Tonight: Afredo Veggie Pizza
October 14, 2011 4 Comments
I’d been musing about all these deep, theological issues I could use to preface my very first recipe posting as Mrs. Mackerelsnapper… but then I realized the cold, harsh reality: if I don’t just get out here & post the recipe, I’ll be trapped in procrastination. So, no fish sticks & tatertots here, no tuna noodle casserole, no grilled cheese & tomato soup. It’s time for….
Alfredo Veggie Pizza
First you’ll need: a pizza crust. I grew up in a town run by the mob. An unforseen side effect of that is that I’m horribly picky when it comes to pizza crust. So when I find a crust recipe I REALLY like, I’ll share it here. In the meantime, use your favorite crust recipe. Share it here if you like! I throw my crust ingredients in the bread machine while the first shift of children is eating breakfast and put it on delay start so it’s ready to use about an hour before dinnertime.
Next you’ll need some pesto. Why? We’re getting to that. We make our own pine nut-free lemon balm pesto, and it is luscious. Take 2 c lemon balm (regular basil works to), washed and patted dry, and whir it in the food processor with 2 t minced garlic (or more–we do), 1/2 t Kosher salt, 2 T lemon juice, and 2 T olive oil. Process until it’s a nice consistency, not too gritty. We usualy make the largest batch of this we can, doubling and taste-testing until we’re happy, then freeze it in ice cube trays. We pop out the cubes, put them in baggies, then use whenever I need something to put on pasta… or in alfredo sauce. So, let’s pretend you have some of that pesto hanging around in your freezer and go from there.
Then you’ll need alfredo sauce. Even my picky, sensory-challenged older two will eat Lemon Pesto Alfredo
–8oz cream cheese
–1/4 c butter
–2 tsp garlic powder
Plop all that into a mini-slow cooker (the size used for warm dips) and walk away for a few hours. If you only have the full-sized kind, just make sure you put it on low or even warm, depending on how soon you can get back to it. In at least 2 hours, add 1/2 c parmesan cheese, 1 pinch black pepper, % 2 T of your favorite pesto (we pop one of the aforementioned frozen pesto cubes in there). Walk away for another hour or two.
Now it’s time to prep your crust. Stretch it to fit whatever pan you’re using, and par-bake it at 350F for ten minutes. Why? This will keep your toppings from burning while your crust is still raw. Another trick on that in a bit. Remove the par-baked crust and while it cools just enough to handle, heat the oven to 425F.
Now stir 1 package (small square kind) of spinach, thawed and drained, into your alfredo sauce–use another heat-resistant bowl if need be. The lemon balm will disguise the spinach from your kids both visually and taste-wise (but don’t worry–if they ask me if there’s spinach in it, I tell them the truth). Now spread the completed alfredo on your crust out to the edges.
We then top ours with frozen shredded mozzarella (pre-freezing keeps it from getting too brown in the oven), sliced tomatoes, black olives & mushrooms if we have them. Shredded carrots also add some nice color.
Bake at 425F for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice & serve with a salad if the lemon balm, spinach, tomatoes & carrots don’t cut it for you veggie-wise. Around here, I’m just happy I can get anything green into them, so I admit I don’t push my luck.
There! Now you are participating in a tradition that is seven days older than the first Good Friday: remembering the sacrifice that God made in the shedding of his own blood for us on a Friday by not eating anything from which the blood first must be drained. There are others who write more eloquently than I about that subject and the value of fasting or abstaning from foods as opposed to just giving alms out of your food budget. So, if you’d like more info on that, Google is your friend.
Next week is a Little Flowers week, which means our meatless Friday will come out of the slow-cooker. Look for Into the Deep Chowder a week from today!
UPDATE: Change of plans! Mr. Mackerelsnapper’s train was disabled, and I had to wait for the school-bound offspring to return home, then drive us all out to pick him up, at which point we were stuck eating sushi and cheese pizza at a grocery store cafe! However, we did have a party to attend the following day, so I threw the ingredients together Saturday morning and served the beast to both friends and family. There were only 3-4 squares of a very large pizza remaining by the time we had to leave. I take that as a good sign.