Sunday, October 25, 2009

Grilled Pepperoni Pizza

After we were first married, I was really excited to try and make everything from scratch.  The first thing on the list was pizza dough.  I have a favorite for regular, hand tossed style pizza and calzones and one for pizza on the grill, which is the one I’m talking about here.  I happened upon it in my cooking light one month and no, the recipe was not for pizza on the grill! 

When I was younger and we went camping pizza on the grill was what I looked forward to most and back then I think we just threw a frozen pizza on the grill!  But this one is easy to throw together, does not need a long rising, and is perfect for the grill.

The key to grilling pizza is to make sure you have everything ready before you start.  I like to roll out the dough and then place it on a cookie sheet that is covered with cornmeal.  It’s easier to get the dough onto the grill not to mention much easier for carrying it out TO the grill!

There’s no good way to describe pizza that has been cooked on the grill other than delicious and oh so good.  Try it, you’ll fall in love!

Grilled Pepperoni Pizza
(adapted from Cooking Light)


6 servings (serving size: 1 slice)


  • Sauce:
  • Cooking spray
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1  (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh parsley (i either omit or use dried)

  • Crust:
  • 1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1  package quick-rise yeast
  • 1/2  cup  warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  teaspoons  cornmeal

  • Remaining ingredients:
  • 16  slices turkey pepperoni (such as Hormel) (we use regular pork pepperoni, and lots of it!)
  • 1 1/2  cups  (6 ounces) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (we also use lots of cheese!)
  • 2  tablespoons  grated Parmesan cheese


To prepare the sauce, place a small saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat until hot. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add the dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper, and tomato sauce; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley, and keep warm.
To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes), and add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into the dough. If indention remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Preheat oven to 450°.

Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface.

 (this is where the new instructions come in for baking pizza on the grill! ~ take pizza dough on a baking sheet out to the on grill and put the cover down.  After 5 or so minutes, flip the dough while first popping any bubbles that have crept up!  Once it is flipped arm yourself with your sauce, cheese and toppings and begin assembling as quickly as possible.  Put grill cover down and bake for about 5 more minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly!)

Place dough on a 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal. Crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim. Cover and let rise 10 minutes.

Spread sauce over pizza crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border; top with pepperoni. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until crust is puffy and lightly browned. Remove pizza to cutting board; cut into 6 slices.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Croque Monsieur...oui, oui!

Even though I lived in France for part of a summer I never had a croque monsieur.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  But when given the chance to go back, I ordered one within the first 24 hours.  There is something so utterly delicious and comforting about this meal.  It’s a little fussy…it’s French for goodness sakes, but take the time…the end result is so worth it. 

These didn’t stick around for long.  Great alone or paired with a green salad or some soup this sandwich is comforting, salty, gooey and like I said, oh so delicious!

Croque Monsieur

(borrowed from the Barefoot Contessa: Paris)


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pasta, Pesto and Peas

This is delicious.  Let me just put that out there before I even begin.  So easy, so simple and yet so utterly good.  Especially when someone cuts a corner and uses jarred pesto…I don’t know who you are talking about…:o  Sometimes on a weeknight, quick and easy is the best way.   Not only is it delicious but it’s fairly healthy as well, unless of course you eat far more than the portion served to you!

Try it, you’ll love it even if you don’t especially care for pesto.  I used the brand Classico and it’s sold at Target and probably every other grocery store and it was oh so good for only $2.99.  You can’t beat that.  And look forward to how I used the rest of the jar…it gets even better!  I changed some things from Ina's recipe, mostly because I just used what I had on hand and I also added some pan fried chicken breasts cut into smaller pieces for some protein.

Pasta, Pesto and Peas (recipe courtesy of Barefoot Contessa)


  • 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 pound bow tie pasta (i just used bow tie)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pesto (packaged or see recipe below) bought
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry  didn't use
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise  did not use
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignoli, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.


  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Place the walnuts, pignoli, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.
To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.
Yield: 4 cups