Simple Cheesy Calzones

I was happy when I was in the dining room on Saturday night and not in the bar.  I make a lot of money in the bar, but having to work until close two nights in a row would have been rough.  But, as luck would have it, I had a 10 top sit down at 9:00 a.m., and they were the last table to leave – so I didn’t get home until 1:30 anyway.  But their tab was $700, so I was like “you can stay until dawn!”  They bought a $95 seafood tower appetizer.  It was five couples – five men on one side of the table and five women on the other.  Two completely different conversations going on which I thought was funny – the men talked about football and the women were talking about their kids.  I ended up walking out with $205 after tipping out – so I can’t really complain about making $500 bucks in two nights!   I put this picture up on Facebook and Instagram, this is one of our appetizers – I know Tony would love it – it’s calamari steak with a balsamic glaze.

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I thought for sure I’d sleep in yesterday, but I was wide awake at 9:30.  I did laundry, made a batch of chili (recipe coming tomorrow!) using the last of my sirloin roast, and didn’t really get hungry until after noon.  Doing a quick fridge/pantry glance, I realized I could make Tony and I calzones for lunch.

Cabot Cheese has invited me to be on their Cheese Board for 2014.  They sent me an assortment of cheeses to try out.


Yesterday, I used this cheese for our calzone filling:

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Dough for Two Calzones:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water

I love this little scoop I found at Goodwill – I keep it in my flour container.

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The sauce was just 3/4 cup of tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and some Italian seasoning – I just let that cook down for about 5 minutes.

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My filling:  sauce, sausage, pepperoni, baby spinach and the Cabot cheese.  Simply bring the back of the dough to the front, and pinch to close.  I deep fried ours – it only took about 2 minutes a side.

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These were really good – next time when I have more time I’ll try baking them.

So we were all set to have King Crab legs and Fried Chicken Gizzards – I was surprised to learn how many of you actually have fond memories of chicken gizzards.  I looked through several recipes, and ended up par-boiling the gizzards for 10 minutes, then soaking them in buttermilk that had a dash of salt, pepper and Tabasco.  They soaked overnight.  Then I just dipped them in seasoned flour and fried them up.

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Tony loved them.  He asked me to try one, and upon first bite it, the texture just grossed me out and I couldn’t even take a bit – I tried though!  We ended up having cheese and crackers, and a shrimp cracker dip.  We both had recollections growing up of our parents having tiny shrimp cocktail over cream cheese – and we both thought the shrimp and cocktail sauce came in a jar together, and you just poured that over cream cheese.  Does anyone else remember this??


Um, apparently they don’t sell this anymore, because no one at the store knew what I was talking about.  I ended up buying a jar of cocktail sauce, and a can of tiny shrimp and just mixed that all together with a few tablespoons of cream cheese.

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We ended up not being hungry for the crabs, so we’ll have the crab legs and Hooter’s shrimp for dinner tonight.  I didn’t do a full grocery shop this weekend because we have plenty of food in the house – this weeks menu will be interesting!

So my WI today?  I didn’t do my toes yet, so I put socks on for you – you’re welcome!  I am up .2 – but I drank hardly any water over the weekend – I need to fix that!

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I had no energy to go to the gym this morning, but I plan on working out at lunch and tonight I am going to give T-25 a try.   It’s all good!  Off to put my shit together – hope you had a great weekend and make it a great day!

Party Pizza Thursday??!!

For being a full work week, it actually went by pretty quickly!  I’ll take it.  Open-mouthed smile

I got several emails asking if my pillowcase method for organizing my workout clothes worked.  The answer is yes and no.  My idea was to pack five pillowcases of workout clothes, put the dirty clothes back in the pillowcase and then put a ponytail holder to secure the top of the pillowcase and wash and dry the contents together and bam, I am ready to go.

