The “Use What You Have, Spaghetti Crust, Pizza Pie”

Pizza Pie 1

Pizza Pie 1

The “Use What You Have, Spaghetti Crust, Pizza Pie”

So, yesterday, my husband and I were entertaining the idea of homemade pizza for dinner. I’ll tell you my idea of home made pizza at a later post… Well, after working all day, running 3 miles in the 110 degree heat, and a couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day…  the left over gumbo sounded like a better idea.  However, when I got up this morning, the thought of pizza was still running through my mind.   Only I was in the mood to get creative and not have to drive to the store (that’s always a plus in my book).  After a quick inventory of what I had in my fridge, I came up with this recipe…..  It’s one of those recipes that you could easily change out ANY of the ingredients for what you have on hand…  Here is my recipe!  Use it as a guideline to create your own pizza pie!!!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

For the “crust”:

Left over, cooked pasta. Mine happened to be spaghetti, so it was probably about 2/3 of a 1 lb. box

1 tsp anchovy paste

1 tsp basil paste

2 – 3 TBS olive oil

3 – 4  TBS chopped sundried tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped green onions

Chopped fresh herbs, I used parsley, basil, and oregano.  More Parsley and basil and a little less oregano.

1/2 cup or more grated parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper to taste

More olive oil if needed

For the filling:

Mozzarella cheese, sliced thin.  I probably have 2 large balls altogether

2 large fresh tomatoes, sliced thin

1/2 large onion, sliced thin

Fresh basil

Minced garlic

Olive oil

Kosher salt and Coarse ground black pepper

Salami, very thin sliced.  Mine was only about 2” long and was plenty.

Black olives

1 – pkg. Proscuitto, torn

More mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese

olive oil for drizzling

Here’s how I put it all together:

First prepare the crust:

Mix the anchovy paste and basil paste with the olive oil.  In a medium mixing bowl, coat this mixture with the pasta.  Toss in the remaining ingredients.  Be sure to turn it really good to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the pasta.  Spray a 9 inch spring form pan with olive oil spray.  Press the pasta into the pan. I actually used a potato masher to press it in.  Press firm without “smashing” the pasta. 

Now Layer in the filling:

Layer 1/3 of the mozzarella on top of the “crust”

Add a layer of the thin sliced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and basil.

Drizzle this with some olive oil and give it a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Add the salami in a single layer.  Top this with the black olives.

Add another layer of the mozzarella cheese.

Next goes the remaining thin sliced tomatoes, onions, basil, and garlic drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Now add all of the proscuitto.

Top this with the remaining Mozzarella cheese.

Top this with a heavy amount of grated parmesan cheese and the last few thin sliced onions.  Gently press everything down into the pan with your hands.  Give it a heavy drizzle of olive oil.  Cover with tin foil.

Put a layer of tin foil on a baking sheet.

Wrap another layer of tin foil around the bottom of the spring form pan.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for an hour.  Remove the top covering of tin foil. Change the oven to broil and let the cheese get a nice golden color to it.  Take it out of the oven and let it rest for 15 – 20 minutes before removing it from the spring form pan.  Use a knife to detach the edges of the pie from the pan before you remove it.  Cut into desired wedge sizes eat it up!!!

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Pizza pie 2

Pizza pie 2

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

The blend of flavors in this soup are so delicious. There is a very bold taste without being overly spicy.  Great on a day like today when it is overcast and somewhat dreary outside.   Actually just good anytime…  I don’t do it in this particular recipe but you can also make my Moroccan inspired meatballs and add them to this dish to make it a little more hearty for you meat lovers out there. 

Ingredients list:

4 Tbs olive oil

1 1lb bag of dried chick peas, cooked and drained

About 12 cups of unseasoned tomato juice 

4 onions, rough chopped

4 jalapeño peppers chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 whole pod garlic, finely chopped

1- 2″ node fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 Tbs garlic powder

1 Tbs onion powder

1 Tbs cumin

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Zest and juice of a lime

3 – 4 chicken bullion cubes

1 lg can coconut milk

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Heat the olive oil in a medium stock pot over high heat.  Add the onions, peppers and celery.  Reduce heat to medium/high and Sauté until somewhat golden, 8-10 minutes, stirring often.  Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté another minute, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn.  Pour in the wine.  Stir for about 30 seconds the pour in the tomato liquid and the chick peas.   Add the salt,pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, bullion cubes & cumin.  Stir in the coconut milk, cilantro, and Basil.  Bring all of this back to a slow boil and make sure all of the ingredients are blended well.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let cook for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.  If it is, reduce the heat to low, cover and continue cooking.  After 30 minutes, uncover and let it continue to cook on low for another 30 minutes, stirring often. 

