Fig and Prosciutto Pizza

This bad boy snuck out for email subscribers so my apologies for the duplicate. Let’s just say it is good enough to take a peek at twice? I’m always trying to come up with a pizza topping I haven’t done before. I regularly pass the fig spread in the grocery store but hadn’t grabbed it until now. Until this pizza. Ta-da!

Fig jam isn’t with other jellies or spreads…at least at my grocery store. It is usually somewhere near produce on the way further into the store.

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Ingredients:

pizza dough
1 cup marinara sauce
8 oz shredded mozzarella
3 oz brie
1/2 cup fig jam
3 slices of prosciutto

Directions:

Preheat oven & pizza stone (if using one) to 400-degrees.
Spread pizza dough onto the pan/stone and poke a few holes into it with a fork or knife.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until it starts getting golden and crisp. It needs to be crisp to hold the toppings.
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Top with marinara, then shredded mozzarella. Dot with brie and fig jam.
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Return to the oven, and bake for 10 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Top with slices of prosciutto.
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I love the sweet jam with salty prosciutto. This was a great combination of really different flavors. Between the brie, the mozzarella, and the jam, it was a gooey/drippy pizza.

I wanted marinara on there for some acidity but that could be optional. I also think this would be interesting enough without the prosciutto, if you were serving a vegetarian. I always worry that their food isn’t interesting enough. I like the prosciutto uncooked so it is still soft and bite-able.

I make a lot of pizzas. Any future topping ideas for me?

Hosting Brunch Tips & Breakfast Pizza

I LOVE to host. I think that’s why I like working events. I love feeling like I’ve thought of the details because that’s what makes an event feel special. Hosting at my house also means that I won’t have people complaining to me about a tee shirt. Seriously, this is my life.

I hosted a few of my fav couples for brunch. I tried not to go crazy with the menu but I was psyched to put a few new serving pieces into action. I did as much prep the night before as I could and it made for a pretty easy morning. There were 6 of us and 4 puppies and 1 toddler. It was a beautiful day and I was so thankful some of this group together for brunch before everyone had to head in different directions.

Menu:

breakfast pizza
ebilskiver pancake balls: dark chocolate mint, banana butterscotch, and sausage
fruit salad
yogurt parfait bar
tator tots
mini bagels
mimosas
hot & iced coffee

I’ve made a few breakfasts pizzas in the past. I made one bfast pizza with hashbrown crust which was better in theory than in execution. I’ve also have done one bfast pizza with egg cracked on top.  This time I went more scrambled but still don’t think I hit 100%. I topped a crust with cheese, bacon, and tomato. I baked it a bit more and then topped it with scrambled eggs, more bacon, and fresh chives. The crust needed a bit more time to get crisp. The timing was the challenge here. I had a few other items in the oven, I was getting stuff together, and I was scrambling the eggs. It was good, but not amazing. It has such potential though. The crust needed more time to get crisp and the eggs should have gone on only for a minute or two, then it should be served right away.
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I cold brewed coffee for ice coffee. I also froze some coffee into cubes (but forgot to serve them!). Cold brewing is interesting. It definitely makes better iced coffee. We had some leftover and I’ve been enjoying it to no end. Mr. J said we need an iced coffee drip in the fridge!

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I love brunch and think the choices need to vary sweet and savory. I was thinking about a smoothie station but thought maybe it was too much work for people to do themselves. Then I had it! Yogurt Parfait Bar. Yes! Top-your-own is the best. Everyone can customize! I served vanilla Greek yogurt with granola, cinnamon chips, walnuts, brown sugar, toasted coconut, dried cranberries, and chocolate crunchies. I put out some disposable wine cups for serving and we were good-to-go. It was an easy/low prep dish. Annnd maybe I also wanted to use this 6-dish server.
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I got cool silverware holders for my birthday from my sis. These are so great!
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Finally, I think food labeling is one of the easiest things a host can do. The holders were a fun antique gift. They’re supposed to be placecard holders but I don’t do sit-downs and Momma R thought they’d be perfect for my dish labels. I like people to know what it is without having to either ask, or skip it not knowing what it is.
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Eggplant Parmesan Pizza

My pizza today isn’t really Memorial Day themed, but it is a winner. New England’s weather hasn’t really been Memorial Day themed either. I’m not complaining though. I got the good weather when I needed it. My freezer was getting a bit out of control and I was wanting to use some ingredients. I dug around and found some frozen bredded eggplant, courtesy of Trader Joe’s. I thought I’d introduce Mr. J to it via pizza. It was delicious.
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This is so good. The eggplant is delightfully crispy while the ricotta is creamy and the mozzarella is stretchy. There are such good flavors and textures while being a Love.

