The Best Way to Use Leftovers (No Rise Pizza Crust)

This is one of those recipes that is so easy, I’m almost embarrassed to write about it. But it is one of my favorite dirty little secrets that everyone should know about. Making pizza with your leftovers is genius. And using this super simple no-rise dough makes it super fast too. It is a total no-brainer.

unnamedThe first time I saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen I thought, “neat, I wonder if it actually works”. I love the people at America’s Test Kitchen, but sometimes they set you up for something “easy” only to find out it takes 5 different steps including 3 hours of refrigeration. Ain’t nobody got time for that! So, I tried this recipe with a touch of skepticism. As it turns out, it is ridiculously easy. You could easily have your toddler help you with this.

And you toddler would love it.

Additionally, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, homemade pizza is the best pizza. Pizza falls into those categories of things that you should always make from scratch along with cranberry sauce and mac and cheese. I say this because once you make this dough you’ll realize all you need to have delicious pizza at home is 15 minutes and basic ingredients everyone has in their pantry.

Now, this is not a fluffy, bready recipe. This is a no-rise pizza crust (hence the super fast part – no waiting for dough to rise). Since it has no yeast and doesn’t rise, it has a crisp, cracker like crust. This recipe also makes 2 medium sized pizzas. If you have a hungry family (read: teenagers), I would double the recipe and pair it with a salad.

This recipe is for the crust only. That is because you use whatever meager amounts of leftovers you have to top it. I really mean this. The next time you look in your fridge and see just enough leftover chicken to feed one person, but not a family, make this pizza. My husband and I have tried all sorts of crazy combinations, and some of them were fantastic! Don’t have tomato sauce? No big deal. Use olive oil or pesto or one of my favorites, barbecue sauce. Some of our favorite combinations include things you would never think of putting on a pizza. Pesto with thinly sliced potato and mozzarella. Barbecue sauce with onion, zucchini and cheddar. Leftover pork ragu with giardiniera and cheddar (pictured). Get creative.

St. Louis Style Pizza Crust, taken from America’s Test Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water, plus 2 Tablespoons (sometimes I add up to 1 additional Tablespoon if my dough is dry)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Use a nonstick baking pan. If you don’t have one, place parchment paper on your pan.

Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Combine water and olive oil in measuring cup and mix. Stir water mixture into flour mixture until dough starts to come together. Turn dough onto slightly floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times, until cohesive.

Divide dough into 2 balls. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rough oval. As you can see from the picture, mine are far from perfect. Don’t worry about it – just make sure it will fit on your pan. Roll your dough until only about 1 mm thick. Place on pan and top the dough with sauce and toppings as you wish!

You can make dough in advance and wrap in plastic wrap to keep in the fridge. It will only last a couple of days, however.

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Smothered Pork

This is a fabulous fall dish. And let’s be honest. Fall food is the best food. Root vegetables of every color and shape; fragrant apples and pears juicy as can be; and leafy greens and radish in brilliant Van Gogh shades. Fall is the ideal time to convince children that veggies are good because they become intensely beautiful and delicious.

76391_10101777959651549_1257622926_nI actually didn’t have very high hopes for this recipe. I thought it would be a way to class up some kale, but as it turns out, it was fantastic! I think this dish would make almost anyone happy. Add a roasted veggie side and you have a delicious, fairly healthy meal. It doesn’t take a ton of work. I have even put a crockpot version at the bottom. It will also please meat eaters, because, come on, who doesn’t like pork?

Essentially, this is a pork, onion and kale melange all cooked in its own sauce. The sauce is really lovely in its simplicity. I wasn’t sure how the final product would turn out, but it is actually amazing. I would recommend sifting off some of the fat, though, which I didn’t do.

Adapted from Cooking Light

1 Tbl canola oil

2 lb pork shoulder

salt and pepper to taste

2 1/2 cups sliced onion

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp five spice

2 garlic cloves, chopped

5 cups chopped kale

Preheat oven to 325°. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to Dutch oven. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and pepper. Add pork to pan; cook 7 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove pork from pan and keep warm.

Add onion to pan (add more oil if needed). Cook 5 minutes or until onion begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth, vinegar, spices, and garlic to pan. Bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Return pork to pan. Cover and bake in the oven at 325° for 1 1/2 hours. Add kale to pan; cover and bake at 325° for 30 minutes. Take out and let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Spoon sauce over pork and veggies and serve.

If making in the crockpot, brown all sides of pork roast, then add all of the ingredients to a crockpot and cook on high for 6-8 hours (depending on the strength of your crockpot).