Are you prepared to meet the thinnest crust ever?! If you are not a thin crust person, this pizza is not for you. Go on and just close the browser right now, I won’t be offended but I will scoff at you because I think this pizza could convert you. So on second thought please stay!
By a show of hands, how many of you have ever had Imo’s pizza? Okay, how many more of you have at least heard of Imo’s pizza? Anyone who did not raise their hand will not understand the craze that this pizza creates, but should still dive in and create this pizza at home. Especially if you don’t have the time to drive to St. Louis. Because today I give to you, homemade Imo’s Pizza.
So what makes this pizza so special, other than it’s geographical exclusivity? Well for starters it has a supremely thin crust, that is crispy yet a little floppy all at the same time. This crust is covered by a moderately thin layer of freshly made pizza sauce, then topped off by Imo’s very own brand of shredded cheese known as Provel – a mixture of white cheddar, Swiss and provolone, with a hint of hickory smoke flavor.
One benefit to living 4.5 hours from St. Louis, is that the grocery stores here happen to carry this fantastical cheese blend. But luckily for everyone else it is easy to fix up a homemade version of it. Granted it won’t be processed all together, but the flavors are all there and that’s what counts. So no matter where you are in the world, you too can experience Imo’s pizza!
For me, the cheese is the selling point. It gets so bubbly and the white cheddar brings such great flavor to otherwise traditional pizza toppings. And it just so happens to be one of my favorite kinds of cheese, and am amazed that I have not topped off any of my pizzas with it before (prepare yourself for more of it to come). Of course, don’t forget to slice it up into Imo-style small square slices, and prepare to fight over your favorite pieces. Are you a middle-crust or an edge-crust person?
Ask and you shall receive. On my last pizza post, many of you left comments to keep the pizzas rolling so here’s this week’s installment! This time I’ve made a recipe I found on Bev Cooks awhile back. You make a pesto using spinach leaves for the sauce, and top it off with red pepper, Italian sausage and of course Mozzarella cheese. It’s a pretty fantastic little dance of ingredients. And they certainly look good together too!
Of course as with all of my pizza recipes, you do not need a stone and peel to make pizza at home. Just cook it on a pizza pan or cookie sheet as you prefer, but I am convinced that the crust comes out as pure perfection when using a stone. So you really should get your hands on one sooner rather than later. Probably my favorite kitchen item ever. And I am sure you can tell how well-loved it is by it’s stained appearance in pictures.
By the way, is anyone shocked that I rate every pizza I make as 2-3 servings? Maybe I am just a fat kid but there’s hardly a pizza made in my kitchen that ends up producing more than 3 servings. Maybe I cut my slices too big, but I don’t care O:-).
Sometimes my pizza toppings are composed of a random array of things found while digging through the junkyard that is my refrigerator. Those pizzas don’t regularly manage to find their way onto this screen, but once in awhile I create something worth repeating beyond the realm of simply using up leftovers. With the amount of pizza eaten in my kitchen, one is bound to squeak out every once in awhile.
This is another one of my pasta-dish-gone-pizza recipes. The first was the Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pizza, inspired by none other than my Guiltless Cajun Chicken Alfredo. But instead of cajun seasoning and broccoli, you have spinach and pesto with your chicken alfredo pizza. Isn’t coming up with new pizzas fun? I remember when choosing between pepperoni or just cheese seemed like a difficult choice. Now the topping options are endless and I must try them all!!
One year ago: Cake batter Fruit Dip
CHICKEN & SPINACH ALFREDO PIZZA
1 recipe thin-crust pizza dough
2 Tbsp basil pesto
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup cooked shredded chicken
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup Mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a pizza stone placed on the center rack for 15 minutes.
- On a cornmeal dusted pizza peel, roll out the pizza dough. Spread the pesto and Alfredo sauce over the dough within 1/2 inch of the edge. Top with chicken pieces, spinach and sprinkle cheeses over top.
- Shimmy off the pizza peel onto the preheated pizza stone and bake for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.
Source: The Spiffy Cookie original
Yes I am posting a recipe for yet another pizza dough. Don’t judge, sometimes I eat a lot of pizza and need to change up the crusts a bit (in case you hadn’t caught on). This was my first time ever making homemade thin crust however. Even though a nice fluffy edge is lovely to bite into, sometimes I really just want a lot of crispiness and a greater topping to crust ratio.
