For Love of Pizza
The entire second week in February is celebrated as the Great American Pizza Bake, not to be confused with National Pizza Week in January. National Pizza Day is February 9 and is encompassed in this week as well. There are several other pizza related National days throughout the year I am not going to mention here. During this week, you are encouraged to make your own pizza at home. Not only is it cheaper, you know what’s going in it as well. Everything from the crust to the sauce can be homemade and your toppings are easily customizable. No worrying about something being wrong when you are doing it yourself!
According to Eat This, Not That, 350 slices of pizza are eaten in the U.S. every second! That is a lot of pizza!! That being said, the Dept. of Agriculture claims only 13% of Americans are eating that pizza on any given day. Apparently, according to the same source, it’s mainly males as 1 out of 6, ages 2-39, are eating pizza for breakfast. If not for breakfast, sales show most pizza is ordered on Saturday evening. All this pizza averages to about $38 billion in sales of pizza just in the U.S. each year!
Each year, Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest pizza selling day. Pizza Hut alone averages over 2 million pizzas for just that Sunday. Wow!
Speaking of Pizza Hut, they are the most popular pizza chain, but Dominos gives you far more choices with 34 million options with different sauces, meats and vegetables you can choose from.
Our love of pizza has grown so much, the cheese consumption has increased 41% just since 1995.
There are about 70,000 pizzerias in the U.S. with 9,000 of them in New York State alone.
The world record for pizza stands at 122 feet, 8 inches in diameter. The pizza was made in Rome by 5 gentlemen who were trying to raise awareness of healthy food choices. The pizza was 100% gluten free.
Around the world, there are some funky pizza choices. In Japan, you can have anything from squid to mayo as toppings. Cambodia bakes a specialty ‘happy’ pizza with marijuana. In Scotland, deep fried pizza is all the rage. In Australia, egg is the most common pizza topping. NASA even funded and tested a 3D printer to make pizzas for astronauts in space.
This week, make your pizza dreams come true at home. Have you seen the forecast? You don’t want to get out and you shouldn’t make the delivery guys bring it to you either. Make your list and hit the store Saturday. Then, meet me in the kitchen to make pizzas!
French Bread Pizza
2 loafs of French style bread—You want to make sure you can cut it in half lengthwise and in the middle to make at least 4 pizzas per loaf.
Head Country Seasoning, or other seasoning of choice
Meat of choice-For these, I used canned chicken, Canadian bacon and turkey sausage. Feel free to use what meat you prefer.
Shredded cheese-I used Italian blend, but again use what you prefer.
1 jar pizza sauce
1 jar 4 cheese Alfredo sauce cause I don’t like marinara
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut loaves in half and then cut each half lengthwise. Arrange on baking sheet. Lightly butter and sprinkle with seasoning if desired. Bake loaves for 15 minutes to give them a nice toast. Otherwise, they end up soggy once you add sauce. Remove from oven and layer each loaf with sauce. Top with meat and cheese to taste. You can put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes to melt the cheese or crank up the oven to broil and just bake it for the few minutes it takes to melt. Be careful if using the broiler though. It will burn in just a few minutes if you aren’t paying attention. Serve hot with additional sauce if desired.
Pizza Crust, you can either make your own or get one ready to bake
4 Tbsps. butter, divided
2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup chicken broth, more or less as needed to thin sauce
¼ cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
½ cup shredded Italian blend cheese, plus more for topping
1lb uncooked bay scallops, quartered
½lb peeled and deveined cooked shrimp, chopped
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tsps. paprika, to taste
Prepare pizza dough and preheat oven according to package directions. Press onto lightly greased 12-in. pizza pan and build up edges slightly to prevent sauce from running off. Prick dough thoroughly with fork. Bake dough according to package. Meanwhile, in large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk and broth. Bring to boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, or until thickened. Reduce heat. Stir in cheese blends until melted. Remove from heat. In large skillet, melt remaining butter over medium heat. Add scallops and cook 3-4 minutes or until firm and opaque. Stir in shrimp, paprika and about ¼ cup of cheese sauce. Remove from heat. Spread remaining sauce over crust. Lightly sprinkle with paprika. Top with seafood mixture and sprinkle with Italian blend cheese if desired. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
Recipe adapted from tasteofhome.com.
Veggie Appetizer Pizza
2 8oz cans refrigerated crescent rolls or crescent dough sheet
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sour cream
3 Tbsps. ranch dressing mix
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ cup small fresh broccoli florets, diced smaller
1 shredded carrot
¼ yellow pepper, diced
Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll both cans of dough. In ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan, place dough and press in bottom and up sides to form crust. Pinch edges together so dough is seamless. Bake 13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. In small bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream, garlic powder and Ranch dip until smooth. Spread over crust. Top with vegetables. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before serving.
Note: Feel free to replace or add vegetables to make it to your liking. These are just the vegetables I had on hand!
Apple Dessert Pizza
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup unsalted real butter, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar plus 3 Tbsps., divided
2 large eggs
2 Tbsps. bourbon
5 dashes bitters
2 tsps. orange extract
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 can apple pie filling
8 Tbsps. butter, at room temperature
1 cup flour
1 cup light brown sugar
Drizzle if desired
1½ cup powdered sugar
2-5 Tbsps. vanilla vodka, as needed to get thick drizzle (If you don’t want to use as much vodka, use 2 Tbsps. and cut the rest with milk or heavy cream. Once it’s on the pizza though, you really don’t notice all the vodka.)
Preheat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In large bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in color. Add egg one at a time and beat until combined. Add bourbon, bitters and extract and beat to combine. Add flour mixture gradually until incorporated. Combine remaining sugar and ground cinnamon in small bowl. Spread cookie dough onto lightly greased pizza pan. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Increase oven temp to 400°F. Top with apple pie filling. Mix together butter, flower and brown sugar for crumble until well combined. Sprinkle over top of pie filling. Place back in oven 30-35 minutes or until topping no longer appears wet and is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Prepare drizzle by placing powdered sugar in medium bowl. Add vodka 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches a drizzle consistency. Use a spoon to drizzle over pizza in a zig zag motion. Cut and serve as is or with ice cream. YUM!