The last week of every month, I try to put a meal plan together for the upcoming month, just something to give me a guideline of what I need to buy and how to budget my time. I have a few rules- Meatless Mondays, usually a pasta dish or eggs. I’m slowly trying to get the family (what’s left of us) to eat more veggies but to have a vegetarian Monday is way far off. So I’m usually down for anything without meat in it. I don’t have an alliterative title for Tuesdays, I just try to have chicken. Wednesdays are pizza nights, either homemade or the local pizzeria (WE MISS PEPPINO’S!). Thursdays is either beef or pork and Fridays are leftovers. On Saturday I try to plan something that needs a little more prep and MR requested we do a “Sunday Supper” on Sundays, maybe eating a little early with family and/or friends.
Yeah, that’s the plan. Pfft.
Our favorites are repeated every 5-6 weeks automatically so there is some shifting around but it’s nice to have a base. When I sit down I usually ask what everyone wants so I can fit it in. Nine times out of 10 everyone says, “I don’t care.” So it’s left up to my imagination and my 3,000 pins on Pinterest.
It’s a crap shoot what we’re going to get.
Tonight I switched out Pizza Night because 1) MR and Zombiegirl have an hour and a half of soccer practice so whatever I make can’t be heavy or Z-girl won’t run. 2) It has to be quick because there’s only an hour and a half between the time I get home and the time they leave. I have literally handed them plates on the way out to eat in the car. Maybe that’s why my dishes are disappearing.
The BEST reason I switched out Pizza Night is KINKYBOOTS tomorrow! MR got two tickets to the Broadway play for our Anniversary which means I can bring a friend instead of him. He’s just not a musical kind of guy, even though his cousin (Cyndi Lauper) did the score. April and I have been planning to see this play since it came out and since we discovered we were each the only other person we knew that saw (and loved) the movie. If you haven’t seen it, find it…it’s charming and touching and funny. The play should be better because…well…musical!
Anyhoo, back to pizza. Usually when we have pizza I try to make the crust so this was nice and quick. I followed the recipe exactly- actually, I doubled it because I thought Nathalia was staying again and Utah would be home.
Yeah, that was the plan. Pfft, now I have a whole Italian bread pizza sitting in the freezer. More lunch options.
(side note: while looking for the recipe on Serious Eats, I just came across their pumpkin pizza. Oooh. Yes.)
The Best French Bread Pizza: (comments to follow)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or basil leaves, or a mix
- Kosher salt
- 1 large loaf French or Italian bread (see note above), about 18 inches long and 4 inches wide, split half lengthwise and crosswise
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 8 ounces freshly grated whole milk mozzarella cheese
- 2 ounces grated Parmigiano-reggiano
Adjust oven rack to upper position and preheat oven to 425°F. Heat butter and 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, pepper flakes, and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in half of parsley/basil and a big pinch of salt. Remove from heat.
Place bread cut-side-up on a clean work surface. Using a rimmed baking sheet, press down on bread evenly until compressed to about 2/3rds of its original height. Place bread on top of rimmed baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush half of garlic/butter/oil mixture evenly over cut surfaces of bread, making sure to get plenty of bits of garlic and aromatics. Set aside.
Add tomatoes to remaining garlic/butter/oil mixture in pan, stir to combine, increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rich and reduced, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
While sauce cooks, spread 1/4 of mozzarella evenly over surface of bread and transfer to oven. Cook until cheese is barely melted, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until sauce is cooked.
Spread sauce evenly over bread, then spread remaining mozzarella on top of sauce. Transfer to oven and bake until cheese is melted and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with Parmigiano-reggiano, remaining parsley/basil, and remaining tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Allow to cool slightly and serve.
I liked the layers of garlic oil, cheese and sauce with the oil and basil on top. I thought it was tasty, easy and crunchy. The ONLY thing I would have changed (on my part) would have been to buy a narrower loaf of Italian. The wide flat loaf when cooked was soft in the middle and crunchy on the ends. I would have liked a bit of crunch throughout the pizza. MR said it was great, it had a lot of taste (which our local pizzeria lacks- did I mention that I MISS PEPPINO’S?) Zombiegirl thought the sauce was too sweet and had too many chunks (she’s not a saucy kid. Well, she’s saucy, but just in her attitude.) Utah declared it delicious.
This one’s a keeper too. I’m going to try the layers on one of my homemade crusts and see if I can ramp up the awesomeness of our usual Pizza Night.