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Sweet Potato Pizza

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Although my favorite pizza isn’t fancy or interesting (supreme with regular ol’ pizza sauce), I do love to try new things and this recipe, found in the latest Taste of Home magazine, called to me.  My husband doesn’t like sweet potatoes and I have this weird thing where if he doesn’t like something, I try to find a way that he will enjoy it.  I want everyone to like the things I like – I’m a control freak like that. ;)

Anyway, he hates eggplant even worse than he dislikes sweet potatoes, and I once got him to enjoy it on a pizza, so I figured it would work with sweet potato too.  I was right!  He might not have enjoyed it as much as our mutually loved supreme pizza, but he gobbled it up and said “it’s good” when I asked what he thought, so I count this as a success.  :)

Sweet Potato Pizza

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for pan
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, about 10 oz.
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tube (13.8 oz) refrigerated pizza dough*
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded*
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir the olive oil and garlic together; microwave for 30 seconds and set aside to infuse while preparing pizza. Preheat oven to 450F. Rub plain olive oil over a large 14″ pizza pan; set aside.

Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Cut each slice into 1/2-inch wide strips; place in a microwave-safe dish and add the water. Cover and microwave on high 3-4 minutes, or until potato is almost tender. Drain; sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together gently.

Unroll pizza dough and press to fit prepared pan. If desired, pinch edge to form a rim. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and one tablespoon of the garlic olive oil. Top with sweet potato and sprinkle with the herbs. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of garlic oil and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. Bake on lowest oven rack 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.

*Veronica’s notes: if you prefer to make your own crust, go for it! This is my favorite whole wheat crust. The original recipe called for 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 cup of fontina cheese, but I couldn’t find the latter and went with all mozzarella.  I’d definitely encourage you to try it with fontina if you can find it – I’m sure it’s even better that way!

Recipe source: adapted from Taste of Home Feb/March 2014, sent in by Libby Walp of Chicago, IL

Lookin’ for more pizza with pizzaz? Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Shrimp & Bacon Ranch Pizza

Fresh Vegetable Pizza

Cheeseburger Pie

Tostada Pizzas

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These are an insanely quick & easy lunch, coming together in less than 5 minutes start to finish.  And so delicious, you will be amazed!

I was craving pizza but didn’t want to deal with rising dough or a hot oven on a sweaty summer day, so I came up with these when I spied the tostada shells on my counter.  You only need your broiler on in the oven for a couple minutes and you’ve got hot, melty, crispy pepperoni pizzas.  I bet these would be a huge hit with the kiddos, too.  Bonus for those with gluten sensitivity: they’re gluten-free! Score.

Tostada Pizzas

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

You will need:
Tostada shells
Pizza sauce (here‘s a quick and easy recipe that requires no cooking)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Other toppings of choice*

Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside. Spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce over each tostada shell, then sprinkle with cheese and toppings. Broil on high for 1-2 minutes, keeping the oven light on so you can remove them before they burn. They cook quickly so do keep an eye on them-mine took just a little over a minute to get melty and hot. Serve immediately.

*Be careful with adding too many veggies as they could water out and make the crispy tostada shells soggy.

A Veronica’s Cornucopia original

Cheeseburger Pie

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Nearly every single recipe that Faith from An Edible Mosaic posts, I want to try.  I have saved so many, but just like most recipes I save, I forget about them quickly.  However, this one really stuck in my cranium and even a week after I made it, I still can’t get it out.  I have to make this again, stat, and luckily I still have another sheet of puff pastry waiting in the freezer for me!

Her Cheeseburger Pie jumped out at me for several reasons.  First, it’s fairly simple.  Second, it’s pizza.  Third, it’s pizza that tastes like a cheeseburger, with a crust that looks like a bun!  Fourth, the ketchup and mustard are mixed in with the hamburger filling along with Worcestershire to kick it up a notch.  And fifth, she added a garlic & chive dressing to the top that I thought was a stroke of genius. I’ve had cheeseburger pies before, but never one quite like this.

This pizza not only met, but exceeded my expectations.  I wasn’t so sure using puff pastry as a pizza crust would work, but I really loved the shattering-crisp flakiness of it.  It really went well with the toppings.  The flavors in the filling were spot-on, and the lettuce, tomato, and dressing on top gives it a very nice, fresh quality that pairs well with the salty, cheesy filling.  This recipe is definitely worthy of my my “favorite recipes” folder and has already claimed it’s spot inside.  Thanks, Faith!

