Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pizza Night

We had a great weekend this past week. It was productive, yet relaxing. Fun, yet lazy. Saturday, after we'd gotten some chores and essentials done around the house, we decided to make pizzas for dinner. Usually, we make our pizza dough in our trusty bread machine, and divide the dough into two equal halves. With these, we'll make a "Xander" pizza, which is made with toppings he'll like, and then we'll make a "Mom and Dad" pizza, that we can do fun, experimental things with, knowing Xander would probably never touch it!

This time, we decided to make a Shrimp and Feta Pesto Pizza. I had made some cilantro pesto a few months back, and frozen it for a later date. Then, of course, I never got around to using it, so I figured now was the time to thaw out that bad boy and put it to good use! We sort of made this pizza up as we went along, but I did have a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do, based on my earlier perusal of the internet for pesto pizza recipes. I included our recipe below, but keep in mind that this would be great with other toppings, too. Even just some pesto and cheese on a pizza is never a bad thing!

As for Xander's pizza, he first requested a pepperoni pizza. Then, when Daddy accidentally left the grocery store without the pepperoni, Xander's request became a pizza with "no sauce and no pepperoni." I believe he may have changed his mind at one point to a pizza that was only bread, but we managed to convince him that it wouldn't be a pizza unless it had something on it. Of course, then he wanted to know why a pizza had to have toppings, which turned into another slightly frustrating Q & A session, but that is another rant for another day. In the end, Xander asked for just sauce and "orange" cheese, or cheddar to anyone over 3. We added some turkey bacon and ham, to stand in for the pepperoni. The verdict? He hated it! Sigh.

We constantly struggle to get him to eat new things, and now he has taken a dislike to things he previously ate with no problems. He has suddenly become averse to french fries, of all things. Now pizza is gross to him. Tonight at dinner, he told me he hates milk. What's next? A passionate hatred for fruity snacks? Ha, that'll be the day! We did at least get a picture of him acting happy with his pizza. Too bad it was only an act. Better luck next time, though. Maybe for an upcoming pizza night we really will give him a pizza with no toppings....

Shrimp and Feta Pesto Pizza
serves 4

1 pizza dough (we used whole-wheat dough)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, sliced into long, thin strips
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 head garlic, roasted and smashed into a paste
1/2 - 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 lb. medium-size shrimp, already cooked and chopped into thirds
1/2 - 3/4 cup cilantro pesto (recipe from Recipezaar, here)
optional toppings: black olives, sliced cherry tomatoes, pepperoncini rings

Begin by melting 1 tablespoon butter in a medium pan over medium-low to medium heat. Add sliced onion, allowing to soften for 5 minutes with the lid on. Remove lid and continue to cook onions on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes more, until soft and sweet. Remove pan from heat, add 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and stir to combine. Set aside.

While onions are cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pizza dough by stretching and shaping into a 12-inch round pizza shape, or a long rectangular shape. Spread mashed, roasted garlic all over the pizza dough. Top the garlic with the cilantro pesto, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides of the dough.

Next, scatter the caramelized onions over the dough. Sprinkle feta cheese, and any additional toppings. Bake for about 5-7 minutes, then remove from oven. Add pre-cooked shrimp to the top of the pizza, and bake for another 5-7 minutes, until shrimp are heated through and the cheese has softened. Cut into wedges and serve.

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