Simply Whole Kitchen

January 17, 2012

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

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 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" 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 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!

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Blogger LLArcher said...

These look amazing! can't wait to try. What sauce do you normally buy that's low in sugar?

January 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I love this! I'm making these tonight with my new muffin pans! (subbing turgey sausage with soysage)

January 17, 2012 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Hi LLArcher! Trader Joes (if you have one nearby) has an awesome store-brand marinara sauce (used in this recipe) that is only $1.25 a bottle and no sugar added! Or at Publix I buy Gia Russa tomato sauce (tomato and basil has no added sugar) but it is much more expensive than Trader Joes (for just a slightly larger bottle). The hard part is read read and read all of those nutrition labels until you find a good one that is good for you too! Who needs all that extra added sugar anyway!? In this case it is only used as a sweetener (tomatoes are already sweet) and a preservative....

January 17, 2012 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

YUM! Soysage would be delicious in these!!

January 17, 2012 at 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Cristen said...

I know a Big Man and a Little Man who would LOVE these. Gonna have to get me some pizza dough...

January 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

oh yes they would!! Maybe dinner this week?

January 17, 2012 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Texanerin said...

Those are too cute! I LOVE deep dish pizza. I've made homemade 100% whole grain deep dish pizza before and the husband always complains. He likes the 100% whole grain normal pizza, but always complains about deep dish because there's "too much dough." This sounds like a good solution! He can have his super thin pizza and I can have my deep dish. :)

January 17, 2012 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

You are right Texanerin! My hubby is the same way...too much dough for him. These have just the perfect amount (depending on how thick you roll them out) and he loved them! Let me know what your hubby thinks!

January 18, 2012 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Texanerin said...

I made them! YAY! But I thought I'd be clever and use muffin liners. Booo. Bad idea. So nobody else do that unless you don't want to be able to get the crust off the wrapper.

Anyway, they were super! I made 4 mini deep dish pizzas out of mine, and my husband got his normal pizza because I didn't want to hear any whining about what I did to the pizza. He thought mine looked neat so next time he'll get some deep dish ones, but with very thin crust. Thanks for the idea! :)

January 22, 2012 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

AWESOME! I'm so glad you made them, liked me and told me about it! And great idea with the liners...I'm surprised they didn't work!

January 23, 2012 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Texanerin said...

It could have been my fault. I let them sit for a while because I wanted to take pictures of them. I thought that if they're going to get cold, I might as well finish what I was doing first anyway. So by the time I got to them, they were just warm. But they were really, really stuck. I wouldn't take the chance again. Next time I'll follow your directions and not try to be clever. :)

January 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Diana said...

Can't wait to get back home to try them.....will be next week....I, too, know a
big man that will love them!!!!

January 25, 2012 at 1:52 PM  

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