Ingredients:

6 slices of bredded eggplant
pizza dough
1 1/2 cups marinara
2 tbs basil, chopped
8 oz shredded mozzarella
2 tbs Italian seasoning
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbs Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Bake eggplant slices for about 10 minutes, flipping once.
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Prebake pizza crust for 10 minutes until it starts to harden on the outside slightly.
Top with marinara and basil.
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Shake on some Italian Seasoning after topping with shredded mozzarella.
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Top with eggplant, and dollops of ricotta.
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Return to the oven and bake for 5-7 more minutes until all the cheese melts. Sprinkle with Parmesan before serving and let sit 3-5 minutes before slicing.
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I loved this one. Ricotta on pizza is to die for. It is perfectly melty and adds some soft texture. I thought it was a nice in-between of kind of a topping and kind of the base.

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Leek and Potato Pizza with Bacon

I was feeling like dinners had been too wintry and I wanted something springy. I’m ready for spring and Boston sure feels fresh and rejuvenated. We are on the mend and with a springy-feeling drizzle and a sunny hug this weekend helped us heal and move forward.

I spotted leeks at Trader Joe’s. Thanks to Joe, I didn’t have to slice and soak. It also meant I didn’t have to try to use leeks in everything I cooked from now on.

Ms. L was coming so I figured bacon was just the addition she would appreciate. All hell was breaking lose at work. I needed to make this delectable pizza. I needed something I could do well. I’m sure Ms. L would have understood if I was too overwhelmed. When other things are going wrong, I just want dinner to be comforting.

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Ingredients:

pizza dough
2 cups leeks
2 tbs pesto
8 oz shredded mozzarella
4 oz St. Andre cheese
2 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
2 strips of bacon

Directions:

Preheat oven and pizza stone if you’re using one to 400 degrees.
Saute leeks in butter and olive oil until cooked through.
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Spread pizza dough onto the pizza stone or onto a lightly greased pan and poke a few holes with a fork.
Pre-bake the dough for 10 minutes until the dough puffs and is somewhat cooked, but not crisp.
Fry the bacon until almost cooked (it will continue baking on the pizza)
After removing the dough from the oven, spread pesto onto the dough.
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Top with shredded mozzarella, sliced potato, leeks, soft cheese, and crumbled bacon.
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Return to the oven for 20 minutes until the crust crisps and the cheese melts.
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Remove from the oven, and let sit for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

This was so good. The two cheeses were perfect. St. Andre crumbles like butter and is like brie, times 10. The cheese plus potatoes plus bacon was so well balanced. The leeks are fresh almost oniony almost garlicky.

I loved this and will make it again, for sure.

Greek Veggie Pizza

I always wonder if I’ll ever run out of pizza toppings ideas. So far so good! I came up with this Greek pizzas as a meatless dinner idea. It was a hit!
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Ingredients:

2 zucchini
1 cup artichokes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
pizza dough
⅓ cup pizza sauce
8 oz shredded mozzarella
1 tomato, sliced
¾ cup feta, crumbled
2 cups spinach, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400-degrees (also preheat pizza stone if using one)
Saute zucchini, artichokes, and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until zucchini is softened, but not squishy.
Add salt, pepper, and oregano.
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Pre-bake the pizza dough for 5-10 minutes until it starts to puff, and begins to cook around the edges.
Top with pizza/marinara sauce and mozzarella
Spread tomato slices across the base.
Sprinkle the zucchini/artichoke mixture on the top.
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Finally top with feta before baking the pizza.
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Bake 10 minutes in the preheated 400-degree oven.
After baking for the first round, top with spinach to bake for another 10 minutes (or until golden brown).
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I loved the freshness of the veggies, and the textures of the 2 cheeses. The feta gives the perfect salty component.

There’s very little sauce on this pizza, but the tomatoes provide some moisture too. There are so many veggies on here but I think the quantities were just right. They make it feel filling. The spinach was gently wilted but still had life to it. I was afraid of being “too much” but Mr. J said he’d like even more artichokes.
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French Bread Pizza

Hope you had a deliciously snowy weekend like I did! Just you wait. I cooked some fun stuff I can’t wait to share with you. Too bad I don’t have an recipe for snow, because we got walloped and there’s plenty to go around. I think our official count was 22 inches.

I’ve shared a great deal of pizzas but I hear all the time how annoying/tricky dough can be. I agree. It can be tough. I’ve had a few struggles myself (like here, or here), so I figured it was about time for a pizza without a doughy crust.