Turns out the ponytail holders didn’t stay on, so all the contents came out in the wash, but when I used a rubber band, it worked!  I secured it at the very end so they would have room to move around, and nothing got too wrinkled.  I just love the fact that I am not scrambling around trying to find sox and workout bras!  I will definitely keep that up this year. Open-mouthed smile

Um, guess who likes granola?  Tony!!   The last batch I made is Nicole’s olive oil granola, and this one is a winner.   I am definitely making more this weekend.  My breakfast was another parfait – with bananas, apples and granola.

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I love, love, love how crunchy and “clustery” this granola turns out.

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I was planning on doing the 100 Workout again yesterday, but when I saw Emily post this Killer Kardio workout, I had forgotten I pinned that on Pinterest months ago and never tried it.


Hopefully you can click on it and it will get bigger – there are also three sets:

First set:

  • jump rope 1 minute
  • high knees 1 minute
  • butt kicks 1 minute
  • jumping jacks 1 minute
  • burpees (20) – I did crunches instead!
  • run 10 minutes

Second set:

  • jump rope 1 minute
  • high knees 1 minute
  • butt kicks 1 minute
  • jumping jacks 1 minute
  • 20 pushups
  • 20 tricep dips
  • run 10 minutes

Third set:

  • jump rope 1 minute
  • high knees 1 minute
  • butt kicks 1 minute
  • jumping jacks 1 minute
  • mountain climbers 1 minute
  • run 10 minutes

I somehow thought I’d be able to finish that whole routine during my lunch hour break, but I ended up cutting the run times to 8 minutes – it took me just about 45 minutes to complete the circuit – it was tough – especially the first run – the calves were killing me, but by the end I felt fine.  I increased the speed for every 8 mile run too!

I made another potato crusted quiche, except this time I used unsweetened almond milk, and reduced the ham to 2 ounces – so good and it brought the calories down to 202 calories for 1/4 of the pie.

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Even though I ate later in the day, this wasn’t very filling and I have to tell you, I was a bit hungry around 4:00.  But then I told myself “it’s okay to be hungry, you’ll be eating dinner in a couple hours!”  I did end up having a skinny café mocha though, and that did the trick at only 50 calories.

I bought Italian sausage last weekend to make my lightened Bolognese, but I never got around to making it.  I told Tony that we had the sausage and asked for a suggestion and he said “whatever you want babe.”

Which meant one thing:


I made this version of no rise pizza dough – the only difference from mine is it calls for 3/4 cup of water vs. my 1 cup. 

I also took her advice and put my dough on parchment paper to bring it over to the hot pizza stone.  After the first five minutes, I just removed it.  My side was sausage and orange pepper – Tony’s side was sausage and mushroom.

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I baked this for 10 minutes at 500 degrees.  This is so quick and easy, the longest part was waiting for my oven to come to temperature!

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And guess what?  I only had two pieces.  Yep, it was my first indulgent meal of the week, but I ate in moderation.  I didn’t even take another tiny slice when I was putting it away either – and didn’t snack at all last night – who the fuck am I?  Hot smile

More football this weekend – I plan on going to Williams-Sonoma over the weekend to buy this:


A Cuisinart smoothie blender – I would never spend $65 on it if it was my money, but since I have a gift card, it’s free! 

What I would love someday?  A Vitamix!  This bad boy is about $500 dollars though!


Question of the Day:  What kind of blender do you have?

Alright – off to get ready for work – make it a great day!!

7 Minute Shopping and Slow Rise Pizza Dough

I am happy to say that the grilled pizza party at my office yesterday was a success!  Just a couple of problems.

First, the Weber grill that’s at our office has three burners, they run top to bottom.  I am used to having four burners on our gas grill, so I can have a hot side and a cool side.  I thought I had it dialed in, and while my tiles were coming to temperature, I put onions (yes, I am that nice!) to caramelize in a small cast iron skillet I brought on what I thought was the cooler side of the grill.

I was prepping the ingredients inside our office kitchen, when I saw smoke and ran outside and I burned the shit out of the onions!  So my intentions were good!  I still had enough that I had some raw diced ones, so all was not lost.

