Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Spice it up!

Sometimes the routine of life can get a little monotonous, especially in the winter – and when it does you just have to spice it up! Traditional methods of fancy dinners, theater, etc can really break the bank and in a Recessionista- ruling world we have to be creative. Just last week some fabulous rock stars we know were feeling a little, well, un-fabulous. So a quick trip to Trader Joe’s turned a normal-every-day Tuesday dinner into an interactive, cost effective, properFUN pizza party.

A lot of people can be intimidated by the idea of making a pizza, but it’s more fun than fearful! We suggest purchasing Trader Joe’s pre-made pizza dough (Gluten free option is available!) It’s good to have some flour handy so your dough does not get too sticky. Then simply pre-heat oven to 450 degrees and the possbilities are limitless! It can be a lot of fun to throw caution and planning to the wind and buy all of your favorite pizza toppings and make a pizza bar in your kitchen. We are huge fans of interactive food and what could be more interactive than making your own dinner together, side-by-side?

For those who need a little push in the right pizza party direction here are a couple recipes that will knock your socks off! (Courtesty of Martha Stewart)


Roasted Fall Vegetables and Ricotta Pizza


Olive oil, for baking sheet and drizzling

Flour, for dusting surface

1 pound store-bought pizza dough, fresh, or thawed if frozen

8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

6 cups (about 1/2 recipe) Roasted Fall Vegetables, drained and coarsely cut

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, (optional)

Coarse salt and ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Brush a large baking sheet (preferably rimless) with oil, or line with parchment paper, if desired, for easy cleanup.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch dough into a 12-by-16-inch oval (or as large as will fit on baking sheet); transfer to sheet.

3. Sprinkle dough with half the mozzarella. Scatter vegetables on top, and dollop with ricotta; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and, if using, rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve.

Pesto Pizza


1/4 cup Basil Pesto, (two cubes defrosted)

2 precooked store-bought pizza crusts (8 inches)

1 sliced plum tomato

2 ounces grated mozzarella cheese

Coarse salt and ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread basil pesto on each of two pizza crusts.

2. Layer each crust with plum tomato; sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese. (Or, layer with just cheese, using 3 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella.) Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

3. Transfer to a baking sheet; bake until cheese has melted and crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Slice, and serve immediately.

The Perfect Pizza


Olive Oil

Store bought pizza dough

Pizza Sauce

12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced


1. Heat the oven to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.

2. Hold your fists about 1 to 2 inches apart. Begin to rotate and stretch the dough, moving your fists until they are 6 to 8 inches apart and the dough is several inches larger. Then place your fists under the inside of the outer edge, and continue to stretch the dough a little at a time until it reaches about 12 inches in diameter. The dough will drape down over your forearms. At this stage, it is important to keep your fists along the inside of the outer edge and watch that the dough does not get too thin or tear in the center. At the same time, make sure to maintain the slightly raised border on the edges.

3. Pour 9 tablespoons of the pizza sauce onto the dough. Using the back of a tablespoon, evenly spread the sauce leaving a half-inch border of dough uncovered. Arrange half of the mozzarella slices on top of the sauce.

4. Bake until the crust is golden brown and crisp on the edges and the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes, turning the pizza halfway through baking.

And while we are on the topic, why stop at a pizza party? Think about making themed dinners part of the mix!


Mediterranean Night

Sandwich night (Try taking this simple idea and come up with creative twists!)

Sushi-making “class”

Taco Night

Fajita Fiesta

Peace, love, creativity.

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