BBQ pork pizza

There is just something about barbecue. No matter what season, what occasion, it seems easy, fun and delicious. The same can be said for pizza. You can make a pizza fancy, fun, heavy, hearty – the combinations are endless.

Anyone who knows me knows how I cook – there should be a new term for leftovers coined just for me, to adequately express the level of leftover food I have after any given meal. The conception of this dish was one such occasion. I’m sure you’ve had chicken BBQ pizza (and in fact, my friend Matt makes the world’s best), but we happened to have a bunch of leftover pulled pork after an event, and I thought, “Well, I could make a pizza out of that!” So I did. And then David started requesting it weekly. So I suggest you don’t make this unless you’re ok with it becoming a permanent dinner rotation.

You’ll need:

  • 1 lb pork loin or shoulder
  • 2 large red onions
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 lb mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 lb feta
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 medium pizza crust
  • Cornmeal

Get cooking:

  1. To caramelize the onions: slice, combine with oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  2. Put your pizza stone in the oven with the onions, so it heats up while you assemble the rest of the pizza.
  3. Spread your crust on a pizza peel/parchment paper dusted with cornmeal. (This will help the pizza slide off onto the stone. So be liberal, unless you want a calzone. Which is what happens when your crust gets mangled. Still tasty, but different experience.)
  4. Mix half the BBQ sauce with the pizza sauce and spread on the crust.
  5. Mix other half of sauce with pork.
  6. Add cheese, pork and caramelized onions to the pizza.
  7. Slide (very, very carefully) onto hot pizza stone and bake 15-20 minutes. (You can also place the parchment paper directly on the pizza stone – much, much easier.)
  8. Let sit for 5 minutes (I know, I know, but for real, you’ll burn yourself.)
  9. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting. I dare you.

Terrific Thai chicken pizza

So big shocker, the small town where we grew up did not have a Thai restaurant. In fact, the Chinese buffet in the next town over that opened during high school was a huge deal. Any other Asian restaurant of any kind was at least 40 minutes away. Which means my first experience with anything resembling authentic Thai cuisine didn’t happen until a few years ago. My friend Amanda actually made an incredible Thai feast during one of our marathon cooking days – lettuce wraps and a Thai noodle dish with a peanut sauce. I love the marriage of the sweetness and the heat, and peanut butter! In a sauce! I thought this was brilliant.

David was a bit more…apprehensive. But another friend made the most amazing peanut sauce for dipping chicken skewers and he seemed to enjoy that, so I thought I could combine all the flavors I love about Thai food in a dish he loves – pizza. It was a total win. Peanut sauce makes up the base, and the toppings are what you mind find in a Thai curry. These are what I like, but feel free to add your own.

You’ll need:

Peanut sauce base

  • ½ can coconut milk
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 1 T ginger, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 1 T soy sauce

1 crust, whatever you like. (I love this crust – I mean, REALLY love it, it’s perfect every time – and I sub in whole wheat flour when I can.)

Toppings

  • Shredded chicken
  • Bell peppers
  • Scallions
  • Shredded carrots
  • Mozzarella
  • Cilantro
  • Peanuts
  • Sweet Asian chili sauce, to drizzle

Get cooking:

  1. Combine ingredients in peanut sauce together in a small saucepan and boil for about 15-20 minutes, until sauce is reduced by about ⅓.
  2. Spread sauce on crust, add all toppings (except for peanuts, sauce and cilantro) and bake for 15 minutes, until crust is cooked through.
  3. Add peanuts cilantro and drizzle with chili sauce.
  4. Eat. And eat some more.

I put the pizza place to shame

We are in the middle of snowstorm number two for the year and I actually attempted to trudge out for a birthday celebration. I made a left hand turn and did a 180, saw someone suck in a huge ravine and was doing 40 on the freeway – I turned around. And while the company isn’t as good, the homemade pizza I’m making for dinner almost soothes away the sting. That, and the jammies, the Pinot grigio and the Grey’s Anatomy marathon.

I have worked long and hard to find the best homemade pizza recipe out there. I make the dough in my bread machine and I’ve found that 1.5 pounds of dough is the perfect amount for a medium-ish pizza that serves 4 people 2 large slices. I did a 1-pound ball tonight, which is good for a thin crust. I use tomato paste for the sauce, which is the perfect thickness and also gives a great rich flavor. I use fresh mozzarella and blot to keep it from getting too watery and top with all my favorite things. It’s the great thing about pizza – whatever sounds good, mix with sauce, cheese and bread. What could be more comforting?

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound dough
  • 1 12-oz can of tomato paste
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Toppings that sound yummy (I like chicken, caramelized onion, bell peppers, kalamata olives, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.)

Get cooking:

  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, pop it in while you prep the pizza. If not, you can prepare the pizza right on whatever pan you want to bake with.
  2. Slice the mozzarella as thin as you can, then place the slices between paper towel (at least two sheets thick) in a bowl and put a large can on top. This will squeeze out the moisture while you prep everything else.
  3. Roll out the crust to fit the pan (or stone). I have a pizza peel, so I coat that with some cornmeal and use it to transfer. If you don’t, you can cornmeal a piece of wax or parchment paper and use that to slide the pizza on the stone, or just prepare it on the pan you plan on baking with.
  4. Combine garlic, seasoning and tomato paste. Spread on crust.
  5. Put on whatever toppings you like.
  6. Remove cheese from paper towel and place on top (This allows the cheese to get brown and bubbly, as well as keep the moisture off the crust.)
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

That’s it! Super easy and delicious. Serve with a salad if you want, though I usually have enough veggies on mine that I don’t feel the need. 😉