14 August 2014

Oh My Cheesus – Stuffed Crust Pizza

If you’re in the unfortunate position of loving all things cheese and carbohydrates, then we’re on the same boat.  I’m not sure how the “starving artists” of Hollywood can refrain from consuming bread, I’d rather quit breathing. Kidding. That’s a little extreme.

In any case, I do tend to air on the side of health conscious. I blame it on my schooling. When you know the processes, consequences and outcome of every possible thing that you can put in your body, that greasy slice of pizza suddenly becomes less mouthwatering.

To combat my neurotic napkin-pizza-blotting tendencies, I decided to branch out on my own…check out the recipe after the jump!

Quick back story, Christie and I are famous for calling each other 5 minutes away from getting home and saying “hey, want to come over for dinner?” It’s nice having friends where your house doesn't have to be spotless. So, we tend to throw concoctions together quite frequently.  One night we decided that we were feeling stuffed crust pizza. Problem – in the sticks only 2 places deliver, and you’re likely to wait over an hour for food. Negative, ghost rider.  So, here’s our “lighter” version of stuffed crust!

What You’ll Need
  • 3 – 4C Bread flour/white flour/whole wheat flour – a matter of preference
  • Italian seasonings
  • 1C warm water
  • 1, .25oz packet active yeast (they make packets specifically for pizza dough)
  • 1 tbsp, sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • shredded Parmesan
  • shredded mozzarella
  • pepperoni
  • mushrooms
  • pizza sauce
  • olive oil
  • mozzarella string cheese
  • To make the pizza dough you’ll need to mix the yeast, sugar and warm water in a large bowl, let sit for about 10 minutes.  If you’re using the yeast specifically for pizza dough, you can omit this step. If you are using the active dry yeast from a jar, 2 ¼ tsp is equivalent to 1 packet.  Note: if your water is too warm it’ll kill your yeast, making for really dense dough.  I've found that using the hot water straight from the tap is warm enough.  After 10 minutes add the salt, about a tablespoon of Italian seasonings of your choosing, then gradually mix in the flour – the flour you use is strictly a matter of preference. The difference in using bread flour is that it contains a greater concentration of gluten, making for a chewier crust.
  • Mix in enough flour so that your dough forms a ball in the bowl, it will still be slightly sticky at this point.  Flour a clean working surface and get ready to start kneading! This is a great arm workout by the way.  Knead in enough flour so that the dough is smooth and elastic.  At this point you’ll need a rolling pin, unless you’re awesome and can throw pizza in the air like a boss…I cannot.
  • With the dough in a ball, begin rolling it out in a large circle.  The typical pizza crust will be about 12”, in the case of a stuffed crust pizza, you’ll want to go about 2” beyond your preferred size.  If you want a crispier crust, roll it larger. For a chewier crust, don’t roll it as far.
  • Spray a pizza pan with non-stick spray and place the dough on the pizza pan. You can stretch it gently at this point if you feel like it.  Take your mozzarella sticks (I used the “light” ones), unwrap them and place them so that they are touching end to end and outline the outer edge of the crust. I can’t remember the exact number of sticks that it took, but it was more than a few.  Roll the crust over the mozzarella sticks toward the center of the pizza and tuck under – this creates the stuffed crust.
  • Lightly paint the top of the pizza with olive oil (crust too), 2 tablespoons usually does it. Sprinkle with more Italian seasonings if you want. Then add your pizza sauce, cheeses, pepperoni and any other toppings that you may like.  Place the pizza in the center of a 375°F oven.  Keep an eye on it while it bakes, but it typically takes about 20 minutes.
  • Let it rest for about 5 minutes, then slice and enjoy!

While this is still not the healthiest of dinners, you have total control of the ingredients that you use.  Use low-fat cheese, turkey pepperoni and veggies. Parents – this is a great trick: put your pizza sauce, green beans, spinach & broccoli in a blender, and BLEND – like puree level blend.  Then use as pizza sauce, your kids won’t even know they’re eating veggies! Win!

Just in time for Friday, nom – nom – nom!

Xoxo, Kate

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