Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Armello's Pizza Crust and Fontana's Pizza Sauce - Vandergrift, PA

We went to the Whitehall Farmers Market on Monday and stopped by the Callifonte Foods booth to buy a jar of Fontana's Pizza Sauce and a package of two Armello's Italian Bakery pizza crusts.  (I also bought cookies from Happy Jack Bakery and some incredible blueberries - I'm going to get there early next week so I can be sure to get a double batch!)

Fontana's sauce is thick and rich, deep red in color and slightly sweet.  Armello's pizza crust comes in a package of two.  They are charmingly uneven, and when cooked are chewy in the center and crisp on the edges - just the way I like it.  Armello's pizza crust now comes in whole wheat - I can't wait to try that next week!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Weight Watchers Pizza Cheat Sheet and Recipe on

An article today on the KDKA website gives Weight Watchers' hints for  healthier, low fat pizza ... plus includes a recipe for Grilled Pizza with Crispy Mushrooms and Shallots.   Some of their suggestions are to go for a thin crust pizza, order red sauce instead of white, and to pile on the veggie toppings.   They also suggest using a tortilla as a pizza base, which is something I haven't tried. 

I have my own suggestion for ordering a lower fat / lower calorie pizza - when you order, ask them to only use half the cheese that they normally would!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Grilled Pizza Recipes from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Sunday's edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review had a huge article in the Magazine section, with loads of hints and recipes  for grilled pizza.  The printed article had several recipes, but you can check out two of them online  - Eggplant and Goat Cheese and Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella and Sausage.   I can't wait to try them!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Pizza Garden - Looks Like Trouble!

Uh oh!  All of a sudden my hot banana peppers look terrible, with withered yellow leaves and spots on the peppers.  I am heartbroken!  It probably has something to do with the weird orange bug I found hanging onto a drooping leaf.   I am planning to pull them tomorrow, after I find my heavy gloves that the bug can't get through.  The other "pizza crops" are doing well - I finally figured out what fennel looks like, and the basil is amazingly good.  I'm hoping things turn out okay with the tomatoes - they look very healthy right now, but a neighbor told me about a tomato fungus that is on its way and advised me to prespray.  My mother was a fantastic gardener and I wish that she was here to give me advice (and lots of help)! 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mama Mary's Pizza Crust Recipe Contest with Cool Prizes

Here's a recipe contest I just heard about - Mama Mary's Pizza Crust is hosting a recipe contest with great prizes.  How great?  Well, how does a grand prize of $5000 and a trip to Disney World sound?    Grand prize winners will be chosen from three categories:  Your Mama's Favorite Pizza, Creative Creations Traditional or Dessert Pizza..   Semifinalists are chosen quarterly, so if you hurry you can still get in an entry for the second quarter, which ends June 30.  Semifinalists will receive a cappucchino machine and a year's supply of Mama Mary's Gourmet Pizza Crusts, plus be qualify to compete for a grand prize.

Good luck!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vinny's Great Pizza & More - Brookline

618 Brookline Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
(412) 344-8500

We had a coupon for Pizzarella Pizza in Brookline, but when we called to place an order ... the location is now Vinny's Great Pizza!   (And guess what - they were nice enough to accept the Pizzarella coupon.)

When I think of a "Vinny's Pizza", I automatically think of a pizza from Vincent's Pizza Park in Forest Hillls and wondered if they were affiliated (the answer is no).  Vinny's Great Pizza & More is actually a chain, with locations in Brookline, Uniontown and Morgantown, WV.  This Vinny's Pizza was named for Vincent Tarzia, who came to American with his mother from Marina Di Gioiosa, Reggio Calabria, Italy.

When we try a new pizzaria, we like to order a plain cheese pizza with a red sauce, so that we can fairly compare it to others we've tried.  Our first impression of Vinny's was the wonderful aroma - we could hardly wait to open the box and dive in!  We enjoyed the robust sauce - it was thick and rich, with flecks of oregano.   The traditional style crust was also thick and rich and had a mild flavor, which made it a good vehicle for the sauce and the generous layer of luscious, gooey cheese.

Vinny's Great Pizza & More has a very extensive menu which includes Appetizers, Salad, Wings, Hoagies and Subs (including gyros), Calzones & Strombolis, Italian Dinners, Desserts and Soft Drinks.  They have red or white pizzas, eleven specialty pizzas and Vinny's Signature Pizza, which sounds fantastic.  It's called "The Mediterranean", and comes with either white or red sauce, and is topped with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, Kalamata olives, onions, mozzarella, provolone and feta cheese.

