Friday, February 27, 2015

Luscious Leftovers - Part IV

Venerating Vegetables - Take 3

PIZZA

Roasted Vegetable Pizza with Cheaters' Cheese


Are you sick of For The Culinarily Challenged's series on Leftover Vegetables? Great! This the last one!

Pizza is a GREAT way of using leftover veg. Not only is it fast, easy, delicious, low fat, looks fancy, and is vegetarian and kid friendly, but you can even use the leftovers of leftover veg!

Let me show you.

Roasted Vegetable Pizza with Cheaters' Cheese
Difficulty Level: Easy
Total Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves 2

Before we begin, I feel I should clarify what I mean by "Cheaters' Cheese".

When you think pizza, you usually think of tomato sauce, vegetables, pepperoni and other meats, all topped with a nice soft neutral tasting mozzarella. Unfortunately, good mozzarella tends to be pricey, so I came up with a cheap alternative that's just as tasty and, once baked, will pass for pizza cheese.

Ingredients

1 Large Regular or Whole Wheat Pita Bread - This will give you a thin, crispy crust pizza that you can bake according to my instructions below. If you prefer a thicker, softer crust, try a store bought pizza crust - these come already shaped and prebaked in the bread section of the grocery store, or as balls of dough in the freezer section. IF you go with a store bought crust, FOLLOW THE BAKING INSTRUCTIONS ON THE PACKAGE. Food manufacturers have scores of experts testing the best way to get the most mileage out of their products, so bake at the temperature and for the time they recommend.

1/2 a Cup of Roasted Vegetables - Have some leftover vegetables from when you were making pasta? Some leftover grilled veg. from a BBQ? Use 'em.

1 Head of Roasted Garlic - It may seem like a lot of garlic, but remember that roasting sweetens it and removes its harshness, making it ideal for a quick pizza sauce.

1 Can of Tomato Paste (5.5 oz - 156 ml) - Plain, herb, or garlic flavor - it doesn't matter. Choose the one you like.

1/4 Teaspoon of Sugar - this will kill that bitter right-out-of-the-can taste of the tomato paste

Salt and Pepper - to taste

1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Basil or Oregano + more to sprinkle over top

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil - Divided - 1 Tablespoon is for your sauce, the other is for drizzling over the pizza right before it goes in the oven

6 Tablespoons of Water

1/4 Cup of Grated Cheese - This can be any hard cheese you have lying around. For the pizza in the photo, I used old cheddar, but if you have some parmesan in the fridge that you keep for pasta, that works too. You could also use regular cheddar, swiss, gruyere, or asiago (that's a Spanish cheese that was popular for a while). Is the cheese a little dried out? No problem! If 

1/4 Cup of PLAIN (unflavored) Greek or Thick Yogurt - Greek Yogurt is much thicker than regular yogurt and can be found in the grocery store with the other stuff for a little more money. Yogurts tend to have phases of popularity among foodies, and right now Greek Yogurt is in its heyday. I prefer it to regular yogurt because I find it makes a more convincing substitute for sour cream that is both rich, stomach-friendly (yogurt contains a bacteria that helps your stomach, and is easier on people who are a little lactose intolerant), and comes in a variety of degrees of fat content i.e. 0 %, 2%, and 14%. If you don't want to splurge on Greek yogurt, try the regular stuff, just make sure it's not too runny.

Cooking Spray or Olive Oil - for greasing your pan.

Equipment

1 Baking aka Cookie Sheet

Measuring Spoons

1 Box Grater

2 Regular Bowls

2 Regular Spoons

1 Regular Fork

Preheat your oven to 425 oF .

Grease your baking sheet and put the pita or pizza crust on top.

In a regular bowl, combine the tomato paste, sugar, roasted garlic, salt, pepper, basil or oregano, water, and 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil, slowly mixing and mashing everything together with an ordinary spoon to make sure the garlic, water, and oil is well incorporated. Mix too fast, and you'll end up with a shirt that looks like you wore it while committing an axe murder. 
When you're done, the sauce should be spreadable. If it isn't, add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time until you get a spreadable consistency.

In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt and grated cheese with a fork. This is your cheaters' cheese.

Using the same spoon you used to mix the tomato sauce, spread said sauce over the pita bread or crust.

Top with as many roasted vegetables as you like.

Spoon the cheaters' cheese over the top of your pizza in any pattern you like.

Drizzle the pizza with the remaining tablespoon of Olive Oil and a pinch of basil or oregano.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Cool for 3 minutes and serve!

Stay tuned for next time when I'll be showing you how to repurpose leftover meats!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

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