Quick and Easy Pizza and Garbanzo Beans

pizza and garbanzo beans

This house is full of pizza lovers. We each have our own favorite toppings, so trying to get everyone to agree on a pizza for takeout can be an ordeal. That’s why we’ve taken to making our own. That way everyone get’s their own piece of the pie (ha, ha).  And my kids go nuts over fried Garbanzo beans. They are a quick, easy and healthy snack while you are waiting for the pizza to cook up.


Quick and Easy Pizza



  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I think bread flour works best, but all-purpose works too)
  • 2 1/2 tsp fast-rise yeast (or one envelope)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • cornmeal for dusting


  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp Basil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP Olive oil


  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Veggies, Sausage, Chicken, Pepperoni, etc….whatever you want to put on top.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and sugar together. Let stand about 5-10 minutes until it gets creamy.
  3. Add the flour, salt, and vegetable oil to the bowl and mix. (I usually start mixing with a fork and end with my hands when it gets tough to stir.) Shape it into a ball and let it rest in the bowl for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. While you are waiting for the dough to finish resting, heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the onions. Cook until onions are soft.
  5. Add the garlic and other herbs and spices, cook until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste. Once tomato paste is blended in with the spices, add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer until the dough is ready.
  6. Sprinkle a pizza stone or cookie sheet with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Roll, stretch, and press dough to desired size and thickness and place on pizza stone or cookie sheet.
  7. Cover the pizza dough with the sauce to within about 1 inch from edge.
  8. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  9. Top with your choice of toppings.
  10. Place in oven and bake about 15-20 minutes – until cheese browns and is bubbly.

For a crispier crust, preheat the pizza stone in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. I have 2 pizza stones, so I usually preheat one and use the other to assemble the pizza. Then I use a large spatula to transfer the pizza from the cold stone to the preheated one.

I also like to brush the crust with garlic butter before I cook it. And I brush it once again right when I take it out of the oven. It make the crust crispy and garlicky – yum!

garbanzo beans

Garbanzo Beans


  • 1 16 oz. can of garbanzo beans
  • pizza seasoning from above recipe (or seasoned salt)
  • Olive oil


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. You need enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan evenly.
  2. Cook the beans in the heated oil until the skins start to pop and they get a little brown.
  3. Add the seasoning just at the end of cooking.
  4. Drain on a paper towel.

My favorite pizza toppings are chicken, mushrooms, spinach, and red onions. I also have a weakness for a greasy slice of pepperoni pizza from time-to-time. What are your favorite pizza toppings?


Sunday Brunch: Shirred Eggs

I love a good breakfast. Not just in the morning either. We have backwards days around here sometimes; days where we eat breakfast for dinner. Those nights are usually eggs done somehow: fritattas, scrambled, snotty and looking at you (dear husband’s term for sunny-side up), omelets, or any other way we feel inclined to eat them. Sometimes I even let the kids cook their own eggs. They play diner and take our orders, cook our eggs and serve them to us with toast and fruit. They love these backwards dinner nights. They feel a sense of independence. It’s fun. They don’t even suspect my ulterior motive most of these night – that it’s an easy and inexpensive dinner once in a while.

I was bored one day and searched for a new-to-me way to cook eggs. Something that wouldn’t require a lot of preparation and was somewhat healthy. And of course it had to taste good. In my searches, I discovered my new favorite way to cook eggs, which up until now was to fry them. I stumbled across shirred eggs a few weeks ago and I’ve had them for breakfast quite a few times since. I know it’s a classic egg dish, but it’s taken me 40 years on this earth to discover them. I’m so glad I finally did.

Ingredients for a single serving:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp of cream (milk will work too)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • You can also get creative and add some herbs, like Thyme or Tarragon. Or finely chopped shallots, leeks or onions, mushrooms, and/or shredded cheese.

Next, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Grease a ramekin (or muffin tin) with butter. Crack the egg into it. Then add the cream, herbs, salt, and pepper. Bake for about 7-10 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them. The yolk should still be soft.

