Fast, easy and delicious weeknight dinner idea

13 Jan

I’ve been meaning to make pierogi pizza FOREVER, but even after buying the ingredients  more than once, I still haven’t done it.  Its so hard coming home from work to kids, dogs, endless evening activities and finding the motivation to actually cook something for dinner, let alone to cook something innovative. Every night I face the endlessly annoying question “what the HELL am I going to make for dinner tonight??”  It has to satisfy a fussy meat eating chef who thinks every meal has to involve meat or it isn’t a meal.  A teenager who wont be there for dinner but will wonder grumpily why we didn’t save him any/cook something he would eat/what is there to eat the second he walks through the door. A 11 year old with sophisticated tastes for a 11 year old but who still has childish aversions to things like red peppers and tomatoes (and yet loves brussel sprouts–go figure!) and me, a middle aged slightly over weight foodie with high blood pressure.  I repeat, WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO MAKE FOR DINNER????

Add to this my motherly guilt that I’m not providing fresh, home made food for my kids and it is my daily nightmare.  We have a handful of meals that work really well (like Mexican food) but they tend to be labor intensive, and even we can’t eat tacos and enchiladas every day.

So I was thrilled to find a new idea in my first issue of Food and Wine which I just started getting.

First of all, SQUEEEEEEEEE!  I want to make EVERY RECIPE in it. Except for the ones with Chicken…I hate chicken.  But I started with something simple, a fast weeknight meal that was a spin on pizza. I can’t remember what they called it but in a nutshell it involved:

  • store bought pizza crust
  • store bought mashed sweet potatoes
  • balsamic caramelized onions
  • mozzarella cheese
  • Sopressata, cut in ribbons

I didn’t have any Sopressata but I did have some cured Italian meats I bought at Penn Mac for Christmas–something akin to pepperoni but a littler tarter, harder, and spicier (not to mention more expensive!)

I tossed some bobali crusts into my cart at the Waterfront Iggle, but when I got around to the dairy isle I found they had two giant Sicilian crusts for less than one bobali.  Sold!  I knew that my family would probably want to all take control of their own pizzas and this was more than enough for four full size pizzas made to individual specifications.

For the vegetarian option, I added blue cheese and walnuts.*

Both were absolutely fantastic and I think the thick crust worked quite well.  The pre-made sweet potatoes were seasoned with cinnamon and cloves and possibly sweetened.  I can imagine using these instead of sauce could be cloying but two things made it work.  One was the thickness of the crust. It really held up against the heavy (literally) mashed potatoes, but also provided a muted palate for the sweetness to play off of.  The second, and critical element was the presence of a balancing taste. The tart/sour flavor and the fatty mouth feel of the cured meat helped round out the flavor on the one pizza, and the salty tang of the blue cheese and the crunch of the walnuts (not to mention the fat content) really went well with both the taste and texture of the crust/mashed sweet potatoes on the veg.

(I wish I could link to the recipe for you but it doesn’t appear to be on the Food and Wine site yet.)

While the ease of grabbing some premade mashed sweet potatoes is hard to beat for me, I’m tempted to make my own to play with the flavoring.  I think you could do a lot there. Some alternative ideas for flavoring I had:

  • Indian spices
  • barbecue flavoring
  • Tex-Mex
  • spicy hot

 

*Please excuse the bite out of the veggie pizza…really it’s a miracle there are pictures at all.  I haven’t gotten the hang of this photograph your food thing quiet yet, and stopping the hungry hoards on the way to dinner is nearly impossible.

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