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7.15.2011

Homemade Pizza, and a Break from Tradition


I don't usually cook on Fridays.

Did you hear that, children I don't yet have?  You're on your own!  (Just kidding.  Sort of.)

I really enjoy cooking.  And, throughout the week, it makes me happy to put together 3-4 healthy and satisfying meals that don't take a lot of time or preparation.  But to me, Friday feels like the start of a vacation.  I want to take a break from the week-day routine, try a new restaurant or an old favorite, have a LARGE glass of wine (or two or three), and just relax.  Who wants to cook?   Not me. 

This Friday is a different story.  I am in food and alcohol detox mode.  My husband and I have not stayed local on a weekend since the beginning of June.  Our journies have taken us to New York City, the Finger Lakes of NY, and Minneapolis.  They've included 2 birthdays (including my own, of which we will not speak), 2 weddings, and a 3-day winery tour. 

3. Day. Winery. Tour.  Also including a distillery and a brewery.  *Cringe*  The damage has been done.

Fact:  The fantastic memories made with family and friends, new and old, have been well worth the toll on my thighs.   No complaining here. 

But tonight, I am treasuring the time at home.  I am craving a fresh and healthy meal that won't induce the all-too-familiar food coma, yet at the same time a meal that celebrates the fact that Friday is here at last.  I'm thinking...pizza!

No, not the take-out, ready-in-30-minutes kind.  The make-your-own kind!  The kind with fresh ingredients, a clean taste, and where you can control the amount of salt, fat, and calories. 

I need like to be in control.

So tonight I'm breaking my Friday no-cooking tradition with a sausage and arugula pizza and a vegetable margherita pizza (to be shared with my husband and some friends, of course. I already told you about the state of my thighs).  And since pizza is basically a blank slate, and you can throw a combination of almost anything on it for a delicious result, these choices were a big hit.    

And speaking of breaking from tradition, for all you authentic Neapolitans out there, I do realize my margherita pizza is non-traditional.  Trust me, I know how important it is to stick to the classics!  Case in point: my mother is Italian, and the idea of whole wheat pasta has not been well-received.  But right now, my vegetable garden is out of control, and I think the squash and zucchini add a ton of flavor and health to each bite.  Use what you have and you can't lose, I promise.

Here's to a relaxing weekend at home.  And, well, maybe one more glass of wine :)


Sausage and Arugula Pizza
Yields about 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 lb turkey sausage
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups baby arugula
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
3/4 cup part-skim shredded mozzerella cheese
1 large whole wheat pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's)

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 425 deg F.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet to medium-high, and coat it with cooking spray.  Remove the casings from the sausage, and add it to the pan once it's hot. Cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks so that you're left with crumbles.  Add in the red onion and arugula, stirring to combine and wilt the arugula.  Once arugula is wilted and the sausage is cooked through, turn off the heat.

Roll out the pizza dough (flour or cornmeal will be your best friend here), and spread the ricotta cheese all over the dough with the back of a spoon. 


Top with the sausage and arugula mixture.  Sprinkle the mozzerella cheese over the top.


Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is browned (or just follow the directions on the package of the dough!).

Vegetable Margherita Pizza
Yields about 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 medium yellow squash, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pizza sauce
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 cup part-skim mozzerella, sliced thin
Handful of basil leaves, torn
1 large whole wheat pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's)

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 425 deg F.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet to medium-high, and coat it olive oil.  Once hot, add the onion, pepper, zucchini, and squash.  Cook until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.  Add in the garlic, and stir for about a minute.  Remove from heat. 


Roll out the pizza dough and spread the pizza sauce all over with the back of a spoon. Top with veggie mixture, then sliced tomatoes, then mozzerella, then basil. 


Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is browned (or just follow the directions on the package of the dough!).

Devoured!

1 comment:

Joanne said...

If you're going to cook on no-cook Fridays, then pizza really is the way to go. This looks fabulous!

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