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.

potato_leek_baked_590_390

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.
potato_leek_leeks_590_390
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.
potato_leek_cheese_590_390
Top with shredded mozzarella, sliced potato, leeks, soft cheese, and crumbled bacon.
potato_leek_assembled_590_390
Return to the oven for 20 minutes until the crust crisps and the cheese melts.
potato_leek_whole_590_390
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!
greek_pizza_slice_590_390

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.
greek_pizza_zucc_590_390
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.
greek_pizza_topping_590_390
Finally top with feta before baking the pizza.
greek_pizza_baked_590_390
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).
greek_pizza_spin_590_390

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.
greek_pizza_slice_590_390

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)
french_bread_pizza_baked_590_390

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.
french_bread_pizza_butter_590_390
Half bread, lengthwise.
Spread butter, garlic, and seasonings onto each half and bake for 5 minutes.
french_bread_pizza_garlic_590_390
Remove from the oven and top with sauce and cheese
french_bread_pizza_tobake_590_390Add the toppings of your choice!
french_bread_pizza_topping_590_390
Bake 15 more minutes or until melty and crisp.
french_bread_pizza_baked_590_390

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?
french_bread_pizza_windsor

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.
french_ bread_pizza_bailee

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.
deepdish_slice_590_390

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.
deepdish_cheese_590_390
Layer mozzarella slices on the bottom, then sausage, then, creamed spinach.
deepdish_spinach_590_390
Lay a few more slices of mozzarella then spread marinara over the top.
deepdish_sauce_590_390
Put pizza onto a baking pan (for any overflow) and bake for 30-40 minutes.
deepdish_baked_590_390

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.
deepdish_slice_590_390

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!
stuffed_crust_slice_590_390

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.
stuffed_crust_setup_590_390
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)
stuffed_crust_shell_590_390
Bake 10 minutes until doughy edges begin to crisp.
Spread sauce, spices, and shredded cheese on top.
stuffed_crust_busting_590_390
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.

stuffed_crust_baked_590_390

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.
fall_pizza_plate_590_390

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).
fall_pizza_bacon_590_390
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.
fall_pizza_layer_590_390
Top with sliced gouda.
fall_pizza_cheese_590_390Finish with bacon.
Bake 20-30 minutes until melted and crisp.
fall_pizza_tobake_590_390

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.
fall_pizza_slices_590_390

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

Chicken Parmesan Pizza

Seems like a good day for pizza, right? When isn’t a good time for an easy-peasy-pizza?! I whipped up a super simple one I wanted to share despite how little cooking I actually did. Seems appropriate for a Monday. This will not overload your brain.

I was shooting for a super easy chicken Parmesan calzone but my dough was being difficult. I mean holes, bubbles, sticky, and crazy elastic-y even after getting to room temp. I’ve never had such a hard time. I remembered seeing a pizza joint on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives that puts cornmeal into the dough. I wasn’t sure it went, but I jumped on it.

Success! It was nutty and crispy. I usually use Portland Pie Company’s dough and I’m obsessed. I was improvising after grabbing some at a different grocery store. Yikes. It was touch & go for a few minutes there.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Pizza

Ingredients:

4 chicken fingers, cooked & chopped (frozen or bread your own)
1 ball pizza dough
1 cup tomato sauce
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
3 tbs Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic, chopped

Directions:

Spread pizza dough out and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Pizza
When dough is starting to crisp and cook through, take it out and top with sauce, spices, and garlic.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Pizza
Spread shredded mozzarella all over then top with chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Pizza
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until cheese is melted and crust is crisp.
Remove from the oven and spread mozzarella slices over the top. Return it to the oven and allow the cheese to melt with the oven off.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Pizza

Bacon Jam Becomes BLT Pizza

I had all this bacon jam and didn’t know what to do with it.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Jam

Well, that’s a lie. I could eat it out of the jar.

I just wanted to highlight its amazingness. So I created this BLT pizza. I won’t win any photographic awards with this one, but man, this was great pizza.

Ingredients:

pizza dough
8 oz shredded mozzarella
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 medium – large tomato, sliced
¼ cup bacon jam (recipe found here)
2 cups spinach or greens of your choice
1- 2 tbs ranch dressing (or dressing of choice)

Directions:

Spread pizza dough out onto a pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 10-20 minutes at 400-degrees to get it preliminarily crispy.
Top with shredded mozzarella then tomato slices, then fresh mozzarella. Add dollops of bacon jam.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Pizza
Bake for 20 minutes at 400-degrees.
Let the pizza rest for 5 minutes (cheese needs to solidify before you cut).The Three Bite Rule - BLT Pizza
Mix the greens with some salad dressing of choice.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Pizza
Top slices with lettuce and dressing.

I only had a little basil so I threw that on. If lettuce on your pizza isn’t your thing, throw on more fresh basil.

This was so cheesy. The bacon jam has a sticky brown sugary flavor so I thought the tang of the dressing was perfect. I used spinach but any greens would do, and spinach could have easily been cooked onto the pizza. I like the warm vs. cool and alternating textures.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Pizza

It was a great use of the bacon jam. That stuff is just. so. good.

I have one more use to drag out my love for bacon jam. Stay tuned!

Ricotta and Pesto Pizza

Happy September! It is fall! We can eat fall-ish foods and still enjoy the summer veggies & BBQ fun. To kick off some inbetween season food I give you ricotta cheese. I have a love affair with ricotta. NOT cottage cheese…that I avoid. I can’t imagine when people don’t like ricotta, especially cooked into a dish. Like people who don’t like chocolate. Baffling.

I was itching for some this summer but thought it wasn’t the right time for lasagna or stuffed shells etc. I could eat it plain, by the spoonful, but that’s not a meal. My next thought was topping a pizza.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto & Ricotta Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza dough
1 chicken breast, marinated & grilled
1 cup ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ red pepper, sliced
1/3 cup pesto

Directions:

Pre-bake the pizza dough for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until it begins to get crispy, but not cooked the whole way. (pre-cooking it a bit helps get it cooked through without drying out the toppings.
Spread half of the pesto onto the crust, then top with shredded mozzarella, peppers, sliced chicken, and dollops of ricotta.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto & Ricotta Pizza
Drizzle the remaining pesto on top. Throw on any leftover shredded cheese.
Bake the topped pizza for another 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto & Ricotta Pizza

I adored this pizza. The creamy ricotta was a perfect pairing with some powerful pesto. These flavors definitely made this a special pizza. The chicken seems quite optional but I think it was integral to keeping the pizza fresh & not wintery. I also only used 1 chicken breast. They tend to be so big so with any other topping, one is plenty.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto & Ricotta Pizza