Since I had never made thin crust before, I was curious how it became thin instead of puffy like in regular pizza dough. It seems to me that the only difference is the amount of flour and water you add, therefore resulting in less dough which gets rolled out to the same size. Who knew it would be that simple? I even threw in some whole wheat flour for some health-ification.
Are you a thin, regular or thick crust person? Just so you know if you saw thick, don’t ever expect a recipe for that on there. Ratio is much too skewed to the dough side on that one for me. (Don’t come to the dough side.)
WHOLE WHEAT THIN CRUST PIZZA DOUGH
Makes one crust
1 package active dry yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup 100% whole wheat flour*
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp yellow cornmeal
Desired pizza toppings
*Or use another 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Mix both flours in a small bowl. Stir 1-1/4 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt into yeast mixture to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.
- Place dough in a large bowl coated with coil, turning dough to coat. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with pizza stone on the lowest rack.
- Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Roll dough into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim.
- Drizzle dough with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place dough on stone and bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; top with desired toppings and bake an additional 10 minutes or until crust and cheese is lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Source: Adapted slightly from Brown Eyed Baker.
Remember the bake sale I hosted last week to benefit The House of Mews 2012 Annual Food Drive? Well last night I swung by on my way home from work and hung out with Holly and the kitties for a little bit. I took a few photos so that you can see where all that money raised went and can be seen on Facebook, but here is one just as a teaser:
By tomorrow all the bakers should have sent out the goodies to their winning bidders, so if you are not already enjoying your treats they should be arriving soon!
When I saw Jessica post this pizza crust, it immediately reminded me of Hounddog’s pizza in Columbus, OH. Covered in butter, garlic and Parmesan cheese – which by the way has been my favorite pizza crust for years, even throughout the 5 since I graduated (crap has it really been that long since I was an undergrad??). Le sigh, memories… But strangely I have never attempted to recreate this glory of a crust on my own. So thank you very much Jessica, for bringing this crust back into my life other than when I pay a visit back to that wonderful place.
Another thought occurred to me while still drooling over this crust (I want to lick the picture on my screen right now). How insanely good do you think this would be if it were also stuffed with basil and goat cheese from another pizza crust recipe I’ve posted (also from Jessica at How Sweet It is)? Which strangely enough I shared exactly a year ago – totally unplanned. But bringing those two pizza crusts together into one is going to happen. And it shall be mind-blowing.
But first you need to make this as it is. You will have guilty dreams about it.
GARLIC BREAD PIZZA CRUST
Makes 1 pizza
1 recipe pizza dough
1 cup pizza sauce
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
Desired pizza toppings
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with pizza stone placed on the middle rack.
- Place rolled out pizza dough on a pizza peel generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Place a moist towel over the dough and let sit for 10 minutes.
- While the dough is rising again, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Mix it with the garlic and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.
- Continue to make your pizza with your desired toppings. Transfer to the preheated pizza stone and using a spoon or pastry brush, douse the outside edges with the butter and garlic mixture. Bake the pizza for 23-25 minutes (or longer if needed, depending on your toppings), or until crust and cheese are both golden.
- While pizza is baking, melt remaining butter and combine with the last tablespoon of Parmesan.
- Remove pizza from over and immediately brush the outside edges with Parmesan butter, using it all up. Sprinkle a bit of Parmesan over top if desired. Serve!
Source: Adapted from How Sweet It Is.
I interrupt this post for an announcement…
MY NEPHEW WAS BORN THIS MORNING!! My brother and sister-in-law whisked away to the hospital last night. The little one must’ve known there were fun things waiting for him, because my care package arrived just the day before. They even brought the homemade granola bars with them to the hospital. Perfect timing Aunt Erin. He was born at 7:19 am coming in at 7 lbs and 1 oz, and 19 inches long.
Welcome to the world, Luke. I cannot wait to meet you!
Okay. You may now return to your regularly scheduled read….
Instead of a traditional pizza sauce, you smear a mixture of cream cheese (<3!) and jalapenos onto the crust. I added a bit of milk since cream cheese is a bit tough to spread over fresh dough. And then you throw on both Mozzarella and blue cheese, followed by chicken which has been tossed in hot sauce. And of course it’s topped of by none other than bacon! This would be an excellent pizza to serve while watching your favorite sports team.