You can make the yolk a little soft and dunk toast sticks into it. Or, my other favorite way is to make an egg sandwich with it. I let it cook until the yolk is hard. then remove it from the ramekin, slice it, put it on an english muffin with mayo, avocado, lettuce and tomato. Yum!

They are also good over a bed of fresh arugula, which in a few short months I’ll hopefully be able to get fresh from my backyard garden.

Ministry of Pesto

We just got back from vacation, and I found myself under a mound of post-vacation laundry, housework and an out-of-control garden.  Did I do the laundry?  Heck no!  I did think about my garden and later found myself in the kitchen, wearing my favorite apron, sipping a glass of wine, listening to Ministry very loudly (is there really any other way?) and making homemade pesto with herbs from my garden.  It was the perfect way to unwind from a long, hot day.

I ended up with a stocked freezer, that is how out-of-control my garden had gotten while I was away.   I did a pesto experiment last season, and tried different methods of preserving it.  I found that simply filling up small, 1/2 cup tupperware/gladware containers and tossing them in the freezer was the easiest.  There didn’t seem to be any loss of taste, and I used them all throughout last winter.

Here is my pesto recipe.  It is so easy to make, there is no reason to ever buy pesto in the store again.


  • 2 cups of fresh Basil
  • 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • about 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Put your basil, nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor and chop.
  2. While the food processor is running on its lowest setting, drizzle the olive oil in.
  3. Stir in the cheese

That’s it.

I also make a thyme pesto where I substitute the basil with thyme and parsley and use walnuts instead of pine nuts.  It is very tasty on fish and chicken.

Cheesy Pancetta and Garlic Bread with Arugula

Here is a quick and easy dish that you can make with the arugula you may have planted in your garden.


  • 1 loaf of Ciabatta bread
  • 8 thin slices of pancetta
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Buffalo mozzarella cheese
  • 1 or 2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Oregano
  • Baby arugula


  1. Slice the bread down the middle the long way and place the two halves on a baking sheet, cut side up.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the cut side of each half
  3. Spread half of the garlic over one slice of the bread and the other half on the other slice.
  4. Lay the pancetta slices over the cut side of each half of bread
  5. Place the bread under the broiler until the pancetta starts to get crispy.
  6. Remove from the oven and place slices of the mozzarella cheese over the top of the pancetta and sprinkle the oregano over top of the cheese.
  7. Place the bread back under the broiler until the cheese is melted.
  8. Immediately after removing from the oven, top each piece of bread with tomato slices and arugula. The heat from the bread will lightly steam the tomatoes and arugula.

Pasta with Pancetta and Beans

I recently came across an Italian Deli at the local farmers’ market and have been cooking up a storm since. All the imported pancetta, prosciutto and cheeses have re-awakened my inner chef. I’ve always meant to write down my winning recipes for future reference, so here I have decided to start.

And just a note: I don’t really measure my ingredients (especially spices), so these are just my best estimate. You can adjust yours to taste.


  • 1 lb. pasta (I like orecchiette for this dish, the little bowl shaped pasta holds the sauce nicely, but any kind of pasta will do.)
  • olive oil
  • 4 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 16 oz. can of cannellini beans or garbanzo beans, drained (the cannellini beans give this dish a creamier texture, but the garbanzo beans add a nice texture too.)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups diced Roma tomatoes (you can use canned or fresh)
  • dry white wine
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese


  1. In a large pot, bring heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al-dente. Don’t cook all the way. It will finish cooking in the sauce later.
  2. In a large sauté pan, coat the bottom with about two turns of olive oil. Add pancetta and cook until crispy. Remove the cooked pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel.
  3. Return the pan to the burner and add onions. Cook until translucent.
  4. Add garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Cook just a few minutes, be careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Add white wine and scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add cannellini beans, tomatoes and a few ladles of your pasta water. Stir and wait until it gets bubbly, then turn down the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens a little.
  7. Add the pasta, stir and cook for about 5 minutes until your pasta is tender and the sauce is thickened. Right before serving, add the pancetta back in and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.