Janet here: When I want to make a fast guilt-free dinner that’s nutritious, I make my favorite kind of pizza: broccoli pizza with cheese. I prefer my pizza without red sauce and love making up different concoctions of goodies to put on top. The options are as vast as your imagination. As I’ve noted before, broccoli is my absolute favorite vegetable; I only allow myself to serve it twice a week so there isn’t a family mutiny, but if I lived on my own (and cooked, which is another story), I would eat broccoli all the time.
Anyway this pizza makes use of pre-made pizza dough from the store — I said this was an easy meatless meal, remember? — but if you prefer to make your own, go for it. I have done it, but with pre-made dough (I like Trader Joe’s) so ubiquitous these days, I’d rather put my time into something else. Anyway, this meal literally takes minutes, which means your Monday can be meat-free and easy.
serves 2 with a little left over
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium head of broccoli cut up into bite-size pieces
1 medium onion, diced but not too finely
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (or more if you like garlic)
spices: I use everything from red pepper flakes to oregano, basil, salt and pepper, all to taste
3/4 cup crumbled feta
1 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
Let the dough sit out for 20 minutes to reach room temperature. While that’s happening, saute the onions until they are translucent, about 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minutes. Add the broccoli and seasonings. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is just cooked (I like my veggies crunchy and remember you will be baking this so it will be cooked further). Put aside.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to roughly a 12-inch diameter. Place the dough onto your sprayed cookie sheet or pizza stone. Add the broccoli saute. Top with the cheeses. Bake for about 10 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your pizza crust.
Rachel here: The other night I made, for the very first time, my favorite childhood meal: my mom’s Greek pizza. Growing up, this was what I asked for for my birthday dinners and the leftover I hoped would be mine when my brothers and I ate leftovers for dinner. I remember feeling like I had sophisticated taste buds because I was eating spinach and feta cheese, foods that weren’t staples per se due to the fact that I shared meals with G and S who, as has been mentioned before, weren’t always game for eating food that didn’t come in cute shapes. Anyway, since my mom did a post featuring this dish a few months ago, I’ve been craving it. The day that I was going to make it I felt a little bit excited all day. I don’t think I’d eaten this meal since I lived with my parents and I was nearly giddy by dinner time at the prospect of revisiting my favorite childhood food. If you haven’t made your favorite meal from growing up in a long time, I highly recommend that you do so. Cooking and eating this Greek pizza left me feeling all warm and fuzzy and nostalgic for dinners in my parents’ kitchen, talking with my brothers and my mom about our days. It was fun to share it with John, too, since he had never had it. He dutifully ate seconds and totally understood why I was so excited to make this meal. This is a recipe, for sure, that I can’t wait to make for our kid in a few years. After all of these years of missing this meal, I’m glad I finally incorporated it into my kitchen. I didn’t make it quite as well as my mom, but I still felt like she was there by the stove with me and that, in and of itself, is just the kind of nourishment we all need sometimes.
Janet here: It’s funny to read Rachel’s post because I really didn’t realize as she was growing up, that this was such a big deal meal for her. I knew she liked it, of course, but I had no idea it was infused with so much emotion.
We really are so clueless aren’t we? We work so hard to make a moment special — cooking a special meal with all the right ingredients and candlelight, say, for a significant other — and yet so often it’s the little every day moments that actually make it all matter. While cooking with phyllo dough, a major ingredient in Greek pizza, was not something I did every day, I certainly never thought the nights I served it were “special,” and yet those moments apparently were. I guess the message is we should try to remember it’s all special because you never know the moment that’s going to “count” in someone else’s memory. Good to be reminded of that, I think, don’t you?