Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ricotta Stuffed Spinach and Broccoli Pizza

Good morning all!  I'm glad to be back.  It's been a heckuva couple of weeks.  We're all exhausted from the funeral planning and the grief, so I'm glad to be able to get things back to normal.  Especially for my kids.

The first thing I did to get back into a routine was make pizza.  But this isn't your run of the mill pizza.  This is deliciously different.  I love all the veggies and melty cheeses and it was a nice switch from greasy pepperoni and sausage. (Not that I have anything against greasy pizza.  In fact, I could probably live off it.)  

This is actually a knock-off version of a Sbarro pizza.  Do you remember Sbarro?  It was my favorite place to eat when I had a break from my mall shoe store job during college.  Sbarro was also responsible for an alarming increase in my pants size.  I had to start running every day in order to keep ahead of my love of mall food court pizza.  I'm pathetic, I know.  :)

I only found one downside to this pizza.  It takes 2 dutch ovens to prepare.  You need one to wilt the spinach and cook the broccoli and one to bake the pizza.  I guess you could get away with using only one oven, but I've made it my whole dutch oven career with very few burns, and I'd like to keep it that way.  

So give this one a try.  I loved it.  My kids were a little disappointed because there were veggies in it, but they still enjoyed it.

Ricotta Stuffed Spinach and Broccoli Pizza

10" Dutch Oven 

16 oz whole wheat or white pizza dough (My favorite recipe is below)
1/2-3/4 Cup ricotta cheese
¼ Cup grated Parmesan cheese, like Kraft
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
2 Cups fresh broccoli florets, cooked until fork tender and very well drained
Pinch of salt
½ Cup Roasted red bell peppers, from can or fresh
1 ½ Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Spread and press one piece of dough into the bottom and sides of a well oiled 10" dutch oven.   In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta and Parmesan cheese until well combined. Spread into pressed pizza dough.

Place the broccoli in a 10" dutch oven and just barely cover with water.  Over a full spread of coals, bring the broccoli to a boil and cook until fork tender.  Drain well. (I left mine in a colander to drain while I did the rest of the prep work.  You don't want a soggy pizza.)

In the same dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the spinach until wilted down, about 3 minutes. Place evenly over ricotta cheese layer. Place cooked broccoli florets over the spinach and season with a pinch or two of kosher salt. Layer roasted red peppers, then mozzarella cheese over top.

Press out the remaining piece of dough and place over filling, tucking edges inside of pan. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian Seasoning.

Bake at 375° for 25-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cooked through.  Use 1 ring plus a couple of coals on top and 1 ring on the bottom.

Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.  Makes 8 slices.

My Favorite Pizza Dough

 3 cups flour, more or less
1 tablespoon honey, heaping
1 tablespoon oil, heaping
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Mix all pizza dough ingredients together, except the flour. Add flour and knead for a bit then put into a pan. If baking in a sheet pan, bake for about 12 minutes (checking often) until crust is browned and cheese is golden and bubbly. If baking on the preheated pizza stone, slide pizza onto stone and bake for about 8 minutes. Makes 1 large pizza.

Source:  Pizza adapted slightly from Picky Palate
             Pizza dough from My Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pesto Dinner Rolls

We've had a rotten week at our house.  My dear, sweet father-in-law passed away early Saturday morning from a brain hemorrhage.  He's been married to my mother-in-law for 15 years, so he was really a step parent, but we loved him so much it didn't feel that way to us.  So please forgive me if it's a couple of weeks before I get the chance to post anything.  Between the funeral and helping my mom-in-law, we'll be busy.

But I did want to give you this recipe I made last week.  I think you all know how much I love pesto.  It definitely belongs in the "food of the Gods" category (along with chocolate, chipotle peppers and garlic, just to name a few).  These rolls are perfect with any Italian dish, especially if you are too lazy to make garlic bread, which I usually am.  I also think they would make great sandwich rolls.

Now in reality, you could make pesto dinner rolls using any roll recipe you want.  Just add half the flour, then the pesto, then the remaining flour.  Just adjust the amount of pesto for how many rolls you're making.  As I was making these, I was thinking that a sun-dried tomato pesto would be awesome!

Pesto Dinner Rolls
12" dutch oven

2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. instant yeast
1 cup warm water
1 Tbs. oil
4 Tbs. pesto

In a mixing bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups flour with salt, sugar and yeast.   Add the oil and warm water and mix well.  Stir in the pesto.  Add enough flour to make a soft dough, it should be tacky but not sticky.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes.  Place in an oiled bowl and turn to oil the top.  Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 16 portions for rolls, or 8 for sandwich rolls.  Place in a well oiled dutch oven.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Use 1 1/2 rings + a couple of coals on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Makes 16 dinner rolls or 8 sandwich rolls.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Baked Chicken Fajitas


I have to tell you that I DIDN'T make this in my dutch oven , but the recipe is so good and easy that I had to share.  Like the last post, this would be a great camping recipe.  You could have most of the ingredients prepped and ready to go, so dinner would be a breeze.  I served these in flour tortillas with Mexican Rice and they were a hit with everyone but my pepper hating children.  Its okay, they just picked out the peppers and ate the rest.  Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Fajitas
12" dutch oven

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
1 medium onion, sliced
1 bag frozen sliced bell peppers (I used the one with a mix of red, yellow and green)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Warmed flour tortillas

In a 12" dutch oven, mix the chicken, tomatoes, chilies, peppers and onions.  In a small bowl, combine the oil and spices.  Drizzle the mixture over the chicken and toss to coat.  Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.  Use 2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Serves about 8.

Source:  Adapted from a Taste of Home magazine

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