BLT Pizza ~ Pure, mad, goodness!

This could quite possibly be one of the most delicious pizzas I’ve ever made. Hubs and I were devouring it last weekend!  Sunday we were able to move back into our house.  I say this loosely as it really meant we were able to walk on the floors, not move furniture back in….but baby steps are good!

Not only did we miss our house, but our garden missed us.  We had a TON of tomatoes waiting for us when we got here.  We still have our summer beef steak planted.  It wasn’t feeling it this summer, but it’s feeling it now, so far this Fall we’ve had some very flavorful tomatoes!  On Sunday, I was trying to be creative…

Me: “Hon you want a Margarita pizza for lunch or a BLT?”

Hubs: “BLT!”

Hubs: “Wait. No, the pizza”.

Hubs: “Wait. No, the BLT”.

Hubs: “OK, whichever is easier…”

I knew there was a little inner battle going on for him.  He really doesn’t care what we eat, but he LOOOVVVVES fresh tomatoes.

So I got creative and made a BLT pizza. HOLY MAN (as my mother-in-law would say) I could eat one everyday!!! It was that good and oh so very easy.

  1. I like to use Bridgeford bread loaves for pizza dough.  It tastes like homemade, I can keep it in my freezer until I need it, I just need to leave it on the counter to defrost and rise, and if I’m in a pinch I can defrost in the microwave.  Really, you can’t go wrong. Not to say that I don’t make dough from scratch sometimes too, but with the 3 babes running around, easier is better sometimes.
  2. I left a frozen loaf on the counter in a bowl while I went off with 1 of the babes to run errands.  Got back around noon and it was defrosted.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Cut the loaf in half and roll each half out on a floured surface.
  5. Once it’s rolled out, place it on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (makes it tons easier to get the pizza back off when it’s done!)
  6. I brushed a little olive oil over the top then popped it in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. While that’s baking, cook up some bacon bits, dice a tomato (or 3 in our case), chop some Romain, and get your ranch dressing ready.
  8. When the crust is done baking, smear a few tablespoons of ranch over the surface, throw on the cooked bacon bits, lettuce, and tomatoes.  Salt & Pepper to taste.
  9. NOW GO FORTH, EAT AND BE MERRY! This will make your whole day!!

Enjoy!

barefoot contessa’s roasted shrimp orzo

Ever since returning from Thermador’s Steamy event, I’ve been on a bigger than normal cooking kick.  Plus because it’s Summer and the garden is bursting with great herbs and veggies to use, it just MAKES you want to cook.  But it DOES NOT MAKE me want to clean up dishes, or be slaving in a hot kitchen when we are in the middle of a heat wave.  So I’ve been searching out quick and easy dinners, that are super flavorful, AND that everyone in the family can enjoy.

I started to watch Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, ages ago.  I loved her design eye and the glimpse into her kitchens.  I also loved that she left a job at the White House to pursue her dreams.  The more I watched her, the more I fell in love with her recipes.  They are always simple, never with complicated steps.  They use great ingredients that really bring out the most in a dish. Ina Garten’s goal is easy entertaining as she doesn’t feel the host should be stuck in the kitchen throughout a dinner party.  Amen! I love this as it also translates to a family dinner, where mom doesn’t want to be tied to the oven all night! Amen again!

This is a great pasta dish.  It is meant to be prepared with Orzo, but really, any pasta will do.  I use Orzo sometimes as it looks like rice to my kids, other times, I do it with Penne or Fussili as it’s easy for their cute, chubby fingers to pick up.

Another reason I love the simplicity of this meal is that you can complete things in short 15 minute windows.  While the kids played with their little kitchen this AM, I quickly chopped up the veggies and the herbs, and mixed the dressing.  Done in under 15 minutes. Which is good, because I would have had more helping hands than I needed if it had taken any longer!  But now that I’m done, and it’s in the fridge waiting for tonight, I can go about the rest of my crazy day knowing the bulk of dinner is waiting for me.  Left to do?  Roast the shrimp, cook the pasta and add it all together with Feta.

Roasting shrimp couldn’t be easier.  I use frozen shrimp from Costco.  They are cleaned and deveined with the tail on (and is super easy to pull off).  I do this on a foil lined baking sheet. Less clean up in the end, just roll up and toss in the trash!

5-6 minutes and you’re golden….errr, opaque.  Which is what you want.

Add the shrimp with the veggies & herbs, to the pasta, toss in the feta and dressing, mix together and serve.  It has a wonderful lemony dressing…one bite of this dish just screams “SUMMER”!  Nice served with a fresh Baguette.

We also enjoyed the leftovers as a side with cheeseburgers a couple of nights later.

Here’s to easy, impressive dinners, that everyone in the family will enjoy!


Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Shrimp with Orzo
Food Network

Ingredients:

Kosher salt
Good olive oil
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.
  3. Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don’t overcook!
  4. Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.