Then when it was time to roll out my dough?  I forgot the flour.  I put some in a ziploc bag on my counter at home.  And without it, it was impossible to roll out the dough.  So I had to jump in my car and run to Walgreen’s so that set me behind a bit.  Then when I got back I was so flustered, I hardly took any pictures!

But this will be my new pizza dough.  It was in my latest issue of La Cantina Magazine.  It’s a slow rise pizza dough.

Slow Rise Pizza Dough

This makes enough dough for four, 10 inch pizzas.

  • 1.5 cups warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Put the water and the yeast in your stand mixer with the dough hook.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Add flour and salt.  Mix until the dough no longer sticks to the side, about 5 minutes.  If it’s two sticky, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time.  If it’s too dry, add 1 tablespoon water at a time.

Put olive oil in a bowl and transfer dough to the bowl.  Let sit on the counter for 30 minutes.  Put in a ziploc bag, and let the dough rise in the fridge overnight.

Three hours before using, let the dough come to room temperature on the counter.

Now I wish I had pictures of how the dough looked because it so many air pockets in it, which is so weird because of the small amount of yeast that it!

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I ended up making everyone their own individual pizza, so everything was cooked in about 20 minutes – thankfully everyone was patient and it was a nice day to sit outside on our office patio.  Rave reviews, and everyone ate every single thing on their plate – winning! Open-mouthed smile

Last night Tony and I went out for sushi.  I am a bit intimidated by sushi, because a: I don’t like raw shit, and b: I always order safe stuff (think tempura) because I am afraid if I order something different and don’t like it, it’s a waste of money.

Well, I went with my gut last night and ordered the fire roll, which was tuna (the only raw thing I’ll eat!), jalapeno, a touch of cream cheese then put in a tempura batter.  It had this slightly sweet spicy sauce on top – and guess what?  I loved it!  It even came to the table with fire!

flaming jalapeno

We totally slept in this morning – I think it was nearly 10:00 by the time we got our act together.  I had to go pick up my contacts at the eye doctor.  I left the house about 10:30 planning on picking up some breakfast sammies at McDonald’s and some large ice teas ($1 each!) only to find out that they don’t serve breakfast after 10:30.

I came home and Tony suggested we just hit the road and find a place to eat.  We were already planning to head up north to buy Tony some new work clothes and summer shorts.   Since his colon cancer surgery last year he’s lost 70+ pounds, so all of his summer clothes are way too big.

Um, turns out Tony doesn’t like when I bring him home thrift store and garage sale clothes.  He’s convinced that people pee, then die in these clothes I bring home to him!

I got on my phone and found a place called Gale Street Inn that was known for the bbq ribs.  It was right across from a lake and it was a nice setting.  Weird though because we were literally the only table there, and I am pretty sure our servers have been working at this place since it opened in 1963!

They had an old fashioned salad bar – liver pate, beets and some unknown pasta salads.  They even had those imitation bacon bits I love so much.

salad bar

And I had to get the ribs.  Half slab, including the salad bar, fries and some veggies, for $11.99 – not too shabby!


They were delicious!  Fall off the bone, the bbq sauce was really nice.  The broccoli and cauliflower were a bit overdone, but we’d definitely go back.  Tony got a 5 oz. burger with swiss cheese and mushrooms which was good too.

So we head to the clothes store.  Now Tony really isn’t sure what size his waist is anymore.  So I hand him a couple pairs of shorts in two different sizes.  He takes one pair, takes off his shoes and tries the shorts on right in the middle of the store . . . over the shorts he’s wearing!  He declares that size fits, and that dictates what else we pick up. 

I am not kidding when I tell you from the time we got out of the car and back into the car. . . 7 minutes.  Which included 2 minutes of waiting in line to pay for the clothes!


