September 3, 2010

NCAA is Here! Horray!

Did i mention how much I like college football? Well, I do. It's absolutely one of my most favorite times of the year. Maybe it's because vest season is starting, maybe it's because Erin Andrews is my idol, but either way, there is something that makes me really excited when the NCAA season starts up. Thus, a special dinner was made on Thursday, September 2nd to celebrate the starting of the season. On the menu was two types of pizza & then cupcakes. I used a Basil Pesto Sauce (base for both pizzas instead of tomato sauce) on whole wheat dough that I purchased from Trader Joe's (my mecca). I juggled the preparation of both as the official Ohio State Buckeye kick-off took place. Luckily my living room is directly next to the kitchen (unlike my old 800 square foot apartment where the living room & kitchen were so close to ea ch other due to just lack of overall space).

Pizza Dough:
: Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

Basil Pesto Base:
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parm

Pizza #1: For one I used freshly grated Mozzarella, sauteed white organic mushrooms, red onions & Trader Joe's Basil turkey sausage together in a pan (with a handful of pine nuts since I had some left over from the basil pesto) and topped the pizza with that and Gorgonzola cheese, too.

Pizza #2:
I used prosciutto, tomatoes and cheese. I wanted a simpler set of toppings for at least one of the pizzas.

General Directions for TJ's Whole Wheat Dough usage:
1. Use parchment paper.
2. When rolling it out, it's easier to make 2 smaller pizza's than just one huge shape. Also, saran wrapping an empty paper towel cardboard insert totally works if you don't have a rolling pin. I really need to purchase one, come to think of it!
3. Set the oven to 425 degrees. Put the dough in on sprayed parchment paper for 12 minutes. Pop any bubbles that randomly pop up when you are baking the dough to brown it. Take it out, put the toppings on, then bake for another 12 and check it to make sure it's browning the way you like it. Woo!

Check out the Nutrition Facts for the TJ's dough. A healthy alternative to the deep dish! Click here.

Frosting Recipe for Cupcakes: Makes enough for 1 dozen cupcakes (I added in extra of all ingredients based on the number of mini cupcakes I thought I'd have. I was wrong. This is good for about 2 dozen mini's in the quantities below). I am not sure if I cheated by using pre-packaged cake batter. I couldn't help it. I just don't have that much time on my hands! So shoot me! The frosting is the best part, in my opinion, so I think that's the most important to keep home made.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Directions: Put all the ingredients into a bowl with a mixer. Whip it until you can't any longer. Taste often. If at first it's not gelling together, don't worry. Just KEEP MIXING!

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