Check out some of Carrie’s other great recipes including apple rice pudding brulee and chicken pot pie with roasted garlic crusts, for two. Also don’t forget to see what all the other SRC members made, shown at the bottom of this post.
JALAPENO POPPER BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA
1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3 jalapenos seeded and diced
1 Tbsp milk (optional)
1-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
2 Tbsp Buffalo wing hot sauce
4 slices crumbled cooked bacon
- Preheat oven to 420 degrees with pizza stone on middle rack; allow to preheat in the oven for at least 10 minutes.
- Roll out dough and transfer to a pizza peel generously sprinkled with cornmeal.
- In a small bowl mix cream cheese and jalapenos together. Add milk to create are more spreadable consistency. Spread onto pizza dough and top with cheeses.
- In another small bowl toss chicken with 1 tablespoon of hot sauce. With your other tablespoon of hot sauce drizzle over cheese. Top with chicken mixture and bacon crumbles.
- Transfer to the pizza stone without removing from the oven (it’ll take a couple light shakes). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is cooked and golden.
Source: Adapted slightly from Bakeaholic Mama.
Ever order a pizza but start with a salad, convincing yourself it will prevent you from eating too much pizza? That never works for me. I will still annihilate half by myself, so I would’ve consumed less calories without the
stupid healthy salad . Maybe putting the salad on the pizza is the way to go.
Caesar salad was actually the first salad I ever liked. Probably because it has the least amount of vegetables in it and I used to despise all vegetables besides carrots, corn and potatoes (as if they counted as a veggie). Green things were very much absent from my diet growing up, but boredom of the food selections of my undergraduate meal plan that met my picky-eating ways forced me to dive into the actually very expansive options available (oh the benefits of going to a gigantic school).
But back to talking about this pizza topped with Caesar salad. It is cooked with a pesto sauce base and topped with Mozzarella, Paremesan and chicken. Then once out of the oven, you assemble the rest of the salad right on top! A little drizzle of dressing and some extra shredded Parmesan, but leave off those croutons because you will find them transformed into a pizza crust.
One year ago: Apple Harvest Oatmeal
CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD PIZZA
Serves 3 to 4
1 recipe pizza dough
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp basil pesto
1/2 cup cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, plus more for garnish
2 cups leafy romaine
1 Roma tomato, sliced
1/4 cup light Caesar salad dressing
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a pizza stone placed on the center rack for 15 minutes.
- On a cornmeal dusted pizza peel, roll out the pizza dough. Spread the olive oil and pesto over the dough within a 1/2 inch of the edge. Top with chicken pieces and sprinkle cheeses over top.
- Shimmy onto the preheated pizza stone and bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.
- Allow pizza to cool slightly then top with romaine, tomato and dressing. Add additional Parmesan is desired.
Source: Inspired by Mellow Mushroom’s “The Caesar!” pizza.
Have you made plans for Valentine’s Day yet? I actually do not have any yet, but in the meantime have not slacked off on making Valentine’s Day inspired treats and meals. For example, after I mastered the stromboli I decided it was time to take on the calzone. But not just any calzone, but a heart-shaped one! And it conveniently serves two people. Or maybe four if you serve anything substantial on the side.
And if the shape alone wasn’t enough this baby is actually stuffed with sausage lasagna filling. Gooey, cheesy, meaty loveliness wrapped up in dough. Yup, go ahead and eat your heart out. (Sorry sorry couldn’t resist)
One year ago: Oreo Truffles
SAUSAGE LASAGNA HEART CALZONE
1/2 lb pizza dough
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
1-1/2 cups pizza sauce
8 oz low fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Pinch of salt, fresh cracked pepper
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning, plus more for topping (optional)
1 egg, beaten (for brushing dough)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown sausage until browned. Drain and return back to skillet. Add pasta sauce and reduce heat to low to simmer.
- Place ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella cheese and seasonings in a mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Cut the pizza doughs in half. On a floured sheet of parchment paper, form two large hearts and roll until about 1/8″ thick. Move one dough-heart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Top the dough-heart on the baking sheet with sausage marinara then with ricotta (you may have leftovers), leaving a 1/2″ edge. Brush the edges of the dough with egg and top with remaining dough-heart. Press seams together, brush entire top lightly with egg then sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Cut a few slices in the top, transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
Source: Adapted slightly from Picky Palate.
