 1 - 14 oz. jar/can or homemade Pizza sauce
  • 1 - 15 oz. jar/can or homemade Tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. Pepperoni, sliced *reserve 12-15 slices for topping, quarter the remaining
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella or Italian cheese blend, divided
  • 1/4 cup (approx) of freshly grated Parmesan
  • *Optional diced veggie "toppings"such as onion, green pepper, mushrooms, etc.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions, less 1-2 minutes. *I like to salt my water when it comes to a boil, before adding dry pasta. Drain and return to pot.
  3. In the meantime, in a sauce pan, combine pizza and tomato sauces, sugar (to balance tomato acidity), oregano, quartered pepperonis, and any diced/sliced veggies.
  4. Stir until combined and warmed through. Taste for further seasoning, i.e. salt & pepper.
  5. Pour the sauce mixture into the pot of noodles and stir. Place half of the saucy noodles in a large baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on the first layer of noodles and repeat with remaining noodles and shredded cheese.
  6. Strategically place the full slices of pepperoni around the top of the pasta dish, followed by the grated Parmesan, to create your piece of art.
  7. Kiss your grouped finger tips and throw your hand in the air while shouting "Bellissimo!"
  8. Place the loaded baking dish into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top pepperonis are starting to brown on the edges. Yum!
http://sadiesnest.com/pizza-pasta/

 

Loving Lately 🍕

Loving Lately: Pizza (and all of it’s flavorful convenience)

Pizza has to be one of the greatest creations ever made. It’s inexpensive, can easily feed a lot of people, and is generally a crowd pleaser- because it is scrumptious! It’s bread, it’s cheese and it’s whatever else you want baked to perfection. I mean seriously. I think if my husband had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of his life, it would be pizza. And I sincerely believe that he feels pizza from a different place every night of the week is an entirely different daily meal. Oh, and in many places you can have it delivered hot and cheesy right to your front door! In less than 30 minutes! Let’s not forget that little golden nugget. 😉

Pizza is a great way to express your culinary creativity. Colors, flavors, textures… let ’em fly! Take this Nectarine Pizza with Basil, Blue Cheese and Reduced Balsamic from Alexandra’s Kitchen for example. Yeah, that’s right.

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Or maybe a White Pizza with Garlic Sauce and Garden Herbs from How Sweet Eats… How much pizza is acceptable to eat at one sitting? Also by Jessica from How Sweet Eats are these mouth-watering 30-Minute Portobello Pizzas featured by The Pioneer Woman. I’m not going to lie, mushroom for crust just seems like a really good idea. I wonder how soy cheese would work for my vegan friends out there?

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Apparently, the thing is basil. Everything will look beautiful as long as you have fresh basil. But I imagine Chicken Florentine Flatbread by Rachel Schultz tastes pretty good too. Little bursts of roasted cherry tomatoes… Yummmm!

And because this is the way I think, wouldn’t this be pretty for Christmas?

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How about the fall? Are you ready to see everything that embodies autumn wrapped in a pizza package? Drum roll please…. Caramelized Butternut, Crispy Kale + Fontina Pizza with Pomegranate Salsa by Half Baked Harvest. Bravo! …Of course you could always go with the Cranberry Sauce, Bacon, and Gorgonzola Pastry Puff Pizza from Baker by Nature. Decisions, decisions.

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Whether it’s buffalo chicken, taco, Hawaiian, regular pepperoni or pizza in a cone (that’s a real thing, thank you Pillsbury), “Za” is awesome. (That’s a real word too, thank you Scrabble).

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Pizza Bagels

This is proof that food can be fun. I have some cherished childhood memories of my dad making pizza bagels. It’s the kind of food he’d make for us while mom was away at a baby shower or something. It seemed exciting because, well for one, we were cooking with dad. Second, it was all things we were familiar with and knew we liked. Pizza! For another, it really seemed like we were getting creative. Taking something made for one thing and turning it into something completely different. Kids eat that kind of stuff up! (Figuratively and literally… and so do adults.) It really doesn’t get much easier!

As organic as possible:

Makes 8 servings

4 plain or everything Bagels, cut in half

1 – 14.5 oz jar or can of favorite prepared or homemade pizza sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

4 oz Pepperoni

*Any other topping you like (my kids pretty much stop right there)

 

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Place bagel halves, open faced, on a baking sheet. Spoon on desired amount of sauce on each bagel. (Side note: This is a lot of fun for kids (big and small). And everyone can adjust the toppings to their preferences.) Place a handful of shredded mozzarella on top of the sauce. Sporadically or methodically place pepperonis on top of the cheese (keeping in mind they will shrink in size when they cook).