Maybe now I can retire some of his t-shirts that are literally being held together by threads.  We’ll see though! Winking smile

I won’t blog again until Monday because I am getting up early to go to my Mom’s house.  Guess who’s going to be there?  My brother Charlie!!  Sadly, my SIL’s Mom died the weekend I was in Virginia.  Her memorial service was today in Iowa.  They are driving back through Chicago before heading back to Austin.  My Mom is selling her house this week so it will be the last time I see this house (which she’s had since 1989!) and down sizing to a small house about 15 minutes away.

I am bringing a fruit salad, breakfast casserole and skinny cinnamon rolls – I’ll post the recipes on Monday. Open-mouthed smile 

Question of the Day:  What is the longest you’ve lived in a house?  For me, obviously my childhood house – since I lived there for 19 years.  As an adult – it’s the one Tony and I have now – 11 years!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Parmesan Pizza Crust and Weekly WI

I’ve had plantar fascitis for about five years.  I ended up having to have special inserts made for my shoes that I have to wear every day.  If I wear flip flops or skip wearing them for a couple days, the back of my heels, especially the left one, becomes painful not only to the touch, but with every step I take.  It usually takes until after lunch for the pain to go away.

Even if I wear the inserts every day, my left heel is still normally sore for a good couple hours after getting up.  It’s just something I’ve learned to live with.

So yesterday I went to my DVR and saw that another episode of Classical Stretch had recorded.  This one was called calves, shins and posture.  Guess what?  After that 30 minute routine, my heel pain went away and didn’t bother me at all the rest of the day.  Better yet?  No pain this morning when I got out of bed!

I guess my Achilles tendon was just really tight and whatever moves she did in that routine did the trick.  I seriously will do one of those videos every morning.  See if you can search it on your cable package – she normally appears on public television.

I made a quick zucchini frittata yesterday morning.  Hannah and I were on a mission to go garage saling before she had to work.  1 zucchini shredded that I sauteed in about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, then 1/2 cup egg beaters, 1/2 ounce of cheese and I had a cup of fruit on the side.

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We ended up going to four garage sales.  I ended up getting a WW cookbook for .50 cents and this for the fridge – Tony loves iced tea so I plan on keeping some in the fridge for him – this cost $1 and it’s brand new. Just kidding


On the way back Hannah and I went to Walmart to get our eyebrows threaded.  We both know its gonna hurt like a son of a bitch, but the pain only lasts a couple minutes.  However, it never fails that they then ask “you want me to do lip and chin?”  I politely said “no thank you.”  But the woman said “but ma’am – it looks so bad!”  I’d like to note for the record that I don’t have lip and chin hair, thank you very much.

Tony and I went grocery shopping for our Easter dinner.  We bought a $14 ham, but had a $9 off coupon – score!  After grocery shopping we went out for Chinese!  Woop – lunch out with Tony two days in a row?  Love it.  Since it was Good Friday Tony went with Chinese noodles with shrimp.  I however, can eat meat, so I went with the spicy Mongolian beef.  This plate came in at 580 calories and hit the spot.  I ate all the beef and broccoli, 1/2 cup of the brown rice and the egg roll.


When we got home I did a dry run of my Easter dessert yesterday – I am calling it a rustic apple tart that I plan to serve with vanilla bean ice cream and peanut brittle as a garnish. I will post the recipe tomorrow, but holy shizz, this one is a keeper. Be right back

While I was cooking, Tony did our first mow of the season – our grass was so thick!  It looked great when he got done.  I think even if Tony was bleeding out of his eyes he wouldn’t let me use our riding mower – apparently I can’t cut our grass straight! Smile with tongue out

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We have two giant pine trees in front of our house.  Every time we have a bad storm we think they will break in half, but they are still standing strong.

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I’ve had a pizza jones all week.  While my favorite pizza dough is still super thin and crispy, Tony usually likes a bit thicker dough.  I looked through a bunch of other dough recipes online, and ended up coming up with this one:

Parmesan Garlic Pizza Dough

  • 1 1/8 cup water (9 ounces)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1.5 Tablespoons honey
  • 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

Mix the water, yeast, honey and olive oil and let stand for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast gets frothy.  Add the flour salt and Italian seasoning in the food processor.  Turn the processor on and add the water mixture.  After a minute the dough should be incorporated and pull away from the sides of the processor.

