Personal Pizza in 10 minutes

I teased you with the idea of a 10-minute pizza in an earlier post, and here are the step-by-step instructions and photos.

NOTE: I am a fan of the Bread in Five Minutes a Day books. This series (Bread, Whole Wheat and Flatbread versions) promotes creating a large amount of knead-free dough, stored in the fridge and ready to make bread instantly. The base for this pizza is made in a skillet from the basic pizza recipe in the Flatbread book (for a sample, see the Master Recipe for bread, which would work just fine in this recipe).

Refrigerated pizza dough on floured surface.

Refrigerated dough on floured surface.

The refrigerated dough is the first step here. I simply pinched off a lemon-sized piece of dough, floured my counter, and stretched and pulled the dough into a rough circle, about 7″ across. You can actually adjust and stretch a bit more once the dough goes into the skillet, so approximate shape and size is fine here.

While you cut up the toppings, like mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc., preheat your skillet over medium heat. I used a 7″ cast-iron skillet for this pizza. Don’t add too many toppings or your pizza will be too moist, and the heat will have trouble getting through the full thickness.

Pizza dough, plus prepared ingredients ready for cooking.

Pizza dough, plus prepared ingredients ready for cooking.

I used one mushroom and four, paper-thin slices of pepperoni for this version. The sauce is home-made tomato sauce, but any tasty sauce will work. I use about 1 Tbsp. Again, do not overdo the sauce as the short cooking time does not allow extra moisture to evaporate.

I do not grate the cheese. Small cubes melt just as well, and are much easier to place quickly and accurately than grated cheese.

Wipe a little oil in the hot pan. You can skip this if you are using a non-stick pan, but I think the crust is better with just a bit of oil for crunch and flavor.

Sauce, mushrooms and cheese in place, but before pepperoni.

Sauce, mushrooms and cheese in place, but before pepperoni.

Before moving the the next step, turn on your broiler to preheat for the next step.

With all the ingredients ready, place the dough the hot skillet. You can carefully push the dough into the sides of the skillets, but don’t press hard or let your fingers linger. The heat and steam comes quickly through the dough.

Immediately, add the toppings. You must work quickly at this point, as you don’t want the dough to brown before the toppings are added.

Once the toppings are in place, cover the pan, and let it cook for about four minutes.

Pizza is completed under the broiler. Here I have my small pan in a toaster oven, and very close to the broil element.

Pizza is completed under the broiler. Here I have my small pan in a toaster oven, and very close to the broil element.

NOTE: Until you are familiar with your heat and pan, lift the dough gently from one side to check on how quickly it is browning a few times. You are ready for the next step when the crust is golden brown and crisp, and the cheese has melted.

Remove the pan from the stove and place under the broiler. I tend to put it very close to the element for a single pizza, but if you are using this method for a larger pizza, increase the distance from the element to about 4″.

Broil for 1-2 minutes, and that’s it. Slip it from the pan to a cutting board, cut and serve. You will be shocked at how good this pizza is, and much better for you when you can control all ingredients.

From idea to table, this is probably the fastest possible way to top-quality pizza. Save money, save time, better food … winner all the way.

Pizza complete in 10 minutes and rivals the best take-out pizza.

Pizza complete in 10 minutes and rivals the best take-out pizza.


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Make peace with flour with a shaker

Flour shaker for easy kitchen use.

Flour shaker makes many jobs easy.

Flour can be a nuisance, especially if you need just a little bit. Way back when I was cooking in a commercial kitchen, we had large flour shakers to easily coat counter surfaces, or as a thickener.

I borrowed that commercial tool for my personal kitchen. My shaker holds about a cup, and has two openings: one for sprinkling, and one that I can dip in with a spoon for larger amounts of flour.

This one little addition to my kitchen makes me much more likely to use refrigerated bread dough, or even to make a few biscuits. A good example is the quick personal pizza I made in under 10 minutes. The rolling and pressing of the dough was so easy when I could sprinkle the exact amount of flour I needed.

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10-minute pizza: Take that, takeout!

Pizza in ten minutes

Top-quality pizza ready in 10 minutes. Cost? $1.25.

It’s hard to believe that you can make a pizza from scratch faster than you can cook a frozen model, or order takeout. Just a teaser for a coming how-to, this pizza took me ten minutes to create, from the time I took the dough from the fridge, to when it was on my plate, ready to eat.

