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~ Holiday Fun 101: Deck the table w/a Pizza Wreath~

IMG_4458Fact:  I want pizza once a week.  Fiction:  Pizza isn't festive enough to serve on Christmas Day. The fact is, when you crave pizza once a week, you'll figure out a way to serve it for any holiday. The truth:  This post is simply my foodie way of wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year -- or any holiday you celebrate.  I chose pizza because it's universal.

IMG_4492A slice of ooey-gooey cheesy pizza piled high with some great toppings of choice brings a smile to everyones face, and, for as long as I have been on my own and/or married, pizza night has been happening in my kitchen fifty-two weeks a year -- and that includes holidays -- like today.  

In our recent past, since we are empty nesters, unless we have something else planned or have guests, Joe and I have designated Sunday as our pizza IMG_4508night. We open a bottle of red, I get my ~ A-1 All-Purpose Bread-Machine Pizza Dough ~ mixing, and, I thaw a container of my homemade sauce -- while Joe preps all the toppings.  You can find my recipe for the dough by clicking on the Related Article link below.  

Today we're making our annual pizza wreaths.  They're lots of fun, but,  practical too.  When sliced thin, into 12-16 pieces, they make great game day appetizers.

Making a pizza wreath is more of a method than an exact recipe.  Feel free to follow along & make one or two just like mine, or:  Substitute your favorite dough, sauce, cheeses & toppings.

IMG_4468For the pizza dough, sauce, cheese & toppings for two pizzas:

2  pounds pizza dough, my recipe, yours or your favorite store-bought

3  cups pizza sauce, my recipe, yours or your favorite store-bought

1 1/2 cups each:  grated mozzarella and provolovne cheese, tossed together

6  ounces, pepperoni, sliced into slightly less than 1/4" coins

1  16-ounce bag frozen broccoli florets, blanched in boiling water for 1 1/2 minutes & drained

1  pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise

1  4 1/2-ounce jar small whole mushrooms, well-drained and sliced in half lengthwise

1  2 1/2-ounce can sliced black olives, well drained 

1/4  cup finely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1  red bell pepper, to fashion two bows, one to garnish each pizza wreath at serving time

olive oil, for preparing pizza pans

IMG_4359 IMG_4364 IMG_4368 IMG_4375~Step 1.  Using a paper towel, lightly oil 2, 12"-round pizza pans and place a 3" round ramekin in the center of each pan.  In both pans, fashion 1 pound of pizza dough into a round and make a hole in the center of it.  Place the dough, like a collar over the top of each ramekin.  DO NOT wrap the dough, necklace-style around the ramekin and join the two ends together -- it won't work.  Working patiently, take about 10 minutes to use your fingertips to pat and press the dough, to form the traditional "pizza crust lip" on the exterior and interior perimeters of both pans.

IMG_4379 IMG_4381 IMG_4384 IMG_4389~Step 2.  Using a tablespoon, spread 3/4 cup of pizza sauce over the top of each crust.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the grated cheese evenly over the sauce.  Decoratively arrange the sliced pepperoni over the top of the cheese followed by the blanched  and drained broccoli florets.

IMG_4391 IMG_4394 IMG_4396 IMG_4401~Step 3.  Arrange the tomato halves, mushroom halves, and sliced black olives over the top.  Evenly sprinkle 2 tablespoons finely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top of each pizza.

IMG_4404 IMG_4407 IMG_4412 IMG_4416 IMG_4419~Step 4.  Bake each pizza on the center rack of a 375° oven for 17-18 minutes.  remove from oven and place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool about 1 minute.  With the aid of a large spatula transfer the pizza, along with the ramekin, from pizza pan directly to the cooling rack. Allow to cool 1-2 additional minutes, then remove the ramekin from the center of the pizza.  While the pizza is cooling slightly, use a paring knife to slice and fashion two bows (it's easy to do), from either end of a red bell pepper to garnish each pizza wreath.

Merry Christmas to all & to all a good night -- of pizza eating!!!

IMG_4473Holiday Fun 101:  Deck the table w/a Pizza Wreath:  Recipe yields 2, 12" pizza wreaths/8 standard-sized slices each wreath or 16 snack-sized appetizers each wreath.

Special Equipment List:  1-cup measuring container; bread machine; kitchen scale; 2, 12"-round pizza pans; paper towel; 2, 3" round ramekins; hand-held cheese grater; tablespoon; large metal spatula; 2 wire cooling racks; cutting board; paring knife

IMG_4341Cook's Note:  While it's still the season for desserts and cocktails too (there's only 1 week left until those resolutions kick in), I recommend making yourself a dessert cocktail.  You can find my recipe for ~ Thick Creamy Eggnog & Rum Milkshakes or Malts ~  in Category 11, 16 or 26.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016) 


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