Serve and enjoy!!!

Lubi bi Ziat

Lubi bi Ziat

Lubi bi Ziat

Lubi bi Ziat

 This is a Lebanese side dish that I first had at Chad’s house years ago before we were married.  I never tried making it myself until several months ago and now I wonder why I haven’t been making it all along.  I really like to use fresh green beans when making this dish but fresh frozen green beans work fine.  It is so good with Lebanese chicken and stewed lentils.  Great flavor combination!!!

Ingredients list:

2 pounds of fresh green beans cleaned and trimmed

2 –  cans of whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed

1 32 ounce carton of beef stock, or more

1 – large onion rough chopped

1 – TBS  garlic finely chopped

Extra-virgin olive oil for sautéing approximately 1/4 cup

1/2 cup white wine

1 1/2  tsp kosher salt

1 tsp coarse ground black pepper

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

4 beef bouillon cubes to taste

Drain the canned tomatoes and crush by hand.  This sounds like a lot of trouble but I like the texture of the tomatoes.  The canned crushed tomatoes are too soupy and you don’t actually get a tomato.  Heat the olive oil in a large pot.  Add the onions and sauté until somewhat golden.  Add the garlic and continue to sauté for about another minute.  Continue stirring so the garlic does not burn.  Add in the white wine and continue to stir for about a minute.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the green beans to the pot and mix well with the onions and garlic.  Add the tomatoes and the beef stock.  Mix well and add all of the seasoning ingredients.  Cook over medium heat until green beans are tender about an hour.  You may find that you need to add more liquid as it continues to cook.  You want it to have plenty of liquid but not too soupy.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Deliciously Light Margarita Pizza


Deliciously Light Margarita Pizza

Deliciously Light Margarita Pizza

Can’t feel guilty about this one!!!  I use 10″ flour tortillas as my cracker like crust.. I think they have about 158 calories per tortilla!  I am telling you here how to make one pizza which in my opinion is one serving.  That way, you can figure out what you need to make as many as you want.  If you don’t already have a pizza stone and peel  I would suggest getting one.  They are inexpensive and you can probably pick one up at your local grocery store.  If not…  Wally World, Target, or BB&B will have it!!!  It really makes a difference in your crust whether you are using a tortilla or an actual home made crust.

Ingredients List:

1 heavy pinch (about 1 TBS) yellow cornmeal

1 – 10″ flour tortilla

1 TBS olive oil, separated into 1/2 TBS

2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese hand torn into small pieces

One large Fresh tomato, sliced thin

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

1/4 cup hand torn fresh basil

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Put the pizza stone in a cold oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  When the oven is hot, sprinkle the pizza stone with the corn meal.  Place the tortilla on the pizza stone.  Watch it, because it will burn in a hurry!  Let it get slightly brown and flip it over and slightly brown the other side.  Using your pizza peel. Remove the it from the oven. This is your cracker like crust!!!   Drizzle it with 1/2 TBS of the olive oil. Spread it around to the outer edges of the crust.  Evenly spead the minced garlic on there.  Add 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese. Next, evenly spread the tomatoes on and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Top with the fresh basil and the remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.  Slide the pizza back into the hot oven on the pizza stone.  You are basically just melting the cheese.  Again, watch it carefully so that the outer edges of the crust doesn’t burn! When the cheese has melted, use your pizza peel to remove the pizza from the oven.  Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the pizza into 8 pieces.  Eat it, ENJOY, and DON’T FEEL GUILTY!!!


Below is another option.  This is the one that my boys like the best.  A little heavier on the calories but still a lot lighter than eating a regular pizza!  Even more so… a lot lighter than any decent hamburger that you would eat!!!