Not only was it fast, it was cheap (especially since I had scooped Bocconcini  cheese at half price). A bit of homemade dough, one mushroom, 4 paper-thin slices of pepperoni, and a tablespoon of homemade tomato sauce and $1 in cheese. Top-quality pizza for about $1.25. And the single-serving size (6½”) allowed no temptation to overeat a favourite food.


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Avocado, tomato and egg pizza

Egg pizza

Eggs get a lift with bread base and complimentary add-ons.

I’ve always loved eggs, and never put much store in the terror that has surrounded them for decades (admittedly, I have been blessed with normal cholesterol levels). I can buy large, free-range, orange-yolked local eggs, and while they are more expensive than the supermarket brand, they still fall into the cheap-food category. I pay $4 a dozen, or about $.34 an egg. Two eggs, well under a dollar, make a substantial meal. It’s hard to beat that value.

However, they can be a bit … dull. This idea takes the humble egg and turns it into a gourmet treat without much extra work. I made this avocado, tomato and egg pizza in just a few minutes more than making toast and eggs. I call it pizza, though it has no cheese. The eggs make up for the missing creamy-cheese element.

NOTE: I am a fan of the Bread in Five Minutes a Day books. This series (Bread, Whole Wheat and Flatbread versions) promotes creating a large amount of knead-free dough, stored in the fridge and ready to make bread instantly. The base for this pizza is made in a skillet from the basic pizza recipe in the Flatbread book (for a sample, see the Master Recipe for bread, which would work just fine in this recipe). I simply pinch off a piece about the size of a lemon, flatten it and cook in a covered skillet, flipping the bread when the first side is golden brown. If you do not have access to the book, or desire to create your own base, Greek-style pita, any pizza crust, half a large bagel, and English muffin, or even substantial bread will work just as well.

Warm your base bread in a skillet. If you have a gas stove, and are open to crumbs in your burners, you can also warm crusted bread (like cooked pizza crust or pita) directly over the open flame. WARNING: Do not step away from the stove if you are warming anything over an open flame. Best practice is to keep your eyes glued to the bread. I really mean this. If you lose attention, best case scenario is that you burn your bread. Worst case — we are talking fire, here.

Prepare your eggs as desired. I prefer this pizza with runny yolks, but it is moist enough to be good even with hard-cooked or scrambled eggs. Poach, fry (mine are sunny-side up), boil or scramble eggs as you desire.

While the eggs are cooking, mix mayonnaise with your choice of flavor. I mixed about 1½ tsp of light mayo with 1 tsp of Sambal Oleek. I could also have used garlic, mustard, dried chili flakes. Plain mayo would also work. Spread on the bread base.

Add avocado slices (about 1/4 fruit per serving) and tomato slices. Place cooked eggs on top of the vegetables.

Sprinkle with chopped green onion and fresh basil (or add dry basil to eggs as they cook), salt and pepper.

I tend to eat this with a knife and fork, but with most bases, you could also pick it up and eat it. If you have runny yolks, break the yolks and allow the yolk to spread and find a home before starting to eat. It will still be a bit messy, but quite civilized compared to biting into an egg with an intact yolk.

Take this idea and add your own touches. Perhaps you would prefer some cheese in addition to the eggs, or replacing one. Add some cooked bacon or sausage to enhance or replace the avocado. Replace the mayo with sour cream and salsa, add a bit of cooked ground beef and/or cheddar cheese for a Huevos Rancheros version.

However you dress up your egg pizza, your taste buds will certainly not declare same-old-same-old. It doesn’t take a lot of work to turn a basic food into a delight.

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Recipes or no recipes

Real food recipe photo

This is exactly the wrong image for successful cooking with real ingredients on a regular basis. .

I have a well-defined vision for what I want to accomplish with this site. My goal is to move more people to cook with more real ingredients, more often. Simple idea, but complex in delivery. In generations past, the cooks learned slowly and deliberately, usually under the watchful eye of an experienced cook — Mom.

We’ve lost that natural learning environment over the past couple of generations, as more and more food arrived partially or fully prepared into the family home. Cost and health concerns have brought many people, often in middle age back to the kitchen. But real cooking can be tedious when you do not have basic skills, or a real-ingredients pantry and a kitchen set up for cooking from scratch. When the desire to cook better food hits, the first reaction is to hit the Web, or recipe books and find a recipe.

I do that myself. However, I find following a recipe is time-consuming. Continue reading

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Grilled tuna melt

Quick grilled tuna sandwich

Quick grilled tuna sandwich

I grew up in Northwestern Ontario, where February and March are ice-fishing months (into April  in bad years). Before people started using semi-permanent ice shacks for winter fishing, several families would gather on the open ice, often travelling to remote lakes by snowmobile. Of course, there was fishing, but also there was food and fire. The fire was built on the ice, and while it would sink through the day, our ice gets to be several feet thick.

