I was born in Chicago. The windy city, the city of great baseball (well, some years), and the city of DEEP dish pizza! When we moved to Atlanta from Chicago it is this trait of that city that we all missed the most....so much so that we have the pizza "delivered" to our door at least once a year!
Unfortunately, that cheesy, saucy, amazing gift from the windy city is no longer on my "foods I can eat" list...it is more on the "avoid unless absolutely necessary" list (don't we all have one of those?) which is just unacceptable! I can't image a world without deep dish pizza and had to find a way to make it acceptable and of course absolutely delicious....I did it!
Let me introduce you to deep dish pizza like it has never been eaten before! These mini versions are the perfect substitute for your Italian longings. Just like a Chicago style pizza they are more than a meal, they are an experience of the taste buds and the heart (and of course they are easy). You WILL need a knife and fork for this pizza and if you aren't a deep dish lover, I promise that this recipe will change you....
And if you have kids, pay very very close attention this this recipe. You'll thank me later!
Mini Deep Dish Pizzas
1-2 bags of whole wheat pizza dough (sold at Publix, Trader Joes or Whole Foods)
2-3 c tomato sauce (no sugar added sauce, check the ingredient list)
toppings (ground turkey sausage, spinach, diced vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, olives, onions...)
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
2-3 oz of goat cheese (optional topping)
First lets start with the dough. For this recipe I picked up two bags of whole wheat pizza dough at Trader Joes. You can also get this dough at Publix or Whole Foods (some of them), or you can make your own! Either way, make sure you leave the dough out on the counter for at least 20 minutes if it has been refrigerated in order for it to be workable.
Sprinkle your work surface with whole wheat flour. Place your dough ball on your work surface and sprinkle with more flour (otherwise it will be very sticky and hard to roll out). Cut your dough ball into 8 wedges (like a pie, in half, then half then half of each slice until you have eight). Roll each wedge into a ball, sprinkle with flour and roll out into a circle.
Using your hands, stretch out the circle until it is large enough (depends on your muffin cup size). Spray a large muffin pan with cooking spray. Then, lay your circles of dough into each muffin cup creating a dough cup (don't worry if it isn't 'pretty' on top, they should all look different and free form).
Sprinkle the bottom of each cup with a pinch of mozzarella cheese (or your favorite white cheese).
After you've finished this step you need to prepare your toppings. For my recipe I browned some Italian turkey sausage and mushrooms (our favorite pizza combination). You could also use pepperoni, onions, olives or this is a great way to sneak in some veggies for the kids like spinach, diced zucchini, tomatoes, or bell peppers!
Add a tablespoon full of tomato sauce on top of your shredded cheese. Make sure you read your labels on this one! Tomato sauce is sometimes FULL of unnecessary sugar. Look for a canned sauce that doesn't have any added sugar (check the ingredient list). Tomatoes are naturally sweet so all sauce will have some sugar on the nutrition label. You are looking for one without added sugar. OR make your own!
Then add your toppings to the pizzas!
Top with an additional tablespoon full of sauce (or less if you like your pizzas 'dryer').
Top with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and a pinch or two of goat cheese (optional, I just really love goat cheese on my pizza).
Bake your pizzas at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until edges are crisp (remember you are using whole wheat dough, so it already looks brown!).
Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes so that you can get them out of the pan. Serve and enjoy!!!
If you have kids you have to try these...plus they may be very helpful in making them!
Aren't they so cute! Just wait until you taste them!
We served ours with a simple salad...yum!
Labels: dinner, Italian, sausage, whole wheat