A way to have fun despite Corona – Play dress up with a pizza

With the ups and downs of every daily Corona virus update, what families need now from their stay-at-home meals is a little fun and maybe some pretend.

These two suggestions are role models that can get you started, and make sure to invite the kids. The broccoli pizza is one of many types of top dressing (see Tip at end of recipe) and don’t limit yourself to veggies only if you like meat with your meal. It’s an experiment in fun so ask the kids for suggestions on dressing a pie. Kids are good at fun.

The bbq pizza, dressed in everyone’s favorite summer flavor, takes the ordinary and lets you pretend you are having a grilling get-together in the backyard, but with way less prep and work.


Dressed in broccoli, and ready in minutes

1 cheese pizza, ordered from a pizzeria or bought at the supermarket

1 large stem of broccoli florets

1 medium onion, red or yellow

2 Tbls virgin olive oil

When ordering from a pizzeria, be clear you want pizza sauce with no meat products, if you are planning a vegetarian meal. If buying a pre-made pizza, check the ingredients list if meatless is important to you.

Add the olive oil to a large frying pan and heat at medium. Meanwhile, rinse and then cut the fresh broccoli into small-to-bite-sized pieces. Add to the frying pan and cover. Heat at medium until frying begins then turn broccoli one or twice. The object is to soften the vegetable, not crisp it.

Remove and let sit on paper towel or in colander to drain and cool. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the onion and cut it into narrow-width rings. Separate the ring layers and set aside the smaller ones to use another time.

When broccoli is cool enough to handle, spread the vegetable evenly across the cheese pizza. Do the same with the onion rings. Bake in 425F oven just until onions are heated through (they will be quite hot to the touch) and broccoli and pizza toppings are properly hot enough to eat. Remove from oven, let cool a bit, and serve

TIP: You can add other vegetables to the toppings, such as chopped green pepper, pitted green and/or black olive slices, cauliflower florets, asparagus, and more. However, don’t over-load or pizza toppings won’t heat up sufficiently.


Dressed with bbq sauce instead of that everyday tomato sauce

1/3 to 1/2 C bbq sauce; add more if you like extra bbq flavor.

1 C Chicken, about one skinless, boneless breast, cooked and chopped, home roasted or from a store.

1/2 to 1 C EACH, mozzarella and smoked gouda cheese, shredded

1 small to medium red onion, optional

1 prepared pizza crust, unbaked

1 Tbls chopped, fresh cilantro or 1 1/2 tsp of dried cilantro

If your pizza crust from the store is frozen, place it at room temperature the day before using.  Preheat oven to 425F while preparing toppings.

Ideally, you can cook and char the chicken breasts using your barbeque grill. But consider saving time by letting your grocer cook the chicken, be it by rotisserie or oven roast. When cool, chop the cooked breasts to small pieces or, preferably, shred the meat. In a bowl, toss the cooked chicken in a little BBQ sauce immediately before layering it on top of the pizza. This is to prevent the cooked chicken from drying out during baking.

Place the pizza crust into a pie pan prepared with tinfoil. Spray cooking spray on the crust then spread the bbq sauce to fully cover the bottom (and sides, if you like lots of sauce). You want the sauce to bubble through the toppings but not cover them. Layer with the chicken, cheeses, and onion.

Check pizza in about 15 minutes. When dough edges are browned, remove from the oven and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with shakers of oregano, garlic, and red pepper, if desired.

TIP: This recipe adapts to any meat. Try it with pulled pork, or mini meatballs, or cubed cooked ham or with your favorite sausage.

By Jean Redstone

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