We had every imaginable type of snack food, as well as sausage and cheese, but my favourite was always tuna buns. At home, we would make tuna salad, with onions and pickles, and cheese bits. We’d stuff hamburger buns full of the mixture, and wrap them in a generous sheets of foil wrap.

Tuna mixture on bread

Tuna mixture on bread

At the lake, we would place these foil packets around the edge of the fire, where they would heat, melting the cheese, and softening the buns. Nothing ever tasted as good as tuna buns, even though there were often burned edges on the buns.

This grilled tuna sandwich does not have the background of fresh air, stunning landscape or strange customs, like fire on ice, but it does remind me of those wonderful buns.

Make the tuna mixture with your favourite mixture. I still like chopped pickle, onion, mayonnaise (I always substitute about 1/3 to 1/2 sour cream) and chopped cheddar cheese. You want a moist mixture. If I have good pickles, I’ll often put a teaspoon of pickle juice in the mixture, or even a splash of milk.

Grill marks on tuna sandwich

Dry bread toasts easily in the George Foreman grill

Spread the mixture on your favourite bread. I like a light rye, but white or whole wheat would work well. A lighter bread is best for grilled sandwiches. Heavy, grainy breads are not at their best when grilled. I don’t use any butter or oil for this sandwich on a George Foreman grill, as here is plenty of moisture in the filling. If you are using a skillet, you may need to add a bit of oil or butter, spread on the outside of the bread, or added to the pan.

If you need just one sandwich, use half a can of tuna to make this recipe, and see how to store extra tuna for a day or two.


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Easy tuna for one

Tuna stored for another day

A sandwich bag keeps leftover tuna fresh for two days.

Canned tuna is a great time saver, and a quick healthy protein in a sandwich. However, a can of tuna provides two servings. I am a princess when it comes to leftovers, and don’t like day-old tuna salad.

So … I simply divide the tuna in half, placing half in a sandwich bag. I squeeze the air from the bag before I seal it, and the tuna will stay fresh for two days. You can store the excess tuna in a covered container, but I find the taste is better in a bag, probably because the fish is exposed to less air.

Use the rest of the can as you wish.

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Real food flavor in a rush

Real food spices faster photo

How many times does a recipe, or food idea seem like a great idea … until you read the final entry: Place in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. Groan! I can’t solve every instance of this mood-killing statement, but I can help when you are working with blending dehydrated spices or herbs into your meal. Continue reading

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Hot salt

Real food condiments: hot salt

Real food condiments: hot salt

Real food spices: mix great salt and dried chilies for a great table spice.

I love specialty salt, especially grey salt, often from France. I also love dried hot pepper flakes, especially if they are made from my own dried chilies. Continue reading

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Freezing meat with options

Freezer full of real food ingredients

Freezer full of real food ingredients

With a selection of single serving meats in the freezer, cooking real food becomes quick and easy.

Freezing meat allows you to keep real ingredients on hand. You can save plenty of money when buying in bulk quantities, or stocking up at special prices. Purchase extra amounts of specialty or hard-to-find cuts and save time and travel costs.

But how do you know what portion of any one item you will need? Small families sometimes have guests, and even large families can need just a bit of a frozen meat. Cut all the guess work by spending a little time on shopping day to freeze “with options.” Continue reading

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Your special sauce made while the pasta cooks

Real food pasta photo

In the time it takes to cook pasta, you can make a healthy sauce that matches your current mood.

There are times when I don’t have a clue what I am having for dinner, beyond that it is pasta. I choose the noodle type by how much time I have, put the water on to boil, and only then do I decide what the sauce will be.

Note: I deliberately present this dish as a concept, rather than a recipe. Recipes take a long time to follow, and you often don’t have the exact ingredients cited in the recipe. You will make more real-food meals at home if you have concepts stored in your memory, and can work with the ingredients you have on hand. Continue reading

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Spice control for real cooking

Real food spices in a marketReal food spices in a marketYou can’t make real food without spices. Period! Real food ingredients come in a naked state. That’s what makes them perfect. A blank canvas to paint your next meal, reflect your mood and custom-tease your senses. But you need a good method to store and use spices to unlock the full potential of spices in your cooking. Continue reading

Posted in Cooking Tools, How To ..., Spices/condiments, Time Savers, Travel Cooking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments