6.03.2014

byop night

One thing you should know about me is that I am a lot like my Mama. One thing you should know about her? She knows good food when she finds it and she loves to get creative in the kitchen and that is probably where my passionate love affair with food all started years ago. Mom and I often spend our time together checking out new cafes, bakeries and hidden gem restaurants, or grocery shopping and planning family meals. She randomly brings me food gifts, like fresh cut rhubarb for crisp [recipe here] & homemade caramel corn for no reason and she always has my favorite foods stocked in her fridge just incase I stop by. I am one blessed daughter, and I imagine you are all going to love my Mama as much as I do after I share with you today's recipe -- No Fuss Homemade Gluten Free pizza. Why? Well, because my Mama came up with it.
Sunday night family dinners often bring thoughts of pot roast, potatoes, fresh cornbread & strawberry shortcake. [Come to think of it, that sounds like a perfect menu]. But sometimes, especially in the summer, the thought of a big Sunday night dinner that requires hours in the kitchen just isn't my cup of tea, so this summer, as life gets busier & the weather gets hotter, I am working on coming up with new ways to enjoy Sunday night dinners that leave room for creativity and lots of fun. It was fitting to kick off this new venture of mine on Sunday the 1st of June, as that marks a new month and as many of you know, I love starting things on the 1st day of the week / month / year. 

It all began last week when my Mom texted me a photo of a pizza she had made. "It was one of the best pizzas I've ever had" read the caption. Hm. And gluten free on top of that. Now, being a gluten free eater myself [like my Mama], I was interested to hear about the pizza and more specifically, the crust. Gluten free crust is extremely difficult to perfect, even for those with professional culinary training. There are even restaurants which fail to deliver when it comes to the gluten free crust. 

Well, your jaw will probably drop when I tell you our crust recipe:

Food for Life | Brown Rice Tortillas


Yes, that is the crust recipe. Buy a pack of Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas from your local Whole Foods or other health food store and stock up on all your favorite pizza toppings. 

Now, you may be as skeptical as I was when my mom first shared that these would make up the pizza crust, but let me tell you what I look for in a pizza crust: the perfect mix of crunchy crispness and squishy softness. I absolutely love thin crust pizzas, and these tortillas definitely deliver. They are the perfect size for everyone to have their own mini pizza and so thin that you hardly feel like you're eating pizza and you certainly don't have to deal with a carb-coma afterward like you do with many other heavy gluten-packed pizza doughs.

SO, are you convinced yet? Well, I'm sharing a few of our favorite toppings and pizza combinations below and I highly recommend you try your own BYOP [Build Your Own Pizza] night at your house, especially if you have kids that actually know what pizza is. Because it is hands on fun that encourages both healthy eating and creativity. Plus it makes for a delicious meal to kick off the week, both easy to make and ever so satisfying.

What You Need //
Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas // [here]
High quality tomato/marinara sauce // Our favorite is Bobby D's brand: Ma's Angry Sauce [here]
Cheese of your choice // We like grated parmesan and shredded mozzarella
Your favorite toppings: meat, veggies & fruits

Ground Pepper // Crushed Red Pepper // Pizza Stone

What You Do //
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with your pizza stone inside so it warms as oven preheats. 

Once preheated, assemble your pizza by placing a few spoonfuls of sauce onto your tortilla // Be careful not to add too much sauce, as it will make your pizza soggy.

Add your toppings as desired and bake at 400 degrees until cheese is bubbling and brown. We didn't even use a timer, but I would say between 10 and 15 minutes depending on your oven.

Once cheese is browning and edges are crispy, remove pizza carefully onto a wooden cutting board and using a pizza cutter, cut into slices. Add seasoning as desired and enjoy!

Our Favorite Toppings:
Grilled Chicken // Brat Hans Italian Chicken Sausage // Applegate Pepperoni
Mozzarella Cheese // Parmesan Cheese 
Black Olives // Fresh Pineapple // Fresh garlic
Tomatoes // Mushrooms // Onions // Arugula


Our Favorite Combos:
"The Mama" // Mushrooms & Sliced Tomatoes with Arugula added as soon as it comes out of the oven

"The Hubby" // Caramelized onions & mushrooms, sausage or pepperoni and parmesan cheese

"The Pup" [my favorite] // Grilled chicken, mushrooms, fresh pineapple & a mix of parm+mozzarella cheese, topped with lots of freshly ground black pepper

>> Ever since I was a little girl, my dad's nickname for me has been Pup. I don't know where it originated but even 24 years later, it has stuck <<

Other Classic Combinations:
Classic Margherita: Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil
Supreme: Sausage, Pepperoni & Onions, Mushrooms & Black Olives
Hawaiian: Canadian Bacon & Pineapple
The Cowboy: Pepperoni, Sausage, Black Olives & Mushrooms
Classic Cheese: Cheese, cheese & more cheese.

Two Tips:

Be sure to use a pizza stone for baking your pizza // I think that is a huge contributor to achieving a crisp crust [see a few here] and it must be placed in your oven as the oven is preheating!

Don't put too much sauce or too many toppings on your pizza, it will weigh your tortilla down, and as you'll be able to see, the tortillas are super thin [which is what I love]. With too many toppings, you'll probably end up with more of a soggy mess than a tasty dinner.

Overall, I would say this is by far the best homemade pizza I've ever had, easily the best gluten free pizza I've ever had and in general, some of the most satisfying pizza I've ever had, even when I consider every pizza from every restaurant I've ever eaten. Why? I felt great eating it, so satisfied and still so slim. Not only that, but I didn't have to deal with the aftermath of too much any gluten. 

I can't wait to try new pizzas every few weeks and start making them with Olivia as she gets a little older. A great way to spend a date night in would be to make homemade pizzas with your husband after your babe has gone to sleep. Put some music on in the kitchen, prepare the toppings together and then take turns sharing each other's creations!

Bottom line -- have fun and play around. 
Get to know your oven and your crust+topping preferences and make adjustments as needed. 
I hope you find this as easy and satisfying as I did. And if you do, I'd love to hear from you!

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