Flat Bread Pizza In a Flash

Flat bread pizza is a family favorite for us. In fact, when my husband and I feel like a “happy hour” experience on a Friday night but don’t have a babysitter, we head out to a local chain restaurant with the kids and order two or three flat bread pizzas on the cheap and have a Friday night feast (with a little “happy” glass of wine for each of us on the side!).

There is something so appealing and simple about flat bread pizza. Of course, it’s all about the crust. Thin and crispy and so easy to eat for the kids. Topped with simple ingredients such as olive oil, garlic, thinly-sliced tomato and basil, this treat can be eaten for lunch, as a snack or for dinner.

The trick for me was how I would go about making the crust. Until I ran into packaged flat breads at the store! These gems come in all varieties and when I saw them I opted for the whole grain, low-fat, low-calorie kind. They are only 90 calories per flat bread and they’re pretty darn big!

So today, I couldn’t resist making a pizza for lunch. I’m trying to cut some calories, so instead of starting off with basting the whole flat bread with olive oil I opted for spraying both sides with Pam spray to get the crisp I wanted. Here’s what else I did:

-Heat the oven to 450 degrees
-Gather ingredients:
-One Roma tomato, very thinly sliced
-Six leaves of basil from the garden, chopped
-One clove of garlic minced
-A handful of mozzarella cheese
-A sprinkle of shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
-A sprinkle of crushed red pepper
-Salt and pepper to taste

After spraying both sides of the flat bread with Pam spray, I spread the minced garlic evenly over the entire surface of one side of the bread. Next, I sprinkled on the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in addition to the basil.

Then I placed the thinly-sliced tomatoes around the pizza, sprinkled with salt and pepper and placed it onto a sheet pan in the oven for no more than 10 minutes. Make sure to check often because it bakes so fast and could burn! After removing from the oven I sprinkled some crushed red pepper on top, cut into four slices and indulged in a small piece of heaven! And overall, this lunch was probably no more than 200 calories! That’s what I’m talking about! And now I think we might have Friday night “Happy Hour” at home this week!

Fancy Tomato Pie

So after working many weeks straight and trying to keep up the pace with our wonderfully, adorable and very active 5- and 2-year-olds, my husband and I were able to steal away to a local Southern California winery resort a couple of months ago for a weekend without the kids! I was so excited that I started reading the menu of the restaurant at the resort online to gear up my taste buds for some decadent food (and wine, of course!). Reading through the appetizer list, I came across a dish that sounded like I had to have it that very minute! It was a very french-inspired recipe called an “Heirloom Tomato Tart.” Just another name for baked tomato pie with caramelized onions and gouda cheese with a flaky crust. Sounded really fancy to me but also really very simple.

So I started testing a recipe of my own, using some of the basic ingredients outlined in the description of the appetizer. I bought a regular-sized pie crust, some sweet roma tomatoes instead of the expensive heirloom ones, a brown onion and some gouda cheese. I also had some Grey Poupon in the fridge, which the appetizer description outlined, so that I could brush the bottom of the crust for some extra pizazz, and some basil and extra tomatoes to top it.

I also realize now that since summer is here, it is tomato season and this recipe makes great use of all the tomato-abundance! Our garden is in full bloom and we have wonderful heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes. Any of these could be used with this recipe and would be delicious. In fact, this is a good way to use tomatoes in bulk if you have a lot of them and don’t want them to go to waste. The pie also stores nicely in the refrigerator for a couple of days afterward and even tastes great cold.

Here are the ingredients:
-One ready-made, regular-sized Pillsbury pie crust
-One tablespoon of Grey Poupon mustard
-Two big, red heirloom tomatoes or four ripe roma tomatoes sliced in thin slices
-One brown onion, chopped
-Two tablespoons of butter
-1/4 cup of grated gouda cheese
-Six to eight leaves of basil cut in thin strips for topping
-One tomato of any kind chopped for topping

Here’s how I made that yummy, fancy tart (I mean tomato pie):

First, brush the mustard onto the bottom and sides of the frozen pie crust. Next, in a medium skillet, melt the butter on medium heat and add the chopped onions. Reduce the heat and cook the onion until it’s soft and a rich caramel color. Then, cool the onions a bit to room temperature and then add to the bottom of the pie crust. Next, layer the sliced tomatoes starting around the outside edges and working toward the middle. Top the whole pie with the shredded gouda cheese. Bake at the temperature recommended for the pie crust for about 25 minutes or until the edges are light brown on the crust and the middle is cooked and bubbling.

Take the pie out of the oven and set aside to cool. When ready to serve, top with the chopped tomato and basil and slice into pie-shaped wedges. I recommend the Paula Deen way to slice, which would be clipping the foil with a scissors on each side of the slice you want to make about three inches long and pulling the foil down from the pie slice before using a pie spatula to lift your slice. That way, the crust won’t break and toppings won’t fall off. Serve to everyone in the family as a treat, light lunch or on a Friday evening to “just the parents” with a nice glass of your favorite wine. This even makes a great party appetizer. Happy summer.