I’m tired. Like, it’s not even 8 and I am ready to go to bed. However, because I love everyone so much and, well, mostly because I love this pizza so much, I am staying up to write this post. So if I start rambling and then switch to something else completely unrelated (which I actually do more often than not), don’t panic. It’s because I’m lost in my many thoughts and probably half sleeping and dreaming.
Anyway… the story behind this pizza is the following: A couple Friday’s ago, we went the First Friday Food Truck Festival downtown Indy. We hadn’t been before, but I heard great things about it and the cupcake truck from the bakery I work at was going to be there. Plus, I got free admission passes, so it was pretty much a done deal that we were going. I was craving pizza that night and was planning on getting a certain slice of New York style pizza, however, the truck wasn’t there! So as we walked past all of the 20 some food trucks, I saw a grilled pizza one! And even though they only had 3 or 4 options to choose from, I was sold when I saw the “specialty pizza”. It had everything I could have ever wanted on pizza. And it was grilled. Pesto, artichokes, tomato, ricotta, mozzarella, and spinach. Rack em up! If only I bought an entire pizza. That would have been nice. However, I had to save room for the nachos and bites of Brad’s tacos and his no-bake cookies and the banana pudding… yea, an entire pizza wouldn’t have made sense.
Ok, so come Sunday, I was trying to come up with dinner ideas and I knew pretty much instantly that I was going to recreate that delicious slice of pizza. It actually almost didn’t happen though. I had forgotten that I had to make both pizza dough and pesto. How I forgot that, I do not know, but I started all of this a little late, but that’s ok. As long as I was going to get to eat my pizza, I was going to survive.
Now, let me tell you… this pizza is just incredible. It’s so delicious and so different. It has so much going on that you might think there’s too much, but somehow it all works so well together that you don’t even realize there are 6 toppings. For me, the pesto is what brings the whole thing together. I like pesto, but I don’t entirely love pesto. So I tried to go a little light on it. I accidentally added a little too much basil when I made the pesto and I forgot to add garlic (I guess I was really struggling that day), but overall, it did what it was supposed to do and when it was on the pizza, I couldn’t really tell that I messed it up.
This pizza is perfect for the summer. You could grill it outside on your grill, or just bake it in the oven on a pizza stone (our choice, we never have good luck cooking directly on the grill). It’s great for all those extra tomatoes you have growing in your garden that you can’t use for salsa anymore because you already have 3 containers of it. You can use store bought pesto and it will work perfectly. I made mine because my mom had given me a ton of basil from her garden and she gave me some pine nuts too. I skipped the ricotta cheese when I made my pizza only because last time I tried putting ricotta pizza, it didn’t work very well. I think that’s just one of those things that only works when other people do it… for me anyway. This is a really fresh pizza and it’s even fresher if you use… well… fresh veggies. I’m not sure what else to say, I feel like all I’m doing is telling you how awesome this pizza is but really, you just have to make it to fully understand.
Ok… it’s bedtime now!
GARDEN VEGGIE PIZZA
Idea taken from Bryne’s Grilled Pizza Food Truck in Indy!
For the Pizza Dough: (word for word from Eat, Live, Run)
Makes 2 pizzas
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/3 cup warm water
1 package of yeast (1/4th ounce)
2 teaspoon salt
In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water and yeast.
Stir in the salt and flour and mix on medium high speed on your KitchenAid for 5 minutes. While the mixer is going, drizzle in the olive oil.
When the dough is soft and elastic, take out of the bowl, rub with olive oil and then place back in the bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rise for one hour.
After the dough has doubled in size, cut in half to make two large pizza doughs or make mini doughs. You could also do what I like to do and freeze the dough in a plastic baggie for another time! When you are ready for your pizza, roll out the dough, cover with your toppings and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.
For the Pesto: (again, word for word from Eat, Live, Run I actually didn’t use a recipe I just threw a bunch of stuff in the food processor, but I think this looks like one of the better recipes I researched)
3 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves
Combine the basil, garlic and two tablespoons of the oil in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend on high until everything is smooth and combined. Then, with the blender on low speed, slowly stream in the remaining oil, along with the lemon juice and the cheese. Taste and then season with the salt and pepper.
To Make the Actual Pizza:
Makes 1 pizza
1/2 of the pizza dough recipe above
2-3 tablespoons of pesto, either homemade or store bought
1 tomato, thinly sliced
Handful of spinach leaves, stems removed and rinsed
1/2 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 red pepper, roasted in the oven for a few minutes
1/2 green pepper, roasted in the oven for a few minutes (I thought there were peppers on the original pizza, but their menu doesn’t mention it. I thought they were good on the pizza)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 Fresh mozzarella balls, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Ok… Now that the list is complete… assemble! Roll out your pizza dough, or mash it down with your fingertips to get a thicker crust. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes until the crust is cooked enough to handle ( I like to do this because then the crust is crispier). When the crust is out of the oven, spread the pesto over the whole thing and sprinkle with just a little of garlic powder. Then top with tomatoes, artichokes, spinach, peppers, mozzarella and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Pop back in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is browned and then cheese is melted.