Cheeseburger Pie

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 sheet (1/2 lb) puff pastry, thawed
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 to 3/4 lb 95% lean ground beef*
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dill relish
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning
4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
1 egg, beaten (for eggwash)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, diced
Creamy Garlic & Chive Dressing (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place onion and beef in skillet and cook over medium heat, mixing and crumbling with spatula, until meat is browned. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add relish, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, and steak seasoning and cook until the liquid is evaporated (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat.

Unfold puff pastry and place on prepared baking sheet. Spread the meat mixture on the pastry (leaving a 1-inch border all the way around), and sprinkle the Cheddar on top. Use your finger to lightly brush the border with eggwash (you will have extra eggwash) and sprinkle sesame seeds around the edge. Bake about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden.

Cut into four slices and top each with lettuce, tomato, and a drizzle of Creamy Garlic & Chive Dressing.

*If you use meat with more fat than this, drain off the fat after browning.

Creamy Garlic & Chive Dressing
Yields about 1/3 cup

1/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch salt and pepper

Whisk together all ingredients; store refrigerated until serving.

Recipe source: adapted from An Edible Mosaic

Vegetable Pizza

My buddy, Suzie, shared this recipe with me and I’m so excited to spread the love!  It is meant to be cut into little squares and served as an appetizer, but I never have need of appetizers so I just made them into big triangles to look more like real pizza and served them for dinner.  It was hard to stop at two slices!  I love the combination of the crescent dough, dill dip, cheddar cheese and veggies.  I think I may even like it better than real pizza!  I’m kind of obsessed now!

Vegetable Pizza
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 tubes (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (15.5 oz.) container vegetable dill dip
2 ½ c. broccoli florets
2 ½ c. cauliflower florets
1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced
½ c. red onion, diced (I left this out)
3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small can sliced black olives, drained (I forgot these)
2 ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese

Unroll two tubes crescent dough and press into an ungreased 15 x 10 inch baking sheet; seal seams and perforations. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack. Once cooled, spread the dill dip over the crust (you will have some leftover). Sprinkle with the cheese, vegetables, and olives. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Cut into squares. Refrigerate leftovers.

*If you cannot find the dill dip, you can make it: 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, 2/3 c. mayonnaise, 1 T. dill weed. Mix all in a bowl until smooth.
*Any vegetables you want may obviously be used in this dish, red or yellow peppers, mushrooms, etc.

*Veronica’s note: to make this more like real pizza, I left the triangles in their original shape and separated them before baking, reshaping the ones that were too long and skinny. Then I just prepared each piece individually as I needed them for the next couple days, storing everything separate in the fridge.   I also made my own dip, but with my own recipe: 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon dried dill, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and a little salt.

Recipe source: Suzie Shaw

Shrimp & Bacon Ranch Pizza

I was scrolling through my blog and came to realize out of the last 12 postings, only two recipes have been for non-sweets.  Sweets are my forte, but I figured a dinner recipe was long over-due, and have I got a doozy for you!

A couple MySpace friends inspired this one.  Through MySpace, I’m connected to a great network of women who love to cook and are so supportive and fun.  Kim, the one responsible for hooking me up with most of my foodie friends, posted a recipe for Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza yesterday that had me drooling over my keyboard.  I’d been wanting to make a pizza that my friend Suzie posted on her blog that had shrimp on it, so I decided to meld the two recipes into one.  So here it is, the final masterpiece.  And it would be just as good with chicken, which I plan to make next.

Shrimp and Bacon Ranch Pizza
I made this in a large 14” pan so if you’re making a smaller pizza, adjust the ingredients accordingly.

Your favorite pizza dough (I used an entire recipe of Wolfgang Puck’s dough)
¾ c ranch dressing, divided (I used homemade—the bomb!)
½ t dill (dried)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
6 oz. frozen cooked salad shrimp, thawed
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used turkey bacon)
½ cup chopped grape tomatoes

Heat oven to 350°F. Fit dough onto a pizza pan sprayed with cooking oil and bake for 7 minutes. While it’s baking, stir the dill into the dressing. Remove the crust and set oven temperature to 450 degrees. Spread ½ cup dressing over the crust, then sprinkle the mozzarella over it. No need to wait until the oven has preheated, just pop it in for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. While it’s baking, mix the shrimp with olive oil and garlic until coated.

Remove pizza from oven. Top pizza evenly with shrimp, bacon and tomato, then drizzle the remaining dressing over everything. Return to oven; bake an additional 5-7 minutes or until shrimp is thoroughly heated. Cut & serve warm.

