Pumpkin-Parsley Pizza Pie


When my friend Amelia mentioned her pumpkin pizza in a Facebook post, I was perplexed. 20131029-203319.jpg

Pumpkin puree for sauce? Pumpkin pulp as a topping? Can that really taste good?

Yes. I’m always surprised when sweet-savory combinations work so well. I’m not sure why I always forget this little culinary truism, but I’m always pleasantly reminded.

Pumpkin as a topping, and a sauce that’s part pumpkin, part marina is oh so sweet, and it gets an herb-y fresh kick from our good friend parsley. I mean, really good. If you live pumpkin, you really should try this pairing.

And where’d I get the “pumpkin pulp”? The jack’o’lantern I carved all by myself (first time!) this year.20131029-203437.jpg



1 t honey or agave nectar

1/4 of a yeast packet

1/4 + 3 T whole wheat flour

1 T rolled oats

1 t cornmeal

pinch of salt20131029-203409.jpg

Seasonings: garlic, basil, oregano


2 T slice pumpkin pulp

1 T tomato sauce

1 T pumpkin puree

3 T fresh, shredded Mozzarella

small handful of chopped parsley20131029-203349.jpg

Crushed red pepper



-In a bowl, dissolve sweetener and yeast in 2.5 T hot water. Let stand for about five minutes.

-Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture and stir ’til a soft dough forms. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

-Place in bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Let rise ’til double in size, about 30 minutes.

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.20131029-203335.jpg

-Punch down and work in seasonings. Roll into a circle or square shape. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and begin topping process.


-In a small dish, mix the 1 T marinara and 1 T pumpkin puree to make the suance. Rub sauce evenly over the dough in a thin layer, and then sprinkle cheese on, too. Arrange pumpkin pulp evenly on top. Sprinkle parsley on top.

-Place back in oven for about 5 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Slice and serve warm.

Pizza Muffins

Thai Flatbread Pizzas

Zucchini ‘zas

Appetizer Idea: Thai Flatbread Pizza

photo (44)

The egg-roll wrapper saga seemed like it would never end. I’d tried my hand at every wonton-wrapper-inspired idea I could imagine.photo (38)

And then one day I had lunch at a cool little cafe-bistro in Cedar Rapids, IA called Brewed Cafe. It was at this lunch meeting that I found myself torn between a vegetarian chili and a Thai flatbread pizza. Concerned that the flatbread might disappoint, I went chili. Curious still the next day, I recalled the ingredients and tried making my own version of the ‘za.

It was great. The wrapper I used was a perfect flaky crust to make several mini pizzas. And I’d have never thought cucumber would have worked so well on a warmed crust, but I was mistaken. Slice it thin enough and it can surprise you.


2 egg roll wrappers

2-3 T Trader Joe’s red curry sauce

1/2 cup cucumber, thinly sliced

a few dashes of basil and caraway seed

Directionsphoto (36)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

Spread the curry sauce over the wrappers, being sure not to use to much or the crust won’t crisp up at all. Place on sheet. Arrange cucumbers as you like and sprinkle on seasonings. Bake until wrappers have crisped, about 5-6 minutes.

Simple and tasty, just the way I like it.

Quick Rosemary Rolls


If you ever need dinner rolls fast, like 30 minutes or less fast, give this recipe a go. You can decrease the recommended rising time as much as you like; I often let it rise for only 20 minutes and that’s because I’m almost always in a bit of a hurry.SAM_4996

I based this recipe off a hybrid of the whole-wheat pizza dough recipe and the rosemary ciabatta loaf recipe I’ve featured in the past. The rolls aren’t gorgeous–they are, after all, just quick and easy drop biscuits–but they are delicious and pair perfectly with soup or pasta.


1 t honey or agave nectar

1/2 of a yeast packet

3/4  cup whole wheat flour



1 T rolled oats
pinch of garlic salt, if you like1 t cornmeal

Seasonings: Rosemary to taste, a little basil, and dill, too


-In a bowl, dissolve sweetener and yeast in 1/4 cup hot water. Let stand for about five minutes.

-Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture and stir ’til a soft dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.SAM_4995

-Place in bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Let rise ’til double in size, about 30 minutes.

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

-Punch down and work in seasonings. Use a spoon to scoop the dough into rolls, sort of like drop biscuits. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm. Maybe with my Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup!


Portabella Pizza Appetizers

Everyone loves pizza, and everyone, I think, should love mushrooms. These healthy little treats are packed with nutritional goodness to fight cancer and stave off other unwelcome diseases.

And they can be fun to eat. I promise. Just turn them into your favorite indulgence treat: pizza.

This ‘za twist on a mini pizza makes a delicious addition to any pasta meal or make up a bunch for cocktails with friends. I bet they’d taste great paired with red vino.


3-5 good-sized fresh portabella mushrooms, stems carved out

1-2 T mozzarella cheese (soy-version works great)

1-2 T marinara

Italian seasonings of your choice (basil, oregano, etc.)