Put in a bowl with a bit of olive oil, and let rise for 1 hour.

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You can see the flecks of Italian seasoning.  This dough is really soft too.  While the dough was rising, I did Billy Blanks “Empowerment DVD.”  The first 10 minutes were a cake and I almost switched to something more challenging.  Um, the first 10 minutes was just the instructional part!  The next 50 minutes kicked my ass.

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Melt the butter and garlic together.  Stir in Parmesan cheese.  Brush this mixture all over the crust, especially on the outer edges.  I had baby spinach and red pepper on my side – Tony had green and black olives and tomatoes on his side.

I preheated my oven with my baking stone in there to 425.  This took about 15 minutes to bake.

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This was delicious.  I ended up having two slices, or half of my side – which came in at around 590 calories.  I really wanted a third piece, but told myself to wait 30 minutes, and if I still wanted it I would have it.  But I never ended up going back in and Hannah had the leftovers when she got home from work.

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Best part is Tony loved it.  He said “it’s a non-Biz crust!”  I’ll definitely use this dough recipe again.

I realized that my WW meeting will be closed tomorrow for Easter, and I couldn’t weigh in today since I weighed in on Sunday, which is the start of their week – if I went today it would just tell me that I had already weighed in for the week.  I plan on switching back to Saturday meetings – I like the leader a lot better.

So last week I was:


This morning I was:


So unofficially I am down 1.6.  I hope to see – 3.0 at next Saturday’s official WI. Winking smile

So Hannah has decided that she wants to go to Roosevelt University to study Marriage and Family with an emphasis on Speech Pathology.  She forwarded on her college transcripts yesterday which was the last thing required before she hears if she’s accepted.

She had her letters of recommendation, and she said “I am not sure I showed this one to you.”  It was written by her psychology teacher from last semester.

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I am one proud Momma!  Hannah I have no doubt you’ll get accepted and that you will continue to succeed academically.  I am so proud of you!

Alright, I am off to finish making my apple tarts, my Italian wedding soup and homemade bread for tomorrow.  Enjoy your Saturday!

Stats for Day 6 of 30 Bad Ass:

  • 1336 calories
  • 56 fat
  • 132 carbs
  • 15 fiber
  • 75 protein
  • 40% calories from carbs, 38% from fat, 22% for protein
  • 30 minutes stretch
  • 50 Billy Blanks kicking my bootie


Weeknight Deep Dish Pizza – Holy Shizz

I guess I can’t really call my breakfast yesterday a quiche because there is no crust and I baked it in a square dish, so let’s just call it a breakfast bake?

Bacon and Broccoli Breakfast Bake (4 servings – each one is 5 WW points)

  • 3 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 carton of egg beaters (16 ounces)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Saute the broccoli and bacon together, until the bacon is crisp.  Let cool slightly.  In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together and mix well – then pour into an 8×8 inch square pan.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

My plate – 1 serving of the bake, 1 ounce of toast, and canteloupe – breakfast comes in at 8 WW points.

This actually kept me full for quite a while.  It was super busy at work because one of the other secretaries is out this week.  I don’t mind at all because I am busy and she does different stuff than I normally do, so its a nice change of pace.

It was overcast and chilly – around 30 degrees when I decided to go for my walk.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if the wind wasn’t so strong, and I need to remember to bring gloves today – that was the only part that was cold was my hands.

I walked for a brisk 50 minutes. :D  I was happy to come back to the office for soup and salad – although I overdressed the salad and it was gross – luckily it was late in the day and this 7 point serving of chicken noodle soup held me over until dinner just fine.

Two tablespoons of Newman's Own light balsamic was a tad too much :(

When I was doing our meal plan over the weekend I asked Tony if he felt like anything and he shocked the shit out of me by asking for deep dish pizza!  The original recipe found in this post is quite labor intensive, while not difficult.  It rises two times.  I wanted to see if I could make a simpler weeknight version, with equally delicious results.  Um, success!