Pizza and other pizza-like-creations are one of my favorite things to eat. However, as you may have noticed I have yet to post any calzones or strombolis because I’ve never been very good with rolled up pizza dough concoctions. They always turn into a big mess (still delicious just not photogenic) and I never understood why. But then I saw that Laurens posted a great “how to” on making stromboli and I decided to try it out. Her step-by-step photos really help! And I have to say it turned out to be the most beautiful stromboli that’s ever been in my kitchen (brushing the edges with egg was key to seal the edges). Behold!
I barely had enough patience to let it cool down before cutting it up so that I could dive into this marvelous creation. To distract myself I made sure I had plenty of pizza sauce to dip into.
Next I need to retry making calzones, and will definitely be brushing the edges of that with egg too. It seems to seal it up perfectly, in ways that simple pressing/folding cannot.
One year ago: Grilled Three Cheese Sandwich
1/2 lb pizza dough (I used Lauren’s recipe)
1/2 cup pizza sauce, plus more for dipping
1-1/2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
6 thin slices hard salami
4 thin slices deli honey ham
1 egg, beaten
Dried parsley & Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
- Spread pizza dough out on baking sheet to be approximately 10×16. Spread pizza sauce over 2/3′s of the dough lengthwise, leaving a 3×16 rectangle of plain dough along one of the edges. Top sauce with half the grated cheese, salami and ham. Top with remaining cheese.
- Brush the plain strip of dough with the egg. Fold in the other sides about an inch and brush them with egg. Roll up like a jelly roll* lengthwise starting along the long edge of dough topped with all the fillings and ending with the plain strip of dough on the bottom of the roll.
- Brush the entire stromboli with egg and gently cut slats in the top of the dough every 1-2 inches. Sprinkle parsley and cheese over top and bake 8-10 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes and slice into pieces. Serve with more pizza sauce.
*This is where using parchment paper is really handy because you can pick it up to help roll the dough.
Source: Adapted slightly from Lauren’s Latest.
Today, I am going to remedy a serious problem. The problem is that I have not seen my dad since March last year and we live in the same state (and even worse, my stepmom since Christmas a year ago)! Granted we are on opposite ends of a very long state, but still unacceptable. So today I am venturing off to pay them a visit. Did I mention there will be also cookies at the end of the yellow brick road?
Speaking of things I haven’t seen in awhile, after I did my best of 2011 recipe round-up I started to crave the lighter cajun chicken alfredo on that list which despite it’s awesome-ness I have neglected to make again. But since I sometimes like to change up recipes into new creations, I decided to get rid of the pasta and throw it on top of a pizza crust instead!
Ok ok, now bear with me on this one and enjoy the cheesy point I’m about to make because it’s the reason I bought this… The plate says it all. You can start making fun of me now, I give you permission. But you know what? I won’t care because it’s fun and truly was yummy.
One year ago: Black Cherry Vanilla Almond Smoothie
CAJUN CHICKEN ALFREDO PIZZA
1 recipe pizza dough
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, divided
1 cup 2% milk
1 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp light butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup frozen broccoli, thawed and chopped
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees for at least 10 minutes with a pizza stone* on the middle rack.
- Meanwhile, roll pizza dough onto a corn meal dusted pizza peel*.
- Heat oil in a medium skillet. Season both sides of the chicken breast with 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning. Brown for 5 minutes on one side, flip, and cover the skillet. Continue cooking until the chicken is done. Remove the chicken and allow to cool slightly before cutting into strips, or bite-sized pieces.
- In a food processor or blender, combine milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt. Process until smooth and set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
- Add the milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes until the sauce begins to simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a couple minutes more. It should become thicker.
- Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan until melted, then add the sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, basil, and cayenne and cover the pan immediately.
- Let stand for at least 10 minutes prior to using. It will continue to thicken to desired consistency. Then spread sauce over pizza crust, and top with chicken, broccoli and cheese.
- Shimmy the pizza from the pizza peel onto the pre-heated pizza stone and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until it the crust turns golden brown and the cheese starts to bubble. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then cut into slices.
*If you do not have a pizza stone or peel, roll dough out on a corn meal dusted baking sheet/pizza pan.
Source: Adapted from The Spiffy Cookie.