Enter: French bread pizza (forget that the bread packaging says Italian Bread)
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Ingredients:

3 tbs butter/margarine
1 tbs garlic, chopped
½ tsp garlic powder
4 tbs grated Parmesan/Romano cheese
sprinkle of salt, pepper, & Italian seasoning
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella
toppings of your choosing

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Melt butter, adding garlic, cheese, and seasonings.
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Half bread, lengthwise.
Spread butter, garlic, and seasonings onto each half and bake for 5 minutes.
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Remove from the oven and top with sauce and cheese
french_bread_pizza_tobake_590_390Add the toppings of your choice!
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Bake 15 more minutes or until melty and crisp.
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I loved how quick this pizza is. Everything is already cooked. It also cuts into a lot of pieces if you wanted to serve it at a party. 1 loaf ended up being 5 servings. I think it would be the fastest freezer meal to have on hand for when nobody feels like cooking.

The garlic base helps elevate it from a frozen pre-made pizza to an easy but delicious one. I took out half a few minutes earlier than the half we were eating that night. I hoped it’d help the lunch-reheating portion not to be overdone. That’s something you can’t do with a regular pizza!

Also, you remember my sous-chef? Here’s Windsor. He was sitting pretty but the delicious smells of pizza on the counter got the better of him. Don’t his white whiskers make him look distinguished?
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Allow me to introduce my new sous-chef. Bailee comes to us from Maine (much like Windsor) and has been a fixture in the C family for all 8 years of her life so far. She’s living with us now (and maybe for keeps). I’m also her favorite when I’m cooking. She’s a bit portly so Mr. J has a grand-slimdown-plan. So far it has only involved fewer snacks than she’s used to and a few extra trips up and down our stairs. The snow is taller than she is so she’s not overly impressed with the backyard right now.
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Deep Dish Pizza With a Secret Ingredient

Pardon the posting irregularity. Family comes first. The C side of my family is enduring the challenges of a lifetime right now. It is unbelievably difficult, painful, and more than anyone deserves to have to deal with. Mr. J says it best when he says “we’re a strong family, we can handle anything.” I’m trying to be strong, helpful, and encouraging but I also find myself seeking support. There’s a long road ahead. Food won’t get us through, but good food can’t hurt, right?

I saw an article about some grocery store items for dinner time-prep saving tips. Most of the tips were pretty lame. Umm using jarred salsa? Hello! I realize you can make your own but that’s not really a “tip” in my book. Buying canned soup…that doesn’t even transform the ingredient!

I did think using frozen creamed spinach could have some possibilities. I thought about it as a pizza topping/sauce rather than for pasta.
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Ingredients:
Pizza dough
9 oz package of frozen creamed spinach
3 sweet or spicy Italian sausage links, casings removed
1 tbs garlic, chopped
6 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 ½ cups marinara sauce

Directions:
Remove sausage casing and pan fry with garlic until cooked and crumbled. Drain off any grease.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9’ round cake pan with non-stick spray.
Defrost/warm creamed spinach according to package directions.
Spread the pizza dough into the pan, and up the sides.
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Layer mozzarella slices on the bottom, then sausage, then, creamed spinach.
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Lay a few more slices of mozzarella then spread marinara over the top.
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Put pizza onto a baking pan (for any overflow) and bake for 30-40 minutes.
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This was the best deep dish pizza I ever made. When cutting into a piece, a fork could stretch the thick mozzarella slices an arms length. The creamed spinach was such a good trick. It is creamy and decadent while adding some great color.
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This would be good on a regular pizza too, or as a quickie base for spinach and artichoke dip. I just might have to keep some in my freezer for inspired dinner moments just like this!

Stuffed Crust Pizza

I don’t know why Pizza is associated with Friday. I think Monday deserves pizza just as much! I was racking my brain to figure out what kind of pizza I hadn’t ever tried. Ahh ha! Stuffed Crust!
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Ingredients:
Pizza dough
3-4 string cheese sticks (I used a provolone mozzarella mix)
1 cup marinara sauce (I use Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes)
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
8 oz shredded mozzarella

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (if using a pizza stone, preheat it as well).
Spread pizza dough out onto the pan/stone. Make sure it is spread very thin, it will fold in and become an inch smaller.
Cut cheese sticks into small pieces and spread them around the edge.
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Fold the edge over, closing the cheese inside. Crimp with a fork. Be sure the cheese is fully surrounded by the dough. Roll cheese so it is surrounded 1.5-2 times. (unlike mine)
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Bake 10 minutes until doughy edges begin to crisp.
Spread sauce, spices, and shredded cheese on top.
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Return to the oven baking for another 10-20 minutes. Remove when cheese is melted and crust has crisped.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

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I had some oozing sections. I covered those spots with sauce and cheese. I think making sure the cheese stuffing is wrapped around more than once to ensure it won’t bust through the seams.

Bacon, Butternut Squash and Gouda Pizza

I had an idea for a fall inspired pizza once I saw a good lookin’ pizza on Flying On Jess Fuel. Her pizza had bacon, gouda, apples, and caramelized onions. How delicious does that sound?! I also saw an awesome one on We Are Not Marta with pumpkin crust topped with prosciutto and brussels sprouts. I had a few fall flavors I thought would be good and it seemed like it’d be an ideal use for some butternut squash I had roasted. Bing, bam, boom.
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Ingredients:

pizza dough
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ cup shredded mozzarella
½ roasted butternut squash
1 cup sliced gouda
4 strips of thick cut bacon

Directions:

Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400-degrees.
While oven is heating, fry bacon until almost cooked (it keeps cooking when on top the pizza).
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Pre-bake the pizza dough for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle mozzarella, thyme, and nutmeg on top after removing from the oven.
Spread the mashed butternut squash onto the dough.
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Top with sliced gouda.
fall_pizza_cheese_590_390Finish with bacon.
Bake 20-30 minutes until melted and crisp.
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I liked it. I think the gouda is nicely nutty and the quash layer provides a great moisture layer. I liked the crisp bacon in contrast to the soft squash.
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It was good. This fall pizza was a nice combo of flavors I’m glad I didn’t go bananas topping it with everything I thought might go. Sometimes I go pizza-topping-overboard. I can’t help it!

Psssst: get ready! I have a new series launching later this week. Stay tuned!

Portland Pie Pizza

The vacation of eating continues! Seriously, Portland ME is a foodie mecca (donuts & duckfat fries). I really hoped we’d make it to Portland Pie and it was everything I dreamed of. I buy their refrigerated pizza dough at the grocery store and love it. It is the best, hands down. It worked out to be a great dinner option for the last night we were in town.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

I was really torn as to what I was in the mood for. Their fall specials looked amazing. I might need to recreate one of their fall dishes. There was a mustard/sauerkraut/bratwurst/pumpkin ale pizza that sounded amazing. I also was intrigued by a maple balsamic dressing for salad.

We got an app (even though Mr. J was all about the pumpkin cheesecake for dessert). I knew after all our eating we could not eat an app, pizza, and dessert. Way. too. much.

We chose the sweet potato smoked cheddar dip with rosemary biscotti.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

They were working the kinks out on this one. We actually sent it back to be reheated. The breadbowl it was in was nicely warmed, the cheddar on top of the dip was melted, but the dip was cold. It wasn’t just “not piping hot” but it was cold. We neverrr send stuff back but this was meant to be warm. It then took forever. Other tables got their salads, drink refills, salads cleared and pizza served while we waited.

The kitchen wasn’t sure the best way to reheat it while maintaining the dip. I wanted to cancel it but our server was a bit MIA. She returned telling us it would be ready when the pizza was and the kitchen made a new app. I really would have just cancelled it or they could have offered to take it off the bill. Instead they offered us dessert. That made Mr. J one happy guy.

Our server thought it would be ready when the pizza was so we asked for whatever was ready to come out. I didn’t want the pizza sitting to stay warm. I’m not sure it was worth all the hype for all of this process, but it was good. Smoked gouda would have been better.

We ordered 2 pizzas so there’d be some leftovers to take home for the next day. We got one Bar Harbor which was super exciting now that Mr. J eats scallops! Woohoo! It was scallops, bacon, mozzarella with alfredo sauce. It was amazing. The scallops were cooked nicely and every bite was flavorful. The topping to crust ratio was spot on.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

The other pizza we got was called Dead River. It was red sauce and had spinach, red peppers, ricotta, and we swapped out hamburger for sausage. It is finished with garlic and crushed red pepper. Some bites definitely have a kick to them. I liked this one a lot and it was a great contrast to the sweet & smokey scallop pizza.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie

One of my favorite things that happened was just too funny. For some reason our server didn’t seem sure that we were together. She packed the dessert to go as separate containers and asked if we each wanted some of each pizza packed up. I was so amused since we were celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary weekend!

I love their menu. I wish there was a Portland Pie near me! I’d be happy to drink the delicious local-to-Maine brews and dine on their expansive menu if they wanted to come further south!
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Pie