Friday Night Pizza!


Well, it’s the first Friday in Lent so that means it’s time for some pizza.  My mom started this lenten tradition years ago and I am happy to continue it with my family.  I am also thrilled to have perfected my pizza dough recipe just in time!  This dough is quick, easy, and delicious.  Tonight’s pizza will be meat free, but you can enjoy it any way you like, the possibilities are endless.  So without further ado, here is my dough recipe with some topping ideas along the way:

Happy Friday Night Pizza!


Pizza Dough

makes 2 – 14 inch pizzas


  • 3 cups bread flour (you can use all-purpose flour, it just creates a chewier crust)
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 packet of instant dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups, 11o degree water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons for bowl and pizza pan

Lets get started: Put flours, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. I like to put the sugar and yeast next to each other, salt on the other side of the bowl.


With the mixer on low, slowly add the warm water and 2 Tablespoons olive oil (it is so easy to forget the olive oil, don’t forget the olive oil here).


Once the dough is coming together, turn up the speed on your stand mixer.  If at this time your dough looks like it needs more flour or water, add whichever is needed a Tablespoon at a time (I add more bread flour if I need to add flour, instead of semolina).


Once dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a ball, keep kneading with the dough hook for 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove dough from the bowl, onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times with your hands. I always pour a little olive oil, about 2 teaspoons, into the same bowl (of the stand mixer), sometimes cleaned out sometimes not depending on how well the dough came off the sides of the bowl, and place the dough in the bowl, flip it over, and then over once more so the dough has olive oil on both sides.  Cover the bowl with saran wrap and wait an hour.  I usually just put the bowl in the oven, turned off of course, to ensure a draft free zone for rising.  After an hour or a little longer, place dough on a lightly floured surface, cut in half and you are ready to go.  I tend to make one pizza at a time, so my extra dough goes into a freezer bag and into the fridge for up to 3 days, or into the freezer for about 6 months.


Now we wait for it to rise…

Bake pizza at 450 degrees on second lowest level in oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Topping Ideas:

We are a pretty plain cheese pizza family, but love to through in some other options as well.  You can use store-bought sauce or my marinara sauce (scroll down on the page of this link to find the recipe).  Just put as much or little sauce as you want, sprinkle with mozzarella, parmesan and bake on 450 for 10 minutes (give or take a couple minutes).

We will also have a veggie pizza tonight, here is what I do for this pie:

once dough is ready to top I add a little olive oil, thinly sliced garlic, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, and veggies (tonight will be broccoli, spinach, thinly sliced onion, peppers because that’s what I have on hand, but if I had some cherry tomatoes I’d half them and put them on as well.




Basically, whatever your heart desires…



Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – Rajma

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili - This is Rajma!

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – Rajma!

A while back I was looking for a vegetarian chili recipe and stumbled upon Padma Lakshmi’s, Rajma recipe.  I tried it and loved it!  Love Padma too, big Top Chef fans over here.  This also happens to be the first recipe I made when I decided I was committed to starting a food blog; so I took lots of pictures in my poorly lit kitchen, and got to work, loving each step of the way (even the pictures). This recipe is equally special to me because I am fortunate enough to be using the garam masala and turmeric straight from India.  A longtime family friend, and once neighbor to my grandmother, brought some spices back from his trip.  I am lucky, and thankful, to reap the benefits of his long journey. Thank you, Tom.

Rajma is one of my go-to’s when I want something quick, healthy, and meat free (and one I almost always have all the ingredients on-hand).  I’ve added turmeric to this dish for it’s wonderful health benefits, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, just to name a couple.  I like to serve the Rajma over jasmine rice and accompanied by a piece of naan bread.  If you are looking for a delicious bean dish that is packed with flavor, your search is over…

this is, Rajma:


Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – Rajma

  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 small or medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 4 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 ounce can of red kidney beans
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Time to Cook:

In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high heat.  When oil is hot add onion and pepper, and sprinkle with salt (about 1/2 teaspoon) and pepper (1/4 teaspoon), sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add garlic, tomatoes (reserve can with 1/2 cup of water), ginger, cumin seeds, Garam Masala, turmeric, and red pepper flakes.  Let simmer for 10 minutes or so.

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Add kidney beans, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of water (from tomato can, if using), let cook another 5 minutes.

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Adjust seasoning, add salt, pepper, and more lemon juice if needed.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve over rice, or with some naan, or both.  But most importantly, ENJOY!

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili - This is Rajma!

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – This is Rajma!