Cheese burger option:

1 – 10″ Flour Tortilla

1 TBS good quality Mayonaise.  I prefer Dukes because of its great flavor and it doesn’t contain sugar.

1/2 lb ground sirloin, browned and drained well

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

1/2 small onion thinly sliced

1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar

1/2 cup shredded lettuce (my boys like iceberg)

1 small tomato thinly sliced

1 – 2 TBS ketchup (depends on how much you like)

1 – 2 TBS yellow mustard ( “””””)

Cook the tortilla according to the above instructions.  Evenly spread the mayonaise on the crispy tortilla.  Top with the seasoned ground sirloin.  Evenly spread the onions over the sirloin.  Top with the cheddar cheese.  Return the pizza to the pizza stone and cook until cheese has melted.  This happens pretty fast so just watch it! Use your pizza peel to remove it from the oven.  Evenly top with the shredded lettuce and tomatoes.  Drizzle the top with the ketchup and mustard.  Cut into 8 pieces with a pizza cutter!  Eat it up and you really can’t feel too guilty about this one!

Layered Eggplant & Tomato Casserole

With the abundance of Fresh Eggplant and Tomatoes in our garden right now, this was a great recipe to cook.  It is loaded with aromatic spices that make the kitchen smell SO good!!!

Layered Eggplant & Tomato Casserole

Layered Eggplant & Tomato Casserole

 Layered Eggplant and Tomato Casserole 

      I’m not really sure what to call this dish.  I had a recipe saved on my computer about a year ago… but after a hard drive crash and scouring through pages and pages of saved recipes…  I decided to do my best by creating it from memory.  I have to say that we had it last night for dinner and it was absolutely delicious!!!

Ingredients list:

5  Ichiban eggplant, medium sliced on the diagonal

Olive oil spray

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 whole pod of garlic, chopped fine

1/4 cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock (I used some home made stock that I put in the freezer about a    month ago.)

2 teaspoons mild curry powder (Or you could use hot if you would like more spice)

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoons mild paprika

3  tablespoons of tomato paste

4 medium to large vine ripe tomatoes, sliced medium thickness

3/4 of a cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup of Greek yogurt

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

1/4 cup of milk or more.  This is for thinning the sauce that goes on top, so you may     need more depending on the desired consistency.

Cooking Instructions:

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.  Spread the sliced eggplant out evenly among the two baking sheets.  Lightly spray the eggplant with the olive oil spray and lightly salt-and-pepper. Place each baking sheet under the boiler for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until slightly golden.  Do this on each side.  I had to broil mine in batches.  It just depends on the size of your oven.  Set the eggplant aside until ready to use.  After broiling the eggplant preheat your oven to 425°.

In a medium-size skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat.  Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute.  Continue to stir so the garlic doesn’t burn.  Carefully pour in the white wine and mix well with the garlic.  Add in the curry powder, turmeric, and paprika.  Blend well.  Add the chicken stock and tomato paste.  When everything has blended turn the heat to low and cook until the sauce has thickened.  Your kitchen should be smelling really good right about now!!!!  I love the smell of curry powder!!!  Remove the sauce from the heat.

Spoon in about 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 x 12 baking dish.  Evenly layer in 1/2 of the broiled eggplant.  Sprinkle the eggplant with 1/2 of the chopped cilantro.  Now, layer in 1/2 of the sliced tomatoes.  Starting again with the sauce, repeat with another  layer of the eggplant, cilantro, and tomatoes and ending with the remaining sauce on top.  Save some of the cilantro so you can have some to sprinkle on the top for garnish.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil.  Place the baking dish on a baking sheet just in case any of the liquid bubbles out while cooking (you will thank yourself when it is time to clean your oven).  Place it in the oven and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling around the edges.  While the eggplant is cooking make the yogurt sauce by mixing the yogurt and garlic salt in a small mixing bowl and whisking in the milk until it reaches the desired consistancy.  Remove the aluminum foil from the casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cilantro.  Cut into serving sizes and drizzle each serving with the yogurt sauce.  We had this as a side dish to roasted lamb and I can’t tell you how delicious it was!!!  However, this dish is hearty and could easily be served as a meatless entree’.  Hope you enjoy!!!!!

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich