Simple Pantry Cooking

Easy Menu Planning | cooking uncomplicated

Easy Low-Carb Homemade Pizza: Simple Toasted-Cheese Crust Recipe

easy low-carb family dinners

Homemade pizza is a near-weekly dinner here, as it is in many other households. It’s a quick and simple dinner solution, especially when made in the no-mess fashion described in Simplified Dinners.

However, pizza is quite problematic if you are trying to eat low-carb, as I am.

toasted cheese pizza crust recipe

I did a quick Google search one day for low-carb pizza crust ideas, and came across all sorts of concoctions that all required more preparation than a typical pizza crust. And, since I already have to make the pizza crust for the rest of the family, I’m not really interested in cooking what amounts to a completely separate dinner for myself. On top of that, it’d be pretty difficult to eat a grain-free substitute or cauliflower-based crust while the rest of the family enjoys real pizza.

toasted cheese pizza crust recipe

I recalled once attempting an appetizer that was basically toasted Parmesan cheese, and wondered if I could adapt that to be a pizza base. That way, my pizza would basically be real pizza, just without the crust. Toppings only, still toasty, and extra-cheesy. No extra ingredients or cooking would be required, and I wouldn’t feel deprived. I knew I had to make the idea work.

And I did.

Toasted Parmesan & Mozzarella Cheese Pizza Crust Recipe

all-cheese pizza crust recipe

  1. Make 3″-5″ circles of shredded mozzarella cheese on a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Sprinkle some shredded Parmesan cheese on top, as well as a sprinkle of Italian herbs. Bake in a 400-450 oven until melted and just starting to brown on the edges, 3-6 minutes.

all-cheese pizza crust recipe

  1. Add your pizza toppings, but don’t overload it. I added 3 pepperoni and 2 salami slices and a couple small pieces of olive and red pepper to mine. Sprinkle with a little more cheese. This layer will melt into the other cheese and help hold your pizza together. Pop it back in the oven for 2-5 more minutes or until the topping is melted and toasted but the edges of the crust aren’t burnt.

all-cheese pizza crust recipe

  1. Let it cool on the mat or paper for at least 5 minutes. Carefully lift it off and onto your plate. Once it’s cool, you should be able to cut it into quarters and pick it up and eat it like a slice of pizza.

all-cheese pizza crust recipe

Enjoy all the pizza goodness without any of the carbs or any weird substitutes!

all-cheese pizza crust recipe

Frozen Broccoli Made Tasty

So often I come to dinner-fixing time, a salad seems like so much work, and so does any other vegetable side dish preparation. Frozen broccoli is a staple in our home, as I’m sure it is in many others, for just this reason. It doesn’t taste as good as fresh, of course, but it’s just so handy.

Frozen broccoli that actually tastes good

But, how to prepare it to at least make it palatable? I ate it microwaved growing up. You can boil or steam it, too. I’ve tried stir-frying it, but that’s another dirty pot and the effect is not worth the effort. And, I might serve it to kids, but I’m not excited about eating soggy, mushy broccoli myself.

Enter, my desperation move that paid off:

roasted frozen broccoli

roast frozen broccoli

Roast the frozen broccoli!

  1. Open up the bag.
  2. Spread it on a cookie sheet (doing it on a baking mat makes it even more simple to clean up!)
  3. Sprinkle with cheese, salt, and a bit of garlic powder.
  4. Roast at 375-425 (anything in that range will work; I use whatever my other dinner dish requires and bake them at the same time) for 20-25 minutes.

Toasty. Cheesy. Not soggy.

roasted cheesy broccoli recipe


An Ad-Lib Dinner: Turkey Pizza Melts

When, the other day, my son came into the kitchen and asked, “What’s for dinner?” while I stood with the fridge open, I replied, “I don’t know. I was just going to make something up.”

In less than an hour we were at the table eating dinner.

As soon as I said, “I was just going to make something up,” I realized I should grab the camera so I could blog about how I went about it.

Earlier that week I had cooked a turkey that had been in the freezer since Thanksgiving, so I had a dish full of cooked turkey meat.

I had already made a broccoli-rice-turkey the night before, so I needed something different.

Earlier I had thought about making a white pizza with turkey instead of chicken, with the directions in Simplified Dinners (yes, it really is the method and resource I do use a majority of the time myself). But, I hadn’t started early enough to get a pizza dough going. However, I did have some flatbread I’d made a few weeks before and frozen. So I pulled those out of the freezer.

Turkey. Flatbread. Pizza lurking in my mind. Pre-grated mozzerella cheese and a red pepper in the fridge. Let’s just run with it.

turkey pizza

turkey pizza

I made a quick white sauce, because I knew the flatbread and turkey would be dry with only cheese. I used the recipe for pizza white sauce in Simplified Dinners, and chopping the onion was the longest step.

While I made the sauce, I set that inquisitive son to slicing a red pepper.

I set out the breads on a baking sheet with a Silpat, layered the ingredients like a pizza, and stuck it in the oven on broil.

turkey pizza

I had an extra tomato, so I diced that up for a garnish.

I forgot to set a timer.

turkey pizza

I smelled something about 5 minutes later and ran to pull out dinner before it was completely burnt!

The family all liked them, and said I could add that as a normal dinner plan and not only an “Ack, what can I pull together?!” meal. I love it when that happens.

turkey pizza

Cooking Without Recipes: Turkey-Rice-Cheese Casserole

A narrative non-recipe from 2010.

I felt uninspired for dinner yesterday, which is not a good thing when all you have in the house is ingredients, yet not all the ingredients necessary for recipes. Of course, I don’t follow recipes to begin with, so it bodes ill when inspiration is low. Yet, this lack of inspiration and decision to just toss together what I had without trying to dress it up yielded a very satisfying dinner. No longer will I search for a recipe for a turkey or chicken rice and broccoli casserole.

Now I know I can just toss one together with minimal ingredients that was better than any I’ve tried to make from a recipe.

In the fridge I had turkey meat cut off the carcass, bone broth made from the turkey carcass, milk, and cheese. In the freezer I had a package of frozen broccoli. I had onions and garlic, but I had no other vegetables (except cabbage and spinach for salads). I could have made a white sauce to substitute for a cream-of-something-soup to bind my meat and rice and broccoli, but I felt like I couldn’t be trusted with that process in my mental state.

So, I simply cooked 2 1/2 cups of brown rice in 2 cups broth and 2 cups water. When that was almost done, I tossed the turkey meat (about 5-6 cups) into a large skillet, then scooped in 1 or 2 cups of broth and simmered it until the broth was reduced and the meat was shredding itself (i.e. I didn’t bother cutting the meat to bite-size chunks and I tossed the stuff on the heat and then checked my email — no, I meant for the broth to reduce, I really did). None of the herbs jumped out at me, so I shook some salt and pepper over it.

Then I dumped in the entire package of cut broccoli spears and dumped the cooked rice on top. I tossed it around to combine it and let the liquid cook down until it was mostly gone, then cast about for something to top it off. Cheese! Cheese to the rescue! I tossed in several handfuls of shredded cheddar and a couple handfuls of shredded Parmesan. I then mixed it around a bit instead of leaving the cheese as a topping, so the melting cheese became the binding “sauce.” It was lovely. And it was tasty. And I put half of it in a casserole dish and froze it, and everyone gobbled up the half I served.

I will be making that again.

Yummy, Easy Low-Carb Snack: Ants-on-a-Log for Grown-Ups

cranberry celery recipe

As I attempt to shed my baby weight this year, here is one yummy snack or lunch I’ve discovered: Grown-Up Ants-on-a-Log

cranberry celery recipe

  1. Wash and cut celery sticks.
  2. Spread with cream cheese.
  3. Dot with a few Craisins.

The end.


These also make a fast, easy, and healthy appetizer for parties!

cranberry celery recipe