I know, you’re impressed with my decorating skills.
Anyway -- one of my favorite quick/easy/healthy/delicious meals, especially in the middle of a high-volume training week, is pizza. I think pizza gets a bad rap because, let’s face it, Papa Johns and Dominos aren’t exactly in the health food business. But you CAN make good-for-you pizza complete with good carbs, several servings of veggies and some protein, all in a very short period of time. Perfect for when you’re starving after track or a hill ride.
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 pkgs dry yeast
1 T honey
4 cups flour (I’ll do half whole wheat, half unbleached white)
Combine water, yeast, honey and 3T oil in the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment. When yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups flour, 2 t salt and mix on medium low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling in flour to keep dough from sticking to the bowl. When ready, turn onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. Place in a well-oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.Turn out onto board and separate into two. Place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Another great thing about pizza is that it’s the perfect way to use whatever you have left in your fridge. Chicken breast? Fresh veggies bought for another recipe? Any kind of cheese? Pile it on! Always start with the fresh dough rolled out on a pizza stone (if you don’t have one, it’s worth the investment) or baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Here are a few ideas:
-Roasted Veggie and Ricotta: Drizzle sliced veggies — such as red onion, grape tomatoes, zucchini, yellow pepper, eggplant -- with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 450 degree oven. Spoon tomato sauce onto dough and top with a layer of shredded mozzarella. Top with veggies and more mozzarella. Dollop with ricotta and sprinkle with fresh basil. Bake in oven until cheese begins to brown and dough is cooked, around 15 minutes.
-Farmers’ Market Pizza: Saute sliced Vidalia onion, fresh thyme and thinly sliced garlic in olive oil until onion is soft. Add sliced red bell pepper, cook, then add fresh corn kernels, salt and pepper and cook until heated through. Place freshly sliced mozzarella over dough. Top with veggie mixture. Cover with freshly grated parmesan cheese and bake in 450 degree oven until cheese melts, 15-20 minutes. Top with halved grape tomatoes and return to oven until cheese and crust brown. Remove from oven, top with thinly sliced basil and arugula.
-Chicken, Pear and Goat Cheese Pizza: Top dough with shredded mozzarella, roasted and shredded chicken, sliced pear and crumbled goat cheese, followed by more mozzarella. Place in 400 degree oven and cook until crust and cheese are browned. In the meantime, cook ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar in saucepan over medium high heat until reduced to 2T, about 5-7 minutes. Top pizza with chopped arugula or spinach. Drizzle vinegar on top.
With pizza, anything goes. What’s your favorite combo?