Optional Toppings: olives, artichoke hearts, pepperoni, etc.


-Scoop a small amount of sauce into each portabella. Sprinkle with seasoning, a layer of cheese, and a little more seasoning. If you’re adding in toppings, place those on top of cheese.

-Note that not much is needed in each portabella cap.

-Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or so, or broil on high for 5 minutes.

You’ll know they’re perfectly crisp and ready once the cheese bubbles and begins to brown a bit. Serve very warm.

Broccoli-Corn Calzones

When you live in Iowa–the crux of America’s heartland (competing maybe with Kansas)–you have no choice but to love sweet corn. If you were to speak ill of sweet corn publicly in this state, Iowans might forget the Midwestern friendliness they’re known for and shoot you a dirty look.

My “Grilled Corn Without the Grill” Recipe

Once I was looking through an Amana Colonies gift shop and happened across a little framed print featuring corn, an outline of the state of Iowa, and printed text that read: “Nothing’s sweeter than Iowa.” That pretty much sums up how people feel about this state and the deliciously sweet corn they grow.

The point is, I’ve eaten a lot of sweet corn since being in this state, but with this I’m perfectly okay. In fact, I’m always on the lookout for a new recipe featuring corn that I can whittle away to a single-serving size.

So when I found a recipe for Broccoli-Corn Calzones on Eating Well‘s website, I was intrigued. When one thinks of a calzone, sweet corn and broccoli don’t exactly come to mind.

This recipe is certainly worth while. The corn and broccoli mixed in a light cheese and herb mixture taste heavenly between a crispy crust. 

The original recipe made 6 servings, 6 calzones.

But these are probably pretty low in calories and too good to stop at one. So the recipe I’ve adapted makes two.

So nice you should eat twice.


  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1.5 T part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 T chopped fresh basil
  • pinch of garlic powder, salt, and pepper
  • 6.5 ounces prepared whole-wheat pizza dough (see note below for the single-serving recipe I used)
  • cooking spray


-Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or pizza stone. Set aside.

-Combine all ingredients, except pizza dough, in a small bowl. Mix ’til all ingredients are evenly distributed.

-Divide pizza dough into two parts. Roll out into circles.

-Divide filling mix into two parts, place each part to one side of each pizza dough circle. Leave at least 1/2 an inch space between the filling and the outer edge of the crust. Brush edges lightly with water and fold over gently. You can use a fork to press the edges together if you like.

-Transfer to baking dish. Spray lightly with cooking oil or brush on oil. Bake for about 8 minutes, then flip the calzones. Bake for 7 more minutes or until golden brown on each side.

Serve warm.


To make an easy pizza dough:

-Combine 1/4 yeast packet with 1 t stevia. Mix up a bit; then pour in 1/4 cup HOT water (110 degrees or more). Let sit ’til it gets fluffy–about 10 minutes.

-Then blend in dry ingredients: 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour, 3 T spelt flour, pinch of salt, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 t healthy oil (olive, canola, etc.). Blend evenly, but don’t overmix. Add more water if dough starts to try out.

-Let the dough sit for 20 minutes, if you have more time, longer (set mine out all afternoon). It should rise up a bit, getting elastic in texture. Press down and knead on slightly floured surface once you’re ready to use. To bake for a different recipe, bake at 450 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

Mexican Pizza Pie with Flourless Cornbread Crust

If you know me, you know I love Tex-Mex and I love cornbread. So as I was pondering all the different grilled flatbread pizza recipes that seem to be circulating everywhere right now, I had a moment of creative insight: cornbread pizza crust!

The cornbread is sweet, the toppings are spicy. If you don’t mind me saying so, could this recipe be any smarter?

It’s easier and quicker to make than it looks, too. Just 5 minutes pre-baking time and a few minutes of broiling is all it takes to bake.


Step 1. To make the pizza crust, follow my flourless cornbread recipe. Once you’ve made that dough, press into a circular pizza crust on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes.







Step 2. Remove crust from oven. Set oven to broil. Meanwhile, spread on a generous layer of sauce. I used my Uncle Ray’s homegrown & homemade jalapeno salsa, but if you’re not crazy about salsa, you could also try a barbeque style spread like this Smoky Corn and Black Bean pizza recipe from Everyday Health. I added a secret layer of fresh spinach, too, and then layered with all the fixings: black beans, corn kernels, tomato slices, chopped onion, crushed cilantro seasoning, and 1/4 cup cheese of course.







Step 3. Let broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and slice into four wedges. Ojala que tienes hambre!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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Collegiate Culinaire: Cauliflower Pizza Crust I was skeptical at first, but intrigued when a friend raved about the delectability of cauliflower pizza crust and all of its carb-free, cruciferous wonderfulness. I tried it, and I loved it as soon as … Continue reading