Pizza Recipe Redux: 5 Different Spins on America’s Favorite Pie

Pizza: it’s what for dinner. Sure, it’s not the healthiest dish, but it’s one that most, if not all family members won’t resist, and that’s a victory in and of itself. It’s hard to go wrong with an oven-baked, frozen, or delivery pizza, but there’s still no harm in reinventing the pizza in other forms to kick things up a notch and keep them interesting. Oh, and some of these pizza varieties are even healthy. Imagine that.

Here are five different takes on the pizza. We’re not expecting you to bid your favorite delivery guy goodbye anytime soon, but a little variety never killed anyone — especially when enough cheese and sauce are involved. Pizza, please.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

 

1. White Pizza Grilled Cheese

Told you we weren’t messing around. How does White Pizza Grilled Cheese sound? Instead of declaring it “Pizza Night” this Friday as you search for frozen pie in the fridge or call up your favorite (pizza) guy, grab some bread, cheese, and seasonings, and make your way to the kitchen. It’s time to impress your dinner guests both young and old. This White Pizza Grilled Cheese from Kitchen Treaty comes together in no more than 10 minutes, and provides a fun spin on pizza. Loaded with three types of cheese, your guests will definitely meet their dairy requirements for the day, and you’ll be glad you switched it up for a fun change of pace. Say cheese!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices white bread (6 slices if your bread is on the larger side)
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved (for rubbing on the outsides of the bread)
  • Butter

Directions: In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or up to 24 hours) to allow the flavors to develop.

Lay down the bread slices and, using a butter knife, spread the ricotta mixture evenly on each piece. The ricotta mixture should coat the insides of both pieces of bread. Lay the mozzarella slices evenly on every other piece of bread (one side of each sandwich). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and close the sandwiches by place both cheesy insides together.

Rub the outsides of the sandwiches with the cut side of the garlic clove, then butter both sides generously. In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, cook the sandwiches, flipping often, until they’re golden-brown on the outside and the cheese is melted inside, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. Pizza Spaghetti Squash

If you’re looking for something a bit lighter on your next Pizza Night, try this recipe for Pizza Spaghetti Squash from Iowa Girl Eats, because yes, some consider spaghetti squash a “health food” and therefore might question you, but one bite of this goodness and they’ll never cast any doubt again.

Spaghetti squash is extremely high in fiber and also yields a lot of food, but believe it or not, its soft flesh provides the perfect base for a bread-free pizza, and you won’t even miss the carbs. Roasting your spaghetti squash and then topping it with all the usual pizza toppings allows your guests to have their own personal pizza, and it makes eating it that much more fun. You’ll certainly feel full after you eat this healthy spin on America’s favorite pie, but that’ll be the fiber in your belly from the squash talking, rather than the fat from the carbs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper or whatever seasonings you like
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza toppings: pepperoni, black olives, ham, sausage, peppers, etc.

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then line a baking sheet with foil. Pierce spaghetti squash once with a sharp knife then microwave on a plate for 1 minute. Cut in half with the same very sharp knife then scrape seeds out with a spoon and place cut side up on the prepared baking sheet. Mist or brush with extra virgin olive oil then season generously with salt and pepper (or whatever seasoning blend you want.) Bake for 40 minutes to an hour, or until the flesh shreds easily. Shred, leaving 1/4-inch squash around the sides of the peel so it doesn’t collapse

Top each half with 1/2 cup pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and pizza toppings then return to oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benreichelt/

3. Hot Pizza Dip  

On the other hand, if you don’t want to eat your pizza out of a hollowed out spaghetti squash, how about you eat it with a chip as a dip? This Hot Pizza Dip Recipe from Taste of Home is a great way to let everyone in on the pizza fun, and then you really don’t have to argue over toppings. As long as you have your breadsticks, tortilla chips, or crackers of choice, everyone can pregame the main meal with this Hot Pizza Dip, or even eat enough of it to make it the main event. Thanks to the three cheeses, pizza sauce, and seasonings all incorporated into this recipe, it’s hard to walk away from the dip, and as you see once you taste it, you probably won’t want to.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can (8 ounces) pizza sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
  • Breadsticks or tortilla chips

Directions: In a bowl, beat cream cheese and Italian seasoning. Spread in an ungreased 9-inch microwave safe pie plate. Combine mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses; sprinkle half over the cream cheese. Top with the pizza sauce, remaining cheese mixture, green pepper, and onion.

Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is almost melted, rotating a half turn several times. Let stand for 1-2 minutes. Serve with breadsticks or tortilla chips. Yield: about 3 cups.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

 

4. Grilled Hawaiian Pizza Burritos

Next up is just another way to do pizza the next time the craving hits. Channel Spring with these Grilled Hawaiian Pizza Burritos from Bev Cooks. Many people’s favorite foods include pizza and burritos, so why not combine them into one? That’s what Bev from Bev Cooks did, and she enlisted Canadian bacon, pineapple chunks, chicken, peppers, and mozzarella to help her do it. Grab some flour tortillas and get rolling. Serve up these Hawaiian Pizza Burritos and you’ll get lei’d in no time.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 large flour tortillas
  • (about) 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 (3.5 oz) package canadian bacon (crisped up in a skillet if you prefer)
  • 1 (8 ounces) can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into a small dice
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, sliced (and seeded for less heat)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (or about 5 string cheeses, cut into small chunks)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions: Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add the chicken. Season with salt, pepper, half the thyme and oregano. Cover and sear 5 minutes. Flip and sear (and season) for another 5 minutes. Tent and rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice.

Lay two tortillas flat on a work surface. Evenly spoon the pizza sauce over each tortilla. Top with chicken, Canadian bacon, peppers, pineapple, and cheese. You can always drizzle a little pizza more sauce on top (kinda wish I had.) Then just roll the burritos up (ends in first to tuck them in) and place on a hot grill pan, seam side down. Place something heavy on top and grill for about 3 minutes. Flip and grill another 3 minutes, or until you see nice grill marks all over. Slice and serve.

 

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bengarrison/

5.  Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Last but definitely not least, one more spin on pizza: Pepperoni Pizza Puffs via GimmeSomeOven.comIf you love pizza but aren’t exactly an expert at portion control, these little baby pizzas are perfect for you and your family. They take the idea of savory muffins to a whole new level, and are perfect for an afternoon snack, appetizer, or extremely light dinner. That is, unless you have 10 of them. The best thing about these little puffs is that they are extremely customizable and you can fill your muffin cups with whatever toppings you choose. That means that you can please the whole family, plain pizza-lovers and pepperoni-addicts alike, and you don’t even have to worry about the leftover pizza slices that always end up tempting you from your refrigerator. These 24 baby puffs will be gone in no time. Get ‘em while they’re hot.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 2 percent)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces pepperoni, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely diced

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and oregano; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.  Stir the batter and divide among the mini muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Warm the pizza sauce, then stir in 1 tablespoon basil. Sprinkle the puffs with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

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