Pizza Party

I have never made pizza dough from scratch, but seeing the cover of the March issue of Bon Appetite had me wanting to try. The recipe is pretty simple and I didn’t change a thing for fear of messing it up. It’s no knead, and requires only 4 ingredients. The only downside is it does take time to rise (about 18 hours) but it’s easy to do the night before and you’re dough will be ready just in time for dinner!

Below you will find the recipe and step by step instructions for the dough followed by the pizzas that I made. Have fun and be creative with your toppings! (Note: this recipe makes enough for 6 10′-12′ pizzas – I only made 4 pizzas and discarded the leftover dough.)

No-Knead Pizza Dough (From the March issue of Bon Appetite, recipe by Jim Lahey)

Ingredients:
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for shaping dough
4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 cups water

Directions:

For the Dough:
1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated.
2. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72°) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room). *I am ashamed to admit this, but I actually put my dough next to our heater (turned to 67 degrees). I started it on the floor and then moved it to a chair about a foot from the actual heater.
4. Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 6 equal portions.
5. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds.
 6. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet.
7. Repeat with remaining portions.
8. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2–3 hours before shaping.

For the Pizzas:
1. Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to its hottest setting, 500°–550°.
2. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface. Gently shape dough into a 10″–12″ disk.
3. Arrange dough disk on baking sheet; top with desired toppings. Bake pizza until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10 minutes.
4. Transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat with remaining pizzas.

We made 4 pizzas that night – the only one not pictured below was the Hawaiian. My best advice to anyone making more than one pizza is to prep the ingredients ahead of time (oh and have a glass of wine handy), it will save you time and a headache!

Pizza #1 – Margarita
Handful of basil leaves, whole
Sauce (I used blended crushed Italian tomatoes)
Fresh mozzarella
Pizza #2 – Prosciutto
8-10 Slices prosciutto, sliced
3 oz. crumbled goat cheese
3 oz. fresh mozzarella
3/4 cup caramelized onions
Sauce (again I used blended crushed tomatoes)
Pizza #3 – Sausage and Red Pepper
1/3 lb. Italian chicken sausage
6 oz. goat cheese
1/2 cup peppadew peppers
Sauce (again I used blended crushed tomatoes)

 

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Slow cooked “bolognese”

So technically this a crock pot meal, but does take a bit of preparation before hand. I put bolognese in quotes because while it is slow cooked like a bolognese, I omitted the cream which I’m pretty sure you need to make a true bolognese sauce (let’s see how many times I can say bolognese in this post!) and added a few spices that are more likely to be found in a marinara sauce.

To keep this a low calorie and low point meal,  you can serve over roasted spaghetti squash – I served it over some multi-colored pasta.

Slow cooked “bolognese” (5 servings, 5 p+/serving)

Ingredients:
1/4 lb. center cut bacon, chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium white onion, minced
2 celery stalks, minced
2 carrots, minced
1 lb 95% lean ground turkey
1/4 cup white wine
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano (dried)
1 tsp. onion powder
2 bay leaves
salt and fresh pepper

Directions:
1. In a large saute pan, saute the bacon until the fat starts to render.
2. Add celery, carrot and onion. Cook until soft (about 4 minutes) over medium heat.
3. Increase the heat to medium high and add the meat. Season with salt and pepper, saute until brown.
4. Drain the fat, then add the wine. Cook 3-4 minutes.
5. Add meat mixture to crock pot along with tomatoes, a bit more salt and pepper and the bay leaves.
6. Cook on low for 6 hours.
7. Season with garlic powder, onion powder and oregano and cook 30 additional minutes.
8. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.

Lasagna

This is one of my go to recipes whenever I have a larger group of people over, or I need something I can make ahead and re heat later. It seems too simple to taste as good as it does, and I guarantee you, even the biggest of meat eaters won’t realize or care that there isn’t meat in it. This lasagna can be a great weeknight dinner (with plenty of leftovers for lunch) or even a great dinner party main dish. I adapted this recipe from a Cooking Light recipe (it didn’t have enough cheese in it for me). The original recipe can be found here. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread.

Lasagna

Ingredients
9 no boil lasagna noodles
6 ounces reduced fat cottage cheese
6 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
6 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (26-ounce) jar pasta sauce, divided
Cooking spray
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Combine the cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ricotta cheese in a large bowl; stir to blend well. Stir in Parmesan and next 8 ingredients (through eggs)
3. Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray
4. Arrange 3 noodles over pasta sauce; top with half of cheese mixture and one third of remaining pasta sauce

5. Repeat layers once, ending with noodles. Spread remaining pasta sauce over noodles.
6. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella; bake an additional 20 minutes or until cheese is melted
7. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes before serving.