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Pizza, Pizza

April 23, 2010 - Jenn Lucas

Nearly everyone loves pizza. This is evident in the plethora of commercials from chains touting $10 pie deals and mostly everywhere you go, even in Lehigh Acres, there’s seems to be more pizza shops than all other restaurants combined.

There’s a myriad of different crusts, toppings and sauces and even some places, chains included, are going gourmet -- offering pies with everything from seafood to steak. I’ve even seen pierogies as toppings before. Even with all these choices and all these places, ordering a pizza can end up breaking the bank, especially when going gourmet. Plus, you have to wait at least 30 minutes. I only have one other person living my home and, as much as we enjoy eating pizza, we usually end up eating it for days after ordering. That is fine but pizza three days in a row is neither yummy nor healthy. Conversely, most families have their share of picky eaters and coming up with a pie everyone can agree on usually poses a challenge resulting in either ordering more than one pie or one that’s just plain cheese.

One option is to try and make your own pizza. Please, DO NOT try and make your own pizza. It will never be as good as the shop unless you own a pizza oven. Even a pizza stone and the hottest temperature your oven can muster is no match for a real pizza oven.  I’ve tried and failed so many times I lost count. I have tried homemade dough, dough I bought from a pizza shop, that pizza dough that comes in a tube….none can compare to the real thing until I discovered flatbread.

Pitas make a good self-serving size for a pizza you can top with anything. I also found at my market bigger flat bread that worked well at feeding two people. When looking for a good flatbread to use, make sure it has two layers, like a pita, or it won’t hold up to the toppings.

Speaking of which, you can now go nuts with toppings. Did you ever wonder what an anchovy pizza would taste like but didn’t want to shell out the $15 to find out you didn’t like it? I often wanted to try a barbecued chicken pizza, but even sacrificing the cash for one slice seems like a gamble. Plus, if I didn’t like it, I would need to buy a different piece I did like. So I found a package of flatbread on the store’s reduced to sell bakery shelf and created recipes at the end of this article that just may keep me off the phone with the pizza guys longer than normal.

You can use anything your heart desires, just start by forgetting it’s pizza. I had a hard time not using tomato sauce but in both my recipes it would not have worked well. Some sauce ideas could be Alfredo sauce, a seafood-based cream sauce or even something as wacky as honey mustard.  Also, don’t pigeonhole yourself into using just mozzarella. Any cheese than melts well (Monterey jack, cheddar, Gouda) can be used. How about honey mustard, ham, Gouda and basil? Or try ranch, provolone and, cheese steak meat with peppers and onions.  Maybe some pesto, grilled chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. Here are two ideas I recently came up with.

<b>Barbecue chicken flatbread pizza:</b> Flat bread topped with barbecue sauce, Monterey jack cheese, chopped grilled chicken (I rubbed with barbecue seasoning before cooking), bacon and onions. Assemble in that order, making sure your chicken in full cooked and cooled before using. Cook in a 500 degree oven on a pizza stone for 3-5 minutes. Flat bread burns quickly, so keep your eye on it. When the cheese melts, it’s done.

<b>White flat bread pizza:</b> flat bread topped with olive oil infused with crushed red pepper and garlic, mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and Fontana. I also chose to top it with raw broccoli and red onions. You could also use ricotta and/or fresh tomatoes as toppings.   Cook in a 500 degree oven on a pizza stone for 3-5 minutes. When the cheese melts, it’s done.

Why not hit up Publix, buy a bag of pitas and invite the whole family in to the kitchen for a make-your-own-pizza night. The family will love it and you can probably use up many items in your fridge that are about to go south for good.   The possibilities are endless.

<i>Jenn Lucas is a journalist who loves to cook and find cheap ways to enjoy the finer things. Send any cooking-related correspondence to lehighcook@yahoo.com.</i>

 
 

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