Warning: this can get soggy with the tomatoes being so juicy and the fresh mozzarella. It definitely is soggy when it’s leftover. So just be aware of that. Other than that, it’s quite a yummy pizza!!
Well, it’s Sunday night and I’m pretty much flat out of brain power. I cannot for the life of me think of what we should eat for dinner this week, so instead of researching meal ideas, I’m just going to write about a meal I made earlier in the week. Do you ever get in those moods where nothing sounds good? Except for maybe some nacho cheese and Wholly Guacamole… and lobster mashed potatoes from that really expensive restaurant you went to 3 years ago… and anything from Thanksgiving dinner… or that filet crusted with peppercorns from your anniversary dinner at another really expensive restaurant 2 years ago….
I think I’ll stop now.
Anyway, I think we actually ate this meal last week. To be honest, with as much as we have had going on, all the days seem to blend right together. Most of my time has been spent working from 4am-12pm, running errands, cleaning the house, cleaning out my closet, taking stuff to Goodwill, making lists of stuff I need for vacation, reorganizing all the stuff on our kitchen counters, taking naps (because anyone who works that early earns a nap), and then just doing random things that somehow take so much more time than you think they should… anyway, enough of the pity party.
I had gotten the idea for this meal from Whole Foods’ website again, however, their recipe was much more involved. I wanted to change it into something simple and quick and that required only a few ingredients rather than a list of 15. It turned out super well, minus the fact that I got a little carried away with the garlic. I love meals like this that are easy and can be thrown together at the last minute and use ingredients that most people already have at home.
It only requires some spinach pasta (you could substitute regular pasta, but I think the spinach is best for this dish), fresh spinach, canned artichokes, some olive oil and a clove of garlic. Easy enough! It takes hardly anytime to cook too because all you are doing is cooking the pasta (which spinach pasta takes only a couple minutes to cook) and essentially warming up the veggies in a pan. There are a few dishes involved, but if you convince your hubby to do them, you won’t have to worry about how many dishes there are.
This is a great, fresh, summery meal that anyone can make in a jiffy (haven’t used that phrase in a good 6 years). You only need about 20 minutes start to finish and that includes chopping the garlic and cleaning the spinach. It’s a light meal but you still leave the table feeling satisfied. This could make an excellent side dish to a piece of grilled salmon or chicken, but I think it was great as a meatless main dish!
Fresh Spinach and Artichoke Pasta
Makes about 4 servings, depending on how much pasta you use
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
Couple handfuls of fresh spinach leaves, rinsed and big stems removed
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (I used 2 bigger ones and it was just too much for me)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
A few handfuls of spinach pasta (I have no clue how much I used as I just dumped whatever was left in the package, just make enough for whoever is eating it and then leftovers)
Cook pasta according to package. Drain and set aside when fully cooked.
In a large saucepan or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic. Cook for a couple minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the artichokes and saute for a few minutes. Add the spinach leaves and toss only for a minute, then stir in the pasta. Serve and enjoy!
I would like to start off by saying the following 2 statements:
- It’s hard to write a blog post when you are busy watching a puppy’s every move.
- It’s also hard to write a blog post when you have no internet due to that puppy chewing on your internet cable out in the backyard.
Phew… Ok, I’m glad I got that off my chest. I’ll just leave those 2 sentences be so you can sit and ponder them for awhile and think about what they truly mean. I’ll give you a hint: puppies are like babies, only worse (maybe, I don’t know yet).
On to the important stuff…. I have a whoping like 7 posts to catch up on and since I came home early from work today and I’m not working tomorrow so that I can mentally prepare myself for climbing through mud, jumping in dump trucks filled with ice, climbing wooden walls, running through mud, getting shocked by electrical wires and everything in between all of that…. I should be able to catch up on a few posts! Woo hoo!
This was an incredibly easy meal. And it was much better than I expected it to be. I originally got the idea for it when I saw this recipe a few weeks ago. But when it came down to it, it seemed FAR more complicated than it really needed to be. So what did I do? I used some of the same basic ingredients but simplified it by a TON. You can thank me later.
Have I told you that we love artichokes? I can never remember. If I haven’t said that, well, then this is news to you. If I have said that, well, then it’s old news and get over it. Ok. So we love artichokes. And I’ve learned that artichokes go really well with pasta! So when I found that recipe, I got really excited to try something new. But like I said, it was just too complicated. I wasn’t in the mood for cooking fresh artichokes, because quite frankly, they require a lot more work than opening up a can and draining it (sorry, but sometimes I get lazy). I also can’t stand lemon in savory dishes. Yuck. If I eat anything lemon, it better be in a dessert or in my iced tea or water. So before I even made it halfway through reading the recipe, I knew I wasn’t going to follow it. Me version is so much simpler. All it requires is pasta, canned artichokes, garlic, butter and white wine. Yep! It really doesn’t get easier than that.
(MMMmmm butter!! Doesn’t butter just make everything a little bit better!?)