Here's a cool idea - Vinny's has cell phone coupons!  Send a text to phone number 30364, type CHEESE, hit send and a coupon and special offer will be delivered to your cell phone, "like magic, Baby!"

Vinny's Great Pizza & More on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pizza Recipes in Martha Stewart's Everyday Food

I really look forward to the days that my copy of Everyday Food arrives in the mailbox - it was especially sweet yesterday, when I opened the July/August issue to find a whole section devoted to pizza.  (Page 90!)   Pizza recipes include Tomato and Basil, Grilled Asparagus and Ricotta, Fontina Fennel and Onion, Shrimp and Pesto, 3 Cheese, and Sausage and Olives, as well as recipes for the crust and toppings.  Gorgeous illustrations, too, of course - and the pizzas have a charmingly imperfect look which makes me feel like I can make them myself.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pillsbury Refrigerated Thin Crust Pizza Dough ... With Hot Peppers

I always keep a tube of Pillsbury's refrigerated pizza dough in the refrigerator for a quick and easy pizza.  I usually buy the Classic crust, but this time opted for Thin Crust - it had good flavor, except that ... yes, I burnt it again.   Just as I was about to take the pizza out of the oven, the dog jumped over the fence and ran off down the street.  By the time we got back to the house, it was overdone.  (The photo is from the "good end".)

I had another little mishap with it, too - when I was unrolling it, one side of the crust stuck to my hand and I ended up sticking my fingers through it, which made a huge hole.  I patched it back together, but it was not as beautiful as I wanted it to be.

What I was really excited about was that I used the first banana pepper from my Pizza Garden to use as a topping!

For what it's worth, here's the recipe:

1 Tbsp. olive oil
One Pillsbury refrigerated pizza crust (we used the Thin Crust)
1 cup of pizza sauce, or to taste (we used Mid's)
1 hot banana pepper, cleaned and sliced very thinly
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, or a pizza blend (we used Organic Valley)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet or pizza pan with a layer of olive oil.  Unroll crust and place on cookie sheet.  Spread pizza sauce over crust, decorate with sliced pepper, and top with grated cheese.  Bake for approximately 14 minutes and try to prevent your dog from running away while cooking.

Remove from oven and let cool for several minutes.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Caramelized Onion, Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Pizza Recipe on Voila! With Emily

Voila! With Emily is one of my favorite recipe blogs - her recipes are down to earth, but easy to prepare and just really, really good.  Today's blog post is a recipe for Caramelized Onion, Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Pizza.   And, wow.  It sounds fantastic!  When I find all of the ingredients, I'm going to try it.

Papa John's On Top in Consumer Survey

According to a blog post today on The Consumerist, Papa John's is at the top of the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index - beating out pizza chain restaurant rivals Dominos, Little Caesar's and Pizza Hut.   I have more of a "I've never met a pizza I didn't like" attitude than The Consumerist, or maybe it's an "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" attitude, but it is interesting reading and an interesting blog, even for a Pollyanna like me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Whitehall Farmers Market

Tonight was the the season kickoff of the Whitehall Farmers Market which relocated to Caste Village this year - and it was a good choice of venue, because the place was rockin'!   And besides, the South Hills Record said that they would be giving away free tote bags, and I just love a freebie.  We filled our new tote bags with gorgeous raspberries from the Trax Farms booth, broccoli, and some amazing lime cookies from Happy Jack Bakery.   The very nice man who sells Italian foods (sorry! I will have to double check his name next week) has added several new items, two of which are pizza sauce and handmade pizza crusts.  We ran out of spending money by the time we got to his booth, but are already planning to try them next week.  Yum!

Pizza Hut Healthy Choice Ideas from Healthy Style Magazine

A few weeks ago, Healthy Style Magazine by Parade included an article on best fast food choices - the article was written by Joy Bauer, the Today Show nutrition and health expert.   She included choices for Taco Bell, Subway, KFC and McDonald's ... but of course I zeroed in on the healthy choices at Pizza Hut!  Joy's picks were all from Pizza Hut's Fit 'n Delicious choices - either Green Pepper, Red Onion & Diced Red Tomato, or Diced Red Tomato, Mushroom & Jalapeno, or Ham, Red Onion & Mushroom.   The best part is that they all weigh in at under 160 calories per slice!