Nutritional Info per 1/8 of recipe (based on the same ingredients I used. You can lighten it up by using less cheese & light mayo in the dressing.): 440 cal, 23g fat, 38g carb, 18g protein.

Recipe inspired by Kim and Suzie

This recipe is entered in the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest. Click on the box to vote! :)

Zesty Pizza Sauce

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I usually don’t follow pizza recipes because to me, pizza is a thing you kind of just throw together with whatever you happen to have on hand. I do, however, follow a recipe for sauce and it’s always, always this one. It’s my idea of a perfect pizza sauce: thick & zesty and easy to prepare. It’s perfect for any classic combination of meat and/or veggie toppings and the prep is so quick that I always do it just before I need it, usually while the pizza dough is resting, because I always forget to make it in advance.

Zesty Old School Style Pizza Sauce
Recipe from The Cooking Photographer

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil*
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Place all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir together.

Makes 1½ cups of pizza sauce, which is enough to cover two large pizzas or three medium.

*I’ve made it with the full 2 T of oil, but lately have begun using just 2 teaspoons. I can’t say I prefer one over the other so if you’re looking to save some calories, you might do the same.

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

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Zucchini recipes abound this time of year and that usually makes me sad and wistful since I don’t grow them myself.  However, they are so prevalent at the farmer’s market that I was able to get super gigantic ones for just a quarter each!  Kitchen Bitch emailed me this recipe a couple weeks ago so I whipped it out to use one of them.  It is a good one–I would definitely make this again and next time might try a different meat (pepperoni or sausage)–I think the possibilities are pretty endless with this one.

Zucchini Pizza Casserole
Adapted from
this recipe at
Serves 6 (9 Weight Watchers Points per serving)4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, extremely well drained

1 medium green pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Place zucchini in strainer over a bowl; sprinkle with salt & gently toss. Let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze out moisture. I took handfuls and squeezed them out over the sink–a ..LOT.. of liquid will come out!

While you’re waiting, whisk the eggs up with the parmesan and half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. When the zucchini has been squeezed out, stir it into the egg mixture & press into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook beef, onion, garlic & spices over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce & tomatoes; spoon over baked zucchini mixture.

Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; sprinkle green pepper over the top. Bake 20 minutes longer or until heated through.

Eggplant & Olive Pizza

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I have been an eggplant hater my entire life.  And yet I still ventured forth to make this pizza, which for some crazy reason appealed to me. I’m happy to report that both my husband (an even bigger eggplant hater) and I thought it was very yummy!  The only complaints I have is that I forgot to use the parsley–which I purchased especially for this pizza–and that there wasn’t enough eggplant on it.  Use more if you like lots of toppings–I will next time!  And maybe some onion…

The exact recipe follows after the step-by-step photos
Slice up 1/2 pound small eggplants & toss them with salt in a colander.
The salt makes the eggplant taste better (the bitterness dissipates) and also makes them leak water so that it doesn’t happen in the oven (no soggy crust!)–see how shriveled they are after drying?
While the egg plant is draining, mix up your olive oil & garlic and set aside so the flavor infuses the oil while you prepare the crust.
After letting the dough rise, press it out into your pizza pan and brush with the garlic olive oil.
Layer on your toppings, bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes, slice it up and eat it hot!

Eggplant and Olive Pizza
Adapted from Gourmet’s Grilled Eggplant & Olive Pizza, August 2009
Makes 1 large 14″ pizza, 8 servings (8 Weight Watchers Points each)

1/2 pound small eggplants, sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sliced provolone, cut into thin matchsticks
1/2 cup Spanish olives, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I forgot it, but I think it would be wonderful on this pizza)
Whole wheat pizza dough (recipe follows)

Veronica’s Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup warm water (115 degrees F)

Put the eggplant slices in a colander and toss with the salt.  Allow to rest in the sink or over a bowl for 30 minutes, then press the slices between paper towels until dry.  Set aside.

While eggplant is draining, mix the garlic and olive oil, set aside and then prepare your pizza dough.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the white flour, the sugar, salt & yeast (it is instant so it doesn’t have to be dissolved first).  Stir in the oil & water as well as you can with a spoon, then knead in the remaining 1/2 cup flour.  Today I had to add another tablespoon or two of water to keep the dough supple–it was dry, I guess b/c of the weather.  Sometimes it’s too wet, in which case you should add a bit more flour.  By the time you knead in all the flour, it will have been kneaded plenty (probably about 5 minutes).  Oil a bowl, place the dough inside, turn it once, cover it and set it in a warm place to rest for 15 minutes.

Put your oven rack in the lowest position & preheat to 500 degrees F.

Spray a 14″ pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray, dump your risen dough in the middle of it and press it out to the edges with your hands, leaving the edge thicker to hold the toppings.  Brush the garlic olive oil over the entire crust, including the edges.  Layer on your dried eggplant, olives & cheese.  Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes.  Slice it up and serve it hot!

Smoky Barbecue Chicken Pizza

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After weeks of drooling over The Cooking Photographer‘s beautiful photographs of her weekly pizza creations, I finally broke down and made one myself, basing it off of her Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Bacon.

She actually recommended that I use my smoked cheddar for a pizza when I went to her for suggestions (after purchasing it on the fly with no plan in mind), and I commenced in sifting through her zillions of pizza photos on a Where’s Waldo hunt for those containing smoked cheese.  There were several but I was still undecided as to which one to use until she posted her bbq pizza recipe and I thought it would be perfect for a smoky cheese. And it was.

LOL-she calls her recipe a bastardization and I bastardized it even further!  If you want to make this, I’d recommend using Laura’s recipe (click the link above) and just subbing some smoked cheddar for one of the cheeses she uses.  You’ll most certainly end up with a better pizza (dang it, I wish I’d had scallions!), but I think if you stick to the basic formula (bbq sauce + chicken + bacon = dynamite!) then there’s not much chance you’ll go wrong, no matter what other variations you incorporate.

I used my favorite pizza dough, Kraft original barbecue sauce, yellow onion, red, green and yellow peppers (all precooked & salted), canned mushrooms (drained well), grilled chicken breast, crispy bacon, smoked cheddar & mozzarella. I prebaked my crust at 350 for 10 minutes, layered everything on (probably in the wrong order–does cheese go first or last?) and baked it at 450 for 10 minutes–which was just a tad too long-and dug in.  Yup.  Dynamite!

Next time I might try using the whole block of smoked cheese by itself to kick the smoky flavor up a notch, but at least this way I can make another pizza with the other half. :)

Update 5-11-09

I made this pizza again, this time using a higher quality barbecue sauce, bacon, chicken cooked in the bacon grease, scallions & smoky cheddar only.  I used a doughmakers large size pizza pan and did not prebake the crust. I baked it on the bottom rack at 500 degrees for 10-15 minutes and it was perfect–soooooooo much better than the first time.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

I have long been of the opinion that if pizza is on the menu, it’s best to order it from Pizza Hut and not mess with a good (well, perfect) thing.  Why waste time making my own crust and chopping vegetables when I can just sit my butt down in a chair and wait for someone else to make it?  Or, better yet, just stay at home and wait for it to be delivered?

That is until I decided to give a recipe for whole wheat pizza crust a try.  Now I find myself making pizza at home more often than dialing for a delivery.  It may not be the best recipe out there, but it’s the only one I’ve tried because for me, it was love at first bite. (And the added nutrition form the whole wheat is a bonus too!)

The cool thing about pizza is that you can put pretty much anything between the crust and the cheese and it’s going to taste fabulous.  And no matter how much you healthify it–whether it be with a whole wheat crust or tons of veggies–it still tastes like junk food.  And if you can stick to one piece (yes, it is possible), then it can be on your diet plan AND it lasts longer that way.  It takes Den and me 3 days to eat a large pizza.

Today I used what I had on hand–marinara for the sauce, red onion, mushrooms, green peppers, some leftover hamburger, about a cup of chopped basil and oregano from my backyard and a generous sprinkling of mozzarella.  And as always, it was delish!!!

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Adapted from a Hodgson Mill recipe

1 package active dry yeast (I use rapid rise/instant*)

1 cup warm water (115 degrees if you’re measuring…I don’t)

1 ½ cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp. salt

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour


Put water in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Stir in whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, olive oil and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour.  Knead in remaining flour by hand and continue to knead for about 5 minutes (the dough will be smooth and elastic).

Coat the bowl with oil, place dough in the bowl and turn to coat thoroughly.  Cover the bowl with a towel and set it in a warm place and allow to rise for 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees while you’re waiting.

Spray a large pizza pan (or two small) with no-stick cooking spray.  Stretch pizza crust (I press it from the center outward) to fit pan and flute outer edges of dough to hold fillings.  Brush on some olive oil, then put on your sauce & toppings.  Bake until cheese is melted, about ten minutes.  Slice it up and serve it hot!

*If you use rapid rise/rapid acting/instant yeast, skip the dissolving step and just mix it in with everything else. I usually mix it with the dry ingredients, then stir in all the liquid before kneading in the remaining flour. Easy peasy!

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