Yesterday morning I made the dough (everything but the 2 tablespoons of room temp butter) – since everyone was still sleeping I just used a wooden spoon and some elbow grease and when it was almost all incorporated, put it on my floured counter and kneaded it for all of 5 minutes.  I put it in a bowl with olive oil, put plastic wrap on the top and set it on top of my stove for the day.

Dough  updated:  this dough makes 2, 9 inch pizzas, or 8 servings – the dough is 7 points per serving – with my toppings of sausage/pepperoni/mozzarella – each slice is 12 ww points :D
  • 3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water (10 ounces), room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted, plus 2 tablespoons, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (plus 2 teaspoon olive oil for the cake pan)

As soon as I walked in the door I set my stove for 425.  (My oven takes a while to come to temperature).  After kissing Tony hello and chatting for a couple minutes, I got to work.  I divided the dough in half.  I rolled half of the dough out, and with 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter, spread that all across the dough.

I then rolled it back into a ball, and rolled it out again to fit my 9 inch cake pan.  Be sure to be about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in your cake pan before adding the dough.

Then I put 6 ounces shredded cheese on the bottom, then 4 ounces of Italian sausage, 2 ounces of pepperoni, and then my pizza sauce.  I cheated and bought Dei Fratelli Italian sauce that I just doctored up with more Italian seasoning and garlic.  I added about 2/3 a cup of sauce over the top, then drizzled with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.

Dressed with the sauce and Parmesan cheese – ready for the oven:

The original recipe says to bake 20 – 30 minutes, I find 25 minutes to be perfect.  You do have to wait a minimum of five minutes before slicing, which let me tell you, is super hard to do.  I mean, look at this crust??!!

I cut this into 4 pieces, and after I ate one slice, I had 1/4 more, it was that good.  This weeknight version made a lighter version without the second rise in the refrigerator.  I got home from work at 5:45, and the pizza was ready to eat at 6:25 = pretty sure that’s faster than delivery!

I haven’t figured out the points yet, but my guess is around 15.  I’ll update it later when I figure out the points.  So worth the points though!  Mara, let me know if you make this weeknight version!

Stats for Tuesday:

  • 30 WW points
  • 50 minute walk
  • average blood sugar 142

Question of the Day:  Thin crust or deep dish?  While I love my supa crunchy thin crust, I think I have to give it up for this deep dish.  Next time I want to make a deep dish spinach pizza!

Make it a great day!

Best Deep Dish Pizza Recipe. Ever! And Holiday Challenge Update

Last weekend Tony said that he saw on America’s Test Kitchens the secret to Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  It’s funny because the host went to Lou Malnati’s in Chicago to get their recipe for deep dish dough recipe, and they wouldn’t give it up – all he kept saying was that their crust was “buttery.”

So they went to the drawing board and came up with this recipe.  Holy Shizz you guys, if you’ve never made homemade pizza before, you have to make this.  If Tony and I had another set of hands we would have given this pizza four thumbs up.  The crust was slightly crisp on the botten, but tender and butter on the inside.

The sausage wasn’t greasy, the cheese was gooey and the sauce brought it all together.  Sadly most of my pictures were taken after the sun went down, so while I wish the photos were better, I hope this inspires you to make this pizza.

Makes two 9-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6  (or in our case – 2 servings for 1 pizza!)


  • 3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water (10 ounces), room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened
  • 1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated onion , from 1 medium onion (note, we left this out)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Table salt
  • 2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese , shredded (about 4 cups) (we used sliced mozzarella, six slices covered the bottom of our pizza)
  • 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage (the original recipe was for cheese only – I can’t wait to make a deep dish spinach pizza!)
  • 1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1. FOR THE DOUGH: Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)
  • 2. Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • 3. FOR THE SAUCE: While dough rises, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  • 4. TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH: Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rec-tangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.
  • 5. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
  • 6. For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

I know the recipe seems really long, but it comes together pretty quickly.  Here are my crappy photos below:

Because of the butter in the dough, the bowl was squeeky clean:

While the dough rose the first time, I made the sauce.  I used to not like a chunky sauce.  In fact early in our marriage I made Tony puree just about everything – but now I love it!  I scored on this brand of tomatoes  – only .99 cents.

20 minutes later, I had this delicious sauce:

The first rise isn’t really noticable – that’s okay.

Now comes the fun part  . . . the butter!

Then roll it up jelly roll style:

Then roll that – then cut in half – see all the layers!

Then roll into two balls and let them rise in the fridge for 40 minutes.  Again, they didn’t rise that much, but that’s okay.

Whenever I use sausage for pizza, I always buy bulk sausage.  It’s ground a bit thicker and you don’t have any grizzle that you sometimes get using sausage in the casing.

Before putting the dough in the fridge for the second rise, heat the oven to 425 and put your rack on the lower third of your oven.  Roll out the dough and put it in a 9 inch cake pan, pushing the dough up the sides:

Thanks to Tony for taking these next few pics of me in pizza making action – you want to make sure that you press down the sausage so that it fully cooks.

Last touch . . . sprinkling Parmesan cheese over the top.

After 25 minutes:

I let it rest in the pan for about 5 minutes, I couldn’t wait any longer.  It came out with ease.

I intended to only eat one slice to save one to take a picture in better light this morning.  Um, that didn’t happen.  This is hands down the best homemade pizza I’ve ever made.  And I’ve made a lot of pizza on this blog the past 3 years. :D

If you’ve made it down this far – thank you!  It’s also our weekly update for the Holiday Challenge.  I did not weigh in this week, and since I was not feeling that great the exercise went out the window.  I am starting to feel better and plan to get a long walk in this afternoon – perfect fall temperatures!!

How was your week . . . need some cheerleading or have something to celebrate??

Happy Sunday. . . I am about to get Bizzy in my kitchen – I’ve got a couple soups in the works and will be making banana sweet potato muffins.

Last Week of 101 Days of Summer and Best Pizza Ever

I can’t believe we are in the last week of 101 days of summer challenge!  While I am not complete happy with how I handled the challenge, I have no one to blame but myself.  I only have 20 pounds to go to get to my goal of 140 – and I am determined to get there by Christmas.  I may start a challenge from Labor Day to New Years – anyone else interested?

I have Jacky to thank for the idea of my lunch yesterday.  You guys knew I couldn’t go a whole week without pizza right?!  Holy cow, this one hits all the marks – the crust was crispy, the sweetness of the fig against the tang of the goat cheese and the mortadella – I think the balsamic and olive oil greens on top brought this pizza all together.

I made a super easy pizza dough – 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tsp. yeast and 1 tsp. salt – I used half of the dough for the pizza below.  This whole dough would be 12 points.

Fig, Goat Cheese and Mortadella Pizza

  • 1/2 of simple pizza dough
  • 4 tablespoons fig (I used the leftover balsamic figs Tony made, but you can buy canned figs)
  • 1 ounce goat cheese
  • 1 ounce mortadella, sliced
  • 1/2 cup mixed greens
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon good olive oil

Heat oven to 425.  Roll out dough and pre-bake the dough for 4-5 minutes, or until you can shake it off the pan.  Spread figs on the bottom.  Dot with the goat cheese and sprinkle the mortadella over the pizza.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the crust starts to brown.

Chop the greens and toss with the olive oil and balsamic.  Toss over the hot pizza and try not to burn your mouth .

The best part is that this whole pizza was only 13 points!  And since I only had a banana and a 1 point cheese stick for breakfast, I ate the whole thing. :D

My pizza fix is satisfied, but I can’t wait to make this one again.  Thanks for the idea Jacky!

I did most of the prep work yesterday for my SIL’s birthday Mexican fiesta today.  All I have left to make is the cilantro rice and cook the marinated meats.  But I still have lunches to make:

Have a great Sunday!