Caramelized Red Onion Pizza

Summer Vacation is in full swing for my daughter!  Swimming lessons, gymnastics, Zumba classes.  And that’s just her!  Our evenings have been so busy that I’m either hitting the fast food places or making breakfast for dinner.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that!  But I haven’t had time to clean up my kitchen, either.  So now I’m at a stalemate.  Tonight I shall get my kitchen in order.  After all that hard work, though, who wants to make it all messy again??  So, I’m going to keep dinner easy and nearly effortless with my Caramelized Red Onion Pizza.


Caramelized Red Onion Pizza

  • 1 ball of pizza dough (store bought, homemade, premade, whatever)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ pint grape tomatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 15 or so basil leaves, torn
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, the powdery-looking kind is my preference
  • flour, for dusting

Begin by slicing up your onion to your desired thickness.  I sliced mine thicker because I actually grilled it (so no butter necessary), but you can go thinner if you are sautéing in a pan with the butter.  While the onion is caramelizing, slice your grape tomatos into at least halves.  Add garlic and sauté until the tomatoes break down.  Once all elements are ready, remove from heat.

Sprinkle a little flour on a clean surface like a countertop.  With a rolling pin, roll out the pizza dough.  Flip over, sprinkle with flour, and roll out the other side.  Continue until you get your desired thickness.  For a crisper crust, go thinner.

CONFESSION:  I’ve not yet attempted to make my own pizza dough.  Mine was purchased from an artisan local to me, the amazing Accidental Baker.  (Check them out online or on their Facebook page.)  I love supporting local and this stuff is top notch, exceptionally priced, and saves me a lot of time.  If you have a place nearby to get something as fresh as this, please do.  Or show off and make your own.  😉  The difference in taste is amazing.

Once you get it to the desired thickness, smear about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on each side of the dough – enough to lightly coat.  This will ensure extra crispiness and browning.  Smear the tomato/garlic mixture onto the dough.  Spread out the onions.  Top with the torn basil leaves and Parmesan cheese.

Pizza

A pizza stone works best, but this is not a requirement!  A foil lined baking sheet will work just fine, too.  In this instance, I was able to access a pizza stone and cook it on the grill.  It just made it a little more fun.

If baking, go for 350º for about 15-20 minutes or until pizza dough is getting golden brown on edges and center is firm.  (Time will vary depending on how thick you’ve rolled your dough.)

Pizza 2

Admittedly, the shape of my pizza was not Domino’s quality, but the taste was something they can’t hold a candle to!  Slice and serve.  Mangia!

Pizza 3

 

Late Night Munchies

It’s Summer!  (pretty much)  The kids are out of school and everyone is enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.  You know what that makes us??  HUNGRY!  All day, every day.  But you don’t want to spend the whole Summer snacking on junk food.  If nothing else, it makes you feel sluggish.  And you’ve got pools and beaches and mini golf to tackle!

I bring you a list of Late Night Munchies you can make that are healthier than their preserved cousins.  These are things you need to consider making at least one night in advance because they take time.  Picture this:  You’ve got a night with not much going on.  Pop these babies in the oven and just let them do their thing.  Slow and low is the key here.  You cannot rush them; they will either burn or be soggy.  Just let them cook and cool and enjoy the next day.  Or late at night, when those Summertime munchies really kick in.


Roasted Chick Peas

  • 1 can chick peas
  • olive oil spray
  • seasoning salt

Preheat oven to 225º and line a baking sheet with foil.  Gently rinse chick peas in colander and thoroughly drain.  Spread chick peas on paper towels to absorb extra moisture and pat dry.

Spread chick peas on foil and spray lightly with olive oil spray.  Season liberally with seasoning salt.  Bake for 2.5 hours.  I let them cool in the oven for an additional hour.  This ensures all the extra moisture will dry out.  You’ll be left with a nutty flavor that is crunchy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside.

These are best stored in a paper bag or left in an open bowl on the counter.  Plastic bags tend to make them lose their crunch.

Roasted Chick Peas 1

Sweet Potato Chips

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • olive oil spray
  • seasoning salt
  • mandolin ***This is key.  You absolutely need a mandolin to create even, thin slices.  For sweet potatoes, I used a 1.5mm guard.***
  • parchment paper or silicon baking pad

Preheat oven to 225º.  Spread out sliced potato onto parchment paper or on silicone baking pad.  Spray lightly with olive oil, then moderately sprinkle with seasoning salt.  The potato slices will shrink considerably, but I find that they need a little more salt than the zucchini chips.

Bake for 2.5 hours.  As with the chick peas, I found my best results in letting them cool in the oven so as to get them crispy.

Sweet Potato Chips 1

Zucchini Chips

  • 1 large zucchini
  • olive oil spray
  • seasoning salt
  • mandolin ***This is key.  You absolutely need a mandolin to create even, thin slices.  For zucchini, I used a 2.5mm guard.***
  • parchment paper or silicon baking pad

Preheat oven to 225º.  Spread out sliced zucchini onto paper towels.  Top with paper towels and press down firmly to soak up as much extra liquid as possible.  Spread slices on parchment paper or on silicone baking pad.  Spray lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with seasoning salt.  The zucchini slices will shrink considerably, so go easy on the salt.  You can always add more later.

Bake for 2-2.5 hours.  As with the other two, I found my best results in letting them cool in the oven so as to get them crispy.

Zucchini Chips

The Farmers Market

On Saturday, I visited my local Farmers Market.  I’ve never liked getting up early on Saturdays, as it’s usually my only day to sleep in, but for the past couple of months I’ve been sucking it up and going.  The crazy thing is I LOVE IT!  I’ve gotten to know so many of the vendors and farmers and I always buy more than I think I will.  I truly enjoy supporting my own little community.  These are real people!  They are the farmers and bakers and dish washers and sales people for their own goodies.  Not some big store with no face, no real knowledge of their product.  If you have a Farmers Market near you, I encourage you to go check it out.  Talk to the people, learn about them, and put an actual face with the name directly connected to the food you are eating.  It’ll change the way you think and eat!

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***Special thanks to Strong Arm Baking Company, Sugar Hill ProduceCookie Gurlie, Taylor Street Sweets, Chapel Hill Creamery, and Haw River Mushrooms for letting me take their pics.