I’ve seen tiny packages of snack pizzas that purport to be the same as – for instance T.G.I. Friday’s offerings – but the price, the extraneous preservatives and other “enhancing” ingredients, plus the need to keep a fairly large paper package frozen, have always seemed to bring me to a screeching halt. The premise seems good, i.e. a quick, satisfying snack that doesn’t take much effort on one’s part.
There are so many ways to produce this same pleasure with simple items that you no doubt already have – or can easily acquire and keep on hand. Think: bread, meat, cheese, herbs, veggies. Almost any combination done this way is wonderful, but – well, back to pizza!!
First assess what makes pizza a pizza – the essence of tomato, garlic, Italian herbs, and cheese – on some sort of firm bread base. Then you can work from there to produce something that will make your taste buds very anxious for you to finish the task.
Above you see two French bread rolls cut into halves and spread with tomato paste, which I then sprinkled with a good dose of Italian herbs and some extra oregano.
Next up – slices of fresh mozzarella. Regular mozzarella is perfectly acceptable, too; I was just fortunate enough to have found some on sale at 50% off, which made it almost painless to purchase and enjoy.
Then I added some thin slices of pepperoni. This is a cakewalk, as pepperoni lasts basically forever. I buy it unsliced to keep down the exposure to air, and just slice off a bit at the time of need.
Now comes the fun part. What else goes on there? Well, just about anything that will stay put once the cheese melts, and that tickles your fancy. Here I’ve used a bit of jarred roasted red pepper, and a sprinkling of scallion slices.
A favorite, though, is the red, yellow, and green bell peppers that come frozen and are frequently enough on sale for a dollar a pound to make it worthwhile to keep a few bags on hand at all times. They are wonderful for all sorts of uses. And black olives . . . don’t count them out. They add a lot to a small bit of food like this.
Another favorite is mushrooms. Fresh is best, of course, but they should be precooked because of the excess moisture that cooks out of them when exposed to heat. “Cooked” mushrooms come in cans and jars, and are acceptable enough for this sort of quickie snack.
No doubt you will have favorite bread “bottoms” (English muffins, leftover hamburger or hot dog buns, French rolls, bolillos, etc.). All work well if you take care not to load the softer breads with too many goodies.
Now I toast these up in my Cuisinart Oven Central, but this can be accomplished easily in a toaster oven, or even in a heavy frying pan (with a cover) on the stove top. This isn’t a “shove it in and walk away” method, though. Your attention should be somewhere nearby at all times.
I’ve done it all three ways with success. It takes just slightly longer than reheating leftover pizza that you may have brought home from a restaurant, and a lot less time and fuel than firing up a stove oven to fix the frozen variety.
It’s pretty easy, too, to enlarge on this method by using eggplant slices as the “bread”. This is a definite favorite here for a regular dinner. I slice the eggplant long ways, and cook them a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients. If there is a smidge leftover, then the whole of it can be plopped atop a sturdy piece of bread for an excellent lunch. Yup – just heat and eat!
Clearly this method lends itself to any combination of foods that pleases you, not just pizza. It is really quite satisfying to bite into these treats knowing that everything is fresh, delicious, and nourishing!