And like I said, it’s so delicious. All the flavors really go together and compliment each other. And the wine really brings it over the top. I chose to use a Chardonnay, technically recipes say “white wine” but I get so irritated because there are a million white wines! But I asked Brad what he thought would go best and he suggested Chardonnay. I do think it went perfectly with the garlic and artichokes.
I’m not kidding, this meal is super quick and super easy and it will really surprise you because it is that good. It’s perfect for a summer day when you don’t want to spend all evening cooking in the kitchen. It’s also a perfect meal to enjoy sitting out on your porch sipping your wine next to your hubby. Perrrrrfection!
Very loosely based on this Tasty Kitchen recipe
Makes 4 smaller servings
2 cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter, separated
1/2 cup Chardonnay, maybe more if you’re feeling wild
1/2 pound pasta
Parsley for garnish
Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, or a deep skillet, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chopped garlic and saute for just a minute or two. Be sure not to burn the garlic! Add the white wine. Let it simmer for a few minutes, then toss in the artichokes. Stir and simmer for another couple minutes until the artichokes are hot. Add the pasta, mixing everything together and then add the last 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Allow that to melt, stir the dish and serve with chopped parsley! Soo easy!!
Ok… so I have come to a conclusion. I am clearly not myself when Brad is away on business trips. He left on Monday and came home late Thursday night and only one night of those 4 did I actually cook something. But it sucked and had to throw it away. I attempted to make enfrijoladas, but unfortunately I found myself eating one and then throwing the rest of the pan away (I made half the recipe though, so it was slightly more ok than if I made a whole recipe). It had it reasons for not turning out well though and they were my fault. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (I used what I had in the house, which means corn tortillas and not enough cheese) so I shouldn’t have been surprised. Plus, it was just… blah.
But my point of the story is that I spent most of my time working, walking Etta and Cash, feeding them, running them outside to pee, cleaning up Cash’s kennel, washing Cash’s towels multiple times a day, listening to him bark and cry, and shouting “Cash, NO” every 10 seconds when I would catch him chewing on everything in (and out) of our home. I was utterly exhausted. So to no one’s surprise, I wasn’t in the mood for slaving away over a meal, especially when I was woken up at 6:15 every morning, moving non-stop throughout the day and couldn’t start cooking until about 7:30 at night.
It was rough. That’s the point of my story, actually. (I’m so dramatic) But I found myself craving mac and cheese and mashed potatoes and frozen pizza and everything but what I had planned to eat. I craved unhealthy food, didn’t do our Tough Mudder workout (we took the whole week off and I can absolutely tell) and didn’t want to touch a baking dish, saucepan, or even open the oven unless it involved putting a pizza in or taking it out. I wouldn’t say that I was lazy… because I certainly was NOT with the dogs (2 long walks a day, sometimes with both of them together, sometimes with them separate is the opposite of lazy), but I realized I felt weird… cooking for myself is not nearly as fun as cooking for someone else. And that is why, when he came home, I felt like cooking again!
Enter: this meal. We had spent most of the day at the track on Friday (for those of you who are confused, I’m talking about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500 practice and qualifications) and Saturday and so I wanted to make sure we had something simple to make. When you come home from being in the scorching heat all day, cooking an elaborate meal is not exactly at the top of your list.
I had made this meal a few months ago and thought I would bring it back out due to it’s incredible easiness and deliciousness. I started to panic though when I opened the pantry to grab pasta only to find that we had about 1/4 cup of elbow macaroni, a couple lasagna noodles, half a package of buckwheat noodles, 1/2 cup of quinoa and half a bag of Amish egg noodles. Welp… egg noodles it was (actually, I had Brad choose which we should have and he chose egg noodles). I was worried that it might be weird since I’ve only used the egg noodles in chicken noodle soup, but to my surprise, they worked quite well! They were far better than I thought they would be! Needless to say, though, I bought pasta at the grocery store today.
This pasta dish is delicious! And if you don’t want to or don’t have a grill, it works great under the broiler! (Actually, that’s what we used because one of the wheels was falling off our grill so we avoided using it that night. We got it taken care of though, no worries.) Anyway… it’s such a simple meal to make. The most labor intensive thing you have to do is slice the zucchini. Woop-di-do. It’s a great, quick meal for a weeknight but it would go over super well with any gathering of friends or family. It also makes a perfect Meatless Monday meal. But you could add grilled chicken or maybe even grilled shrimp if you wanted to for a little something extra!
Plus, it has artichokes. Need I say more?
Grilled Zucchini, Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta
Makes 2-4 servings
1 can quartered artichokes, drained
1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2″ thick slices
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
1/2 pound egg noodles or any other pasta of your choice
Cook pasta according to directions on package.
On a greased baking sheet or grill pan (to go on the grill) toss artichokes, zucchini and cherry tomatoes in a couple tablespoons of olive oil (I just drizzle it until it looks like enough) and salt and pepper. Place on grill or under broiler until vegetables are soft and starting to get a nice char.
Serve pasta on a plate with veggies spooned over top. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if desired.