White Pizza with Peppered Salami

Last weekend was game time.  What better food for the game than pizza?  Seriously, as if I need ANY Excuse to eat pizza?  It is probably one of my favorite foods in the world.  I wanted to make something pizza-y, and wanted it homemade.  I started flipping through cookbooks and ran accross a White Pizza Recipe in Claire Robinson's 5 Ingredient Fix.  My baby brother bought me this cookbook forever ago, and I really love it.  I've barely made anything out of it, but intend to change that in the coming months.

So back to pizza.  yeah.  I heart it.  totally.  Guilty Pleasure.  But I'm also picky about it... and there is no rhyme or reason to my pickiness.  I gave it a whirl... I used Claire's recipe as a starter and modified as I saw fit. 

1 package Trader Joe's pizza crust dough
a little flour(for rolling out dough)
garlic infused olive oil.
2-2.5 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 small package of ricotta

After preheating the oven to 400F, I started by tossing a little flour on the counter and rolling out the dough until it was nice and thin (I like my crust skinny thin or super deep dish, told you I'm picky).  I gave the pizza pan a  quick spray with the olive oil and spread the crust on the pan.  To keep the pizza white I took some tuscan herb/garlic olive oil blend and spread it over the top of the crust.  I spread the mozzarella evenly over the surface.  Then I dropped ricotta randomly over the surface and topped generously with oregano.

The final, special, ending involved 5 strategically placed slices of the really good, peppered salami.  Bake for 25 min and enjoy.

A--maaaa--zing.  Seriously, I really enjoyed this pizza.  The salami and ricotta brought some good salty flavors together.  It was so simple, and tasty.  Plus, I really enjoyed using the garlic oil to get the flavor without using actual chunks of garlic on the pizza.  This is definitely a keeper.  I had intended to make a second one using spinach rather than salami, but decided we didn't need more food. I'll keep that one in mind for next time.  

Seriously, TJ's, I also love you, although not as much as I love pizza.  I'm so glad you are in the south hills now.  I've used the dough several times over, making pizzas or for super calzones.  TJ's, you made this all possible.  Between your pizza dough and varietals of hummus and your close location to my future home, I see this as a long term relationship.


Sausage and Potato (and Spinach) Soup

I've been planning to make this soup for a couple of weeks.  The minute I saw it posted over at Our Best Bites I knew it was in my future.  It sounded relatively healthy, particularly for a creamy soup, and it had a bunch of my favorite things in it.  Plus, it was soup, for which i am a sucker.

Adapted from Our Best Bites (who adapted from Cooking Light)
1 package sundried tomato chicken sausage (Trader Joes)
7 cloves of garlic, minced
Chicken Broth (1 box~ 4 cups)
3 red potatoes, chopped
italian seasonings to taste 
2 cups milk
3 oz light cream cheese
3 tbl flour
2 tbl butter
1 bag of baby spinach

Step 1....  Remove the chicken sausage from the casings and brown in the bottom of stockpot.  Add minced garlic

Step 2... Add stock and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and Italian seasonings and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Note... because I'm me, I was out of Italian seasoning blend so i just threw in unknown quantities of basil, oregano, rosemary, and extra garlic.  I love cooking. 

Step 3... Meanwhile, mix the milk, cream cheese,and flour in the blender.  Melt the butter in a small sauce pan and add the milk mix, stiring and heating until it thickened into a pudding/heavy cream type substance.  Weird, yes, I know. (Note: excuses to use kitchen implements make me happy)

Step 4... Add the faux cream to the soup, serve to the meat eater, add the spinach, and serve to the vegetarian wannabe.

I enjoyed this.  Comments at OBB mentioned how this was similar to a soup at Olive Garden.  Wouldn't know since I always get the salad :)  It was really good.  Although, I sort of screwed up... I sort of halved the receipe... but then didn't cut back the faux cream mix.  Oops.  It wasn't that thick or souper creamy when I did it, so no problem.  In my opinion... It would probably be fine without the faux cream, you could just smash some of the potatoes into the broth for thickness.  But, I'm a brothy soups sort of girl.

FH seemed to enjoy it as well, depsite his dislike of potatoes cooked in this manner.  He salted, peppered, and cheesed and enjoyed (someone, i just don't put a lot of salt into most things... salt and pepper to taste pretty much means add some pepper and add salt if really desperate to me)  He grabbed fresh bread from breadworks downtown, and that really capped the meal off.  Yum.  It reheated well and made me happy tonight :)

Somehow, despite my total love of soups, this was the first one I made for him?!?!?  I'm guessing it has to do with me using a lot of produce in my soups.  We'll be fixing that error.

Finally....  last random comment...  I think this would convert really well to a crock pot - just cook the meat in advance, put the meat, stock, potatoes, and seasoning in the crock pot in the morning.  At night, you would jsut need to add the faux cream (if using it) and spinach and serve.

ETA:  The pics look greasy, but this really wasn't that greasy.  it just had the little bit of butter in the faux cream and then a little oil that i used to brown the chicken.  It definitely didn't taste greasy.