Place the pizza works of art into the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Leave it until it starts to brown if you prefer. This is your show. But do allow them to cool slightly before you bite into them, because the sauce will be surprisingly hot, and if you burn your tongue on the first bite, you will ruin the rest of your dinner. …And tasty pizza bagels are too tasty and fun to not enjoy!

A Tale of Three Dishes Part II

Isaiah and I were again tagging along on one of Owen’s business trips. This time he was visiting one of his company’s plants in the charming town of Bretten, Germany. Many of the his colleagues lived in or near town and coming here was a little like a business reunion. Isaiah and I were accustomed to camping out in our hotel room, frequenting nearby parks and strolling through town. Part of the routine often included Owen participating in business dinners with visiting customers, so we were comfortable fending for ourselves. At times reservations had been made before our trip began and we knew which nights Owen would be away, but lining up our evening wasn’t always easy, as many times there was no set plan of “when and where.” Since I didn’t have an international cell phone, the only way Owen could get in touch with me was to meet back at our hotel or call the room, but if Isaiah and I were out exploring we needed to be flexible with our dinner plans.

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Little park outside of the hotel

One afternoon the baby and I returned to the room for his nap. By the time he woke up I knew Owen would be coming back soon, so I didn’t want to head back out. To pass the time I took out the crayons and paper I had packed. There was a perfect little desk in the corner for coloring shapes and practicing our colors. Isaiah was sitting in a chair and completely content, so I thought it would be a good time to run to the restroom. I left the door open so I could hear him and dart out if he started to move, besides I just going to be a minute. Right as I was walking out, I saw him standing on the chair and losing his balance. I couldn’t get there fast enough and he came crashing down, catching the side of his face on the corner of the desk.

My heart sank as I rushed to comfort him and inspect his injury. All of the sudden I felt home sick and helpless. I had no idea where the nearest medical facility was located, and no car to get me there anyway. Thankfully there was no bleeding, and I was able to get a wash cloth of cold water to sooth his wound and help with the swelling. It didn’t take long to see he was going to have a black eye. By the time Owen called to say we had been invited to his co-worker’s home for the evening, I had calmed down a little. After explaining to him what had happened and expressing my concerns about being good company, Owen and his friend convinced me that going there was the best option since his home had a medicine cabinet and some basic supplies, not to mention he was an asset as a translator if need be.

Picture taken a few days later, sob.

Picture taken a few days later, sob.

When Owen picked us up from the hotel, Isaiah and I were doing better. Owen was quick to put my mind at ease, professing (as I think many dads do) “it’s not that bad.” We arrived at Martin’s home and were greeted by his welcoming family. It was their custom to eat a large lunch and not very much for dinner, but they did put out some homemade bread, cider, and jams, a slaw like salad made from their very own garden vegetables and a few kiwis. The night was very comforting after the upset we had in our hotel room. Martin’s wife practiced her English with me while his daughter played the piano for us and his son brought out a box of building blocks for Isaiah.

His wife and some of the homemade goodies.

His wife and some of the homemade goodies.

Isaiah taking a turn at the piano.

Isaiah taking a turn at the piano.

The night had been just what I needed and the next day I was again feeling relaxed about our stay (as opposed to trying to book the first flight home). I had even decided I would take Isaiah out for the afternoon. Owen had told me about a restaurant I should try at the square around the corner from our hotel. This was my favorite part of town. The brick paved thoroughfare was really for pedestrians only (although occasionally there would be a random car parked in front of a shop). The path was lined with quaint little stores, one sold chocolates, another sold kitchen wares, a couple sold clothing, etc. Owen had explained that a particular restaurant, the second one with outdoor seating on the north side of the road, had a pizza type dish that he thought was pretty good. Trusting his recommendation, I made it our quest of the day.

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What I am about to tell you next is as serious as I can be. I had never tasted anything like this before. One word, flammkuchen. It wasn’t really like a pizza or flat bread I’d eaten. It was amazing! It had a thin crispy crust, there was some sort of beautiful white sauce, the cheese was mild and flavorful, the onions were soft but firm and sweet, and the bacon, oh the bacon; it was perfectly salty, crispy and chewy all at the same time. Together the combination was out of this world. It’s not to say that I had tasted flammkuchen and had a standard to measure it by, but I’m pretty sure I hit the jackpot! Life changing. Honestly it’s worth booking a vacation over.

I posted this picture only because there are remnants of the flammkuchen on the table.

I posted this picture only because there are remnants of the flammkuchen on the table.