Tour de Pizza Stops in Bluffton, SC, 6/15 - Free Pizza!

One of my favorite Hilton Head blogs, Blog a la Carte, today talks about Matt McClellan's Tour de Pizza.  Matt is a Florida pizza shop owner who is on a month long cycling trip from St. Pete to NYC, where he will stop and eat at local pizza shops along the way.  He'll be at Monster Pizza on June 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. - at which time Monster Pizza will be giving away free slices of their new Monster-tricious Pizza.  Matt is also a big believer in the health benefits of pizza and is living proof - Blog a la Carte says that on his recent month long pizza diet, he lost 20 pounds and his cholesterol and blood levels both dropped. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Grilled Pizza Burgers on Ciabatta Bread Recipe

Serves 4

1 lb. ground round
pizza seasoning
4 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella
4 Tbsp. pizza sauce
hot pepper rings
multigrain ciabatta buns

Preheat grill.  While grill is heating, form ground round or ground beef into four patties.  Place on grill and sprinkle with pizza seasoning. 

While burgers are cooking, slice buns (we used Giant Eagle multigrain ciabatta rolls) and toast.

After flipping burgers, sprinkle again with pizza seasoning.

When burgers are cooked through, top each with 1 Tablespoon pizza sauce (we used Mid's), then 1 Tablespoon of shredded mozzarella, with several hot pepper rings on top.

Slide carefully onto toasted buns and serve!

Note:  One of our pizza burger tasters would have liked more pizza sauce on top of the burger but otherwise gave it a "great, I'd eat this again!" rating.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Little Chicago's Pizzeria - South Side

1728 E Carson St
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

In April, we tried a pizza from the Blue Grotto - when we were leaving, a man sidled up to us and told us that, while Blue Grotto is good, Little Chicago's makes the best pizza on the South Side!

He might have been right.

Some pizzas we love at first bite, then are less enchanted after a slice.  With Little Chicago's it was the opposite - we weren't sure, but the more we ate, the more we liked it.  By the time we finished the entire pizza - yes, the entire pizza - we were considering Little Chicagos for a new addition to our top ten.

Even though I'm sure they are best known for their Chicago style pizza, we decided to order a medium pizza with red sauce and a traditional crust.  The pizza had a wonderful aroma and we couldn't wait to try it.  The sauce was sweet with a slight taste of garlic, and small chunks of tomato.   We loved the chewy crust, which managed to be thin yet light and airy.  The crust was dusted with cornmeal and, according to one taster, had a "buttery" taste.  Another taster only managed to say "Good!" in between bites.

In addition to the traditional crust pizza, Little Chicago's offers Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza, White Pizza, an Ultra Huge 30" pizza, Calzones, Wedgies, Garlic Pepperoni Stix, a 16" Square Sicilian, French Bread Pizza, Hoagies, Fish Sandwishes and Hamburgers, wings, salads, and 12 varieties of specialty pizzas.  The specialty pizzas include a Philly Ranch and Margarita Chicken, among others.  Some of the sides include Jalapeno Poppers, Broccoli and Cheese Poppers, Provolone Stix an dmore. 

And FYI there is a half off coupon for Little Chicago's in the 2010 Enjoy coupon book.  We forgot to use it!

Little Chicago's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Pizza Garden - After the Storm

We've had a week of rain and huge thunderstorms, with flooding and even hail!  I was worried about my garden, but it has fared pretty well.  On the left, I have sweet green peppers, hot and sweet banana peppers and eggplant.  On the right ... I don't exactly remember!  My markers blew away in one of the storms.  I know I planted fennel, onions, basil and parsley, but I don't even remember which one is the fennel!  If anything on the righthand side looks like fennel to you, please let me know!  I have tomatoes planted in another bed, and they also weathered the storms very well.

Amy's Organic Cheese Pizza

As usual, Amy's did not disappoint us!

In March, we tried Amy's Organic Spinach Pizza.  Last night, we needed a little late evening snack and found an Amy's Organic Cheese Pizza tucked away in the freezer.   We heated up the toaster oven, and soon had a pleasant, fresh tasting pizza that was very enjoyable.  The sauce had nice flavor, with small chunks of tomato, and the crust was crisp.  

We haven't found a frozen pizza yet that beats our pizzeria favorites, but we know we can rely on Amy's to provide a decent, fresh tasting frozen pizza.  Thank you, Amy's!